R. C. Shukla - The Center

Yoga

What is Yoga? Calling asanas or yogic postures as Yoga is misleading. The yoga which is prevalent today is not really Yoga, but the interpretation of diseased minds. So-called Yogis go on teaching you how to stand on your head, how to distort and contort your body. Yoga has become a kind of circus. It has lost its real meaning and dimension.

This center also arranges Male and Female Yoga Naturopathy Practinoers on resonable payments for training treatment all such practinoers are also requested to send their addresses and biodata to this center.

WHAT IS YOGA

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj , meaning to yoke, join or unite. It implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual-body with mind and mind with soul-to achieve a balanced and healthy lifestyle so that we can spiritually unite with the Supreme. According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the ultimate aim of Yoga is to reach 'Kaivalya( emanicipation or ultimate freedom). Yoga is commonly known as a generic term for physical ,mental and spiritual discipline originating from the ancient India and found in Sanatana Dharma(Hinduism). It envisioned in one of the six spiritual schools of Vedic(Hindu) philosophy known as 'Shat-Darshana'. The Yoga school of philosophy accepts the sankhya school of philosophy and its metaphysics as both these schools belong to the class of the Shat-Darshana.Yoga is not a matter of psychology of mental health only but it is a question of spiritual groth.Yoga practices are an attempt to push the individual towards his true potential as a complete self-realization.The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures, exercise, breathing and meditation there by leading towards full psyche control of the SELF in order to achieve the ultimate freedom as discussed above.

These six schools of philosophy are:-

• Samkhya
• Yoga
• Nyaya
• Vaisheshika
• Purva(Karma) Mimamsa
• Uttar Mimamsa(Vedanta): The Three Schools of Vedanta
      • Monism: Advaita Vedanta       • Qualified Monism: Vishistadvaita       • Dualism: Dvaita       • Synthesis: Acintya Bheda-Abheda Vedanta

1. Samkhya

Samkhya is widely regarded to be the oldest of the philosophical systems of the Vedic tradition. Its philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two eternal realities: purusha and prakrti. The purushas (souls) are many, conscious and devoid of all qualities. They are the silent spectators of prakrti (matter or nature), which is composed of three gunas (dispositions): satva, rajas and tamas (steadiness, activity and dullness). When the equilibrium of the gunas is disturbed, the world order evolves. This disturbance is due to the proximity of Purusha and prakrti. Liberation (kaivalya), then, consists of the realization of the difference between the two. This was a dualistic philosophy. But there are differences between the Samkhya and Western forms of dualism. In the West, the fundamental distinction is between mind and body. In Samkhya, however, it is between the self (purusha) and matter, and the latter incorporates what Westerners would normally refer to as "mind".

2. Yoga

The Yoga system is generally considered to have arisen from the Samkhya philosophy. Its primary text is the Bhagavad-Gita, which explores the four primary systems; the sage Patanjali wrote an extremely influential text on Raja Yoga (or meditation) entitled the Yoga Sutra. The most significant difference from Samkhya is that the Yoga school not only incorporates the concept of Ishvara (a personal God) into its metaphysical worldview, which the Samkhya does not, but also upholds Ishvara as the ideal upon which to meditate. This is because Ishvara is the only aspect of purusha that has not become entangled with prakrti. It also utilizes the Brahman/Atman terminology and concepts that are found in depth in the Upanishads, thus breaking from the Samkhya school by adopting Vedantic monist concepts. The Yoga system lays down elaborate prescriptions for gradually gaining physical and mental control and mastery over the personal, body and mind, self, until one's consciousness has intensified sufficiently to allow awareness of one's real Self (the soul, or Atman) (as distinct from one's feelings, thoughts and actions). Realization of the goal of Yoga is known as moksha, nirvana and Samadhi. They all speak to the realization of the Atman as being nothing other than the infinite Brahman.

3. Nyaya

The Nyaya School of philosophical speculation is based on a text called the Nyaya Sutra. It was written by Gautama (not to be confused with the founder of Buddhism), also known as Akshapada. The most important contribution made by this school is its methodology. This is based on a system of logic that has subsequently been adopted by most of the other Vedic schools much in the same way that Western science, religion and philosophy can be said to be largely based on Aristotelian logic. But Nyaya is not merely logic for its own sake. The Vedic seers believed that obtaining valid knowledge was the only way to obtain release from suffering. They therefore took great pains to identify valid sources of knowledge and to distinguish these from mere false opinions. According to the Nyaya School, there are exactly four sources of knowledge (pramanas): perception, inference, comparison and testimony. Knowledge obtained through each of these can of course still be either valid or invalid, and the Nyaya scholars again went to great pains to identify, in each case, what it took to make knowledge valid, in the process coming up with a number of explanatory schemes. In this sense, Nyaya is probably the closest Vedic equivalent to contemporary Western analytical philosophy. An important later development in Nyaya is the system of Navya Nyaya (New Logic).

