Yoga and Culture

Have you ever been to one of our Satsangs?
They are usually once a month around the time of full moon on a Friday evening at our Richmond ashram. The program consists of a talk followed by a guided meditation. And a shared meal. The topics of the talks vary, but are always on some subject that supports our inner inquiry about those big sorts of questions.

Sometimes, as in this case, the question comes from a Satsang attendee ... 

Yoga and Culture. How can the ancient Eastern tradition be implemented in the contemporary Western culture? What fits, what doesn't and why?

Answer: (from Swami Gopal Puri)
Yoga is always presented in its practitioners’ cultural cloud. They always move together like the sunlight and the shadow.  

Culture def. = the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

The process of adopting an age old Eastern tradition such as Yoga in a contemporary Western society certainly throws up questions such as how much is necessary or possible and how much is non-essential. 

I believe Yoga has 2 parts,
   1. one is the Ritualistic (the superficial, the apparent look) that is concerned with social discipline and
   2. the other, the Philosophical (the inner, universal depth) which silently nourished by the most basic urges of the human soul to be happy.

The realisation that pleasure derived from the outer world isn’t able to produce lasting happiness in us sets us on a spiritual quest of finding it somewhere else. Going within is the journey to the root of all religions. At one stage, we all need answers for the why, how, what and when… this inquiry leads to the ultimate understanding of the individual in particular, of life in general, of who God is and of what spiritual practice might be. These unchangeable fundamentals expounded by Vedanta philosophy are the essence and philosophical truth of Yoga. The superficial such as the temples, idols and rituals might be broken down and shunned one day but the yearning of the soul, which is beyond religions and culture, is independent and can never be silenced. Focusing on this innermost and sacred quest is what matters. It is what we all need to adopt from the age old traditions by changing our orientation and focus regarding the practice we do. What happens on the surface is secondary, non-essential, good for keeping us out of trouble. 

It matters not what we do because the glory of the endeavour lies always in how we do it.  


Follow this > link to our events page to find out when the next Satsang is on. All are welcome.