Yoga – Connecting with the Supreme : Gauranga Das
Yoga – Connecting with the Supreme
- Gauranga Das
Today there are more than 300 million yoga practitioners across whole world. The yoga industry is worth 80 Billion dollars globally. Yoga marketing has eclipsed the original purpose of yoga. The purpose of yoga is not to combat stress, keeping healthy, feeling good, making money or livelihood. The purpose of yoga is self-realization and connecting with the supreme. Yoga is meant to free you from worldliness and bodily identification. If you really want to practice yoga then follow the authorized path of Bhagavad Gita and the yoga sutras.
Patanjali’s famous definition of yoga is “yogah chitta vritti nirodhah” which means the removal of the fluctuations of the mind. To achieve this Patanjali gave the famous ashtanga yoga consisting of eight limbs of yoga. Krishna also defines yoga as attaining equanimity in the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita where he says….
yoga-sthah kuru karmani
sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva
samatvam yoga ucyate
Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.
Yoga, then, is defined as indifference or evenness of mind. Calming the mind is yoga, not just standing on the head. Of course, standing on the head helps the calming of the mind, but to stand on the head is not the goal of yoga. Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
The literal meaning of the word yoga is yoke, means to connect. The mind can achieve equanimity only when it is connected with the universal spirit. Yoga can, therefore, be also defined as a means of uniting the individual spirit with the universal spirit of God. To achieve this the Bhagavad Gita presents several kinds of yoga.
But Krishna also clarifies which kind of practitioner of yoga is the best….
yoginām api sarveṣāḿ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māḿ sa me yukta-tamo mataḥ
“And of all yogés, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me—he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.”
Krishna presented bhakti yoga or devotional service as the best and easy path to achieve this. The Bhakti yoga teaches that how each and everyone us, and each and everything around us is sacredly united with the Lord in Yoga. And by realizing this sacred Yoga, one learns to extend the spirit of service to the Lord, towards each and every aspect of His creation. By understanding that everyone and everything in this world is part of the Lord including oneself, one develops a love for the Lord. And by knowing that Supreme is a person with attributes like compassion, beauty, mercy one develops an attraction for Him. With that when one mind achieves connection with the Supreme, then one will find peace and joy within. That is real and permanent yoga because that is the original nature of oneself that is to be united with the supreme. That is the ultimate goal of all kinds of yoga.
When one achieves this yoga, one develops a spirit of SEVA or selfless service to the Lord, towards each and every aspect of His creation. He respects everyone, serves everyone, care for the environment and have a reverential attitude towards mother earth. In this way, a yogi will contribute to the welfare of society.