4. Vaisheshika

The Vaisheshika system, which was founded by the sage Kanada, postulates an atomic pluralism. In terms of this school of thought, all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a certain number of atoms. Although the Vaishesika system developed independently from the Nyaya, the two eventually merged because of their closely related metaphysical theories. In its classical form, however, the Vaishesika School differed from the Nyaya in one crucial respect: where Nyaya accepted four sources of valid knowledge, the Vaishesika accepted only perception and inference.

5. Purva (karma)Mimamsa

The main objective of the Purva ("earlier") Mimamsa School was to establish the authority of the Vedas. Consequently this school's most valuable contribution to Hinduism was its formulation of the rules of Vedic interpretation. Its adherents believed that revelation must be proved by reasoning, that it should not be accepted blindly as dogma. In keeping with this belief, they laid great emphasis on dharma, which they understood as the performance of Vedic rituals. The Mimamsa accepted the logical and philosophical teachings of the other schools, but felt that these paid insufficient attention to right action. They believed that the other schools of thought, who pursued moksha (release) as their ultimate aim, were not completely free from desire and selfishness. In Vedic tradition, we are all illuminated under the light of god. When we have moksha, we believe that we become closer to god. According to the Mimamsa, the very striving for liberation stemmed from a selfish desire to be free. Only by acting in accordance with the prescriptions of the Vedas could one attain salvation (rather than liberation). At a later stage, however, the Mimamsa School changed its views in this regard and began to teach the doctrines of God and mukti (freedom). Its adherents then advocated the release or escape from the soul from its constraints through what was known as gyaan (enlightened activity). While Mimamsa does not receive much scholarly attention these days, its influence can be felt in the life of the practicing present day Hindus. All Hindu ritual, ceremony and religious law are influenced by it.

6. Uttar Mimamsa(Vedanta): The Three Schools of Vedanta

The Uttar ("later") Mimamsa School, more commonly known as the Vedanta, concentrates on the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads rather than on the ritualistic injunctions of the Brahmans. While the traditional Vedic 'karma kanda' (ritualistic components of religion) continued to be practiced as meditative and propitiatory rites gearing society (through the Brahmins) to Self-knowledge, more gyaan (knowledge) centered understandings began to emerge, mystical streams of Vedic religion that focused on meditation, self-discipline and spiritual connectivity rather than more practical aspects of religion like rituals and rites. The more abstruse Vedanta (meaning literally the end of the Vedas) is the essence of the Vedas, encapsulated in the Upanishads which are commentaries on the four original books (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva). Vedantic thought drew on Vedic cosmology, hymns and philosophy. The first Upanishad, the Brihadaranyaka, appeared thousands of years ago. While thirteen or so Upanishads are accepted as principal, over one hundred exist. The most influential Vedantic thought, based on the Upanishads, considers the consciousness of the Self - Jivatma - to be continuous with and indistinguishable from the consciousness of the Supreme or Brahman - Paramatma. Their systematization into one coherent treatise was undertaken by Badarayanacharya (Veda Vyasa), in a work called the Vedanta Sutra, and also known as Brahma-Sutra. The cryptic way in which the aphorisms of the Vedanta sutras are presented leaves the door wide open for a multitude of interpretations. This led to a proliferation of Vedanta schools. Each of these interprets the texts in its own way and has produced its own series of sub-commentaries - all claiming to be faithful to the original.

a) Monism: Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta is probably the best known of all Vedanta schools. Advaita literally means "not two"; thus this is what we refer to as a monistic (or non-dualistic) system, which emphasizes oneness. Its first great consolidator was Shankaracharya. Continuing the line of thought of some of the Upanishad teachers, and also that of his own teacher Gaudapada, Shankara expounded the doctrine of Advaita - a nondualistic reality. By analyzing the three states of experience (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) each of these related with a nature and level of speech (vak) as described in earlier chapters, he exposed the relative nature of the world and established the supreme truth of the Advaita: the nondual reality of Brahman in which atman (the individual soul) and Brahman (the ultimate reality expressed in the trimurti) are identified absolutely. However, many more see Adi Shankaracharya drawing from the monist concepts that were visibly ingrained in formerly existing texts, like the more abstruse sections of the Vedas as well as the older Upanishads. Subsequent Vedantins debated whether the reality of Brahman was saguna (with attributes) or nirguna (without attributes). Belief in the concept of Saguna Brahman gave rise to a proliferation of devotional attitudes and more widespread worship of Vishnu and Shiva. Advaita Vedanta is strictly grounded in a belief that the ultimate truth is Nirguna Brahman. The Vishistadvaita and Dvaita schools believed in an ultimately saguna Brahman.

