The Out-of-Body Travel Foundation Collaborated with a
Chandra Singh Krishna, Researcher
Te Out-of-Body Travel Foundation's' Marilynn Hughes was Contacted by Chandresh Singh Krishna, Yogi, after Reading 'The Hammer of Mysticism', By Marilynn Hughes Wishing to Share and Contrast the Work with Vedic Systems in his Work 'Concept of Atman (Soul) in Philosophical Systems: Analysing Samkhya as a Tool to Realize Nature of Yoga and its Practices in Context of Self Realization.' Chandra Mohan Bhandari, Former Ambassador to India, Palac Sulislaw Institute, Yog studies, Ayurveda, Yog Shakti, Out-of-Body Travel, Out-of-Body Experiences, Out-of-Body, Out of Body Travel Science, Near Death Experiences, Extraterrestrial Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Astral Travel, Astral Projection, Mysticism
'The Out-of-Body Travel Foundation's' Marilynn Hughes was Contacted by Chandresh Singh Krishna, after Reading 'The Hammer of Mysticism', By Marilynn Hughes Wishing to Share and Contrast the Work with Vedic Systems in his Work 'Concept of Atman (Soul) in Philosophical Systems: Analysing Samkhya as a Tool to Realize Nature of Yoga and its Practices in Context of Self Realization' (07/02/2017)
"I have gone through your work 'The Hammer of Mysticism: Encyclopedic Journey into Out-of-Body Travel, Mystical Processes and Terms'. Really a great work (one of its kind)." - Chandresh Singh Krishna, Yogi
Concept of Atman (Soul) in Philosophical Systems: Analysing Samkhya as a Tool to Realize Nature of Yoga and its Practices in Context of Self Realization.
By Chandra Singh Krishna
Mankind for a long period is struggling with several questions related to life, death and life after death. In philosophical literature we find a plethora of evolving concepts trying to explain this trio through different approaches and metaphors. The mainstream philosophical schools often termed as ‘six systems of thought’ have tried to explain this conflict and one of the basic concept evolved in the process is of ‘Atman’ often translated as ‘soul’ in western tradition. Although remarkable similarities exist in similarities in prevailing meaninings of these terms yet the process involved in evolution of the terms is different. The term ‘Atman’ is described in these six systems differently and the degree of belief in Atman also varies considerable in these systems. It is undoubtedly the first and basic belief in existence of something (living) after leaving the material body and when assumptions about its nature and ways to discover it were explored, a range of belief systems start emerging on horizon. In other word some philosophies developed by accepting it and others developed through opposing it. Theists glorified this concept through accepting, while atheists rectified it through refutation. One of the fundamental elements which make philosophies distinct and different from each other at least theoretically is the nature of belief in this supernaturalism. In course of time this variation shaped the external (ritualistic) nature of religions, sects and sub sects.
Now yoga at least as a practice is familiar to a sizable number of humans worldwide and fast becoming a mean for longevity as well as mental and physical well being. It is more and more becoming a ‘practice’ rather than a way of seeing life, based on certain principles established by founders of the system.Yoga according to Indian philosophy is a dynamic or practicable form of its predecessor called Samkhya. It is the philosophy of Samkhya that in various ways and varying degrees have influenced the systems evolved later and yoga is not an exception to this.The Samkhya is worth studying to understand reasons and concepts behind yoga and its practices and also to envision position of self in context of world surrounding us.
Proponent of Samkya was Rishi (Saint) named Kapil, who composed a text called ‘Samkhyasutra’ believed to be the original book of this philosophy.Kapil is mentioned in many of the ancient texts and is said to born as a perfect being and also believed to be the first guru to teach Tantra to his disciple named Asuri.This original text composed by Kapil is lost in antiquity and at present school depend on ‘Samkaya- karika’ as a source book of this philosophy. Later on Samkhyakarika composed by Isvarkrishna in 5th century Ad is now regarded as a primary source of this system. This system has influenced most of the philosophical systems of Indian including Buddhist ones developed in India and beyond. Some of the Buddhist legends mention Kapila as one of the predecessors of Buddha. According to Buddhist traditions a scholar named Parmamartha translated this book around 557-569 in Chinese language and is known as ‘Hiransptatati’ in Chinese literature.
