Yoga, although originated in India, belongs to entire humanity! The ancient scriptures lay down the precept “VasudaivaKutumabakam” which essentially means ‘the entire world is one family’. That is the essence of Yoga and the purpose of which is to feel the universal unity in one body and soul. The etymology of the word religion is from ‘Religare’ which means ‘to bind’ and that is the meaning of the word ‘Yoga’ too which means ‘to unite’.
Unity with the source is the moot objective of yoga in which the term like ‘Nirbikalpa Samadhi’ comes in which means total emancipation. This is the peak experience that Yogis look for where they are united with the Godhead which is considered as total bliss. Yoga is a scientific way to reach that state of human existence which is total bliss. This is in short the purpose and meaning of Yoga. But how did it all originate? Here is the story of Yoga, how it originated and again reappeared for humanity to feel that it’s one and united with the cosmic conscience!
The Yogis opine that this world and the individual vision of the world is a dream! This dream appears in a way where things tend to be separate and that is perhaps referred to as dualism. But in actual parlance, it is all one and this vision of universal unity makes one feel that he or she is part of one and all that they behold is one with the divine. This realization is certainly divine and is the first step of Godhead and is referred to as Samadhi and is of course of amazement.
It is certainly a different dimension of life that opens up, for one to think and do what he feels like which is absent in common human beings mainly because of the free will present in the advanced Yogis developed through the practice of Yoga.
This amazement that we refer to happened to Arjuna of Pandavas when he was asked to kill his own kith and kin in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. That was the auspicious moment Lord Krishna explained Arjuna, the warrior that he is just an instrument of time destined to establish the good over evil when he denied killing. On answering the question whoArjuna was, Lord Krishna revealed his Godhead to Arjuna to give him the feel who he actually was which was total amazement for Arjuna who stuck to his mortal self.
On asking Lord Krishna about how to realize the real self, did Lord Krishna confer the sermons of Bhagavat Gita which are the precepts of the art of living. Lord Krishna also told Arjuna how to reach his real self even being a king which is through Kriya Yoga. It was through working on the seven plexus centres of the spinal cord which absorbs the light energy in our body. Kriya Yoga through the mind power and the breath can equip one to be strong enough to withstand the energy of the Godhead and one day realize God. That is the history of Yoga which is inevitably the scientific technique of God-realization.
This was in 3067 BCE when the war of Kurukshetra took place and again through the passage of time this ancient science went into oblivion. It was in oblivion till the advent of Sage Patanjali who lived before 400 CE when he wrote his book Patanjali Yoga Sutras in which he again described how to practice KriyaYoga for God realization. Unfortunately, this also went into oblivion until ShyamaCharanLahiri was born in Bengal in 1828, a province of India who grew up to become the Yogiraj (King of Yogis). He was a disciple of BabajiMaharaj who is referred to as the living Christ and is also believed to be alive today as well according to the book, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by ParamahamsaYogananda.
YogirajShyamaCharanLahiri was an Indian Yogi who is credited to have attained astounding heights of spiritual attainment and is also given the credit to have spread the science of Kriya Yoga in the masses. His movement of Kriya Yoga and helping people attain their real selves through Yoga created many disciples and Swami Yukteshwar was one among them who made Swami Yogananda as his disciple who later attained emancipation through Kriya Yoga. He was the yogi who traveled to the United States to spread the movement of Yoga and teach the masses about the secret science of Kriya Yoga. It is after this movement that Kriya Yoga again became popular and started to be taught throughout the world and in India too.
Today, we have many Yogis and teachers propagating the science of Kriya Yoga which of course embraces the eight-fold path of Yoga. This eight-fold path of Yoga essentially has the eight steps which are: Asanas, Pranayama, Yam, Niyam, Pratyahar, Dhyan, Dharana, and Samadhi. To elaborate, Asanas are the yogic exercises for a disease-free body followed by Pranayama which is the breathing exercises and ‘Yam’ refers to control of the mind and body. Niyam refers to the discipline of the mind and the body that a Yogi needs to practice followed by ‘Dhyan’ which is meditation and ‘Dharana’ refers to the conception of God. The final stage is the oneness with God which is referred to as Samadhi. Although these are the eight-fold path of Yoga and are the technique to be followed to get to the peak of the experience is the Kriya Yoga that was taught to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Just think of it with a bated breath that what you understand as life is only temporary and transient with death as the final verdict. The wealth that you accumulate is also not going to be permanently with you with its flow according to the karmic laws. But unlike all these forces of nature and the shades of life which are not permanent, the bliss and the happiness that you acquire through your spiritual practices would be permanent. If you are lucky enough and can work it out with a burning desire, you can also meet the Godhead with permanent freedom from birth and death and bliss that you can carry even after you cross the bar.