Type of Yoga
“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work or worship or psychic control, or philosophy – by or more or all of these and be free. This is the whole of religion.”
- Swamy Viviekanada.
There are altogether 40 types of yoga. They are:
1. Abhava – Yoga: The unitive discipline of nonbeing, meaning the higher yogic practice of immersion into the self without objective support such as mantras; a concept found in the puranas of Bhava-Yoga.
2. Adhyatma – Yoga: The unitive discipline of inner self; sometimes said to be the Yoga characteristic of the Upanishad.
3. Agni-Yoga: The unitive discipline of fire, causing the awakening of the serpent power (Kundalini-Shakti) through the joint action of mind (manas) and life force (prana).
4. Ashtanga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the eight limbs, i.e. Raja-Yoga or Patanjali-Yoga.
5. Asparsha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of “’nonconductor”, which is the npndualist Yoga propounded by Gaundapada in his Mandukya-Karika; cf.Sparsha-Yoga.
6. Bhakti-Yoga: The unitive discipline of Love/devotion, as expounded, for instance, in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bhagavata-Purana, and numerous other scriptures of Shaivism and Vaishnavism.
7. Buddhi-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the higher mind, first mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita.
8. Dhyana-Yoga: The unitive discipline of meditation.
9. Ghatastha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “pot” (ghata), meaning the body; a synonym for Hatha-Yoga mentioned in the Gheranda-Samhita.
10. Guru-Yoga: The unitive discipline relative to one’s teacher.
11. Hatha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the force (meaning the srpernt power or Kundalini-sakti), or forceful unitive discipline.
12. Hiranyagarbha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of Hiranyagarbha (Golden Germ) who is considered the original founder of the Yoga tradition.
13. Jaba-Yoga: The unitive discipline of mantra recitation.
14. Jnana-Yoga: The unitive discipline of discriminating wisdom, which is the approach of the Upanishad.
15. Karma-Yoga: The unitive discipline of self-transcendent action, as first explicitly taught in the Bhagavad-Gita.
16. Kaula-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Kaula School, a Tantric Yoga.
17. Kriya-Yoga: The unitive discipline of ritual ; also the combined practice of asceticism (tapas), study (svadhyaya), and worship of the Lord (ishvara –pranidhana) mentioned in the Yoga-sutra of Patanjali.
18. Kundalini-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the serpent power (kundalini –sakti), which is fundamental to the Tantric tradition, including Hatha-Yoga.
19. Lambika-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “hanger”, meaning the uvula, which is deliberately stimulated in this yogic approach to increase the flow of “nectat” (amrita) whose external aspect is saliva.
20. Laya-Yoga: The unitive discipline of absorption of dissolution of the elements prior to their natural dissolution at death.
21. Maha-Yoga: The great unitive discipline, a concept found in the Ypga-shikha-Upanishad where it refers to the combined practice of Mantra-Yoga, laya-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga.
22. Mantra-Yoga: The unitive disciplines of numinous sounds that help protect the mind, which has been a part of the Yoga tradition ever since Vedic times.
23. Nada-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the inner sound, a practices closely associated with original Hatha-Yoga.
24. Pancadashanga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the fifteen limbs (panchadashaanga): 1. moral discipline (yama), 2. restraint (niyama), 3. renunciation (tyaga), 4. silence (mauna), 5. right place (desha), 6. right time (kala), 7. posture (asana), 8. root lock (mula-bandha), 9. bodily equilibrium (dshasamya), 10. stability of vision (dhrik-sthiti), 11. control of the life force (prana-samrodha), 12. sensory inhibition (pratyahara), 13. concentration (dharana), 14. meditation upon the self (atma-dhyana) and 14. ecstasy (Samadhi).
25. Pashupata-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Pashupata sect, as expounded in some the Puranas.
26. Patanjali-Yoga: The unitive discipline of Patanjali, better known as Raja-Yoga or Yoga-Darshana.
27. Purna-Yoga: The unitive discipline of wholeness or integration, which is the name of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga.
28. Raja-Yoga: The royal unitive discipline, also called Patanjali-Yoga, Ashtanga-Yoga, or Raja-Yoga.
29. Samadhi-Yoga: The unitive discipline of ecstasy.
30. Samkhya-Yoga: The unitive discipline of insight, which is the name of certain liberation teaching and schools refered to in the Mahabharata.
31. Samnyasa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of renunciation, which is constrasted against Karma-Yoga in the Bhagavat-Gita.
