Shuvro:Baba can you please explain the different paths of Yoga like Jnana,Bhakti,Raja and Karma Yoga?
All paths of Yoga ultimately reach to the same Goal of Self knowledge or God realization. Let me share with you briefly the most wondrous paths to God.
This is the path of discriminative knowledge. The aspirant of Truth seeks the Truth through the intellect. Of course this path presumes that the seeker has a refined intellect. The refined intellect can discriminate between the transient and the permanent, between the temporary and the eternal. The sadhaka tries to meditate upon the self beyond all dualism. The search is to seek not just a verbal answer to the fundamental quest of life as to "Who am I?" but to experience the reality of the Truth. The discrimination is between who am i not and who am I? The sadhaka denies everything that is not the Higher Self as non reality or as Maya or illusion. To him or her, the world become a place a shadow play. A dream world! The seers of Jnana Yoga tell us, that when a person truly awakens from the illusive dream life of dualism the world drops for ever and what remains is the Self manifested as Self. By knowing the Self you know all.
Bhakti Yoga: This is the path for the masses, for it is the path through the heart and emotion. It is a dualistic path to begin with. The devotee trusts in the word of the Master and follows the path of love and devotional services to the God and tries to patiently go through all the karmic processes without any resistance and accept all that happens as the Will of God. Bhakti yoga as a practice is to efface the ego the menace. As all the miseries of life stems from the shadow existence of ego and vanity, the devotee commits to surrender the ego and vanity at the Lotus Feet of God or the Sadguru the teacher. It is through the process of sublimating the ego that the devotee feels closer and closer to his Beloved and surrender deepens. It is a deep love relationship which reaches to a point of intoxication and tremendous joy of being surrendered to God or Guru. Those who are naturally emotional are drawn into the path of Bhakti and this is the safest path for the ego is annihilated through the process of self consecration and love. Love rules from the beginning in Bhakti, and love is the most supreme of all the positive powers in the Universe. It unites. Yoga is uniting with the divine.
In Bhakti yoga usually the devotee takes to the path of Japa or chanting the Divine Name received from the teacher or Master. It is the power of the Divine Name that helps cleansing the mirror of mind to reflect the Lord and His infinite Grace and Love.
This is mind seeing the Mind. It is a path of meditation or Dhyana. It is also Dhyana Yoga. The seeker in the path of Raja Yoga is continually taught to observe the mind by the mind without any judgments. As the mind continually observes the mind the thoughts gradually tends to loose its random fantasy. It calms down. As it calms down there is more clarity of thought. Now the meditator or yogi, can see the difference in the quality of thoughts, the unwanted tendencies of negativity and violence simply leaves the mind as the process of observation or attention to thoughts is a direct way of mind purification.
You don’t condemn or criticize your self or your thoughts but just watch and become more and more mindful as they are. As the process continues, you become more and more in drawn and more focused to the illumination of your own Mind, which is Divine. The Divine Light shines through you in your thougts and actions. As your mind becomes more illumined and calmed, your breath also becomes more rhythmic. It is dance of life. Life becomes celebration. That is exactly the true meaning of Yoga, you realize that life is not a misery, but is a divine romance, a joyful dance, an ecstatic celebration.
Those who have a tendencey to do more and more work, rise high in life through achievements, and touch the peaks of successes,are best suited for this path of Yoga.
They can not sit and meditate, nor can they give up action for any ritualistic religion of the path of Bhakti, nor are they ready to dwell deep within to seek an answer to the quest of Who am I? They are ready to do and do and yet want to taste the divine intoxication.
The path of karma Yoga is to transmute action into consecration to the Divine. It is to realize ultimately that we are but the instruments of the Universe or the Divine. The seeker in this path tries to be more and more conscious and aware of the divine doer of all actions. The seer and sages tell us that "You have rights to the duty but not to the rewards thereof". Hence, you do your best for anything that you think is your part, and claim no specific reward but allow the Divine or the Universe to decide it, for the understanding is what ever happens as the consequence of actions is good for the advancement of the soul towards its higher journey. What ever reward or result comes out of any action has a deeper significance from a divine perspective than what appears to the mundane materialistic rationality.
Thus a karma yogi is ever busy in doing everything with a subtler motive of "Bahujana sukhaya, bahujana hitaya" happiness and welfare of many in this world. The purpose is to rise above the selfish motive of work, which begets praises and insults, success and failures with its joy and miseries. Through karma yoga you rise to the higher mind within you which connects to the Divine through action. You offer all your actions to the fire of illumined consciousness. Through the process of consecration and surrender, the ego is annihilated, and the Self within manifests in all its glory. The sadhak is benefited and those who are the recipient of his consecrated actions also are blessed.
But finally, to conclude, let me tell you that these paths are not water tight compartments. Each is linked to the other or leads to the other. Those who attain to Self realiztiaon though Jnana rests in Bhakti, karma, and those who follow the path of Bhakti also reaches to the point where the devotee says, i and my master are one and the same. Which is Jnana.
Choose the path according to your own prakriti, or innate natural tendencies.
As you move higher in any path of Yoga, you realize that you become the Holy confluence of the different paths, or all the paths merge in you.
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