Part 5 of “How do you Qualify Yoga?”
This is probably my favorite post in this series. It reminds me of a quote I learned almost twenty years ago, when I was a member of Siddha Yoga, “Muktananda, put down the book and meditate”.
We live in an amazing time where information is accessible instantaneously. If you’re like me, attachments are a real issue, a hindrance as the Buddhist described them, even attachment to more “knowledge”. I can easily find myself listening to an audiobook during my commute, taking numerous workshops, and trying out new techniques.
It’s not that this is wrong–it’s simply that it is, according to Ma Tri, “mere knowledge”. Furthermore, the quest for acquisition is insatiable–whether it is material or intellectual.
According to the Yoga Sutra 1.7, there are three ways of gathering correct knowledge, “…there are three ways of gaining correct knowledge (pramana): 1) perception, 2) inference, and 3) testimony or verbal communication from others who have knowledge”.
Swami J goes further to explain, “…you should not believe what you hear, but should seek direct experience… The second part is that of reasoning, whereby you want that experience to be understood in the light of your own inference or reasoning. The third part is that you seek the validation through some respected authority or testimony [scripture]… When you can get these three to converge, meaning that experience, reasoning, and authoritative validation all agree with one another, then you know, and you know that you know…”
Swami J draws a metaphor of Yoga Meditation and mastery of an instrument. A virtuoso knows the technique and theory; but, the also play from the heart.
My teacher will often appear cryptic when I ask a question, recently, when I was perplexed he said, “You’ll find it in the light of Atman”. In other words, I needed to go inside–I am the one I am seeking after all.
Swami Rama described us scientists and encouraged us to “experiment” on ourselves.
The Buddha famously explained, his path was working for him. But, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.
But, how will you know if you don’t go inside–often?