YOGA AND ITS OBJECTS

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Yoga Philosophy is one of the six-systems of Hindu Philosophy which exist in India. Unlike so many other philosophies of the world, it is a philosophy that is wholly practical.

Yoga is an exact science based on certain immutable Laws of Nature.
It is well known to people of all countries of the world interested
in the study of Eastern civilization and culture, and is held in awe
and reverence as it contains in it the master-key to unlock the
realms of Peace, Bliss, Mystery and Miracle.

Even the philosophers of the West found solace and peace in this
Divine Science. Jesus Christ Himself was a Yogi of a superior order,
a Raja-Yogi indeed. The founder of the Yoga Philosophy was Patanjali
Maharshi, who was not only a Philosopher and a Yogi, but a Physician
as well. He is said to have lived about three hundred years before
Jesus Christ.

Patanjali defines Yoga as the suspension of all the functions of the
mind. As such any book on Yoga which does not deal with these three
aspects of the subject, viz., mind, its functions, and the method of
suspending them, can be safely laid aside as unreliable and
incomplete.

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root "Yuj" which means "to
join". Yoga is a science that teaches us the method of joining the
individual soul and the Supreme Soul. It is the merging of the
individual will with the Cosmic or Universal Will.

Yoga is that inhibition of the functions of the mind which leads to
the absolute abidance of the soul in his own real nature of Divine
Glory and Divine Splendour. It is the process by which the identity
of the individual soul and the Over Soul is established by the Yogi.
In other words, the human soul is brought into conscious communion
with God.

Yoga is the Science of sciences that disentangles the individual soul
from the phenomenal world of sense objects and links him with the
Absolute, whose inherent attributes are Infinite Bliss, Supreme
Peace, Infinite Knowledge and unbroken Joy.

Yoga is that state of absolute Peace wherein there is neither
imagination nor thought. Yoga is control of mind and its
modifications. Yoga teaches us how to control the modifications of
the mind and attain liberation.

It teaches us how to transmute the unregenerate nature and attain the
state of Divinity. It is the complete suppression of the tendency of
the mind to transform itself into objects, thoughts, etc. Yoga kills
all sorts of pain, misery and tribulations.

It gives you freedom from the round of births and deaths with its
concomitant evils of disease, old age, etc., and bestows upon the
Yogi all the Divine Powers and final liberation through super-
intuitional knowledge. The word Yoga is also applicable in its
secondary sense to the factors of Yoga, viz., self-training, study,
the different actions and practices that go to make up Yoga as they
are conducive to the fulfilment of Yoga and as such indirectly lead
to emancipation.

Union with God is the goal of human life and that ought to become the
touch-stone of all human endeavours. That is the be-all and end-all
of existence.

Equanimity is Yoga. Serenity is Yoga. Skill in action is Yoga.
Control of the senses and the mind is Yoga. Anything by which the
best and the highest life can be attained is also Yoga. Yoga is thus
all-embracing, all-inclusive and universal in its application leading
to all-round development of body, mind and soul.

The object of Yoga is to weaken what are called the five afflictions,
as follows: Ignorance, Egoism, Likes, Dislikes, and the Instinct of
Self-preservation (or clinging to bodily life). Ignorance is the
fertile soil which bears an abundant crop of the rest. On account of
ignorance only, egoism has manifested. Wherever there is egoism,
there invariably exist likes, dislikes and the rest side by side.
Clinging to bodily life or fear of death is born of likes only. It is
nothing but attachment.

Egoism is a specific form of ignorance. The mind gets itself attached
wherever there is pleasure. If the mind likes pomegranate (a fruit),
it gets itself attached to this fruit, as it derives pleasure from
eating it.

The mind runs after things that have been associated with agreeable
experiences in the past. This is attachment (likes). The mind runs
away from objects which have caused pain, this is dislike. These are
all the faults of man himself. The world can never hurt you.
The five elements are your best teachers. They help you in a variety
of ways. The things created by the Lord are all beneficial. It is
only the creation of man that brings pain and misery. These five
afflictions bind you to the outside objects and reduce you to,
piteous slavery.

These afflictions remain as tendencies even when they are
inoperative. These afflictions and tendencies can be attenuated by
Yogic discipline.

