Friday, September 4, 2009

Yoga - A way of life

Yoga - A way of life
Dr. Satya Pal Singh
The word Yoga means to join, to yoke, to combine together or to bring together. And hence the term Yoga conveys a sense of union. But union to whom ? It is linking of an individual self to the Higher universal self or the infinite God, which is the source of all the goodness, all bliss and all the knowledge. He is supreme and absolute. But, unless we recognise ourselves - the inner self, how is it possible to go in the closest  proximity of God ?  Yoga also means connecting the individual consciousness with the common, collective or cosmic consciousness.
YOGA is all pervasive in every part of the world. Starting from human body to the ever extending and expanding universe, where there is Yoga, there is addition, there is union, there is bonding, there is birth and a beautiful creation. Where there is no Yoga meaning there is a Viyoga,(separation), there is death and there is dissolution of the universe. But, this is not an occasion to discuss and deliberate on such a comprehensive Yoga, but I will be sharing my ideas, my understanding of the aspect we are generally aware of.
As we all know Yoga is a system dealing with the Science of mental behaviors and control of mind. There are many systems in this country of Yoga. But the Rajyoga expounded by Patanjali stands supreme. In Patanjali' s Yoga Sutras, Yoga has been defined as a Nirodh (inhibition) of the Vrutti (functions) of the Chitta (mind), brought about by practice (abhayasa) and freedom from attachment (vairagya), but English renderings of the technical terms are not very suitable.  (ªÉÉäMɶSÉ ÊSÉiiÉ ´ÉÞÎiiÉ ÊxÉ®úÉävÉ Yogashcha Chitta Vritti Nirodha)
Yoga is a science basically related to inner world. There appears to be so much of tension in our day-to-day life because internally and externally we are not the same. There is no harmony as such. What we teach we don't practice, what we expect from others we do not do to others. We expect others to be honest and spiritual, but inside we are dishonest and much away from spirituality. It gives tension to us and leading to all kinds of bodily and mental disorders. It is the cause of communal disharmony in the society.
As I stated earlier, Yoga is a science of inner world, though it is formally connected to our day-to-day mundane life. It is a science dealing with intangibles and so it is subtle and much more difficult to comprehend. The subject of Yoga is getting increasingly popular and that is not always without risk as it tends to become cheap. So it is absolutely necessary to return to the basics or the fundamentals of the system. Many people claim and complain that they have been practicing Yoga, doing meditation for last many years, but they are yet to have the experience of bliss, or to have the much sought after self-realization.
Yoga is an extremely difficult and profound science to understand and practice. At the same time, the result of the practicing Yoga is unparalleled, the highest attainment, the highest sublimation and the highest achievement. It is a discovery of self. It is self-realization - realizing one's pure self and nature. Who ever does it, he enjoys it but cannot explain it to others. It is an indescribable feat.
VÉÉä =ºÉä ºÉ¨ÉZɱÉäiÉÉ ½èþ ´É½þ ºÉ¨ÉZÉÉ xɽþÓ ºÉEòiÉÉ *
VÉÉä ´É½þÉÄ {ɽÖÄþSÉ VÉÉiÉÉ ½èþ ´É½þ JÉɨÉÉä¶É ®ú½þiÉÉ ½èþ *
Whoever reaches this height the knots of his heart is loosened; all doubts are cut off, all actions cease.
As Mundak Upanishad says-
ʦÉtiÉä ¾þnùªÉ OÉÎxlɶSÉ, ÊqùnùxiÉä ºÉ´ÉÇ ºÉƶɪÉÉ :*
IÉÒªÉxiÉä SÉɺªÉ Eò¨ÉÉÇÊhÉ, iÉκ¨ÉxÉ où¹]äõ {É®úÉ´É®ú :*
Bhidate Hridaya Grinthisch, Chhidante Sarva Sansayaa
Kshiyante Chaasya karmani, tasmin driste praavare :
Such a science is beyond the reach of modem science, beyond the frontiers of measuring fetters and beyond the graduates of today’s education.
To realize such a state is not an easy task. Unfortunately, now-a-days hundreds and thousands of Yoga teachers are available in India alone. But that is why it has become necessary to be doubly cautious to understand the basics.
