Reading the Vedas, we can see that rituals – especially those based around the fire sacrifices – were central to Vedic public life and the power of the king. If the daily sacrifices maintained by the Brahmin caste – a kind of priestly class – were not made, it was feared that the whole order of the cosmos would break down ending in chaos and the collapse of the kingdom.115 Rituals in other words played a central role in defining and holding these societies together (Bellah 2011).
We have now reached about 600 BC, when significant social changes occurred signifying the end of the Vedic societies. Northern India’s Archaic societies were on the verge of urbanisation. India like Greece and China was entering what is called by comparative historical sociologists the Axial Age civilisations and state empires: the emergence of Iron Age civilisations and empires (600 BC to 600 AD) which were all conditioned by military expansion, slavery and coinage (Graeber 2011 – and see footnote Error: Reference source not found). For India the entrance into this process of civilisation happens as we move into an era often labelled the Maha-janapadas (meaning foothold of a tribe – 700-300 BC) where the power centralisation process narrowed down to 16 kingdoms and republics fighting for dominance with surrounding monarchies. Before investigating them, I wish to look briefly at the geographical environment in which they took place.
Really, however, you know all the time that this Yoga on the beach is an illusion but you permit yourself to be hypnotizedby the illusion. If the film were Yoga on the beach slowed down or suddenly stopped on one frame, you would snap outof the trance and become fully aware of the nature of the illusion. Similarly, if you can bring your mind to rest upon a single point, even for a very short period of time, you can begin to awaken from the hypnosis of its continual motion. We have so far learned two very important methods of active meditation: 1 observation of the movement of the body; 2 observation of the thoughts of the ordinary mind. These are techniques which can be practiced at any and all times of the day. Now we are ready for the first of the passive techniques of meditation. Passive meditation may in itself take several forms. One of these is known as concentration, or one-pointedness.
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