Everyone today is crazy about physical health and building muscle strength. This lopsided effort, while strengthening the body, totally neglects the major part , the Mind! Krishna is the progenitor of the phrase, Buddhi Yoga,a set of mental exercises to strengthen the mind from victimisation by frustrating disappointments and scorching sorrows hurled by life.
Yoga is not just physical asanas (poses and stretches). Asanas are just one part of the eight parts listed by Patanjali in his ‘Ashtanga Yoga’. These if performed regularly lead slowly and steadily to the goal , Samadhi. Patanjali lists 63 kinds of Yogas in his treatise. The word Yoga or Yoke both mean to join and have the same etymological root. The question is “Join what with what?”. We long for a release from a sense of limitation to a sense of complete freedom. Yoga means to join the (Jeeva) individualised ego, with (Brahman) the all pervading consciousness, the finite with the infinite. So we are continuously struggling to break out of our chains and breath the air of complete freedom. Sadly, whatever you achieve or gain is still quantifiable and whatever you become is still one more limited thing!
Interestingly, there are no two entities to be joined, like one hand to another. You cannot ‘join ‘ the Finite to the Infinite! There is no process. It is a realisation that you already are the ‘Infinite’. One attains this through the practise of Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga(eight steps). It is the mere realisation that ‘I myself am the completeness that I sought!’ The relieved waker when he realises that he was /is no dream-beggar, but a King! This realisation is the goal (Yoga) and the mental and physical training required to ramp up to this perfection is also called (Yoga) the means to attain it.
Prarthna Saran, President Delhi Chinmaya Mission.