Yoga is the sum total of Creation. A para-subject, which has in its ambit all the other subjects and sciences, rightly called as the final frontier. Recently, the leaders of the country have taken up the challenge putting to fore this amazing heritage of the Bharatvarsha on an international platform and much has been done to achieve it as well. However, the move towards an International Yoga Day, brings in its wake an even greater challenge…of putting across the true message of yoga, yoga as it was handed down by the rishis of the yore. For while yoga is a phenomenal science, how many actually know what it really is?
Majority of the population understands yoga as twisting oneself into knots or breathing abnormally, erroneously termed as asanas and pranayamas. If you switch on the television, there will be enough people calling themselves yoga Gurus, in beautiful flowing beards and wearing fancy robes, jumping around trees, breathing like animals, calling it yoga and claiming to rid you off all your life problems, of course, at a price. And if you look around, there are countless people who go to these people and empty out their pockets hoping to get a solution.
I get mails from all over the world. One gentleman for instance wrote to me asking about Sri vidya. He said he had learnt it from a person who calls himself an avdhoot and holds shivirs all over the world. This gentleman was hoping to improve his business, he was assured that this vidya would help him grow, of course, he was charged a handsome fee. Two months into the practice, his business crashed, his family broke down and he was in a state of complete mess. He wrote to me to check if he was practicing it right…This is the reality of the world out there. Sri vidya or any of the yogic sciences are extremely potent practices but they have to be channelized through a Guru who has its siddhi, only then they are effective. A person who is busy travelling all over the world to grow his business would have no time for sadhna and obviously no siddhi.
Another lady wrote to me recently. She was troubled because of her daughter not getting married. A colleague told her to visit a shakti temple and offer coconuts there. Desperate, the lady went there. When she asked the priest, he directed her to a woman who claimed to have Ma Adi Shakti residing in her and assured the lady that her problems will be solved if she worships her feet, and asked for a fee of about 1000 rupees for the said puja! The lady wrote to me asking if she should go ahead…This is a serious issue.
Quoted above are just two real life examples. To think that people like these will be representing our culture and science of yoga is disturbing. Had the woman said vice versa, that is, she resides in Adi Shakti, it could have been a fact but to claim Adi Shakti resides in her is nothing but foolishness. These people do not have even an iota of idea of what the science is or what these shaktis are. Gods and goddesses don’t reside in you, person resides in the gods and goddesses, when one realizes the bliss of residing in them, he/she leaves the realm of business. Then he/she does not sell but gives it away willingly for self-growth. Law of Karma says, “it is in giving that you receive,” something which was reiterated by Saint Francis of Assisi.
Yoga is not tying yourself in knots or breathing funny. Asanas and Pranayamas are only one-fourth of yoga. And as detailed by Rishi Patanjali, asan is a posture in which you are comfortable and still, pranayama is natural cessation of breath. These are not to help you lose weight or rid you of your ailments but to prepare your body for the journey beyond. Good health is a by-product, not the main product. There are no diets, lifestyles or rituals in yoga. It is a science of self-experience under the sanidhya of a Guru. And Guru is someone who exudes the glow of yoga, what he/she thinks manifests, what he/she says happens, when he/she chants the atmosphere changes, his/her gaze is healing, touch is energizing, he/she does not promise miracle cures but gives you the experience of subtler worlds and does not charge you a fee. A yogi is sthir in the five yamas of Ashtang Yoga, the first of which is satya (truth). Anyone who makes tall claims of curing your problems slips in the very first yama of truth.
So my suggestion is, look for a Guru. No amount of television shows or books or jumping around trees can grant you the experience of yoga. And experience you must…for the pleasure of that experience is limitless.