Yoga - Entropy Yoga

A depiction of The Buddha in a Yogic Posture

Yoga is a term that most of us in the modern world are familiar with. It is a general term used for a variety of exercises and procedures used for self-development or spiritual development. The precise meaning of the term is union. It is held in eastern philosophy that the individual consciousness, intelligence and soul has arisen from a unified Infinite Source (God) and continues to remain a part of it. We do not see this unity because of our own individual desires, ego and the exercise of our free will (along with the consequences it brings in the shape of retribution or karma). However if we reduce the very things that cause us to perceive ourselves as separate we come closer to the universal spirit that pervades the universe and thus also become more evolved. In the words of Einstein who revealed the secrets of nuclear energy, space and time to mankind,

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”  Albert Einstein

In the ultimate state, which though rare yet feasible, an individual soul looses its identity and merges in the infinite. Yoga means this union and a yogic practice is one that brings one closer to this reunion of the finite consciousness with the infinite consciousness. Yoga may also be regarded as a practice that speeds up our evolution to superior states.

Yoga may or may not be a religious thing depending on its form but many forms do require belief in God or a universal consciousness. However, the mindful breathing practices as recommended by the Buddha does not require belief in God even. Even when a form of yoga is fully  irreligious it does contribute to evolution of the person practicing it and in that sense makes him or her more in unity with the world.

The various yoga practices as propagated in eastern philosophy are numerous. Some involve physical exercises. Many are connected with breathing methodologies, many classified under the general tern pranayam implying breathing disciplines. The yoga Buddha recommended is mindful breathing and there is a separate post on that in this blog. It is here

The more advanced yogas are connected with thought control through concentration, chanting or prayer. Some forms of yoga are concerned with lifestyle disciplines. Presently we shall discuss a yoga that can be understood by engineers but it may be practiced by anyone. It has been termed entropy yoga here.

Thermodynamics is a fundamental science that engineers study. Classical thermodynamics deals with the laws of thermodynamics along with its implications and applications. Many modern machines such as the automobile and thermal plants are designed with the help of principles of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics deals with the principle of entropy. According to this law every process that takes place in the universe serves to increase the entropy of the universe. In general when entropy increase is large, mechanical devices such as the automobile engine are less efficient as compared to the situation when entropy increase is small.

Every thing that has happened in the physical universe ever since it began has increased its entropy. Entropy is also a measure of disorder. Higher entropies imply a higher degree of disorder. One may ask what would happen to the universe if the entropy increases to beyond sustainable levels. It would lead to the destruction of the universe, as we know it.

Only a being that is beyond the laws of the physical universe can reverse this change. By definition God is one such being. The process of creating something out of nothing itself implies a process where entropy can be reduced. If all of us have a component of this Infinite power in ourselves then we too have the capacity to decrease the entropy of the universe. Any systematic habit or practice that we adopt to increase order and reduce disorder leads to a reduction of entropy and in that sense is a form of yoga. Let us call this entropy yoga.

If you go around arranging the things in your room in any orderly fashion then you will be practicing entropy yoga. If you do that all around your home than entropy reduces further and if it is done on a larger scale around the city or country then one becomes the agent of substantial change and possibly substantial spiritual evolution. From this point of view, cities and countries that are more orderly are more spiritually evolved as compared to others that are disorderly. Cities and countries disturbed by violence and chaos are in the grip of anti evolutionary forces and in that sense living in Hell, metaphorically and literally.

Entropy yoga can be practiced with all our activities. If one walks on predefined paths and routes then one is practicing this yoga. If one wanders about wherever it pleases him or her then this yoga is not being practiced. In driving if one drives strictly in one’s lane keeping prescribed distances from the vehicle ahead one is practicing entropy yoga. In brief disciplined behavior that helps maintain order is entropy yoga whereas undisciplined behavior is not.

A person who carries out fundamental things like eating and sleeping according to pre decided time schedules is practicing entropy yoga as well. If you set aside scheduled weekly times to organize your personal belongings and other activities then a more powerful form of entropy yoga is being practiced where order is being affected in both space and time.