32. Samputa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of sexual congress (maithuna) in Tantra-Yoga.
33. Samrambha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of hatred, as mentioned in the Vishnu-Purana, which illustrates the profound yogic principle that one becomes what one constantly contemplates (even if charged with negative emotions)
34. Saptanga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the seven limbs (sapta-anga), also known as Sapta-sadhana in the Cheranda-Samhita 1. Six purificatory practices (shat-karma), 2. Posture (asana), 3.seal (mudra), 4. Sensory inhibition (pratyahara), 5. Breathe control (pranayama), 6. Meditation (dhyana) and 7. Ecstasy (Samadhi).
35. Shadanga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the six limbs (Shad-anga), as expounded in the Maitrayaniya-Upanishad: 1. breathe control (pranayama), 2. Sensory inhibition (pratyahara), 3. Meditation (dhyana), 4. Concentration (dharana), 5 examination (tarka) and ecstasy (Samadhi).
36. Siddha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of adepts, a concepts found in some of the Tantras.
37. Sparsha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of contact; a Vedantic Yoga mentioned in the Shiva-Purana, which combines mantra recitation with breath control; cf. Asparsha-Yoga.
38. Tantra-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Tantras, a Kundalini-based Yoga.
39. Taraka-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “deliverer” (taraka), a medieval Yoga based on light phenomena.
40. Yantra-Yoga: The unitive discipline of focusing the mind upon geometric representrations (yantra) of the cosmos.
According to the scriptures, Yoga is mainly classified in various systems of branches. They are:
Jnana Yoga - Union by Knowledge
Bhakthi Yoga - Union by Love and Devotion
Karma Yoga - Union by Action and Service
Raja Yoga - Union by Mental Mastery – the path of will
Hatha Yoga - Union by Bodily Mastery (Principally of breath)
Mantra Yoga - Union by Voice and Sound
Yantra Yoga - Vision and Form
Laya and Kundalini - Union by Arousal of Latent Psychic Yoga
antric Yoga - A general form for the Physiological discipline. Also union by harnessing sexual energy.
Over the last few decades or so, especially in Western countries, many people have become acquainted with Yoga as an effective way to become more relaxed and healthy. The primary aim of Yoga, however, extends beyond the cultivation of physical and emotional well-being to promote a spiritual vision of the transcendence of mundane existence through the realisation of the Divine, the Absolute, the Ultimately Real. This transcendence can be interpreted as the ultimate healing, as it promises liberation from the suffering and limitations of our daily lives and the attainment of our highest potential.
The term Yoga refers to both the goal and the means of attaining it. In the first sense Yoga denotes a state of perfect transcendence, while in the second it represents the vast array of paths, schools, principles and practices that have been developed to attain this end.
Yoga cannot be interpreted as a religion in the conventional sense if for no other reason than its presence and influence in all the major religious paths that have their origin in India: namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Rather than being a formal or institutional response to the human desire for the Divine, Yoga in its broadest sense is the working out of this desire in the life of the individual spiritual seeker.
The great diversity in the many paths of Yoga cautions us not to be dogmatic or rigidly sectarian in the way we regard the ends and means of our spiritual inclinations. The nineteenth century Bengali saint Sri Ramakrishna is reported to have often stressed that the fundamental goal of human life is the realisation of God or the Divine, and that goal can be approached in an indefinite number of ways: ‘As many paths as there are aspirants.’
The impressive complexity that the full breadth of the tradition of Yoga presents reflects this need for a multitude of ways to the common goal of liberation. However there are recognisable emphases in this tradition that are represented by the major paths of Yoga. The differences between these paths relate to how Yoga is conceived and how it is to be realised.
For instance Jnana-yoga, the yoga of knowledge or wisdom, conceives the Absolute or Brahman as impersonal and aims to realise the Self as identical with it. In contrast Bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, upholds the primacy of a personal God and seeks a union that doesn’t extinguish the distinction between oneself and God. Different again, Raja-yoga maintains a fundamental distinction between nature (prakrti) and the Self (purusa), and it is our ignorance of this distinction that causes us to be bound to the cycle of rebirth.
The articles below provide an introduction to the principles and practices of the major paths of Hindu Yoga, as well as brief resumes of some of the most influential styles of Yoga today.
Acccording to the Rg Veda, the cosmos is the maha-yajna (great sacrifice) in the sense that creation is taken to be an expression and manifestation of the very being of the supreme Lord. The sacrificial rituals of Vedic India, which were the earliest forms of spiritual discipline advocated by the Vedas, can be interpreted as both acknowledging and perpetuating the sacrificial creation of the Lord. In the Vedas the term karma seems to have meant something like ‘ritual act’ and was often used synonymously with yajna or sacrifice. Karma carried a similar meaning in the Mimamsa philosophy of Jaimini, and in the Puranas the term was associated with actions such as daily worship, religious observances and fasting. However with the early Upanisads there came already the ideal of a more inward and meditative recognition of the cosmic source, and Vedic sacrificial ritualism was internalised and transformed into a kind of inner renunciation or sacrifice.
