Inner beauty is realizing and experiencing the oneness of existence, that is yoga. The purpose of being on the spiritual path is to awaken your ultimate nature, and experience the oneness of existence in all living beings. That is to be in union with the Creator….God, by whatever word we choose to call this supreme Absolute intelligent consciousness. This rich ancient science of yoga always leads to expansion, boundlessness, oneness and liberation no matter what is your background, identifications, and life accumulations. Yoga is not based on any blind belief system, doctrine, or dogma. It is not a religion. Yoga is simply the science of experiencing the whole of existence as one by breaking all the boundaries of ignorance. It is the science of inner well being, of self-realization and intoxicating bliss. Any persistent and genuine seeker can experience the Divine presence within. Don’t seek outside. Within your body temple, within the shrine of your heart is the Supreme lover. Realize that you are the wave of the ocean of pure consciousness and Divine love. That is enlightenment by breaking all the boundaries of ignorance.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” literally means “yoke,” to unite. This union aims to dissolve, liberate, and unite oneself with the pure consciousness ( Nirgun Brahma) often referred to as the Source, the Self, the Absolute, God, Brahma, Creator, Divine Mother, or hundreds of other names. I love to refer to our Creator as the Divine Mother. When the rishis (ancient sages) talked about moksha (or mukthi) or Nirvana, the ultimate fruit of yoga, they referred to liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth, pain, and suffering in the physical realm.
Yoga is the science of union and the knowledge of the spine (related to the “kundalini” knowledge). So yoga is the union with the Divine in all its forms. Figuratively speaking, we can be in a state of yoga in every moment of our lives as we inhale and exhale mindfully. Becoming aware of your conscious breathing (with the help of subtle yet effective mindfulness tools and techniques) is realizing and experiencing that you are breathing in the Divine. Scientists affirm that everything is made of the same energy manifesting and expanding in billions of different forms. This energy is prana, the infinite, omnipresent and vital life-force that animates every living, sentient being and the universe. The cosmos is overflowing with it. Prana from Sanskrit can be translated as vibration, movement, or even motion and life-force energy. For this reason, pranayama (various types of yogic breathing techniques) extends beyond the control of breath; it is the grand portal to higher stages of consciousness, the universe, truth, and what we call God or Creator, the Source. Pranayama opens the door to endless divine power and infinite possibilities. Controlling this life-force energy is the sole purpose of pranayama. Sincere seekers have to be initiated by a genuine satguru to experience, learn, and practice the ancient art of pranayama. The higher we vibrate with prana, the more inner power we emanate.
Today we are witnessing a renaissance of this tradition, with yoga studios everywhere. Yet this trend is far from the genuine ancient and authentic yoga taught by the rishis for God-realization and liberation. Unfortunately, in the Western hemisphere many people still think of yoga as twisting one’s body into some kind of knot. Yoga goes far beyond exercise. It is an extremely rich and powerful spiritual path that involves body, mind, and spirit. As the revered sage Patanjali expounded in the yoga sutras thousands of years ago, hatha yoga prepares one’s body and mind for deep meditation.
This fascinating and ancient science of yoga is not a religion or a phi- losophy. Yoga does not fall into any category of an “ism.” Faith is not a requirement. You will still get many benefits even if you don’t believe in it. Yoga is a science. Anyone can test it and see the proof by having direct experiences with the Divine. A spirit of inquisitiveness, awareness, consciousness, patience, perseverance, diligent and discipline is required to thrive on the yogic path. If you have a longing and devotion for knowing the truth, success will surely come. In the Yoga tradition, the satguru is regarded as the highest embodiment of the Divine. It is with the grace and guidance of this true and genuine master that one reaches the highest state of ecstasy and liberation.
Yoga was brought from India by the popular pioneer and yogi, Swami Vivekananda, one of the most revered yogis and spiritual masters of the nineteenth century, a close devotee of the highly reputable and well- known mystic, saint, and enlightened master Paramahansa Ramakrishna. Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to the West when he came to Amer- ica in 1893. He represented India as a delegate at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. That day brought a great boon to the Western hemi- sphere. Thereafter, Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private classes and lectures disseminating yoga in America and in Europe.
