Three Yogas

Last updated

The Three Yogas or Trimārga are three soteriological paths mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita for the liberation of human spirit. [1] They are:

  1. Karma Yoga or the Path of Action (Karma-mārga)
  2. Bhakti Yoga or the Path of Devotion (Bhakti-mārga) to Ishvar (God)
  3. Jnana Yoga or the Path of Knowledge (Jñāna-mārga)

A "fourth yoga" is sometimes added:

  1. Raja Yoga or the Path of Meditation (dhyāna-mārga), making "Four Yogas", also known as the " Four paths to realization"

Discussion

Hindu philosophers of the medieval period have tried to explain the nature of these three paths and the relation between them.

Shankara tended to focus on jñāna-yoga exclusively, which he interpreted as the acquisition of knowledge or vidya . He considered karma-yoga to be inferior. The fact that he wrote some of the most famous hymns for personal gods such as Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Ganesha and Subrahmanya underlines his affinity to Bhakti-Yoga.

The 12th-century philosopher Ramanuja considered the three yogas by interpreting his predecessor Yamunacharya. In Ramanujam's interpretation, Bhakti yoga appears to be the direct path to moksha, which is however available only to those whose inner faculties have already been trained by both Karma yoga and Jnana yoga. [2]

A "fourth yoga" is sometimes added, Raja Yoga or "the Path of Meditation". This is the classical Yoga presented in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali . Patanjali's system came to be known as Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga) retro-actively, in about the 15th century, as the term Yoga had become popular for the general concept of a "religious path".

The systematic presentation of Hindu monotheism as divided into these four paths or "Yogas" is modern, advocated by Swami Vivekananda from the 1890s in his book Raja Yoga. [3] [4] They are presented as four paths to God suitable for four human temperaments, viz. the active, the emotional, the philosophical and the mystic [5] .

Related Research Articles

Yoga Spiritual practices from ancient India

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duḥkha). There is a wide variety of schools of yoga, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and traditional and modern yoga is practiced worldwide.

Swami Vivekananda Indian Hindu monk and philosopher (1863–1902)

Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher and author. He was a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. Influenced by Western esotericism, he was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian darsanas of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the contemporary Hindu reform movements in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began with the words "Sisters and brothers of America ...," in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Bhakti literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity". It was originally used in Hinduism, referring to devotion and love for a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga.

Bhakti yoga, also called Bhakti marga, is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards any personal deity. It is one of the three classical paths in Hinduism which lead to Moksha, the other paths being Jnana yoga and Karma yoga.

<i>Yoga Sutras of Patanjali</i> Early Yoga text in Sanskrit from ancient India by Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is a collection of Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga - 195 sutras and 196 sutras. The Yoga Sutras was compiled in the early centuries CE, by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions.

In Sanskrit texts, Rāja yoga was both the goal of yoga and a method to attain it. The term also became a modern name for the practice of yoga in the 19th-century when Swami Vivekananda gave his interpretation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in his book Raja Yoga. Since then, Rāja yoga has variously been called aṣṭāṅga yoga, royal yoga, royal union, sahaja marg, and classical yoga.

Jnana yoga One of three classical paths for moksha in Hinduism

Jñāna yoga, also known as jñāna mārga, is one of the three classical paths (margas) for moksha (liberation) in Hinduism, which emphasizes the "path of knowledge", also known as the "path of self-realization". The other two are karma yoga and bhakti yoga. Modern interpretations of Hindu texts have yielded systems, techniques and formulations such as raja yoga and kriya yoga.

Sivananda Saraswati Hindu spiritual teacher

Sivananda Saraswati was a yoga guru, a Hindu spiritual teacher, and a proponent of Vedanta. Sivananda was born Kuppuswami in Pattamadai, in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. He studied medicine and served in British Malaya as a physician for several years before taking up monasticism.

Prayer is considered to be an integral part of the Hindu religion; it is practiced during Hindu worship (puja) and is an expression of devotion (bhakti). The chanting of mantras is the most popular form of worship in Hinduism. Yoga and meditation are also considered as a form of devotional service.

Karma yoga Spiritual path in Hinduism

Karma yoga, also called Karma marga, is one of the four classical spiritual paths in Hinduism, one based on the "yoga of action", the others being Jnana yoga, Raja Yoga and Bhakti yoga. To a karma yogi, right action is a form of prayer. The three paths are not mutually exclusive in Hinduism, but the relative emphasis between Karma yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga varies by the individual.