It is from around this time that the term karma attracted the broader meanings that we associate with it today, though without losing its connection with its Vedic origins. Derived from the verb root kr ('to act', to do', 'to make'), karma has many meanings, including action, work, rite, deed, product, cause and effect, and accumulation of past actions. The last of these meanings is the one most familiar with those living outside of India, where karma has become synonymous with the moral force of one’s actions and the effects that flow from them.
The related doctrines of karma and transmigration are accepted in some form in all Indian spiritual traditions, and are important to an understanding of the principles of Karma-yoga which is the path of selfless action. The Hatha-yoga text, Siva-Samhita, states that,
Whatever is seen among men (whether pleasure or pain) is born of karma. All
creatures enjoy or suffer, according to the results of their actions. (II. 39)
Here karma means the actions performed by an individual: including intentions, thoughts and behaviours, as well as the mechanism by which the accumulated effects of these actions determine the shape of one’s future. The law of karma is entirely impersonal and irrevocably binding, and holds that even the moral dimension of human existence is causally determined. Every karma or action, whether considered to be good, bad or indifferent, carries with it some consequence that must be lived through. However the karmic consequences of an action are not confined to a single lifetime, and may remain latent and bear fruit in future lives. This means that karma not only determines the kind of life that will have to be lived in the future, but more significantly it binds the enduring Self to the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara) as long as there are karmic debts to be paid. Liberation is considered to be the dissolution of this bondage, and is the goal of yogic practice.
Karma can be classified into three kinds: prarabdha-karma affects the conditions of one’s present life, agami-karma is the result of acts performed in this life that will be worked out in the future, and sancita-karma which is the residue of acts performed in lives past and present that remains latent in this one. The mechanism by which karma is believed to operate varies somewhat between different schools of thought, but can be explained in general terms with reference to the samskaras or impressions which are the sub-conscious traces of our experiences, and the vasanas or innate tendencies to which the samskaras contribute and that determine the instinctual patterns of a particular life.
In every life, no matter form it takes, the same citta or mind is present, and just as every action produces its effect in the world, it also leaves its impression in the citta. As mentioned above, these impressions are called samskaras, and citta not only stores all samskaras from all one’s lives, past and present, but is also shaped by them. Samskaras are therefore a memory of past experiences as well as being latent behavioural patterns that under appropriate conditions are subconsciously activated and relived. As such, they contribute to the store of agami-karma.
The accumulation of samskaras in the citta forms vasanas (from the verb root vas, ‘to remain’) which are instinctual tendencies laid down over many lifetimes. Given the range of vasanas that develop during the course of an indefinite number of previous lives, some of which relate to lives lived as various other species, many vasanas remain latent in a particular birth and comprise one’s sancita-karma. The vasanas that are able to be expressed in a particular birth are associated with the prarabdha-kama to be worked out in that life, and are held to be responsible for determining the patterns of thinking, dreaming, desire, attachment, aversion and behaviour that characterise a single lifetime.
In order to overcome the binding nature of karma, the path of Karma-yoga aims to gain freedom from the consequences of our actions (naiskarmya) by performing them in a spirit of inner sacrifice (yajna). This ideal does not require the renunciation of worldly activity, as it is pointed out that as long as we live we cannot avoid activity, which as karma in the broadest sense of the term leads to the creation of new samskaras. The key is not the cessation of activity, then, but to transcend one’s identification with the actions our position in life requires us to perform.
The Bhagavad-Gita was the first text to teach Karma-yoga, and in historical terms has often been regarded as a conservative response to the social movement towards worldly renunciation that accompanied the spread of Upanisadic thought and Buddhism. The response of the Bhagavad-Gita to this situation was conservative insofar as it argued that we should devote ourselves to the duties and obligations that come with our social position (varna dharmas). However the principle that underwrote this response was not. In his dialogue with Arjuna, Lord Krsna argues that life inevitably involves some kind of action, even in cases of apparent inaction. This means that renunciates who abstain from worldly activity are bound to and by their actions just as householders are. What is crucial is not the kind of activity but the spirit in which it is undertaken. As long as we identify with our actions and believe that we are the agent or the doer (karta) of them, we are bound to their karmic consequences. As the following verses from the Bhagavad-Gita illustrate, if we remain unattached to the fruit of our actions we are not bound by them. In Karma-yoga all activity is undertaken in a spirit of inner renunciation, and what is ultimately sacrificed is the ego-self (ahamkara). Only acts performed without a sense of agency are nonbinding.
Not by abstention from work does a man attain freedom from action; nor by mere renunciation does he attain to his perfection.
For no one can remain even for a moment without doing work; every one is made to act helplessly by the impulses born of nature.
