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According to Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Yoga philosophy says that we
are in a constant process of evolution. Our consciousness is continuously
changing and evolving, and this evolution can be seen now at the level of
the intellect. We may not realize something until our intellect comes in
between. We think about it, analyze it, rationalize it, and then we accept
it. After acceptance of a situation has taken place there is no conflict,
but as long as we do not accept a situation, as long as we are not sure
about something, there is confusion and conflict in the mind.
In our present condition the concept of linear evolution is very much linked to the aspect of intellect, or buddhi in yogic terminology. It is intellect, which says, "All right, I understand this and because I understand I can appreciate and accept it," or "I do not understand that, therefore, I reject it."
This is how we continue through our journey of life. Things that have happened in the past remain with us in the form of memory, in the form of experience. Yoga says that these memories and experiences can be pleasurable as well as painful. The human mind constantly revolves around these memories and experiences. However, an effort has to be made to come out of this worldly conditioning.
Because of evolution, we need to move away from the conditioning of the world. There are infinite possibilities, which are dormant within us and we are not aware of them. There is the possibility of obtaining total awareness in our life, but we are not aware of it.
Attaining total awareness is the aim of yoga. In order to get to that level, which is the result of an integrated consciousness, an effort has to be made to change certain conditionings, which inhibit and restrict the expressions of our mind and consciousness. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali state that yoga is the termination of mental activities known as chitta vrittis.
This is a very important statement of yoga. The mental activities, which are the result of external, manifest, social, emotional, personal and cultural conditioning, have to be transcended. The moment we are able to go beyond the normal range of perception, we find that another level of existence and experience exists. The entire yogic philosophy is based on the realization that we need to change ourselves. Nobody has been able to define consciousness.
When Ford created the first car it was a very basic design. No body would have thought of putting an air conditioner in that car since it was not invented during that time. Similarly, when the concept of human consciousness was being discussed in the earlier part of the century, psychologists came up with ideas about another consciousness, which they called the unconscious. However, they were simply guessing about a little known activity of total consciousness, whereas yoga has always maintained that there is a great potential within us which has been given a specific name - kundalini.
The awakening of kundalini, the latent cosmic force within the deepest layers of our consciousness, is the aim of life. If we compare this concept of yoga with the modern understanding, we see that many of the ideas are similar. Right now, for example, modern science tells us that we are using only one tenth of our brain's faculties and that the remaining centres are dormant. This means that at present our understanding of human nature is very limited. We are able to function now at the conscious level through the rational mind, but even then the concept and the vision of our awareness is very limited. We are not able to fully harmonize, understand and activate the potential of the conscious mind.
In this way we function within a very limited area of creative expression. Yogis have maintained that there is a state of complete fulfillment. But in order to reach that level of existence there has to be continuity in the evolution and experience of consciousness. With this vision in mind the science of yoga evolved. The yogis and seers also realized that it is difficult to discover one's own nature, it is difficult to understand, observe and harmonize one's own expressions and thoughts.
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