When we hear the term ‘Yoga’, we understand it as a set of body postures that we practice in the mornings to improve our health. But that is not true. Yoga is a
There are four Yogas prescribed in the Bhagavad-Gita, the timeless scripture of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). Humans can attain liberation by practicing these Yogas. These Yogas enable the devotes to realize Brahman, the supreme being, to attain liberation (Moksha). The four Yogas are:
Bhakti Yoga and
People, through the practice of ‘Nishkama Karma’ (action without any desire) can realize the supreme being. As part of Karma Yoga people do their work (action) without thinking about the result. Normally we the people when we take any action, we do it with an eye on the result. When the result is positive, we feel elated and when it is negative, we feel depressed. The yogi who follows ‘Nishkama Karma’ dedicates although fruits of his action to the supreme being and gets himself detached from the fruits of action.
There is another Yoga called ‘Astanga Yoga’ (eight limbs of Yoga), which forms part of the Karma Yoga. The eight limbs are namely, yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).
Gyana, which is also known as ‘Sankhya Yoga’, means the Yoga of Knowledge. Here we are talking about spiritual knowledge. Gyana Yoga prescribes the use of meditation, self-enquiry, and silent contemplation to know about the inner self (Atman). Gyana Yogis not only study the scriptural literature to attain more knowledge, but also gain control over mind and senses.
Bhakti Yoga prescribes devotion towards Brahman, the supreme being. There are two kinds of Brahman namely, Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman. Saguna Brahman is the supreme being with attributes. The best example of Saguna Brahman is Lord Krishna, who delivered Bhagavad-Gita to his disciple Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Nirguna Brahman, in addition to being eternal, changeless and all powerful, is also formless. Devotees, through their passionate devotion to the supreme being, can unite with the supreme Him, thereby attaining liberation from the cycle of birth, death, and re-birth.
Raja Yoga is an allegory. Just like a Royal (a king) rules over his kingdom, controlling all the affairs, a Raja Yogi can also rule over his senses and exercise control over his mind through the practice of Meditation.