Yoga is growing popular as a fashion, a business of selling an easy way to physical fitness and as a remedy to all ailments. The science of yoga introduced by Indian Rishis to come out of the bondages of materialism and to open the gateway of spiritualism to become a Jeevan mukta is becoming popular as the source of material gains to teacher as well as the taught. What to say of becoming a yogi, I have come across some advertisements on electronic media claiming to make you yoga teachers within a week and awakening Kundalini Shakti just in one sitting. ‘Andhe andha thelia – doau koop pedant’ (a blind is showing path to another blind and both are sure to fall into a well and destined to be ruined). I feel it is a sin. We can simply have a satisfaction of sharing the joy of yoga with enthusiasts who truly deserve it. In fact the subject of yoga is spiritual and not physical. It begins from mind and not from the body. Body is just a means to attain yogic bliss: ‘Shareermadym khalu dharm sadhanam’ (This body is just a means to perform our duty) and is sure to die one day. Even the most recognized and realized yogis were bound to die and many of them died of cancer, dropsy, injury or poisoning. No yoga can make a human body immortal.
Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityu, dhruvo janm mritsya ch Srimad Bhagavad Gita
Whosoever takes birth is sure to die says Yogeshwar Shri Krishna in Srimad Bhagvad Gita. But Yoga is the sure way to lead one to realization of immortal state of spiritual existence. Physical health and beauty is the natural outcome of a peaceful and blissful state of mind. To make it a bit clearer, it is inner beauty and balanced existence of a yogi that reflects on his face, eyes, speech and overall personality. All ailments are sure to vanish as we get rid of all vices and become free from the grip of Shadaris or six enemies with the dedicated practice of yoga in true sense. In the beginning even very simple yogic exercises can make you feel a little better at physical fitness no doubt as even simple exercises and deep breathing can result into a feeling of fitness and freshness but it has least to do with yog sadhana. Sadhana in true sense begin when it works at mental level. That’s why yoga can rightly be called a Mano kayik vidya or the science related to mind and body. Until and unless we are balanced and peaceful at mind we can never even dream of perfect health even at physical level. Our physical systems endocrine, musculoskeletal, respiratory, nervous, digestive and hormonal are deeply affected with our state of mind. They remain upset only because we are disturbed somewhere. It is rightly said that we are not upset because we have problems but we have problems because we are upset. The target place in yoga is mind and not the body because it is mind that leads us from fitness of body to bliss:
Manaiv manushyanam karnam bandh mokshyo,
Chitteschalti sansaro nischale yog uchchyetei.
It is mind the cause of bondages and the source of liberation and salvation as well. The restless mind results into worldly joys and sorrows but a calm mind into bliss, the deep state of yoga, says Srimad Bhagvad Gita. Our spiritual life depends not on physical gains with restless mind but on restless work with a dedicated and devoted mind. This dedication and devotion is the toughest task but certainly gives us sweetest results. We have been learning to catch all through our life and have forgotten the wonderful art of withdrawal and renouncement.
There was a man who struggled all through his life and earned a lot of riches, name & fame. He decided to offer all gains to God to win His blessings. He remembered God and was delighted to feel His presence by his side asking what He could do for him. The man said, “I have been collecting and loving the material gains but finally I have come to realize that it is all inferior to your love. I wish to offer all my riches to you”. God passed a sweet smile and said,” All this already belongs to me. It was already available and open for all in this world in some form or the other. It is Karma that made you feel the gain or Akarmanyata to make feel loss of it.
Sakal padarath hein jag mahin,
Karm heen nar pawat naahi.
The more you gain, the more you indulge. The more you lose the more you suffer and repent. If you really wish to ‘offer’ me something you are entitled to offer only the thing ‘created by you.’ The man was puzzled. What so ever he wished to offer from his collections he found it was not the one created by him. Finally he kneeled before God and prayed for wisdom to decide what he could offer. God was pleased to see the spirit of this devotee. He passed a ray of true knowledge and said, “My child! It is ‘ego’ created by you that surrounds you and does not allow you to come out of the ocean of desires still unfulfilled, constant tension, sorrows & ultimate repentance. Offer this ‘ego’, the creation of yours and occupy your place in the kingdom of divinity my son!”
