Chapter 3: Yoga: A Spontaneous Happening
The mind can also feel without the body’s expressing it, because the gross is within our control whereas the subtle is not. Whenever we observe anger we observe it through the body - not only somebody else’s anger but our own as well. The anger still exists in seed form, it is there as a potential, but we cannot even detect it ourselves until it is manifested on the gross plane of the body.
This theory of James-Lange is fifty-percent correct - common sense is always fifty-percent correct - but what James and Lange came to know and propagate has been known to yoga for centuries. That is why asanas and mudras were developed. Yoga had already come to understand that everything mental has a corresponding situation in the body, and when the mind changes, the body assumes the corresponding postures, mudras, expressions, and is transformed.
Yoga also taught that the contrary is possible: if the body takes a particular posture, the corresponding mental attitude will be produced in the mind. But that is as wrong as the James-Lange theory. You may be just acting: a person can sit in the same posture as Buddha, but that does not mean that Buddha’s inner tranquillity has been produced. On the other hand, if someone has Buddha’s attitude, his body will assume a posture that is similar to Buddha’s on its own.
That is why I am against practicing all asanas. They must come by themselves or you must not do them. If you do them, there is no guarantee that the corresponding inner state of mind will follow, and it will become a gesture, an act - that’s easy for us. You can sit like Buddha or stand like Mahavira - there is no problem in it - but it is meaningless, nothing is accomplished by it.
Where did these asanas come from? Whenever the state of mind that Buddha had is there, the body follows it with a particular posture. It must follow it, it will have to follow it. This has been known for centuries - that there are particular outward gestures that correspond to particular mental states - so it was surmised that if we create these postures and gestures in the body, the corresponding mental states will definitely follow. That is not necessarily so. On the contrary, it is a very dangerous assumption because you can go on acting and not only will others be deceived, you will also be deceived. That is the real danger.
If you sit in Buddha’s posture, the position of the body will create a feeling of tranquillity in you. Now you will assume that tranquillity has been achieved: you will feel still, silent. But this stillness, this silence, is just a deception. It has not come to you, you have imposed it on yourself; it is not from within but from without. It will feel very good, but it is a created, conditioned stillness that has been produced and projected by the body.
We have been doing this for so many lives; it is the same thing we do in our ordinary, day-to-day life. You just smile without feeling it; it is simply a gesture. But once you smile, a feeling comes. This feeling is very false, but you yourself are deceived by it. Without feeling any love, you can show love and others will be deceived. But there is every possibility that you will forget it is just a gesture and will be deceived into thinking that you have been loving. Then an authentic love - which is a revolution, which is a death, a total transformation - will never be possible because of your gesture, your imitation.