He who restrains his organs of action but continues in his mind to brood over the objects of sense, whose nature is deluded is said to be a hypocrite [a man of false conduct].
But he who controls the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, and without attachment engages the organs of action in the path of work, he is superior.
Do thou thy allotted work, for action is better than inaction; even the maintenance of thy physical life cannot be effected without action.
Except for work done as and for a sacrifice, this world is in bondage to work. Therefore, O son of Kunti [Arjuna], do thy work as a sacrifice, becoming free from all attachment.
But the man whose delight is in the Self alone, who is content with the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, for him there exists no work that needs to be done.
The distinction referred to in the last verse is that between the ever-existing conscious Self and prakrti (from the verb root kr, ‘to make, to do’ and pra which means ‘forth’), which is the unconscious creative principle of all phenomena. All activity and experience belongs to prakrti, and it is the false identification of the Self with this activity that is binding. By remaining unattached to the results of one’s actions, the karma-yogin aims to realise that the Self is not the agent but the conscious substratum upon which the spectacle of prakrti is reflected. In this way, karma ceases to bind as it is understood that it is prakrti and not the Self that acts.
As long as the karma-yogin is yet to realise the ideal of naiskarmya, which is freedom from the karmic consequences of one’s actions, there remains the need for a motive for activity. And given that this ideal is to be realised by sacrificing all sense of agency, the Bhagavad-Gita recommends that the motive for all action should be self-purification, and this is best achieved by submitting to the will of the Lord.
He whose understanding is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self and from whom desire has fled – he comes through renunciation to the supreme state transcending all work.
Doing continually all actions whatsoever, taking refuge in Me, he reaches by My grace the eternal, undying abode.
Surrendering in thought all actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme and resorting to steadfastness in understanding, do thou fix thy thought constantly on Me.
In seeking self-purification, karma-yogins aim to replace all selfish motives with the desire for liberation while continuing to fulfil their social duties and obligations. However with liberation comes not only the concrete realisation that one is not the agent responsible for individual actions, but also a release from the need to act in any particular way at all: indeed nothing remains to be done. This need not lead to a withdrawal from the world, though, as the Bhagavad-Gita promotes the ideal of the liberated continuing to work for its benefit (loka-samgraha). Having surrendered any sense of personal agency, the liberated act with perfect freedom and spontaneity as instruments of the Lord.
There is not for me, O Partha [Arjuna], any work in the three worlds which has to be done nor anything to be obtained which has not been obtained; yet I am engaged in work.
If I should cease to work, these worlds would fall in ruin and I should be the creator of disordered life and destroy these people.
As the unlearned act from attachment to their work, so should the learned also act, O Bharata [Arjuna], but without attachment, with the desire to maintain the world-order.
The path of Karma-yoga as taught by the Bhagavad-Gita can therefore be interpreted as being continuous with the intention of the sacrificial rituals of Vedic India. Recall that in the Rg Veda karma, in the sense of ritual act, opened an avenue for the spiritual aspirant to acknowledge and contribute to the continuing manifestation of the world which is described as the maha-yajna or great sacrifice of the supreme Lord. Similarly in the Bhagavad-Gita the karma-yogin sacrifices all sense of personal agency in order to become an instrument of the Lord in the work of maintaining the world-order (loka-samgraha). In both cases karma is a means be self-purification, and this is realised not by avoiding duties and obligations but by entering into the world-process in complete surrender to the will of the Lord.
Even though the Bhagavad-Gita treats karma-yoga as an independent spiritual discipline, there is much dispute in other paths of yoga as to whether liberation can be gained from karma alone. Most agree that the purification that comes with selfless action is essential for liberation, and so regardless of what the utility of karma is believed to be in the later stages of a spiritual discipline, realising the ideal of nairkarmya is considered to be indispensable.
The Sanskrit term jnana derives from the verb root jna, which means 'to know', and is commonly translated as knowledge, comprehension or wisdom. Jnana can refer to the kind of knowledge we have of the temporal world (vttti-jnana), or to the intuitive insight into the Ultimately Real that accompanies moksa or liberation (svarupa-jnana or aparoksa-jnana). The path of jnana-yoga, which is the yoga of knowledge, incorporates both these senses of jnana. The refinement of vrtti-jnana cultivates viveka (discrimination) which is the capacity to distinguish the eternal from the transient, the true from the false, as a means of dispelling the ignorance (avidya) that binds us to the phenomenal world. Moksa occurs when this refinement reaches its culmination in the realisation of svarupa-jnana, which is an unmediated identification with Brahman or the Absolute. Like the term yoga, then, jnana can be understood as both the goal and the means of attaining it. Even though jnana is used in both senses, as the following verses from the Kena Upanisad illustrate, the jnana that arises with the identification of the Self with Brahman is qualitatively different from the kind of knowledge that is cultivated as a spiritual discipline in the path of jnana-yoga.
