Questions I've Received
I have sometimes heard White racialists (those trying to preserve the European peoples) raise this objection about this yogic path and mysticism in general:
"A yogi or Hindu-type becomes inward, that would mean that he can't care about his race, work for causes, etc."
This is not correct. A man on this path continues to have duties, to know what his duties are, and continues to do his duty. If anything, it makes him more free to do his duty by disentangling himself with worthless sensual engagements, plus makes him more effective in his duty because of the freedom from addictions and their vitiating effects. This path also makes a man more fearless to do his duty no matter what it is. I think it also leads him to see with the eye of naturalness, thus he considers it natural for races to stay with each other; and unnatural to race-mix, etc. He perceives the latter (as I do) as a mere expression of sensuality by those who have jaded sensibilities and a disassociation with their natural psychology and roots. Those who seek the novel are those whose "eyes and ears have waxed gross" in Christ's words, and who continually paw through the material world seeking for thrills.
"It seems meditation isn't doing anything. It's not doing anything for your community, etc. It's a waste of time."
First, those who meditate become more effective at whatever they do seek to accomplish. Most men spend a great deal of time watching the news, or surfing the internet, or reading history books. To trade some of that time for a discipline that will give you insight into the origin of phenomena, plus more influence over the phenomena (instead of merely reading about phenomena), is a wise direction.I had a lot of experience with practitioners of Transcendental Meditation in Fairfield, Iowa. (I used to live in Iowa..) An unusual feature of their spiritual program is that one spends just 15 minutes a day at meditation. Some people spend more time on a crossword puzzle. (It might be 15 minutes twice a day, but I don't recall.) One of the outstanding characteristics of the young TM people of Fairfield was their external productivity and success. It seemed that little town was economically revolutionized by their presence, and a great many businesses were always being launched by these people. Many of their businesses thrived. These 15-minute-a-day meditators, the bulk of them young White Europeans/Americans, seemed highly creative and effective wherever they directed their energies -- moreso than the average population. Further, they attributed their noticeable creativity and productivity directly to the meditation technique. The teachings they followed -- by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- contained a metaphysics that explicitly stated that this increased fruitfulness, success, and "coherency" came from their short daily meditation periods. None of it was happenstance. A small amount of meditation greatly improved their worldly effectiveness, and they even prosecuted studies to prove it.
The goal of human life is really contentment. What a good man wants for his people, finally, is their contentment. It's only those men who have found inner contentment for themselves who have a true offering for their people. What good, anyway, is the preservation of our race if they don't know the way to happiness, contentment, and knowledge about the truth behind the external manifestation? Become the best kind of gift-giver and path-guide to your people. Lead them to the true water.
Lastly, an advanced meditator can do more with his mind in an hour than a material man can do in a year by running around and re-arranging the inert material world by egoic effort. One who has not pursued that may look askance and doubt it, but this is the prospect inside of true religious knowledge. One only knows by effort and discovery on this path. Better to know 2 percent about how phenomena actually arises (the good and the bad) than merely run around trying to patch up the phenomena externally without any genuine clue why and how it arises or how and why it changes. One legitimate motive for meditation is, in fact, world-mastery.
"Your path advocates celibacy, but we need to increase our birthrate."
My path advocates chastity before marriage then chastity or an attempt at continence after having children. Don't you know that if you can managed to be continent for just one month it will be good for you and revolutionize your life? Then there is still 11 months to get your wife pregnant. Try at least a week of celibacy! (lol) Must all men be unrestrained bleeders?
I always hear this from the chronically childless who spend their sexual energy in every direction but where it's supposed to go. So do you have a family yet? Do you have children yet? I had four. The average sexer-male today will have at least 1,640 orgasms between the ages of 20 and 50. (That's assuming a debacle, or male period, once-a-week.) Let me spell that out: One thousand six-hundred and forty times. Yet it only takes six orgasms to have a family of six children. What a big family is six children! And he can have them all between the ages of 20 and 30.
-- Show me a man striving for traditional morality -- only expressing sex with a wife -- and I'll show you a man motivated towards marriage.
-- Show me a man who has sex only with his wife, and I'll show you a man having plenty of children.
