Unless we know it we cannot be yogis. A catholic will say “to establish the Catholic Church all over the world”, Marx says “establishment of a classless, propertyless, stateless society called Communism all over the world.” But what is the purpose of life? The purpose is the same as the raison d’etre of history, first-hand knowledge of reality called Atmanubhava. Collections of men called nations make history; if you study the studies of Montesquieu, and the latest effort is by Toynbee, you will see that it is.
If anything helps towards the final purpose it is legitimate. If anything keeps man away from it, it is illegitimate. Every conscious activity is purposive. If we see the leaves driven by the wind, then the wind is not conscious and therefore there is no purpose in driving the leaves either into geometrical forms or in any other way. But every conscious effort is directed towards some purpose. And man is conscious, and his life is conscious and reflects consciousness, so it must have a purpose. If life has no purpose, then it will be the rule of the jungle in the world. If life has no purpose, then there can be no liberty or freedom either for the individual or groups and it will all be chaos. Both nature and spirit of man revolt against chaos. Disease is when the elements of the body go into a state of chaos. And the spirit of man is totally opposed to chaos.
Vedanta defines the main object of life as first-hand knowledge of reality, called Atmanubhava. It is not open to thought; that is the main thesis. It is not open to imagination, to inference to direct evidence or to any other form of logical evidence.
Why? (1) Thought has diverse and object contradictory ways. Napoleon said when he was in Vienna he consulted five medical experts and each gave a separate view. This is true of many cases. In politics, has it been accepted by all that democracy is the best form of Government? There are so many arguments. By means of reason, man has not come to a single universal conclusion. By experience he has, but not by reason. The discovery of Copernicus and Einstein are not discoveries of the mind, but by experience through mathematics. So thought has diverse and often contradictory ways.
(2) Wriggling in logic of thought does not present truth in all its nakedness. Reason takes one aspect of what they consider truth, not the whole and total truth. Take the Communist’s argument “We must have a revolution because, if we have a revolution, each and every man will have enough to eat and enjoy, and enough leisure.” They are considering only one pattern of truth, and neglecting a great part of truth. What right have we to deprive those of life who are at present enjoying it? And they are not to live again according to the philosophy of the Communists.
The real life is devoted to the conquest of truth. If life is devoted to the satisfaction of the senses, in what respect is man better than a cat? Pundit Baijnath used to say: “Every person in the world speaks of duality. And if the Veda also spoke of duality, where is the superiority of the Veda? It is just what any farmer says.” So the real life, life shorn of all glamour, of all desire of pomp and power, devoted to the quest of eternal truth, to get first-hand knowledge of Reality, must transcend thought actively and enter the region of jnana called intuition. This is a clear-cut statement of the philosophy of Vedanta.
The real, that is, purified one-pointed life devoted to the quest of God or first-hand knowledge of reality, must transcend thought actively (not only in theory) and enter into the region of samadhi or jnana. Until this is accepted, we have not known the philosophy of Shri Bhagavadpada. In science, reason plays no part; it is experiment. Science is a-rational. Logic integrates all the psychological experiences of the conscious life, not of the super-conscious life, and explains and interprets them. Logic does not contact the supramental experiences, and the region of advaita.
If you want to understand this matter, the only proof of the existence of Brahman is the Shruti. Then what is the scope of logical reasoning according to Shri Shankara? Do a little research work – “Brahma Sutra” Book 2, section 1, Sutra 11. In the commentary Shri Shankara comments on this problem. If you can, turn to it. Also Book 2, section 1, Sutra 6 and Book 2, section 1, Sutra 9. In the commentary on these Sutras, Shri Shankara has defined his position on what logic is used for, how far it can go, and what it cannot do. Do this research, and give it to the Sangha.
We call the yogic practices “the effort to penetrate into the inner Court of Divinity in our being.” In our being is, first, the region of wolves, tigers, cats and so forth, our passions, desires, prejudices, needs, instincts. Second, is the intellect court. Then the moral court, dharma. Then the court of self- annihilation. Then the temple of Divinity. Now, samadhi goes beyond the conscious experiences and produces the light of aparokshanubhuti, the direct experience of Reality.
The holy philosophy is not anti-intellectual. No one makes more use of reasoning and logic than Shri Bhagavadpada. And what logic! The world trembles when he appears to challenge the intellect of the world. The holy philosophy is not ant-intellectual but intellect-transcending. “Go from here perfectly fearless. If there is any fear, it is in the range of duality; it is not real.”