Not Higher Nor Lower: Comments on Dualism

It is a staple of so many religions that there is a "higher" and "lower" expression of existence. The higher is typically associated with consciousness and pursuits of abstraction and transcendence, whereas the body, emotions and the material world get the shaft as the "lower" realm of existence. Naturally, there is a not-so-subtle sexism built into this hierarchical distribution, as the feminine has often been the energy of the body and emotions, thus seen as an inferior force in the face of the more masculine practices of thought, abstraction and transcendence. Even the yoga of Patanjali (considered the first formal organizer of yoga philosophy) makes this distinction in the form of Purusha (consciousness) and Prakrti (matter). The incarnations of Purusha and Prakrti always posit Purusha as a masculine deity and Prakrti as feminine. According to Patanjali, the path of yoga is to purge oneself of samskaras

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