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The Method of Phenomenological Reduction and Yoga

Author(s): Ramakant Sinari


Source: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 15, No. 3/4 (Jul. - Oct., 1965), pp. 217-228
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1397061
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RAMAKANT SINARI

TheMethod
ofPhenomenologic
Reduction
andYoga
IT IS NOW BEING INCREASINGLY RECOGNIZED that the greatest
contribution of phenomenology disciplinein philosophyis its
to the scientific
attemptto record,as uncommitted witnessesof the world, all that we ex-
perience. From Edmund Husserl to Jean-Paul Sartre, phenomenologists,
whatevertheirlanguage-oriented differences,have always concentratedtheir
attentionon the study of the constitutionof human consciousnessand its
encounterwithitselfand withthe world.Althoughthereis sufficient evidence
in supportof the thesisthat some of the ancientphilosophiesof the Orient
engagedin a similartask,theirmotivationwas an eternalescape fromlifeand
the world,and, therefore,theirinfluencewas not considerablyfeltoutsidethe
realm of religion,mysticism,and philousia.1The most obvious reason why
the apparentlyphenomenological searchof Hindu and Buddhistsages did not
take the shape of a methodis that it ever remainedwith thema moral and
highlydiffusedcult. The creditfor establishing, for the firsttime,the most
radical procedureof studyingevery experienceby the withdrawalof one's
consciousnesstowardits "roots"as suchgoes to Husserl.
As a matterof fact,Husserl's slogan "Back to thethingsthemselves"'a(Zu
den Sachen selbst) is muchmorerigorousthaneven the positivists'insistence
in philosophyon remainingwithinthe verifiable"given." For he not only
made the world of sense-perception the starting-pointof his philosophizing,
but also, by advancingdeeper,rejectedall the conventionalattributesgivento
it, until he could come upon a presuppositionlessorigin of experience-
formation. What he aimedat is thatprimordialreflection by whichconscious-
ness is linkedwithitsveryobjects,and at theentirestructure of the"essences"
(Eidos) of thingsacquiredby mind.The phenomenological reductionthathe
performedwas free fromany preconceivednotionsabout the realityof the
1 The word is coined
by WilliamHaas in his The Destinyof the Mind (London:
Faber and Faber, 1956), p. 134,and is defined
by himas "thedesireforIsness."
la Quoted by Marvin Farber,"Phenomenology," in Living Schools of Philosophy,
D. D. Runes,ed. (Ames, Iowa: Littlefield, Adams& Co., 1962), p. 312.
217

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218 RAMAKANT SINARI

worldand was witha view to inquiringinto the totalmentaldomain "by an


attitudeof pure reflection."2
Through phenomenology, says Husserl, the whole world, with its indi-
viduals,psychicentities,beliefs,and relations,falls into "brackets,"and the
experiencingconsciousnessthat has been figuringso far as placed in the
naturalworld is now positedas "absolute"and "pure."3With the implication
thatthereis no unitof experiencethatcannotbe reconstructed and perceived
fundamentally from the of
position pure consciousness, Husserl suggeststhat
theonlyway to do this is by radical reflection, whichis the verybackboneof
thephenomenological method."It is ideallypossiblefor everyexperiencenot
includedin the glance4to be broughtunder it; a reflectiveact of the ego is
directedtowardsit,and it now becomesan objectforthe ego."5
No impression is "bracketed" or suspended by the phenomenological
attitudeforever.When all thethingsappearingin consciousnessare suspended,
it may be the case that theyare still used forthe purpose of derivingtheir
ultimateessences. Even when the act of suspensionis carried to its most
extremelimit and the very "forms"of judgmentsare withheld,certainre-
flectiveawarenesswould remainin function.Indeed, as Husserl emphasizes,
reflection itselfis never bracketed,for its relationto all otherexperiencesis
suchthatit goes on ceaselesslyas theprimaryexpressionofpure consciousness
or ego.
The task of thepresentpaper is to examinewhetherthe "unbracketability"
of the reflectiveego is some kind of ontologicalimpossibility which imposes
fundamentallimitationson its attemptto transcendreflection.Also, it is
necessaryto see whetherthe inevitableoutcomeof a methodto suspend all
reflection-whichwould be quite in compliancewith the phenomenological
procedure,stretchedbeyondany restraint--would be to "plunge" oneselfinto
a stateof "unconsciousconsciousness"similarto one describedby thefollowers
of theYoga schoolas samndhior turiya.That Husserl consistently adheresto
theunbracketability of thereflectiveselfand feelsno necessityto movetoward
a stage antecedentto it is more than clear fromhis writings.However, it
would not be legitimateto dismiss the question of whetherthe process of
suspendingthe entirephysicaland mentalworld,except one's own reflective

