True Nature of Yoga

Even though “Yoga” is a widely discussed subject, humanity at large remain ignorant of the true nature of Yoga. In todays modern world there is a widespread practice of so called “ Yoga” across various levels of society, but the sacred status of this ancient science which was developed and synchronized by the Mystics and Yogis of yore has changed drastically. The tragedy lies in the fact that the true essence of yoga will be lost and forgotten for the future generation to come.

The word Yoga is got from the root yuj and the literal transaltions is , to yoke, union which means to join, or to integrate; same as being absorbed in samadhi (union with the Divine). Having supreme love and attachment to God is “Bhaktiyoga” . Performing selfless deeds that cleanses and purifies the mind leading one towards God is “Karmayoga”.  “Jnanayoga” is the exploration of the pure consciousness mentioned in the ancient sciptures which is the Absolute Supreme individual soul from which the entire creation has emerged. Similarly the path of “Hathayoga” relates to body postures (asanas) and breath (pranayama) that assists one in maintaining excellent physical health which in turn accelerates spiritual growth in an individual. In and of itself Hathayoga is not the goal, but a means to an end. Primarily, yoga is based on Patanjali’s yoga sutras.

It is therefore important to understand the difference between Hathayoga and Patanjali’s yoga. Everything that happens in nature’s creation takes place in a sequential manner and is in perfect balance. All the different species of animals have attributes unique to them that keep them in balance as well as having it’s own limitation.

For example, the Mayurasana is based on the morph of peacock, due to this state the peacock is able to digest small snakes and lizards. Humans adopt this posture to enhance the digestive system. At the same time we must also acknowledge the fact that when we practise the mayurasana we receive both the digestive system and mental inertia of that animal. Likewise when human beings practice the following animal postures  “Gaumukhasan ,”Bhujangasan”, ”Shalabhasan”, ”Matsyendrasan”(Fish), ”Vrishchikasan”(Scorpion),”Ushtrasan”(Camel),”Sinhasan”(Lion),”Vakasan”,”Garudasan”and”Kukudasan” etc, with their many variation of postures, it will definitely have the same influence on their physiology and mental state, like two sides of a coin.

This influence becomes a hindrance to higher spiritual advancement. The qualities of renunciation is required to go beyond this mental inertia to spiritual contemplation. Contrary to the renunciation of Patanjali’s Yogasutras which is full of Aparigraha, Hathayoga is practised to enhance a person’s status in society which has resulted in the extreme commercialisation of yoga. In earlier times yoga was practised on mountain and in caves, whereas these days it is practised in air conditioned rooms. These days even simple exercises have also been added to the category of Hathayoga.

In the Vedas, the mother of all wisdom there is a parable in Chandyogpanishad:Once both Indra and Virochan came to Lord Prajapati to attain the divine knowledge of Brahmjnan. They dwelt there as pupils maintaining celibacy for 32 years,one day Prajapati asked of them “Look at your self in a pan of water”.Prajapati then asked them”

what do you see ”?

They replied:

“We both see the self thus altogether, a picture even to the very hairs and nails”.

Prajapati said to them:

“After you have adorned yourselves, have put on your best clothes and cleaned yourselves, look again into the pan of water”.

They, after having adorned themselves, having put on their best clothes and cleaned themselves,

looked into the water pan again.

Prajapati said;

What do you see?”

They replied Just as we are, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean, thus we are both there,

Sir, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean.’

Prajapati said:

That is the Self,this is immortal,the fearless,this is the Brahman”.Then both

went away satisfied in their hearts.

And Prajapati, looking after them, said:

They both go away without having perceived and without having known the Self, and whoever of these two, whether Devas or Asuras, will follow this doctrine, will perish”.

Now Virochan, satisfied in his heart went to the asuras and preached that doctrine to them, that the Self (the body) alone is to be worshipped ,that the Self (the body)alone is to be served ,and that he who worships the Self and serves the Self,gains both worlds,this and the next.This culture is the culture of asuras.

