“If you don’t know who you are, what is the point of learning anything else?”
There are no experts or owners of philosophy. Yoga enables you to think clearly, to begin to know yourself. Philosophy is the point and it is everywhere, ‘smile and the world smiles with you’, even your granny knows stuff.
Every era claims tenure on philosophy, you will hear that it is from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally “love of wisdom”. In the East however there is no Sanskrit equivalent word for philosophy despite the many Sanskrit writings on this topic. The closest synonym is Ānvīkṣikī-Vidyā or the “science of examination”. How different is that, and how much more enriching, fascinating and compelling?
In the West the individual collecting information for the love of it, in the East a pursuit of inner knowledge through scientific examination of the self.
So prolific and vast is philosophic thought in India there are 7 main schools, one of which is devoted entirely to yoga. Yoga as the practice of the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. Indian yoga philosophy is a very sophisticated canter around the subject of what we are. If you subtract the body and all the other baggage, “that thou art” in Sanskrit “tat tvam asi”. Philosophy is a matter for you.
When you consider the bigger picture, where is this place you have lived and what impels things to move around in it; what makes that bit which is you different from that which moves everything else?
Finding the clarity to see these things comes through the process of yoga which is sometimes interpreted as ‘beginning and end’. ‘The world sinks down in Yoga and again is created afresh’ (Deussen).
Upanishadic (Katha in this case) writings tell us “tam yogam iti mayante sthiram indriya-dharanam apramattas tada bhavati, yogo hi prabhavapyayau.” This they consider to be yoga, the steady control of the senses. Then one becomes undistracted, for Yoga comes and yoga goes.
If you are intrigued to learn more then come and join Mark Cupit at his forthcoming Yoga Philosophy Workshop on 10 November. Book your place here.