The True Meaning of Yoga

Each person from any country will have his own religion. This religion is called by different names, but all religions focus on the welfare of people. Our Hindu religion, for example, describes this as follows, "That is called religion which ensures both ones physical and spiritual edification." (Vaisheshika Darshan). Physical relates to the our body and spiritual relates to our soul or mind. In this way, we are actually two in one. One is our soul which gives power to our body to function. Our body is inanimate and yet it can see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think and take decisions all with the help of that consciousness within us. When somoene dies, people say that such-and-such as left the world or he has left for the celestial abodes, but his body is still lying here. Who has left? Who is it that is no more?

Thus, we are two - one is this mortal body and the other is the soul which animates it. We also possess two attributes. Edification of the body and the soul are both compulsory. We need devotion or spirituality for the soul, and for the body we need yoga as described by Sage Patanjali. 

Yoga is an eightfold process that includes yama (moral codes), niyama (self-purification and study), asana (posture), pratyahara (withdrawing the mind and senses) and pranayama (breath control) which are all essential for the edification of the body. The remaining three, i.e. dharana (concentration), dhyana (deep meditation) and samadhi (union with the object of meditation) are compulsory for the spiritual edification of the soul. There is such a good combination in yoga promoting upliftment for the body and soul. 

In this way, a healthy body and soul are both essential.

To be continued . . .

An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:

Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj

7 July 2012

Rangeeli Mahal, Barsana

© Radha Govind Samiti


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