It is other than the known; it is also above the unknown. Thus we have heard from those of old who taught us this.
That which is not expressed by speech, but that by which speech is expressed, that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.
That which does not think by mind, but that by which, they say, the mind thinks, that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.
That which does not see by the eye, but that by which the eyes see, that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.
That which does not hear by the ear, but that which the ear hears, that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.
Jnana in the Bhagavad-Gita
The compound jnana-yoga first appears in the Bhagavad-Gita, where along with bhakti- and karma-yoga, it forms part of a comprehensive threefold spiritual discipline. The Gita praises jnana or wisdom for being the great purifier which helps us to cross the sea of ignorance that keeps us in bondage (see verses IV. 35-38). This purification takes the form of an evolution of the understanding or intelligence which is variously influenced by the three gunas (the basic qualities or constituents of prakrti or nature). In tamasa-jnana the understanding is of the nature of dullness and indifference and clings to a single aspect of the phenomenal world as if it were the whole of reality. In rajasa-jnana the understanding is moved by passion and activity in perceiving a world of multiplicity without a sense of an underlying unity. Finally in sattvik-jnana the understanding is illumined by the knowledge that there is but one immutable Reality. When the understanding or intelligence (buddhi) remains stable in sattvik-jnana, yoga is attained.
When your intelligence … stands unshaken and stable in spirit [samadhi], then will you attain insight [yoga].
When a man puts away all the desires of his mind, O Partha [Arjuna], and when his spirit is content in itself, then is he called stable in intelligence.
He whose mind is untroubled in the midst of sorrows and is free from eager desire amid pleasures, he from whom passion, fear, and rage have passed away, he is called a sage of settled intelligence.
He who is without affection on any side, who does not rejoice or loathe as he obtains good or evil, his intelligence is firmly set [in wisdom].
He who draws away the senses from the objects of sense on every side as a tortoise draws in his limbs [into the shell], his intelligence is firmly set [in wisdom].
Jnana in Samkhya and Vedanta
As a spiritual discipline, jnana is also central to the philosophical traditions of Samkhya and Vedanta. Samkhya doctrines can be found in the Bhagavad-Gita, and form the basis of the metaphysics of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras. In both the Samkhya and Yoga darsanas, discrimination between the products of prakrti (nature) and purusa (pure consciousness) leads to liberation (kaivalya). However where Patanjali recommends practices that advance from dharana (concentration) though dhyana (meditation) to samadhi in order to aid the development of this discrimination, Samkhya relies on the refinement of jnana alone.
Both Sankya and Vedanta argue that what binds us to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is avidya (ignorance), and they look to knowledge to dispel it. In the Samkhya tradition this is sought through reason because the discriminative intellect (buddhi) is taken to be the first evolute of prakrti, and so it has precedence over all the other elements of nature. In Vedanta the situation is not so straightforward. Even though jnana-yoga is generally held to be an important aid to liberation, theistic developments in some schools of Vedanta regard bhakti or devotion to the Lord as the most effective means. However in Advaita Vedanta, which became the dominant philosophical position with the decline of Buddhism in India towards the end of the first millennium CE, jnana-yoga is considered to be sole means to moksa.
Raja-yoga refers to the practices codified in Patanjali's Yoga-sutra and is also known as astanga-yoga and classical-yoga. The term raja (from the verb root raj = 'to reign, to illuminate') means 'royal', the inference being that through raja-yoga we can master or become king of ourselves. The compound raja-yoga seems to have been used from around the 11th century or later in attempts to understand the proper relation between the yoga of Patanjali and hatha-yoga (which emerged as a recognisable path from Tantra towards the end of the first millennium C.E.). In this context the term raja is used to position hatha-yoga as a preparation for what was considered to be the higher meditative practices of classical-yoga. The popular medieval hatha-yoga manual Hatha-yoga-pradipika seems to echo this positioning:
All the methods of hatha are meant for gaining success in the raja-yoga; for, the man, who is well established in the raja-yoga, overcomes death' ;
As does the opening verse of the Gheranda-samhita:
I bow to that Lord Primeval who taught in the beginning the science of the training in hardiness [hatha-yoga] – a science that stands out as the first rung on the ladder that leads to the supreme heights of raja-yoga.
