The True Meaning of Yoga and Sadhana

Times of India
The True Meaning of Yoga and Sadhana
The Times of India
Yogi Ashwini Ji, Dec 21, 2004

The guru, through shaktipath, initiates a person on the path of sadhana. The process requires immense energy, which is transferred from guru to shishya. If this energy is channelised towards people who have no value for it, the energy dissipates. That is why it is said that knowledge or 'gyan' should not be distributed before people who don't value it. This can also be said for people who come to listen to a discourse not to imbibe gyan but to defy it. These people are not searching; they are ruled by ego.

They are not interested in sadhana, are a drain on the energy of the initiator and are no good for the evolution of mankind (which is the purpose of shaktipath).

The practice of yog has become a subject of social discussion. It is fashionable to proclaim," I do yoga...” There are no dearth of people who, for selfish reasons, go around claiming to be yoga masters. What one needs to understand is that yog is not tying yourself up in knots or standing on your head. Yog is a complete science of the being's evolution, of which the physical is just the beginning. If this were not so, we should be calling trapeze artists yoga gurus. It is surprising to see how people go about introducing yogic practices to all and sundry, without proper instructions or an understanding of an individual's capacity. Today, through the medium of television, people are introducing certain higher practices which are becoming a fashion among the masses.

These practices may impart a feeling of shortlived well-being to the practitioner and disturb the Kundalini. Kundalini, if awakened in an uncontrolled manner, may cause irreversible damage to the body, because a normal body does not have the capacity to hold this shakti. These practices are being peddled only to gain name, fame and money. They are no good for either teacher or sadhak. It is unfortunate that the indiscriminate teachers of yoga do not understand the negative karmas they earn for themselves as a result. They are trapped in a web of maya, described as such in 'Patanjali Yog Sutras'.

A real sadhak would never indulge in such careless acts. Modern methods make a mockery of a pious and sacred path such as yoga.

It is very difficult to stay away from the clutches of maya. Only those who hold the hand of a guru are able to truly adopt and walk the path of sadhana. This is precisely why it is so difficult to find a true guru and serious sadhaks.

When a guru accepts somebody as a shishya he takes complete responsibility. The shishya is monitored by the guru not daily or hourly but every moment, which is why earlier gurus had such few disciples. Sir John Woodroffe, a renowned sadhak and practitioner of tantra in the early 19th century, understood this. He observes," In older times a guru used to give diksha to 10-15 disciples in his or her entire lifetime. Initiating even a single person requires immense amount of energy and even greater amount of practice to regain that energy.”

I wonder how people go around initiating thousands of people. Having been a teacher of an ancient healing technique, I observed that people were coming to learn this method only to gain in social prestige. This set me thinking. I stopped teaching to get deeper into the true meaning, practice and purpose of yog. Gyan is energy which flows only to those who have the capacity to follow the practices of yog strictly as told for mankind's evolution. For others, it is merely meant to impress.

The Times of India (Dec 21, 2004)

The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali
How We're Stretching

"When scholars state that yoga originated thousands of years ago, they're not referring to the bends, twists, inversions, and other postures most Westerners today associate with yoga. In fact, yoga began as a philosophy rather than as a physical discipline. The term yoga is first mentioned in the sacred Indian text, the Rig Veda, which dates to approximately 500 B.C. The Rig Veda defines yoga as a union or 'yoking' of the material and spiritual worlds, and it doesn't describe any physical postures other than the traditional cross-legged meditation pose.

Another 300 years passed before the legendary sage Patanjali composed The Yoga Sutras, where he systematically described the eight branches or 'limbs' of yoga. The third branch, asanas, means 'seat' or 'position.' When people hear the word yoga, they usually think of the asanas or postures, with their incredible benefits of increased flexibility, strength, and balance.

Even if yoga only enhanced physical fitness, the time spent in practice would be fully justified. However, yoga offers much more than just a way to exercise the body: It gives us a way to enter the timeless, spaceless world of spirit ... to connect with our Divine inner being. According to The Yoga Sutras, 'Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded consciousness.'

In this unbounded state, we experience complete freedom from suffering. No longer identifying ourselves with our ego, we let go of our attachment to temporary conditions—whether a relationship, a job, our body, or a material possession. We remember that our essential nature is eternal and unlimited. And then life becomes joyful, meaningful, and carefree.

The eight branches of yoga elaborated by Patanjali provide a path to enlightenment, to the realization that we are not isolated and separate, but are purely spiritual beings. As we deepen our practice, we get glimpses of our true Self and dip into the profound peace of the soul. As Patanjali writes, 'All confusion about the nature of the Self vanishes for one who has seen its glory. ... This is the state of Unclouded Truth.'"
Web. February 4, 2013

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