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Pointers to Presence
And what is mind And how is it recognized? If I clearly draw In sumi ink, the sound Of breezes drifting through pine Is all that is seen.
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What is Yoga?
Two Apparently Conflicting Theories of Enlightenment – Yoga and Vedanta
A Brief Discussion by James Swartz
The best way to resolve the issue is to address the question: what is liberation? According to Vedanta liberation is freedom from ignorance. What is this ignorance? It is the notion that the Self is limited. According to Vedanta there is only one self and it is not limited. It is ever free. So if you think you are an individual, a person, you feel limited with respect to time, money, health, power, security, pleasure and freedom. Because this is a very uncomfortable, individuals work day and night to get rid of it.
This attempt to be free is called ignorance in Vedic spiritual culture. Why? Because you are not actually limited. There is only one Self and it is limitless and you are it. Somehow, however, you have come to believe that you are limited. To put Vedanta's view of the self in positive terms: you are already and always free. It is your nature. So bondage consists solely of the belief that you are limited and separate from everything.
This is where Vedanta comes in. It gives you guidelines, teachings, that help you investigate yourself in such a way that you can determine whether you are in fact limited. When you investigate your self with the help of this wisdom you realize that you were always free. This is why liberation is often called self realization. It is not something you ‘get' that you didn't have; it is something that you wake up to and realize. If there is any ‘doing' involved in this path it is the use of your intelligence in a practical discriminative way to remove the misunderstandings you have about yourself and the world.
Yoga is an experience word. It means to connect, to join, and/or to obtain. What is to be connected, joined or obtained? You, an individual self, are to be connected to or joined to the ‘universal' Self. You are meant to ‘dissolve into' or ‘merge into' the universal Self (or God) and from that point on you lose your experience of limitedness and separateness and experience freedom.
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