Differentials of Light of Consciousness: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of Vihangam Yogis

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 9 (2):1-14 (2009)
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Abstract

The Yogic literatures are replete with examples of several unique mystical experiences in deeper states of meditation. These experiences have nevertheless remained largely untouched by the scientific community, possibly because of the extreme inexplicability of such states and the lack of sophistication in evaluating them. More amenable to scientific research, however, would seem to be the simpler states of awareness in meditation such as that of inner light perception. While a few studies have attempted to explore this state by objective means, the subjective experience of this state remains largely unexplored. The present study originates from an interesting sub-theme identified in an earlier study focused on interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of inner light perception among Vihangam Yogis. The original study found that the Yogis were very confident in differentiating their experience of inner light perception from other similar experiences. It was thus decided to use IPA to explore the clarity of the differences perceived by the Vihangam Yogis between these experiences. The present study reveals that the meditators could clearly differentiate the state colloquially termed “inner light perception” from external light perception, imagination and dreams. The meditators gave detailed descriptions of their perception of the differences between these experiences, which suggests that the subjective state of inner light perception could be quite different from that of those experiences which the authors have termed differentials of inner light perception. The conclusion reached is that, in addition to further empirical study by means of the traditional modalities and measures, vigorous qualitative study of the subjective dimensions of the state of inner light perception is warranted, with this study indicating that IPA is especially effective in the latter regard.

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Ravi Prakash
Jawaharlal Nehru University

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References found in this work

A realist theory of science.Roy Bhaskar - 1975 - New York: Routledge.
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature.William James - 1929 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Matthew Bradley.
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A Realist Theory of Science.Roy Bhaskar - 1975 - New York: Routledge.
The varieties of religious experience. A Study in human Nature.William James - 1902 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 54:516-527.

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