2 Marvin Farber, "On the Meaning of Radical Reflection,"in Edmund Husserl


(Recueil Commtmoratif) (The Hague: MartinusNijhoff,1959), p. 155.
SEdmundHusserl,Ideas, W. R. Boyce Gibson,trans.(New York: Collier Books,
1962), p. 195.
4This word is intendedto suggestthateveryexperiencecan be penetratedby the
exerciseof intuition.
5Husserl,Ideas, p. 197.

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION AND YOGA 219

consciousness,is a matterof exigencygovernedby man's beingin the worldof


hard facts.
With the mainpurposeofprovingthatthe naturalworldis "the correlateof
our factualexperience,"Husserl, with a sense of doubt surpassingthat of
Descartes,begins with the remarkthat "it is quite conceivablethat our ex-
periencingfunctionswarmswithoppositionsthatcannotbe evened out either
forus or in themselves, thatexperienceshows itselfall at once obstinatelyset
against the suggestion that the thingsit puts togethershould persist har-
moniouslyto the end .. thata world,in short,exists no longer.""Thus no
real thing,"he goes on, "none that consciouslypresentsand manifestsitself
throughappearances,is necessaryforthebeingof consciousness(in the widest
senseofthestreamof experience)."6
Husserl sees no necessityto regardthe patternof the world given to our
naturalknowledgeand experienceas somethingunconditionaland universal.
Only "eidetic" judgments,that'is, judgmentsemanatingfromthe essencesof
thingsand possessingunrestricted and pure validity,are beyondcontingency.
It is due to this fact that there are, accordingto him, "pure sciences of
essentialbeing,"' such as pure logic,pure mathematics, pure theoryof space,
etc.,theprimaryconceptsof which are confirmed per se.
Husserl's maintaskis notto explainhow thecontingency of theworldleads
us to thecertaintyoftheessences.His attemptis notlikethatof a psychologist,
to whomthe observedpatternof responsesin an organicsystemis sufficient
to determinethata corresponding patternof stimuliis independently existent
as its cause. He is predominantly interestedin comprehending that line of
demarcationwhichseparatesconsciousnessin theact ofpositingessencesfrom
consciousnessreflecting thisor that.It is this interestin returningagain and
again to the path betweenconsciousnessapprehendingbasic "Eidos" of the
worldand the day-to-dayworld-consciousness that,manya time,compelshim
to allude to a super-phenomenological reduction,called by him "transcen-
dental-phenomenological reduction."
The phenomenologicalreductiondraws upon an attitudeto which real
visionof the worldis not obtainableby means of naturalunderstanding;such
a visionis alignedwithour "essentialintuition"or transcendental subjectivity.
"... essentialinsightis intuition," writesHusserl, "and if it is insightin the
pregnantsense of the term... it is a primordialdatorintuition,graspingthe
essence in its 'bodily' selfhood."8In naturalunderstanding, any fact is ob-
served as a "spatio-temporal existence."It is obviouslyconceivablethat a
I
Ibid., p. 137.
7 Ibid., p. 55.
8 Ibid., p. 49.

