Why do we need the 4 yogas?

In today’s world where life is so fast paced and there are so many distractions for the mind it has become even more difficult to feel the peace within. We are all divine beings, but we have unfortunately lost touch with the spiritual side of life and have become accustomed to the material side of life.

Today’s age talks more of mental illnesses than ever before, perhaps because it wasn’t so widely discussed in the past but also it is clear the impact of the technology, social media, material possessions etc, on our minds. The senses are drawn outwards to these objects and jump from one to another like a monkey jumping from one branch to another. It is has become second nature not to have time for the mind to reflect and relax but instead to engage in more distractions at the touch of a screen (cannot even say button any longer). We cannot seem to sit still for very long without feeling the urge to fill that quietness.

The mind then finds it extremely difficult to be calm and for you to be in control of it.

The ultimate effect of this is that we lost touch with the peace within and covered it within outer objects. When we journey inwards towards that peace we will find that bliss that is our own true nature and always was and always is. It has never changed but has only been covered just as the beautiful butterfly begins its journey as the ugly slow land based Caterpillar. The Caterpillar believes this is who it is until one day deep within it becomes the amazingly free airborne butterfly. The Caterpillar from birth is always destined to be the butterfly as it has all the cells to do so but it is prevented from doing so just like we are preventing ourselves from finding our true nature because we cover our true selves with the illusion of the body and mind complex.

When we discover this true self our minds are at peace this blissful state becomes more aware to us, to the mind itself. From here we journey deeper within, beyond the waking state of the world and its objects, beyond the dream state of the mind, the dream world and its dream objects and then even beyond the causal state, which is the place where the mind stops and there is only consciousness. However, we still need to go further, beyond the causal state, we need to go again to the state of consciousness but this time we are aware of consciousness and this is the fourth state or in truth the only real state called Turiya meaning fourth.

If you are longing for this peace within and want to begin this journey or take up where you left off either from studies/ experiences from earlier in this life or perhaps even from a previous life. You will find it may come easy to you if you have previous exposure to this in previous lives even if you know very little in this current form.

As the lord Sri Krishna himself has recommended and other great swamis like Vivekananda we need to action the four Yoga’s (Yoga meaning union with the supreme) Karma, Bhakti, Dhyana, Jnana.

We first need to purify the mind before we can add to it just like if we pour clean water into a dirty glass then the water will not be clean or clear and therefore we must first cleanse the mind and body.

We can do this in the following stages:

  1. KARMA YOGA: To begin with, we can start with Karma yoga which is service to or for others. This is great place to start because by doing Karma Yoga it will purify ones mind by offering help to others in anyway we can whilst not expecting anything in return, not even gratitude. This clarity and peace of mind can help all of us in todays frantic world. However it is important to note you can begin with any of the 4 yogas. At True Veda, we would also suggest healing of the body and mind through Ayurveda, hatha Yoga (asanas), pranayama etc at this stage. If the body can feel at ease through Ayurvedic treatment and yoga, then it will be easier for you in the next stages as there will be less distractions and discomfort. Read more on Karma Yoga here
  2. BHAKTI YOGA: There is a great benefit to ones own life experience, when you have filled the heart with the love of God. There is great peace, bliss and happiness when there is pure love for the lord. The love for Bhagwana is permanent and will never leave you and therefore it is of great importance to feel the lord within your own heart at any stage of your journey. This should be done in your own homes, but it is also recommended and important to be in the company of other spiritual seekers at a Mandir during Satsang (a gathering of other spiritual people) as the energy created in worship benefits us all. Read more on Bhakti Yoga here
  3. DHYANA YOGA: We next meditate on the formless (Nirguna) or the form (Sirguna) of Brahman (God). This further settles and purifies the mind along with the other yoga’s. Meditating and stilling the mind can have great health benefits to both the mind and body. In Ayurveda we believe as much as 90% of disease stems from the mind and our thoughts. The world we see is based on the mind we have, if we are depressed we will see a dark and dreary world, whereas when we are happy all is beautiful. Even though a happy mind sounds good, unfortunately more often than not, around the corner could be some harder times thus leading to a depressed an sad mind. Therefore it is important to still the mind so that it isn’t affected by happiness or sadness but instead it is always blissful. In meditation we leave behind all the many distractions of the waking world and turn our focus inwards to the light of the bliss and peacefulness. Read more on Dhyana Yoga here
  4. JNANA YOGA: Again, like Dhyana, Karma or Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga can be practiced at any stage of your journey. Jnana means knowledge, and learning the true knowledge of the self is the ultimate goal of humankind. It is truly a wasted life if we do not begin this journey of knowledge. This knowledge of the self and along with Bhakti (the love of god) will free you from all fears and none more so than the ultimate fear of death. Once you are free from this, then you are truly free from within, free while living, you will become a Jivan Mukta. Learn the true knowledge of the self and set your true-self free! Read more on Jnana Yoga here

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