Yoga The Path to Perfection

Progress in yoga depends on various physical and mental qualifications in an individual that have to be gradually cultivated and awakened. All these qualifications are listed in a yogic text called the Gherand Samhita as follows:

1. Shodhanam (body purification)

2. Dridhata (steadiness of the body)

3. Sthairyam (determination)

4. Dhairyam (patience)

5. Laghavam (lightness of the body and mind)

6. Pratyaksham (direct perception)

7. Nirlipta (unaffectedness; detachment; to be untouched by the woes of the world and life).

The text continues as follows: "Bodily purification is attained by the practice of the shatkarmas, steadiness of the body by asana practice, determination by practice of mudras, patience by practising meditative techniques to induce pratyahara, lightness of body and mind by pranayama practice, direct perception by the experience of dhyana and unaffectedness by samadhi (perfect merging)." (1:10-11) These practices and experiences are the means to achieve perfection.

Throughout this book we have described large numbers of techniques that are classified under the headings: shatkarmas, asanas, pranayama and meditative techniques. They all help to develop the required qualifications in the aspirant to enable him or her to progress along the yogic path; this is why we have always emphasized their importance. A selected number of these practices should be done daily and integrated with other paths of yoga such as karma, bhakti andjnana yoga, in order to bring about a total and integrated change in one's perception, understanding and being'.

Kriya yoga practices include asanas, mudras and pranayama. Moreover, regular practice leads to pratyahara and eventually to meditation. That is, kriya yoga practice will help to foster many of the personal qualifications that are necessary for progress. Furthermore, sincere and regular practice will bring about pratyaksham (direct perception) as a prelude to the highest experience of yoga ... samadhi. Kriya yoga is a tool, a powerful method that will help to propel you along the path to self-realization.

Notes

1 Karma Yoga: Book I, Lesson 12, Topic 1; Book II, Lesson 13, Topic 1; Bhakti Yoga: Book II, Lesson 15, Topic 1; Book II, Lesson 16, Topic 1; Book II, Lesson 17, Topic 1; Book II, Lesson 18, Topic 1; Jnana Yoga: Book III, Lesson 28, Topic 1

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