Sometime back I was talking to a friend, who is a Yoga teacher. He has grown up in a mid-west state of US and is a very curious person who has undertaken work that is aligned with his concern for the environment. He is surely one of the more sensitive people I have met. We were discussing the types of Yoga and he had his own definitions of Bhakti, Jnana, Karma and Kriya Yoga. Also Raja Yoga.
It was clear from his discussion that he had been seeped in the way the Western Yoga teachers approached these topics and subjects. Which, unfortunately, are not very different from most yuppie Indian “spiritualists”.
So, I started explaining the Karma yoga part and that it had nothing to do with “right or wrong action”. Karma Yoga is after all a way to perform action without letting the past “conditioning” or memory of Result-Reaction history impact your present. As long as we are enslaved to the dictates of how we react when some event occurs in our lives, irrespective of which era we are in – caveman, Ice-age, Medieval times, Colonial times or today – and let that template fashion our response today, we are in the Karmic circle. The day our past Result-Reaction relationship does not impact our action today, we are free. And in the state of Moksha. For further insight, read – Karma, Stimulus-reaction memory structures and Law of Karma has nothing to do with “Sow and you shall reap”.
I happened to say to him that “this is the real way to look at Karma”. As his cliched ideas – despite his awareness – were misaligned with his being and I was pushed to correct the misconceptions, it made him a bit irritated. So he finally said “why do you say this is the correct way? It is like me saying the Christianity is right and Hinduism is wrong.”
His question fundamentally was – when every perspective is relative and individual, how can truth be one? And more importantly, how can Yoga have a certainty in terms of interpretation or ways. Or in other words, every one is free to interpret, alter, approach Yoga, and therefore the truth, the way one deems fit.
This is indeed an important thing to get clarity on.
For, this is also the retort of many who like to trash the Gurus because “Hinduism (or Yogic Spirituality) is open and can be done in any which way one feels like.”
Nothing could be further from truth. Literally.
Let us get clear on two points: What is known as Hinduism today is the culture that came about due to intertwining of Yogic experiences and knowledge into everyday life. How to sit, how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, how to marry, how to start the kid on educational path, what to do on death etc. Every aspect was fashioned in a way so that the possibility of people working to break the enslaving impact of the past Result-Reaction memory was enhanced and one could be indeed freed. Those who were already on that path, their work was speeded. Those who were not aware, were pushed to that awareness.
Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma was that culture of preparing the populace for existential freedom.
All that was the work of Yogis who had put in a lot of self effort and were indeed amazing beings. These Yogis were the original “scientists”, if you will. While the populace got to experience the “application” of what was discovered by these Yogis.
Interestingly, many paths were carved and fine-tuned through centuries and millennia of deep and self defying work. Some carried on their work for more than one lifetime.
There was no certifying body to say what was the “correct way” or not. The final authority was in the work’s alignment with the Truth – the Eternal.
And, that is the point that I explained to my friend. The “correctness” of any thing in spirituality is not based on belief or my perspective or our opinions. But in its alignment with the existential. Truth is not a version. Truth is not something based on any interpretation or arrangement of events or facts. It is based on its manifestation being Eternal. Not long term. Eternal!
Underlying the material existence, scientists say is the primordial consciousness. (Read How Observer Creates his own illusion and Creation is a Vibration for more insights) That is unchanging and is infinite and the very basis of all that exists and that does not. Somewhere from that state of energy or consciousness, matter happens at the gross level. Scientists have called the link as the God’s particle or Higg’s Boson. Its the theoretical particle that gives mass to energy so matter can occur. That is the explanation and calculation of the scientists.
Yogis did not care much for calculations. They wanted to experience the infinite. So, that is where the efficacy and “correctness” of their method and way came to light. If one experienced the infinite and the Eternal Truth, one could get some understanding of the utility of his/her way.
Or one could deceive himself and others with crafty words and dramatics and get nowhere really.
For, getting “there” is not a social event. It is not socially or even culturally relevant. It has nothing to do with humans or this planet or this Universe. It goes to the root of existence. Beyond time and beyond space. That state which was when nothing was, and that will be when nothing exists visibly or experientially. It always was and always will be. It does not change nor does it die nor gets destroyed. It remains the way it was and is. That is the truth. When the experience of that unchanging Truth happens, it is not something one can describe nor can one discuss it. And, it is not debated or versioned or interpreted. How can one spin or describe the miracle of birth or the brightness of the Sun’s light?
And, that is why – even though there are myriad and many ways in Yogic paths and indeed many ways that the Yogis have meshed all that wisdom in the cultural milieu – that came to be known as Hinduism, the ways are strict in how they can be approached. A Meera can NOT and should NOT try the path of Aghoris. For, it won’t work and take her into a deep abyss.
The paths are many but each path is only done in one way. And, those who have no knowledge or expertise of taking those paths can hardly try to make changes along the way.
Let us recap:
- Truth is indeed unique in that it is Eternal.
- Ways to experience the Truth can be and have been many
- Paths to the Truth are sacrosanct in their own way even thogh there are many paths
- The fundamental pieces to those paths are not open for interpretation! Not because it is some “ordained version” but because consciousness is accessed in a certain way. And this is not a value judgment, but a statement of natural alignment.
- Because the alignment with the Eternal is the sine qua non of every action and every ritual on the Yogic path, which got fashioned as Hinduism over time, both Yoga and Hinduism are NOT “whatever I feel I can do” things.
Now, in all this – with the world being so dictated by religious ways – the obvious question will be – What about other religions?
Again, what I say now has nothing to do with my “respect for other’s belief or lack thereof”. Because on the path of Eternal, belief has no place. Least of all any respect.
No belief system lets one walk on the path to Eternal or the Yogic way. Yoga starts where Belief ends.
Yet, some beliefs can be “launching pads” to a path for the Eternal. Like the Kindergarten preparatory classes.
Unfortunately, most of the religions are history-centric in that they hold something, someone, an event or an interpretation sacrosanct and worthy of worship and respect over all else. Anything that does not swear by that history-centric way is not the “religious truth”. And, therefore, the path to the state of the Eternal experience is closed when one ascribes to that belief system. One man or certain men have been deemed as capable or worthy and that door is since closed.
The door is not closed in reality. It is closed only in belief. When one is instructed and steeped in such a belief, where is the question of one even attempting to seek such a door of Eternal freedom? In fact, even when some who have been steeped in these beliefs come face to face with such a door, they turn away because they refuse to recognize it as so.
That is why, only two ways of life even acknowledge the possibility of such a door being available universally for all, and that is why they remain as the only belief systems which lend themselves to someone seeking the Eternal Truth. They are – Hinduism and Buddhism.
You can still become a Buddha. You can still become Krishna. The door to raising your level of consciousness is open and available. Actually encouraged.
Is what is said in Buddhism and Hinduism the Truth? It is an explanation of the Truth by someone who experienced and simply because it has been expressed, it ceases to be Truth anymore.
For Truth is experienced. And it is fundamentally existential in nature. It is beyond words, language, expression, expressor, and the mind. Its expression brings it down. Scriptures, therefore, provide ways to understand, create the urge to look for the door and seek the path to the Eternal, and in some cases even allude to the ways of the path, but they are not the path.
In that, what are known as religions are neither all same nor aligned to the Spiritual path. Only two are. But they are like the description of the way, and just reading about them or their books but not stepping foot on the road will not take you to the destination.
Truth has to be experienced by every individual for it to be an experience of Truth at all. Anything less is Untruth.