Flash of Knowledge and Yoga XIII

The great value of this discussion lies in the questions it raises rather than the answers it provides. And certainly different questions for different people. That way we can all be challenged to take the responsibility to have more clarity in what we think and feel, to say what we mean, and mean what we say. That is knowledge yoga.

Conversation continues on May 29:

Michelle Synnestvedt John Weddepohl, aren’t the practices also an invocation per se to our SELF..meaning if there is real desire to KNOW, then by showing up to a seated practice, we are opening ourselves up to that flash of knowledge…i.e. If I want to hear the live song of a rare bird, sitting in my living room is not going to afford me the possibility of hearing that..I at least need to go to where the birds may be, and hang out and listen. Even if it take years and years…

Michelle Synnestvedt I could also say sankalpa.. or intention and invocation or calling forward.. an invitation.

Pankaj Seth Making the cultural context neutral is a big part of how I teach. I offer a few different weekend workshops, and here I will highlight one called ‘Deep Yoga I’. For the practical aspect I teach only two postures, sitting and lying down with a focus on helping people become in touch with the subtle aspects of self-experience with a lot of detail on breath (and breath placement) and the more subtle ebbs and flows within self-experience with an aim to quiet the flows towards stillness. The other aspect is helping people navigate the current, default reality map of Newtonian mechanics, break it down via learning about Relativity and Quantum mechanics, and paint a new, emerging landscape away from atomization and towards wholeness (emerging in the modern West and which comports with the Dharmic/Yogic worldview existing for a long time). I teach Yoga as an inquiry into self and world this way with the aim of helping people enter a reality map which actually comports with how things are (as much a map can indicate the territory). The sources I bring in include elements of the Vedas, Upanishads, Buddha’s teaching, Yoga Sutra, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Vasistha, Shiva Sutra, modern neuroscience and consciousness studies, reports of meditators, NDEs, and again Relativity and QM. And I always frame Yoga within the 4 aims of life (Purusharthas)… Here is a link to my website where this described. The link called ‘108 classical sources’ in particular indicates some of the material utilized and the course/s are described as to their content and aims….

John Weddepohl Michelle beautifully put – the beauty is truth never needs invocation. Already existing as the truth means nothing invokes nor can invoke the truth. Everything is invoked in the presence of truth – call That Self, call that peace, anandam, sat. Already exiting means already gained. (praptaysya prapti) Ignorance of this is our only problem. So our ignorance is all that is clouding the truth and is all that needs removing. Already experiencing nothing but truth (Self) 24/7, 365 – our normal means of knowledge – our 5 senses – being relative dont work and fail to give us knowledge of something which is not relative. Self being that to which everything relates (being non relative in nature) – i.e. attributeless – means knowledge of SELF can only come through a non-relative means of knowledge. This as you know has always been a teacher and teaching. Once one knows SELF the practices are a beautiful way of remembering ones true nature. Prior to knowing they are a beautiful way of preparation. Preparing the mind for the inevitable acceptance of what is (ever existing). Glimpses of our true nature through practices – flashes as you say – happen simply because we have yet to know ourselves and are still falling asleep (nidra) in our ideas. These momentary glimpses are happening all the time throughout our lives whether it is in a split second moment of happiness or in meditation. That SELF is always there – the subtlest of the subtle – is not evident because being the Presence – the Sense in everything – self never needs to announce itself or make Its presence felt. OM

John Weddepohl Just an add to the above. Our idea of Self has been skewed. Self does not equate to or mean individuality. Self is not an idea. We can have idea about ourselves but not about the one having all the ideas. That presence in which all personalisation, i.e…See More

Pankaj Seth Self alone is. Self is beyond measure. Maya is the result of attempting to measure the immeasurable. When measurement is put away (Chitta Vritti Nirodha) then it is directly known that Self alone is. Atman is Brahman. Brahman is Satyam Jnanam Anantam.

Gideon Enz Cultural context is crucial. People are often confused as to why I spend the first 45 minutes of our history of yoga workshop focusing on the history and development of Western biases. Of course India has its biases about yoga which aren’t necessarily any better. Before we go somewhere it is a good idea to know where we actually are.

Pankaj Seth “Where we actually are”… exactly. To be provocative, I like to ask “Where is the “Universe”?”… LOL

Pankaj Seth I take non-duality as a warning against both dualism and monism, both of which are akin to ontological statements, when the actuality is that the nature of reality is epistemic not ontological, as Alain Danielou states here… http://www.deepyoga.ca/…/classical_references/108_014.html—Both mortality and immortality are ‘real’ as in experienced, so ‘real’ is a difficult word to pin down. Sat and Asat are most often translated as Real and Unreal as one word translations (which are always tricky). I prefer ‘Immortal’ for Sat and ‘Impermanent’ for ‘Asat’. Thus Yagnavalkaya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says to move from Asat to Sat, from death to immortality.

