Yoga-bridge from Thurman to BG and back

Robert ThurmanIn November on Tibet House's invitation the main buddhologist of the West Robert Thurman came to Moscow . His lections-meetings took place in Tibet House and in the Cinema House. By the occasional coincidence at the same time in Moscow was the premier of a new film with his daughter, a favorite actress of Russian spectators Uma Thurman. Maybe that was the reason why Bob (that is how Dalai-lama tenderly call Robert in the foreword of his book The Infinite Life) was immensely exited and cheerful during his staying in Moscow .

Robert Thurman is the first western man, who became a Buddhist monk. For 30 years he is the head of the first in America department of indo-tibetan researches in the Columbian University and for 35 years he keeps up the friendship with Dalai-lama. Hollywood directors and many other people around the world appeal to his knowledge. Our correspondent managed to ask Robert few questions before his departure to the airport.

- Robert, philosophy of yoga and Buddhism are much identical. You are doing both (sometimes Thurman performs hatha-yoga asanas E.M.) What is yoga for you? Here in Russia we try to give definition to everything

- Yoga is filling of life with the perception of reality. You fill in your body, mind and heart. From the point of view of Buddhism this is enlightenment.

- Then you can mean everything you like by yoga.

- Yes, that is true!

- But what is hatha-yoga? Why did they find a separate word to name yoga, not some other word? The system of enlightenment, for instance?

-It is really called so: the system of reaching the enlightenment. But there are different philosophies. For example Yoga-sutras by Patanjali are based on the philosophy of sankhyas and the desire to reach chitta-vritti-nirodha. This is a special state of mind. This aim is really dual. It is very close to the monastic Buddhism of Mahayana. The aim of this religion is to leave the secular world. The word nirodha means the same as nirvana. That is the end of everything. There's no focus on asanas and pranayama in Yoga-sutras. The last definition of hatha-yoga, wide-spread in the world, is based on the philosophy of tantra. That is non-duality like Advaita Vedanta. This is the tradition where the preference is given to the achievement of enlightenment with the help of the body.

The aim is not to leave the body and put and end to everything, but vice a versa: to open one's mind, make the body the instrument of compassion and wisdom. For this purpose we make movements asanas and stretching, to unleash the nodes in the nerve system and chakras. But you can use the word yoga, implying everything, that leads to enlightenment, by it. This can be both physical practices, like different martial arts, and a simple maternity. It is any creative activity , profession or occupation !

In Indian civilization the key point is the perception of reality. That is what you think and what you are; what is this world for you and what do you prefer. From this point you choose how to think and what to do. This is yoga .

- How does the conscious change with the help of physical exercises?

- Mind and body are always interconnected. The body is the product of consciousness, which is the product of our thoughts. Even when we die, we want to have body very much to connect to other people. Buddha also wanted to get connected to a huge amount of sentient beings. There are three bodies of Buddha: the body of reality, the body of bliss and the body of manifestation. Thus , one can enable all the bodies .

The body of bliss is a huge cloud, which covers everything. The body of manifestation let the things appear. It is difficult for an ordinary being to understand this, because he is limited by his own body. But when a person can imagine this, then everything becomes yoga the attempt to reach this state.

From the endless stream of Thurman's inspiring speeches, that he gave in Moscow , there's one concerning creativity to be separately mentioned. A real artist and creator is yogi. Yogi of perceptibility. They have a vision different from the one, which common people have. They hack the tunnel to a wonderful world against the dull grey background of the everyday life, where other people won't notice anything special and sublime. This is how a poet looks at the pile of dung, but sees the play of the dew drops.

Thus, the people of creative professions open the world and people's conciseness. I'm just a professor, but I want to express my admiration to those, who are the creators, who try to live in the harmony with their emotions, thanks to the creativity. A real act of art happens in their hearts. Academician, like me, only studies this phenomenon. My daughter is my Goddess. Buddha and Jesus were great artists.

It becomes clear, why the power of art is so great and why creative personalities are so respected in our society. It is always interesting how these people have their creative path and the spiritual development crossed. One of the brightest representatives of our musical culture, Boris Grebenschikov managed to combine those two directions in one. How it happened he tells himself .

Since my childhood music influenced me in a special way, not like the others. And I suspected that people just don't hear what music has in it. Along with that I had an inner feeling that I was born in a wrong place. It seemed to me that everything in this world is not like it should be. This contradiction lasted for about 10 years. Then I heard Beatles and in a second everything became clear. I realized that there is a music, which utterly corresponds to my inner heart and destroys all the imposed ideas of the world. The world is not that dull, like everyone thinks! The world is beautiful, incredible, cannot be described with the words and is billion times better than the people react on it. Now I can affirm that music is the key to this world. Because everything in this Universe is based on a certain harmonious correlation. Even Pythagoras said that the book of Universe is written in the language of mathematics. It was known always. There exists a harmony of numbers, the golden section law, on which the life is based for thousands of years, and many other laws. Music is based on the principle of harmony, and harmony is an entity. And following the development of music one can see how the harmony develops, staying the same.

That's why when you feel the music, you open like with the key the rest of the world and you see that it is very simple. We won't live without the harmony. It is manifested in everything. For example, the correlation between the notes in the scale and the number of planet's orbits in the solar system is the same. The same correlation is in the micro world. Our whole world is one huge harmony. And on these connections all quasi mystical sciences, numerology and astrology are based. As a matter of fact there is only one science studying of the world's harmony.

I'll try to explain how the songs, hymns, invocations, mantras name them as you like- influence the person. All of them are magic in its essence. As far as the languages exist, where each name correlates to a certain combination of syllables, through the language the person has a definite system of connection with the world. Multiple repetition of the words leave the traces in the man's consciousness, and the words gain the power that can influence the world around. The words are combined from the syllables, where each syllable has a definite resonance frequency. It is considered, that some languages are closer to the primary source Sanskrit, Latin, Hebrew.

In cabbala for instance a detailed system of sounds, numbers and the surrounding world connection is worked out. But any developed language has the connection with the world around. By the way, Russian language and other Indo-European languages also came from Sanskrit. And if to understand the Russian language deeply, it appears to be not less sacral than Sanskrit, because the basic of the language is not the words, but the vibration of syllables. Vibrations of different degree and different level. Our life is also a vibration, our body vibrations. And modern physics doesn't argue with this at all. And when the vibrations of the syllables are added to the concentrated will of a man, who pronounces the words, definite changes in the world around happen.

This is the principle of magic and poetry, which is by itself a magical art. In the song it becomes stronger with the music. But for it to function in a right way, one should be an absolutely pure person. In India it is considered that Brahman-priests couldn't lie, that's why their words have a peculiar power. Many Englishmen when conquering India stated with surprise the refusal of Brahmans to lie, even while facing the death.

Boris Grebenschikov in a fantastic way synthesized in himself a mathematical education, spiritual search, knowledge of the world, creative approach to life and interest to yoga. And I don't know any other songs, which likewise awaken the imagination, charge with energy, purify the soul and give the essence of the main human values. Though maybe everything is in future

Elena Medina
Russian magazine Yoga



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