What does Yoga mean actually?
Well, in mathematical terminology Yoga means a plus sign i.e. addition e.g.. Two plus two is equal to four. In astrological term Yoga means a possibility of certain event happening or not happening e.g.. There is a Yoga’ of marriage of any person or there is a strong Yoga of his foreign travel and so on.
But these days Yoga has become akin to physical exercises to keep you fit and fine. Some claim Yoga as a cure for medical ailments. It is good that people are becoming aware of multiple uses of Yoga but this is indeed irony of fate that in this maddening race of finding novel achievements of Yoga the real purpose of Yoga appears to have been lost sight of, undermined or taken a back seat.
In spiritual terminology Yoga means a union.
The union of the soul with the God is called Yoga. According to Hindu or Indian mythology God’s ‘SIM’ or ‘chip’ or the spiritual spark in the form of soul is present in each human being.
In the human body it is only the soul which is immortal, eternal, infinite and perfect. This soul belongs to the spiritual world and has to get liberated from this material body to unite with the God. This process of uniting our soul with the God is attained through Yoga.
Since God is impersonal, immortal, eternal, infinite and a principle, not a person, it is not possible to see him with our material eyes. God can only be perceived and Yoga is a method to perceive God.
The sole purpose of the soul is to realize its divine nature and origin and manage to unite with the God through Yoga. Different forms of Yoga are adapted to different nature and temperaments of men or women which include ‘Karma Yoga’, ‘Bhakti Yoga‘, ‘Raj Yoga’ and ‘Gyan Yoga’.
Attaining God by performing work and duties in the name of God without attachment to the fruits thereof is called the ‘Karma Yoga’. Elevation to spiritual consciousness through philosophical knowledge is termed as the ‘Gyan Yoga’ while attaining God through meditation applying mechanical process to control mind and senses is called the ‘Raj Yoga’ or the ‘Ashtang Yoga’. All these three types of Yoga culminate in ‘Bhakti Yoga’ which is selfless devotion and unconditional love for the God.
The dictionary meaning of Yoga also means a system involving breathing exercise and the holding of a particular body position based on Hindu philosophy.
So spiritually the purpose of Yoga is to unite the divine soul with the God almighty and this is the end of the religion or ‘mukti’ or salvation or liberation from the miseries of the world. So that the cycle of birth and death is broken once for all.
But this religious angle is nowhere to be seen in Yoga publicity these days.
The message being projected is as if Yoga is a means to build up your body and cure your body ailments.
There may be 101 ways to build up your body or cure your body ailments but there is only one method to do ‘pranayam’ or meditation in ‘Raj Yog’ to unite with the God apart from Karm Yog, Gyan Yog and Bhakti Yog.
Yoga was never intended to be a parallel of modern gymnasiums of these days or a tool to cure body ailments as it has a bigger role to perform.
I feel that the purpose of Yoga is being mis publicised or misrepresented. Instead of being a tool to get ‘mukti’ or salvation from the miseries of this world it is being projected as a key to live for 200 years when the average life span of a person in this world is around 80 to 90 years.
Moreover, this is against the basic purpose of the Yoga as enshrined in ‘Bhagvat Gita’, a Hindu religious statute book, which says that the aim of Yoga is to facilitate the union of the soul with the God and grant ‘mukti’ or salvation to the mankind from the miseries of this world once for all.