GTA5

Scientific pathway to health and happiness

By Satish K Kapoor

Turning yog into a market-commodity is to negate its ethos. Yog is not just physical exercise but a way of living righteously to attain the highest state of being. It is a spiritual, philosophic, esoteric and scientific pathway to health, happiness and bliss.

Yog is one of the six orthodox schools of Indic philosophy systematised by Sage Patanjali into eight limbs, Ashtang Yog, around 200 BCE.

Ashtang yog is also called Raj (royal) Yog, because it gives one unitive experience of the supreme reality. Raj yog considers the human body as a laboratory, the mind as its instrument and power, and self-knowledge as the ultimate goal of life that can be reached by faith, spiritual practice and dispassion. Faith develops in a person by the study of scriptures, good company, and the grace of God. The spiritual practice involves self-discipline, self-analysis, prayer, mantra-japa, repetition of the divine name and meditation.

Dispassion is freedom from lower propensities and worldly desires. When the focus of the sadhak is on meditation, it is called Dhyan Yog, and also Samadhi Yog.

Although there are many paths to yog, they all derive from the quintessential principles stated by Patanjali in his ‘Yog Sutras’. The yog of making the body a fit instrument for inner transformation is called Hath (or Kaya) Yog; of aparokshanubhuti – direct self-perception through right understanding – is called Jnana Yog; of devotion and total surrender to God is called Bhakti Yog; and of selfless actions without any attachment is called Karma Yog. When karma, bhakti and jnana yogs are harmonised, it is known as Samatva, Samata Yog, the unifying path.

Bhakti yog is also called Taraka Yog, and Taraka Prem Yog because it ferries one across the ocean of worldly afflictions by way of prem, true love. Riju Yog, associated with Sage Kapila, also comes under bhakti yog. It is called riju because it is simple, straight and beneficial to all. Its five pillars are shraddha, faith; satsang, true association; bhagavat-katha shravana, listening to God’s stories; kirtan, singing God’s glory; and japa, chanting Divine’s name.

Repetition of a holy syllable, word, or a group of words, revealed to seers and realised souls and imparted by a competent guru, is called Mantra Yog, and also Japa Yog. It is the easiest way to quieten the mind and to withdraw the senses from their objects. Concentration on the Self, the inner sound, or an external object, leading to absorption into the transcendental principle is Laya Yog. It is also referred to as Kundalini Yog, since it can awaken the latent powers within by opening the chakras, psychic energy centres in the astral body.

Another popular form, Surat-shabda, also called Sahaj Yog, aims at joining surat, individual soul, with shabda, the word, by repeating the divine name, practising meditation, and hearing the inner spiritual sound.

Yog can be practised by all, irrespective of caste, colour, community, culture, religion or race. Regular yog-sadhana restores inner vitality by bringing about greater harmony between body, breath and mind. It reduces stress, promotes creativity, and gives inner joy. At an advanced level, a yogi may gain siddhi, supernormal power, but its use is prohibited as it may take him away from the ultimate goal of spiritual realisation.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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