-- Show me a society with a conservative view of sex and I'll show you a country with a high birthrate.
-- Show me a country that contains a celibate priestly order and I'll also show you a country with a high birthrate.
-- Show me a country that is liberal regarding sex, has porn freely available, and where the men are sexual libertines, and I'll show you a country with a birthrate that is low or negative.
The attempt at continence by young men = Marriages and high birthrates.
After a fellow and his wife have the number of children they want, the more the man pursues chastity the better father he will be and the more prosperous will be his family. Then it becomes a question of the spiritual aspiration of his wife and whether she can come along with him on the path to God.
Western Commentaries & Translations of Yogic Literature
Generally speaking one cannot translate or comment well on the yogic literature of India, and that includes the Upanishads, without being a devotee and practitioner of the religious subject matter they cover. This is, of course, one of the great flaws with most western translations and commentaries. Even with those ostensibly showing respect for the eastern heritage (or even ostensibly fawning over it), a background attitude seems to be: "We are westerners. We are more advanced. A lot of these ideas are antiquated. Certainly there is no real need for chastity. Besides, I like sex." Further, much of the attitude is "Oh, look at the quaint and charming little stories by these primitive peoples who didn't even have Ipods, carhells, and Prozac." But usually the moderne -- including the wide-eyed Yoga-Studio or W.A.B.Y. maven -- has no idea what he is really reading about, because the texts are deliberately obscure and often metaphorical.
Certainly if the brahmacharya content is thrown into the alley trash can by the westerner, and the bhakti content viewed as mere charming emotionalism of primitive peoples, there can be little perception into these texts. In truth, we are the primitives on a great many levels at this point. But one must be a practitioner to have insight into these profound texts, not an outside onlooker.
An outstanding case is how authors approach the Chandogya Upanishad. That text gives off the impression of being loaded with phantasmagorical ideas. It will snow the average western mind and he will be convinced it is, as Muller clucks, 'childlike talk.' But in almost every case these are very charming coded references to hard yogic phenomena, perceptions, landmarks, and development placed there by knowing sages. I will place a few examples of this from the excellent translator F. Max Muller whose scholarly translations of a great many Upanishads were published in 1890.
Muller had an obvious respect
for the texts as a mysterious
culture for study, and he appears to take pains to translate the verses
as accurately and truly as possible. But his footnotes in the bottom
pages show his perplexity along with patronizing dismissals of verses
he doesn't comprehend. Indeed, without
the inner sun and the inner udgitha,
much of the Chandogya Upanishad is
incomprehensible and appears like the fanciful talk of children. But
it's the canny talk of sages:
"Now that light which shines above this heaven, higher than all, higher than everything, in the highest world, beyond which there are no other worlds [this refers to the physical sun], that is the same light which is within man. [Referring to the jyoti seen by the religious person.] And of this we have visible proof:
Namely, when we thus perceive by touch the warmth here in the body. And of it we have this audible proof: Namely, when we thus, after stopping our ears, listen to what is like the rolling of a carriage, or the bellowing of an ox, or the sound of a burning fire (within the ears). Let a man meditate on this as the Brahman which is seen and heard. He who knows this, becomes conspicuous and celebrated, yea, he becomes celebrated."
Now read Muller's commentary on the above. From the footnotes below:
"The presence of Brahman in the heart of man is not to rest on the testimony of revelation [scriptures] only, but is here to be established by the evidence of the senses. Childish as the argument may seem to us, it shows at all events how intently the old Brahmans thought on the problem of the evidence of the invisible."