b) Qualified Monism: Vishistadvaita

Ramanujaacharya was the foremost proponent of the concept of Sriman Narayana as the supreme Brahman. He taught that Ultimate reality had three aspects: Ishvara (Vishnu), chetant (soul) and avchetant (matter). Vishnu is the only independent reality, while souls and matter are dependent on God for their existence. Because of this qualification of Ultimate reality, Ramanuja's system is known as qualified non-dualism.

c) Dualism: Dvaita

Like Ramanujaachrya, Madhvaacharya identified God with Vishnu, but his view of reality was purely dualistic and is therefore called Dvaita (dualistic). d) Synthesis: Acintya Bheda-Abheda Vedanta Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a devotee of Krishna (Vishnu), proposed a synthesis between the monist and dualist philosophies by stating that the soul is equally distinct (bheda) and non-distinct (abheda) from God, whom he identified as Krishna (Vishnu), and that this, although unthinkable (acintya), is experiencable in devotion.

Patanjali is widely regarded as the complier of the formal Yoga philosophy. His yoga is known as Ashtanga-Yoga which is system for eight fold control of body & mind. He defines the word yoga in his second sutra-yogas chitta-vritti-nirodah-yoga sutra 1-2, which means "through the Yoga, one must cleanse his chitta(mind stuff) impurities thereby achieving complete blissful health". His Ashtanga Yoga has eight limbs. The eight limbs are:-F

1. Yama (The five absentions):- Ahimsa (non violence), Satya (truth, non-lying), Astey (non covetous, Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Aparigraha (non possessiveness).
2. Niyama:- (The five observances):- Sauch (purity), Santosh (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Swadhyaya (study of scriptures) and Ishwar-pranidhana (surrender to God).
3. Asana
4. Pranayama
5. Pratyahar (Abstraction-witdhrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
6. Dharna (Concentration)
7. Dhyana (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (Liberation) merging-consciousness with the object of meditation.

Thus we can say that Ashtanga-yoga can be very useful to practice. You can learn it as Jnan Yoga or yoga of mind, Karma yoga as yoga of right action and Bhakti yoga as yoga of devotion. Before practicing Yoga, we should eliminate some misconceptions. First is that Yoga is not a religion . The other misconception about yoga is that it is an exercise, a way to keep fit. It is not limited in its objective only to look at our physical dimensions but also other deeper dimensions of our life.We should remember that the steady control of our senses and cessation of our mental activity may lead us to our supreme state.

The Bhagvad -: Gita(song of the Lord}also refers Yoga in variety of ways in the Gita.An entire chapter 6 is dedicated to the traditional yoga practice including meditation. It introduces four prominent types of yoga ,Karma yoga, the yoga of Action, Bhakti yoga The yoga of devotion and Jnan yoga, the yoga of Knowledge & finally the Raja-Yoga which is the King of the Yogas as it merges the consciousness of the individual SELF into the universal SELF.

Purpose of the Yoga:-

Nature of the Jiva(the Soul) and the Means to Moksha(Ultimate liberation):- (Nature of the individual soul and the means to final liberation):- To Shri Adi Shankaracharya, the Jiva or the individual soul is only relatively real. Its individuality lasts only so long as it is subject to unreal Upadhis (limiting conditions) due to Avidya (ignorance). The Jiva identifies itself with the body, mind and the senses, when it is deluded by Avidya or ignorance. It thinks, it acts and enjoys, on account of Avidya. In reality, it is not different from Brahmm or the Absolute(the universal SELF). The Upanishads declare emphatically: "Tat Tvam Asi" (That Thou Art). Just as the bubble (foam) becomes one with the ocean when it bursts, just as the space within a pot becomes one with the universal space when the pot is broken, so also the Jiva or the empirical SELF becomes one with Brahmm, when it gets knowledge of Brahmm that is the self-realization through Yoga. When knowledge dawns in it through annihilation of Avidya, it is freed from its individuality and finitude and realizes its essential Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss) nature. It merges itself in the ocean of bliss. The river of life joins the ocean of existence. This is the real & the ultimate Truth. The release from samsara means, according to Yoga philosophy, the absolute merging of the individual soul in Brahmm due to dismissal of the erroneous notion that the soul is distinct from Brahmm. According to Yoga, Karma(actions) and Bhakti (devotion) are means to Jnan (knowledge) which is Moksha (liberation).

Hence if we take an overall gaze to the philosophy of the Yoga then we can conclude that the Yoga is the only source for all the remedies of the disorders in our lives which pertain to the planes of spiritual, astral, mental and physical. Yoga not only purifies our physical state of bodies but also purifies our heart, mind and soul to such an extent that we can remove and get rid of all the impurities once for the life-time.

Thus in order to become a complete human being, we all must take up Yoga in our daily practice to become a true human being for the benefit of the society.