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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -1

Sri Ramchandra's Rajayoga: New Darsana : Part-2 :Psychology

The Problems of Man

There is in all men an aspiration for a better life. This aspiration is seen in all beings, and it is to have a wider range of experience and greater ability to achieve things or adapt the things around us for our needs. Such needs may well be needs of life - from the physical necessity to survive in a hostile world; from the physiological necessity to appease hunger and establish growth to the fullest maturity of powers; from the biological necessity to reproduce one's kind; and all these needs are seen to become nothing before the self-same biological fact of inevitability of death which has to be overcome if the efforts for adaptations of the biological being are to be rewarded with success.

At different times every individual faces this crisis-the ultimate and inescapable crisis. Man has been trying to overcome this biologically through evolution, and this has made for the basic processes of anabolism and katabolism integrating themselves within the organism. He has at least lengthened his span of life, and is, in fact, dreaming of lengthening it still further. There have been legendary figures in Indian Puranas, called Ciranjivis, whose span of life is said to cover thousands of years. There have been those who have attained so-called physical immortality-like Markandeya and the Rbhus, and Yama himself. But it could certainly be shown that the need here is for an extended life beyond fear of death. Nevertheless it is an important problem whether interminable life is desirable, if it also means interminable toil and tears!

Life in freedom - this is the most desirable and not life in bondage. Such a life in freedom may be something that is not had by any one who has not known why, indeed, he is on this strenuous struggle for a life in pleasure and comfort which are terminable. Death, in fact, is preferable to life in bondage. In fact, though it may appear pessimistic, it is necessary to show that death is a good friend, for it makes one not only forget the past with its grievous and unpardonable sins of omission and commission, but also starts a life with a tabula rasa of present experiences. One hardly forgets one's past. No one in this world completely forgets one's own past or even that of others. Once one commits a mistake or petty crime, even when in his teens, it is not forgotten at all, but is used against him later on. Once a thief always a thief: once a liar always a liar: a leopard does not change its spots-such are the character certificates given to juvenile delinquents-despite all the houses of correction and social rehabilitation. One can be socially rehabilitated, but hardly ever morally rehabilitated. Religions have tried to achieve this clearing of the past though confessions and so on, but unless one changed one's name and place, and renounced all the past, this did not happen-even then this was difficult. How much more considerate is the phenomenon of death, which is sought to be imitated by these religious techniques of renunciation. We know how tragic are the consequences of forgetting one's own past thought repression, drink and other remedies for worry, fear and a sense of guilt, which our present-day schools of psycho-analysis are trying to prevent. Psycho-analysis will utterly fail when this forgetting becomes a major need for men. This is the ulterior basis of the death-instinct of Freud. Thus the problems of life and death are wedded to the more basic necessity of freedom. Death, as freedom, is as true as the other concept of life in freedom.

The psychology of the normal man has to be considered in the context of this need for freedom, but that itself is a concept of limited value, for it is for the purpose of a fuller realization of something held feasible through freedom. Freedom itself does not become the goal of man, though this has been affirmed by most. Liberation from bonds gives the sense of freedom, whereas freedom itself means the unlimitedness or non-restraint to attaining some of those things, which are necessary for the experience of fullness or existence. Thus the sense of existence or fulfillment is the nisus or goal of freedom itself, and its prior attainment of liberation from bonds.

There may be a sense in which we are all seeking freedom from bonds, that is liberation, in order to attain perfection, or gain freedom to attain self-fulfillment in the context of our world. It is however possible also to hold that the realization of ourselves in this world of man and animals is not feasible, though this may be the purpose of evolution, as some great thinkers hold (especially Sri Aurobindo). In that case the gaining of a type of body, or organic existence different from our own, would be necessary in order to exist elsewhere in other worlds, if there are any. It is asserted, however, by many scientists that thought there are other worlds they are not habitable by our type of creatures. What they have to be might well prove entirely conjectural.

The psychological development of man has been such that men have reminded themselves of great advances in their capacities to think, feel and perceive more than what has been possible so far. Man is no longer content to be limited to this body, nor are the perceptions adequate to his present dimensions of knowledge. If man can develop more potentialities, or exceed the present ones, then his aspiration has some justification.

