Human Consciousness and yoga: Balancing the interactive mind
Human Consciousness is more than just a simple awareness and intelligence. As being the subject of mystery for the study of science especially physics, psychology, and parapsychology, it’s beyond the boundary of matter and its property. To understand the real nature of our consciousness is the prime goal of Yoga. The self is the limited form of identity which is known as individual ego. We have a tendency to develop a false identity of ourselves based on the things that we do, behave and get the response which is always under trouble and can be manipulated with the time and situation. On the backdrop of the derived sense of identity remains the deeper identity which is also called as the true self. Yoga approves the idea that knowing true self is indeed the understanding of true nature of consciousness.
The wonderful sequence of yoga has subliminal interrelation with the nature of consciousness. Even though the yoga starts its practice from the body, it ultimately targets the attainment of the true nature of the self which means to say that one becomes able to understand the crux of consciousness. For the complete well-being of our life, the harmony and congruence of body, mind, and soul seem to be highly important in yogic perspective.
The book named Human Consciousness and Yogic Science by Dr. Kamakhya Kumar and Dr. Ajay Bhardwaj mentions in the introduction of the book regarding the types of consciousness. It mentions that yogis and mystics have categorized consciousness into seven stage or steps. Generally, the human being can experience three stages; waking, sleeping and dreaming. In meditation, one can experience the transcendental consciousness which is called Turiya, the fourth stage of consciousness. When the fourth state called Turiya concurs with the first three states, it becomes the fifth state; expansion of I-consciousness to merge with cosmic consciousness. At the sixth state, one sees God in everything and everything which is called God-consciousness. The seventh one is the state where exists the coherence inside and outside in the form of unity consciousness.
The book also opens the view of consciousness which is apprehended as a non-physical unit which differs the four basic fundamentals of orthodox science; space, time, energy and matter. It has existed with a self-sufficient entity of creation.
The Relation between Yoga and Human Consciousness
Yoga is a union, the union in many ways. Borrowing the words of Sadhguru, yoga has been strived to comprehend comprehensive manner. The level of union varies as per one’s need and aspiration. When one tries to find the union at the basic level, it is the matter of sexuality. When the same union is targeted in emotional expression, it becomes the matter of love. When it strives to adjoin with mental expression, it becomes the part of ambition, conquest, and greed. At the state of conscious level, it is yoga.
Sadhguru says in his speech on yoga and human consciousness, “Consciousness is there all the time. If it was not, you would not be able to convert your breath and your food into life. You are alive – that means you are conscious. But so far, you only have minimal access. As your access improves, your sense of boundary expands. If you become identified with consciousness, you will experience everyone as yourself. This is what yoga means.” The function of consciousness is to bring awareness in a person. Consciousness always exists there. Only we need to know is to expand ourselves to find that consciousness. He further beautifies the relation between yoga and human consciousness in delightful and adorable lines, “Expanding the sensory boundaries in such a way that if you sit here, the entire universe is a part of yourself – this is yoga; this is raising consciousness.” At the time one becomes able to identify with anything, it increases the state of consciousness which indeed is yoga; the state of the union. In this sense, the broader the consciousness becomes the greater and deeper the realization of yoga occurs.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati speaks on Yoga and Expansion of Consciousness that consciousness and energy both exist in human beings. He mentions the example of a lame person and blind person. He compares the lame person with energy and the blind person with consciousness. Without the support of the consciousness, energy can do nothing and vice versa. In spite of having dynamic quality, energy can’t move without the cognition, awareness, and consciousness. Similarly, consciousness can’t move without the support of the energy even though it has the ability to see. Both are reciprocal and complimentary for each other. He further states that prana is cosmic energy and consciousness is evolving energy. Swamiji explains the mind as an extension of cosmic consciousness. Everything is experienced by the mind either it is happiness, joy, sorrow, philosophy or ideas. The desires, dream, and destination are set by the mind and body to become the medium to work on them while applying the senses as tools to achieve the goals. The understanding of the mind as the expansion of cosmic consciousness is the fundamental understanding of yoga.
The subject of yoga combines body, mind, and soul to create the balance in all these aspects. Starting from the practice of physical postures and its practice for the well-being of physical body, yoga tends to maintain the balance in mental level. When the talks of mind come, it has been divided into three types; tamasic, rajasic and sattvic. In the analysis of Swami Niranjanananda, Tamasic is referred as conditioned mind, rajasic is related to aggressive mind, and the sattvic is concerned to the balanced mind. The real goal of yoga has been perceived as balancing the mind. The ability to observe the situation of the external world and internal thoughts is the condition of balanced mind. Balancing the interactive mind, one is led to the state of consciousness.
Different level of understanding or consciousness is perceived according to the different level of understanding in mind. There is no such thing as conscious, unconscious and subconscious according to Swami Niranjanananda but only the different level of awareness takes the understanding in the different level. He says, “as long as there is awareness, we are able to perceive ourselves and the world, but without awareness, we continue to exist without that knowledge.” Therefore, the consciousness is taking one to the state of deeper awareness. He further expounds that the stronger the light of awareness becomes, the more the darkness decreases. That is the goal to be experienced in the field of yoga. As the meditation practice dips deeper one starts to realize the causes of many things. There are many things which are just experienced in our life, but the real root cause of the problem has not been identified. The awareness is the key which leads one to know the real cause either internal or external.