Understanding 4 Paths Of Yoga
Although there are many potential routes to the truth, there is only one truth. Gandhi, Mahatma
The pursuit of happiness and a life without pain is a universal human aspiration. According to yogic teachings, losing touch with one's True Self is at the heart of all human misery. This oblivion or lack of awareness is called avidy, and it has its roots in the mind's construction of a unique self-identity apart from everything else. Vedanta, a set of ancient scriptures, identifies three mental impurities as the root of avidy:
Mala is characterised by a focus on oneself and the development of an overly egocentric sense of self-importance.
Vikshepa is the propensity for one's thoughts to wander aimlessly in all directions. The "monkey mind" is a common mental state.
Avavana is the forgetting of, or inability to recognise, our True Self, and it takes the shape of a series of layers that, at first glance, seem to keep us apart from All Life.
Yoga is a discipline that helps you rid your mind of obscuring mental impurities so you can get back to the Truth you already know in your heart as the Divine Self.
Vedanta prescribes four primary ways to realise and restore our inherent unity with the Oneness and Universal Totality of all life.
There are four possible routes:
Karma Yoga, the yoga of detachment and service to others
People who are social and outgoing will connect with this the most. By teaching people to disassociate themselves from their actions' outcomes, Karma Yoga is able to cleanse their hearts of egotistical tendencies (Mala). This way, nobody is looking for credit or praise. The Atman, or True Self, can be reached when all actions are performed with the awareness of Oneness. Popular figures like Mother Theresa are examples of karma yogis.
Bhakti Yoga, or devotional yoga
According to those who follow this path, we have lost touch with our Divine Selves because we have stopped believing in the Divine or the Sacred Essence. Love, surrender, and devotion to the Divine in all things, then, are the answer. The practise of Bhakti Yoga encourages us to rid ourselves of narcissistic attachments by directing our attention to holy ideas and channelling our feelings of devotion and adoration into the all-pervading Divine. Bhakti Yoga includes activities such as chanting, puja, and devotional rituals. If you're a sentimental type, this is the road for you.
In its many forms, Bhakti Yoga typically involves:
Mantra chanting is the practise of repeating a set of positive, uplifting phrases or words in order to influence one's subconcious mind. Names and glorifications of deities are also acceptable.
Satsang: The practise of satsang entails associating with like-minded people for the purpose of spiritual growth.
Zen Buddhist Japa: Japa is a form of mantra meditation in which the mantras are recited over and over again.
Raja Yoga, or the Yoga of Meditation
According to those who follow this path, we've lost touch with our True Essence because our fidgety minds (Vikshepa) have wandered off into fiction. The key is to still the mind through meditation and see the unity in which we all share. This is accomplished by following Patajali's instructions in the Raja Yoga Sutras, which detail the Ashtanga (8-limb) system. Most yoga programmes today follow the Raja Yoga tradition. Those who are naturally attuned to method-based practise should consider this route.
The Yoga of the Mind and Will (Jna Yoga)
Ego-based ignorance (Avavana) is what, according to this path, prevents us from seeing ourselves as we truly are. The yogi uses the mind to investigate its own nature through the application of rational thought processes. The Truth, which is constant, is revealed to us as the veils of ignorance and forgetfulness are lifted.
Though presented in a linear fashion, the connections between them are, in reality, more complex and mutually supportive than the list suggests. A person's nature determines the path that most strongly resonates with them, but all paths contain elements of every other path. Given that every spiritual route ultimately leads to Oneness, it's impossible to follow just one of them. It is fascinating to observe, as we progress along the yogic path, which of these paths seems sweeter than others at various stages of the journey, even though we know that they all ultimately lead to the same destination, which is essentially woven into the journey itself.
Jnana Yoga requires the following traits in its practitioners:
One of the most important qualities for success in Jnana Yoga is a healthy dose of curiosity.
Knowledge: You need to be able to evaluate with objectivity and clarity.
Be patient: It takes time and practise to fully grasp something new. Consequently, yoga is a practise that requires patience.
A Jnana yogi follows the procedures laid out in the holy texts in order to separate potentially true information from illusionary information. As we take in data, we mentally evaluate whether or not it will help us get closer to the real, authentic version of ourselves.
Only data that meets one of the following criteria should be given further consideration:
What you pick up through your own five senses can be considered reliable because it is direct perception.
What causes what? The law of cause and effect states that if there is an effect, there must be a cause. What that means is that the data presented may be accurate.
It is reasonable to assume that something is true after observing a number of supporting facts.
Already established truths are accepted by you as well. There is no need to start from scratch.
Jnana Yoga is a potent path that can quickly enlighten those who are intellectually inclined and eager to expand their awareness of the Self.