Plato and Patanjali

Baba Times Digest© | 17 March 2014 17:30 EST | New York Edition

The art of perception

Many times we ask ourselves, when we say we must withdraw from externalities and outer world (in the process of Yoga or meditation), what do we really mean? When we say everything (including every atom or electrons) in the Universe is THE ABSOLUTE BRAHMAN, then are we withdrawing from Brahman Himself?

When we see the thing in front of us as a 'Wall', it ceases to be The Brahman ! That is the problem. The name and form associated with the essential substance of anything is the problem. The name and form arise out of Space and Time perceptions which are fundamental qualities of mind. When you say 'Pot', you actually mean the name and form of the substance it is made of (clay) because the substance is eles where also, you can not call that as only 'clay'.

Patanjali says, there are three features any objects exhibits. Firstly the substance it is made of and the essence that makes the substance that thing (which is independent of anything else).  Secondly the chracteristics or the 'State' which makes it only that thing and not something else, mutual exclusion property (a cow is different from a tree) also can be called as name and form (dependent of perceptions). Thirdly in the process of perception, there are three different things involved. The Seer, the seen and the process of seeing. Only that thing which is not involved in any of these three can say that these three things are different from each other, because if itself involved in any of these three, then it will know the difference ! So there is something above these three which makes the perception complete and the same time not involving itself in the the process of perception (Transcendent and Immanent). Patanjali says the correct meditation is to focus on the Substance and not on the name and form which are caused by space and time (so think beyond space and time !)

Plato's concepts align well with this theory, he says 'Horseness' is different from 'Horse'. The Horse is the basic substance but only the 'horseness' in our mind is causing the perception of the horse complete, without horseness in our mind we can not perceive the horse. So 'horseness' comes first and then the 'horse', which is a basic 'Idealistic' concept. The 'horseness' creates the 'horse'. The 'horseness' for Plato is same as name and form for Patanjali (the second feature). The 'horse' for Plato is the same as 'Essence' for Patanjali (first feature).

All these concepts and ideas, are derived from our Great Swamiji Krihnanandaji (Divine Life Society)'s wirings and speeches. Hari Om Guruji, pranams !

(This is the personal opinon of the writer and may not be accurate and / or may not represent any other materials)


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