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220 RAMAKANT SINARI

fact x, instead of occurringin this time-spotand at this place, could have


occurred otherwise.It is therefore"accidental" inasmuchas it entails the
possibilityof being other than what it actuallyis. In the primordialdator
intuition,on the contrary,the pure essence of the fact discloses itselfand
becomesinseparablyunitedwiththe transcendental consciousness.
Ordinarily, the notionof transcendence has helpeda numberof philosophers
to evolvedoctrineswhichare on the brinkof mysticism. The word "transcen-
dence," again, has sometimesbeen so carelessly used in Occidental and
Orientalphilosophythatit has come to betrayany fixedrule of its purport.In
nota fewcases it has signifieda wholesomeexperienceof thatbeingor reality
whichlies as the self-explanatory groundof all immanenthappenings.While
forKant it characterizedthe a prioriand necessaryfactorsthat make exper-
ienceitselfpossible,forHegel, as for it meanttheabsoluteand trans-
ar"imkara,
empiricaljustificationof all that appears in the world of phenomena.Even
among the metaphysicalevolutionists,such as Bergson, S. Alexander, and
Nietzsche,thereis hardlyany agreementas regardsthe natureand regionof
transcendence.
Since Husserl's proclamationof the methodof transcendental-phenomeno-
logical reduction,with its sharplydefinedcontours,phenomenologistsand
existentialistshave adhered to a certainuniformusage of the word "tran-
scendence."Of course, this need not suggest that existentialistliteratureis
freefroma temptationto twistthis word. However, for Husserl, "transcen-
dence" comprisesthe grasp of the "natural" constitutionof the world, as
against its empiricallyobservedset-up.This "natural" constitution, once ap-
prehended, would destroy our ordinary and unreflected-on conceptionof
experience.
Accordingto Husserl,pureego and its "cogitationes"are at the background
of our experienceof the naturalworld,and are continually presupposedby it.Y
At thesame time,just as thephenomenological suspension(phenomenological
epoche) of the empiricalor objectiveworld,as the firststep of the method,
places one outsidethe domainof perceivingconsciousness,the transcendental
suspension (transcendentalepochS), as the next step, puts one exclusively
withinthe innermostdomainof one's subjectivity. The differencebetweenthe
two stepsis not onlyof degreeand intensitybut also of perspective.That is to
say, by achievingthe suspensionof the empiricalworld par excellence,one
eliminatesoneselfas sensing,desiring,representing,acting,and, in general,as
a consciousnessenvironedby spatio-temporal reality.For Husserl, it is evident
9Edmund Husserl, CartesianMeditations,Dorion Cairns, trans. (The Hague:
MartinusNijhoff,1960), p. 21.