On account of ignorance you have forgotten your primitive Divine
Glory. On account of this veil you are not able to remember your old
status of Godhood, your original, immortal, blissful, divine nature.
Ignorance is the root-cause of egoism, likes, dislikes and the rest.
These five afflictions are great impediments to Yoga. They stand as
stumbling blocks to the attainment of Self-Realisation.

These five afflictions remain in a dormant, attenuated, overpowered
or fully developed state. When the husband begins to fight with the
wife, his love for her becomes dormant and he shows dislike for her
for the time being.

In a Yogic student these afflictions become thinned out or attenuated
by the spiritual force of his, Yogic practices, but they do exist in
a subtle state. They cannot do any havoc. They are like the cobra
whose poisonous fangs have been extracted by the snake-charmer.

The "over-powered state" is that state in which one set of
impressions is kept under restraint for some time by another powerful
set of impressions; but they manifest again, when the cause of the
suppression is removed.

In a worldly man with passions and appetites these can be seen
operating in fullest swing, but in a fully developed or full-blown
Yogi these afflictions and impressions are burnt in toto.

Owing to ignorance you have mistaken the physical body for the Self
and this is all the mistake you have committed, but it is a serious
mistake indeed. By changing your mental outlook, by purifying your
heart and intellect, you can attain Knowledge of Self. Mind, Prana,
body and the senses are all instruments only.

The real Seer is the Self who is pure, unchanging, eternal, self-
luminous, self-existent, self-contained, infinite and immortal.
When you begin to identify yourself with this immortal, all-pervading
Self, all miseries will come to an end.

Likes and dislikes are the causes for doing good and evil deeds. Good
and evil deeds bring pleasure and pain, thus the round of births and
deaths is kept up from time immemorial by the six-spoked wheel of
likes, dislikes, virtue, vice, pleasure and pain.

The Yogic student should first try to weaken these five afflictions.
Three practices are prescribed for this purpose. They are: Austerity,
(Tapas), Study of Scriptures (Swadhyaya) and Resignation to the Will
of the Lord (Ishwarapranidhana)
. The practitioner should have intense
faith in the efficacy of his practices.

Then the energy to carryon with the practices will manifest by
itself. Then the real memory will dawn. When there is memory, then
there is no difficulty in practising concentration. If there is
concentration, discrimination will dawn. That is the reason why
Patanjali says: "Samadhi will come through faith, energy, memory,
concentration and discrimination."

Therefore, to get success in concentration, meditation and the
practice of Yoga, you must have tremendous patience, tremendous will
and tremendous perseverance.

Plunge yourself in concentration. Merge the mind in one idea of God
and God alone. Let the mind fully get absorbed there. Forget other
things. Let the whole body, muscles, tissues, nerves, cells and brain
be filled with the one idea of God. This is the way to positive
success.

Great sages and saints of yore have practised Yoga in this way only.
Work hard. You will reach the goal. You will also become a great
saint. Whatever one has achieved can be achieved by others also. This
is the Law.

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GOSPEL OF BROTHERHOOD

"If Universal Brotherhood is to be really established, you should
love the entire humanity with pure love. There may be superfluous
differences of opinion, but you must be able to adapt, adjust, and
accommodate. Making show of brotherhood externally is not as helpful
as internally uniting with in your heart of hearts.

Adaptability, a spirit of accommodation, and adjustment, are
necessary. The ego must be thinned out; the self-assertive Rajasic
nature should be transformed. Only then can we achieve real
brotherhood. Service should be rendered with Atma-Bhav, (attitude of
seeing the same self in all) with the attitude that there is one All-
Pervading Consciousness in all, without egoism, without expectation
of fruits, having a balanced mind.

These qualifications are necessary. If you are selfish, you will not
be able to do real service to humanity. Real selfless service should
be service without egoism. You should ever have a balanced mind.
Surrender the fruits to the Lord. Develop equal vision. Then you will
be able to get the knowledge of the Self. You will have Supreme.
Peace and Eternal Bliss. Universal brotherhood is the first step to
Universal Selfhood.

He beholds the one Self in all beings who has knowledge of the Self,
through selfless service. He can unite all hearts, but because of
ignorance, misunderstanding takes place. Mutual understanding and
goodwill - these are all rare because they are possible in only those
in whom the Supreme Love has melted all barriers that separate man
from man.

