Namaste all, i've posted this on a few sites because i think that it gets to the heart of the matter quite directly. i thought that it would be a great conversation piece on this site especially. i'd like to offer a bit of text from Joseph Campbells' the Masks of God (available at all fine book stores) the extent to which the mythologies-and therewith physchologies- of the Orient and Occident diverged in the course of the period between the dawn of civilization in the Near East and the present age of mutal rediscovery appears in their opposed version of the shared mythological image of the first being, who was originally one but became two. the best known Occidental example of this image of the first being, split in two, which seem to be two but are actually one, is, for course, that of the Book of Genesis, second chapter, where it is turned, however, to a different sense. For the couple is spearated here by a superior being, who, as we are told, caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and, while he slept, took one of his ribs. in the Indian version it is the god himself that divides and becomes not man alone but all creation; so that everything is a manifestation of that single inhabiting divine substance: there is no other; whereas in the Bible, God and man, from the beginning, are distinct. Man is made in the image of God, indeed, and the breath of God has been breathed into his nostrils; yet his being, his self, is not that of God, nor is it one with the universe. The fashioning of the world, of animals, and of Adam (who then became Adam and Eve) was accomplished not within the sphere of divinity but outside of it. there is, consequently, an intrinsic, not merely formal, separation. and the goal of knowledge cannot be to see God here and now in all things; for God is not in things. God is transcendent. God is beheld only by the dead. the goal of knowledge has to be, rather, to know the relationship of God to His creation, or, more specifically, to man, and through such knowledge, by God's grace, to link one's own will back to that of the Creator. moreover, according to the Biblical version of this myth, it was only after creation that man fell, whereas in the Indian example creation itself was a fall - the fragmentation of a God. and the God is not condemned. Rather, his creation, his "pouring forth" is described as an act of voluntary, dynamic will-to-be-more, which anteceded creation and has, therefore, a metaphysical, symbolical, not literal, historical meaning. the fall of Adam and Eve was an event within the already created frame of time and space, an accident that should not have taken place. the myth of the Self in the form of a man, on the other hand, who looked around and saw nothing but himself, and said "I", felt fear, and then desired to be two, tells of an intrinsic, not errant, factor in the manifold of being, the correction or undoing of which would not improve, but dissolve, creation. the Indian point of view is metaphyscial, poetical; the Biblical, ethical and historical. Adam's fall and exile from the garden was thus in no sense a metaphysical departure of divine substance from itself, but an event only in the history, or pre-history, of man. this event in the created world has been followed throughout the remaindeer of the book by the record of man's linkage and failures of linkage back to God - again, historically conceived. for, as we next hear, God himself, at a certain point in the course of time, out of his own violition, moved toward man, instituting a new law in the form of a covenant with a certain people. these became, therewith, a priestly race, unique in the world. God's reconciliation with man, of whose creation he had repented (Gen 6:6) was to be achieved only by virtue of this particular community - in time: for in time there should take place the realization of the Lord God's kingdom on earth, when the heathen monarchies would crumble and Israel would be saved, when men would "cast forth their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made to themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats." in the Indian view, on the contrary, what is divine here is divine there also; nor has anyone to wait - or even to hope - for a "day of the Lord." for what has been lost is in each his very self (atman), here and now, requiring only to be sought. Or, as they say: "only when men shall roll up space like a piece of leather will there be an end of sorrow apart from knowing God." the question arises (again historical) in the world dominated by the Bible, as to the identity of the favored community, and three are well known to have developed claims: the Jewish, the Christian and the Muslim, each supposing itself to have been authorized by a particular revelation. God, that is to say, though conceived as outside of history and not himself its substance (transcendent: not immanent), is supposed to have engaged himself miraculously in the enterprise of restoring fallen man through a covenant, a sacrament, or a revealed book, with a view to a general, communal experience of fulfillment yet to come. the world is corrupt and man a sinner; the individual, however, through engagement along with God in the destiny of the only authorized community, participates in the coming glory of the kingdom of righteousness, when the "glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." (Ish 40:5) in the experience of India, on the other hand, although the holy mystery and power have been understood to be indeed transcendent, they are also, at the same time, immanent. it's not that the divine is everywhere: it is that the divine is everything. so that one does not require any outside reference, revelation, sacrament, or authorized community to return to it. one has but to recognized (re-cognize) what is within. deprived of this recognition, we are removed from our own reality by a cerebral shortsightedness which is called in Sanskrit "maya", "delusion". Maya is from the root verb "ma" - to measure, measure out, to form, to build - denoting, in the first place, the power of a god or demon to produce illusory effects, to change form, and to appear under deceiving masks; in the second place, "magic", the production of illusions and, in warfare, camoflage, deceptive tactics; and finally, in the philosophical discourse, the illusion superimposed upon reality as an effect of ignorance). instead of the Biblical exile from a geographically, historically conceived garden wherein God waslk in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8), we have in India, therefore, already circa 700 BCE (some three hundred years before the putting together of the Pentateuch), a psychological reading of the great theme. the shared myth of the primal androgyne is applied in the two traditions to the same task - the exposition of man's distance, in his normal secular life, from the divine Alpha and Omega. yet the arguments radically differ, and therefore support two radically different civilizations. for, if man has been removed from the divine through an historical event, it will be an historical event that leads him back, whereas, if it has been by some sort of psychological displacement that he has been blocked, psychology will be his vehicle of return. and so it is that in India the final focus of concern is not the community (though the holy community playes a large part), but yoga. the Indian term "yoga" is dervied from the Sanskrit root verb "yuj" - to link, join or unite - which is related etymologically to "yoke" - a yoke of oxen, and in this sense analgous to the word "religion" (Latin - re-ligio) - to link back or bind. man, the creature, is by religion bound back to God. however, religion, religio, refers to a linking historically conditioned by way of a covenant, sacrament or revealed book, whereas yoga is the psychological linking of the mind to that superordinated principle "by which the mind knows" (Up Kena). furthermore, in yoga what is linked is finally the self to itself, consciousness to consciousness; for what had seemed, through maya, to be two are in reality not so; whereas in religion what are linked are God and man, which are not the same.