He had no idea what any of it was about. This is a deeply revelatory yogic verse for anyone pursuing the spiritual wealth of the Yoga-Sutra and moksha. It touches on at least four areas of mystical subject matter. It references yogic spiritual phenomena and perceptions. The "audible proof" of God refers to the inner blissful pranava, which sounds like the three thing mentioned. (Delightfully descriptive metaphors, all three.) This is not the assorted body-noise, heartbeat, or movement of bones one hears on stopping the ears. It refers to the pranava in some of its characteristic sounds. (For an avid aspirant, these are heard with open ears as well.) "We thus perceive by touch the warmth here in the body" is also yogi talk. It refers to the very noticeable feeling of heat, from cool heat to searing heat, in the body as the yogis nadis are purified and he receives a plenitude of prana. It does not refer to conventional bodily heat. "Let a man meditate on this as the Brahman which is seen and heard," refers, of course, to meditation on these inner divine perceptions. Why, indeed, should a man become "conspicuous and celebrated" simply because he notices the heat in his body or closes his ears and hears bodily noise? This is the way of the Chandogya through-and-through, as well as the other Upanishads. They are not childish fancies, but brilliant occult utterances carrying information for the God-seeker and yogin.
Oh how long the wise sages of the east have had to bear these kinds of blind insults. To be thorough, let's review all that the verse revealed and which Muller missed:
-- The verse gives us the insight that the outer sun is the very same sun seen within by the yogi as bindu, with the implication that the experienced bindu is a proof of God. For those well-read it also implies that both are synonymous with prana itself.
-- It states that the inner pranic heat felt in the body is another proof of God.
-- It states that the udgitha (pranava) is a heard proof of God.
-- It gives apt descriptions of the nature of the Divine sound, in various forms, to give faith to the devotee and know that he is on the right path (rolling carriage, burning fire, a tone or hum like the ox).
-- In sum the verse is an answer to atheists. In my own life I have often said to atheists such things as this: "You reject God, yet there are so many definitions of God. Which definition are you rejecting? Yoga defines God as ananda or bliss. I feel bliss now. So by that definition I have proof of God. It also defines God as inner divine sound. I hear that sound, thus I have proof of God. You have simply not searched for God in any form, thus how could you have any proof?" Thus the Upanishad is a yogi's answer to atheism.
The westerner missed all, taking the felt things, and the heard thing, to refer to conventional sound and heat because he was not a devotee or a yogi. Similar insensible moments by western translators and commentators are endless. I will give one more from the Chandogya Upanishad. This fascinating scripture opens with these astounding statements:
"The essence of all beings is the earth, the essence of the earth is water, the essence of water the plants, the essence of man speech, the essence of speech the Rig-Veda, the essence of the Rig-veda the Sama-veda, the essence of the Sama-veda the udgitha (which is Om). That udgitha (Om) is the best of all essences, the highest, deserving the highest place, the eighth. 4. What then is the Rik? What is the Saman? What is the udgitha? This is the question. The Rik is indeed speech, Saman is breath, the udgitha is the syllable Om. Now speech and breath, or Rik and Saman, form one couple. And that couple is joined together in the syllable Om. When two people come together, they fulfill each others desire. 8. Thus he who knowing this, meditates on the syllable (Om), the udgitha, becomes indeed a fulfiller of desires."
This verse contains breathtaking revelations; is pregnant with meaning for the yogi and knower of Aum. It speaks of Aum as the essence of speech, and counterpoises that next to prana (breath). It is saying that the yogin should involve himself in an interaction between his breath (prana) and the udgitha (Aum). It likens this to sexual relations. Thus the yogi may breath into Aum or send his breath into Aum. Moreover, the yogi is bidden to draw (pranic) breath from Aum. This is related to attainment of the Yoga-Sutra's 4th pranayama (inner breath). In this way "speech" is interacting with "breath" like a couple. As with sexual relations, such interaction, or pouring Aum into breath and pouring breath into Aum, shall be fruitful. It directly bears on the Yoga-Sutra verse 2:51 on the state of kumbhaka.
The more outstanding aspect of the verse is that the yogi should apply the attitudes of bhakti in his handling of his breath and to the pranava. This bhakti attitude was indeed the attitude revealed by the avadhuta Nityananda when he spoke occultly of inner sound and inner breath. (See "Commentary on the Chidakasha Gita"). More could be said about this but that is enough. But I notice that a recent Upanishads published by Wordsworth (2000) and edited by an Indian, Suren Nakvalakha, completely omits verses 4-8. (See bold numbers above for all that's omitted.) The very best verses are omitted without any explanation. The sense is that the author did not consider them important, perhaps considered them strange, or worried that they were an inducement to "tantrik sex." Yet these verses, placed at the very opening of one of the most extended and sensational Upanishads, gives perhaps the penultimate secret of yogic development -- the bhakti attitude -- plus occult instruction in how to fruitfully interact with the heard pranava. All of this, moreover, directly bears on Yoga-Sutra verse 2:51 about the "fourth kind of pranayama," i.e. the state of kumbhaka.
