Yog Rahasya - The Eternal Secrets
I wanted to share some deeper insights of my learning at the Ashram. This Blog is written by my guru and mentor Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. Hope it helps you go deeper into the consciousness needed to explore yoga as a way of life.
Bhagawan Krishna has defined Yoga as “Yogah karmasu koushalam”, meaning that Yoga is action done skilfully, and, to the best of one’s ability (BG II: 50).
One completes the task, with the basic understanding of the yogic concepts in mind, following their dharma, to the best of their ability.
An action becomes skilful indeed, when the Yogic concepts are applied practically while performing it, using one’s sense of discernment (viveka). This enables the individual to give their best thus empowering the action and the resultant effect.
The conscious implementation of the ‘Theory of Yoga’ in our day-to-day life, is a way of life indeed, and this is one of the definitions of Yoga given by Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj. Yoga has to be lived every moment, 24×7. We cannot opt to live Yoga for 22 hours and take two hours off, go loot the bank, and then say, “Yoga is my way of life”, can we? Swamiji called this complete adherence to the Yogic principles in one’s life as ‘No-Option’ Yoga. No excuses allowed at all, absolutely! Once we choose the path of Yoga, (despite the fact that it is going to be difficult), we have to move forward, cutting across and through the hurdles, obstacles and difficulties that come in the way of our spiritual evolution. We cannot re-trace our path as we are left with no other option but to propel ourselves forward with conviction, energy and strength.
When we do anything skilfully, and to the best of our ability, what is the next immediate thought that comes to our mind? What do we expect? Reward, appreciation, or a pat on the back, isn’t it? Can we simply do our duty and not expect anything in return? Can we be that? Doing the best, with the best effort, with complete involvement, most skilfully, and then not expect any result? Well, Lord Krishna says that it should be nishkama, i.e without attachment to the rewards, the fruits of our action. We must be able to do our best, even when no one notices it, or appreciates our efforts. There is a Chinese saying which carries a similar meaning. To do a good deed, without anybody noticing it and to have it discovered by accident, that is the greatest joy. This indeed is the concept of Karma Yoga too.
Ashtanga Yoga of Maharishi Patañjali is the path to liberation (kaivalya) that consists of eight limbs (ashta anga). If we consider each limb as a separate link, then this is a chain with eight links; each link as important as the other; one leading to the other; one connected to the other.
What if one of the links in this chain is weak? Can the chain still remain sturdy and tough? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. All the links need to be developed in the best possible manner, and have to be strengthened by our complete awareness and consciousness. You can also think of the limbs of Yoga as spokes in a wheel that are all required for the wheel to move smoothly. Each spoke is vital and must be strong, otherwise the wheel gets warped and bent out of shape.
Some people think of Ashtanga Yoga as a ladder with eight rungs giving a sense of hierarchy to the concept. This is fine, but I have heard a ‘big name’ in Yoga once say, “I started with yama and then ascended to samadhi but then have come down and gone up the ladder many times”. It is absurd to even think that you can climb up these steps, then come down and start to climb them all over again, and keep doing so. That may be fun, that may be ego boosting, but it is not Yoga for sure.
Hope this blog inspires you to look at Yoga from a new perspective. Classical Yoga is a journey of the self to the Self.