Welcome to Part 3 of the Yoga Sutra series on the website – The Theory of Creation. Every week we are publishing one chapter of Namit Kathoria’s great book Yoga Sutra – The Seeker’s Story and now it starts to get real interesting as we delve into what yoga’s philosophy is of creation and the purpose of life.
Chapter 1 & 2 – Yoga Sutra – A Seeker’s Story Part 1.
Chapter 3 – What is Yoga?
Yoga Sutra – The Seeker’s Story
Chapter 4 – Theory of Creation | Yoga Philosophy
I came across the yogi the next day supporting himself just on his forearms, upside down and with his legs flipped over coming down towards his head. He looked a bit like a scorpion in that position I remember thinking at the time.
‘Okay well something I have always wondered about and I am sure so many people have wondered about is how was the world made?’ were the words I started the conversation when we met the next day and after he had sat down.
‘Nice to see you too Jake! Hello, how are you?’ giggled the yogi.
‘Oh yes sorry. Um yes how are you? I am fine.’ I replied and I smiled back at him.
‘I am fine too.’ He replied. ‘It is a really good question. I was just teasing you – it would have been nice to start with a hello you know!’
‘I know, sorry. So anyway what does yoga philosophy say about all this. About the creation I mean.’ I said eagerly. I really have always wondered about where we all came from. As a kid I had asked my school teachers, my mum, my dad, my uncle Pete and my grandma all the time. And as I grew up I studied so much science and read so many books but I had never heard anything that really convinced that that is where we come from. I wondered if this philosophical yogi had any ideas.
‘Well what do you mean by made Jake?’ asked yogi ji.
‘You know how did we all get here?’
‘Well it wasn’t made as you so put it. In the beginning there was just something called chaos. Good and evil, light and dark were all mixed together. But the light wanted to exist, it wanted to be free from the darkness. It wanted its own independence, its own life. It was kind of like a spirit that wanted the separation of good from evil, dark from light, happiness from sadness.
‘Ah yes! And this light was?’ I asked.
‘This light was us Jake. Human beings. It is us who have the desire to live. The world we know, that we live in has slowly been moving from darkness towards the light.’
‘You mean that we are all essentially turning into nicer human beings?’
‘Well kind of. We all have good and bad in each and every one of us. But the good is becoming stronger than the bad as time is going on.’
‘Explain what you mean?’
‘Okay Jake this will take some time for you to understand. Can you be patient with me in understanding this?’
‘I have all the time in the world for you yogi ji. The pace of life in your village is so slow and I feel so unrushed as a result. Besides I am on holiday he he.’
‘Good okay’ smiled the yogi. ‘Let us begin. Can you explain to me using science what feelings are? I mean is there a scientific explanation for your sentiments, your happiness, your sadness, your excitement?’
I thought for a while. And then I thought long and hard. And then I thought even harder. I knew about cells and bones and the organs like the brain, the heart and the lungs. But my honest answer was no. I did not want to look stupid but I did want to be honest with him.
‘Yogi ji no I cannot find an answer in science for my feelings or for the feelings of other people for that matter.’
‘Okay now listen. And listen very carefully. Your feelings come from your spirit. That is something much deeper than your body which is made up of cells. Everything in your body can be explained by science and that is because your body is made up of matter. Matter is very different to spirit. It is your spirit that carries your feelings.’
‘Okay yogi ji so spirit and matter are different. This is very interesting to know but how does this help me understand the explanation I asked for about the good and bad in every one of us?’
‘Now just be a little bit more patient Jake. If you can, just be aware that our human bodies are made up of matter like organs and cells, but that deeper within there is our true essence, our feelings, our spirit.’
‘So there are two parts to us?’
‘Kind of Jake. However your spirit and your body are linked.’
‘And most of us forget that we are the spirit, the feeling and just remember that we are this body, that we are matter.‘
‘Well yes I do think that I am this body.’
‘Yes you are this body Jake. And you are also something much deeper.’
‘My spirit, my soul, I guess I have heard it being called too.’
‘Yes Jake but it is not something that belongs to you that you can call it my soul or my spirit it is who you actually are. You are your feelings Jake.’
‘Wow that is very deep!’
The yogi smiled.
‘Now the thing with matter is that it can be very beautiful.’
‘What do you mean yogi ji?’
