Tuesday, March 30, 2010

YOGA FROM CONFUSION TO CLARITY





New Arrival Books on Yoga From Confusion to Clarity Vols. 1 to 5 by Satya Prakash Singh and Yogi Mukesh, 1730 p, 5 Volumes, figs, ISBN : 81-87471-57-8, $325.00 (Includes free airmail shipping) PAYMENT(S) BY PAYPAL ONLY

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Yoga: From Confusion to Clarity is an original and refreshing series of five volumes of its own kind. Neither in the past nor in the present has such a work ever before been attempted by anybody except for the reference of a voluminous work we get about Hiranyagarbha, the Father of Yoga, in very remote past and whose work has been lost forever. The authors of these five volumes after making intensive research and study for the last 15 years endeavoured to restore the Yoga to its pristine purity.
 
The need for writing this work also arose out of the misconception of implanting the root of Yoga generally midway to Patanjali, the author of Yoga-Sutra. Indeed, it is due to this misconception of origin that confuses the full bloom of Yoga. Instead, the discipline is constrained as secret and mystic, unsocial and otherworldly and hence not only difficult to take up, but also counterproductive in many respects. It is due to the prevalence of this view of Yoga, that such a scripture as the Bhagavadgita has been mistaken as renunciatory, in spite of its most eloquent advocacy of karma-yoga. Another byproduct of this mistaken view of Yoga, particularly in the modern times, is the narrowing constraint to only physical and vital exercises, in the form of asanas and pranayama, as taught by some enthusiasts of the discipline currently in "yoga studios" and by popular media.

The special feature of the Yoga: From Confusion to Clarity is a sincere exploration to reveal of the history of Yoga, right from the Vedic or even the pre-Vedic era (prior to 3000 B.C.) and to reconstruct the roots of Yoga from the material scattered throughout the Veda as a system of Yoga by virtue of which, pre-Vedic and Vedic people became seers of Vedic mantras as the treasure-chest of the profoundest wisdom and knowledge, even at that primary epoch of human history. Thus was the foundation of Indian culture richly sewn with a broad and humane outlook, so lasting in character, we continue to be nourished today. In fact, the tapas and sadhana of the Vedic seers are a crystallized seed form of the discipline of Yoga in all its dimensions: the phases and varieties coming to be designated in course of time as jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, dhyana yoga, mantra yoga, and hatha yoga, etc.

So far as the psychological perspective of the discipline is concerned, Yoga: From Confusion to Clarity brings to light man’s eternal quest for exploring into the mystery of consciousness well within himself, directly through self-consciousness. Instead of searching for motivations and desires for alleviation of any kind of suffering or afflictions in this world or furthermore in the wishes for the enjoyment of the plenitude of the world beyond, the authors direct our exploration within. As such, consciousness has been determined as the explorer as well as the field of exploration - as the object as well as the subject. In the common experience, the object is object and subject is subject, both are conceived as categorically different from each other. The interaction between the two is considered "a matter of fact" without needing any explanation concerning the mystery behind it. Philosophical attempts to solve the source of separation has resulted in the East in the form of Prakriti and Purusha as two absolutely independent realities, while in the West, it has led to the Cartesian dichotomy between Mind and Matter. Both these positions stop short of resolving the problem of explaining the why of the interaction between the polar entities of the subject and the object.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Professor Satya Prakash Singh is a renowned Vedic and Yogic Scholar. He holds a PhD Degree from the Banaras Hindu University of India and D.Litt from the Aligarh Muslim University. A former Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit and Dean of Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University, he is presently working as an Editorial Fellow in the Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Delhi. He has also been Director of Dharam Hindu International Centre of Indic Research in Delhi as well as the Director of Vedic Research Centre Maharshi Sāndīpani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India in New Delhi.

Prof. Satya Prakash Singh is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including Ganganath Jha Award of the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy, Rajaji Literary Award of Bhāratīya Vidyā Bhavan, Bombay, Banabhatta Puraskara of Sanskrit Academy, Uttar Pardesh, as well as being honored by the President of India`s Award of Scholar of Eminence.

His publications include:

Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead on the Nature of God
Sri Aurobindo, Jung and Vedic Yoga
Vedic Symbolism
Upanisadic Symbolism
Vedic Seers
Life and Vision of Vedic Seers
Vedic Vision of Consciousness and Reality
History of Yoga

Yogi Mukesh is an accomplished yogin besides being deeply grounded in the study of yogic literature of a variety of shades including Vedic, Tantric, Saiva, Vaisnava and Buddhist. He has been initiated in yoga by a reputed yogin while living in his company for years in sacred cave in western Uttar Pradesh. He is an extensively travelled scholar and sadhaka both externally and internally, having devoted considerable time of his life in several countries of the world as well as in the yogin`s cave.