A few decades later, Paramahansa Yogananda set foot on American soil and went on to disseminate the knowledge of yoga in the West, especially “kriya” yoga, the yoga of mastering energy.
According to the ancient rishis and Sadhguru a phenomenal being of light, the Adiyogi (also known as the Adiguru) was the first yogi and supreme guru. He appeared more than ten thousand years ago in the upper region of the Himalayas at Mount Kailash and transmitted the science of yoga and the power of self-realization and liberation to the first seven mystical sages (rishis) to help expand and transform human consciousness to a higher state of vibration. Predating all religious traditions, these seven rishis, known as the Saptarishis, spread yoga over Mother Earth. In the Yoga tradition, the personal form of “Shiva” is revered as the Adiyogi and guru, from which the lineage of gurus descended.
Over the centuries, yoga spread and infiltrated into many different traditions, and new branches of yoga developed. By the grace of the Adiguru, today six major yoga branches have emerged: Hatha yoga (forceful) is the most familiar branch to Westerners; Bhakti (devotion-love); Jnana (right knowledge); Raja (royal), in which Kriya yoga falls; Karma (selfless action); and Tantra (continuity) remains to be explored by many millions of seekers. “Kriya” from Sanskrit means “completed action,” and the ultimate action of kriya yoga is to transform and master the energy. The words yogi (male) and yogini (female) designate those who experience the oneness of this phenomenal existence.
Spirituality means experiencing existence beyond the physical dimension of reality. Most people are trapped and limited within their five senses. As long as we continue to identify ourselves with the physical realm, we will remain caught in its boundaries. This creates the illusion of separation. As Jesus Christ said, “We are in this world, but not of it.” The subtler our being is, the more expansive and freer we become. In this altered state of consciousness, the individual can transcend and go beyond boundaries. Yoga is all about enhancing our perceptions to experience and see things as they are. Ultimately the journey on the spiritual path is to move from the grossest to the subtlest, where boundaries are crossed—from bondage to freedom.
Scientists affirm that everything is made of the same energy manifesting and expanding in billions of different forms. This energy is prana, the infinite, omnipresent and vital life-force that animates every living, sentient being and the universe. The cosmos is overflowing with it. Prana from Sanskrit can be translated as vibration, movement, or even motion and life-force energy. For this reason, pranayama (various types of yogic breathing techniques) extends beyond the control of breath; it is the grand portal to higher stages of consciousness, the universe, truth, and what we call God or Creator, the Source. Pranayama opens the door to endless divine power and infinite possibilities. Controlling this life-force energy is the sole purpose of pranayama.
Enlightenment is boundless within like the wind in the blue sky. Everyone can enjoy and benefit from her/his intoxicating fragrance. You need only be receptive and open to feel it. Self-realization is realizing there is no individual self. There is only One infinite being. Everything in the cosmos is interconnected like a spider web of pure consciousness.
True bliss emerged from the realm of the Anandamaya kosha (bliss body in the subtle body). One of the greatest blessings a sincere seeker may experience in his or her lifetime is the eternal and direct experience of his/her true natural state of enlightenment. Essentially, sat chit ananda is the ultimate grace that can be bestowed upon a human being. No matter what the conditions, when an individual is experiencing sat chit ananda, he or she remains firmly rooted in his/her divinity. My direct experience of sat chit ananda is what I often call and experience as intense Divine Love—exactly what the legendary ascended master Paramahansa Yogananda talked about.
The fire of mindfulness is the greatest alchemist’s wand for being home in this existential moment. Blissfulness, serenity and joy happen in this eternal moment and experiencing God- that Divine presence within. The more awakened, the more you experience the oneness of this precious existence, and become one with the Supreme Divine Lover. And the more universal responsibility we have toward all living beings’ well-being and happiness. Ultimately it is all the same energy and supreme intelligent consciousness.
In Divine love, Jai Maha Devi! Shree Devi Mayi Ma
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