My observation is that most translations and commentaries by westerners are as unseeing as Muller, cited above. One should read them with that caveat in mind and do not take all authors at their word or assume that they are authorities, no matter the publisher or the name. As the Yoga-Sutras suggests, only those who are devotees, ascetics, practice meditation, and brahmacharya will comprehend the Upanishads.
Generally the real knowers are found among the Indians. However, this does not mean that an Indian always knows either. Now I have to, unfortunately, deconstruct one particular Indian so that yogins will flower brightly both on the continent of India and among the Christian churches:
The Commentaries of Sankara, Observations about Sankara
During the years that I first began to study the Vedic and Yogic literature, I entertained a natural awe of the author named Sankara, formally known as Sankaracharya. This was due to his attainments: establishing the swami orders of India and hermitages, his voluminous commentaries, and the legend surrounding him. Thus upon happening onto his commentaries or writings, I approached them with total respect and expectation. Only in my 54th year did I begin to bite down and analyze the writings of Sankaracharya, however. This started with careful reading of his Upanishad commentaries, especially the Mandukya Upanishad and its Gaudapada Karika insert. There I found that he was an inveterate proponent of the theory or metaphysics of Non-Dualism. By reading his explanations in the Mandukya Upanishad, I began to get a comprehension of that viewpoint. Truly, that is Sankara's forte.
I had been reading the Yoga-Vasistha a long time before that, often with puzzlement but always with great satisfaction. I found that after exposing myself to Sankara's ND explanations, the Yoga-Vasistha was less work and I finally understood its underlying view. It began to effect a wonderful completion of my education in raja-yoga which started with The Gospel of Ramakrisha, exposure to my guru Yogananda, difficult reading of the Bhagavad-Gita, and utterly puzzled reading of various attempts (by various authors) at the Yoga-Sutra.
As I read Sankara I began to sense, you could say, his "personality." I could say humorously that he seemed like the ultimate Prig both in terms of his manner of explanation in which he parsed verses into tiny pieces with explanations of nearly every word, plus his continuous insistence that everything be referred "upstream" to his pristine non-duality. One gets an impression of cold wisdom, and I have once referred to Sankara as "bloodless." This because of his lack of bhakti content (except for his invocations opening and closing chapters). His predilection for the curt expression "that is being said" and "this is being explained" (as in "you want to ask this question? It's already been given, dummy!") -- added to the impatient schoolmaster impression. One thing the reader would be assured of: If you wanted to know how any verse might be hijacked, jerry-rigged, twisted, or illuminated towards a non-dualistic view, Sankara would always come through with the goods.
As I continued to read Sankara I began to observe certain things, and to have questions about him. One observation was that he did not appear to reference bhakti much in his commentaries as an actual component of his path, even when he was commenting on a verse evoking bhakti and expounding on it would be expected. There were his opening and closing invocations, of course, which definitely express a spirit of bhakti. But bhakti was seldom brought in by Sankara as an actual plank of sadhana. It seemed as if these invocations were a kind of formality to him. I soon understood that Sankara would be classed as a "jnani," the sort Ramakrishna often referred to as following the path of "dry reasoning" or analysis. By reading Sankara explain Non-Dualism, I finally began to understand what this jnana path was: A simple practice of analysis in which a fellow, by intellectually analyzing the world, comes to the conclusion that it doesn't exist and never has existed It is likely, indeed, that Sankara is the watershed jnani of all time.
