Logic of Yoga

Ian Goddard (Ian@Goddard.net)
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 16:24:17 -0400

At 01:39 PM 9/25/98 -0400, Doug Bailey wrote:

>Ian Goddard wrote:
>> The analysis of synthetic numeric identities here-
>> in allows us to see and thereby prove: (a) that
>> identity is conserved, expressed via the real num-
>> bers as a constant zero-sum, since, for example, n
>> is always as much more than x as x is less than n;
>> (b) that identity is therefore symmetrical; (c)
>> that Relative identity is holistic, since all non-
>> zero identity attributes are derived from other-
>> difference; and (d) that the Absolute (nonrelative)
>> identity of each and every thing equals zero.
>I guess at this point I am wondering what kind of useful insights can
>be drawn from the conclusions above. I can not find any. I'd rather
>identify to what end such a conclusion might contribute before
>wondering whether it is valid.

IAN: For starters, union of previously assumed to be paradoxically related, or contrary, philosophies:



     Originating in India in the 5th century AD, the 
     system of numeration used  throughout the world 
     today has proven to facilitate extreme accuracy 
     in the modelling of the physical universe. 

     As we shall observe, the  Hindu  number  system 
     also accurately models -- and thus explains and 
     validates as logical -- the core metaphysics of 
     the Hindu philosophy of yoga, or mystical union.


The supreme truth in Hinduism is Brahman. Deities such as Shiva and Vishnu represent mere aspects of Brahman. According to Hindu scripture, "Brahman is all"[1] and yet "Brahman is without attributes."[2] Having zero attributes, Brahman is called "sunya," which is Sanskrit for void and the number zero.

         "Sunya: void; the Nothing which is All. 
           Sunya Brahman: [the brahman as the 
              Void]; Supreme Nothingness." 
             Glossary of Sanskrit terms [3]

According to scripture, Brahman contains all forms and yet is formless; is the knower, knowledge, and the known and yet is "bereft of knower, knowledge, and known."[4] How can Brahman be all and nothing? How can Brahman be and also not-be x, y, and z?

This all-and-nothing paradox is the nexus of centuries of confusion and dispute, not only between East and West but within Eastern philosophical systems. Here then is the resolution of this Hindu "paradox" via, appropriately enough, the Hindu number system.


The claim that x is equal to all and x is equal to nothing is true if, and only if, all is equal to nothing; for, if x = a and x = 0, then a = 0. But how could everything possibly be equal to nothing?

Hindu scripture says that "Brahman is one" (is an undivided unity) but appears to be many due to the process of "differentiation." [5] The mathematical definition of difference is that which is obtained by subtraction.[6] The operation of subtraction is therefore both the indicated and logical model of the process by which Brahman appears to be many.

           "Treat the laws and relationships 
             of integers like those of the 
            celestial bodies." George Cantor

The subtraction table models a system wherein that one system (the whole table) is populated with many attributes by the same process that Brahman is populated

     by many: by the process of differentiation:
              (fixed-pitch font required)

                       0  1  2  3
                   0 | 0  1  2  3 |
                     |            |
                   1 |-1  0  1  2 |
                     |            |
                   2 |-2 -1  0  1 |
                     |            |
                   3 |-3 -2 -1  0 |

                   Just Like Brahman

               THE TABLE IS ALL & NOTHING

Exactly like Brahman, the whole table (as a model of a whole universe, or the All) contains all and yet is itself equal to nothing, because the sum of all differences between all differentiated numbers will always equal zero no matter how many or few numbers are differentiated. All difference = 0.

The significance of difference lies in the fact that difference -- from zero difference, or same as, to nonzero differences -- defines the causal structure of identity, which in turn defines the fundamental nature of every thing and existence. Therefore, using the example of the zero-sum of all difference to model the supreme identity is not arbitrary, but is the exact model indicated.

ERGO: it's a mathematic fact that the sum (yoga) of all differences (Brahman) equals zero (sunya). The all-and-nothing Brahman paradox is therefore not a contradiction but is in fact logically true with respect to the nature of the identity of the All, where the All is a whole system wherein all members are derived from differentiation, which is the means by which Brahman appears to contain many and by which any identity n is defined as n (a number n is primary its difference from zero).

