The Nirvitarka Concentration As Represented In Narayan's Mr Sampath

2945 words - 12 pages

The novels of R.K. Narayan reflect that Indian sensibility which has been acquired through the ages from the wisdom of Indian philosophical thought that has been continually enriched since the ancient times but which had receded since colonization. Narayan adopts this 'theoretical base of the Indian philosophical tradition to retrieve and reconstitute a sense of Indianness. Perhaps, this is why he has proved to be "the most lasting, highly rated and widely accessible, while his writing is the most consciously rooted in local circumstances, traditions and values" as claimed by Dennis Walde(694). Meenakshi Mukherjee had earlier recognized Gandhi as having reached the state of Jeevan Mukta as depicted in Waiting for the Mahatma (Mukherjee 99-100). Even V.P. Rao observed that "Krishnan practices some sort of yoga. He goes through the... The last three stages of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi."(Rao 32)Taking this a priory. I attempt to evaluate Srinivas of Mr Sampath on the scale of Patanjali's Nirvitarka concentration as mentioned in his Yogasutra.
Before embarking on the venture of interpreting Srinivas's experience of undergoing Nirvitarka concentration during an exorcist's ritual, it is imperative to have an overview of Patanjali's Yoga philosophy, of course, in a nutshell. Throughout this paper I have referred to P.N.Mukerji's translation of Patanjali's Yoga-sutra as well as of the commentary on Yoga philosophy by Swami Hariharananda Aranya. In his Yoga-sutra Patanjali expounds the theory of controlling the mind in order to know the Self. As he says,
;ksxfpÙko`fÙkfujks/k% (Aranya 7)
Yoga is the discipline of restraining the fluctuation or modification caused due to the occupation of the mind. The occupation of the mind is to create the sensation of cognition, conation and retention by mixing together all experiences. The restraint of the fluctuation of mind implies that mind must be kept so engrossed on one idea or thought that all the other thoughts are suspended or suppressed. This precisely is meant by the concentration or convergence on one idea as stated in the aphorism of "On concentration":
;ksx% lekf/k (Aranya 1).
The fluctuations of mind or the thought processes occur due to five types of basic afflictions or klesas. These five are avidya or nescience; asmita or l-feeling or ego; raga or attachment or passion; dvesa or antipathy or aversion and abhinivesa or the fear of death or love of life - as stated in the third aphorism of "On Practice":
vfo|k•fLerkjkx}s"kkfHkfuos'kk% iap Dys'kk% (Aranya 129).
The fluctuations of mind can be stopped by constant practice of the astanga-marg which incorporates within itself the principles of austerity, learning, reverence to God and detachment (Mukerji 26). When the fluctuations of mind are thus overcome by practice and detachment, the mind acquires the power of remaining fixed on any particular object or principle to a desired extent accompanied with good intentions. The ashtangamarg...

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