What is Yoga - Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

There is today an ascendancy of Science and Technology and there is a general tendency to judge and evaluate any claim of knowledge by the application of standards and criteria of the Modern Science and by its technological utilities.

There is a general, although unfounded, feeling that Yoga will not be able to stand the scientific scrutiny, and there is thus even a tendency to posit some kind of polarity between Science and Yoga.

It is true that Science has proved its claim as a potent means of knowledge and power. But at the same time, it has come to raise certain important problems for the solution of which it needs to look beyond its present assumptions and preoccupations. And, it would seem that in this forward search, it might cross the barriers that divide Science and Yoga.

There was a time when only the physical was

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

regarded as real, and the systematic study of Matter was alone regarded as Science. With the development of Biology, however, a slight modification emerged in the scientific world, for Biology no longer deals with Matter, but with Life. A greater change in the situation has arisen with the emergence of Psychology as a Science. For Psychology has made it evident that however we may try to explain the psychological phenomena in terms of the physical, there are certain essential functionings of the Mind, such as those of 'understanding', which escape entirely the framework of physical interpretation. The Gestalt school of psychology, the psychoanalysis, the Hormic Psychology, the Personalistic Psychology, and many other trends in modern research have brought to the fore some crucial data by strict scientific methods which have made Psychology an essentially a Science of the supraphysical.

In fact, even in material sciences themselves, there is now the admission of data which are so subtle that their physical verification in themselves is impossible. All this has led to the liberation of the modern mind from the rigid

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

hold of the identification of the real with the physical and of the insistence of physical verification as the final criterion of scientific method.

But if physical verification is impossible in regard to some crucial data, still verification of some kind must be employed in the scientific methodology. The question is: what kind of verification will it be, Modern Science is still in search of an adequate answer to this problem.

There is at present, both in Philosophy and in Science, a tendency towards an extreme empiricism. An attempt is being made to declare the Law of Causation and the Law of Uniformity of Nature, which have been so far the unquestioned foundations of scientific induction, as mere -fictions' of Pure Reason, and thus to replace them by some other 'guidelines' which may be empirically justifiable. This attempt has so far not succeeded, and it has still not been possible to find  ‘empirical’ justification for induction.

This failure has created a climate of uncertainty in all scientific research, and there is undoubtedly

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

a state of disequilibrium which can find no resting-place either in empiricism or in rationalism.

The question is: Is there such a resting-place? Can there be 'empirical' proof of the 'fictions' of Pure Reason? Or else, can the 'empirical' guidelines be empirically justified?

It is becoming more and more evident that there is probably no answer to this question, or else the answer lies beyond its present limited boundaries.

There is a further problem arising out of the fact that although Science is a potent means of knowledge in the domain of Facts, it is incapable of dealing with the realm of values. And in recent times, this problem of Science versus values has come to occupy an important place in the context of the uses of Science in the interests of the modern warfare. Also, the general confusion and breakdown in the system of values that were so long upheld by religion and ethics has added to the acuteness of the problem.

Once again, Science has found no means to deal

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

with this problem, except by resorting to non-scientific approaches.

In respect of all the problems, Yoga claims to have solutions.

Yoga, as distinguished from Religion, has always been a Science of the supraphysical, with its own proper methods or observation, experiment and verification. It has already developed a system of criteria and a system of general truths which are proper to the supraphysical.

It claims to have an access to the supraphysical, its phenomena, laws and principles; and with all this it proposes to give the needed help to Science to cross over to the field of the subtle and the Invisible, and thus ensure a rapid progress of the search into the Unknown.

Yoga also claims to provide 'empirical' proofs of the 'fictions' of the Pure Reason, and to show that the Laws of the Uniformity of Nature and of Causality are no more constructions but are real of the Nature and its phenomena. Yoga, however, enlarges the meaning of the ‘empirical’ and embraces within its field not merely the

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

physical, but all that is ‘experimental’.

On this basis, then, Yoga promises to furnish the sure basis to the scientific inductive process.

In Yoga, it is claimed, there is no polarity between Facts and Values. The very object of the yogic search is to discover the Object that is at the same time the Supreme Value. Yoga is thus at once positive and axiological. To know a fact yogically is also to know its value.

Yoga then promises to bridge the gulf between Facts and Values.