One of the reasons why the authors of these hatha-yoga manuals may have been inclined to define the relationship between their school and raja-yoga is that the Yoga-sutra of Patanjali is regarded as the classical exposition of Hindu yoga. Tradition identifies Patanjali with the famous grammarian of the second century B.C.E., and also asserts that he was an incarnation of the Lord of serpents, Adisesa or Ananta, who is often represented as the couch on which Lord Visnu reclines. However modern scholars tend to place the Yoga-sutra in the second century C.E., which means that either the text we have now is a later version, or that the grammarian and the yogin are not the same person. The Yoga-sutra has been the subject of many extensive commentaries, the most notable being the Yoga-bhasya of Vyasa (c. 5th century C.E.) and the Tattva-vaisaradi of Vacaspati-misra (c. 9th C.E.), and it remains the focal text for many schools of yoga today.
Purusa and Prakrti
Patanjali's classical formulation of yoga is also one of the six darsanas (from drs, 'to see') or orthodox philosophical schools of Hinduism, the other five being Samkhya, Vedanta, Mimamsa, Vaisesika and Nyaya. The Yoga-darsana bears the implicit influence of Buddhism, especially in its analysis of suffering and the means that are recommended to alleviate it. However it is most closely associated with the Samkhya-darsana, with which it shares many of its central doctrines (so much so that some commentators discuss the two darsanas together under the heading of ‘Samkhya-Yoga’). According to both Samkhya and Yoga, there are two basic and independent categories of being: prakrti and purusa. Prakrti (from the verb root kr = 'to make, to do' + pra = 'forth') is the unconscious but fundamental activity that produces the manifest universe. Purusa is pure consciousness, unchanging and unattached, yet individuated insofar as purusas are thought to be infinite in number.
There is no intrinsic relation between prakrti and purusa, but prakrti is said to exist for the sake of purusa, their conjunction (samyoga) enabling the purusa's recognition of its own true nature as wholly independent of prakrti in all its aspects. The unenlightened purusa fails to recognise itself as such because it identifies with the contents of citta (from cit = 'to perceive, observe, know'), which for Patanjali is the individuated awareness associated with buddhi (intelligence), ahamkara (ego), and the indriyas which are the five senses (vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell) or organs of knowledge (eyes, ears, skin, tongue and nose), and the five organs of action (the voice, hands, feet, and the organs of excretion and reproduction).
In his commentary on the Yoga-sutra, Vacaspati-misra likens the relation between purusa and prakrti to the reflection of the moon in water. Although the moon is not actually present in the water, its reflection gives the impression of it being so. Similarly, even though purusa is never actually entangled in prakrti, the impression of it being so is given by its reflection in the citta that it falsely identifies with. And just as the reflection of the moon illuminates the water, so does purusa illuminate prakrti. However just as disturbances in the water distort the reflection of the moon, so is purusa unable to recognise itself when citta is restless and disturbed due the varying influence of the gunas.
The gunas are the three basic qualities (or constituents) of prakrti. They combine in an infinite variety of ways to determine the characteristics of all things, including mental states: sattva is pure, steady and buoyant; rajas is activity and passion; while tamas is dullness, inertia and ignorance. When citta is predominantly rajasic or tamasic, the individual purusa is unable to recognise itself and so remains identified with the play of gunas. When citta is predominantly sattvic, the reflection of purusa in prakrti is pure and steady, and this makes it possible for purusa to recognise itself as the consciousness illuminating citta. Patanjali defines yoga in just this way, as the cessation of the fluctuations of citta (citta-vrtti-nirodah, I.2), the implication being that when citta is held steady it is possible for the individual purusa to realise its true nature.
The conjunction of purusa and prakrti therefore ends when purusa is able to discriminate between itself and prakrti. For both Samkhya and Yoga this discrimination (viveka) is synonymous with liberation or kaivalya, which can be translated as aloofness, aloneness, or isolation, and refers to the irrevocable separation of the individual purusa from prakrti. Where Samkhya and Yoga differ is in the means recommended to achieve kaivalya. Samkhya favours a kind of jnana-yoga in which the required discrimination (viveka) is developed though reason alone. Patanjali seems to be less confident of the effectiveness of reason alone when confronting an unruly citta, so he gives us a graduated system of spiritual disciplines that aims to restrain the movements of citta through the cultivation of an unwavering concentration (samadhi). When citta is held steady discrimination (viveka) arises naturally, and with it kaivalya and an end to the suffering that accompanies the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (samsara).
According to Patanjali, then, all suffering is the result of the conjunction (samyoga) of the seer (drasta or purusa) and the seen (drsya or prakrti). Patanjali's analysis of this suffering takes the form of a fivefold classification of the ways in which purusa’s mistaken identification with the contents of the citta manifests. These are referred to as the klesas (from the verb root klis = 'to suffer, torment or distress') or afflictions.
The first of the five klesas, as well as the source of the others, is ignorance or avidya (from the verb root vid = 'to know' + a = 'not). Avidya is ignorance of the true nature of purusa, and so is the root affliction that the liberating discrimination discussed above aims to remove.
