This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models
December 26 - 28, 2007
Yoga and personal growth
C.S. Udhayakumar Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, Coimbatore
We are living in an age of tremendous pressures, both outwardly and more so inwardly, of anxiety and monotony. Ours is an age of stress, stress related life styles; anxiety, anxiety related activities; boredom, boredom related living. Our lives have become frighteningly superficial, we never pause and look at ourselves and our constant chattering; we have made our lives miserable, a prison and have invented ways and means to escape from this, only to get caught in another cage of our own making, a little more comfortable, but a cage nevertheless. We may be wealthy beyond compare, have umpteen degrees behind our names, have a top, secure position in an already degenerating society but without self knowledge, without this deep understanding of oneself and therefore radical transformation of the human psyche, our life is in vain. Self knowledge is the basis, the foundation of all that is good, noble and creative in life. We seem to have taken for granted that our life would / should move forward in a certain fixed, rigid and set pattern birth, childhood, schooling, studies, cram a lot of stuff into the brain, pass examinations, join college or university, obtain a degree, hunt for a job, settle down in a 9 to 5 routine, meet a boy or a girl, get married, breed a couple of children or more, save money, buy or construct a house, add some more material comforts and luxuries, then retirement, old age, illness and finally, death! In this life, we do of course experience moments of happiness and joy scattered here and there, never ending search for peace and a lot of sorrow and anguish! For most of us, this is life! Apart from this, we know nothing. Absolutely nothing! Yoga, in the true sense of the word, is an art and science of living life in all its glory, depth and grandeur. It is also that which helps to open up and awaken the body-mind organism to its fullest possible potential. We have plenty of time to pursue careers, spend enormous amounts of energy, time and resources to earn a living, make money, do business, be employed and do umpteen other things, day in and day out for the most part of our life but for that which really and truly matters, that which is the foundation, the very ground of all existence we have no time! Isn’t it a tragedy, a grave tragedy if we don’t see this? Do we care enough? What will change us? Can anything really affect us deeply and bring about a transformation in our minds and hearts? What will make us turn our attention within? Is it possible to live a healthy, sane, meaningful, happy life full of deep understanding, love and beauty? How are we going to find out? Are we really interested in all this?