YOGA & CONSCIOUSNESS

YOGA & CONSCIOUSNESS was the essay which conferred to the author, Antônio Henriques, the title of Master in Philosophy in 1982. This work has the subtitle: “the question of consciousness in the Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali”, that is why it demonstrates that Patanjali´s work is a uniquely updated psychological philosophy. The Yoga-Sutras were probably written around the third century b.C. and constitute what traditionally is called the “Classic Yoga”, for they abridge all the central ideas of the Yoga philosophy in four books, each one containing a couple of Sutras. In his work, not only does Henriques explain the unintelligibleness in its original version, but he also manages to establish a contemporary parallel with science, philosophy and psychoanalysis, bringing a new sense to the ideas of the Classic Yoga. On the other hand, he demonstrates the links of the Yoga-Sutras with the autochthonous culture of ancient India, the Dravida, opposed to the later Yoga, strongly influenced by the Arians. So, the author not only recovers meditation and the postures as the essence of Yoga, but also elucidates and delineates the altered states of consciousness which the practitioners aim at reaching. This work is the first serious academic research study on Indian philosophy written by a Brazilian, which surely may occupy the same place as the ones written by famous international specialists.

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Extract from the book “YOGA & CONCIOUSNESS”

“Svarasavâhí vidusho ‘pi tathá rúdho’ bhiniveshah”. “Abhinivesha is the strong desire to live which is maintained by its own nature (svarasaváhi = by its own forces) and dominates (rúdhah) even the sages (vidushah = learned)”. (Yoga Sutra of Patãnjali – 11,9) As already known in philosophy, the only sure thing about life is death. Human being is being-ready-for-death. And all of us are afraid of dying. Death frightens us in two ways: because of the unknown it represents in itself and because of the emptying of life it produces. Death means entering the realm of not-being, considering the being as the present circumstance of what we are and what surrounds us. But death also signifies to abandon the being, this rupture with existence. The survival instinct is the most powerful one, we´re all attached to life, we are frightened of not-being. Even the suppression of thoughts (vrittis) as suggested by yoga is related to this fear. We are always thinking about things just for the simple fear of not-being, because the ego is nothing more than a sensation of continuity existing in our mental flow, the Cartesian thinking self should be understood in a different way. If we think, the action of thought exists. Nevertheless, the self only exists if this action of thought is continuous. But we know that what the child in us used to think, has nothing to do with what the present day addult in us thinks, except for a continuos line linking the first thoughts to these. Between one thought and the other, however, there is an interval of silence. This silence should be fixed and prolonged, it is not-I, descontinuity, not-thinking, but it exists. In other words, “I think, hence I exist” not as “that which thinks” but as a thinking process, ”that” doesn´t think. “That” (Tat) is the Self that flourishes when thoughts (vrittis) are supressed, when thought ceases as an action. And this means to die as an ego without abstaining from existence. That is why we can say there is the experience of death in life. In the West it is said that the experience of death is felt when the other one dies and especially, when a brother dies. But what are the others save parts of ourselves? Truly, we always cry about our own death, considered here as the rupture with a dimension of our being, binded to and dependent on the recently deceased other person. But the experience of death in life, as dealt with in Yoga, is more radical, it isn´t merely the loss of a part, it´s not mutilation. It is equivalent to the loss of the whole, in which the ego´s structure is completely demolished. Illumination is equivalent to death, the word samádhi contains in its roots also the meaning of being “dead”. The guru is born out of the disciple´s death, just as the disciple is born from the death of the profane being (homem). Pátanjali, however, says that attachment to life devastates even the greatest sages, even the guru wavers in the presence of death. This happens because in a self-realized being all the sources of suffering (kleshas) are latent, his ego doesn´t act in a dominant way any more, because it is no longer in the centre of his being, but it still exists. And will exist as long as there is a human body alive occupying a certain place in the world. It is not easy to be born – and what is death other than a second birth? Courage is needed in order to voluntarily cut the navel-string with the world. And while writing this, we´re not talking about the suiciders, because the one who kills himself, does it on the world´s behalf. The ego, frustration, despair and profound depression lead the suicider to death, to the madness of crime, to the pathological side of a self-agression. Yet paradoxically, the suicider is the one who most craves for life and is attached to the world. To cut the umbilical chord with the world is to “pass from physical life” but not so the body, it means marching ahead firmly to encounter novelty and not giving in to the despair of oldness. Yoga is not a nihilistic philosophy, although attachment to life is considered something to be overcome. We think that philosophy in general should be a preparation (not a morbid one) for death. And what is knowing how to die other than to live in plenitude? He who has loved life and faced existence wisely will not be afraid of death, because death is the other face of life, and he who knows and loves one face will perceive the unity of both and will not flee from totality. He who is converted to light, will never be afraid of diving into darkness.

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5 Comments

  1. Felipe Lengert

    Olá Antonio, queria muito um exemplar deste livro, mas é muito difícil encontrá-lo. Será editado novamente?

  2. Quanto custa o livro Yôga & Consciência

  3. henriques

    Bom dia Alcindo,

    Meu livro “Yoga & Consciência” foi recentemente reeditado (em edição revisada) como e-book pela editora e livraria Amazon. Podes encontrá-lo no link:
    https://www.amazon.com.br/Yoga-Consci%C3%AAncia-filosofia-psicol%C3%B3gica-Yoga-Sutras-ebook/dp/B072LBHTJH
    As edições anteriores em papel estão esgotadas e estou atualmente sem editor para reeditá-lo em papel. Mas esta edição digital pode ser baixada e lida em kindles, computadores, notes, ipads e smartphones, e como possui navegação digital, fica fácil usá-lo como fonte de estudo e pesquisa. Abraço,
    Antonio Henriques

  4. hayana f santos

    Querendo esse livro também

  5. henriques

    Boa noite,

    Não sei se compreendi sua mensagem. Mas, se queres comprar o livro “Yoga & Consciência”, ele só está disponível como e-book, no site da Amazon Brasil. A edição em papel está esgotada. Se puder ajudar co m outra coisa, estou à disposição. Atenciosamente,
    Antonio Henriques

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