February 2, 2011 Comments Off on YOGA IS THE RESTRAINT OF THOUGHT-WAVES

What is Yoga? Yoga means union of the mind, body and spirit with the Divine and while this refers to a certain state of conciousness both individual and Universal, it is also a method to help one reach that goal.

Now I proceed to explain the system of yoga philosophy in brief

and bring home to the readers the salient and vital points in the yogic

system. Yoga teaches how to control the vrttis (thought-waves) of the

mind and get freedom. Yoga teaches how to curb the outgoing mind and

attain one’s pure state of bliss by going beyond the mind. Yoga teaches

how to transmute the unregenerate nature and attain the state of

divinity. Yoga is a complete suppression of the tendency of the mind to

transform itself into objects, thoughts, etc.


Raja yoga is an exact science. One can ascend the yogic ladder patiently through its

different rungs. The highest summit of the ladder is asamprajnata

samadhi (super-consciousness), wherein all the samskaras (mental

impressions), which bring about successive births, are absolutely fried

up. The eight limbs of astanga yoga are: yama (self-restraint), niyama

(religious observances or canons), asana (posture), pranayama

(restraint of breath), pratyahara (abstraction of senses), dharana

(concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (super-conscious state).


This is one kind of classification of yoga: karma, upasana, raja yoga and jnana.

This is yogatraya (three-fold yoga).

Upasana is bhakti. Another classification is mantra yoga, laya yoga,

hatha yoga and raja yoga. Mantra yoga is recitation of mantras as “Om

Namah Sivaya” of Lord Siva, “Om Namo Narayanaya” of Lord Vishnu,

Gayatri, etc. Laya yoga is kundalini yoga. Nada anusadhana

(concentration on anahata sounds of heart) is also laya yoga. Laya means

dissolution. The mind is dissolved in God.


Hatha yoga relates to the restraint of breath (pranayama), Asanas, bandhas, mudras, etc.

`Ha’ and `tha’ mean the union of sun and moon, union of prana and

apana. Hatha means any obstinate practice till the object or end is

achieved. Hatha is sticking to some spiritual practices. Mauna (vow of

silence), trataka (steady gazing), crystal-gazing, standing on one leg

(a kind of austerity) etc., are all hatha practices. Hatha yoga is not

separate from raja yoga. It prepares the student to take up raja yoga.

Hatha yoga is concerned with the breath (prana) and the physical body.

Pranayama purifies the pranamaya kosa (vital sheath).

Swami Sivananda


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