Exploration of Indian Yoga Psychology

A blog on the Transpersonal Psychology of Indian Yoga and the Spiritual Genius of India (another blog of the same author – www.integralmusings.wordpress.com)

The Affirmation of Life-I-M.S. Srinivasan

Aff-1The  most  positive  and striking feature of Tantric  path  is  a  total, sincere and uncompromising acceptance of the world and life as the  expression of the Divine, not merely in thought but in practice, in sadhana.  The tantric texts  are replete with striking verses which emphasise the divinity of  world and  life.  Here are a few examples “There is nothing whatsoever that  is  not the  divine Shiva and Sakthi”; “This Divinity dwells in all the principles  of Existence”; “The seen is His Body”; “In the Life-force is the Divine”.

But  the assertion of the divinity of world and life in thought  has  not much  impact on life if it is not lived in practice in a way of  living  which makes  right use of life as a means to discover the divine in life.   This  is the great attempt of the Tantras.  The Tanthric seers had the clear vision and plan for making the individual and communal life into a conscious growth  into the  Divinity.   The  form and nature of the attempt  is  not  very  important because it depends on  the historical, social and cultural environment of  the period.  How for the attempt succeeded is still less important because in  all such  pioneering  endeavours  failures, deviations  or  even  distortions  are inevitable.   What  is  important for us here is  to  discover  the  essential psychological and spiritual perceptions which inspired the attempt.

The Two Movement of Life

The  spiritual perception behind the great attempt of the Tanthras is that  Man and the Universe are the equal self-expressions of divine Energy  of the Spirit and the entire life of Man and his activities are a subconscious or conscious, ignorant or illumined journey towards the discovery of the Divinity which  is his own highest Self.  The tantric thought posted two  movements  of the  divine  power which governs this evolution of the cosmos  and  the  human life.  First is the movement from the divine centre radiating within  outwards which  is  called pravrithi and the other is the movement towards  the  divine centre  from  without  inwards  called  nivrithi.   In  a  cosmic-metaphysical perspective  pravrithi is the process of involution of supreme  consciousness-force chit-sakthi of the spirit through different stages and cosmic principles into the dense unconsciousness of Matter; nivrithi is the process of evolution bywhich the chit-shakthi involved in matter evolves from matter to life,  from life to mind and mind to reunite herself with the supreme spirit Parama  Siva.   In  a psychological perspective,pravrithi is all those urges or activities  of the  body and mind of man which due to the domination of the rajasic  activity or  tamasic inertia or both moves outwards from the divine centre within  man; nivrithi are all those urges or activities of man, due to the predominance  of the sattwic luminosity tends inward towards the divine centre in him.

We  must  note  here that in the divine and cosmic  level  pravrithi  and nivrithi  are  not  two contradictory movements; they  are  the  integral  and inseparable notes of the cosmic rhythms.  In this higher cosmic and  spiritual plane  every  act of pravrithi is followed by an act nivrithi which  links  it back to the divine source and prevents it from straying too far away from  the divine centre.  So it is the balanced and harmonious movement of pravrithi and nivrithi  which  sustains  the cosmic order and rhythm.   But  in  human  life conditioned  by the limitations of the ego, dualities and ignorance these  two movements  of  the  cosmic  energy appears to  be  opposite  or  contradictory movements,  nivrithi leading towards liberation and perfection in the  Divine, the  other pravrithi leading to bondage and sorrow.  But even in  human  life, this  opposition  between pravrithi and nivrithi, when we look at them  from  a deeper  perspective, is only a practical, relative and partial truth  and  not the entire truth.

For  the cosmic rhythms of Nivrithi and Pravrithi pervades  and  sustains whole  creation.   In  the  human-terrestial life  the  movement  of  nivrithi expresses itself as the upward evolutionary current or nisus which drives  all life subconsciously or consciously towards the divine source.  This  nivrithic impetus  is  there in every human being and in every activity of  human  life, even in the physical man, pasu, governed predominantly by the tamasic quality of Nature; it manifests itself or shall we say it becomes conscious in man as the ethical,  religious and spiritual aspiration with the gradual  development  of the  sattwic  quality  in him.  For the quality of sattwa  through  which  the nivrithic  impulse  can manifest is there in every human being,  even  in  the Pasu.   In some like the Divya-type it is dominant and consciously active; in others  like the Pasu or Vira who are dominated by the qualities of  Rajas the sattwic quality is dormant or less consciously active.  The  purpose of  sadhana  is to increase the sattwic quality in man by making it more  and more consciously active and thereby make him more and more capable of attuning himself consciously to the returning upward current of nivrithi in life.  This can  be  done  in any stage of human evolution.  It is  not  necessary  to  be predominantly sattwic to enter into the path of yoga.   Even the physical  man dominated by tamas or the kinetic vital man dominated by Rahas can enter  into the  upward  stream if they can be provided with appropriate inner  and  outer discipline  which  can give an ethical religious and  spiritual  direction  to their  entire life – individual and collective.  This is the great attempt  of the  Tanthras.

We can find the broad outline of this attempt sketched out  in Mahanirvana  Tanthra.  In this profound tantric text human life is  viewed  in its  totality,  in its indivisible, integrated and  interconnected  wholeness; without  making  any rigid distinction between the “secular”  and  “spiritual” life,  every aspects of life, the individual and the collective, the  economic, social,  political and religious is put under a comprehensive inner and  outer discipline with a view on the moral, psychological and spiritual evolution of the individual and  the collectivity.  We will discuss briefly the nature and form of this  discipline in the next article.  But the point to be noted here is that the entire  human life is organised with a clear moral and spiritual aim.

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2013 by in Psychology of Tantra Yoga.
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