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YOGA SADHANA – Part 7

November 24, 2008

istockmed2There are also three other forms of Yoga in addition to the four mentioned above. These are:
Hatha-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga and Laya-Yoga or Kundalini-Yoga. Hatha-Yoga relates to the physical
body, Asanas, Bandhas, Mudras, Pranayama, vow of silence, steady-gazing, crystal-gazing,
standing on one leg, etc. Hatha-Yoga is not separate from Raja-Yoga. It prepares the student to take
up Raja-Yoga. Hatha-Yoga and Raja-Yoga are, therefore, the necessary counterparts of each other.
No one can become a Yogi of a perfect order without a clear knowledge of the practice of the two
Yogas. Raja-Yoga begins where properly practiced Hatha-Yoga ends. A Hatha-Yogi starts his
Sadhana with his body and Prana (breath); a Raja-Yogi with his mind. A Hatha-Yogi gets different powers when the mighty Kundalini-Sakti reaches the Sahasrara Chakra (at the top of the head); a
Raja-Yogi gets psychic powers by the combined practice of concentration, meditation and Samadhi
at one and the same time. Mantra-Yoga relates to the recitation of certain Mantras (sacred words to
which definite powers are ascribed), such as Om Namo Narayana, Om Namo Bhagavate
Vasudevaya and Om Namah Sivaya. Laya-Yoga is Kundalini-Yoga. Concentration on the sound
emanating from the heart-lotus is Laya-Yoga. Laya is dissolution. The mind is dissolved in God just
as a lump of ice is dissolved in a tumbler of soda-water.
A Jnana-Yogi can practice his Sadhana even while walking, eating and talking. He is not in
need of any Asana or room. But a Raja-Yogi wants a room and an Asana for his practice. A
Jnana-Yogi is always in Samadhi. He is not affected by Maya or illusion. There is no ‘in Samadhi’
and ‘out of Samadhi’ for a Jnani, whereas a Yogi is affected by Maya when he comes down from his
Samadhi. A Raja-Yogi plugs his mind, as it were, through effort, just as you plug a bottle with a
cork, and thus stops all mental activities. He tries to make the mind quite blank. He remains as a
silent witness of all the activities of his mind and intellect. A Raja-Yogi commences his practice
with his mind. A Jnana-Yogi starts his practices with his will and reason.
A Karma-Yogi does selfless service to kill his little self. A Bhakta or devotee of the Lord
practices self-surrender to annihilate his egoism. A Jnani practices self-denial. The methods are
different but all want to destroy this self-arrogating little “I” the root cause of bondage and
suffering. Karma-Yoga prepares the mind for the reception of Light and Knowledge. It expands the
heart ad infinitum. It breaks all barriers that stand in the way of unity and oneness. Bhakti and
meditation are also mental Karmas. There can be no Jnana without Yoga. The fruit of Bhakti is
Jnana. Have you now understood the nature of the four Yogas and their interrelations?
There is a verse in Sanskrit the gist of which runs as follows: “The Sastras are endless; there
is much to be known; time is short; obstacles are many; that which is the essence should be grasped
just as the swan does in the case of milk mixed with water.” I therefore want you to start doing some
kind of spiritual practice or other and realise the goal of life and justify your existence before the
Lord on the “Day of Judgment.”5

From – SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA

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