|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 232 ]
The yogic view of reality is decidedly non-dualistic. This is also characteristic of the Eastern world-view, that of the 'unity of all things'.
This underlying, fundamental truth of reality, reflected in Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, understands that one cannot speak of God without speaking of man, nor speak of man, without speaking of God, for they are one and the same, inseparable in their very essence.
In yoga, that 'Highest' aspect (God) is called Purusha, and the manifestation of that 'Spirit' in the world of matter and senses is called Prakriti. The concept of an underlying ‘soul’ of the being and the transient nature of the physical self is the foundation of the Eastern view of the human condition.
"The notion that I am the body is called bondage.
The notion that I am the body is called suffering.
The idea that I am the body is known as hell…
The idea that I am the body is called ignorance.
The idea that I am the body is verily the state of unreality."
This Universal Soul is referred to as Paramatman (Godhead) and the individual soul as the jiva. The yogic view then recognizes the Divine Essence of all beings, and the fundamental goal of yoga is the intimate realisation of this innate nature -- a re-union of the jiva with Paramatman -- to accelerate "the return of the many to the One."
This is what is meant by the term 'Self-realization' and one who has come to know, through intimate, first-hand experience this very truth, is referred to as a 'realized soul'. Just as Jesus also said, "Ye are God!"
It is through experiences in the prakriti, or manifested world, that the jiva, the individual soul, returns to the Paramatman, or Universal Soul.
"The ascent to the Divine Life is the human journey, the work of works, the acceptable sacrifice. This alone is man's real business in the world and the justification of his existence, without which he would be only an insect crawling among other ephemeral insects on a speck of surface mud and water which has managed to form itself amid the appalling immensities of the Universe."
~ Sri Aurobindo
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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