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION AND YOGA 221

that as a resultof such an eliminationone comes to touch the psychological


sourceof the verynormsand axioms whichgovernone's experience.
It is very significantthat the phenomenological reductionis suggestedby
Husserl as a "breakthrough."10 The word is intendedto indicate that any
totalsuspensionof naturalexperiencewould stillrecognizea certaingeometry
of essences,numnbers, signs,judgments,and relations,the "seeing" of which
is planned to be attainedby phenomenology. If one proceeds to disconnect
oneselfeven fromthis geometry,a further and more radicallyorientedper-
spectivewould be necessary.Husserl argues that to name the suspensionor
reductionthatbringsabout this latterperspectiveas transcendental is not to
assume that there is a grading in reduction." It seems quite convincing,
however,that he did devise the two reductionsto be stages of a discipline
whose gradual ascent toward pure consciousnessis completed when the
transcendentalsuspension is undertaken.Another reason why this seems
plausibleis that the extentto whichphenomenological reductiongoes is not
determinedby the phenomenological consciousnessitself,but by a more pre-
ponderantinsightwhich,ratherfiguratively, keeps a watch on itselfand on
the entirekingdomof post-natal,conventional, and acquired mind-stuff.
Husserl's interestin the explorationof the psychologicalpowers of the
humanmind is as clearlyevidentfromhis outstandinganalysis of ego-con-
sciousnessas fromhis minuteobservationof the mind's configurational at-
tributesin his Philosophyof Arithmetic. While in this work he is seen busy
withthe unfoldingof the mostorderly"furniture"of an adding,subtracting,
multiplying, and dividingconsciousness,in the Ideas his main activityis to
make transparentthe most hidden channels of a perceivingand reflecting
mind.It would not be inappropriateto say, therefore, that,knowinglyor un-
knowingly, while examining the original functions of consciousness,he hap-
pened to contribute to what can be called the psychologyof transcendence.
This does not mean that he made the psychology transcendence
of his vocation,
by subordinatinglogic and epistemologyto it. He is the firstthinkerwho
demonstrated, by the rigorof his method,that,if an undilutedprecisionand
mathematical certitudeare to be attainedin philosophy, theonlypointto begin
with is the "atomic" componentsof experienceand the emergenceof their
meaningin theblankestpossibleconsciousness.
Husserl's endeavorto establishtranscendental subjectivityas an intuitive
realizationor as the absolutelycertain is
"seeing" expressivelymetaphysical.
His curiosityabout the genesis of our world-experienceis not restricted
See MarvinFarber,The Foundationof Phenomenology
o10 (New York: Paine-Whit-
man Publishers,1962), p. 204.
11Husserl,Ideas, p. 103.

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222 RAMAKANT SINARI

merelyto the questionof how our understanding of the perceptualdata occurs


-which data,incidentally, forsubjectivists,
formtheonlyreasonforthe"esse"
of the world-or to the scrutinyof crude sense-perceptions-which, for em-
piricists,are the raw materialof understanding-butextendsto the inertiaof
the mindby whichits awarenessitselfspringsup. The factthatby pursuing
the explorationof consciousnessqua consciousnesshe did come to manyonto-
logical findings,which have proved to be so germaneto modernexistential
psychoanalysis, strengthens our convictionthatany strictlypositivisticinquiry
intothe foundationof experienceis bound to be grounded,at a certainpoint,
on subjectiveintuition.
The proofforthe existenceof the world,for Husserl, lies in absolute sub-
jectivity.And thereis no testof the authenticityof absolutesubjectivityother
than"seeing." MarvinFarberexplainsthatHusserl consideredphenomenology
a way of empowering"seeing" in philosophyand psychology.'2Again, with
this notionof "seeing" is fusedHusserl's doctrineof "intentionality" or "di-
rectedness"of consciousness.For instance,to say thateveryexperienceis an
experienceto consciousnessis to implythat consciousnessnot only perceives
itselfas experiencingthisor that,but also registersit as its own.
Intentionalityhas a twofoldnature,dependingupon its being relatedto the
immanentand thetranscendent reality.Althoughimmanentintentionality and
transcendentintentionality can roughlybe describedas "outer" and "inner"
perception,respectively, Husserl prefersthe formerexpressions,since what is
feltas immanentis not so in the sense thatit is outsideof consciousness,and
what is seen as inneris insideit. Actuallythe problemas to whetherone can
speak of somethingas beingoutsideof consciousnessdoes not botherhim,for
it is extraneousto his method'sconduct.Moreover,the momentthe empirical
realityis suspended it ceases to exist, at least temporarily, and to be con-
cernedabout it or to raise questionsregardingits structureis, at that stage,
unwarranted.However,despitethe factthathis suspensionof the empirically
real is definitely
provisional,and is guidedby the purposeof acquiringa vision
forthe reconstruction of the world,he shows himselfto be deeply engrossed
with the unfoldingof transcendentintentionality."Transcendental sub-
jectivity,""pure consciousness,""the pure ego," and "the being of conscious-
ness"--expressionswhich frequentlyoccur in his analysis in an entirely
synonymous way-indicate thathis passion is to bringto reflection that state
whichwould be the veryraison d'itre of our immanentconsciousness.It is

12 Farber, The Foundationof


Phenomenology,p. 216. Farber narratesan incident
fromHusserl'speriodof teachingat Freiburg.When Husserl asked the wife of one of
the visitingscholarswhatshe learnedfromhis technicallecturesin phenomenology,he
was toldthatthe lecturesgave her "so manynew eyes."

