“Pranams to you with all my heart. During the last two days, you must have collected a lot of information about systems of Yoga. The most famous one, that you are all familiar with, was codified by Rishi Patanjali and is known worldwide as Ashtanga Yoga. But Ashtanga Yoga is not like a buffet where you can pick and choose your dishes: “Oh I like only ice-cream so I will eat only ice-cream.” “I like only Asanas,” or “l like only Pranayama.” No, you cannot pick and choose what you like. Each limb is an integral part of the entire complex eightfold path of Yoga, which has to be accomplished. Eliminating one limb is like eliminating one out of seven essential vitamins – what will happen? Remove one adenine from a DNA strand, and what will happen? The sequence will change, and if you change the sequence in a strand of DNA, its genetic expression will be different. Remove one strand from a gene, change the number and you have a disease.
“Yoga is all about lifestyle, trying to achieve superconsciousness.
Swami Vivekananda once mentioned that we all have some level of consciousness, but it is a very thin layer of consciousness. The purpose of the spiritual practices of Yoga is to fly into the sky of superconsciousness and dive deeper into the subconscious realms. Fantastic! It is very nice to hear about superconsciousness and subconsciousness, but how to do that? How to arrive at a superconscious state? What style of life must we lead in order to sustain such a level of consciousness?
“The first step of Yoga is Yama, and I don’t think most of us understand the meaning of Yama. You must have heard of Lord Yama in Indian mythology, the God of Death. Why would Patanjali codify one of the steps of Yoga with a name denoting the God of Death? He is only trying to convey that we need to kill all these vices. You be Yama and destroy all the vices that are destroying your inner harmony.
“How many of us do understand the ultimate goal of human life? One in millions perhaps. And of those ones in millions, Lord Krishna says that if you gather hundreds of thousands of them, maybe one or two will achieve this goal. But we need to change this. We have to promise our Lord that we are not such weaklings. We will achieve it. The ways are there.”
“We are not only looking into problems associated with physical health, as today the major problem is mental health issues arising out of moral crises. How to tackle these moral crises at the root level? Generally we only talk of physical health while we are alive, but Yoga is all about going beyond life itself. It is all about Existence. It is not just about this life; it is about Existence. It is not only about mine, but everyone else’s Existence also. That’s why we have the Vishwashanti prayer in our Shastras, a prayer not for myself alone but for everything that exists in this universe. That is the purpose of Yoga.
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