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"Ishvara" is a term often translated as 'god' or even 'God'. But the sanskrit word itself means "own choice"; that is, this is what the philosophers term 'the uncaused cause', the theists term 'God', the Gnostics (Yogis) call the deepest possible self-experience. This self-experience is beyond what is available via sensory and cognitive modes. It flashes forth in Samadhi... Sama-dhi (Same-seeing)... that is, that which looks is the same as that which is seen. This is also termed by some as the non-dual.

From a phenomenological point of view (Yoga), Samadhi is co-incident with a self-evident ending of the quest for an absolute knowledge. This seeing is also a being (that is, the subject and object are indistinguishable from eachother). Because this is 'non-dual', it cannot be explicated in dualistic terms. And since thought is explicitly dualistic, it cannot be rendered in any thought form. All that is possible is the helping to ready someone to 'see for themselves'.

For those who have not 'seen' via Samadhi, they are bound by the dualistic notions such as a God who is apart from 'her/his' creation etc.

by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 12:48:00 PM EST
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You have concentrated on Yoga and given a theistic and non-theistic interpretations of Ishvara, but there should be more? Up to six different views of Ishvara?

sandalwood:

Nyaya: Sets forth the rules and limits of thought/logic/language
Vaisheshika: Analysis (an ancient atomic theory is part of this approach)
Samkhya: An atheistic, dualistic approach which posits an essential difference between matter and mind
Yoga: Gnosis
Mimamsa: A theistic approach
Vedanta: Posits an essential non-duality
Is it correct to associate "the uncaused cause" to Samkhya [or is it Vaisheshika?], "god" to Mimamsa and samadhi with Yoga?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 01:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Other than Ishvara, there are also many other terms... eg Paramatman, which means the highest self, or the permanent, the deathless, the one outside/transcendent to space/time etc.

Other than the 6 classical views there is also Tantra and Buddha's teaching if we look at pan-indian approaches in general.

What they all have in common is a moving towards Moksha (liberation, enlightenment, non-dual etc.). They designate this in many ways... eg Brahman... the list is very long because of 5000 years of artistic elaboration of the same, one principle.

"the uncaused cause"  could be linked to Vaisheshika, since it is analytic in approach. god and mimansa is ok, but god not as an ontological reality, but as a goal in the mind of the practitioner with whom he/she can commune while making her/his way to Moksha.

Samadhi applies to Yoga, and also Vedanta... however, Samadhi comes in different forms, partial and full. The partial form could be applicable to Mimamsa as the practitioner can 'become one' with her/his chosen deity (god).

Really, it is such a complex system which so many inter-connections. You ask a good question, but the answer is not a straight forward one.

by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 01:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, this reminds me of Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways. He thought he was proving the existence of god, but given this
"the uncaused cause"  could be linked to Vaisheshika, since it is analytic in approach. god and mimansa is ok, but god not as an ontological reality, but as a goal in the mind of the practitioner with whom he/she can commune while making her/his way to Moksha.
it appears to me that Thomas Aquinas was just enumerating five ways to "quieten the mind of the practitioner", and not at all about ontology (the study of "what really is").

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 01:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"it appears to me that Thomas Aquinas was just enumerating five ways to "quieten the mind of the practitioner", and not at all about ontology (the study of "what really is")"

Perhaps so, but his message would have had a difficult time being heard in a millieu not especially given to complementarity. I would say that his approach amounts to trying to get out of the mode of Nyaya-Vasheshika (Rationality) which was uncomfortably entwined with Mimamsa (Theism), without the balancing effects of Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta.

by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 02:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
it appears to me that Thomas Aquinas was just enumerating five ways to "quieten the mind of the practitioner", and not at all about ontology (the study of "what really is").

Depending on your point of view, there may not be much of a real difference here.

In a very obvious way, any conception of 'what really is' is going to be filtered and defined by the mind of the practitioner. So quieting the mind could perhaps lead to a less disturbed filter and a more realistic experience of 'what really is.'

Whether 'what really is' still makes sense after that probably depends on the mind doing the filtering.

How likely is it that we perceive all of reality? The less we perceive, the more our ontology is going to be about the limits of our minds and not about reality itself.

Unfortunately we don't know how much - if anything - we're missing. We can assume that we perceive all there is, but it's quite a bold step, and when Reality Turns Weird - whether it's non-locality or reports of things that shouldn't ever happen - it becomes harder to accept that as an accurate belief.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 10:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"How likely is it that we perceive all of reality?"

That is the question isn't it... indeed, how much of ourselves do we perceive? Exactly who is asking the question? And not just whom, but what asks? What am I? This is the inquiry of Yoga.

Depending on the mode of knowledge, whether sensory, cognitive or non-dual (Samadhi), different 'pictures' of self/world arise. Anyone can put that to the test, within themselves.

by sandalwood on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 02:27:15 PM EST
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