Health & Diet

Yoga: Putting A Spiritual Perspective On Life

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The roots of yoga

Even though it is hard to fairly condense the history of yoga on one page, here we will try to explain very brief introduction to a small part of this ancient tradition. The roots of yoga are tracked back over five thousand years ago in India.

Its roots are found approximately five thousand years BCE, in the Vedic period, and specifically in the oldest written book in the world called the Rig Veda.

Yoga is part of Indian Philosophy and one of its six orthodox systems. It is very hard to date actual origin, but the era of this knowledge is far less important than the knowledge itself. The word “yoga” has many meanings and it is a Sanskrit term. The word is derived from the root of Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “harness or to yoke.”

In India, someone would bring an ox under control if he harness it to a wagon. This is a metaphor which is used in order to describe the process of yoga. Yoga is a method for uniting and training the mind, body and spirit. Over the centuries, it has been practiced in many different forms.

Philosophy of yoga

The yoga philosophy contains of five basic truths. Before we start one this should be highlighted: according to studies there is no scientific proof of self-realisation. There is no union with the Lord or no question of Yoga without knowing one’ real Self. One has to understand the science of God in order to unite with the Lord.

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Therefore, God-realization and self-realization go hand in hand. By self-realization a person becomes god-realized or vice versa. This is real philosophy of yoga. Philosophy without religion is sentimentalism, and also religion without philosophy is just fanaticism. The next subject of philosophy of yoga is jivas, or the constitutional position of the living entities.

There is jivas, the living entities which are controlled, and there is isvara, which means controller. If living entity says that he is free and not under control, then he is insane. The living being is under control in every respect, at least when it come to his conditioned life. Every living entity is engaged in activities, also known as karma. Due to the different activities of living beings, the whole cosmic manifestation is full of actions and reactions.

There is also kala (the time factor) and prakriti (the material nature) which regulate the duration of existence of the whole universe. In order to properly understand the yoga philosophy, a person has to learn from such vedic scriptures as Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, what the living entities are, what God is, what prakriti is, what the activities of the living entities are, what the cosmic manifestation is and how it’s controlled by time.

Therefore, the five basic truths are: Jiva – the living entities, Isvara – the Supreme Lord, Kala – the eternal time, Prakriti – the material nature, and Karma – material activities. Out of these five, the living entities, the Lord, material nature and time are eternal. Karma, the other factor is not eternal. However, the effects of karma can be very old.

We are enjoying or suffering the results of our activities from time immemorial, but Karma’s results can be changed or our activity, and this change depends on the spiritual knowledge acquisition. Activities of the living being are different varieties of abilities and they can liberate or entrap the living being without and within material nature.

Materialistic activities can be rectified by transforming into spiritual quality, and therefore end to produce material qualitative reactions. Time and material nature are under the direction of the Supreme Lord, but the living entity is absolute and independent of any other control. The Supreme Controller is the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord, who is completely spiritual, helps Material Nature to act, who is composed of inert matter.

Everything that exists in the material world is a product of matter and spirit. Matter is created by spirit and spirit is the basic field of creation. The material world is manifested only on the basis of spiritual energy. The time factor is eternal and beyond the existence of material nature and thus material creation isn’t a one time affair but rather a perpetual process of repeated destructions and creations.

The living entities are originally spiritual and part and parcels of the Supreme Lord, but under the conditions of material nature. The living entity identifies himself with matter and thinks about himself as being different from the Lord. Both the living entity and the Lord are cognizant, and both have the sense of being conscious as a living force and identification. However, isvara is the Supreme consciousness.

The living being cannot have supreme conscious at any stage of his perfection. Every theory that he can do so is a misleading theory. Even though he is conscious he cannot be supremely or absolutely conscious. The living beings consciousness is limited to his own identity, whereas the Lord is conscious of the psychic movement of every living entity.

The Lords consciousness is always spiritual or transcendental, whereas the original spiritual consciousness of living entities can become perverted and contaminated reflected as material consciousness. We are called conditioned souls when we are materially contaminated. The false consciousness is the result of the impression than the living being is a product of material nature. Establishment in pure spiritual consciousness and liberation from this materially contaminated consciousness is the aim of all yoga processes.

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