An In-depth understanding of yoga and psychology has been delineated so as to perceive in synthesis of both the sciences towards bridging them, in the process of evolving further the science of Yoga Psychology, towards highlighting the significance of experiential modes of yoga practices for the purpose of tapping fully all potential advantages of yoga in solving our life related problems, before achieving a complete state of jubilant holistic health.
Yoga Sadhaka and the visionary yogi scientist as he was, Swami Kuvalayananda ji had perceived the importance of approaching yoga through scientific and psychological understanding, as way back as in 1924. Swami ji was passionate about engaging practical sessions in yoga often himself, as he always thought of integrating research findings of the institute's scientific laboratory into practical teaching classes. Him self having an illustrious educational background he always insisted on a thorough study of yoga practices on scientific lines. It is noteworthy that all his 84 odd research articles and three books he authored reflected his panache for presenting his research findings and original views with a psychological penchant. To him psychology is part and parcel of communicating yoga science as he always insisted, the physical side is only a minor aspect of yoga which is chiefly mental and spiritual." His literary articles on yoga also reflected psychological orientation to the subject matter he dealt with. He was an expert teacher of Patanjala Yoga and Hatha Yoga alike. In my studentship at the institutional yoga college for 2-year course Yoga Pravistha, I found him dealing with the psychological nuances of subtler concepts of Patanjala Yoga and Hatha Yoga.
An academician par excellence and holding many an academic position at State and National bodies, Swami ji always insisted on the academic nature of yoga in teaching and learning settings, as what he thought was the only way to convince modem educationists about the paramount significance of yoga in educational institutions. So also, for evolving further the science of yoga such academic endeavors are both imperative and worthy of appreciation.
Yoga Psychology and Beyond authored by Shri R.S, Bhogal, who has decades of experience as a teacher at our Yoga College and a research worker at our Scientific Research Department, fulfills a long held need of an academic book that, by all means, should qualify as a text book for higher courses in Yoga Psychology. I have no hesitation to share that this book would fulfill the need most sincerely in bringing subtler aspects of Yoga Psycholgy to the fore, for the first time ever! A matter- of-fact approach to the subject matter in a terse and direct way is a truly fascinating feature of this book.
A step towards evolving the science of Yoga Psychology
The sciences of Yoga and Modern Psychology have an analogy in the story of the two co-travelers, one of whom being lame and the other blind. The lame could move but with difficulty. The blind could feel his way but not so easily. Yet, when they decided to co-operate both became efficient, tremendously. Yoga has a vision but it needs psychology to translate the vision into a phenomenal practicability. Likewise, though psychology is the inevitable leader in our phenomena life, it needs a touch of spirituality to help the humanity move towards eternal happiness. Both the sciences together would help evolve the science of Yoga Psychology as the bridging of these two sciences would, in all probabilities, result into a comprehensive and holistic approach to phenomenal and spiritual domains of human life. Indeed the whole is much more than merely the sum total of its parts!
It is a point to ponder over that all religions speak of ways and means to achieve integration on all levels of our existence. All regions have a common message of a total acceptance of and a total surrendering attitude towards the perennial truth. Of late, the science of psychology has welcomed the relevance of the concepts such as acceptance, non- reaction forgiving, non-attachment, compassion and gratitude as vital to human well-being. It is now generally accepted that any resistance, bodily or mental, runs counter to the psycho-physiological harmony and balance. On the other hand, an uninterrupted mindfulness of all facts and realities, within and without, empowers us with a comprehensive prowess to unfold all our humane qualities and potentialities. We find a dissonance at a11levels of our existence only in case of a conflict between the human intellect and the Mother Nature. Men of wisdom, in human history, have always striven to delineate the conditions and character of the harmonious consonance between the human intellect and the Mother Nature so that human being would have a perfect harmony with the whole creation. Though, Modern Psychology has, of late, an accepting stance towards metaphysical and spiritual needs of human being, it finds it difficult to make a significant breakthrough into devising conditions and methods to satisfy these needs for want of inadequate research into experiential phenomena of esoteric traditional disciplines like Yoga, Meditation, Prayer, Mantra Chanting etc. A fruitful synergistic co-operation between Yoga and Modem Psychology may go a long way in enriching both the sciences towards a rich data to evolve the science of Yoga Psychology. Such an attempt may spell a perfect consonance between the human intellect and the Mother Nature, with a tremendous advantage to the humanity at large.
