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24. Purna Yoga and the Traditional Yogas

  The aim  of any yoga is moksha, liberation of the soul from the cycle of births and deaths. In Purna Yoga the aim is not liberation of the soul but transformation of human life into Divine Life. To start this Yoga the soul is to be liberated, but not from the cycle of birth and death. The soul is to be liberated from ego and desire. The soul that seeks its own liberation while millions of other souls languish in darkness is expressing an egoistic desire. In Purna Yoga the human soul must renounce the desire for individual salvation and lend its liberated status as an instrument for the greater fulfilment of the original Divine Intention.

   Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Tantra, and Raja Yoga are the main lines of Indian Yoga. In all these yogas, the system chooses one part and purifies it through austerities. Purification leads to the liberation of that Purusha, the Purusha of that part. Through that initial liberation they attain Moksha, i.e. give liberation to the Jivatma. Hatha Yoga's instrument is the body. It liberates the Annamaya Purusha and attains final liberation of Jivatma through that. Jnana Yoga uses thought in the mind as the instrument to work on and attains the desired result, initially releasing Manomaya Purusha. Raja Yoga uses the whole mind to achieve the same result. Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga use the vital and will respectively. All Indian Yogas use one part of the human being. Purna Yoga uses all the parts of the being--mind, vital and body--and seeks the release of Psychic being from the domination of nature, the Prakriti. It is called Purna Yoga because its instrument is the whole being.

   In our tradition Kundalini awakens and rises through the chakras in the heart between the brows and the head and joins the thousand-petalled Lotus above the head yielding Moksha through Samadhi. In Purna Yoga the entire process is in the reverse. The Yogi releases the psychic being hidden behind the heart from the ego and desire. The Psychic comes out and hastens the purification of the entire instrument. This opens the thousand-petalled Lotus, first and lets the higher spiritual force descend through all the chakras down to the Kundalini, which is awakened at the end.

 In the tradition we use one part to liberate the whole. This being an arduous task, naturally serious austerities are called for. Asanas, Pranayama, Japa, Mantra, Tantra, etc. are resorted to. In Purna Yoga, as the whole being is the instrument and the sadhak is not the human being but the Divine Itself, the path is broad. Hence all narrow austerities are avoided. Methods needed here are sincerity and aspiration. Only, they must be total and intense.

   Tradition employs physical methods. Purna Yoga eschews physical methods and resorts to only spiritual and psychological methods.

   Tantra Yoga, which occupies a place of pride in Yogas, starts with the dictum that MAN is a soul in the body. Purna Yoga begins with the assumption that MAN is a soul in the mind.

   It is customary for the Jnani to look down upon the ignorant Bhakta, and the Karma Yogi frowns on the Jnana as insubstantial, etc. Each yoga is inimical to the other. In Purna Yoga, not only are all these three systems included, but each leads to the other, to finally integrate the effort.

  Indian Yoga is a life-shunning path. Purna Yoga declares that all life is Yoga and embraces life in its fold. Rishis, Munis, Yogis, when displeased, are known to spell out a curse. Purna Yoga has as its experiential base ‘all life is divine'. It does not lend itself to curse anyone. If in its path an obstacle is laid, it looks into itself to remove the deep-seated curse, the eternal falsehood.

  Traditional Yogas purify one part of the being and the ego of that part is dissolved, while the egos of the other parts remain. In Purna Yoga the ego in every part must be wiped out to bring the psychic being forward, the very first requirement.

   Traditional yoga is done in the hermitages in the forest, away from life. Purna Yoga accepts life, lives it as the Divine Wills it to be lived, so that Life is divinised.

   Guru is all in our tradition and even replaces God as far as the Sishya is concerned. The guru is God. Purna Yoga does not seek or accept a human guru. The Jagat Guru, the world Teacher in the heart of the sadhaka, is the only Guru.

  Yogis pray to the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna to grant them boons in their Yoga. The gods assent and grant the prayers. The Gods help the Yogi in his Yogic realisation. Purna Yoga aims at bringing down the power of the Vignana Loka, the Supramental plane that is above the plane of the gods, the overmental plane. If gods are accepted by the sadhaka, his yogic achievement will be limited by the limitation of gods, unless the participating god himself seeks spiritual progress through Purna Yoga.

   Practice of this Yoga is not governed by Asanas, Pranayama, dress regulation, diet restriction, auspicious hours or even Mantras. Even meditation occupies a place of less importance here, not the pride of place accorded usually.

   Indian tradition does not encourage women to take to sanyasa, yoga or tapas. In certain disciplines there is even a prohibition. Mother accepts women with the same eagerness as men into Her fold. The only criterion for Mother is the fitness for yoga.

   Our tradition says--and Sri Aurobindo also has said the same thing--that in sleep every human being goes to Satchidananda to be spiritually energised. The stone stillness of sleep enables the soul to raise itself to that height. Purna Yoga demands the same type of inner stillness in activity for its accomplishment.

book | by Dr. Radut