Intro: ‘Yog’ is the most heard word nowadays not only in India but also across the globe. The ancient Indian sages had acquired the knowledge of Yog by long drawn ascetic practices and self-enlightenment.
The term Yog in modern times is being used in more than one sense. Many teachers of Yog have been using the term Yog in the sense of physical exercises or drills. According to Sanskrit literature and Sanskrit grammar, the true meaning of the word Yog is union of two abstract entities. Just as two tangible objects when added or connected together form a common object, likewise the connection or union of the Soul with the Supreme Soul or Almighty is called Yog. The true and classical meaning of the term Yog is therefore not a physical exercise or drill but union of soul with Supreme Soul i.e. God.
|According to Maharshi Patanjali there are eight parts of Yog which are called ‘Ashtaanga Yog’. These eight parts of Yog as described by sage Patanjali in his famous Yogdarshan are as under….
1. Yama 2. Niyama 3. Asana 4. Pranayama
5. Pratyahara 6. Dharana 7. Dhyana 8. Samadhi
The great Indian grammaticist, physician and scholar of Yog Patanjali is the most widely acknowledged authority on the knowledge of Yog and his famous creation Patanjal Yogdarshan is considered to be the most authentic literature on the science or art of Yog. Certain important definitions of the term Yog are found in ancient Indian literatures as under…
(i) Yogshchittavritti Nirodhah (Sutra No. 2, Patanjal Yogdrashan) : Yog means complete restraint over the subjects of different organs, visible or invisible.
(ii) Yog Karmashu Kaushalam (Bhagwad Gita) : Yog is the skill of acting with equipoise (or evenmindedness in all conditions)
(iii) Samattwam Yog Uchyate (Bhagwad Gita) : Being even minded (in respect of success and failure) is called Yog.
It is a self imposed code of good conduct in one’s relation to other beings in general and to the human society in particular. There are following five important parts of Yama:
Non-violence or not to cause hurt to anybody physically and mentally by deeds, words or thoughts.
Truthfulness by words, deeds and thoughts.
Not to hoard unnecessary wealth or material belongings.
Not to grab or usurp anybody else’s property.
Observance of celibacy in actions and thoughts.
This means cleanliness and purification of one’s body and self both from within and without. There are following five modes of purification of body and self:
Internal and external cleanliness or purification of body and self.
Study of holy scriptures.
(iv) Ishawar Pranidhana
Surrendering with devotion to the Almighty.
‘Asana’ means proper physical (Yogic) posture. Practice of asana enables one to keep his body flexible and strong. There are different Bandhas and Mudras for sitting in proper yogic asanas. Different yogic asanas render help in keeping the internal organs of the body toned up and observing concentration of mind.
Regulation of breath. Pranayama regulates and augments the performance of the respiratory and the circulatory system and also helps control the mind.
Withdrawal of sense organs from the sense objects.
Concentration at a particular point to the exclusion of any other object.
Meditation with unbroken attention on the object of concentration.
Complete absorption of one’s self in the object of meditation. In Samadhi there is complete absence of one’s identity which merges in its goal.
The science or art of Yog practiced by ancient Indian sages had attained near perfection. Some important sort of Yogs practiced by rishis (sages) in ancient India was as under:
1. Bhakti Yog 2. Gyana Yog
3. Karma Yog
4. Vihangam Yog or Sahaj Yog
5. Raja Yog 6. Hatha Yog
7. Kundalini Yog 8. Laya Yog
Karma Yog, Bhakti Yog and Gyan Yog etc: These all are small fragments of Vihangam Yog and they automatically come into a person who practices Vihangam Yog. The word Vihangam means ‘bird’. As a bird floats in the air over-coming the gravitational force of the earth, so does the consciousness of the soul in the limitless space of pure consciousness leaving behind its physical base i.e. body, mind and intellect. Cessation of mental activities has been defined as Yog by sage Patanjali. Raja Yog is thus a prelude or introductory event to Vihangam Yog. Vihangam yog therefore begins where Raja Yog ends.
Vihangam Yog: Maharishi Patanjali, in his Patanjal Yogdarshan, defines ‘Vihangam Yog’ as the union of soul with supreme soul (Almighty). This union is achieved after the soul frees itself from the shackles of the mind and intellect and attains its pure conscious state. The supreme soul is a purely conscious entity and is beyond the reach of the mind and intellect. The mind and intellect are inert by themselves and are activated by the consciousness of the soul. An inert object cannot reach a conscious entity, far less unite with or merge in it and therefore the Physical Yogs cannot reach the ideal of Vihangam Yog.
Role of food, sleep and routine in Yog : Under chapter 6, verses 16 and 17 of the holy Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna declares that the Yog or the object of Yog cannot be achieved by one who eats too much or too little and nor by one who sleeps too much or too little. Yog is the destroyer of all griefs and it can be achieved only by those who regulate their food and recreation and strive according to their capacity and sleep in moderation.
Many experts and scholars on the science of Yog are of the view that the three popular yogs i.e. Gyana Yog, Bhakti Yog and Karma Yog are not the real paths to attainment of never-ending supreme happiness. Unless the Reality is known by Gyana Yog, neither Bhakti Yog nor Karma Yog can be practiced successfully. The attainment of full knowledge automatically leads to Nishkama Karma (unattached actions) and the innate nature of individual soul in relation to the Supreme Soul being that of a servant and the master. Full knowledge is only possible by unbroken devotion (Bhakti Yog) to Him i.e. the Almighty.
SS Upadhyay (The writer is a Legal Advisor to Governor of Uttar Pradesh)