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION AND YOGA 223

this passion that inducedhim to build the idea of transcendentalreduction,


which,as was said before,is the most concentratedand, ontologicallythe
mostallusivepartof his thought.He does nothesitateto remark,at one place,
that"the reflections in whichwe have been indulgingalso make it clear that
no proofsdrawn fromthe empiricalconsiderationof the world can be con-
ceived which could assure us with absolute certaintyof the world's exis-
tence."13
It maybe asked: if no proofdrawnfromthe empiricalconsiderationof the
worldcould give us the certaintythatthe world exists,in what way would a
proofdrawnfromits transcendental considerationproducesuch a guarantee?
If one asks for the necessityand certaintyof the world's existence,one is
perhapsmore likelyto get it by controllingthe transcendental intentionality
and remainingconfinedprimarilyto the immanentphenomenathan by acting
the otherway around.For, as empiricistsand naturalistsmay argue, thereis
nothingconceivablyself-evident and necessaryin transcendentalsubjectivity
thatwarrantsour experienceof the world.The veryfieldof transcendence to
be realizedby transcendental reductionis such that it would be authentic-
as the phenomenological methoddesires it to be--only when the entiretyof
world-experience lies in parenthesesto it. In case this world-experienceis
preserved,it is likelyto preventreductionfromreachingits most extreme
point,at whichone would be able to claim the totaleliminationof naturalim-
pressionsand conventionalmeaning.
That Husserl is not in favorof any moderationof the methodis evident
fromthe simplefactthat,not being fullycontentwith the magnitudeof the
phenomenological epochS,he commendsthetranscendental epoch4,withtheob-
vious motivethatit would be able to carryon the processof re-examining the
universewithoutany compromise.Indeed,at no stage in its developmenthas
he extendedtheprocessof epocheto an extremity at whichit can discernthe
"emptiness" of consciousness.Consciousness is always"consciousness-of";it is
reflective and self-manifesting.
He writes,"To the extent... thateverycon-
sciousnessis consciousness-of, the essential study of consciousnessincludes
also that of consciousness-meaning and consciousness-objectivityas such."14
Much of the misunderstanding Husserl's reasoninghas given rise to is due
largelyto his thesisthatif reductionis made to go beyond"consciousness-of"
it may evolve into an ontologyutterlydivorcedfrom,and, consequently,in-
competentto accountfor,the naturalworld.
13
Husserl,Ideas, p. 132.
14 EdmundHusserl,Phenomenology
and the Crisis of Philosophy,Quentin Lauer,
trans.(New York: Harper& Row, 1965), p. 90. The translator's
noteon the same page
is a function
adds: "Since objectivity of pureconsciousness,
the role of philosophy
is to
groundobjectivity consciousness."
by investigating

