What is Yoga ?
"Yoga" is one of the most widely known terms in today's world. It seems, this ancient art has found its way to the present era where many people either practice regularly or are aware of it. Modern advent of Yoga has happened due to its ability to cure some of the incurable disorders and help relieve stress. Nowadays Yoga is practiced in various forms and orders, many schools are existing with various concepts and styles but the good thing is, they all strive for the same common goals of health and wellbeing. Diversity in these different approaches may hide the underlying unity of Yoga and make it difficult for the layman to understand the fundamentals but in spite of all Yoga can be practiced in a variety of ways, provided the essence of Yoga is understood.
Roots of Yoga - Veda
All the searches for the roots of Yoga leads to one common destination called "Vedas" which means Wisdom. It was the ancient education system of India which not only provides the concepts of universal consciousness, its bondages & liberation but at the same time tells how to fulfill the worldly desires within the ethical parameters. In general Vedas are the collection of Sanskrit Mantras to describe model code of conducts for living a healthy, happy, peaceful, prosperous and spiritual life. In general Vedic tradition deals all the aspects of Human evolution in depth.
Originally it was an oral tradition in which the direct interactions between Master and disciples were of prime importance. The Idea behind the oral transmission was to reduce the misunderstanding of these abstract concepts to the minimum possible. Still there are scholars of Veda, who think books are nothing but reduced forms of wisdom and to understand the subtle nature of existence Master is inevitable. Masters of that time were known as Rishis, those who have imbibed the Vedas in their daily living. Schools were known as Gurukula in which disciples used to live with their Masters for a minimum period of twelve years to gain insights about the subject matter of Veda.
We cannot seem to agree on how old the Vedas are. Some believe that they go back 10,000 years or more but for the real seeker speculation on the age is not as important as the concepts. According to Vedas, Yoga is the tool we need as humanity to be sustainable and complementary not only towards each other, but also to our surroundings and to the whole Existence. There is little doubt that this knowledge remains as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.Nowadays, Vedas are available in a written form. Vedas consist of four major scriptures known as:
- Rig Veda
- Sam Veda
- Yajur Veda
- Atharva Veda
These scriptures have been written and preserved in Sanskrit and each one of these is a true spiritual heritage of mankind.
Yoga and Veda
Veda originates from the root “Vid” which means to be aware, refers to wisdom as the outcome of direct experience of eternally infinite consciousness known as Brahman. According to the Vedic scriptures Brahman is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent innerself of all the living and non-living beings. The practice of Yoga is applied Veda, which means union or unification with one's own true nature as pure Consciousness, beyond all the limitations of time-space, which naturally brings the deepest sense of harmony and peace. So Veda is the wisdom and Yoga is the practice to validate it on an experiential basis.