Saturday, June 12, 2010


In the technical world, conceptualization is a basic and fundamental process necessary for any technical development. Almost all our day-to-day activities lies on this technical world, which is basically required for our survival. In addition to survival, it forms the basis of our comforts and luxury we are enjoying and hence supporting the growth of our ego in leap and bounds. When it comes to our inner world, conceptualization is a process that destroys our journey towards truth – if at all have we ever started such a journey.

At this point, I would like to bring the words of sage Pathanjali and J.Krishnamurti (JK) on this subject of conceptualization into this discussion. It is to indicate that over a time span of about 2000 years, the purpose (of inner journey/study) remains the same.

Sage Pathanjali gave us the famous “Yoga Sutra”, which contain four sections with about fifty sutras in each section. In the first section called “Samadi Pada”, sage Pathanjali indicates the purpose of Yoga and in first few sutras indicates few of the hindrances for Yoga. The following are first few verses of Yoga Sutra

I.2. Yogesh citta-vrtti-nirodaha

-Yoga occurs when the mind field is liberated from patterned fluctuations/distortions

I.3. Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam

-Then the seer abides in true form/nature

I.4 Vrtti-sarupyam itaratra

-At other times the mind fluctuates/distorts with the forms.

I.5 Vrttayah panchatayah klishtaklishtah.

-These mental fluctation/distoration can be placed within five categories which are afflictive or non-afflictive

I.6 Pramana-viparaya-vikalpa-nidra-smrtayah

-These five categories are adherence to fixed belief systems, faulty/confused assumptions, conceptual thought constructs, inattentiveness/mental dullness and past-nonintegrated memories.
According to sage Pathanjali, conceptualization (vikalpa) is one of the five hindrances for yoga to occur.

JK has spoken in length about concepts, conceiving concepts and their effects on our mind. The following is a small extract of JKs words about concepts.

JK: ……….. you are saying it is still a concept. Is it? When the house is burning, is it a concept? When you have pain, is that a concept? When you are faced with danger, is it a concept? Concept only comes when you avoid the fact of 'what is'. When you are confronted with 'what is', there is no concept. You act, or you run away from it. Concepts exist only when you cannot understand the fact, the 'what is' and try to translate that 'what is' according to your background of your conditioning.

In our current way of living, we conceptualize any thing and every thing. It may be about God, Life, Yoga and likes on one side of the spectrum of conceptualization and personnel behavior, materialistic requirement for living and likes on the other side of the same spectrum.

Why are we conceptualizing every thing? Can’t we live our life with out conceiving concepts? - We do not have the humbleness to say, “I don’t know”. Hence we have to know about any thing and every thing. In any conversation, we have unlimited urge to project that we are knowledgeable in the subject of conversation. The only possible way of knowing every thing in our current way of living is conceptualization. Once we have some concepts, we have the right arguments to justify our knowledge and hence the ego is satisfied. We can live without conceptualization when we are matured enough to have the humbleness so that saying “I don’t know” will no more hurt our ego.

We need to take the trouble of freeing ourselves from concepts, if we intend to live a complete life in its real sense. If our intention is just carry on our life – the way we are living now, may be with little more physical comfort and luxury, there is no need to take any trouble in freeing ourselves. In that case, why are we talking about God, religion, ancient wisdom, morality in public life, corruption and so on. We need to just carry on our life. God, religion etc. are not required for carry on our life. But we cling to God, religion, morality etc, yet we are not taking any initiative to approach truth. By way of conceptualization, we hide all our ignorance, inabilities and capabilities, and live within the shadow of concepts. What a conflict in our life at its basic level itself!

All sages from Pathanjali to JK, even before and after them, were exposed this problem. Yet we are unable to integrate their findings into our life. But we take a great pride on saying they are our ancestors and create one more shadow over the possibilities and hence safeguarding our ignorance. Until the time we bring in some awareness on what we are doing and thinking, we can’t escape from the ignorance, which wrapped our entire life. Are we really interested in an intelligence life?

If this problem is looked at from another angle, we need to get into concepts to understand any thing. Hence we cannot ignore conceptualization completely. But need to be free from those concepts. For example, when we are talking about creation, existence etc, getting into the concept of God is inevitable. But if we enclose ourselves within that concept, we cannot really understand the truth of creation and existence. Instead of that, if we are free from the concept of God itself, our knowledge about God itself may change. At the end what we call as God may be entirely different from the God of today. Yet it is a concept and have to be free from that concept also, if we intend to live our life.

And, if we do not have freedom from sage Pathanjali’s sutras or JKs concepts, we create another set of concepts and enclose ourselves with in those concepts. This is the case with followers of any spiritual system. The followers conceptualize the system they are following and alas, they are inside a trap – a trap, which they believe, will free them from all other traps. This is evident from the fact that in any spiritual system, only the master might be the realized one, seldom the followers reach the stage of realization. Only a handful of followers who are managed to free themselves from the concept of the system they are following itself reach the stage of realization.

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