Ekabhumi Charles Ellik Friends, this conversation has been going for TWO WEEKS and has become both extensive and complex. Why not move it to an actual group? Why not join the Yoga Teacher’s group?


There are 12,000 instructors there from all across the globe. It’s a safe bet most asana instructors interact regularly with at least 50 students. That’s more than half a million people. If all 12,000 get interested, or if even a significant number just lurk and learn something from topical conversations like this one, we’re talking about a significant portion of the North American body of MPY practitioners. That’s more than the readership of Yoga Journal. That’s enough people to change a culture.

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Gideon Enz One of the significant components of the Asian practice systems is that they develop both awareness (knowledge, perception, etc.) and ability (will, engagement, capacity to cause). This second part is something that most Western discourses never seem to grok. Take the influential Western pioneer into Eastern philosophy, Alan Watts for example. He had great insight into the nature of things, but taught little or nothing as to practical methods of engaging with them. A key element of yoga ends up being siddhi. I remember being barred from interactions with certain sadhus in India because I did not have enough tapasya under my belt (er, umm under my langoti). I was told, “You are just talking philosophy and intellectual argumentation, but you have no ability.” In my subsequent learning of yoga, it was apparent that philosophy and practice must go together. Realization must be accompanied by ability. Shiva must be together with Shatki, Purusha with Prakriti.

The same path was followed in Buddhist development: purely meditative practice was gradually integrated other practices into a vast holistic context.

Gideon Enz Thank you Ekabhumi, I will.

John Weddepohl Pankaj – Confusion is the result of attempting to measure the immeasurable. Maya (projection as a result of ignorance) is not the result of anything. It is the means or device wielded by Ishvara in His/Her creation. Don’t confuse maya with MITHYA – MITHYA is a word used to describe that which appears to exist. MAYA on the other hand is totally different and is the result of projection. Seeing something that appears to exist (mithya) – projection takes place. Dreamlike – this does not mean it is not real. For us it is real while we still see it existing. Snake and rope – knowledge of the existence of something combined with ignorance of what it is (rope) creates the projection/illusion of snake. Once the truth is known for that person the projection disappears. But for anyone else the rope can still appear to be snake and projection will still happen.

Pankaj Seth John, as it is said in Sruti, Brahman Satya Jagat Mithya. I have read a talk given by the esteemed Swami Dayananda Saraswati where he said that Mithya refers to our models of reality. Reality itself is, always. I think the usage of word ‘real’ is problematic and has caused many to see the Dharma as ‘world negating’. Ishvara is not “God” who wields anything. Brahman when thought about in an active sense is Ishvara. The Vedic equivalent would be Hiranyagarbha when thought about in an active sense is Prajapati. “Exist” itself is a tough word to pin down… so language usage allows only so much.

John Weddepohl Gideon – your statement – ‘Shiva must be together with Shatki, Purusha with Prakriti.’ the Reality is Shiva is already married to Shakti Purusha already married and in MAITHUN with Prakriti. Its not up to us to put together WHAT IS. All thats needed is the removal of ones ignorance of this. Shiva is Shakti – Wherever there is consciousness – Shiva – there is Shakti. Shakti and Shiva are inseparable –

John Weddepohl Pankaj – No body but Ishvara is in charge. In charge of MAYA – I think you’ll find dear Swamiji Dayananda (who I have had the good fortune to have sat with and call one of my teachers) would agree.

Pankaj Seth John, this gets theistic then and thus as I once heard a prof of religion and philosophy at BHU say, that Swamiji is a dualist. But I think language usage only allows so much before we get into the extremes of dualism and monism, thus the term for Shankaracharya’s teaching is advaita, and not dvaita nor eka.

Gideon Enz Thank you Pankaj. I think I am out of words for now. Thanks John, for this insightful enlightening forum.

John Weddepohl God – Ishvara – Truth – Creator – Allah – Yaweh – alone is. To say this is theistic or dualist is incorrect.

Pankaj Seth God, Allah, Yaweh, Creator are dualist concepts, they are creators apart from their creation. The Rg Veda nails it when it says that Immortality sacrifices itself to become mortality (and then must find its way back, as it were.)

John Weddepohl Pankaj – these are all just words that we human beings use to describe the indescribable unnamable – in the end it is a nameless universe.

Pankaj Seth Yes, John… language and its limits.

John Weddepohl Absolutely – taking a name a word to be the truth of what it describes.

