8 Limbs of Yoga #55
The Eight Limbs of Yoga Widely known among all of Mother India’s wide expanse of spiritual systems, Patanjala, the Eight-Limbed Yoga – also known as Raja Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga – represents the very essence of the art of spiritual practice for the many aspiring souls seeking Truth. Beginning with the five Yamas and five Niyamas, which are so often and mistakenly overlooked by novitiate practitioners seeking to experiment with the practices of hatha and asana alone, the path of authentic Yoga is laid out as its founder, Lord Patanjali, envisioned it – all the way to the top of the tree where the branches of mankind’s highest Consciousness shine in the scintillating sun of Nondual Awareness.
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Chaturdasya Yoga #70
The Four Yogas — the “new religion” that Swami Vivekananda has recently brought back to our day, time, and age — is an ancient teaching system that was present as far back as the Dvapara Yuga in the time of Sri Ram. Later, Sri Krishna brought it forward in the Bhagavad Gita, enumerating some of its fine teachings in His own day and time. In His rendering, the Yoga of Meditation, only briefly mentioned in the Gita as a practice, is assigned the title of “Buddhi Yoga,” indicating the great necessity of possessing discriminative wisdom in spiritual life. The Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, has emphasized this Yoga in this age, calling it back into vogue as a superlative discipline that both blends well with and empowers the other three Yogas of jnanam, bhakti, and karma.
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Controlling the Five Senses in Yoga #7
It is not only Mother India that has taught that success in both earthly life, and spiritual life as well, is based early on upon the individual’s ability to control the five senses. But certainly no system in existence goes to such lengths and offers so much aid towards success in this substantial feat as Yoga. As the aspiring seeker after self-contol will find, spiritual doorways never encountered before will open up for the yogic practitioner to reveal the need for connections between the five elements, the five senses, and the five kinds of prana. This is the very basis of Yoga, and its basics too. The higher limbs of concentration, meditation, and samadhiawait after such primal fusion is attained.
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Karma Yoga — The Philosophy of Work #90
The great Swami Vivekananda, who brought authentic dharma to the west in the form of Vedanta and Yoga in 1893, has raised the status of Karma Yoga to an elevated position. No longer is it to be considered somehow inferior or subservient to the other three main Yogas of Vedanta. With the world in the predicament that it is today, in pos session of vast wealth and power but generally bereft of spirituality and compassion, the yoga of selfless works both fills the crying need for service of suffering humanity and fits the criterion for it as well. This superlative swami has stated, in heartfelt fashion, that it is as important to dry the tears of the widow and place a piece of bread into a hungry mouth as it is to seek and attain the highest illumination. Moksha is our true nature; we already have it. It is suffering humanity that needs our attention.....
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Kundalini’s Palace and its Seven Gates #54
Widely known among all of Mother India’s wide expanse of spiritual systems, Patanjala, the Eight-Limbed Yoga – also known as Raja Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga – represents the very essence of the art of spiritual practice for the many aspiring souls seeking Truth. Beginning with the five Yamas and five Niyamas, which are so often and mistakenly overlooked by novitiate practitioners seeking to experiment with the practices of hatha and asana alone, the path of authentic Yoga is laid out as its founder, Lord Patanjali, envisioned it – all the way to the top of the tree where the branches of mankind’s highest Consciousness shine in the scintilating sun of Nondual Awareness.
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Nine Obstacles to Yoga #57
Yoga as union with Divine Reality is consummate and final. But how few beings in the physical realm and body actually experience such unity? Therefore, here on earth, Yoga as method and practice is extremely precious, and the practitioner ought to be well informed as to what obstacles are going to come up once this highest and best of purifying systems is initiated and adhered to. Patanjali has formulated these main impediments into four categories, making it clear as to where the seeker must look and concentrate.
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Shankara’s Doorways to Yoga #40
How many seers and systems of finding truth have begun transmitting their teachings with the simple instruction of “be still” and “remain quiet.” The great seer and advaitist, Shankaracharya, interprets the initial qualification for the practice of Yoga in this same way, going on to introduce and unlock the secrets behind each successive doorway to the highest Truth. The eight-limbed system of Yoga has never been quite the same since this illumined Vedantist got ahold of it and filled it out.
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Synthesis of the Four Yogas #35
The active, the contemplative, the studious, and the devotional – these four basic types of human temperaments have long been noticed and studied by the seers and sages of Mother India. To aid in bringing out the very best that this qualitative quartet of life has to give, the Four Yogas were brought forth from the Cosmic Mind of the Divine Mother via deep meditation and placed in synch with them, bringing forth as well the many dynamics with which to both purify the mind and utilize its beneficial powers for the highest good of all livings beings.
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The Ocean of Awareness & Its Yogic Waves #105
Yoga, like absolute Freedom, is a state, not a practice. One does not arrive at it; one abides in it. There are many ways in which to abide in Yoga, all of them modes more than methods. And in fact, as is demonstrated by the names of the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, every act and expression in life is a type of yoga for the realized soul. Finding this out, the wise practitioner — instead of trying to follow this path or that way — begins to select the kind of yoga he or she wants to live in each day, and that manifests what is needed for spiritual life and expresses the soul’s inner, divine traits. Thus is Yoga “natural Union with Divine Reality,” as Patanjali, the Father of Yoga, declares.
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The Paths of Action and Inaction #67
Connecting well with charts #35 and 66, and coursing even deeper into their manifold ramifications, the yogas of karma and raja are inspected here — a pair of pathways that have quite often and for ages been looked at as contradictory to one another — even by intelligent beings within religious circles and traditions. However, to act in accordance and agreement with one’s own purified mind and intellect is the result of successfully fusing these two great yogas, and the fruit of such an accomplishment is the ability to simultaneously concentrate on the formless Essence of Reality while remaining fully able and masterful at acting in the world — the benefits of which bring about the highest good of living beings on all levels of awareness.
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The Process of Samprajnata to Asamprajnata Samadhi #88
It could be said that the four kinds of samadhis (along with their nirvitarka and nirvichara subdivisions) are like postures for the mind, like asanas for intelligence. The purpose for engaging in physical postures and breathing exercises all along the early trajectory of yogic practice was only to help prepare the way for these higher positions of Awareness. It has been stated by certain luminaries that spiritual life does not really even begin until the seeded samadhis are gained by way of direct experience; everything previous to this highest attainment only signified various types of purification. If this is true, then seeded samadhis can be viewed as similar preparation and purification for Ultimate Samadhi — of which there is only one, of unseeded nature
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The Seven Steps to Attainment of Kaivalya #87
The superlative word, Kaivalya, is rarely heard in yogic circles today. Words such as asana and pranayama abound among the uninitiated attached to body and breath, but the elevated state of penultimate samadhi is left unplumbed, overlooked. But the fathers of both Yoga and Vedanta focus in on this word, knowing, as they do, that any soul who attains to the higher limbs of Ashtanga Yoga will have to deal with its subtleties and gain mastery of it. As this chart demonstrates, Kaivalya is the doorway to Formlessness — or seven doorways, as the case may be. These openings rep resent the best of the Yoga darshana, and what mastery of all of the previous limbs is all about.
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