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Is our Yoga Physical?” – a thought experiment in Socratic style of dialectics

speaker 1: Your yoga is physical. my yoga is spiritual.

(Dialectic or Dialectics is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that goes back many centuries.  the dialectical method occupied a central place in European and Indian philosophy, though it is not clear if this was a coincidence – a parallel emergence of the same thought at two unrelated places – or if both these schools of philosophy adapted the dialectical method of argumentation from a common source.

The word itself is derived from the Greek word, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues.

Dialectics is NOT synonymous with:

debate

rhetoric

motivational speech

impassioned plea

Dialectics does not take recourse to the emotional appeal, the persuasive power or the oratorial skills of the speaker.  instead, it holds truth to be of the highest value, and seeks to arrive at the truth only through reasoning and logic.

 

There are many schools of dialectics, and, as with anything, there are detractors.

 

Heres giving a shot at putting the dialectical method into practice but responding to this statement (accusation?):

 

speaker 2: How can you claim that your yoga is spiritual? is it because you work with the spirit? does your soul do the yoga practice? but the soul is not an actor – it doesn’t have any organs of action. the soul does not do anything. when something is ‘done’, the ‘doing’ has to come to an end. the soul does nothing and that is why it is eternal. so how is your practice spiritual?

 

(“Socrates attempts to examine someone’s beliefs, at times even first principles or premises by which we all reason and argue. Socrates typically argues by cross-examining his interlocutor’s claims and premises in order to draw out a contradiction or inconsistency among them.  The principal aim of Socratic activity seems to be to improve the soul of his interlocutors, by freeing them from unrecognized errors.”)

 

speaker 1: my practice is spiritual because i practice ‘for’ the spirit – not ‘with’ the spirit. the practice is defined by its intended effect.

 

speaker 2: by the same logic, my practice is not for the body, so it is not a physical practice. when something is done for the body, it is physical. even if it is done through the intellect, through the mind, through the emotion, as long as the end goal is the body, it is a physical practice. the goal of my practice is not the body, but the mind. it is done THROUGH the body, but FOR the mind.

 

speaker 1: so it is a mental practice – it is still not a spiritual practice.

 

speaker 2 : there cannot be a spiritual practice. by your own earlier statement, you have defined a spiritual practice as something done “FOR” the soul. when we do something for someone, it is because they require it. but the soul is self-sufficient – it is complete and whole.it requires nothing. if it requires nothing, then how can you claim to do anything for it?

 

Q.E.D.

 

Earlier part (definition of dialectics from wikipedia)

 

Later part (“Our System” borrowed heavily from Prashantji’s writings)

 

All dialectical inconsistencies are my own.

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