Hence this research programme ends up amplifying what holy men – the yoga sages -claim about themselves: that they are special; their experiences are important and unique; their insights beyond testability but still true; their practices, ideas and solution transcend history and culture; and their wisdom is of universal character. When modern scholars a priori agree with the claims of holy men that these sages express sui generis knowledge, then the scholars’ research programme protects such claims from critical investigation. Such a research programme is not and can never be critical, as it is an implicit glorification of its subject of study. This means that the reader looking for critical evaluations and wanting to see the sacred (the yoga experience) treated contextually – as part of and influenced by human society and culture78 – will have to sift through much literature before finding anything of the kind.
The neglect of the forces of historical conditioning
Sadly, only a minority of historians, sociologists, political scientists – who often for good reasons do not participate in the hermeneutic-phenomenological research programme, as they instead are trained to explain any cultural phenomenon including religion by socio-historical conditions – are engaged in investigating India’s religio-cultural systems. Regrettably, they leave it to scholars of religious departments to write about Hindu mysticism, yoga, and Tantra. And such religious scholars – let us call them Indologists or Sanskrit specialists – often tend to focus on translation issues, conceptual clarifications, theological issues, sectarian comparisons, the metaphysical symbolic meanings of myths, and canonical developments.
Inhale; lift up your spine and chest. Exhale and Corpse Pose Yogabend forward. Fold your torso between your legs. Rest your hands on the floor. Corpse Pose YogaHang your head straight down. Lightly retract your upper arms into the shoulders, then stretch your arms forward. Maintain that action as you continue to release your neck down. To exit the pose, extend your head and chest forward, support yourself with elbows on thighs, inhale, and swing up.