It was never really explained in this way: But my impression was that Sankara's view may be nothing but an assistant to pratyahara (reversal of attention away from the world); an additional administration to the goal of vairagya; an elaboration of Yoga-Sutra 2:15 in which the world is realized to be deficient. Sankara takes it further and propounds that it does not even exist! Could it be that by simply mastering this constant attitude of Sankara's, genuine yogic pratyahara would ensue and samadhi automatically take place? I never saw Sankara explain it this way, but this novel expectation seemed implied in his writings. Does it work? What about the need to actively direct the mind? Did Sankara's path of continuously deconstructing the material creation as non-existent become, for him, a form of dharana that led to samadhi? My view at present is that his approach is one component to a thorough raja-yoga approach, not a complete yoga. And yet, Sankara stands in the middle of every hallway acting as the expert spokesman on every aspect of yoga. Was he? From many of his commentaries it does not appear so.
I mentioned that Sankara rarely exuded on bhakti in his commentaries, yet he seemed to express it well as a happenstance of his bookend invocations. My guru was a bhakta. One of my early questions was this: Could it be that whatever attainment Sankara had came partly accidentally because he was actually a bhakta but did not realize himself the role it played in his own sadhana? I noticed that Sankarian commentaries were regularly included with all kinds of yogic literature, including the Yoga-Sutras. How would a decided jnani be especially qualified to give commentary on verses that dealt with devotion, meditation technique, and things not part of the jnana path per se? Was it all simply a cultural and historical development related to a particular activist's domination of his times, and one with an astounding inclination to write plus a need to assert his authority over the vast Hindu panoply of knowledge?
As I continued to read Sankara, both in scanning mode and drill-down mode, I began to be troubled with him. He appeared to give desultory or watered-down explanations of chastity (brahmacharya). At least in the translations I had on hand. I was particularly astounded by one comment in which he defined brahmacharya as "lack of sexual relations." That obviously left the door open to masturbation or who-knows what other hanky panky. It seemed a bit lawyerly to me. The hard edge defining brahmacharya, for any yogi worth his salt, is certainly lack of any seminal emission. He seemed highly varied in his responses to verses citing brahmacharya, unlike his attitude to Non-Dualism in which every single verse -- from references to apana to the Cosmic Egg -- were so resolutely and without exception brought back and laid on his cold, hard Non-Dualism table. This possible flakiness toward brahmacharya troubled me. I knew that the greater the flaw in brahmacharya, the greater the flaw in knowledge and attainment.
Finally when hitting Sankara's commentaries on the Upanishads I saw surprising signs that he often did not pick up on esoteric and yogic content in a verse that, to me, quite obviously such content. It seemed the more I read that he lacked what can be called yogic development. He was writing comments on texts like the Yoga-Sutra that were both picayune and detailed yet lacking in substance, like chaff without germ.
many of those verses are obvious, slam-dunk affairs in which the rishis
were clearly pointing to yogic phenomena and signposts, setting things
of an occult nature right in our faces and easy to recognize by a yogi,
such as the many barely veiled references to the inner seen divine
light in which it is likened to a "lentil," a "thumb" (print) or an
At first I thought: "That
can't be. He is being circumspect. He is wisely refusing to reveal
Yet often the entire verse was of an occult yogic nature which he would ignore. Instead, he would spin up a great pile
of near-contentless repetition of the verse in parsed form, while
turning the verse to nothing but more signposts to his non-dualism in
the end. Every verse became a new set of references to the
attributeless Brahman. It occurred to me that a canny writer -- and
Sankara was nothing if not canny -- could at least make allusions to
the esoteric content in a verse. What is the point of a commentary if
not to bring out, or at least point to, hidden content in a verse? It
seemed to me that the mysterious Upanishad authors themselves were far
more generous in revealing yogic secrets than the demigod of
commentaries, Sankara, was in his ostensible elaborations of same.
was not sure. The thought simply occurred to me. It wasn't something I
wanted to believe. Still I found myself increasingly unsatisfied by
the commentaries of Sankara, and as I went on, occasionally agitated.
Then came a day when I broke out laughing when realizing that this
glorified Hindu "acharya" may have simply had no personal experience
with much of the verse content he was supposed to be
How could this be? This is most apparent with Upanishadic verses that discuss yogic attainments such as inner light (jyoti), divine sound (pranava), and the breathless state (kumbhaka). Now his curt little "That is being said" comments began to be slightly annoying. There is another one peculiar to Sankara, where he ends a commentary with, "That is the idea." The sense is, "Enough on this, class, let's run on." And yet in many cases he has said very little and even failed to even point to chuncks of chocolate, honey, and glory in the Upanishadic verse.
