Neti! neti!

From the time of the Upanishads, India rejects the world as it is and devalues life as it reveals itself to the eyes of the sage: ephemeral, painful, illusory. A concept such as this leads neither to nihilism nor pessimism. This world is rejected, this life depreciated, because it is known that something else exists, beyond becoming, beyond temporality, beyond suffering. Neti! neti! cries the sage of the Upanishads: “No! no! Thou art not this, nor art thou that!”. In other words, you do not belong to the fallen cosmos, as you see it now, you are not necessarily engulfed in this creation.

Human suffering has its roots in an illusion: the man thinks, in fact, that his psycho-mental life — the activity of their senses, feelings, thoughts and volition — is identical to the spirit, the ego. It confuses two realities so opposite and wholly autonomous, among which there is no real connection, but only illusory relationships, since the psycho-mental experience belongs not to the spirit, but to the nature. The misery of human life is not due to divine punishment, or an original sin, but ignorance. Not any ignorance, but only ignorance of the true nature of mind, ignorance that makes us confuse the spirit with the psycho-mental experience.

“Freedom” of suffering that is the goal of all philosophies and of all Indian mysticism. Whether this deliverance is obtained directly through “knowledge” (according to the teachings of Vedanta and Samkhya, for example) or by means of techniques (as Yoga and the majority of Buddhist schools hold), the fact remains that no value unless it pursues the “salvation” of man. “Through knowledge” means practicing the withdrawal, which will have the effect of him recover their own midst. so that they coincide with his “true spirit” (purusha, atman). Knowledge is transformed into meditation and metaphysics becomes redemptive.

No philosophy, no Indian gnosis falls into despair. The disclosure of “pain” as the law of existence there may, on the contrary, be regarded as the conditio sine qua non of the liberation: this universal suffering is therefore intrinsically. a positive value, stimulating. It constantly reminds the wise and the ascetic that but one way remains for him to attain to freedom and bliss – withdrawal from the world, detachment from possessions and ambitions, radical isolation.

Mircea Eliade – Yoga: Immortality and Freedom

Published by Diogenes

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