Spiritual Teachings of Yoga by Mark Forstater

By Mark Forstater

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An Introduction to Tantric Philosophy: The Paramārthasāra of Abhinavagupta with the Commentary of Yogarāja (1st Edition)

Writer word: Translated by way of Lyne Bansat-Boudon and Kamalesha Datta Tripathi
Publish yr word: First released February 1st 2013

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Classical Encounters The West first became aware of yogis in classical times, when Alexander the Great invaded the Punjab in 326 BCE. In India Alexander discovered advanced civilizations, powerful armies, and a strong philosophical and religious culture, with influential holy men or yogis. The Greeks called these yogis ‘gymnosophists’, meaning naked philosophers, because the ones they met were ‘sky-clad’ monks who had renounced everything, including clothes. Plutarch, in his Life of Alexander, supposedly recorded what was known of Alexander’s discussions with these holy men: Once he captured ten gymnosophists, who were reputed to have the ability to answer questions cleverly and pithily, so Alexander put a series of questions to them, with the warning that he would kill the first one who gave a wrong answer, and then the rest, one after another, on the same principle.

First we create a false identity and then we identify with it as our self. This is the mask, the false image of ourselves that seeks pleasure and avoids pain, the ego-driven self that wants to deny the possibility of illness and death. This limited self pursues endless selfish desires, and wants to use the objects of the world to satisfy these desires. It is the basis of our personality, our persona. Patanjali says that because our ego-driven mind is mainly interested in pursuing selfish desires, it views and interprets the world according to these desires, and so falls into a confused state, a state of delusion in which it misconceives what the world is really like.

It is only when we have been disappointed and defeated that we realize the need to change our attitudes and 46 responses to life, and through coping with experiences of failure are able to grow and extend ourselves into something greater and finer. Study means thinking and reflecting about life and its meaning, and most important of all, it means studying yourself: your body, thoughts, feelings memories and Spirit. It means acquiring self-knowledge through meditation and reflection. It also means reading books that encourage spiritual values, no matter whether these are scriptures, novels or poetry.

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