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Yoga in India Is Not The Same As Yoga In The West : Chad Herst

Posted May 05 2012 12:00am

Krishna_arjuna3 It has been several months since I last dropped in at Chad Herst's  Mysore class in the Mission SFO.

However , he does keep his blog updated regularly. I enjoy keeping up with it as he addresses questions & topics that have been bandied about in the blogosphere .

The difference being that he writes from a very scholarly , erudite & calm manner ( i.e. no sensationalism or profanity necessary to drive home points ). Pretty much the Chad I have known from the couple of times I have seen him in SFO.

This particular post sheds light on the curent dichotomy between what was the classic Indian yogi , the new India & the West.

He describes Classical Indian Dharma versus the Western Path as : " In India, the sense of individuality and uniqueness is not valued in the same way it is valued in the West.  From a very young age, what is valued is one’s relationship to one’s role in society.  If you are a brahman, then, indeed, that’s what you are.  That’s the role you are to play out in society.  

Relatively speaking, life tends to happen to people in India compared to the West.  It isn’t chosen the way it’s chosen here.  And while that is starting to change, now, the change is slow.  So, for example, it wasn’t until recently and in certain very small pockets of Indian culture that one would even think to choose one’s partner in marriage.  That was determined by the caste of the individuals, the parents, and often with the aid of a family astrologer.

One’s role is called dharma, or duty.  A major theme in The Bhagvad Gita, is performing one’s duty to caste.  If that means fighting one’s family members for the sake of upholding the universal law, or santana dharma, then it must be done, like it or not.  

The essence of the training of the yogi in India is the elimination of likes and dislikes, of the overly identified sense of self, called asmita in the Yoga Sutras. And, in turn, identifying and surrendering to the role the society has put upon him or her.

 What we in the West think of as the creative faculty to be at choice in how we live our lives is completely eliminated.  Surrendering to one’s role-be it one’s role in society or in the family unit-is the transformational breakthrough that’s asked of the aspirant. "

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