According to the mainstream scientific view, the difference between the mind and the Self is illusory and that mind equals the Self. According to this idea, whatever benefits come about from Yoga is from its physical āsanas and the changes in attitude and behavior result from the practices of yamas and niyamas. The rest of the eight limbs of the Yoga-sūtra are merely an analysis of the thought process and that self-examination is helpful in achieving focus; mathematics, music, dance, or theatre may also facilitate focus and creativity.
But Yoga claims to offer much more than intellectual, emotional, or psychological benefits. According to the ancient Yogic texts, the practitioner not only becomes creative but can also hope to access extraordinary knowledge and intuition about reality. At Yoga’s end are answers about the meaning of not just one’s own life but the larger mystery of reality. We will address these aspects of Yoga and also approach the question of the Self from the perspectives of quantum theory, neuroscience, and AI. These various fields of inquiry are finding out that scientific theories leave out the observer and, therefore, one must either broaden the science or use insights of Yoga and the Vedas.
Offered as 2 satsangs and 3 afternoon workshops. (subject to change)
Subhash Kak is Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University. He has translated several texts from Sanskrit to English, done extensive work on the emerging science of consciousness, and discovered a long-lost astronomy of the Vedic period which he later published. He currently serves on Indian Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Council, and was awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, Padma Shri, in 2019.