Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (Bollingen Series, Vol. LVI)

By Mircea Eliade

In this landmark booklet the popular student of faith Mircea Eliade lays the foundation for a Western realizing of Yoga, exploring how its guideline, that of freedom, contains final on this planet with out letting oneself be exhausted via such "conditionings" as time and historical past. Drawing on years of research and adventure in India, Eliade offers a complete survey of Yoga in conception and perform from its earliest foreshadowings within the Vedas throughout the 20th century. the topics mentioned contain Patañjali, writer of the Yoga-sutras; yogic suggestions, equivalent to focus "on a unmarried Point," postures, and respiration self-discipline; and Yoga in terms of Brahmanism, Buddhism, Tantrism, Oriental alchemy, mystical erotism, and shamanism.

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33 After Maspero, pp. 220-21 . 34 Ibid. , p. 229. 60 n. concepts for Autonomy Holdmg the breath is practiced specially to treatment definite maladies. a6 "One harmomzes the breath, then swallows it and holds it so long as pos­ sible, one meditates at the affected half, by way of notion one pours the breath upon it and by way of notion makes the breath struggle the illness by means of trying to strength its manner in the course of the obstructed passage. whilst the breath is ex­ hausted, one expels it, then starts agam from twenty to fifty occasions; one stops while one sees sweat runmng over the affected half. One repeats the approach day-by-day at midmght or on the 5th watch, until eventually a remedy is ef­ fected. " 36 In neo-Taoistic perform the position of concept turns into extra very important. Ssu-ma Ch'eng-cheng writes in his "Discourse": "Those who take up the breaths . . . needs to persist with them by way of suggestion once they input their viscera, in order that the humors ( of the viscera) can be penetrated ( by means of the breaths ) , every one ( breath) conformably with the ( internal organ) over which i t presides, and hence they could movement during the complete physique and healing all ill­ nesses. " 37 it's possible that, no less than m its neo-Taoistic shape, this self-discipline of the breaths used to be stimulated by way of tantric Yoga, yes concurrently respira­ tory and sexual practices reached Chma as early because the 7th century of our period. as Dr. Jean Filliozat certainly concludes in desire of a borrowing from India: "Taoism couldn't borrow a inspiration of the physiological function of the breath during this systematized shape from historical Chmese medicme, for historical chinese language medication mcludes no such concept. " 39 nevertheless, there have been in China yes archaic thoughts, shamamc in constitution, the aim of which was once to mimic the breathing of animals. 4D The "deep and silent" breathmg of ecstasy resembled the breathing of ammals dur­ ing hzbernation, and it really is renowned that the spontaneity and fullness of animal existence used to be, for the chinese language, the pre-eminent instance of an lifestyles in excellent concord with the cosmos. Marcel Granet forty-one admirably syn­ thesizes the at the same time natural and non secular functionality of this embry­ onic breathing, attribute either one of natural completeness and of ecstasy: "He who might steer clear of ardour and vertigo needs to discover ways to breathe no longer from the throat on my own, yet with the complete physique, from the heels up. 35 Ibid. , p. S6S f. S6 Ibid. , p. 864. 88 See under, p. four 1 five . S 7 Ib1d. , p. 869 sg "Taoisme et Yoga," Dan Viet-nam, I I I ( Aug. , forty See M. El! ade, Le Chamanisme, pp. 402 ff. four 1 l. a. Pensee chinoise, pp. five 1 four- 1 five . · sixty one 1949) , 1 20, Y O G A : I M MORTALITY A N D F R E E DO M basically this deep and silent breathmg refines and ennches [man's] sub­ stance. it really is, additionally, the breathing that establishes itself in the course of either hiberna tion and ecstasy. via respiring with the neck . . . stretched, one succeeds, i f i could so exhibit it, in laminating the breath and qumtessen­ tializing its vivifymg energy. internal circulate The perfect objective is to set up a type of of the very important ideas, of this kind of nature that the person can stay completely impervious and endure the ordeal of immersion with­ impermeable, self reliant , invulnerable, as soon as one out damage.

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