Asmita is the sense of 'I-am-ness' that gives rise to the ego-self. It derives from the false identification of purusa with citta; from the erroneous belief that the seer is of the same order as the means of knowledge and the objects known. When kaivalya is attained asmita is replaced by the self-knowledge of purusa.
Raga is attachment to the pleasurable experiences that complement purusa's entanglement in prakrti.
Dvesa (from the verb root dvis = 'to abhor') is aversion to unpleasant experiences. Both raga and dvesa are supported by the assumption that the manifestations of prakrti provide the only standard of what is to be desired and avoided. This in turn implies a failure, whether through ignorance or indifference, to acknowledge that a higher good awaits those who are willing to turn away from the pleasures and aversions of sense experiences in order to steady the citta.
The fifth and final klesa is abhinivesa, which is an instinctive clinging to life and a concomitant fear of death. Abhinivesa is a natural extension of the previous three klesas and arguably their culmination. From the perspective of purusa, death is merely the dissolution of elements of prakrti that it falsely identified with. From the standpoint of asmita or the 'I-am-ness' that accompanies this identification, though, life and death represent the beginning and end of the ego-self, and so abhinivesa is entirely understandable. Clinging to life is also raga insofar as we resist being separated from pleasant experiences and remain attached to the belief that life is the most precious thing we have. The greater our attachment to living the more intense our fear of death. For many death is the experience desired the least, and therefore that which we are most averse to.
Proceeding from the fundamental affliction of avidya, the klesas describe not only the ways in which this ignorance of our true nature manifests, but also some of the major motivating factors in our daily lives. For instance Utilitarian ethics, which influences the shaping of public policy in many modern democracies, aims to create the 'greatest good for the greatest number', and the 'good' is usually defined as that which maximises pleasure or happiness and/or minimises suffering. If we add to the mix the instinctual and moral drives to preserve life, then we can appreciate the extent to which Patanjali's analysis of the causes of human suffering corresponds to the elements that many of us believe are essential to a 'good life'.
Keeping this in mind, we can also appreciate how Patanjali's remedy for suffering takes us against the tide of everyday life. This is quite deliberate, though, as the ultimate aim of steadying citta is to disentangle purusa from its presumed involvement in the manifestations of prakrti. The first and most subtle evolute of prakrti, and therefore also the core of the citta, is buddhi (from the verb root budh = 'to enlighten, to know') which is discriminative awareness or intelligence. By steadying citta the usual movement of awareness towards the senses is reversed by first restricting and then eliminating all modifications of buddhi.
Hindu Yoga Paths
The Yoga of transcendent love, Divine Grace, and one pointed devotion to an ideal conception of divinity with the Hinduism devotee choosing to venerate deity as beloved, master, friend, parent/child. The Hindu Bhakti tradition disregarded caste systems and focused on genuine inner feelings and personal viewpoints to foster emotional well being, fulfillment, and the perceptual awareness of divinity pervading all aspects of Creation. Doing heartfelt service, Karma Yoga, was also integral to this path.
The goal of the Hatha Yoga practitioner was health and vitality through rigorous training that involves many practices including breathing exercises (pranayama) and physical postures (asanas). When the postures and breathing exercises were mastered and the will trained to consciously control the vital energies of the physical and etheric bodies, the kundalini force was awakened at the base of the spine and used to open, purify, and vitalize the seven energy centers in the appropriate order.
A difficult but profound path where the thinking philosopher sought union, peace, and liberation through information and discernment. Knowledge and wisdom were achieved by patiently releasing delusional thoughts and feelings until the meditator was attuned with the reality of Spirit. As the mind and heart blossomed with the illuminating realization that divinity was the inherent nature of the individual soul essence - first transformation and then eventual enlightenment occurred.
Linked to the fourth center, the Anahata or heart center, this yogic path centered on the universal karmic law of cause and effect. Transformation occurred when one learns to act out of love without attachment to immediately apparent results. By developing more responsible habits and attitudes, "new actions", the practitioner changed his feeling and thought patterns through right action and service resulting in "new reactions", realization and union with divinity.
A yoga of transformation, Kriya combined the practices and disciplines of Bhakti, Jnana, and Raja Yoga. Over 5,000 years old, the technique was traditionally conveyed from the Guru directly to the spiritually mature initiate. The goal of the meditator was to achieve self realization by raising the serpent force of kundalini to the ninth center, the thousand petaled lotus, at the top of the head by following a daily program of devotion to divinity, introspection, and self-discipline.
