(c) Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham.
All Rights Reserved.
By Durgadas, Ved Kovid, AYT
The Internet Age and The Age of Superficiality
Where we formally trained and gained our qualifications and skills, today we can google them and become experts, without any real accreditation or validation. This causes many issues such as cyberchondria and even cryptomnesia. We muddle our minds up with tidbit pseudo-facts and even forget the origin of them as a result of this, not allowing our minds to properly metabolise these thoughts and impressions.
I have used suggestive techniques many times with sociopathic people and others to test their innate knowledge. Quite often they repeat to you exactly what you have taught or told them and they treat such as an original concept or something they’ve “read in a scientific study” or somewhere else. This is a good example of how our minds are not properly processing our thoughts and our vivekagni or mental metabolism and discernment is running low. As a result, our intellect becomes dull, not sharp.
In today’s world, it is filled with religious bigots that continuously fall back on their scanty knowledge of philosophy (usually, as with Pentecostal Christianity, a few tenets they’ll argue, as with any brainwashing cult) to debate anything – mathematics, medicine or otherwise. Others go along with ‘fad-diets’ as a kind of religion, without any actual education in these matters and think they can become ‘weight-loss experts’ and ‘healthy eaters’, placing themselves as authorities above others, due to their poor lifestyles and actual failure in life itself, but unwillingness to admit it!
Along with this psyche, our society has lost all rationale and believes that it can ‘train’ yoga, dance teachers, martial arts instructors etc. that traditionally, like personal trainers today, had a background or training rooted in proper medical science of some sort. If one doesn’t have this and teaches these systems, one runs the risk of causing harm to their students and also not understanding their personal limits, dietary requirements etc.
We have culturally misappropriated aspects of traditional disciplines that took traditional masters decades to master, such as yoga and meditation, which have become cultural or social cliches! This further removes us from the true organic roots we wish to be part of and instead turn such into a Hollywood-styled fad of the modern pop-culture regimes we seek to transcend. The irony is we find nothing wrong with doing this, but seek to elevate ourselves to a level above all transgressions, social and traditional.
Due to all of this, we become ‘armchair experts’ in various fields, arguing with our Doctors, practitioners and teachers. Respect fades at home and then eventually declines further and we apply this to our workplace, having no respect for our seniors, lecturers, teachers, health care professionals or even partners. And this has become a global epidemic.
When we ‘let out fingers do the talking‘, we actually allow our ego-complex rather than our intellects to be stimulated and affect the emotional mental complex. The intellect doesn’t properly discern thoughts, pushed by the ego’s newly-found bits of wisdom (which in our minds is like an incomplete philosophy or a few tenets known without the full system or foundation). We then seek to defend our diminutive (and incomplete) knowledge to the world.
Vata pushing Pitta
Part of the issue we have is that we live in a fast-paced society, one where there is stress, anxiety and excess rushing around as a result of fast-foods, processed foods and ready goods. We have no time for bothering about using our brains to write things in a diary or keep our minds sharp, since we rely on technology, which in addition to the myriad of advertising campaigns, bright lights and colours on our laptop screens, smart phones etc., simply add to our stress or aggravates vata.
Pitta is also prominent in our society. There is aggression and the need for drive, desire, fame and fortune everywhere. Our minds are constantly affected by vata which pushes pitta out of control as well. This makes for a very difficult cocktail!
Vata pushing pitta can be explained simply in our biological complex as wind pushing a fire. It moves the fire and by oxygenating it, can fuel it and cause it to spread further, causing further burnout, as well as when being in excess, can blow the fire out altogether (giving rise to anxiety, hyperactivity as issues like OCD etc. and insomnia). We start to suffer gastrointestinal issues due to nervous indigestion (such as constipation and diarrhea) which can lead to further complications and neglect our diets and other issues such as aches and pains etc. (psychosomatic conditions as fibromyalgia). Modern Yoga regimes due to forceful pranayama (breathing techniques and control), forced stretches and forceful prolonged poses can also aggravate the humours and cause these issues – starting with vata and then vitiating the other doshas as a result.
Due to the social fads and pop-trends we are obsessed with, these also become addictions for us on a social level as well. Yoga for example has become stereotyped as a kind of quasi-chiropractic model, not even similar to the historical Hatha-Yoga militant exercise regimes and specific complimentary practices and concerns that went along with such. This was one of the reasons my Vedic teacher, Vamadeva Shastri himself started educating the yoga community on the deeper issues here, relative to Ayurveda, not modern pseudo-systems as chiropractics and Maharishi Ayurveda .
