[NOTE: this blog post is not to hurt anyone following any particular practice of yoga. This is plainly my perspective and view of what I think :)]
I was conversing with a friend and our talk took us to how our spiritual practices were faring. Deep into the conversation we started discussing the different types of yoga that we do and what is to be followed and practiced. Strangely, recently I have been coming across many people who follow a particular type of yoga and only that. For those dont know the different types of yoga – there are broadly classified into four types. (NOTE : The different yogas are very broadly classified and simply defined. Each of these yoga have deep spiritual significance in their own right. Yes, there are so many yogas – raja yoga, swara yoga, etc. I have just the four most followed yogas here).
- Jnana yoga – Yoga of Knowledge and Intelligence
- Bhakti yoga – Yoga of devotion
- Karma yoga – Yoga of selfless service
- Kriya yoga – Yoga dealing with energy
It might be due to the various teachings in the scripture and in the tradition of teaching that we stick to one particular path. This was taught probably because you don’t go around trying all different things and don’t get result anywhere. Though I get that, I believe that these are different but INCLUSIVE ways to reach the highest. Not exclusive. And as a seeker, we need to tap into all of these in order to get help and progress. You will notice that these different types of yoga are complementary to each other. This conversation reminded me of a story which I had heard from a Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and wanted to share it here.
There were four yogis walking together. They were Jnana yogi(one who follows the path of intelligence and knowledge), bhakti yogi(follows devotion), karma yogi(follows selfless service as path of yoga) and lastly a kriya yogi(one who follows a path that deals with rising up the energy). Usually all these four yogis, don’t stay together. The jnana yogi thinks all others are a fool. Especially those who go on singing the name of God. In his mind these acts are utter foolish. The bhakti yogis have pity for everyone. Because they think that when God is here, why do all these actions and what use is knowledge. Rather just take his hand and walk to him. So they have pity for others. The karma yogis think all these other people are lazy because when you want some thing to happen you should do it. Because they are lazy and unwilling to do they have invented all the other yogas. So they feel the others are lazy. Lastly, the kriya yogis have utter disdain for every body because for them the entire universe is because of energy and without transcending the energy, there is no possibility. Due to all these reasons, these four people don’t come together.
But today these four yogis were walking together when the rain storm hit them. They were running from getting wet when the bhakti yogi said that he knew a historic temple close by where they can take shelter. So they all go to this temple. The temple is a very old temple with just collapsed walls and just a few columns and a roof. In the center there was a deity of the God. They ran to this place not seeking God in love but to escape the rain. They stood in the temple in four corners. The rain started lashing in all directions and all the four yogis were getting drenched. The only place they could sit was around the deity in the center. They sat around the deity hugging and holding the deity and each other. Again not because out of love or seeking. Just to escape the rain.
Suddenly God came to them. In all their minds, there came the same question – “WHY NOW? We did so much yoga, did so many pooja(rituals), read so many scriptures(knowledge) and so many things. You didn’t come then. Why now?”. God said – “At last, you four idiots got together. That is why!”.
The idea here is unless your head(knowledge_, your heart(bhakti – devotion), hands & legs(that is needed for selfless action) and energy(kriya) get together and reach the peak together enlightenment will not dawn. These different yogas are different avenues to help us develop our selves and we need to tap into all of these to peak. So get to know all the types of yoga and enjoy each of them as much as the one you practice. You dont have master all of them but get to know them and practice them and check for yourself. They will only help you in different ways. So infuse all these different types of yoga in your practice and be more happy!