The goal of the meditator was to transcend the lower levels of egoic, sensual, and material consciousness by awakening the seven energy centers (five were along the spine in the tailbone, in the sacrum, navel, heart, and throat areas; two were in the head in the third eye and crown areas). By concentrating on each of these energy centers in turn under the guidance of a qualified teacher, the meditator opened doorways to higher states of consciousness.
Mantrams like AUM (spirit or word of God) were seed sounds that had been revealed to adepts which had the power to bring into being the actualities they represent. There were thousands of them in the Sanskrit language. As a meditator chanted these syllables, words, and phrases, mindfully, with increasing spiritual focus, the music, meaning, and cadence of the mantras repeatedly brought one to a transcendent state beyond intellect and emotions, resulting in a higher state of consciousness.
Yoga Sutras were used to move the kundalini lifeforce from the base of the spine to the throat center where the meditator transmuted the lesser passions into a desire to speak only of divinity and to seek serenity. By focusing attention on the objects of meditation, the practitioner then restored equilibrium to the mind and the emotions. Afterwards, the energy of this balanced awareness was usually directed to the third eye area called Ajna, in the middle of the lower forehead. This then resulted in the achievement of a state of sublime tranquility.
The devotee strove to break through barriers of personal limitation and cross higher consciousness thresholds by using the fire of a masculine/feminine harmonized kundalini to transform negative habit patterns, obsessions, and subconscious blocks into the transmutative energy of the creative force as an universal expression of Spirit. When the spiritually awakened kundalini ascended and opened each energy center in turn, samadhi (direct experience of the Supreme Reality) was attained.
Vedandtha has three basic texts called prasthana thraya triple canon of vedantha
2. bagavad geetha
The ultimate achievement of a soul is revealed by this text self realization
After the study of geetha and upanishsds (deep study) one knows of himself but his experience and knowledge makes war inside. here one has to win the illusion the knowledge which he has gained should get converted into realization here brammasuthra helps in eradicating trace of ignorance.
Upanishad is called sruthi or vedhantha Be close to a teacher with a conviction of knowing himself Sruthi – means hearing –listening to the teacher with open mind Here the teaching is you are not different from every thing but this sensual perception does not permit but we believe in perception upnishad shows illusion as illusion and makes one understand he is complete.
The very old scripture which deals in self analysis. Sidhantha means conclusion conclusion of the man’s endless search by knowing he is the beginning and the end and being the cause of the world
Pathanjali yoga suthras
This is book of mind study, nature of mind, and the fluctuations which occurs in the mind and how this fluctuations are being a barrier in achieving the peace, the means of handling these fluctuations, and the means of achieving the eternal peace (shanthi) also some siddhis.
Concept of contemplative meditation
(Meithavam ) is Sathras teach enough but how it could be followed in this contemporary society and how it could be applied in every walk of life and with what sort of vision one should see this world and how our misunderstandings leads to miserable life in a word how to live a care free life is taught in contemplative meditation. In a word man is condition by illusion and how one should come away from it an unconditioned way of thinking and living.
Every seeker thing by one hour meditation will bring happiness. It true but is it possible. tension. Etc.. If you get into meditation with quite mind. You can easily remain calm at the time if one gets with all this things. He cannot sit he will not be able to concentrate. So make the one hour . You have to live the whole day properly to live day to day life you need to have a vision. How should I live Like you cannot expect a coconut leaving the trees unless you take care of the tree from the time when it was a sapling to fruit barring tree. You have to care for every second for that you have have vision what we should do.
In this attempt so many people have already succeed they are called Rishish, Sidhas,Bakthas. Their experience they have powered into sutuaras.
Language got birth when, Human beng need to express his ideas to others. It get birth and gets refind time to time . so all classical are more refined and its own beauty and it has enough literature which the wisdom at centuries . If we fail to learn the classical literat. We loose the We have almost 10000 years of old classical literature(so to say time is yet to known). India is lucky enough to have two classical languages Tamil & Sanskrit. Both has its own beauty and way of approaching.
The word om is Sanskrit sitting drseto(teacher).(hearing )learning from teacher after having gained all the carnival pleasing human being still find themself inadequate. Still he lacks saticfaction. So her startes searching . after experiencing every thing in life. One started searching inwardly . he finds the impermenancy of this world and he serches the permenant. And the Upanishad say. You are the permenant . you are free from. Deathe, hunger , thistete Upanishads are meany by Acharcya has selected 10 masar Upanishad , Isha, Kena, Katha , Mundaka, Mandorkya, Taitreeya, Pruha dharyaka chanthrukey Personality Development An individual is called person, personal means which belongs to that individual, personality means a quality that belongs to an individual which brings success or failure With this understanding if we bring a cognitive change once habits values way of thinking planning and executing with such changes one would easily succeed in his personal and as well as in professional life , So our classes would help one to turn his life as fresh new leaf.