Yoga Retreat

Concept of Perception According to Ancient Texts and Modern Science

Dr.Shirley Telles, Shreevidya Nagesh and 
Naveen K.V,Shirley Telles Ph.D., 
Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, # 19, K.G. Nagar,
 Bangalore 560 019, India. 

Abstract: The word 'perception', known by sanskrit terms as, 'pratyakna' and 'aparokna', where pratyakna denotes a pramana that leads to direct and valid knowledge, which exists, from Vedic age. Even though attempts have been made to determine the Vedic era through astronomy and style of language, they have failed due to lack of conclusive evidence. As perception is one of the methods of knowledge from sensory experience, which man shares with the lowest living beings, up to the transcendental perception of ultimate reality claimed by great mystics and seers of the world, it is seen in many of our ancient texts like Vedas, Upanishads Bhagavad-gita Patanjali and many schools of yoga.

The concept of perception was derived in early 19th century in modern science when Auguste Comte, French philosopher argued stating that the study of behavior should become a branch of biological sciences and the laws governing the mind should be derived from objective observation. British Empiricists John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume who said that all knowledge comes through sensory experience influenced this thought. Thus the origin of 'psychophysics' and 'sensory physiology' where psychophysics focus about the relationship between the physical characteristics of a stimulus and the attributes of the sensory experience and sensory physiology examines the neural consequences of a stimulus. This made us to understand that our mind is not blank and our perception differ qualitatively from the physical properties of stimuli. Because, the nervous system extracts certain information from stimulus and then interprets this information in the context of its earlier experience. Thus, our perceptions are not direct records of the world around us but are constructed internally, at least in part, according to innate rules and constraints imposed by the capabilities of the nervous system. This inherent constraint was defined as pre - knowledge by the philosopher Immanuel Kant and he also argued that knowledge is not only based on sensory experience but also on the pre - knowledge that organizes sensory experiences. Thus knowledge of perception helps us to understand the physical world in which we live.


Summary & Conclusion: Chakras have a subtle aspect of existence. They cannot be understood by simple book reading. Rather than trying to understand charkas through the words written or said one should and must experience through personal experience.

At present we are going through a change over phase were science has came out through its water tight compartments and has started looking to the knowledge of energy propounded by our ancient rishis with renewed interest. It is this new found interest that is opening up new horizons as far as chakras are concerned. Chakras and kundalini are now reinvestigated for their power to heal and open up channels of unbound, infinite source of shakti within our physical frame of existence. 

New research in this field has certainly established the existence and power of chakras. However there is still a wide scope for research. Science has for the time being certainly placed itself in a position where the mystery of divine, infinite shakti can be understood.

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Summary & Conclusion

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