Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Are Yoga and Meditation interrelated?


In the below website and the links, I studied that meditation is related to yoga. It says the third step in yoga is meditation.

As far I know, that meditation can be practiced on our own but not yoga. We need to study yoga from a well known teacher in that. If that is true, Can we practice meditation our own???

Is that meditation becomes a part of yoga???

Please reply.

My Reply:

First and foremost: Yoga does not mean a series of physical exercises like aerobics.

As the hinduwisdom website says “The aim of Yoga is to tear the veil that keeps man confined within the human dimension of consciousness. Yoga, is the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul”.

Sri Aurobindo commenting on the nature of Indian mind says “she saw that the physical does not get its full sense until it stands in right relation to the supra-physical; she saw that the complexity of the universe could not be explained in the present terms of man or seen by his superficial sight, that there were other powers behind, other powers within man himself of which he is normally unaware, that he is conscious only of a small part of himself, that the invisible always surrounds the visible, the supra-sensible the sensible, even as infinity always surrounds the finite. She saw too that man has the power of exceeding himself, of becoming himself more entirely and profoundly than he is, - truths which have only recently begun to be seen in Europe and seem even now too great for its common intelligence…

Then with that calm audacity of her intuition which knew no fear or littleness and shrank from no act whether of spiritual or intellectual, ethical or vital courage, she declared that there was none of these things which man could not attain if he trained his will and knowledge; he could conquer these ranges of mind, become the spirit, become a god, become one with God, become the ineffable Brahman.

Yoga is the “means” to the aim Sri Aurobindo talks about in the earlier para. It comprises of lot of steps. The body according to yoga is an “instrument” we have to reach the goal.

Yoga also has some exercises which aim at maintaining the body in healthy condition. But these are prescribed with the motive of keeping the “instrument” in good condition. Mere longevity of the body is never the aim of Yoga. A banyan tree lives for 500 years, but still it’s a banyan tree never the less. By ensuring the good condition of the instrument, Yoga tries to smoothen the path of man knowing his real nature.

That part of Yoga which deals with the physical longevity of the body is called “Hatha Yoga” and comprises of a series of body-exercises. Usually the yoga is identified with this. But this is actually a minor part of Yoga.

If Hatha Yoga is the part of Yoga in which we try to control our body, Meditation is the part of Yoga in which we try to control our mind. Thus in my view meditation can be termed as a subset of Yoga.

BTW both Yoga and meditation require a teacher. It is not advisable to say see a TV programme and try practicing it.


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