Tell me something about the
- Though one doesn't generally know this in
the West, there are in fact quite a lot of different "types" of Yoga, and
several of them can be divided into other "types". We call them Yoga Margas.
Among these there are:
- Raya Yoga, also called Ashtanga
Yoga, because it has "eight steps"
- Jnana Yoga, the Path of
- Karma Yoga, the Path of Selfless
- Bhakti Yoga, the Path of Devotion
- Mantra Yoga, the Path of Sound
- Hatha Yoga, the path best known and
perhaps by most practitioners least understood
- Kundalini Yoga, the Path of
- Tantra Yoga, Nath Yoga, Laya Yoga,
Siddha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Sahaja Yoga, Bhrigu Yoga, ... ... ...
- In Shiva Samhita 5:10 it is stated that
"the Yoga is of four kinds: First Mantra Yoga, second Hatha Yoga,
third Laya Yoga, fourth Raja Yoga, which discards duality."
- What most people seem to forget is, that one
cannot just practise any yoga one likes. Shiva Samhita continues: "Know that
aspirants (sadhaks) are of four orders: mild, moderate, ardent and the most ardent - the
best who can cross the ocean of the world." (5:11)
- Let's have a good look at those four orders,
shall we? For what we are told by Shiva Samhita doesn't give us much of a leg to stand on,
in fact makes us blush with shame at our overrating our own Ego...
- "Men of small enterprise, oblivious,
sickly and finding faults with their teachers; avaricious, sinful gourmands, and attached
helplessly to their wives; fickle, timid, diseased, not independent, and cruel; those
whose characters are bad and who are weak - know all the above to be mild sadhaks.
With great efforts such men succeed in twelve years; them the teachers should know fit for
Mantra Yoga." (5:11)
- "Liberal minded, merciful, desirous of
virtue, sweet in their speech; who never go to extremes in any undertaking - these are the
middling. These are to be initiated by the teacher in Laya Yoga."
- "Steady minded, knowing the Laya Yoga,
independent, full of energy, magnanimous, full of sympathy, forgiving, truthful,
courageous, full of faith, worshippers of the lotus-feet of their Gurus, always engaged in
the practice of Yoga - know such men to be ardent sadhaks (adhimatra). They
obtain success in the practice of Yoga within six years, and ought to be initiated in Hatha
Yoga and its branches." (5:13)
- "Those who have the largest amount of
energy, are enterprising, engaging, heroic, who know the Shastras (Scriptures) and are
persevering, free from the effect of blind emotion, and, not easily confused, who are in
the prime of their youth, moderate in their diet, rulers of their senses, fearless, clean,
skilful, charitable, a help to all; competent, firm, talented, contented, forgiving,
good-natured, religious, who keep their endeavours secret, of sweet speech, peaceful, who
have faith in the scriptures and are worshippers of God and Guru, who are averse to
fritter away their time in society and are free from any grievous malady, who are
acquainted with the duties of the adhimatra, and are the practitioners of every kind of
Yoga - undoubtedly, they obtain success in three years; [these are the most ardent
and] they are entitled to be initiated in all kinds of Yoga, without any
If you think these statements are a bit
exaggerated, well, I doubt it. I think in ancient times one was well aware of human
nature! The author of the Shiva Samhita sums up a lot of conditions, many if not all of
them a sine qua non if one wants to be successful. Notice Hatha Yoga is not meant for All
and Sundry. It is definitely not a beginner's course, at least not according to the wise
from that epoch: there are unconditional terms to be respected. And in fact, this goes for
every type of Yoga.
- Now let us summarize...
- Yoga Sadhana is the one and only
true way to self-realisation.
- The quoted sutras from the Shiva Samhita
refer to strict and
- You need a wise teacher or guru who
acts as a kind of mirror for you and who initiates you in the Yoga discipline you are fit
for. You cannot just practise any discipline you like. Learning to accept what your guru
tells you to do leads, among other things, to giving
up your own self-conceit.
You are, of course, wise enough to understand not any so-called
teacher you encounter can be your teacher. We can take it for granted there are
requirements for both pupil and teacher. The latter must have realised and integrated in
his own daily life the concepts he will teach you. It is something like looking for a pin
in a haystack, for something like an exception to the rule. It is depending on God's
Grace, as it were. No need to travel around the globe and to go hither and thither to find
him. It doesn't work like that. If
you are ready, the teacher will find you. All things happen at their proper time, none earlier, none later, however
hard you try to be ahead of Time or to make it rush faster.
But then, of course, despite of all that, you will go and look for him. And on that
journey you will find out that...
- on the spiritual path those who know, don't
speak; [see Psalms 46:10]
- those who speak, don't know that much or
nothing at all;
- finding a true guru who both knows and
speaks, depends on God's Grace.