As described by great philosopher and first president of India Dr S Radhkrishnan about this philosophical system, “Samkhya undermines the foundations of supernatural religion by substituting evolution for creation. The world is not the act of a creator God, who summoned up by a single fiat of his will a world entirely distinct from himself, but is the product of the interaction between the infinite spirits and ever-active prakrti, or the potentiality of nature- what Plato calls “the receptacle and nurse of all generation.”
It is believed that Samkya is the theory and Yoga is its practical version. A way of realizing the truths envisaged in Samkhya. In modern world when yoga is increasingly becoming a subject of greater research and promotion, so there is a need for parallel development of understanding of Samkhya to supplement the theoretical base required to climb the ladders of Yoga.
‘Atman’ much later became firmly established as undeniable reality in Shrimadbhagvadgita (An indian text) and after this debate about its different aspects become subordinated to strong beliefs based on authenticity of scriptures. Inspite of Samkhya becoming a relatatively unpopular system of philosophy , it is in best way capable of describing reasons to believe in Atman , nature of Atman and its positioning in context of ever-changing world perceived by us at different levels of consciousness. It can definitely help to enhance understanding of yogic experience among practioners of yoga by offering clearer understanding of stages of mind (Chitta, according to Samkhya) and its interaction with Purusha (living being, according to Samkhya).
In modern world yoga is fast developing in many ‘types’ and this process is creating different proponents explaining Yoga to their target audience in a customized manner. In the process of customization and making it a tool for superficial well being, we are at the risk of misunderstanding yoga as a practice (Something just to do) and may miss the eternal principles envisaged in Yoga system of philosophy, which forms the base of one’s understanding of the world around. This understanding of world around us is simplified by Samkhya philosophy through easily understandable concepts, which can help to explain reasons behind different levels of consciousness, which yogi aspires to achieve and is bound to achieve. In the process of libration of Atman various experiences act as motivating as well as validating factors to undertake a uncertain journey and the guiding force is the ‘belief system’ adhered by the individual in this spiritual pursuit. If the belief base will be wide and valid, it will natural transform yoga practice of individual into a infallible trajectory and on the contrary a weak and insufficient base of beliefs will bring a condition of being ‘lost’ to the individual.
The yoga philosophy prescribed by its founder Patanjali is called ‘Ashtang Yoga’ meaning an eight step path to salvation. Yoga according to Patanjali is a methodological effort to attain perfection, through the control of different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. All the three things i.e. the physical body, the will and the comprehending mind are to be brought under control. These methods are basically aimed at purifying and tranquilizing Mind (Which according to Samkhya system is Chitta). It is widely believed that Patanjali systematized the conceptions of Yoga and set them forth on the background and concepts of the Samkhya.
Ultimately at a certain stage an individual gets convinced about an element within him/herself of eternal nature and then attempts to know it more closely and also wishes to encounter it. At this stage and in this effort Yoga and Samkahya both are very helpful.Yoga system prescribes methods of concentration and striving and Samkhya holds that Gyan (knowledge) is the means of libration. In terminology used by Yoga and Samkhya there is considerable similarity and understanding of Samkhya can help in understanding yogic terminology in right context. Many of the terms used in these systems have no equivalent term in English language and through these texts one can understand complex yoga terminology very easily. Furthermore, reading texts of Samkhya brings readers vividness in their spiritual thoughts as subject matter is logically arranged to deconstruct the path of salvation.
