The Fourfold Yoga - Part I - An Introduction


Yoga is derived from the word "Yuj" which means to unite. Union with Cosmic Creative Intelligence is the aim of Yoga.

The Fourfold Yoga has been prescribed for Cosmic Union in Oriental Philosophies.

They are

1. Union via Action ( Karma Yoga )
2. Union via Psychic Control ( Raja Yoga )
3. Union via Universal Love ( Bhakthi Yoga )
4. Union via Wisdom ( Jnana Yoga )

Union via Action is for the person of active temparament.

Union via Psychic Contro is for the person of adventurous temparament

Union via Universal Love is for the person of emotional temparament.

Union via Wisdom is for the person of intellectual temparament.

These four paths are not different from one another. They are all part of the Fourfold Yoga.

Certain qualities are to be inculcated in the seeker if he is to achieve the Ultimate Goal.

Prajna has been defined as the discriminative intellect. When the intellect discriminates between the Real & the Unreal. The intellect which discriminates between Being and Non-Being. This quality should be incorporated by the Intellectual Man if he is to progress in the path of Jnana Yoga.

Love is defined as the greatest of all the positive qualities of man. This quality is to be incorporated by the Emotional Man if he is to progress in the field of Bhakthi Yoga.

Control of Mind or Psychic Control through Raja Yoga should be incorporated
by the Adventurous Man if he is to progress in the field of Raja Yoga.

Selfless Service should be incorporated by the Active Man if he is to progress in the field of Karma Yoga.

In other words, since the Fourfold Yoga has been prescribed for mankind , all these four great qualities - Selfless service, love, psychic control & the discriminative intellect should be incorporated by the spiritual  aspirant to develop in the field of Yoga.

Yoga was defined by Aurobindo as a methodic process towards self-perfection through a development of the latent potential at the five levels of Being - physical, vital, mental, intellectual & spiritual. Normal man lives only in the first three sheaths - physical, vital & mental. Only when we use our hidden spiritual potential - the intellectual & the bliss sheaths - can
we unfold our full mental potential.

The Seven States of Consciousness

Man lives in 3 relative states of Consciousnes- waking, dreaming & Dreamless sleep known in Sanskrit as Jagrata, Swapna & Sushupti. Now there is a Transcendental state of Consciousness known as the Fourth ( Tureeya ) & there are still higher states of Consciousness.

These are the seven states

1 .Waking
2. Dreaming ( REM sleep )
3. Dreamless Sleep ( non- REM )
4. Transcendental Consciousness ( T C)
5. Cosmic Consciousness ( C C )
6. Glorified State of Cosmic Consciousness ( G C )
7. Unified State of Cosmic Consciousness ( U C )

In his Phd Thesis "The physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation, a Proposed Fourth Major state of Consciousness " Dr Robert Keith Wallace proved the existence of a fourth major state of Consciousness ( T C ).

The way to achieving Higher States of Consciousness- The Triune Meditation

Meditation is threefold

1. Physical Meditation

2. Verbal Meditation

3. Mental Meditation.

Reverence to preceptors & Yogis, worhsip of one's Tutelary Deity, observance of Continence, non-violence - all these constitute Physical Meditation.  Speaking kind words and not hurting anyone, Observance of Truth, Self-Study ( serious study of the Self ) - all these constitute Verbal Meditation.

Mental Meditation - Mental cheerfulness, humility, observance of Silence, mastery of the sense organs, purity of heart - all these constitute Mental Meditation.

The aim of Nature is to effect Super-Nature and the aim of Yoga is Self_ Actualisation. The Goal of Life is Self-Realisation, and in order to unfold our true potential, we have to follow the Fourfold Path.

He still keeps to the high & difficult road
That sole leads to the Eternal's peaks!

Without Knowledge, without service, without psychic control & finally Love, who ha
s ever realised his Self ?

And what is prerequisite for this Self_Realisation ? Sacrifice !

Only by hard sacrifice is high heaven earned ( Aurobindo ).

Attachment to the sensory world is Bondage. Sacrifice alone can give us Liberation or Self_Actualisation and the Ultimate Bliss.

Earth's pains are the ransom of its prisoned delights
For Joy and not for sorrow was earth made ( Aurobindo )

By sacrifice, we become the Self_Actualising person of Abraham Maslow living in the widest possible frame of reference.

He who to none and nowhere overbound
By ties of flesh, takes evil things and good
Neither desponding nor exulting such
Bears Wisdom's plainest mark ! ( The Song Celestial )

About the Land of Wisdom, extolled by Western scholars

Walt Whitman said

To India, to primal thought
To Reason's early paradise
Of Wisdom's birth and innocent intuitions
Of a fair creation.

Mark Twain said: "India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition."

Will Durant said " India is the mother of us all; through Sanskrit, the mother of Europe's languages, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, through the Arabs, of higher mathematics & algebra; through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is, in many ways, the mother of us all"