Yoga Psychology

In the West, people started with matter – the behaviour, laws and constituents of matter. They asked themselves, how to conquer matter and its processes. In India, people started with the mind – the laws and nature of the mind. How can the mind affect the law of life, in the way that matter does? How far will the deeper parts and subtle areas of the mind give you the experience of a higher life?

Both, mind and matter, are necessary for man’s continued existence. For material existence, you have to know matter, its laws and how to utilize it. For inner awareness, for peace of mind, and to understand what lies beyond matter, you have to find out the mysteries of mind. These mysteries of mind go to the extent of atman or consciousness. Western psychology has not yet established a link – it will. Science is always growing, whether it is psychology, physics or yoga. It is growing. It has arrived at a point, but it does not mean that it has completed its research.

Its research is continuing because it is man who is making research. If it is a religious search, then you put an end to it somewhere – in the form of canons and books. However, where there is research, you go ahead as far ahead as you can go. In modern psychology there are some brilliant scholars, as there have been in the past, like Jung. You can have scholars who may understand the laws of the mind related to atman, which is related to jivatman and to paramatman. I am not talking about God. I am talking about paramatman, the cosmic self or the cosmic entity, the cosmic unity where the individual is bound to something else.

We do not feel it, but there has to be something. It cannot just be matter floating. There has to be some sort of systematic link between the individual and everything else. We call the nature of atman imperishable, indestructible, homogeneous. It will not involve, it is just a witnessing consciousness. So, if atman is like that, then how have we come to be bound by circumstances? Why so unhappy? Why the suffering? Why is there birth and death? If the atman is immortal, as they say in philosophy, then why does it happen?

You have to discover, you have to research for yourself why it is. The immortal self, we have to presume that it is immortal, but does it die? How do you see that it is dying? There has to be another force somewhere within the universe which must be creating an hallucination, an experience or an idea of birth, death, pain, distress, happiness and mental problems.

If I am free from disease, death, the three gunas and prakriti, then why is there anxiety and psychosis? Where do they come from? Do they come from matter? Then what is the relationship of matter with the atman? Where does it get linked up and where does it separate? These are some of the questions which will have to be answered now. Psychology will discover more of the areas of the human mind, and that will forge the relationship between the East and the West.

The East has to understand that it cannot neglect matter. For matter is nothing but the creation of the whole cosmos. The East has neglected the study of matter and nature. The West has neglected the study of the Self, the transcendental. So there are limitations in the eastern systems and western systems.