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Cross-Currents of philosophy between the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, Parama rthasa ra of Abhinavagupta, and Aleister Crowley's Argentum Astrum
Human Civilization can pride itself over many inventions and contributions in many diverse fields. These contributions vary from the field of Art and Sciences, to Chemistry, Physics and Philosophy and have gone on to show the diversity of the human mind and the many facets of Arts and Science which for sure have an important place in the lives of humans, thus being the result of so much thought and debate.
Religion among these contributions is no doubt one of the most complicated subjects and has been a reason for much bloodshed. The various belief systems have clashed with each other again and again trying to prove that it is their God which is the Ultimate reality and deserves the top hierarchical position in the entire universe. [1: Endnotes The crusades. n.d. 13th December 2011
However, despite this clash and conflict, one thing that is highly interesting in the studies of religion is the many parallels that one can draw between them. It is a fact that no religion will teach its disciples to murder or kill, and as such it can be said with confidence that all religions essentially teach that one should follow the path of righteousness and live a life which is simple and marked with contentment.
But here comes the major point of divergence! The path to get that contentment, which from a religious point-of-view is only possible through the closeness and the syncing of one's own self with that of their Lord, is different for each religion and school of thought. This Lord then, which can be in the form of Allah, Shiva, God, Brahmin, Rab, Consciousness, Universe, whatever word the followers may choose to say, and the possible relationship with Him is what is seeked by the followers of any religion.
This main goal of religion is the bottom line which runs through every belief system, no matter dating to which century and year. It is this common thread that will be explored in the three schools of thoughts, which vary in their inception as well as their region of origin greatly. These include the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Parama rthasa ra of Abhinavagupta and Aleister Crowley's Argentum Astrum. While the former two schools of thoughts belong to the Oriental Philosophy, the latter is part of the Western Tradition. The main purpose of this research is to explore the many commonalities and points of difference that exists between these schools of thought.
The research has been taken forth with the introduction of the first school of thought and listing its many points and beliefs. The introduction of the second school of thought, however, is not only introduced but a constant comparison of each point of the second school is done with the former study. The third school of thought then is in constant comparison with the initial two, thus giving structure to the research.
The School of thought, known as the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, is considered to be dated to almost 1000-1500 B.C., " but came into written form much later in around 500 B.C. -300 A.D." The sutras, written with the thought that they can be memorized and chanted during meditation, were kept simple in their tone and compilation. The verses seem to be about knowledge and the simplicity of life which seems to be a crucial part of the teachings of Patanjali, for example, [2: Bhavanani, Dr. Ananda Balayogi. "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: An Overview by Yogacharya ." n.d. nternational Centre for Yoga Education and Research. 15th December 2011
1.1 Now, instruction in Union.
1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.
1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.
1.4. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.
1.5. The thought-streams are five-fold, painful and not painful.
1.6. Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep and memory. [3: BonGiovanni, Translation by. "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Threads of Union." n.d. Sacred Texts. 15th December 2011
The teachings of Patanjali talk about experiences which can be achieved through meditation, thus going through a process in which the purification of the mind becomes the ultimate goal to reach. The most important step in this regard then is to master the art of Abhyasa and Vairagya, which are defined as "the uninterrupted, disciplined and dedicated practice done with Divine aspiration" and "cultivated nature of dispassionate objectivity" respectively.
The ultimate control and mastery of these stages would be instrumental in reaching the state of Kaivalya, which too should be approached with Vairagya, otherwise the desire and the greed would corrupt the practice and the purpose of the entire practice. This ultimate state is the state if being one with the universe and the Divine. [4: As the head of International Center for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER), there is no doubt that Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani has a deep command on this subject matter. Bhavanani, Dr. Ananda Balayogi. "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: An Overview by Yogacharya ." n.d. nternational Centre for Yoga Education and Research. 15th December 2011
One tool that can be a great aid in this task is the Pranava Japa or the "repeated utterance of the sound with deep feeling for the meaning." Since the Pranava or "OM" consists of three words that are considered extremely sacred in the Hindu Mythology, it is considered that their utterance and chanting can help in achieving that stage where the universe becomes one with the body and vice versa. [5: Johnston, Charles. "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: the Book of the Spiritual Man by Patanjali." n.d. Amareway.Org. 16th December 2011
Patanjali in his final sutras defines the ultimate state in more detail, defining the many Siddhis or the various steps towards t he attainment of the highest goal can be obtained. These methods includes 5 steps of Janma, that is through birth; Aushadi, through the use of herbs; Mantra, that is attainment through the use of incantations; Tapah, that is attainment through efforts; Samadhi, that is through deep meditation.
The practice of any one of these methods can result in the attainment of the higher plane, and thus liberating a person from the cycle of incarnation, which is a direct manifestation of the person's will to continue to have an eternal life. And thus they continue to live in the threefold nature of time or Trikala. The final stage of liberation would thus manifest itself in the form of Dharma Megha, which has been described as the "potent rain cloud of virtue that has the potential to bless us with eternal freedom. The torrential rainfall from this rain cloud of the highest nature washes away all the arrogant, ignorant impurities that were keeping us away from our attaining to the highest state of ultimate realization." [6: Bhavanani, Dr. Ananda Balayogi. "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: An Overview by Yogacharya ." n.d. nternational Centre for Yoga Education and Research. 15th December 2011
Under this introduction of the earliest of the three schools, the preceding introduction of the Abhinavagupta's school of thought would be analyzed. Abhinavagupta, born in the year 950A.D. To 1020 A.D., believed that he was the result of the divine union of Siva and Sakiti, a story that was told to him by his own parents, and thus he was a Yogini Child.
This story has much similarity with the concept of Siddhis, where the attainment of a higher reality is possible through birth or Janma. The coincidence of this incident then also coincides with the name of this Yogini Child, Abhinavagupta, which has been described as,
"That person is Abhinavagupta who remains vigilant in the course of everyday activities; who is present everywhere (abhi), in the objective domain as much as in the subjective domain, and dwells there without limitation. He sings the praise (nu) without ceasing to concentrate on the energies of knowledge and activity. He is protected (gupta) by this praise even though he lives under the presser of temporal affairs." [7: Nielsen, Sarah. "Abhinavagupta." 16th March 2010. Mahavidya. 16th December 2011
The philosophy that Abhinavagupta introduced also focused more on the experiences that one can attain on a higher level. This philosophy too talks about a consciousness which is the apparent truth and projects itself in the many "differentiated subjects and objects, each object an actualization of a potential inherent in the divine Light of Consciousness" while being an entity within itself as well. [8: Wallis, Christopher. "The Descent of Power: Possession, Mysticism, and Initiation in the Saiva Theology of Abhinavagupta." Journal of Indian Philosophy, 36 (2008): 248]
The elevation of the soul and the attainment of the higher level is the ultimate goal in the teachings of this school of thought as well. He respects and even acknowledges the fact that the attainment is as much a possibility through any…[continue]
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