Other trends such as conspiracy theories that are now available on the internet and spread like a virus are causing mass-hysteria also, especially due to our age of drugs, both biochemical and narcotic, which we have to question how such affect us genetically when we pass these on in our bloodlines.
One of the biggest issues today (this especially applies to females who naturally have an emotional / hormonal complex) in Yoga circles is that people read something, suffer from cryptomnesia as a result of taking narcotic substances contraindicated in Yoga and Ayurveda (unless first purified and used therapeutically), then feel they’re masters of their newly found knowledge or plagiarised wisdom.
It reveals an impure mind, unable to discern properly (traditionally, even taking of foods as garlic, onions, tea and coffee, red meats or alcohol could affect the mind – let alone narcotic drugs and impure substances). Thus, I won’t defend the use of drugs including marijuana. Yogis who took it in India historically were like today’s hippies and not the mainstream or orthodox. When used in preparations, it was purified and made nontoxic and minute amounts administered, often in tablets. As for pain, Ayurveda and Yoga have numerous methods and substances (tablets, herbal decoctions, pastes etc.) which I’ve found very effective for patients and don’t harm the mind and cause delusion and dull it as these unpurified narcotic substances do. Such are used for chronic and acute pains relative to injuries, arthritis, gout etc. Numerous analgesic herbs and formulas that don’t cause any psychological derangement or side-effects have been used for thousands of years – and this is from the homeland of marijuana (India), where effects were studied for thousands of years!
The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali (IV.1) themselves state the narcotic effects of some herbs, relative to the sensations that one has attained mystic powers of levitation, visions (hallucinogenic) and such. Ayurveda notes the ashuddhi (impure) effects of even herbs such as asafetida (hing), let alone marijuana and others when consumed!
If we culturally appropriated marijuana and opium, who not other indigenous analgesic methods as well? While acupuncture has mainly placebo effects relative to curative properties, it has a long-standing history relative to anesthesia in the orient, for example, as also acupressure, which TCM and Ayurveda both used for pain-management (again, despite the fact that marijuana’s properties were known, it was native to these areas and cultivated there!).
The US has also assessed the pros and cons of legalising marijuana and also social effects. This is often ignored by other nations and regions which have seen greater issues due to legalistaion of such substances.
The issue really is with a lack of proper education. As for meditation and mantra, we seek to read a book or walk away from our lifestyles and have the same effects of these that were experienced by history’s most advanced yogis and seers! Of course, we ignore the traditional system of yogic psychology as well as the delusional, distracted and hallucinogenic aspects that were apart from both true spiritual experiences and true states of calm. We live in a world of short-lived placebo-effects or quick altered states of consciousness, as we also continue with the use of narcotic drugs and substances.
A Retrospective Vision
When we begin to see the subliminal causes and insidious aspects of our culture, we can develop a proper retrospective vision on both a personal and historical as also even social level. We can begin to contemplate why our ancestors and the ancients left us with more complex and intricate systems that we have with our pasteurised appropriated models in today’s world and also the importance of them and understanding the ‘bigger picture’.
This means that we must move away from the cycles of mainstream culture and start our own investigations into traditions and also the past. We must be happy within ourselves and start to examine our surroundings and what we truly want and need out of life, rather than what society tells us we must have (vata pushing pitta traits). We can start to avoid processed foods, fast-paced lifestyles and begin even writing, calling and talking to people over texting and hiding behind the veil of social media, Apps and texts.
We can start to develop methods of yogic dharana or concentration before commencing meditation, rather than walking into a room and pretending to shut our minds off for a few minutes, or to have an ‘ego of teaching’ (as Sri Ramakrishna, the great Hindu mystic of the 18th Century called it), before we have perfected our own disciplines. This means we must examine deeply our own sciences and what we teach and begin to embrace and live it historically, scientifically and embrace all facets of it, not simply the superficial or pasteurised aspects, such as has occurred for example with modern New-Age Ayurveda and Yoga traditions!
To learn more about Traditional Yoga and Ayurveda, note my book Agni Rahasya: Secrets of the Celestial Fire in Yoga and Ayurveda.