Sunday, November 22, 2009

the small self and the cosmic self :-)

I’ve been resisting even to start writing this post. The resistance is with me right now :-) Because, you see, this sutra is like a whole cosmogony, a way of looking at life, that baffles me and overwhelms me. The sutra it self is ok: “The gunas (three qualities of nature) generate their characteristic divisions and energies in the seer. Their stages are distinguishable and non-distinguishable, differentiable and non-differentiable.” (Iyengar translation, 2.19)
This sutra unfolds layers of nature’s manifestations. Fine! I’m on it. Let’s seek into what we can and cannot distinguish and differentiate…

Then Iyengar unfolds a classification which is a part of the yoga-philosophy “way of thinking” that I was unaware of. You get to share my own notes here.

“Nature (prakrti) consists of cosmic intelligence (mahat), which has the three qualities of luminosity (sattva), action and motion (rajas) and inertia (tamas).” From these qualities, our life rise and cycles…
“The individual counterpart of cosmic intelligence (mahat) is consciousness, or citta. Citta consists of mind (manas) which reviews sensory and vibrational stimuli; intelligence (buddhi), which is the discriminatory faculty; and ego or small self (ahamkara) which is the individuals “I”.”

After I’ve read this, my head exploded. Everything in me objects every time I read a classification (consider my daily day in a library:). Something awakens that wants to prove it wrong, that’s just how my ego works…
I haven’t experienced anything afterwards, which couldn’t be categorized under one of the three qualities. And this became my teaching, to explore the three qualities in every asana.

But I get to get more overwhelmed. Iyengar unfolds even more classifications here. “There are also five senses of perception – ears, tongue, eyes, nose and skin…” Yes, western-schooled-Jenni agrees and love that the organ is mentioned instead of the sense.
He continues: “five organs of action – legs, arms, speech, genital and excretory organs.” I can’t help smiling. I never thought like this -it tickles my brain.
The five elements, senses and organs of action are distinguishable and concrete in form. They produce changes that may be pleasant or unpleasant.
There are the five subtle parts of the elements and the small self and the deep within spiritual self that exists in a vibrational form, not distinguishable or differentiated.
Creation is a process when the unspecified matter transforms into specific.
The reversed process, when specified or concrete matter turns into the universal spirit (purusa), can be seen as a divine marriage – “which becomes possible through the work of yoga.”

I need some time, but I’m so grateful to you, for making me put words on my understanding and my focus in Iyengars text this week.
Love and Namasté


Kitty said...

jenni, what a great post. i don't think there is anything wrong with seeking to disprove. that's what science does. i have the same reaction to things. it's not necessarily my ego that makes me do it; it's more or less my training. a lot of times, especially in cases of the dharma, my seeking to disprove actually proves. namaste. love, kitty
ps i have a yoga website, maybe sometime you'll allow me to reprint some of your posts there.

Jenni said...

Thank you! That brings perspective to me. I have a loong academic education (several actually:)and I can see how this has influenced my response to classifications, habitual falsification haha. And thank you for linking to your web-site; I’ve allready checked out your blogs, very interesting. I'm all for sharing and fellowship in relating to this amazing and demanding philosophical work of Patanjali. I've had great company be a Canadian woman:
And an Americana:
Your company is loved and welcome, perseverance becomes a gift when "I" get to be a WE :-)

Jenni said...

Hi Kitty (that is your name?) What is your relation to yoga? I've tried to check out your website, but I can't find you ;) You can reprint my posts, link to my blog or put my name under them. Love Jenni

Kitty said...

Hello Jenni, I can tell you're well-versed, and well-practiced! I know you found my other hobby blogs; Get Your OM On is on blogspot, but not with the kitty stuff. Main mothership is (plural b/c someone else had my domain). I'm a yoga instructor. I've been practicing for over 20 years, since I was a kid. Please let me know if you still can't access it. Meantime, I'll mosey over to your other spots, and read your whole blog. Many thanks & happy thoughts, Kitty/kg.