When we speak truthfully and thoughtfully we practice an advanced form of entropy yoga as connected to our speech because truthful and thoughtful speech is a high degree of order as compared to loose talk or lying. In every situation there can be a million lies but only one true statement.

Cleanliness is an essential part of entropy yoga because uncleanliness is merely the undesirable placement of matter in wrong places, and cleanliness restoring that disorder.. It is also the first step to a practice of it and has been referred to as Shoch in Sanskrit by the father of Yoga, Patanjali

Entropy yoga or behavior leads to the same mystical energy that created the universe. Worldly objectives are easily obtained by persons and societies practicing entropy yoga, whereas nothing works properly when entropy yoga violations are widespread. The sense of time stretches for a person on entropy yoga because there is an intimate connection between flow of time as perceived by the consciousness and entropy changes. However, entropy yoga is only the first step, albeit a necessary one. Not followed by other yoga such as kriya yoga it may drive a human to stressful states rather than peace and happiness, a fate of many developed societies of the world today.

Intelligent beings like humans can practice entropy yoga consciously whereas animals cannot. Entropy yoga leads to spiritual evolution and increases abilities to achieve goals. However, even though individuals can play their role in reducing entropy not all processes in the world are in their control. Overall the entropy of the universe is constantly increasing. There is only one other quantity that moves in a single direction like that and it is time. To carry out a process where entropy does not increase is to hold time still and to carry out another that slows down the increase of entropy is to reduce the flow of time for the individual who does it. Thus individuals who act in an orderly disciplined manner will achieve more than others who behave in a disorderly fashion even though they may spend a lot of time and energy in their endeavors. The practice of punctuality combines introducing order in time, space and thought. Individuals who are intentionally and habitually unpunctual in that sense practice the reverse of yoga or play the role of the devil in a manner of speaking.

The greatest amount of disorder that humans create is perhaps at the level of thought. They are generally turbulent. The more emotional we are the more disorderly the thoughts. Spiritualists have recommended stilling thoughts through constant repetition of a name. That is called Jap yoga or chanting. However if we focus on any activity that we are doing at any time with full concentration, preventing our thoughts from wandering we may achieve the same effect.

A person who is well ordered and disciplined in his thoughts, actions and deeds and promotes order in the world and conserves his energies. When his motivations are simultaneously to evolve or achieve greater unity with the Infinite consciousness of the universe rather than personal gain then it can be a far more effective way of spiritual evolution than prayer or meditation at a few fixed times during the day. A person can feel the spiritual gain immediately by the feeling of joy and happiness that emerges from such near isentropic actions (where entropy does not increase) as compared to selfish or disorderly actions which produce tiredness, unhappiness or disgust and possibly even depression combined with sinking into lower levels of evolution. This mode of action has been referred to by the Sanskrit word Tap by the father of yoga Patanjali

To Summarise

Entropy Yoga may be defined as any practice that reduces disorder and promotes or enhances order in one's thoughts and actions or in one's surroundings because of one's actions. 

A description of  the next essential yoga, most simply described  by a Himalayan Mystic - Baba Haidakhan - called Kriya Yoga is given here


Note: The concept of entropy yoga emerges as a result of discussions between the author and an engineering colleague – KHC Prabhu. The emils regarding this are pasted below