A soft melting heart, a heart that will melt at the suffering of
others will lead us to Supreme Peace and Eternal Bliss and
Immortality, to the Absolute, where there is neither hunger nor
thirst, to the Antaratman (the indwelling Self), Self-luminous, Self-
existent, Self-contained, where all desires are gratified.

Regular concentration and meditation, purification, universal
brotherhood, mutual understanding, goodwill, service of humanity with
the right Bhav (feeling and frame of mind), with the right mental
attitude, will take us to the goal, to Universal Selfhood. Let us all
unite to untiring service to humanity, not only for mere social
functions, but for dissemination of the one knowledge which can
remove Avidya or ignorance and lead us to immortality. Immortality is
our goal.

Yo vai bhuma tat sukham - You will have Supreme Bliss in that Bhuma,
unconditioned by Time, Space and Causation. It has been declared so
by the seers and sages of the Upanishads who have come face to face
with the Supreme.

Vihaya kaman yah puman - When you are free from cravings and Trishnas
(thirsting for objects), from desires and yearnings, when you have
crushed egoism and abandoned the idea of doership and enjoyership,
you will attain That Supreme Peace.

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QUALIFICATIONS OF A YOGIC STUDENT

The Yogic student must have faith and devotion to Guru and the Lord.
He must have faith in the teachings of his Guru and in Yogic
scriptures.
He must have intense aspiration and dispassion.
Faith, aspiration and dispassion are the three important qualities of
a Yogic student.
Non-violence, truthfulness and celibacy are the three fundamental
virtues.
The Yogic student must be gentle, simple, humble, and noble.
He must be free from crookedness, cunningness, diplomacy, double-
dealing, harshness, rude nature, greed and egoism.

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Selflessness and Cosmic Love

He must have the spirit of selfless service. He must serve the poor
and the sick. He must cultivate this again and again.
He must have cosmic love. He must love all. He must have all-
embracing love. He must share whatever he has with others.
He must be serene. The Divine Light will dawn in a serene mind only.
He must be non-violent, truthful and non-covetous.
He must adapt the golden medium or the middle path.

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Purity and Self-Restraint

He must observe perfect celibacy or he must lead a well-regulated,
disciplined life. He must be moderate in everything.
He must lead a contented life.
He must have perfect self-restraint. He must gradually discipline the
senses and keep them under subjugation.
He must speak gently, sweetly, and truthfully.
He must not use vulgar words or harsh words.
He must give up intoxicants, liquor and smoking.
He must take vegetarian food. There is much nutrition in milk-
products, nuts, etc., animal diet excites the passion and makes the
mind turbulent.

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Virtues for Rapid Progress

He must possess adaptability, courage, mercy, generosity, tolerance,
patience, perseverance, sincerity and complacency.
He must be earnest, vigilant and diligent.
He must have intense faith, application, tenacity and endurance.
He must stick to his ideal and goal.
He must be ever cheerful. Cheerfulness is a powerful tonic of the
mind.
He must have discrimination, fiery determination and firm resolve. He
must stick to his resolves.
He must be regular in his practise. Regularity is of paramount
importance for success in Yoga.
He must have equanimity, fortitude and forbearance.
He must have manliness and mannerliness.
His speech must agree with his thought, and his action with his
speech.
He must practise introspection and self analysis daily.

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Eradicate Evil Qualities

Give up back-biting and boasting.
Annihilate laziness.
Eradicate evil habits.

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-- His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswathy



barbara's picture

yoga sutra

Has the yoga originated from Patanjali's yoga sutra or rather the sutra just organized the existing knowledge in a text?

Do you have the yoga sutra? appreciate if you could attach it to this post so that i can download it and read.

barbara | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 04:46
madan_gautam's picture

yoga sutra

Yoga Sutra is the finest and the first conciliation of the yogic techniques from abcd to p.hd.
You can get the translated yoga sutra on web. sites.
If not,let me know i will send it to you.
OM

madan_gautam | Wed, 11/19/2008 - 12:17
salamtak's picture

Are there many different

Are there many different types of yoga? to what type are you referring? can you explain the basic differences?

salamtak | Tue, 09/16/2008 - 06:19
madan_gautam's picture

Yog Sutra

One of the finest and for most compilation On Yoga.
OM

madan_gautam | Sun, 12/21/2008 - 10:36