Maya maha thagini hum jaani,
Ranchak taar liye kar dole bole madhuri bani.
Man is gripped by Maya in different forms. These forms have been defined as ‘Shadari’ (six enemies): Kama (Desire), Krodheh (Anger), Mad (Ego), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Ignorance) and Matsar (Envy) in spiritual text to hinder the voyage of a Sadhak (the aspirant of life divine). One has to be more & more vigilant on the path of sadhana. We may be cheated anywhere by any of these six enemies. Let us be aware of them as in our day to day worldly life we become more alert of pickpockets when our pocket is heavy. In the same way the more we proceed on the path of spiritual gains we need to be more alert of these six enemies that hinder the path of a sadhak’s progress.
The occasion comes when even an advanced sadhak falls into the well of ego again when this ego enters to his mind very decently and secretly such as, “I have won or overpowered this ego now.” In true sense all our spiritual efforts aim at controlling and channelising the mental modifications as purity, calmness and egoless state of mind is the first requirement to spiritual way of living.
Maharishi Patanjali in Yog Sutra has prescribed ten disciplines to prepare a sadhak to proceed firmly on the path of spiritual discipline and enable him to dip in the nectar of ‘Adhyatma’(spiritual life). These are Five Yamas (rules of conduct)- Ahinsa Non violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non stealing), Brahmacharya (Celibacy) & Aparigraha (Non indulgence) and Five Niyamas (observances)- Shauch (external and internal purity), Santosh (Contentment), Tapeh (Austerity), Swadhyay (Study of sacred scriptures and the self) & Ishwar Pranidhana(Dedication to Divine). These five Yamas and five Niyamas are the ten strong pillars to support the palace of spiritual life of an individual and grow him into an egoless one dedicated absolutely to Divine and enjoying the bliss of Divinity. Practice of these ten disciplines makes eight fold yoga easy and effective to follow and reach the deeper stages of spiritual realization.
Every being without discrimination of religious faith, caste, colour or creed has got right to follow these ten steps and avail the opportunity to dip in the nectar of yoga. Actually these ten disciplines are no different than ten principles of religion acceptable by all faiths
Dhriti kshma damosteyam shaucham indriyenigreha,
Dhirvidya satyam akrodheh dashkam dharm lakshnam
Contentment, forgiveness, endurance, non stealing or encroaching upon others rights, purity, control over senses, wisdom, true knowledge, truth, and loss of anger are the ten principles of religion. True religion leads one to the path of spiritualism or yoga the merger to realize
Ruchinaam vachitryad rijukutil nana pathjusham,
Nrinam ekogamyastwam payasam arnav eva Upnashida
Rivers with their places of origin roll on their narrow wide straight and curved tracks and ultimately blend into vast ocean. In the same way we the human beings being born in different places and religious faiths move on the path of spirituality and ultimately merge in Divine. This merger is called with different names vasl, deedar, realization, merger or milan. All these words mean Yoga only. All holy rivers have to lose their names and identity to merge and become vast ocean. If holy Ganges fears of losing its life long name and identity it is sure never to become an ocean. In same way all religious faiths are for us to show the path of spiritualism and to lead us beyond these holy texts Vedas, Quran, Bible and Granth Sahib etc. In case we hesitate in going beyond and reach the state of realization or yoga we fail to follow them in absolute sense. The stream of religious faiths is like holy ganga that goes on rolling with lots of nectar in it but lucky are those who have a dip or drink a gulp of it. It is like the sun and the moon shining high for us but lucky are those who come forward to be benefited. If we fail to do so nothing wrong happens to ganga, sun or the moon. It is we who remain deprived of the true nectar. All religious faiths lead us to Yoga, the ultimate religion. We cannot become truly religious without becoming a yogi. Come, my brothers and sisters in the way of divinity born in different faiths, not just to believe but to dare to adapt and follow the ten steps of Adhyatma to build a strong spiritual life and give human birth a meaning.