It is important to note that in the Indian tradition, there has never been any sharp conflict between Yoga and Science, and all Sciences have accepted the Yogic methods of Knowledge, even when they employed the ordinary empirical methods widely.

It has been recognised in the Indian tradition that there are certain yogic states of consciousness in which knowledge reveals itself intuitively, that its veracity can be tested by the intrinsic methods of yoga itself, even though it can be tested also by the ordinary empirical methods.

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

Such has been the basis of the Indian system of Astronomy, Astrology, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. It would be a great service to the advancement of Knowledge if this basic relationship between Science and Yoga is re­-established.

With this done, vast frontiers of Knowledge seem to open their gates.

But what about the world-negating tendency of Yoga?

Undoubtedly, if there is to be a true reconciliation of Science and Yoga, there has to be a correction of this world-negating tendency of Yoga.

At the same time, it would be stressed that world-negation is not one single tendency of Yoga, and Yoga should not be judged merely by one of its tendencies, however, powerful it may be.

It is true that behind this world-negation there lies a great truth and an overwhelming spiritual experience verified again and again by many whose search and discipline and realisation cannot be in doubt. And yet there are other spiritual tendencies and experiences equally

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

verified in the same way which claim to go beyond that world-negating experience.

The conflict of spiritual experiences is an important problem for Yoga to resolve, and this must constitute a fresh field of yogic research. As a result of this research, we may arrive at a conclusion which might, as in the Bhagavadgita, affirm the reality of the world and the value of works in the world even much more positively than what can be warranted or inspired by Modern Science or the general impulses towards activism.

But in some such results, the conflict between Yoga and Science would disappear totally, and there would result a complete fusion of Science and Yoga.

Already a great research has been made in this direction, and the results of this research need to be brought forward before the seeking consciousness of the humanity.

If Yoga is not a negation of life, if there is no opposition between the aims of Yoga and Science, if thus, there is an inherent unity of

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga and Science, we can hopefully look forward to a unified service of Yoga and Science to the highest needs of mankind on the earth.

Whatever may be the academic climate resulting from the problems of the reconciliation of Sciences and Values, Science has always cherished the value of Man and it has been one of the potent forces working for the unity of mankind. Humanism and Internationalism have growth with the growth of science, and in numerous ways, Science and scientists all over the world have endeavoured indefatigably for the application of scientific knowledge towards the alleviation of suffering, eradication of ignorance, and elimination of poverty and want. And with its prospective thrust, it has begun to dream of the physical conquest of death, to express an insatiable thirst for knowledge, to work out something like a terrestrial omnipotence for humanity.

Not merely satisfied with the unraveling of the mysteries of the physical universe, the Modern Science is turning decisively to the unveiling of the mystery of Man the Unknown. And a

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

significant conception which has emerged is that of an all ­embracing Evolutionary process, in terms of which, it is hoped, Man will one day be truly understood and helped.

This idea of evolution is being universally accepted, and everywhere its impact is felt. In the realm of Philosophy, this idea has become a source of fruitful speculations regarding the destiny of Man, and these in turn have raised the question if evolution is merely a development of physical forms or if there is some occult operation of consciousness causing the outer physical developments and mutations.

It is being increasingly realised that the problems that Man confronts are the result of the consciousness in which he dwells. And it is undeniable that the problems that Man faces today are so complex, so critical, so global as they have never been in his history. Has this situation not to do centrally with the consciousness of Man? And, if we are keen to resolve this situation, is it not necessary to study deeply man's consciousness, its relation to his problems and to find a solution to these

Yoga Science and Man

Yoga Science and Man

problems in terms of a radical change of his consciousness? And in that case, shall we not find yoga, which is not only a science of Consciousness, but also a technology of the change of consciousness to be indispensable in the further progression of Man.

That consciousness of Man is greatly influenced by the ‘unconscious’ has largely come to be accepted all over the world. And modern medicine has accorded a place to psychiatry in the treatment of certain diseases. The concept of mental health and its relation to various elements of consciousness has also come to be accepted. But if, as Yoga affirms, there are not only the subconscious and the conscious, but even the subliminal and the superconscious and if the laws of these in relation to cure and health are studied, there could occur a revolutionary change not only in the practice of psychiatry or of mental health, but even in our approach to medicine itself. It may have a result even on the knowledge of our body, its functioning, its possibilities and its future.

Yoga Science and Man

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