(The differentiation table, or identity matrix, serves as a comprehensive model of the structure of identity; a more complete analysis of this is found here: http://ian.goddard.net/identity.htm)


The differentiation table explains not only how Brahman can be all and nothing, but it explains many if not all aspects of yogic philosophy such as the profoundly mystical and seemingly absurd principle of "Ajati," which declares that nothing ever exists or is ever actually created (the same is referred to in Buddhism as the "nonarising" of all apparent phenomena). The nonarising of things defines their void-like, or nonexistent, nature. As the Hindu scripture Mandukya Upanishad says:

"[N]either the mind nor the objects perceived

     by the mind are ever born. ... That which is 
     non-existent [0] in the beginning and in the 
     end, is necessarily non-existent [0] in the 
      middle. The objects we see are illusions, 
        still they are regarded as if real." 

                Mandukya Upanishad [7]

If there is no difference, and then difference arises, yet the sum of All difference is equal to no difference(0), then in fact only nothing arises, hence the nonarising known as "Ajati."


Yoga means "union," the union of the identity of the individual, the Atman, with the identity of the supreme Brahman, which is the All.

As the differential matrix shows, the identity of each thing relative to itself is zero, which is the same identity as the identity of the All. The zero of self-relation defines the Absolute, or nonrelative, nature of identity expressed in the differentiation n - n = 0, which means that there is no (0) difference between n and n, and therefore n = n -- the definition of identity.

So the Absolute identity of each thing (0) is the same as, and thus is united with, the Absolute identity of everything (0); which also explains why Hindu scripture proclaims that the absolute nature of things is nonexistent (0).


The goal of the practice of yoga is to condition the mind to become like zero and in so doing, to establish an identity-union between the finite self, the Atman, and the infinite All, Brahman.

        "Everything is 'I', and I am no thing."
         Ramesh Balsekar, "The Final Truth" [8]

The traditional yoga lifestyle strives toward the goals of asceticism, which seeks to zero-out all desires, attachments, emotions, and ego clinging. The goal of yoga is essentially to cause the mind to become like zero. In fact, the goal of meditation (the central feature of the yoga lifestyle) is to zero-out thoughts, to zero-out the mind and realize the true condition of reality... zero. To know the supreme become like the supreme... zero.

      "He who contemplates on sunya...is absorbed 
       into space. . . think on the Great Void un-
       ceasingly. The Great Void, whose beginning 
       is void, whose middle is void, [and] whose 
       end is void...By contemplating continually 
        on this, one obtains success [nirvana]."

                  The Siva Samhita [9]

              Buddhists agree with Hindus:

       "[I]t is only through the understanding of 
       voidness that liberation from cyclic exist-
      ence is possible. ...Insight into voidness is
      therefore called 'the gateway to liberation.'"

         Geshe Rabten, "Echoes of Voidness" [10]


The central teachings of the philosophy of yoga amount to a logical description of the differential structure of identity and the zero-sum of all differences, proving that (1) the "All" can be all and nothing (zero); (2) the arising of infinite differences cannot constitute a deviation from nothing (zero); and (3) the Absolute (i.e., nonrelative) identity of each individual entity, which is zero, equals the Absolute identity of the All, hence their logical union (yoga).

This essay clearly proves that the most radically "mystical" and heretofore inexplicable aspects of the Hindu philosophy of yoga are in fact logical.


[1] "The Upanishads," translated by Eknath Easwaran. Petaluma California: Nilgiri Press, 1987, page 60.

[2] "Viveka-Cudamani," by Sri Sankaracarya, translated by Mohini M. Chatterji. Adyar India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1932, verse 469, p. 177.

[3] Glossary of Sanskrit Terms in Integral Yoga Literature: http://www.miraura.org/lit/skgl.html

[4] "Thus Spake Sri Sankara," Madras India: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1969, page 35.

[5] "The Siva Samhita," translated by Srisa Chandra Vasu. New Delhi India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1979, chapter 1, verse 67, page 10.

[6] "The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics," edited by J. Daintith & R.D. Nelson. Penguin Books, 1989, p. 95.

[7] "The Mandukyopanishad." Mysore India: Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, 1974, chapter 4, verse 28, p. 31.

[8] "The Final Truth, Guide To Ultimate Understanding," by Ramesh S. Balsekar. L.A.: Advaita Press, 1989, p.77.

[9] "The Siva Samhita" (for details, see ref. [5]), chapter 5, verses 47, 160, and 161, pages 61 and 79.

[10] "Echoes of Voidness," by Geshe Rabten, translated by Stephen Batchelor. London: Wisdom Publications, 1983, p.128.

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