Thoughts & Ideas

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yoga

Yoga means “Union” and is used essentially to denote the union of the “Atman” (Soul) to the “Parmatman” (the ultimate soul – the Godhead).

However, most people mistakenly associate yoga with “asan” (to be at ease) and associated “kriyas” (practices) such as Pranayam, which are components of hatha yoga. In this delusion, they are ably assisted by the modern electronic media led by the renowned bhogi who masquerades by the name of Guru Ramdev.

The search for enlightenment reaches one of its highest points in “Yoga”, which says that the ultimate destiny of each human being is to seek oneness with the Supreme Almighty.

Please note there is no religion involved. The form of the Supreme Almighty is left to the choice of the individual who can personify Him as Ram, Shakti, Christ, Buddha, Allah, or whatsoever he desires or feels like.

In this search, the concept yoga leaves the choice of path of seeking oneness to the individual. Though it helps to have a Guru (Teacher) who can guide one in this search. An integral part of Yoga is that it states that there are as many paths to the Supreme Almighty as there are individuals. The more well known paths being Bhakti Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Karma Yoga, Dhyan Yoga, Raj Yoga etc. Each path on its own, followed by full strength of ones own individual capacity, can lead the individual his Goal.

For example a karma yogi can attain oneness with the Almighty my doing his job with full faith. This may be tilling his land, or working with leather, or writing accounts in a ledger, or feeding data into the computer, or whatever. Similarly, a musician would attain nirvana by immersing himself in music, and a warrior by being skillful in battle. The underlying basis is that one should be doing his duty with unselfishness and with full resources available. There are no half way houses in Yoga.

The path of Dhyan Yoga, requires one to meditate and to enable one to sit for long hours in meditation for which the yogi needs to prepare himself / herself physically. This physical preparation which, incidentally, also tones and massages the internal and external organs of the body, are the asanas, pranayam, and bandhs which we mistake as yoga. In doing so not only do we discredit our ancient knowledge, but also lose out on the spiritual benefits which are much larger in effect.

Incidentally, modern psychology has another name for the concept of “Yoga” – it calls it Self Actualization.

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