Book: The Discerning Clear Gaze of Yoga
Chapter: Introduction: Metamorphosis of a Gaze
In the first chapter, Metamorphosis of a Gaze, I provide a concise historical prelude referring to the middle of the first millennium BCE, when people began leaving their homes and villages, abandoning the Vedic societal structures of castes, family life, and religious rituals, embarking on a journey into the forest where which they practiced celibacy, yoga, meditation, and contemplation. Their aim was to leave behind the ordinary phenomenal gaze that is projected onto the world of phenomena by the empirical or phenomenal self (asmitā) as the egoic personality endowed with a sense of identification and possession, while veiling the true Self (puruṣa). From this point onward various types of gaze are discussed; the various philosophical and psychological aspects of the phenomenal gaze and its alteration by means of yogic meditation to an inner mental gaze (pratiprasava), accompanied by uninvolved, desireless, or indifferent gaze (vairagya). This culminates in a discerning and clear gaze (viveka-khyāti) that distinguishes between the world of phenomena (prakṛti) and the true Self (puruṣa), resulting in a transparent expose and recognition of the true Self. The entanglement between the world of phenomena and the true Self is identified is the cause of suffering and undoing it is facilitated by the rise of discerning and clear gaze. This places the viveka-khyāti as a significant advanced and pivotal position on the path of yoga.