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224 RAMAKANT SINARI

In a certainsense, in a sense in whichmostof the phenomenologists think


thatphenomenology is onlya methodand, as such,cannotbe an end in itself,
Husserl's thesis is legitimate.Nevertheless,it must be admitted that a
phenomenologist, insofaras he followsa radical and unrestrictedly rigorous
method,is most likelyto pass beyondconsciousnessat some stage or other
in his transcendentalinvestigation.The dismissalof such a possibilityis not
epistemologically justifiable.
Husserl at one place makesthe ultimateobjectiveof the phenomenological-
transcendentalepochs most precise. He remarksthat the aims of phenom-
enologicalanalysisare essentiallyno different fromthose whichare embodied
in epistemology.But, unlike the already prevalentepistemologies,phenom-
enologicalepistemology is entirelyfreefrompresuppositions;that is, ". .. it
does not seek to followup the real connectionsof coexistenceand succession
in whichthe acts of knowingare interwoven, but it seeks to understandthe
ideal meaningof thespecificconnectionsin whichtheobjectivityof knowledge
provesitself;it seeks to raise to clearnessand distinctnessthepure knowledge
formsand laws throughreturnto the adequately fillingintuition."'5It is
needlessto mentionthatthe"pure knowledgeformsand laws" Husserl speaks
about pertain strictlyto the level of reflectiveconsciousnessilluminedby
transcendental intuition.
To statethatthephenomenological-transcendental suspensiondoes not com-
prise a completecancellationof the reflectiveactivityis not to suggestthat
what some existentialistsreferto as the "pre-reflective" or "pre-conscious"
is a of
nothingness only fig imagination. As a matter of fact,Sartre's assertion
that consciousnessis fundamentally "nothingness,"that is, it is a "locus" of
freshbeginnings,absolute freedom,seems to be the logical consequenceof
an unrestricted transcendental reduction-a reductionstretchedto its "zero-
limit."Whethersuchan extremereductionis of any "use" towardconstituting
a theoryof knowledge,or whetherit is at any stage productiveof insightor
perspective,forwhichphenomenology works,is a differentquestion.It cannot
be denied,however,thatreductionpracticedto its last degree,to reach noth-
ingnessbeneathconsciousness,is a conceivablehypothesis.
The experienceof transcendental disconnectedfromand taken
subjectivity,
"behind" reflection,is exactlywhat yoga has been aiming at. Its religious
aspectsand theparaphernaliaof its bodilytechniqueapart,yoga is principally
a disciplineof attention,directedtowardwhat JamesWoods has called "the
restrictionof the fluctuations of mind-stuff."'

15 Quotedby A. D. Osbornin his EdmundHusserl and His Logical Investigations


(Cambridge,Mass.: HarvardUniversityPress,1949), pp. 73-74.
1 Woods, The Yoga Systemof Pataiijali (Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard Uni-
Press, 1927), p. 8.
.James
versity

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION AND YOGA 225

Yoga beginswiththetrainingof respiration(prdndyayma). Since respiration


and consciousnesshave a very close relationship,a controlon the former
would produce the desirable channelingof the latter.The rhythmsin the
respirationand the statesof consciousnesscan be made to loom togetherby
practice.As the practicebecomesmoreand more pointedand inner-directed,
the activityof consciousnessbeginsto attainan extraordinary lucidity,and a
directpenetrationthroughthe experience-content is achieved.
The goal of the yogin is to "see" different modalitiesof consciousnessin
theirverysource.The initiatesin yoga maintainthat irregularities in breath
create blurredpsychicstates and a diffusionof moods. Total suspensionof
respiration,therefore,is bound to sever consciousnessfromall transitional
momentsand posit it as "pure," the statein whichthe ultimateformsof all
thatexists are mostgenuinelypresented.Pure consciousnessis the resultof
samddhi.
The term is one of thosetermsin Indian philosophythe inten-
"samndhi"
sion of whichhas been understoodin diversefashions.Generally,"samddhi"
signifiesa fusion,or a totality,
or an absoluteabsorptionof mindwithinitself.
But it need not be confusedwith terms,psychologically akin to it, such as
"saisyama" (to go together), "dharana" (concentration),and "dhyana"
(meditation). Samadhi is an ontologicalrealizationof the most primordial
essencesof objects,which,in a sense,are not fullydescribable.It gives us an
access to that point of consciousnessat which an object reveals itself"in
itself"(svarapa), in its truebeing,and becomesabsolutelytransparent to the
knowingfaculty. The purpose of is to "see" the world through "tran-
samndhi
scendentalsubjectivity.""7
Accordingto Pataiijali, the founderof the Yoga school, everyperception
arousesthe ego-senseand thejudgmentsof the ego. As long as thisego-sense
persists,the successionof the statesof mind is experienced.The registering
power of the mind (manas), the discriminating power (buddhi), and the
thought-impressions (vrtti) are all due to the ego-sense,and when this is
abandoned,the totalexistenceceases to be presentto consciousness.What is
realizedby meansof samadhi,therefore, says Patafijali,is the cessationof this
ego-senseand the possessionof "pure," "seedless," "undifferentiated," "tran-
scendental,""non-attached"consciousness.
It shouldbe remarked,in thepresentcontext,thatyoga,unlikethe phenom-
enologicalreduction,aims at carryingconsciousnessdown to its "zero-limit."
While,forHusserl,the transcendental consciousnesscan neverbe transmuted
to a stateat whichit wouldcease to operateas empirically-oriented, the yogins
17VijfianabhiksuGangminlthaJhi, ed., Yogosara-safigraha of Vijidanabhiksu(Ma-
dras: TheosophicalPublishingHouse, 1933), p. 44.