Hey Mal,
I read your blog "someitemshave" and found it very interesting. I was unable to leave comments in that site as it refuses to take any comments from "UNKNOWN" persons, so I'm giving the same here, for all Mech-71'ers to read & understand. You might remember Thermodynamics course at IITD, where one of the books mentioned that the Entropy of the Universe, which is an indicator of the state of disorder in the Universe, is forever increasing, and that at one time some great soul had reset it to its initial state of zero entropy (i.e. complete calm and no disorder absolutely), and that great soul is none but ALMIGHTY GOD. Every living being, be it a human or an animal or a plant, has some part of the original soul and the unseen forces within each soul cause it behave in the particular way that it does. Each soul is sent to this earth with a definite purpose, and goes back to the Almighty once the purpose is served. Each soul is like a collection of bits and pieces of various computer programs, cookies and the like, and the package behaves in the particular pre-destined manner, controlled by the originator of it, just like Computer Viruses behave, completing their pre-defined Karma in their lifetime. The concept of increasing Entropy can be seen in our daily lives when we see increasing disturbances all round us. The ultimate end will be THE END of everything, when the Almighty will recall all souls unto itself and the Universe will be reborn with Zero Entropy and absolute calm.
This is what I have felt and understood and I am sure all of you will also feel the same after reading this. It is nothing new but only a simple collection of some thoughts that we all may have had sometime or the other.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these thoughts with my classmates & friends.

--- KHC Prabhu

Dear Prabhu It will be very nice if you can enter all this in the blog as well. The blog does not take anonymous comments but if you plug in your gmail ID and password in the required boxes that should be fine and your comment will get posted (since the blog is by google also that runs gmail) There is another article there on Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism that I plugged in today ( ) As regards your recent comment, you are right on. The physical universe only increases disorder but it requires a spiritual being to decrease it. We all have bits of that and whenever we do something that reduces disorder in the world around us we are in a sense doing the bidding of God and we increase disorder the reverse happens. The more one can increase order the more evolved one is. If we see the disorder in Indian cities and compare that to the order in west it is an indication of the poor state of things in India at the present time. I think at this moment in whichever room we are sitting if we arrange our surroundings so that they are more orderly, we have done a little bit to reduce the entropy of the universe. If we venture out and do that around the city or the world through any means we do more of that and it must be pleasing in the eyes of the Infinite. It then becomes a form of Yoga (union with the infinite) who does the very same for the entire universe. I think westerners indulge in this type of entropy yoga much more than most Indians do. :-) Mal

Dear Mal,
After reading your message I tried again to post the comments on your blog, but I always get the same message, and then security alert about secure & non-secure items pops up and prevents entry of google-id & password in the required boxes. As an alternative I have tried to attach the comments with this e-mail and hope you can try your hand at posting it on the blog. Thank You.
--- KHC Prabhu

Dear Prabhu:

Well, here goes. I am posting our email conversation here as a blog item and emerging from it something called entropy yoga that we can share with others who visit this blog.
Cannot really understand why you could not enter comments. Another route is to create a blog of your own. It only takes a few minutes. Make it on any topic you like and one can start with just a very small post. That way you will get an ID to visit and post comment in any blog



Hareesh said…
How can you say it so confidently, when you say that animals cannot consciously practise entropy yoga?
Have you observed how cats follow set patterns of shifting their newly born kittens to safer places or how dogs take their small pups to the roadside to tech them how to cross the roads avaoiding the vehicles that whizz by?
They are all following a type of entropy yoga in having orderliness around them.
The human mind is so "CHANCHAL" that if it is not controlled properly it will be moving from one topic to another in a moment though they may be 'miles' apart. It is one of the causes of increased entropy. Concentration generated by Jap forces the mind to focus on a single topic and reduces the entropy of a "CHANCHAL" mind.
ashok said…
Animals are unable to compose paragraph long language structures and therefore it is hard fro them to reason out any conscious method of yoga. But you are right they do practice entropy yoga. It appears to be by habit and instinct. Ants and bees are goog examples of orderly behaviour and animals do it too.

Yes control of mind produces the highest form of order and is a prerequisite to the ultimate goal of Yoga - a complete and final union with the infinite universal consciousness. Control of breathing can be a step towards it.

It is wonderful that you have recognised the turbulence of mind. Wishing success for you incontrolling that with lots of love
This is very important blog post for those people who most like yoga and meditation. It’s really usefull for us. Must read it.
Ashok said…
Thanks for your comments Spiriutality and Meditation
Ashok said…
As my attention was drawn to this early post, I updated this a bit today.
This comment has been removed by the author.

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