Yoga, as the Devotional path of with musical prayers, is an
ancient tradition of Bhagavathas. This was revived during the
last 500 years by several Ãchãryas as the Bhakthi
forms of worship, particularly in Vaishnava traditions of Sri
Rãmãnuja, Sri Mãdhva, Sri Chaitanya and several
others and also in Saiva Sidhdhantha and several Sakthi traditions.
Being practiced in their local languages, this was easy for many
worshippers who were not well versed in Sanskrit or in Vedas.
these paths one must go beyond the phase of Ananya Bhakthi of
"only my God is the right one" to Ekantha Bhakthi and
Devotion with total surrender that is without demands for boons
but performed only as our Dharma. As explained in Gita in several
places, we need to do our prayers with only devotion without expecting
any fruits from our Dharma. Total surrender to the Supreme without
attachment will offer the enlightenment and liberation.
Yoga as the Path of Spiritual Discipline with Physical
exercise, Concentration and Meditation follows the principles
laid down by Sage Pathanjali in Yoga as one of the six Spiritual
paths or Dharsanas. Yoga gives the total discipline of the mind
and strengthens it for the pursuit of knowledge. Yoga is popular
all over the world with physical exercises or Ãsanas and
breathing exercises or Prãnãyama.Everyone
who desires to practice Yoga in the proper way must study all
the aspects of the Four Yogas and all the limbs of this Rãja
path of Raja Yoga consists of its eight limbs or Ashtãnga
yoga that includes (1)"Yama" and (2)"Niyama"
or Do's and Don'ts in our daily activities for a virtuous living,
(3)"Prãnãyama", as deep breathing exercises;
(4)"Ãsanas" which are physical exercises of (5)"Prathyãhara"
or Mental Discipline, (6)"Dhãrana" or one-pointed
concentration, (7)"Dhyãna" or Meditation and
Yoga is often referred to as the path of Knowledge.
The Path of Jñãna Yoga is in parallel with the other
three yogas. It is truly the path of Wisdom or the Intuitive knowledge
of the Divine. Intensive study of the books and listening to the
teachings of our Gurus will give us the necessary Knowledge. With
the Divine blessings of our intelligence we analyse these teachings
and with our freewill we apply our wisdom to seek the truth in
these messages. This is really an expression of Uttara Mîmãmsa
of Sage Veda Vyasa.
Sankara, who revolutionized the Hindu traditions and way of life,
explained the teachings of Vedãntha along with his theories
of Adhvaitha (=Not Two). Sri Sankara combined these teachings
along with the devotional paths in Hindu Dharma as prayers to
six forms of Divine manifestations of the Supreme. Here, Sri Sankara
had given us the path of wisdom in Jana yoga combined with the
teachings about relations between the Supreme and the self and
also paths of rituals and Devotional prayers.