But indra,before returning to the Devas saw this difficulty,As this self (The shadow in the water) is well adorned, when the body is well adorned ,well dressed , when the body is well cleaned ,that self will also be blind , lame, if the body is lame, crippled and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes.Therefore I see no good in this (Doctrine).

And Indra again returned to the Prajapati and perceived the various stages of knowledge before Swapnantargath (Dreaming State), Sushuptiantargath(Deep sleep unconscious State) and finally the perception of the Supreme Self Element the Aatma.

Just like that by adopting some of the postures of Hathayoga people follow the same religion of virochan (asuras), people are following the adherence towards asuric culture,by worshipping body as Self, ignorant of the actual element of yoga consisting of SelfSacrifice, Renunciation,Meditation and Penance.

अन्धेनैवनियमाना यथान्धाः

Today the whole world is following the religion of virochan

 

So what is the real yoga ? How will we understand this knowledge ? Even more so, it cannot be articulated in words, but in short I will at the very least attempt an introduction into the real nature of yoga.

The father of yoga is Hiranyagarbh and Patanjali later compiled it into yogasutra. The first and the foremost formula of yogasutra is योगश्चितिवृत्ति निरोधः,that is to say ”The conservation of mind is yoga”.It consists of fully internal activity, fraction of this came as a part of Buddhism as in the form of Vipasana. Patanjali yogasutra consists of 4 chapters.

  1. Samadhipadh(About Enlightenment )
  2. Sadhanpad ( About the practice )
  3. Vibhutipad ( About the result )
  4. Kaivalyapad ( About Liberation )

The first path , Samadhipad is for the high seeker who assumes Absolute quietness and he has

control over His own mental projections, by the purification of the mind the mutable aspect of human misconception all disappear and when only true intelligence remains in him, he attains the state of  “Nirvij Samadhi”.

The second path Sadhanpad is for the simple seeker and this is through the practice of Ashtanga yoga

  • Yam (self Regulation)
  • Niyam (Observance or practice of Self restraining)
  • Asana (Postures)
  • Prananyama (Breath Control)
  • Pratyahara (Withdrawal of the Sense)

Then comes Dharana,Dhyana,Samadhi. In the yogasutra all of this are represented in a formulaic manner,but there is a comprehensive explanation in the Vedas and Upanishads. The ascetic Saint of Matri Sadan Swami Nigamanand Saraswati has made reference to this in some of his articles

Namely his treatise Pranopasana

It is very difficult to convey this profound knowledge in a few words.

The third path Vibutipad – the practice of this path bestows on the seeker supernatural powers. But a wise seeker keeps himself separate from the attraction of these powers.

The fourth and final path is Kaivalyapad

      “पुरूषार्थशून्यानां गुणानां प्रतिप्रसवः कैवल्यं स्वरूपप्रतिष्ठा वा चित्तशत्तेरि

Liberation (kaivalya) is the fulfilment of the goal of the true self (Purusha) ,matter (Guna) is transcended.

The true nature of being and the force of Absolute Knowledge are then revealed.

We have attempted to briefly illustrate f the true nature of yoga. Do not forget that this is true yoga.

Kaivalya in the true sense is to realize the truth of the soul. The one who wishes to attain this state of consciousness must overcome all the paradox in the practice of yoga.

In Patanjali yoga only two ways are prescribed to remove the disease.

1                               तत्प्रतिषेधार्थमेकतत्त्वाभ्यासः  

Who practice diligently overcomes these obstacles.

                                                                    ( samadhipadh, 32)

2-      मैत्री करूणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुख पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चित प्रसादनम्

All that is mutable in human beings is harmonized through the cultivation of love ,helpfulness cheerfulness and calmness in situations that are happy,painful,successful or unfortunate.The requirement of Hathyoga in this yoga is not of that importance for seekers.

                                                                      ( samadhipadh, 33)

So far in this race of materialism, who represents the true nature of soul may become alienated from yoga, beware, that those “scholars “who enact a drama in the name of yoga all over the world, are neither from a lineage of yogis nor can they delineate the sacred yoga.

 

 

 

 

 

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