The Origin & Growth Of Yoga - 1

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Renunciation and ascetic life is one aspect. To lead a family life with high aspirations, pure thinking and Yoga consciousness is another aspect. Both are in vogue since a long time. Both come under one generalization called “Spiritual”. One belongs to a family type, the other belongs to the most popular type Sannyasa. For higher thinking and pur living, one need not run into forests and mountains.

Till recent times all the countries were under the rule of kings, all men were under the control of religious heads. The kings and the scholars after retirement used to settle in the forests and lead peaceful, meditative lives. In the old age, even if the couples live together under one roof they follow celibacy. Their aim was Moksha or rather entry in to the kingdom of God. Avoidance of rebirth is considered to be the final goal of humans.

In olden days kings performed Yagas and Yagnas to show their pomp and establish their supremacy. Even in Maha Bharatha we come across such yagas. Of all Rajasuya is the best. Aswamedha occupies the second position. Even smaller kings and rulers now and then performed Yagnas for the welfare of their states and people. The Rishies (saints) residing in the forest regions preferred Yagas in order to attain Moksha. All such Rishies lived with their wives and children in the forest resorts. . Renunciation was a rare step. It was started by Gowthama (Buddha) who left his beautiful wife, son and princely status in order to attain enlightenment. This “Sannyasa” had become a fashion and quite number of swami cults sprang up.
The skepticism entered in the brains of some young thinkers. They began to suspect the virtue of Yaga and Yagna. In solitude they began to contemplate. In course of time they could acquire some peace, some solace. That kind of contemplation became a routine phenomenon and a regular practice. That regular self-styled contemplation in course of time became Yoga, The traditionalists and religious pandits took a defiant stand. The young Yoga enthusiasts retreated into solitude and thus began to practice Yoga vigorously. They were happy with their spiritual upliftment and experiences. They recorded their findings and discourses, which were known as the Upanishads. The kings never patronized the yoga adepts. Thus Yoga became a means for self-knowledge and self-realization.

There was a section of people who oppose the vedic rites and rituals. They rebelled against the religious authority and independently set to search the truth with out the help of mantras and the Vedas. It is a special drive and a search in the core of heart for the unknown. They even discarded gods and god-worship. What they experienced began to yield better results than the god given boons. That was the basis for Yoga. It originated in the minds of certain rebels and revolutionaries. Revolution becomes the base for evolution. Yoga, from the time to time became a tool for revolutions. It needs no publicity, no rituals. Truly it is spiritual. Yogis are considered as truth Finders. The Yogis never bow their heads before any religious authority. They don’t mend their ways under anybody’s influence. They never consider the Vedas as authority. Such revolutionary brains are found in almost all religions. There are Mohammedans who do not visit masjids. There are Christians who do not visit churches. Such people never entangle in the clutches of religion and rituals. They never bother for others, opinions or care for their acceptance.

There are two faces to Spirituality: one is worldliness; the other is “ THE OTHER”. All our rituals demand from gods some worldly helps or pleasure or advantage. All types of meditations aspire Moksha or deathless state or merge with Paramatma. The second one starts with peace namely peace of mind. But very few reach the precincts of Heaven, not to speak the higher soul. Real yoga with no desire or aspiration opens the door to the realm of Atma. Yes, Yoga is the passport to Atma. At the stage where one finds truth, on his own accord, independently, then he sets in Yoga. So, Yoga has nothing to do with our aspirations, desires and worldly benefits. Yet Yoga is a part of life to those who consider it seriously.

Now we have eight kinds of Yogas in vogue, namely raja yoga, Karma Yoga, Buddhi Yoga, Gnana Yoga come under Raja Yoga category and the remaining four come under Hatha Yoga label. Maharshi Patanjali was the foremost person, who collected material on yoga and formed a text out of it. Sri Krishna of ‘Bhagavat Gita’ takes the credit for Karma Yoga and Acharya Sankara for Gnana Yoga. As Sri Krishna in the Gita affirms Sankhya is the best of all Yogas, but nobody heeds for it, except great saints like Kapila and Agastya, who hailed Sankhya to sky high.

A person who desires to do yoga requires these qualities:
1. He should have strong will to do.
2. He should have stamina to undergo hard-ships and short-comings.
3. He should have love in abundance.

When these three pre-requisites are fulfilled, he is considered to be fit. Then the cleansing process begins inside. Then the inner powers begin to accumulate on their own accord. Of these three, each quality has a specific note and special significance in moulding ones character. All the three are positive qualities. He who practices Yoga with these basic qualities is called a Raja Yogi. The will, wisdom and compassion are the qualities of heart. The heart –felt feelings cause some extra energy. We mistake that extra-inborn energy as some divine power or god given. In reality it is not so, it is ours. It is purely human.