Meaning And Aim Of Yoga
Yoga! Today, through-out every corner of world, this word has gained enormous value. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual – body with mind and mind with soul – to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life, and spiritually, uniting the individual with the supreme. Since ancient Hindu philosophy, Yoga is an integral part of Hinduism.
Ancient India is considered to be the birthplace of yoga. In India, Yoga is considered one of the six branches of classical philosophy and is referred to throughout the Vedas – ancient Indian scriptures and amongst the oldest texts in existence. The Upanishads are also broadly philosophical treatises which postdate the Vedas and deal with the nature of the “soul” and universe.
However, the origin of yoga is believed to be much older than that, stemming from the oral traditions of Yogis, where knowledge of Yoga was handed down from Guru (spiritual teacher) to Sisya (spiritual student) all the way back to the originators of Yoga, “the Rishis,” who first began investigation into the nature of reality and man’s inner world. Legend has it that knowledge of Yoga was first passed by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati and from there into the lives of men.
The ultimate aim of Yoga is to reach “Kaivalya” (emancipation or ultimate freedom). This is the experience of one’s innermost being or “soul” (the Purusa). Then one becomes free of chains of cause and effect (Karma) which tie us to continual reincarnation. In Kaivalya one is said to exist in peace and tranquility, having attained absolute knowledge of the difference between the spiritual which is timeless, unchanging and free of sorrows, and the material which is not.
Yoga is a way of life, an art of righteous living or an integrated system for the benefit of the body, mind and inner spirit. This art originated, was perfected and practiced in India thousands of years ago.