I wanted to follow yoga or exercising for many days and hence was having a lot of questions in mind. Surely due to procrastination, I couldn’t start practicing it. Today morning, in place of starting with different poses of Yoga, I placed myself in the meditation, trying to relax my body and start concentrating on the question what is Yoga, which I want to practice? In short time, I could understand that it is not Yoga it is Yog which is the right name of Yoga and Yog means addition.
As I already had some knowledge of Yog, I could recall the following types as I read somewhere:
Dhyan Yog (Meditation), Bhakti Yog (Worshiping God / Spirituality), Gyan Yog (Knowledge), Hath Yog(Persistance), Karm Yog(Work) etc…
It was written somewhere, that Bhakti Yog is the best of all Yog, so the person practicing Bhakti Yog is performing best Yog.
My Meaning of Bhagwaan or God
I always had a question in my mind what is God or Bhagwaan. I don’t want to be in conflict with anybody on this so I state here, that these are my own thoughts, anybody is free to accept or reject my thoughts on this.
Bhagwaan (God) is the highest form of Human.
It isn’t easy to achieve highest form of human/humanity. So, self proclaimed Gods in the world, may not be the people who achieved their highest form. If they achieved highest form of Human, until unless one really experience them and also achieve their own highest form by doing that, that person can not be proven to be similar like highest form of human (i.e. God).
Let’s say an example of Indian history (called by modern historians as Mythology(which I strongly believe is not Myth)). When Arjun came under guidance of Lord Krishna he was able to perform his work that is fighting (for right) in war to the best. Arjun achieved his highest level when guided by Krishna. So, in that sense Lord Krishna achieved highest form of human, who lead Arjun achieve his own best. There were other people in war who were similar or better than Arjun in archery, but they were not fighting for right cause, so they didn’t achieve their best form.
So, worshiping an idol and doing something which your God will never do, will not lead to anything. One if understand their God like Krishan or Ram or Shankar, they must start adding their values into their own life in order to achieve their God form. Adding values or spirituality of your God from in yourself is bhakti.
Who is a Guru
So, I have heard that Guru helps one achieve God. Guru mean big in Hindi and similar language. So, when we talk about guru that mean someone who has progressed more than you in the same path as you. So, God is the highest form of yourself and Guru is someone bigger or better than you on the same path, if not the best. So, accepting someone as your Guru mean that you accept them as better than yourself and follow them in order to get best form of yourself (i.e. God form).
Western Style Yog known as Yoga
First of all calling Yog a Yoga start distorting its meaning and it is gets very limited to some daily exercises which are part of various Yog systems. Learning Yoga without knowing its real meaning will limit us.
What is Yog (योग)
In Hindi or similar languages in India, Yog means addition. We also call Yog a mathematical addition. If we take it literally, that means adding something. Practicing Yog means making it a continuous process. Let’s suffix it with the type of Yog we listed above:
- Dhyan Yog : Continuously adding dhyan to your daily life or continuous addition to dhyan on daily basis. First of all we must understand dhyan. Dhyan is in some sense similar like Meditation and in literal sense it is concentration. So if we continuously improve our ability to concentrate on something, it is Dhyan Yog.
- Bhakti Yog: Practicing Bhakti Yog means continuous addition of spirituality in your life. Bhakti in literal sense mean worship of God. Bhakt is a follower of God. Hence Bhakti Yog mean adding continuously towards the path of God. Now you will understand why “Bhakti Yog” is the best yog defined. As in Indian culture, it is known as the ultimate goal of life is to achieve God. So, the best form of Yog is Bhakti Yog which help one achieve God.
- Gyan Yog: Gyan literally mean Knowledge. We all know how important is knowledge and practice of adding Gyan continuously in your life is Gyan Yog. Obtaining all knowledge/Gyan to achieve the highest form of oneself.
- Karm Yog: Karm means work and we all know the quotation “Work is worship”. First of all, work is not exactly worship but yes what we do in the world does make us what we are and ultimate goal of a human is to achieve God (his highest form) so continuous improvement to our work is someway leading us to achieve our highest form . As, work becomes a tool to achieve our highest form, hence can be equated with worship or bhakti.
- Hath Yog: Continuous addition to yourself is necessary for getting good result of Yog. So persistence, is necessary. Continuity is the only key. Hath means that thing, it is not easy to achieve the best of yourself, so it is very common to get demotivated. But failures will not distract us and we continue Yog even if we fail, is Hath. “Try and try until you succeed” is Hath. Continuing what you do without being demotivated because of disappointments in life, is Hath.
There are many forms and names of Yog in India. Why are there so many yog and forms?
Why do Yog have so many name and forms
When you understand Yog then can easily understand why there are so many form of yog in India. India and Indian culture (not only Hinduism but everything which originated in India) gave freedom to individuals to know their goal of life and work towards it. When you define the goal of your life you become focused and can concentrate (Dhyan) can achieve knowledge about it (Gyan), can work towards it (Karm) and continue if without being distracted or disappointed (Hath). If he or she take a path in life which is already achieved by somebody in past and is known to them then he can make that person his Ideal of life (Guru or God (if known to achieve highest form)) and continue following him.
Hence worshiping God in India, mean following someone who achieved his highest form of life to achieve the same in your own life.
As different people in the world have different goals in their life, so Yog also differ for each and every person hence so many form of Yog exist. A person who want to know everything, will do a Gyan yog more than any other yog. A person who want to be perfect in his work will do Karm Yog. A person who want to achieve the best form of concentration will do Dhyan yog.
Why is Yog important or Why is it needed
There is a very basic cycle of any process including human life process. When anything starts it is very joyful, improves very fast and reaches maturity. Then the process of improvement get slow. The enthusiasm gets low and slowly the progress start getting declining. Yog is the process of countering the declining phase to some extinct. One can never avoid death but a better body will have less pain and longer life.
So the exercises Yoga include help people counter the declining phase of human body. A new born child don’t require Yoga to grow but as the body takes its full form slowly it starts declining and getting ill. To counter that illness and other problems in body, one need to go through process of continuous improvement of body which is described in Yoga exercises etc.
So how to practice Yog
As I am a software developer, I will try to give an algorithm:
- First try to find goal of your life. It is ok if you can’t find goal of your life. Just find a goal.
- Concentrate on your goal and try gathering more knowledge about it. (Dhyan and Gyan)
- Find people who already achieved same goals to highest or higher level. Be very precautious to select right people.
- If you can directly get trained under them find them and make them your Guru and ask them for their guidance.
- if you can’t get directly trained under them, then start learning about their life and what they did in different situations and try to incorporate those values in your life. (type of following someone bhakti)
- Start working towards your goal of life. (Karm)
- Continue even if you fail. (Hath).
- NOTE: Don’t term any living person as God. That may deteriorate the meaning of best form of oneself.
Viyog – Opposite of Yog
Viyog is literally opposite of Yog and has a meaning of separation. Separation from anything induce pain. So, anything which is inducing pain and distracting your from Yog is not good and certainly be avoided.
Yog is a process of Continuous Improvement, similar as Japanese process of Kaizen which means good change.
So, any bad change which is Viyoga which continues as a practice should be avoided. Any practice of Yog which disturbs another practice of Yog should be reduced, in order to achieve your goal of being own best.