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226 RAMAKANT SINARI

invariablymaintainthatsamadhiis an "ecstatic"stage,similarto self-revela-


tion,and constitutes a completeremovalof the distinction betweenconscious-
ness and its object.
There is an outstandingresemblancebetween Husserl's doctrineof the
phenomenological and the transcendentalreduction,on the one hand, and the
Yoga teachingof samprajifita(differentiated)and asamprajiJta (undiffer-
entiated) samadhi, on the other.Vij.ifinabhiksulstells us that samprajff~ta
samadhiis a way ofcomprehending truthand of destroying suffering.Throuigh
its several steps,such as "argumentative"(savitarka), "non-argumentative"
(nirvitarka), "reflective" (savicara), and "super-reflective"(nirvicara),
thoughtis made to go closestto its object,so muchso that the cognitiveact
When this
of consciousnessis able to graspthe object in its bare existentiality.
happens,the impressionscomingfromthe object are so neutralizedand kept
uninfluenced by the logical and the psychologicalcategoriesthat it is as if
localizedas simply"there."Again, the object localized in this manneris not
knownby means of any associations,representations, or relations,but as a
"self-shining" entity with the simplestand most obvious form.It would not
be impertinent that
to state,therefore, the notion of the object Husserl is in
search of, throughthe methodof phenomenological epoch4,is not at all dif-
ferentfromits most originalfigure(svariipa), which the yogins aspire to
apprehend.
There is, however,a great hiatus between the "width" of asamprajifata
and thatof the transcendental epochs. And, psychologicallyat least,
samrdhi intends to thatultimateannulment of conscious-
asamprajfiitasamadhi acquire
ness which the Husserlian path of bracketingwould realize only if it were
stretchedto a pointat whichsome kind of pre-reflective, pre-conscious,inane
stuffis "touched."While Husserl never alludes to a state of this kind,and
recommendsphenomenologymerely as a logical-epistemological device, a
"breakthrough," Patafijaliand his followersconsistentlyaffirmasamprajinita
as thecrownof all concentration and as thevanishing
and meditation,
samdhi
of all consciousness.
all
In asampraj*fata samadhi,accordingto Vijfiinabhiksu,"impressionsof
antecedentmentalfunctions"becomeextinct,the furtheroccurrenceof mental
forcesis arrested,and mind's engagementwith the world disappears.What
remainsbehind,then,is a vague aftermath of impressions(samskaras). This
aftermath is the onlylinkbetweenconsciousnessat the samddhilevel and the
world; and it endows upon consciousnesseven a possibilityof regainingits
"life" in the world. But, since the regainingof the world is not felt to be

18Ibid., p. 4.

