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

Ravi Prakash, Sujit Sarkhel, Priyanka Rastogi, Mohammed Zia Ul Haq, Pranav Prakash Choudharay, Vijay Verma
2009 The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology  
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
more » ... 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 (IPA) 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 (a) external light perception, (b) imagination and (c) 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. The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (IPJP) can be found at www.ipjp.org. Dr Sujit Sarkhel (M.B.B.S., D.P.M., M.D.) is a psychiatrist, currently working as a senior resident at the Central Institute of Psychiatry in Ranchi, India. His areas of interest are psychiatry and the impact of spirituality in psychiatric patients. He has several publications in the field of psychiatry as well as presentations at psychiatric conferences. This is his first qualitative study of spiritual practitioners and he has future plans of getting involved in several such studies, which he sees as an important contribution to science as a whole and to psychiatry in particular. (M.A., M.Phil [M&SP]) is a first year student in the department of clinical psychology at the Central Institute of Psychiatry in Ranchi, India. Her areas of interest are assessment and the treatment of personality disorders, states of meditation, and the neuropsychology of psychiatric conditions. She has presented several research Ms Priyanka Rastogi
doi:10.1080/20797222.2009.11433996 fatcat:pqdvdezdynbz7l3ljc25nefx74