The concept of ‘Atman’ is one of the greatest treasures given to mankind by ancient Indian thinkers and by and large its character is left to individuals to understand through their own experience. As later on Yoga started taking different forms e.g. Bhakti yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga , Kundalini Yoga etc etc and the list keeps on growing own, but underlying thread of belief in concept of Atman remains at the foundation of these practices. A refined understanding of the concept therefore is likely to give benefit to adherents of any of the so called yogic system. In real life incidences of people born in different cultures with memories of past life are a testimony to existence of ‘something’ (imperishable) left after so called death. This observation also makes concept of Atman a universal fact and not confined to any faith or religion. In ancient Indian tradition any knowledge is termed as ‘Aporusheya’ (meaning not created or propagated by any person, but eternal) and human can only represent the same through words and metaphors.This concept was thus only brought to our notice through the great observation power acquired by ancient Rishis (Monks engaged in scientific enquiry) of India through practice of yogic austerities.
Among the prevailing efforts to discover self, Yoga has become a prominent system and its commercialism has also grown simultaneously. This market approach is evident in upcoming highly luxurious settings being offered worldwide for well being through Yoga. As long as this approach addresses needs for physical well being only, it cannot be called Yoga. The physical well-being in Yoga is considered only as a mean and not an end itself.It is a mean to remain stable for longer periods required for meditation and various Asanas (postures) and cleaning activities (for example Panch-karma etc).These are only external means of purifying oneself and making physically and mentally stable. The real Yoga starts after accomplishing these basics. Often by mistake these basic steps of yoga are followed as a ‘Type’ of Yoga, for example Dhayan (meditation) is one of the eight steps of Yoga but some people refer it is as a ‘Type’ of Yoga by terming it ‘Dhayan Yoga’. Similarly many forms are emerging worldwide by adopting and popularizing a single ‘step’ or ‘concept’ from the yoga system. An introduction to Samkhya philosophy can help a lot in understanding essence of yoga and finding a correct way suitable to individual to be established in framework of yogic life and principles. The Samkhya beliefs in Gunatriya (three basic qualities of nature, which are Sata, Tama and Raja and each of us have a unique combination of these three) and to achieve higher we need to know our composition in terms of these three qualities within ourselves. It can help to discover one’s own strengths and weaknesses and choose a life style that best facilitates our spiritual progress.
As mentioned in Gita ' The ignorant differentiate between Samkhya and Yoga; not the wise. He who considers the two as integrated has the right insight’
According to Svetasvatara Upanisad ‘Brahman (Ultimate reality of cosmos) is to be apprehended by Samkhya-yoga
Mahabharata says ‘There is no wisdom like Samkhya, no power like Yoga’
Samkhya describes ‘Atman’ not in isolation but in correlation with nature. The viewer (referred as ‘Purusha in Samkhya) and Nature (referred as Prakriti in Samkhya) are not subjected to limitations of time and space. In scientific system also now time is considered as an entity which is subjected and subordinated to a perceiver. Few of the elements mentioned in Samkhya thus attempt to describe ability of pursha to position itself beyond the realm of time and space. In the yoga system this condition is comparable to Samadhi, but this stage is not the final attainable objective but rather a stage of absolute liberty from Nature (Prikriti) and after this atman can exist independently or without any material objectives.
In modern time when everything is becoming a victim of commercial packaging an effort should be made to make spiritual pursuit more open, multifaceted, refined and experimental. Individual mindsets must get diverse nourishment to reach perfection. It is urged that propagators of Yoga must bring aspirants an insight into complimenting theories as well to better equip them with an understanding of world that can keep us unbiased and firm on the path to salvation.
Samkhya as a single philosophy have influenced probably the largest number of philosophical systems, yet unfortunately it is no more commonly studied by scholars and seekers. Many of its ancient texts are lost and now there is a need to revive this branch of enquiry again for the greater welfare of mankind. Yoga practitioners and seekers of self must find ways to rediscover this system and benefit from it.
Chandra Singh Krishna
Chandresh Singh Krishna, MS-Cultural Geography, MA-Yoga ,PhD-Spiritual Travel - Engaged in tourism and conservation of sacred water resources through community mobilization and conducting research in Yogic experiences (Theory and Practices).