I continued to reserve judgment about him. I understand the vagaries of
translations, how translators come up with very different sentences,
and often get things plain wrong. Sankara was Sankara. Maybe I was
catching his writings at certain developmental stages of his sadhana? I
didn't own some of his major works. Maybe there were other texts that
showed more mastery or gave more generously. And certainly,
his development of the non-dualistic philosophy was masterful and very
helpful. The thought occurred to me: Maybe
he was not supposed to have the yogic perceptions? Maybe God kept him
from those, to force him to completely develop Non-Dualistic
Yet increasingly I found him to be lying all over the Upanishads, sort of like a sloppy guest may spread out on your sofa or a lady with a shopping cart make block your way in the market isle. I found increasingly that I preferred to read the verses but not his commentary, only going to his commentary when a verse was confusing in mere terms of sentence construction, in which case he sometimes cleared up a confusing sentence at the trivial level of grammar. Even then, it seemed to me, he would fail to deliver the goods.
From there, I began to pay more attention to Sankara's self-written compositions such as "The Crest Jewel of Wisdom" and "Quintessence of Vedanta." These were a revelation because they revealed his basic worldview; showed the mental sea that he swam in. My impressions from these were two: He seemed like a kind of librarian of Vedic thought and metaphysics. This first touches upon another theme: Sankara seemed to have a personality we could describe as Cancerian. Normally in Sankara's commentary he is applying a rigorous logic and is happy to jettison many things -- even the knowable God-with-attributes Isvara himself -- if it does not have a place in the austere logic of his non-dualistic view. Yet at the same time he would often stop, demure, and proclaim that the statement of a Sruti had to be valid -- no matter how strange or illogical it sounded and no matter if it had no easy place in his lean system -- simply because it was a Sruti. I sensed there a Cancerian personality that revered tradition, and this was at odds with Aquarius-like traits that preferred the coldest logic. His pages would be chock full of every imaginable Hindu tradition, enumerated with glancing mentions, indeed like the report of a librarian of Hinduism. I found, indeed, that reading a Sankara text was like getting an overview of Hinduism from a professor of Hinduism 101.
But although he seemed avid to assert himself as the pre-eminent authority on every aspect of yoga, he failed to deliver the goods for the purposes of practice. Just as noticeable to me: His verses lacked the ancient rishi voice; the tone and resonance of the Upanishadic verses which is astounding in combining simplicity with pregnant meaning. He felt more like bluster than ancient wisdom.
basic view at this point is that Sankara was a combination of
intellectual, Hinduism collator, dabbler in many yogic traditions,
politician-manager, cultural reformer, and master expounder of the
philosophy of Non-Dualism. What he attained from this in truth at the
end, I do not know. Maybe he attained samadhi from it. Yet I have to proclaim that his
commentaries on the Yoga-Sutra and many Upanishad verses is
the Sutra's verse about "the 4th pranayama" he was simply ad
libbing. He missed the message of the verse and changed the
mysterious kumbhaka without saying anything about it. One of many
examples of mildly creative and typically assertional statements by
Sankara when he really didn't understand the verse he was commenting
on. Many other commentators since have struck, in their cars, this
metaphysical road litter by Sankara on Verse 2:51 even trying to
straddle it (comment on his commentary) in some decorous way, all to no
effect, simply because Sankara was Sankara. For the devotee desirous to
understand the verse, the commentary of Sankara is like chewing on
pulp. Truly, Sankara, great as he was, would have served the dharma
better, in a few cases, if he had not tried to comment on verses he
didn't understand. Think of it anyway: Why should an expounder of
Vedanta be the first go-to source for commentary on raja-yoga texts?
Why should we ask him to comment on bhakti, bindu, and breath?
Sankara's steady approach to verses is to relate every word and every idea to his non-dualistic view. This involves twisting and it involves ignoring their actual content.
