Yoga gives opportunities to return to the truth we already know in our hearts that we are more than just our physical bodies, minds, emotions, and intellect. Vedanta prescribes four fundamental paths in order to achieve and re-establish the connection to the One-ness with Supreme and Universal Totality of All Life. These four aspects of your existence are the foundation of yoga’s four pathways.
FOUR YOGIC PATHS
Bhakti yoga is when you use emotions to connect with your true nature. Gnana yoga is when your mind is used. Karma yoga is performed physically by using one’s body, and Karma yoga is when you utilize your energies. The way of meditation known as Raja yoga integrates the previous paths to address the entirety of our being.
The four paths are:
- Karma Yoga – the yoga of action selfless service
संन्यास: कर्मयोगश्च नि:श्रेयसकरावुभौ |
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ||
Karma Yoga is the practice of “doing the right thing”—achieving perfection by action. It entails acting as per one’s dharma (real purpose) and taking whatever is offered without expecting compensation, gratitude, or praise. You stop identifying with the ego, and everything you do is perceived as a sacrifice to the Divine.
The Karma Yogi:
- Lives life with passion and remains indifferent about the outcome
- Practices effortlessness and grace in all things
- An attitude of sympathy, compassion, and tolerance
- Rejoice in other people’s success and happiness
- Feels neither above nor beneath anyone
- Speaks and acts truthfully
Those who value community and are extroverted seem to relate to this the best. Karma yoga promotes a detachment from the results of acts, which purifies the heart and burns away selfish tendencies (Mala). Every action is performed to achieve Oneness, which creates a link with the Atman, or True Self.
- When you engage in Karma Yoga, you perform your duties egolessly.
- Instead of doing what you would like to do, you follow the rules.
- You realize what is most important and begin to comprehend your responsibilities and obligations.
- You balance your karma without creating new karma because you perform your obligations without ego or attachment.2. Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of devotion
अथः चित्तं समाधातुं न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम्।
अभ्यासयोगेन ततो मामिच्छाप्तुं धनञ्जय।।
Bhakti Yoga asks to purify and transform egotistic self-love by focusing the attention on sacred thoughts, and thus, transferring all our love and emotions into the Divine essence that permeates all.
Bhakti is the yoga of devotion, which is ultimately directed toward the Divine, but which can initially be directed toward a guru, your loved ones, a friend, or anything else that forges close emotional bonds. Anyone can practice it, regardless of mental or physical prowess, and it doesn’t require arduous yoga rituals.
The Bhakti Yogi:
- Respect and honor all life
- Cleanses the heart by way of devotion
- Chants, sings, dances, and listens to the Divine lyrics
- Serves befriends or nurtures the Divine in everyone.
- Bhakti yoga values your identity and protects you against unpleasant emotions like an annoyance, self-confidence, and arrogance. You gain wisdom and serenity from it.
- With the aid of bhakti yoga, you experience ecstasy and joy.
- It eliminates worry, fear, and anxiety and maintains your tranquility.
- By practicing this yoga, you can easily manage your emotions and handle difficult situations.3. Rāja Yoga – the yoga of meditation
The term “Royal Path” refers to Raja Yoga. You must keep control over your own “kingdom,” which is the enormous expanse of your mind, just as a monarch does over his realm.
According to this path, the restlessness of the mind (Vikshepa) causes attention to get carried away in stories and disconnected from our True Essence. The solution, then, is to calm the mind through meditation to reveal the Oneness that we are in our truest essence. This is done via the Ashtanga (8 limbs) system, as outlined by Patañjali in the Raja Yoga Sutras. It is the path of mantras, practices, and meditation.
The Raja Yogi:
- Keeps work, sleep, diet, and lifestyle in harmony.
- Is in tune with nature’s cycle
- Is unadulterated and impartial
- Assumes accountability for their life
- Controls his or her emotions
- Refuses to be distracted
- Develops the mind via meditation techniques
- Raj Yoga aids in releasing one’s mind from self-defeating thoughts and negative self-talk. It also lowers tension, anxiety, and panic attacks while boosting confidence.
- It aids in elevating your mood and making you feel good. This significantly affects your general quality of life. You keep greater health in addition to benefiting from better interpersonal ties.
- Raj Yoga keeps your mind quiet and relaxed, enhancing sleep patterns.
- Helps improve focus and concentration by practicing Rajyoga meditation. Your professional productivity and creativity increase as a result.
- Jñāna Yoga – the yoga of will and intellect
न चोर हार्यं न च राज हार्यं
न भ्रातृ भाज्यं न च भारकारि।
व्यये कृते वर्धत एव नित्यं
विद्याधनं सर्वधन प्रधानम्॥
Gyana Yoga is the study of the earliest writings and the Great Masters’ teachings, but its primary focus is on the reflection of the self. Using the techniques of logic and reason, the yogi uses the mind to inquire into its nature. This removes the veil of ignorance and forgetfulness through knowledge and reveals unchanging truth in our hearts.
It is the most challenging way since it uses the brain and mind to finally transcend them and realize that you are One with the Divine. It calls for a tremendous character, willpower, and intelligence.
The Gyana Yogi:
- Studies of the traditional spiritual texts
- Asks the heart and listens to the answers without judgment or evaluation:
-Who am I
-What do I want?
-What is my purpose?
– What am I grateful for?
- Is mindful of the world around
- Listens reflects and contemplates life and its meaning
- Practices discernment and detachment from people and things
- Meditates and takes time each day to be silent
- Through the transmission of subtle energy, you can encounter Oneness.
- Jnana Yoga enables you to maintain higher states of consciousness without being bound to anything or anyone
- You experience deeper satiation and satisfaction.
- Your recovery happens quickly.
For each person, the road to self-realization is unique. Every person has a distinct personality and character that they use to navigate the physical world. One can learn more about themselves and discover their actual nature via the practice of yoga. Through direct experience, passion, and commitment to the practice, the yoga journey is an ongoing investigation of the self.