The ordinary aim of psychology has been an attempt to know the nature of the behaviour of the human being by means of observation of what he does. The areas of feeling and subjective processes of thinking and believing, and even the affective conditions are almost inferred from his behaviour; or these reports are subjected to gruelling doubts. The vast field of the subjective is entirely to be obtained by report, and is expected to be as objective as possible. Either this procedure takes too much for granted about the capacity of each individual to report adequately on the degree and content of his feelings, or grants too little to such capacity. The lot of psychology in the laboratories is in pretty bad predicament regarding the subjective. As for the objective data, so-called, they are, despite the fanfare and trumpeting or exhibitionism of measuring instruments, about as little informative as possible about the human individual. The main difficulty is that there can hardly be a calculus or measuring instrument, or even a recording instrument of our feelings and thoughts. The most that could be done is to record, by phonograph, the sounds produced in satisfaction, sorrow, despair, disgrace, exaltation, etc.

The psycho-analytical method of trying to establish rapport between the analyst and the subject lends itself to a kind of transcendence of the subjective by means of the sympathy of the former for the latter. Sympathy breaks the subjective, and, in love, where that is a true concern for another, there is the phenomenon of transcendence. It may be that there is a danger of transference of the emotion from one to another, or one to oneself, but when it is not under pathological circumstances, the transference does not entail a deformation of the subjective. That is the reason why true intuition is a kind of objective, or truth-seeking, love-or call it even love of the wisdom in things and persons as in themselves, or philosophia. But then such an intimate intuitive method of knowing the subjective, not only of oneself but also of others, is something that demands a perfect technicalisation of procedure-a technique as rigorous as that demanded by the objective mensurational technique of the scientists.

It has been stated that this intuitive knowledge of oneself is also something that demands the rigorous technique of observational intuition, and this is one of the major discoveries of the early psychologists or the spiritual seekers after the knowledge of oneself. That the knowledge of oneself is about the most important has been recognized by seekers after truth; though the knowledge of all others other than oneself is what is emphasized as knowledge by most of the people. The knowledge of others other than oneself is said to be the knowledge that helps the growth of oneself through others, or conquest of others, and this surely is valuable knowledge. This is objective knowledge in so far as it is a knowledge of others in relation to their usefullness for us, for our growth, for our exploitation. But that knowledge is not knowledge of the objects, or of those others as themselves or for themselves. This was realized so well that this phenomenal knowledge of appearance has been rejected as not valuable by most, if not all, seekers after true or ultimate knowledge. Therefore our modern psychological knowledge is not real or true except as appearence, and our knowledge of ourselves is external to ourselves, and our instruments of knowledge are not competent to give us any other knowledge.

True Reality is apprehended by another mode of knowing which is intuitive, and capable of transcending the barriers of the appearances that are interposed between the external and the internal, both for others and for oneself. This is the method of knowing utilized by the yogi. But the works on yoga today hardly reveal this need for utilizing a consciousness that is of a different order of knowing. The consciousness that is utilized, or which in fact knows, is not mediated by the instruments called the senses, or even by the extraverted will to possess or affirm or enjoy. It is one that is directly, unmediatedly knowing. However this is something not at all envisaged by the yogas which we are acquainted with.

Reality is something to be 'known' and not merely its truth. Truth, as we have been defining it, is just the correspondence of our thought to a thing-whatever may be the details of such examination of correspondence-according to the logicians who are wedded to theories of partial application and adjusted to the objective phenomenalistic views. Reality being more important, and being something that is the content of truth as such, it is necessary to know Reality. The procedure is a little inverted, for we do not arrive at Reality through truth but arrive at truth through Reality.

Yoga, as a psychological methodology of knowing Reality, has not been fully considered by most scholars. Obviously they did not think of Yoga as a school or method of knowing reality or even intuiting it; but they though of it as an athletic of being or well being, or of entering into certain states of abnormal experience and existence.

Yoga is, as it implies, the method of direct linkage with reality. Direct linking of oneself with the Ultimate Reality is the only way by which Reality can be known. Reality cannot be known through any phenomenalistic mediations. Yuj 'to connect', means to connect oneself with Reality by divesting oneself of all other methods in vogue which only bring about separation or rather disconnection (viyoga). Yoga, thus, is a means of connecting oneself with the Ultimate, and all yogas or kinds of yoga (samyoga)-whether obtained through cognition (sensory organs), or affectivity (aesthetic experience-producing organs) or conativity (impelling one to act on objects)-are to be entirely operated from the direct intuitive level of being.

