Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Abhyasa and Vairaagya- Part I

Post my Bored blog, I noticed a few things in my daily reading which is a solution to some of the problems mentioned there. Oops I forgot to mention, I've been reading Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. A book written by BKS Iyengar, the famous Yoga exponent. Patanjali taks about 2 aspects of life, to achieve peace and satisfaction.

a) Abhyasa: Abhyasa, is nothing but repetive learning and practice. As to what Iyengar says, one must never stop learning and practising what one has learned. Learning is categorised into 5 states:
1. Learning by watching,reading,congnitively thinking and reasoning.
2. Learning due to misperception and misconception.
3. Learning during sleep(ie.. in dreams)
4. Learning from memory
5. Learning due to Experience.

All these 5 learnings are to be learnt and practiced in fields of one's own interest. As to Patanjali, he states that if you do not know what you are interested in and cannot learn and practice about that subject indepth, then living is a waste(woah this is scary).

Again he subcategorises Abhyasa into various levels

1. Mrudu(Soft): One is just experiencing the topic: It is just like a beginner from college who touches and feels his way into topics which he has just been reading
2. Madhyama(Intermediate): Here abhyasa becomes usable, that is you start using the skills in a limited manner. People who are in the industry for about 3-5 years fall under this category.
3. Kathina(Expert): When you are in a state of taking decesions on the topic with relative ease, then you are in this state. This is the most dangerous state of all, as one thinks, he/she knows everything. What we know is just 20% the rest 80% is the critical knowledge, which comes to use only in special cases.
4. Samadhi(Eternal): Here one becomes totally oblivious to how the topic is being dealt by him/her. i.e.. It becomes a subconcious reaction.

I can relate the above 4 states to a driving experience. When one learns to drive, they are aware of all senses, about pusing the clutch, when to change gears, the sweaty back et al.. Once you can drive, you are aware, but not to a large extent of identifying pushing gears etc.. You concentrate more on where you can take the car, is the gap between two other vehicles large enough for your car to go. You learn to parallel park and reverse, you are still aware in these cases but not in basic driving. You reach an expert stage when you can do a parallel park and drive with ease, but remember, you are still not aware of the pitfalls when driving at high speeds, on highways, high speed through narrow lanes, or for that matter of fact in a n emergency situation, like floods, say in bad terrains. Samadhi is reached when you can drive in any condition, sleeting rain, sand storms, ugly road(not just basd ones), impossible terrain, horrible traffic, and also do all this with ease and talk to the person casually without cursing any situation.

So all one has to do is take a topic of interest as Patanjali says and try to spend most of the time in Levels 1,2 and 4 and spend the least amount of time in Level 3. This ensures a continuous learning and expertise in a subject of your choice. With this one can reach true learning.

Long enough on this one, tommorow in Part II, I'll discuss Vairaagya(Renunciation).


At 3:36 AM, Blogger Shalin said...

Interesting thoughts. As I relate it to work - I think this applies very well to Technology. Interestingly at no point you know enough, esp. when you are working towards creating technology rather than using it. Work Experiences should only highlight ability to tackle challenges that you encounter rather than ability tackle a challenge which you have already faced. In this fast and idea driven industry everyday is nearly either a flood, an earthquake or pouring rains (driving analogy).

will look forward for part II. cheers!


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