The Really Big Questions

Yoga and Buddhism both have a long history of debating the big issues like the origins of the universe, whether or not there is a God, and if there is a God, whether God is personal or impersonal.

The Buddha himself disdained these sorts of metaphysical discussions, and focused entirely on the practical path to achieve happiness, as described in the Dhammapada. He reportedly refused to answer the question about whether there is a God, both because it is unanswerable and irrelevant to his spiritual system.

The Yoga Sutra is similar in its approach. It simply ignores these questions about the origin of the universe and the existence of God (except a brief suggestion to “meditate on your personal God”) in favor of a very practical step-by-step system, not unlike the Buddha’s.

The Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, on the other hand, deal with these issues by saying that Brahman or God or the Supreme Life Force, whatever you want to call it, is UNKNOWABLE and UNFATHOMABLE, but what we do know for sure, just from simple Yogic observation is that this thing, whatever it is, is infinitely wondrous, encompasses absolutely everything, including all of us, and compels us to behave in a certain dharma-driven way.

This seems both true and deeply satisfying to me, and that’s why the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads are my ultimate spiritual beacons.

What do you think?

P.S. I’ve written more about this at “God” or “Reason”–Is There Really Any Difference?

~ by Bob Weisenberg on October 12, 2009.

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