Thus arises the psychological necessity for having clearly before us the object of our experience; the means to be utilized for gaining or attaining this experience of the object in its real state or condition; and the purpose of this attainment. The last, namely the purpose of our endeavor, has to be clearly borne in mind. The purpose can be said to be knowing Reality as it is, for itself, and in itself; and also in a secondary sense of what it is for us, who are of the real. This has been the immediate concern of most seekers: what is the next for knowing reality if it is not for some kind of experience which is happiness or efficiency? Or at least to procure for us freedom from misery or continuing sorrow? Or to help us to evade or avoid all future sorrow as well? Is it not freedom from fear that is secured by knowing reality?

These are questions, which have agitated most minds, and it is certain that these questions have been answered in various ways. To know Reality means to get beyond the stage of asking - these questions. These questions become irrelevant. Perhaps, more positively, it can be said that freedom from fear and sorrow happens. So also the fear of being in the wrong or going wrong. We could also go beyond birth and death, which are the two poles of our existence as human beings, if reality is known. We would be beyond all ignorance and its manifestation also. But the most important attainment is something that comprises all the above and leads us beyond, to the experience of ourselves as we are in ourselves, and that is, in reality.

In yoga we aim at knowing Reality, and, in a sense, we have immense faith that we can know it. Undoubtedly this kind of knowledge is different from what we know in respect of objects known through the senses, and inferences based on them. Strictly speaking, truth is considered to be the real existence of a thing, as we know it. Or rather our knowledge is true when it states the reality of the object or its nature. Truth becomes almost relative to our knowing, and also of others knowing. The seeker after Reality, therefore, goes beyond truth in a sense, and this transcendence of truth is really transcendence over relativity and attainment of reality, which is the absolute. Nietzsche rightly stated that the last bondage that man faces is the bondage to truth. In a similar vein Sankara also held God to be our last bondage which we have to discard. Reality transcends truth-valuations. If one means to know Reality, one has finally to transcend truth-valuations. It does not mean that Reality is false or that the determinations by truth are to be discarded in favour of libertine and licentious falsehoods. On the contrary we pass beyond the truth and falsehood of our creation, even as we pass beyond the realms of good and bad. In a general way it can be seen that out of falsehood good ensures; out of illusion, knowledge; and this reveals that one is instrumental to the other by displaying the need for a firmer understanding. The relative knowledge claims an absolute, even as every failure eggs one on towards success. Every condition has to be transcended on the path towards the Ultimate Reality.

In fact we pass beyond knowledge itself and enter into being. From Satya we pass on to the Sat, knowing that the potentiality of satya is in sat (Reality Existence). Thus far we have stated the conditions of the enquiry into the nature of our own self, what ever be the manner of approach. Self can be taken as consciousness, but then consciousness itself extends over wide ranges covering such states of being as unconsciousness, subconsciousness, dream-consciousness, objective consci-ousness and then transcendental consciousness and so on. Indian thinkers, in their studies of Yoga, have clearly revealed their consideration of the subject, or self, in terms of consciousness itself. The involved, or veiled, consciousness or the repressed and forgotten states of being which are recalled, or have become so remote as to be incapable of being recalled, are all states of consciousness.

It would, of course, be quite novel in terms of our modern terminology in psychology to speak of motor-consciousness (as referring to the awareness of our motor activities through motor organs, or organs of action) and sensory consciousness (as referring to the awareness of the sensible qualities of objects as given through our sense organs) and these two are rather closely interwoven. The affective consciousness in regard to affective sensations or feeling of pleasure or pain, tension or relaxation, ease or difficulty, is with reference to our mind (manas) or sensorium; a faculty which has been often denied only to be introduced in another guise and name. The ego-consciousness is again another possessive-consciousness, such as states of being owned, and demanding to be owned. And lastly the pure form-consciousness-the intellectual structure of experience both objective and subjective under the conditions of contemplation. All these have been considered as falling within the range of our psychological enquiry of knowing (or theory of knowledge). It is only when the instruments or organs are without perversity, and have been detached from any particular need, that these consciousness are capable of granting a true picture of our own being, as well as of the objects under study.

However, over and above these considerations, the question would arise whether there is a consciousness at all, and whether that cannot be considered to be something quite other than, but involving, this potentiality of consciousness? A consciousness that is not a consciousness of something or of itself, but which has to be, in order that these consciousnesses can arise or be possible, is what true intuition grants. It is the Reality behind consciousness, which is sustaining this consciousness, but itself cannot be said to be consciousness. Thus, in Yoga, one goes beyond consciousness. The Reality is for itself, and in itself; and that which has to be known and seen and entered into is the Reality.

The subject of psychology thus takes us far beyond the physical, or mental, or even the supramental levels of consciousness, ad it is this branch of consciousness or Reality that is sought to be attained in a true psychology of self.