Speaker: Yogiraj Alan Finger of NYC ISHTA Yoga
Organizer: The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Transcriptionist: Stacey Krumenacker
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. In May 2008, NIH held its first Yoga Week featuring yoga demonstrations, classes and speakers each day. The event was free and open to the public.
Yogiraj Alan Finger, was the opening speaker for the 2008 NIH Yoga Week. In this series of seven videos, he describes the system of yoga he developed called ISHTA YOGA, an acronym for the Integrated Sciences of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda. Although it was now 5 years ago, this video series has been very popular and the content is timeless, so we thought to share it with our readership.
- The Purpose of Hatha Yoga
- Power of Breath
- Tantra Cosmology (this post)
- On Ayurveda
- On Yoga and Trauma
- Yoga and Modern Science
- Integrating Yogic Sciences
In Tantra, very much like what modern science has found, there [are questions such as], “Why is the world here? How did it come about? Where did it come from – our entire universe?”
Science tells us now that it came from nothing. Interesting! From a state of “no thing,” this entire universe was born. We can’t even conceive of “nothing” in our mind. But, out of nothing, this entire universe was born. Science says there was a “big bang,” and in that big bang, our entire universe was created. Then they tell us, like in yoga, that there’s involution, there are black holes where matter disappears back to nothing.
Well, thousands of years ago in India, the rishis, avatars and sages went into states where they perceived this. There is a universal intelligence called Brahman, which is the same as the unified field of quantum science, and that unified field of intelligence gives birth to everything and all matter.
The only thing is that yogis have an extra thing called “karma” thrown into the mix, a force of action. So there is this big force within the state of nothing that creates a big bang to come about. Which in turn causes Brahman, this universal intelligence, to split and create form, matter, and this whole entire universe as we know it.
This universe, as we know it, consists of particles of Brahman, atman. You could visualize Brahman, this universal sea, as the ocean. If you took out a drop of water from the ocean, you would give it form, shape and make it a drop, an individual. But that little drop of water has everything that the ocean has contained in it as well.
Brahman is the ocean. The shape that made the drop is karma and the drop now has individuality and needs. It’s got this force of karma driving it. Every individual has their own individual little karma shape, which is part of the universal karma, the force that made us all be here. We are all part of this universal force playing out our own individual roles.
Is that clear to you all?
So, drops of water, let’s move on [chuckles].
Not only does it stop there but tantra then goes on to explain why we have to work out the karma in our own little part, why we are here. Because I guarantee you we are not just here. It’s so obvious that there is some reason why we’ve got to be here and why this whole thing is happening our whole life. It is karma that is initiating and making this all happen.
When that split happens, there is an absolute blueprint in the universe that makes things manifest in a certain way. So that blueprint, that universal intelligence, is born when the big bang happens. It throws out five elements. That is all that our entire universe is made of. Our entire universe is made of:
- Space: vacuum to hold stuff
- Gases and air: that move within space
- Friction: an atomic reaction, sun, fire
- Condensation: of the gases from the fire which make water, and then,
- Slime: the water starts to become earth and makes slime (which if you had a swimming pool you could see that happen quite easily. If you had a pool with no chemical and no filter you’d see the water going green from the sun and the air, and eventually forming slime, and eventually that slime would form dirt on the bottom of the pool.)
So that unfortunately is all we are, animated by electricity that is in the atmosphere or animated by a life force that travels on oxygen called prana. So all we are, all human beings are, is a bag of warm muddy bubbling water. It’s ridiculous but that’s all we are. We’ve got a lot of attitude, because we have individuality and karma to work out. So we think we are very special bags, and very important. And really, yoga is here to teach us how unimportant that all really is, and how we are all part of the same thing.
- For more information about Alan Finger and ISHTA Yoga, visit www.ishtayoga.com
- To connect with a global community of yoga teachers, visit www.ihanuman.com