Essence of Yoga

There are many meanings of Yoga around. Some refer to physical postures, some to breathing techniques and some to mental techniques. In this lesson you will learn the meaning of Yoga as described in the ancient Indian Yogic texts.

The word Yoga means union. Union with the God. The God is referred by many names. Some call Him Atman, some Soul, some Bramhan and some others Creator. Whatever you name Him the underlying principal remains the same. In these lessons we will call him as God because it is the most common word than everybody understands and can relate to. Though the meaning of word Yoga is union it also refers to all the means and processes adopted to achieve this union. These means and processes include many things such as meditation, pranayama, kriyas and many others. If you see the underlying principal of any of these techniques you will realize that they all finally aim at controlling the mind and consciousness. Be it Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Bhakti Yoga or Raja Yoga all aim at Samadhi, the state of union. Thus Yoga means restraining fluctuations or patterns of your mind.

Here we are presenting teachings that were told by Lord Shiva to his consort Parvati. These verses are the essence of the entire Yoga and Vedanta literature. It hints at the central theme of all Yogic disciplines and a means to attaining it.

शिव उवाच -
देहो देवालयो देवी जीवो देव: सदाशिव: ।
त्यजेद्ज्ञान निर्माल्यं सोहं भावेन पुजयेत ॥   
जीवो शिव: शिवो जीव: सजीव: केवल शिव: ।
पाशबद्धो स्मृतो जीवा पाशमुक्तो सदाशिव: ॥

Lord Shiva said -
O Devi! This body is a temple. Jiva living within is Shiva himself. Renounce the debris of ignorance and worship Him with the attitude of 'I am That'. Jiva is Shiva and Shiva is Jiva. The one trapped in bondage is Jiva and the one free from it is Shiva.

A practitioner who has this message rooted firmly in his heart need not study any other scriptures. The above message is an excellent combination of four paths viz. Karma, Bhakti, Yoga and Dnyana. We are giving a further  explanation of the above verses for the benefit of the readers.

देहो देवालयो देवी जीवो देव: सदाशिव: ।

Once upon a time God thought, "Let me manifest as many". He then took the form of Purusha and Prakrati. Through them He gave birth to this universe. If the whole universe is the manifestation of God, it is obvious that the life in every living being belongs to Him. Thus Jiva and Shiva are one and the same. The Jiva lives in a temple we call as body. The body is aptly called as temple to indicate purity and holiness. A practitioner should strive to keep his mind-body pure and sacred. At the same time he should from providing undue luxuries to the mind-body equipment. Does a temple ever has luxuries? Similarly, a practitioner should tune his mind and body for the purpose of spiritual progress.

त्यजेद्ज्ञान निर्माल्यं सोहं भावेन पुजयेत ॥

If Jiva is identical with the Shiva, why it cannot experience this unity? Because under the influence of Prakrati, the individual soul forgets his real identity. The way a rope is mistaken as snake, the individual soul thinks that 'I means my body'. He forgets his Shiva nature. If he is to regain his true identity, this false identification with body must be renounced. The individual soul should understand and experience that Jiva and Shiva are one and the same. To work towards this goal alone can be considered as the real worship of God.

जीवो शिव: शिवो जीव: सजीव: केवल शिव: ।

A Jiva was never separate from Shiva. The life blossoming in every living being is but Shiva Chaitanya. A mirror covered with dust doesn't show images clearly. But does that mean that mirror doesn't exist. Certainly not. The same holds true for Jiva. Even though Jiva has forgotten his Shiva nature, he was always Shiva. There is no doubt about this. 

पाशबद्धो स्मृतो जीवा पाशमुक्तो सदाशिव: ॥

The Prakrati binds Jiva with bonds that make Jiva forget his Shiva nature. The bonds of Prakrati are - Lust, Anger, Greed, Delusion, Pride and Envy. As long as a Jiva is trapped in these bonds he cannot revel his Shiva nature. Once freed from from these bonds Jiva is undoubtedly Shiva. How can these bonds be destroyed? By worshiping the Lord with 'I am That' attitude. This worship doesn't require any gross items such as fruits, lamp and essence. Such worship can be performed only by the practice of meditation.

Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor with more than 22 years of experience in classical yoga system of India. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than ten technology books for Apress and WROX press. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced yoga way of life he also teaches Kriya and Meditation to selected individuals.

बिपीन जोशी लिखित देवाच्या डाव्या हाती आणि नाथ संकेतींचा दंशु या पुस्तकांची आपली प्रत आजच विकत घ्या. त्यांच्या अजपा योग मार्गदर्शनाविषयी अधिक माहिती येथे उपलब्ध आहे.

Posted On : 01 May 2010

Tags : Yoga Vedanta Shiva Hatha Yoga Mantra Yoga Laya Yoga Raja Yoga Kundalini Chakras Kriya Yoga Ashtanga Yoga Meditation Pranayama Natha Shakti Courses

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