Modern Yoga – A fabricated truth -Part 3
Namaste Everyone! Hope you are keeping up good in this variable weather of Adelaide.
➢ In last two parts, we reviewed that how people are confused about the ‘’Yoga’ ‘its true meaning and it’s paths.
➢ Now let’s discuss the four major paths of Yoga, which are explained in Bhagavad Gita by Lord Krishna to realize the supreme consciousness or ‘Brahman’.
➢ Bhagavad Gita is an ancient scripture of India and has a lot of importance in Yoga philosophy. A Yoga sadhaka (student) must read and absorb it.
➢ Meaning of Bhagavad Gita is- ‘’Song of the lord’’, it is in the form of a dialogue between prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna in the epic battlefield of Mahabharata. It is also known as a practical guide for modern men.
➢ Firstly I would prefer to discourse Raja Yoga, the uppermost path of Yoga, unfortunately, it is also the most misunderstood form of modern Yoga.
➢ The other name of Raja Yoga is Asthanga Yoga, which is also explained by Patanjali in Yoga sutras.
➢ The modern form of Ashtanga Yoga(Mysore style or other forms are simply following the philosophy of Patanjali.)
➢ Modern Ashtanga Yoga(series of body postures) was developed by Krishnamacharya for the physical fitness of soldiers of king Mysore.Do not misunderstand it with the authentic Raja Yoga.
I-Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga –The path of Meditation
Raja means King,this path is considered as highest among all the paths of Yoga.
• Also known as Ashtanga (ashta-eight,anga-limb) Yoga which means eight limbs of Yoga.
• Raja Yoga is a complete method that emphasizes meditation while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals with the monitoring and controlling thoughts of the mind.
• It is a practical segment of the Sankhya Philosophy.(philosophy of 25 tattvas of evolution)
• The aim of Raja yoga is to attain Samadhi, Purusha (seer/spirit/soul) becomes one with the Prakriti or (nature/seen).
In Chapter 6 of Bhagavad Gita Sankhya philosophy and path of Raja Yoga is mentioned as –
➢ Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence,and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.
➢ The stage of perfection is called trance, or samādhi when one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.
(Ch 6 20-23)
* Reference –Bhagavad Gita as it is by Swami Prabhupada
➢ Now it comes to the great work of Sage Patanjali, he simplified this system and helped us to understand the practicality of Ashtanga Yoga in daily life. He revealed eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
➢ Patanjali Yoga sutras are total 196,which are divided into four chapters,sutra means thread, these simple thread like aphorisms holds substantial knowledge and wisdom.The four chapters are-
1. Samadhi Pada
2. Sadhana Pada
3. Vibhuti Pada
4. Kaivalya Pada
➢ Definition of Raja Yoga by Patanjali –
➢ Yogash Chitta vritti nirodhah. (1.1)
Yoga is the mastery of the activities of the field of consciousness.
➢ Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam.(1.2)
Then the seer rests in its true nature.
➢ The eight limbs explained in chapter 2 are-
The first limb, Yama, describes one’s moral standards, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life.Five yamas are-
a) Ahimsa (Non-violence)
b) Satya (truthfulness)
c) Asteya (non-stealing)
d) Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
e) Brahmacharya (celibacy)
Niyama, the second limb, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual fulfillments.
a) Shaucha (cleanliness)
b) Samtosha (contentment)
c) Tapas (austerities)
d) Svadhyaya (self-study)
e) Ishwarapranidhana (surrender to God)
3. Asana (stable and comfortable body posture)
4.Pranayama (manipulation of breath)
5.Pratyahara (withdrawal of sensory organs)
8.Samadhi (State of trance/silence)
➢ Sadly in this modern age of Yoga, teachers are not emphasizing on the importance of eight steps and focusing either only on the asanas (body postures) or Meditation. People think that they are practicing Yoga but in reality, they are just doing a physical activity.
➢ For instance, a person does good body posture practice or one hour of Meditation every day, in a well-equipped Yoga studio but he lies whole day at his work or home, in such a case, he is simply doing body fitness nothing more than that, his mind and soul will not be purified by this asana practice.
II- Jyana Yoga-The path of knowledge
• Jyana means knowledge.
• It involves deep searching of the true nature of our being by systematically studying and analyzing the purpose of life.
• The aim of Jyana Yoga is to know Brahman(Supreme soul) through knowledge.
Chapter 4 of Bhagavad-Gita explains about this transcendental path of wisdom as-
➢ Even if you be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries. (4.36)
➢ As the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna,so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities. (4.37)
* Reference –Bhagavad Gita as it is by Swami Prabhupada
➢ Yogi can acquire knowledge through the study of scriptures, contemplation, intuition, service to God and teachers, divine grace, discussion, teaching, observation and personal spiritual experiences.
➢ This path is quite difficult for a modern man as it needs a lot of patience and hard work and currently everyone looks for the quick fix.
➢ Students who like to read and always desire to know new things can choose this path of knowledge.
I wanted to finish all the four paths in this article but I decided to put Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga separately as they are very important and practical paths.
Both the paths are very useful for modern man and should be elaborated individually.
Hope you will enjoy reading this article.
To be continued!
Hari Om Tat Sat !