I noticed that Sankara is at the root of the view of renunciation and the life of the saddhu as found in India. He seems to be a watershed source for that. He definitely holds the monastic life to be supreme and has little encouragement for the householder except, in some cases, in his librarian role of enumerating Hindu lore and standards. His view of family is negative. He literally encourages fathers to abandon their children. I sometimes wonder if Sankara, in the way that he raised radical monasticism above all, actually did damage to the culture of India just as much as he expanded Hinduism intellectually and philosophically.
Finally, at the worst end of it, I have occasionally wondered in my mind if Sankara may have been incontinent. Or even a homosexual. I raise again his seeming dissembling explanations of brahmacharya. I note that, according to tradition, he exempted himself from his own radical requirement to ditch family and his particular non-negotiable attachment was to his mother. He does not employ much father-positive verbiage. I note his dismissive and degrading comments about children. There is his characteristic priggish tone. Finally, there is the worrisome dissimilations about celibacy from a guy whose life involved traveling itinerantly to-and-from all-male households.
am in favor of monasticism and all male monasteries. But I am also in favor of family and
fatherhood. I do believe, moreover, that becoming a father matures a
man, gives him the proper point-of-view as a protector of society later
(as a genuine Kyastriya), and teaches him about the very heart of the
Lord. One understands how Father-God feels by becoming a father. But
then again, Sankara had no use for the knowable God-with-attributes,
God. One cannot be a bhakta
unless one has that same emotion of the emotional God. And this may be
Sankara's greatest flaw. Yet, look at his invocations.
The man is certainly a mystery. But in the end: He may be more founder of monastic orders, champion of pan-Hindu regeneration, portal to the saddhu ideal, and even a kind of politician, but he seems not to have been much of a yogi or yogic adept. The mythic stories about him are likely apocryhal. Stories like Sankara cremating his mother with fire emitted from his hand are likely, as in the case of other religious traditions, something that cropped up as a mythology around an important man. On the other hand Sankara showed the way to understanding that pasts and past stories are all mental inventions and conditioning in the first place, so it hardly matters.
These are my honest impressions of Sankara based on his writing. In particular, and in summary, I think it is simply absurd to consider Sankara's commentaries indispensable or even particularly helpful when it comes to a great deal of Indian sacred literature. I think, in fact, that reliance on Sankarian commentary has actually served to obfuscate and clip the wings of many of these verses, or even invalidate some of the most fruitful principles of yoga. It may be that when this is understood, yoga will finally take wing in the west, and may even be revivified in India and blaze up into thousands of new flames.
Notes and Caveats on Yoga-Sutra
Many Indian versions
are valuable for their inclusion of ancienter commentaries of Vyasa and
others. Sage Vyasa, incidentally, had better understanding of
content than Sankara. As mentioned in the section above, Sankara is surprisingly contentless on almost all
matters of esoteric yoga yet writes large commentaries just the same.
We can speak of the verse translations or
the commentary. For verse translation the I.K. Taimni version called
"Science of Yoga," common in the west,
is very good, very clear. Likewise with the Englishman Trevor Leggett
and his "Sankara on the Yoga-Sutras." His verse translation
in "Sankara on the Yoga Sutras" is the clearest and most faithful
translation or rendering of the verses that I have seen, which is an
interesting fact. His book is a great work and very respectful.
Leggett's text was published only in India and is out of print. But you
will see some of its verses below. Taimni gave a commentary but not
Legget. Though Taimni was an Indian, he was a Theosophist not a yogi
commentaries reflect this. His creative thinking rambles far afield
from the real content of the verses, more a bid to be an intellectual
contributor to the Theosophy movement than an authoritative commentary
on the verses.
He must respect that lore and literature and have some
insight into its validity and significance. The best example of this is
M.N. Dvivedi (1890). To a middling extent, I.K. Taimni the Theosophist,
or the former president of India Radhakrishan who at least respected
the texts and piled together some yogic lore in his translation of the
Here are the 33
qualifications to comment on the Yoga-Sutra.
And His material creation
from no other technical or material cause than His luminous glory
COPYRIGHT 2011 Julian Lee.
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