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Yoga as I see it

By RV Iyer

All knowledge of universe and human being has been condensed in Vedas. The Vedas are the basic scriptures of Sanathana Dharma, the real name of the so-called Hindu religion. Every subsequent book that has been written on this Religion is based on the Vedas which are considered the pure truth and unchallengable.

The Vedas are considered Apaurusheya i.e. without author or creator. They have been seen by seers in the form of light, heat, vibrations, pressure and various other scientific forms of energy. These forms had transformed into words before the seers automatically. The seers gave such words to their disciples orally and this tradition has been maintained from the time of transformation till now. No time can be prescribed for these chapters and verses of the Vedas. The transformation has happened over a number of years and hence the compilation cannot be dated to a certain era, simply by going through the language of the texts.

Ultimately, around 2500 years back, the School of Krishna-Dwaipayana (also called Vyasa) was responsible for editing the various verses and codifying them into four Vedas. The main Veda is called Rig Veda in which Agni, Vayu and Indra are the three main deities. There are many other smaller deities who are praised in various poems.

Agni in the form heat is responsible for the conduct of bodily functions. Vayu in the form of air (Prana) and pressure is responsible for the functions of various organs and Indra as light and sound is responsible for the activity of man on the mental plane. Other gods are responsible for various other functions but are not within the scope of our present article.

What was the object of the transformation of the Vedas by seers? Why have the Vedas been given an oral tradition? We have to delve deep to satisfy our curiosity.

Man was suffering and mind was vacillating. Pleasure and Pain could not be controlled. What are the reasons behind for the Pain and the Pleasure? Who was responsible for these? Why were they happening? Was there any remedy? These were the questions that daunted the olden day seers. The seers set themselves in meditation for endless years. Many of them found real truths and when they were given the form of letters and words, these were called Mantras.

For the purpose of annihilating all pains of the human being, it was ultimately found that one has to combine energy with the soul. Ultimately energy had to be brought from uncontrolled to controlled stage. To achieve this many methods were devised and all these methods are called Yoga.

The different types of Yoga are classified as follows:  


  • Bhakti Yoga
  • Mantra Yoga
  • Jnana Yoga
  • Raja Yog


A large amount of literature has been written on these four classes of Yoga. Similarly, a number of subsystems have also come out of these four classes. To go deep into all of them is very time consuming and difficult for the ordinary human being. However, we can give brief descriptions as:

  • Bhakti Yoga is for those who are very sensitive and can attach themselves to a deity. They should be capable of surrendering everything to that deity and they will ultimately reach the stage of realization from the intensity of devotion and strong faith<
  • Mantra Yoga is the intensive chanting of the Mantra in a specific manner as advised by the Guru. This results in the fusion of mental and physical energy with cosmic energy and makes the practitioner ready for Samadhi state.
  • Jnana Yoga is meant for those who are superior in intellect to analyze everything in meditation and come to a conclusion, thereby gradually taken to the level of Samadhi and realization
  • Raja Yoga is a combined aspect of the above three including some other sections. Ashtanga Yoga comes under this section.

Hatha Yoga is purely action oriented and has its own merits. There are various sub parts in this type of Yoga. This type of Yoga has become famous across the world. Kriya Yoga forms a subsection of this Yoga. Kundalini Yoga is an advanced practice of Kriya Yoga and is not recommended for ordinary enthusiasts.

Yoga came to the western world around forty years back. Originally, Sivananda Ashram and Ramakrishna Mission were responsible for bringing this art to westerners. Following on Mahesh Yogi, Mantra Yoga became very popular in the west. Thereupon, the westerners descended to the Himalayas and learnt the different Yogas and today it is being commercialized all over the west. Tantra Yoga, especially, is being misused because of its appeal and use of sex.

Ashtanga Yoga and Meditation seem to be forte now in the west. I will deal with both of them in due course in these columns. Meditation will be the first topic I will choose, as there are many misconceptions and unclear understanding.

Yogacharya R Venkatachalam Iyer (mumukshuiyer) was born in 1934 at Parur, Kerala, India. He started Yoga at the age of 14 years. He received training in Suryanamaskara from S.P Iyer of Bangalore, India and Yoga from Sundaram of Bangalore, India. He received advance training at Sivanandashram, Rishikesh and Bihar Institute of Yoga, Munger. He took Karma Diksha from Brahmasri Niranjananda Saraswati Swami Maharaj

 

Yogacharya R Venkatachalam Iyer (mumukshuiyer) was born in 1934 at Parur, Kerala, India. He started Yoga at the age of 14 years. He received training in Suryanamaskara from S.P Iyer of Bangalore, India and Yoga from Sundaram of Bangalore, India. He received advance training at Sivanandashram, Rishikesh and Bihar Institute of Yoga, Munger. He took Karma Diksha from Brahmasri Niranjananda Saraswati Swami Maharaj


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