ABOUT THE VOLUMES

Volume 1, Foundation of Yoga - Here is an attempt to trace the origins of yoga back to the Veda millennia before the advent of Patanjali with his Yoga-Sutra, which is commonly mistaken to be the earliest source-book on the discipline. By tracing the origin of so important a discipline as Yoga, this work not only presents correction of an great error of abysmal order but also brings to the fore the discipline in its pristine purity and abundance which resulted in the elevation of Angiras, Visvamitra, Vasistha, etc. to seerhood. The mystery of the Veda at such an early stage of human history gets cracked open revealing the traces of yoga to that antiquity. Besides showing sure indications to the discipline in the Vedic samhitas, it discloses the secret yogic practices of some of the most important seers of the Vedic age. If the technique of prananusandhana as developed by Angiras, has resulted in the way of access to pure consciousness through control of the vital, that of nadmusandhana, as epitomised by the female seer, Ambhrni, has led to the descent of Vedic Mantras to the seers with all their exquisite wealth of wisdom, knowledge and aesthetic values. While the chapter on Yogic Motifs in Indus Seals confirms the literary evidence adduced here by archaeological verity, the Critique of Patanjali brings to the fore the seminal points of departure of him from the royal road of Yoga, Raja-yoga, built up by the seers. Thus, if one wants to understand the secret of Spirituality in India along with the infallible way to it, one is sure to find this publication most refreshing and rewarding.

As this book is designed to confirm to course contents of Yoga, it will be of great use to graduates; post graduates, diploma, degree and research students of Yoga and the teachers alike.

CONTENTS OF VOL. 1 - Foundation of Yoga (238 pages)

Glimpses of Yoga in the Vedic Samhitas
Yogic motifs in Indus seals
Yogic Sadhana of Vedic Seers
Yoga as the cradle of the Vedic system of education
Consciousness and Yogic Sadhana in Saivism
A critique of Patanjali
Vedic vision of Bondage and Liberation

Volume 2, Psychology of Yoga - While the first volume of the Foundation of Yoga deals with the historical roots; the second volume concerns itself with the psychological which has been discerned in the form of consciousness.

Just as matter is the basic stuff physical sciences have to deal with, consciousness serves as the basic stuff of the science of spirit known as yoga. Any yogic practice apart from deep understanding of the nature of consciousness is doomed to the end in an exercise in futility. This is what has been brought to the fore by Vedic seers and Upanisadic sages in practice by diving deep into consciousness and declaring it as the source of everything in the world including matter itself. As such, what modern psychologists have declared as sub-conscious and unconscious, is only a covert form of consciousness. What has been recounted in the Veda as war between gods and demons is, thus, reducible to the seer's entry into these covert layers of consciousness and facing the odds. Searching of one's identity in the pure consciousness is liberation and immortality, while one's identification with the physical is bondage and mortality. The Mahamrtyunjaya mantra epitomises this secret at its best.

All this has been brought out here closely and cogently on the evidence of the galaxy of Vedic seers and Upanisadic sages with a view to recreate the real psychological foundation of Yoga which otherwise is being tossed around today like a kite snapped off its string. As such, the volume is expected to prove an authentic passage to enter into the citadel of yoga and experience the felicity lying await within. It will be helpful in clearing the cobweb of misunderstanding formed in the course of millennia and will benefit to all, including yoga teachers, practitioners, researchers and students who are doing graduation, post-graduation and Ph.D. in Yoga.

As this book is designed to confirm to course contents of Yoga, it will be of great use to graduates; post graduates, diploma requirements, degree and research students of Yoga and the teachers alike.

CONTENTS OF VOL. 2 - Psychology of Yoga (298 pages)

Consciousness - states and grades
Consciousness as a metaphysical force
Existential value of consciousness
Concentricity and universal creativity of consciousness
Consciousness of the Unconscious
Ordeals of the unconscious in the quest for consciousness
Contribution of Angiras, Ayasya, Bhrgu and Dadhyan to the discovery of the way to consciousness
Consciousness and immortality
Yoga and Vak
Aesthetics and Yoga
Mahamrtyunjaya Mantra as a way to Immortality

Volume 3, Asana (524 pages) -This volume discusses various kinds of asana, both gross and subtle with suitable pictorial illustrations, textual references and scientific notes on their effects on the body and the mind from both hygienic and yogic viewpoints. Combination of textual accounts with the modern physiological analysis is sure to be helpful in the understanding of the proper mode of these postures which otherwise are likely to cause damage to the body and disturb the mind instead of bringing succour to both of them. It also discusses preparatory asanas for beginners as well as for advanced practitioners. Practices of these asanas are described for preparation for one's for inner journey. Enumerates 108 postures.

The book is designed to confirm to the course contents of Yoga, and we hope that it will benefit everyone including Yoga teachers, practitioners, researchers and students who are working towards diploma, graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D.

One, who has established control over the asanas, conquers the three worlds.
-- Jabaladarshanopanisad - III.13
Practice of asanas removes diseases and brings stability and health to the body.
-- Hatharatnavali of Srinivasayogi - III.5.

