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The Appeal of the Yoga Way

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WEEKLY MESSAGES

In this new feature of our website, we present every week a new selection of the teachings of Vedanta, taken from a variety of sources – lectures and writings of Swami Adiswarananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature, and other spiritual texts.

 

 

 

 

THE APPEAL OF THE YOGA WAY

 

by

SWAMI ADISWARANANDA


 

The Yoga system has an irresistible appeal because of its well defined goal, well marked steps and stages, precise and definite milestones on the path, and realistic solutions to the ills of life. It does not ask a person to look to the sky for solutions to the ills of life but teaches a person to look within and find answers. The philosophy of Yoga is scientific, therapeutic, practical, and problem solving. The guidelines to reach the goal of Self-realization are never vague, and Self-realization carries its own credentials. The manifestation of Yoga powers generates confidence in the mind of the seeker as to the infallibility of Yoga, and the concentrated, purified energy (ojas) gives the seeker strength to strive towards the goal.

The way of Yoga is a relentless quest for our true Self, which remains buried under the covers of our body and mind, our countless thoughts and memories, emotions and volitions, habits and tendencies. Direct perception of this Self alone can unravel the mysteries of life and decisively put an end to all the maladies of life. This direct perception is our true savior, and our own effort is our only tool to attain direct perception. The Yoga way exhorts us to wake up to this fact, hasten our steps, and attain our goal, because life is terminal and the future is unknown. Our fate and future depend on this quest of Self-realization. Extolling the efficacy of Yoga, Swami Vivekananda says:

The fire of yoga burns the cage of sin which imprisons a man. Knowledge becomes purified and Nirvana is directly obtained. From yoga comes knowledge; knowledge, again, helps the yogi to obtain freedom. He who combines in himself both yoga and knowledge—with him the Lord is pleased. Those who practise maha-yoga either once a day, or twice, or thrice, or always—know them to be gods.


 

Practice hard; whether you live or die does not matter. You have to plunge in and work without thinking of the result. If you are brave enough, in six months you will be a perfect yogi.


 

Those who are determined in their effort, steadfast in their practice of self-control and renunciation, well established in the virtues of yama and niyama – especially continence – undeterred by the obstacles and risks, and ready to follow the path, attain the goal of Self-realization in no time. This is the promise of the way of Yoga.

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