Baba Rampuri “User friendly” – who’s the user?

John Weddepohl Baba Nice – humanity – jeeva – ishvara – ignorance – existence –

John Weddepohl Who uses water? in the relative sense I guess one could say we as individuals unknowingly use consciousness 24/7 – there being nothing but consciousness – consciousness being the most common thing – the common denominator in and through everything – means everything existing in consciousness ‘is using consciousness only’.

Baba Rampuri Who uses “us”???

John Weddepohl Hahhahaha – ISHVARA – BRAHMAN – Saguna Brahman.

John Weddepohl SHIVA

John Weddepohl In the end there is no user only what is.

Baba Rampuri For Their amusement?

John Weddepohl Whose?

Baba Rampuri The Guys you mentioned above.

Ted Lehrman Ha!


John Weddepohl Leela? Sport? smile emoticon

Scott Marmorstein Baba Rampuri, I don’t truly assume anyone-thing “uses” “us”. Don’t we just use ourselves? I thought consciousness operated itself. Or am I missing something?

Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 4:09pm

Kaushiki Ma Some parts of this discussion have been helpful for me to clarify my outlook. I have not changed, but I grasp my experience a little more tightly. It is familiar ground I walk on now, not some strangeness from another land.

Baba Rampuri Kaushiki Ma – I think the great value of this discussion lies in the questions it raises rather than the answers it provides. And certainly different questions for different people. That way we can all be challenged to take the responsibility to have more clarity in what we think and feel, to say what we mean, and mean what we say.

Kaushiki Ma That is good, Baba Rampuri. I respect that attitude. Especially when the discussion takes place on the internet where discussion mostly degenerates into shouting matches. I try to say what I mean, but often, more often than not, the words get in the way. The only words that speak truth are poetry, where the words part and the sun shines in. I just wish more people could see all the beauty that is possible within the culture that took form in India instead of just a series of physical excercises. It is a long time since I was in a Hatha yoga class, but at that time I was afraid of the meditation aspects, like many another Westerner. Afraid of becoming a Hindu! I laugh now! Where does that fear come from? I can only answer that it seemed that I was afraid of being different with an unhealthy dose of the fear of Yaweh, but yet at other times and places I embraced my difference and I wear it more confidently now. I have lost a lot on the way – family, friends, homeland, but I would not be anyone else. Others are not so willing to place themselves on the other side. Can you blame them??

Jan Baggerud Larsen OM NAMO NARAYANA!

Thank you again everyone for this wonderful conversation. I have had two major (for me) insights during the last couple of weeks while following the thread.

The first one happened “by accident” (if there is such as thing) when I stumbled upon a link to an article on John Weddepohl’s page about some FIFA soccer bosses being charged with corruption. On purpose I have avoided all mass media for the last two months. No newspapers, no TV, no news articles on the internet. On Facebook I only follow people and pages where there so far has not been a single event mentioned from the mass media. When I walk past a newsstand I on purpose blur my vision when the newspapers are in sight so I don’t see what is on the front page. This now happens automatically. Only twice I was unable to blur it out and both times one of the words on the front page was “FEAR”. The only other thing I know that happened in the world the last two months is the earthquake in Napal. I only got to know about it from an SMS I got from the Red Cross. I noticed in conversations with collegues and friends that they did not mention even once anything about any “news” from mass media (politics, sports, war, celebreties and gossip). So two news items in two months.

Now for the insight. I started noticing that the two news events started appearing in my mind again and again for no apparent reason. Suddenly there would be thoughts about the events even though I couldn’t see any trigger or anything that happened that would explain why they suddenly appeared in my thoughts. Then it hit me. Such thoughts are probably happening ALL THE TIME but I am usually not aware of them. Of course I know this on a theoretical level but this was the first time that I really experienced it. The reasons I suddenly became aware of the thoughts were probably that now there were only two events/thoughts that kept appearing which I could clearly identify and through deep thinking about the conversations in the FB thread I made a connection. When I do not avoid the news there must be hundreds or thousands of imprints happening every single day and they are probably creating “garbage thoughts” in my mind constantly without me being aware. The consequences must be huge!

So thank you everyone for the thread. And thank you John for posting about the corrupt FIFA bosses smile emoticon. I will write about the other insight later which is about “the other” and knowledge through knowing my own culture.

Kaushiki Ma Will look forward to it. I’m not sure I understand what Baba Rampuri meant by that.

Scott Marmorstein Baba Rampuri, sometimes I get the distinct impression that you view “answers” as way-stations to more questions. And, maybe even just a touch ‘boring’. Don’t worry, I don’t expect an answer about whether or not I’m “right”. wink emoticon