There are Many Paths
In traditional Indian literature, different types of Yoga have been introduced, all of which believed to fasten the evolution of the soul, which involves the union of the incarnated soul with the higher soul as described in the Introduction to Yoga.
According to Swami Vivekananda, “the fire of Yoga burns the cage of sin that is around a man. Knowledge becomes purified and Nirvana is directly obtained. From Yoga comes knowledge; knowledge again helps the Yogi. He who combines in himself both Yoga and knowledge, with him the Lord is pleased.” (Swami Vivekananda)
It is believed that Yoga was first appeared in the Katha Upanishad:
“When the five organs of perception become still, together with the mind, and the intellect ceases to be active: that is called the highest state. This firm holding back of the senses is what is known as Yoga.” (Katha Upanishad 2.3.10–11) While in Yoga Upanishads it is referred to, as a means of oneness with God.
“It has been said that from knowledge is attained the oneness (of the inner and outer Atmas), even as water (becomes one) with water. By travails in the persistent practice of the course of Yoga, these good results flow (and the yogin becomes a Jivanmukta). For the reason that by the practice of Yoga (the Yogin) becomes divorced from all suffering and pain, he should always practice Yogic meditation and acquire wisdom and, simultaneously with the dawning of wisdom, become merged with the Brahman.” (The Yoga Upanishads, 57-59)
In the Yoga Upanishads, Pratyahara (subjugation of the senses), Dhyana (contemplation), Pranayama (control of breath), Dharana (concentration), Tarka and Samadhi are said to be the six parts of Yoga.
In Bhagavad Gita, Yoga has been described as the science of uniting the Individual Consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness; and this process can be accelerated using a number of methods and different types of Yoga including Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga.
In other books and scriptures including Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, other types of Yoga have been introduced as well, such as Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
Each yoga basically focuses on a set of practices, designed for a specific type of practitioners. The main four paths of Yoga in this way include Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. While Karma Yoga uses action and service, Bhakti Yoga focuses on love and devotion as means of attaining union. Raja Yoga is known as the yoga of concentration and Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge.
Next article is dedicated to the introduction of Arhatic Yoga, a method for a safe and rapid spiritual development..
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