<i>Raja Yoga</i> (book)

Raja Yoga is a book by Swami Vivekananda about "Raja Yoga", his interpretation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras adapted for a Western audience. The book was published in July 1896. It became an instant success and was highly influential in the Western understanding of yoga.

<i>Dhyāna</i> in Hinduism Term for contemplation and meditation

Dhyāna in Hinduism means contemplation and meditation. Dhyāna is taken up in Yoga practices, and is a means to samadhi and self-knowledge.

Sri Vaishnavism One of the major Vaishnava Sampradaya

Sri Vaishnavism, or the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya, is a denomination within the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. The name refers to goddess Lakshmi, as well as a prefix that means "sacred, revered", and the god Vishnu, who are together revered in this tradition.

<i>Bhagavad Gita</i> Primary holy scripture for Hinduism

The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic Mahabharata, dated to the second half of the first millennium BCE and is typical of the Hindu synthesis. It is considered to be one of the holy scriptures for Hinduism.

Teachings and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu from India. His teachings and philosophy are a reinterpretation and synthesis of various strands of Hindu thought, most notably classical yoga and (Advanta) Vedanta, with western esotericism and Universalism. He blended religion with nationalism, and applied this reinterpretation to various aspect's of education, faith, character building as well as social issues pertaining to India. His influence extended also to the west, and he was instrumental in introducing Yoga to the west.

Ānanda literally means bliss or happiness. In the Hindu Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad gita, ānanda signifies eternal bliss which accompanies the ending of the rebirth cycle. Those who renounce the fruits of their actions and submit themselves completely to the divine will, arrive at the final termination of the cyclical life process (saṃsāra) to enjoy eternal bliss (ānanda) in perfect union with the godhead. The tradition of seeking union with God through loving commitment is referred to as bhakti, or devotion.

Bibliography of Swami Vivekananda Wikipedia biography

Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) was an Indian Hindu monk and a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. He was one of the most influential philosophers and social reformers in his contemporary India and the most successful and influential missionaries of Vedanta to the Western world. Indian Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore's suggested to study the works of Vivekananda to understand India. He also told, in Vivekananda there was nothing negative, but everything positive.

Meditation played a very important role in the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. He was interested in meditation from his childhood. His master Ramakrishna found him a dhyana - siddha . On 24 December 1892, Vivekananda reached Kanyakumari and meditated for three days on a large rock and took the resolution to dedicate his life to serve humanity. The event is known as the Kanyakumari resolve of 1892. He reportedly also meditated for a long time on the day of his death.

Integral Yoga is a system of yoga that claims to synthesize six branches of classical Yoga philosophy and practice: Hatha, Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana, and Japa yoga. It was brought to the West by Swami Satchidananda, the first centre being founded in 1966. Its aim is to integrate body, mind, and spirit, using physical practices and philosophical approaches to life to develop the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of individuals. The system includes the practices of asana, pranayama, and meditation to develop physical and mental stillness so as to access inner peace and joy, which Satchidananda believed was a person's true nature. It also encourages practitioners to live service-oriented lives.

Early modern yoga was the form of yoga created and presented to the Western world by Madame Blavatsky, Swami Vivekananda and others in the late 19th century. It embodied the period's distaste for yoga postures (asanas) as practised by Nath yogins by not mentioning them. As such it differed markedly from the prevailing yoga as exercise developed in the 20th century by Yogendra, Kuvalayananda, and Krishnamacharya, which was predominantly physical, consisting mainly or entirely of asanas.

References

  1. Gavin D. Flood, An introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN   978-0-521-43878-0, page 96
  2. Bunki Kimura, 'Ramanujas Theory of Three Yogas: The Way to Moksh' in: Shōun Hino (ed.) Three mountains and seven rivers: Prof. Musashi Tachikawa's felicitation volume, Motilal Banarsidass, 2004, ISBN   978-81-208-2468-3, 645-668
  3. Jason Birch (2013), "Rajayoga: The Reincarnations of the King of All Yogas", International Journal of Hindu Studies, Volume 17, Issue 3, pages 401–444
  4. Swami Vivekananda, Raja Yoga, ISBN   978-1500746940
  5. Vivekananda, Swami. "The Ideal of Universal Religion". Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda - Volume 9 - Indian Newspaper Reports. Ramakrishna Mission. Retrieved 22 May 2022.