(On the occasion of International Day of Yoga on 21st June)
Each path of Yoga has its own methods and systems of practice. But behind all these systems and methods there are some underlying and universal principles which are to a certain extent common to all paths of Yoga. This article presents a brief snapshot of these principles, which will be discussed in detail in our subsequent articles.
1. Growth of Consciousness which manifests in the individual as increasing self-knowledge and the knowledge of the deeper truth of the world, concealed behind outer appearance.
2. Concentration by which all the attention and energies of consciousness are focused on the goal.
3. Renunciation or purity by which the obstacles to progress in the path are removed. In yoga, the two essential obstacles which are the source of all other are: ego and desire.
4. Motiveless Action which frees the dynamic faculties of work and action of the individual and make them fit channel for the action of the Universal Energy.
5. Inner Peace and Silence which makes the individual human consciousness fit to receive the light of higher knowledge from the universal Divine Consciousness. The essence of this discipline is as Patanjali, the great master, of Rajayoga puts it, “Stopping the modification of the mind.”
6. Equality by which the consciousness of the Yogi raises beyond the conflicting dualities of life like pleasure and pain etc.
7. Knowledge by Intuition or knowledge by Identity by which one knows by direct experiential contact or identity with the deeper truth of things hidden behind the outer appearances.
8. Self-surrender by which our whole being and its activities and the result of our effort are given up to a power or principle beyond our ego-self.
And finally there is one more principle, which is not specific to Yoga, but a more general principle unique to the Indian approach to human development. In ancient Indian thought this principle is called Adhikari Bheda, which means literally translated, “differentiation according to fitness”. This principle accepts the fact of variation and inequality in life and allows for graduality and stages of progress; it takes into consideration the temperament and capacity of the individual in choosing or evolving the values and ideals and discipline for each individual.
These are the main principles of a Yogic approach to human development.