Volume 4, Sat Karma, Mudra, Pranayama and Pratyahara - The fourth volume deals with what are known in yogic parlance as sat karma, mudra, pranayama, pratyahara. Sat karma is purification of the body. It includes what are known as neti, dhauti, basti, nauli, etc. These devices of purification of the body on the yogic line have been discussed in hatha-yogic treatises of the medieval age and are highly useful in the redemption of the body from various kinds of diseases. So is the case with the mudras and bandhas which, however, being purificatory of the body, are highly useful in leading to concentration of the mind. The utility of pranayama in the course of yogic sadhana is self-evident as prana and consciousness are closely interrelated. Various kinds of pranayama, have been deliberated upon in the volume including several practices that have remained generally unknown so far. It also discusses precaution and safety during the practice of pranayama. Pratyahara is that method in which the sense organs follow the sense-mind on the image held within, so that they can get sensations from within, thereby leading to the dissolution of the sensations of the sense-organs in the sense-mind, which finally itself dissolves in the consciousness or the Self. All these ingredients of yoga, as well its basic postulates, clearly and authentically are based on the textual verity on the one hand and scientific possibility on the other.

CONTENTS OF VOL. 4 (237 pages) Sat Karma, Mudra, Pranayama and Pratyahara: Table of transliteration. Foreword. Preface. Introduction.
1. Satkarma
2. Mudras - (i)- Bandhas. (ii) Adhara Mudras. (iii) Mudras with combination of Bandhas. (iv) Postural Mudras. (v) Meditation Mudras.
3. Pranayama - (i) Prana and consciousness - Indra's Proposition of Prana as Consciousness - Relationship between Air and Prana - Air as the Cosmic Energy - Primacy of Prana over Senses and Mind - Convertibility of Prana into Consciousness - Development of Self from within the Vital - Transformation of the Physical into the Vital and Mental - Germ of the Instinct of Self-Protection and Procreation - Sygyzy of Life-Force and Consciousness - Consciousness and the Instinct for Self-Possession.

(ii) Pranayama - Importance of Pranayama - Suitable Place of Practice - Who Should Start the Practice of Pranayama - Best Seasons for Starting the Practice of Pranayama - Diet during the Practice of Pranayama - Prohibited Food and Acts during the practice - Method of Pranayama - Time and Practice and Duration - Attitude during Practice - Safety in the Practice of Pranayama - Obstacles in the Path of Yoga - Benefits of Pranayama - Final Aim of Sahita Kumbhaka.

(iii) Pranayama for beginners. (iv) Pranayama for advanced practitioners.

4. Unclassified pranayamas from the Upanisads
5. Kumbhaka Paddhati of Raghuvira
6. Pratyahara
Volume 5, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi - The stage of pratyahara, in its turn, is followed by the three next steps of Yoga known as dharana, dhyana and samadhi. They represent the crux of the process of yogic sadhana. This part of the sadhana is the subject matter of the fifth and final volume of the series. In view of the extreme subtlety of these steps, it has been considered better to indicate to the ways and means leading to successful coverage of these steps through relevant texts dealing with this part of the sadhana. With this end in view, selections have been made from such yogic texts as the Upanisads, Bhagavadgita, Vijnanabhairava, Malinivijayottaratantra, etc. which have been adduced here along with their English translation and necessary notes wherever required for clarification.

This last volume also includes and discusses for the first time the Epistemology of Yoga. It also includes a digest of the entire process and method of the sadhana put together succinctly and in a graded manner under "A Tractatus of Yoga". The formulations made here are for summarising the entire range of the sadhana in as brief a form as possible. These formulations have been made somewhat on the pattern of the classical authors of the sutra-form of literature dealing with subjects of utmost technical bearing requiring close attention of the reader. A significant difference in the process of formulation of the tractatus in this volume from that of the ancient Sanskrit authors of the sutras, lies in the fact that while the sutra preceded their expositions, made sometimes by the sutrakaras themselves and mostly by other exponents of them quite subsequently, here the formulations only follow the detailed exposition meant particularly to serve as a digest of the entirety along with all the difficulties involved in its coverage, understanding and practical application.
All these ingredients of yoga as well its basic postulates have been discussed clearly and authentically having been based on the textual verity on the one hand and scientific possibilities on the other.

CONTENTS OF VOL. 5 - Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi (331 pages)

1. Dharana
2. Dhyana and Samadhi
3. Samadhi
4. Meditation on the sacred syllable Om as an aid to Samadhi
5. Role of the Kundalini in the attainment of Samadhi
6. Role of the nervous system and centers in the task of inculcation of the spiritual consciousness
7. Introverted perusal of light, sound and taste as ways to Samadhi
8. Fundamentals of the Epistemology of Yoga.
Appendices – Meditation Methods from- Vijnana Bhairava, Malinivijayottaratantra, Abhinavagupta’s Gitartha Sangrah, and A Tractatus of Yoga