The theme of the book is not merely of an academic nature. Modem man, inarguably, is passing through a trying phase of a transition, from a stressful life-style, into holistic health, existential peace and harmony. The exploration of modes of a practical synthesis between the two sciences may bridge a great wide between them, benefiting not only both the sciences but doing a great service to the humanity at large. It is a common experience that not all practitioners of yoga are benefited equally, even-though the instruction and training modes are uniform and common to all. Sometimes, certain individuals get only minimal benefits despite their best efforts while some others experience and manifest near miraculous effects from the same Yoga instruction and the same yoga teacher. The individual psychological make-up may, due in part, be responsible for such disparities; yet the psychological understanding of basics of yoga, as well as, psychological inputs into a- priori informational contents, with respect to yoga instruction, may contribute significantly toward availing tolerably predictable and uniformed effects due to yoga practices. Yoga being experiential and transcendental, in most part, serious research endeavors in this aspect of yoga can justifiably be the central theme of Yoga Psychology. Such endeavors would, in all probabilities, contribute to an on-going evolution of the science of Yoga Psychology.
Yoga, literally meaning Integration, aims at unfolding all inherent capabilities of its practitioners. The process of integration may start at the body level (Hatha Yoga) or at the mental level (Patanjala Yoga). However, the process culminates, invariably, into a psycho-physiological health and harmony. Modem man, being a psychosocial entity apart from being spiritual essentially, has psycho-socially oriented problems that can be studied and understood, effectively, through the science of psychology. Once the problems are understood yogic methods can be employed in solving the same. Patanjala Yoga Sutra says, the same phenomenal world is verily the common cause for the existential bondage, as well as, for the existential liberation. It indicates amply the importance of a socially positive and phenomenally successful life style as the preparatory ground for one's spiritual pursuit (Patanjala yoga). Psychology, therefore can guide us, with advantage, in making our phenomenal life suitable for embarking on and treading the path of Spiritual Yoga successfully. Psychological understanding of yoga may give us the required direction and impetus to our spiritual pursuit. This seems easily possible only when the experiential phenomena of yoga and other spiritual sciences become a part and parcel of the science of psychology. It will lead to evolve the science of Yoga Psychology.
The present book has been written keeping the above-mentioned objectives and aims, at heart. Both the sciences have been revisited critically for their objective understanding before a possible synthesis between them, in the context of the experiential phenomena, has been discussed with an objective fervor and spirit with the express intention to help evolve the science of Yoga Psychology for the modern man. What Yoga Psychology aims at? Down to earth and direct methods of expanding human consciousness towards solving all existential problems, as well as, for endowing the humanity to reign supreme as the best creation of the mother Nature. Therefore, we hope an applied discipline of Yoga cybernetics may be the next evolved off shoot of Yoga Psychology.
The scheme of the book, as seen in the Contents, would help readers to have a bird's eye view of its thrust, as well as, the intended aim of helping to unfold experiential nuances of yoga so that we move towards discovering yogic psychology in its true essence and purpose. It is a humble attempt at unearthing the science of the Self that truly yoga is, as conceived initially in Atharva Veda. We have to a long way to traverse of course! Yet, there could be no controversy that this quest has to continue. Enlightened readers are earnestly invited for contributing their invaluable inputs towards enriching further the contents of this book, in its future revisions, and thus contribute to making it more comprehensive in its message.
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