A State of harmony with nature, with all beings of creation, itself leads to our harmony with humans. If we lose our relationship with nature, we lose inevitably our relationship with humans. –Krishnamurti
In yoga philosophy the spiritual nature of humanity is a dominant theme. Philosophy and religion are intimately related because life is viewed as a spiritual adventure in which the aim of both is to live life in the here and now, with the motivation of eventual spiritual salvation. To this end, yoga is practical and makes use of ancient texts such as the Vedas, as well as mythological, popular, and technical approaches as aids to promote spiritual life.
In yoga philosophy, the ultimate aim is to seek truth, as a way to make us free. In psychotherapy the aim is essentially the same. By looking deeply at yourself, through reflection, analysis, and with behavior change that enhances self-awareness, personal truth can be known. In yoga it is not enough to know the truth; the truth must be lived. Introspection is an important tool in seeing your unhealthy desire, personal motives and interests that cause harm. By practicing meditation, hatha yoga, and endeavoring to live by the ethics outlined in the Yoga Sutras, you can develop self-control, patience, tranquility, and peace of mind. Darsana–which means ‘to see’–is to have a direct intuitive experience of the truth, and to become one with it. For example, you can read about meditation, you can talk about meditation, but unless you do meditation, it has no lasting impact. The yogic practices are designed to aid in life’s journey toward freedom. There are many ways to view freedom.
The Bhagavad Gita, or “Song of God—the Blessed One”– is an ancient epic from which much of yogic wisdom is derived. Lord Krishna comes to Prince Arjuna when he is preparing to war against his kin. Arjuna is filled with remorse and deep ambivalence as he anticipates fighting and killing his cousins and uncles. Krishna represents higher consciousness during this poignant dialog between god and man. Krishna’s wise counsel on the battlefield is at the core of yoga wisdom and practice. The war symbolizes the battle each human being must fight between the forces of good and evil tendencies within the self. The teachings show how to use yoga to fight that battle and find freedom within. The symbolism of the battle illustrates the struggle within — for authenticity in the fight against individual greed, hatred, and ignorance. It is the ingrained selfishness that obscures our natural luminosity.
I am the taste in water,
the light in the moon and sun,
the sacred syllable Om in the Vedas,
the sound in the air.
I am the fragrance in the earth,
the manliness in men, the brilliance
in fire, the life in the living,
and the abstinence in ascetic.
I am the primal seed
Within all being, Arjuna:
the wisdom of those who know,
the splendor of the high and mighty.
Krishna is the symbol of Arjuna’s deepest self. The Gita teaches that yoga practice will bring evenness of mind—detachment from the dualities of pain and pleasure, success and failure—it is skill in action. Establishing oneself in yoga brings unshakable equanimity and profound peace of mind. The discipline of yoga will lead to better judgment and clear vision because we are not entangled in the outcome of a particular situation. Highly important is the ever-present awareness of the divinity inside. This awareness affects how we lead our lives.