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION AND YOGA 227

by theyogin,he rightly
necessary bearsa feeling
thathe does staydetached
fromall "is-ness,"thathis dissolvement in nothingnessis beyondall restraints
fromand compromiseswiththe mattersof fact.
V~caspatimisra's'9explanationthatsamprajiiatasamadhiand asamprajiata
samJdhiare so interrelated that the formeris only a means to the latteris
widelyaccepted.Besides,theconsistency withthe
of theyogins'preaching
of
spirit
principal theUpanisads warrants
that samadhi practiced a way
be as
leadingto the emancipationof consciousnessfromworldlyreality.It has not
evenbeenhintedby Husserl,or,forthatmatter,
by anyotherWesternphe-
nomenologistor existentialist, that the ultimateobjective of transcendental
reductionis to be cherishedas a panacea for mundaneills. Therefore,when
one studiesthegoal of asamprajiiatasamadhi,one is bound to acknowledgeit
as a total emptiness,a permanentarrestof all psychophysical experiences,a
stateof completewithdrawal(nirodha) fromtheworld. It is neversuggested
by theyoginsthata returnfromthissphereback to naturalexistenceis, in any
sense, desirable.Life's deliverance,moreover,demandsa closure of the pos-
sibilityof new experience--ajivan-mwkti--in whichconsciousnessposits it-
selfas indistinguishable frombeing and nothingness.20 For the Yoga school,
not only is this deliveranceintofullinanityrealizable,but,when actuallyat-
tained,it transforms even one's view of one's own self,recreatingtherebya
"twice-born"freepersonality.
It was said above that the transcendental consciousnessat which Husserl
aims is a regionwherethe entireinheritedconceptionof the world ceases to
function.Husserl is tacitin maintaining thatthe transcendental consciousness
or the transcendental intentionalityis still In
reflective. his second Cartesian
Meditation,he draws a distinctionbetween"natural" and "transcendental"
reflection. The former,he says,is of everydaylifeand representsa psychical
process whichthe world is the "given" content.The latter,whichhe also
to
calls "transcendental-phenomenological reflection,""consists in looking
at and describingthe particulartranscendentally reducedcogito,but without
participating, as reflectivesubject, in the natural existing-positing that the
originallystraightforward perception contains ... ."21 He remarksin the Ideas
thatreflection is the name given to "acts in whichthe streamof experience,
with all its manifoldevents (phases of experience,intentionalities)can be
graspedand analysedin the lightof its own evidence."22
The word "reflection," in thephrase"transcendental is intended
reflection,"
19The authorof the famousSadikhya-tattva-kaumudi
(9th century).
20Accordingto Sartre,nothingness
is themetaphysical
groundof humanexistence.
21
Husserl,CartesianMeditations,
p. 33.
22Husserl,Ideas, p. 200.

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228 RAMAKANT SINARI

by Husserl to denote only a grade of consciousnesshigherthan that of the


consciousnessin naturalreflection; but one to whichthe most"real" essences
of the world are present.To "re-create"the worldfromthe groundof these
essencesis to own absolutecertaintyabout the universality of thatre-creation,
and about its syntactic,semantic,and pragmaticlaws. Moreover,such a re-
creation would never be susceptibleto questioningfrom any scrutinizing
agency.In short,the re-constituted worldwould be beyondall skepticism,ex-
ercised by one's intellectand understanding, since these very processes are
"seen" now witha certaintyand transparencenevermet withbefore.
Yoga disciplinedoes not put forwardany epistemological plan for the "re-
constitution"of the world. This is clearlydue to the fact that its exponents
were exclusivelykeen on findingan answer to the riddleof suffering, which,
they believed, accrues solely from man's relationship to the world. Husserl
takes everyprecautionagainsthis method'sreachinga distrustin the reality
of the empiricalworld. He is constantlyheld back fromas subjectivistica
transcendentalizationas the one which has pushedyoginstoward "supercon-
sciousness"--the abode of finalliberation.Strictlyspeaking,therefore, yoga
boldly carries Husserl's transcendental reductionto its inevitablelogical end.

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