‘There are many beautiful things in our world Jake. And there is an attraction that each one of us has to these things. Now this attraction is not a bad thing – in fact it is nice. The ideal world would be very beautiful obviously. And this beauty makes us feel happy. Now the problem Jake is that we can develop too much of an attraction to some of the beautiful things to the point where we want to own them completely and take the beauty for ourselves. We can then not want to share. We can become greedy over the beauty. We want to own things. The matter is not the essence of us. But being too attracted to it brings out our dark side. We are happy when we just sit back and enjoy the beautiful things in this world and move back to the light.’
‘You mean like I how I enjoy just sitting over there looking at the lake and admiring all the beautiful things in nature.’
‘Yes exactly Jake, you are enjoying everything beautiful in this world and you are not trying to own the lake and stop the other villagers here from enjoying it. You are understanding that the best things in life are not just free for yourself but free for everyone to enjoy.’
‘We have an expression back in England Yogi Ji – the best things in life are free.’
‘Very good Jake. Yes it is a nice expression.’
‘Thank you’ I replied. However I was still curious about my original question. So I asked the yogi ‘Okay so I understand now that if we are too attracted to beautiful things it brings about our greed but explain what you were saying earlier about the good and bad in every one of us.’
‘Okay Jake so now that you have understood all of these concepts it will be very easy to explain to you. You see the darkness that is inside every one of us is this greed towards material things that happens. It causes jealousy and distances us from other human beings. And the light is when you enjoy the beautiful things in this world, like the lake that you so love sitting next to, and want to share this beauty with other people. This is not greed or jealousy at all but happiness and sharing.’
‘So liking something beautiful is not bad at all?’
‘Of course not Jake, that is just human, but wanting it so badly that you let greed step in will then separate you from others and takes away from our idea of yoga or union.’
‘That is nice I do enjoy looking at the beautiful things in life.’
‘That is good Jake. And now do you understand the yoga philosophy answer to why we are here? We are all part of the light that wants to admire all that is beautiful including ourselves but there is this greed towards the material beauty which we must overcome in order to live the life which brings out our true nature of happiness and sharing.’
‘So we were put on earth to share yogi ji?’
‘Essentially yes. We were put here to live in harmony with each other. This greed has got in the way and we must all overcome it in order to move ahead as human beings.’
‘So there is no good person our bad person in this world?’
‘Exactly Jake. There is only a light part and dark part in each and every one of us.’
‘I am starting to understand some things now’ I replied.
‘I am glad Jake’ laughed the yogi to himself.
‘Okay so tomorrow we meet again. Is this time still good for you?’
‘Yes’ I told yogi ji.
I strolled back to the lake once more and just gazed into the water. That was a very hard day of serious thinking. I had always wondered if anyone was truly bad or truly good and I think yogi ji had answered my thoughts. I did definitely agree with him. Everyone I have met in my life is essentially good. I feel like we all have a conscience and we all know what is good and what is bad and furthermore people do feel guilty when they realise that they have done something bad. But we do all have the potential to act out of our greed or jealousy so yes I guessed that we do all have some bad in us.
I thought too about what the yogi had said about us moving towards the light. The history that I had studied in school talked a lot about how our ancestors were ruled by force under the Romans, under Genghis Khan and others and how in time the system became fairer to the point where eventually people could vote for whoever they wanted to rule. There is still corruption in the world but much less than there was. Well it is nice to think that the world is improving and that we human beings are the ones who are making it happen.
And as regards my question about where we all come from and how do we get here, it had become apparent from our conversation that we are actually made up of feelings, and that we come from a place not of physical things, but a place of feelings.
This really was a lot to take in. I stayed by the lake till almost sunset that day just staring into the water. I have always felt calm around water and definitely felt very calm by sunset that day.
I walked into the Rai’s house that evening with very little to say and with a very nice feeling of peace.
‘Good evening Jake’ said Mr Rai as I walked in.
‘Good evening’ I replied.
We exchanged a few pleasantries over dinner and I retired to bed early that night. I had a strange feeling in my head that evening. I felt like the way I saw the world had been rearranged.
[Hope you enjoyed this chapter on the Theory of Creation? and stay tuned for Chapter 4: Reason next week]
About Namit Kathoria
Namit Kathoria is a trained Clinical Pharmacist and master Yogi . He combines this vast knowledge of health and healing into the yoga that he teaches. He currently holds yoga retreats in Spain at Yoga Sutra Shala in Sayalonga. To read more please visit www.retreats-yoga.com.