One can be a scientist of a very high repute without necessarily being a theist or a man of morals. one can be a musician, a professor or a poet either without believing in God and without adhering to His moral code.  Similarly, one can be an engineer or architect of eminence without following the social moralities, but to be a Yogi, the first essential requirement is to follow a moral code. Therefore, the Yoga of Patanjali prerequisites for an ethical conduct in personal or social life, It also takes note of all human shortcomings and weaknesses, but the system is based on the higher moral values.
Let us follow the practice of Yoga in our day-to-day life and remember that there are no short cuts. The first step in the ladder to meditation and super consciousness are Yamas and Niyams. As many would know there are five Yamas. Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya    ( Control of senses), Apariagraha (non-avarice). We can call these five Yamas as Mahavratas, or great vows or obligatory pledges. They are not be violated under any conditions or circumstances. These are the universal code of conduct and compulsory and obligatory under all circumstances. They constitute the social code or the social discipline for human beings.
Patanjali  also enumerates the five Niyamas (rules) or auxiliary virtues. As-
Sauch (internal and external cleanliness or purity)
Santosh or contentment.
Tapas or austerity.
Svadhyaya or self-study and self-evaluation.
Iswara Pranidhana or surrendering and dedication to God.
After the Yama-Niyams, Patanjali makes it obligatory that one should practice Assans (meditational, comfortable postures), Pranayam or control of breathing, then Pratyahara or chanelisation of mental activities which leads to Dharana or concentration of mind, then to Dhyan (contemplation) and lastly Samadhi the transcendental super consciousness.
Without this ethical or moral code nobody can progress in the line of Yoga. We have to become Upayogi (useful) for becoming a Yogi. When one becomes Upa-Mantri, chances are there one would become Mantri. When one is Vice­ President, chances are that he/she would have an opportunity to become a President. So before becoming a Yogi, we must try to become Upayogi­  (useful).  Not just for ourselves, but for the society.
Constructing a building on the ground is far easier and cheaper as compared to constructing a building underground. Digging a hill is easier than unearthing the underground mining. Similarly, building a ship is far more easier than building a sub-marine which operates under the water. Therefore, it is very very difficult to discipline oneself than building a disciplined system outside.
Suppose you go to meet the Prime Minister of India and now you are standing at the Reception, with 100% surety that you would be called any moment to have an audience. It is a period of thrill on one hand and anxiety on the other. You will take care of your clothes, you would require to be well dressed, you will comb your hair. You would be afraid that none of your weaknesses is revealed to the Prime minister. If you have one you would like to cover it with many excuses. You would be rehearsing in your own mind how to start a dialogue and put up things across. But when you have just five minutes to meet him you would try to be at Your best. Preparation is started a few days before.
We know that water flows always to a lower level. Suppose a farmer wants to irrigate his field, water is already there in the canal. The farmer has just merely to open the gates and remove the obstacles, water will automatically flow. Similarly, if we remove obstacles between us and the higher self, the spirituality will automatically flow. How to do away these obstacles, these perturbations, these vices, these stances, how to be humble and pure. Since centuries our seers have practiced and preached that if you want to realize peace and happiness in life, try to realize yourself.
We have also to remember that for an aircraft taking off is difficult, but once it is at a comfortable height, the navigation is smooth and easier.  Similarly, the space craft, a satellite, has first to make all efforts to go beyond the earth's gravitational domain but once it goes out of the earth's gravity, its journey becomes for easier. Now it is subjected to the Moon's or Mars gravity wherever it is directed, which in most natural course draws it to the Moon's / Mar's surface. On the same analogy if we want to get in the closest proximity of the God, if we want to realize ourself, we have to break the barriers of bad habits nurtured so far. Once we are pure, we are close to God. There will be automatic attraction and automatic realization.  But to become pure and remaining pure we have to keep on doing dusting off and washing ourselves every day and every time like an idol or statue, kept in open, has to be cleaned every day.  In other words, Yoga is the process and practice of purifying ourselves.  Any purity reflects automatically scattering light and bliss all around.