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Date Posted: 11:56
Author: Mike Drake - 8 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Is Yoga Scientific
In reply to: ketch - 8 Jun 2001 's message, "Is Yoga Scientific" on 11:55

You are right that the subjective nature of the "inner proofs" is the crux. I don't deny the experience (for I myself have had comparable experiences).

What I want to question is the idea that those experiences entail - or even justify - the peculiar metaphysical interpretations they are given.

We know the brain exists, and we know that experience has a subvening physical basis in the brain. Vis-a-vis the interior experience, then, what else needs explaining?

I suspect that adherents themselves find the notion of subjective proof inadequate, which is probably why we hear claims of supposedly miraculous physical phenomena (e.g., pulseless, breathless samadhi, Yogananda's incorruptibility, etc.).

Anyway, the distinction you make between the scientist's sense of science and the yogic sense of science seems unable to account for Yogananda's apparent reliance upon use of the term in the former sense. (Does he himself ever mark such a distinction?) His invocation of, e.g., Einstein, his continual reference to the findings of modern science, and his deployment of scientific nomenclature suggests that he wanted very much to identify his yogic "science" with what is commonly referred to as "real" science. (One motivation may be that, despite it's "narrow" focus, science makes better predictions over a far broader range of phenomena than any epistemic competitor.)

Moreover, there is no principled reason to refer to kriya yoga technique as anything other than a practice. On the whole, the use of the term 'science' seems more an attempt to invoke the epistemic authority of science without being burdened by its stern requirements (e.g., open disclosure v. "secret teachings").

In short, if Yogananda meant to distinguish his use of the term 'science' from that used in common discourse, he wasn't clear about it.

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