Yoga is a spiritual, mental and physical method that begun in India. The word yoga is identified to be the practice in Hinduism and Buddhism. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that can also mean yoke, to control or to unite. The goal of practising yoga is to realize your inner self, which only happens when you open your mind and the self is linked. In human life we suffer from avidya, meaning ignorance. This ignorance holds us to repeat our sufferings and death. When avidya is defeated, it paves our way to Brahman or so-called ultimate reality. When you finally accomplish identified yourself, your Atman ( soul) is transformed. Different yogas are performed in Hinduism which is considered to help pave the way to salvation. For Hindus, they try to concentrate on one specific yoga that represents and reflects their inner self or needs.
Out of the four yoga’s, I chose Bhakti Yoga to achieve Moksha. This yoga is the path of devotion. I chose this specific yoga because it reflects my interests which is for the people who are delicate and emotional. Bhakti Yoga is all about us being selfless, giving unconditional love and purity. For one, I can relate to this because I give utmost respect for the people I surround myself with and also with the people I encounter daily. Often I try to put myself into the shoes of others and think in their perspective. I find that I treat everyone equally whether if they’re higher or lower than me. For example, when someone is in need, I don’t just help the people I like or want to become friends with due to their status. Instead, I help people no matter what, even if I don’t know them, real kindness is those who give and not expect anything in return. For instance, a time in winter, my friend had forgotten her jacket in a class that had been locked up during recess, so I took off my jacket and gave it to her instead, to keep her warm.
Secondly, part of this Yoga is self-sacrificial, giving what is all to Brahman. I can see myself doing the same thing. I sacrifice when certain things are in need. For example, I sacrifice my time helping a friend to achieve their goal and put myself aside. One time, during the summer of grade 10 as I was waiting for the bus, there was a lady who had lost her money to pay for the bus. I was thinking maybe she dropped it or she must have misplaced it somewhere as the bus was coming. Sometimes people just don’t care. I knew I had to help her because she could hardly walk, nor looked very healthy, assuming she’s in a rough situation. So after that, I gave her my bus fare and instead I walked home. The reason why I gave her my bus fair is that I honestly didn’t mind walking home from school. Additionally, I like to walk and my house was only a 20-minute walk which I don’t find bad at all. She needed the money more than I did, so I sacrificed my happiness and gave it to the lady.
Lastly, I forgive. I let go of whatever grudge I may have to another person and I let my self-heal because holding that hatred will get me nowhere. I try not to blame others, instead, I began to understand myself better and take responsibility for my part. To show you what I mean, when I was at the age of 6, my biological mother had left me. I realized with this situation, it has affected me and my family. Nevertheless, I forgive her, and I have no grudges or any sort of hatred for leaving. Despite all the negativity that life has brought me, I’m grateful for where I am now, and the new people and I got to meet. Additionally, for that, it had never happened.
I chose Bhakti Yoga because the other three do not suit my personality, my interests, my abilities and my preferences and there’s a reason why. For one, Karma yoga is all about working hard and taking responsibility for your actions. In other words, those who like to be active and busy. In my opinion, I Cannot relate to this yoga because I’m more of an emotional and sensitive person, I prioritize other emotions before mine. Karma is all about work, to be able to reach Moksha your Dharma must be done right. I am someone who does their Dharma not quite right. I am the type of person who gets all the work done but procrastinates in the end. For instance, when there’s an upcoming test I usually study two days before. I didn’t study for this one test because I thought I knew it all because I studied the day before and I had some other homework to do as well. As a result, I didn’t like the outcome of my tests just because I thought that I studied enough. As a student, my responsibility is to do good in school, but my Dharma as a student was not fulfilled and as a result of bad karma. Secondly, Jnana Yoga, which means the path of knowledge. This yoga is for the people who are literate and who learns through a guru (teacher). This yoga is considered the hardest of the four main ways of Yoga. For this, the goal is to disconnect the illusion of the world Maya but to achieve our Atman (soul) with Brahman. I’m not the type of person who likes to think, I’m the type of person who just goes with the flow. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Last but not least, Raja Yoga. Raja yoga is the path of discipline. It is all about independent being fearless and giving all the attention and full commitment. I can’t imagine myself living this way. I don’t think I can detach myself from my enjoyment. Whether it’s a hobby or anything that makes me happy. Therefore, I think that Bhakti Yoga is the most suitable for me because it allows me to be myself. Being emotional and sensitive and seeing Brahman as my friend who cares about me.
There are nine phases to Bhakti Yoga and to be able to reach the Moksha you must complete, experience and live with these stages. The first step is to develop pure faith (shraddha). It means that we should believe in something even if it has no proof. For example, I believe that God has a plan for us, I believe that he’s always there for me to help me get through my tough times. I carry this faith every day to school to help me get through life. The second step is to associate with pure devotees (sadhu-sanga). By associating with devotee which means surrendering yourself to Krishna, not obsessed with material things, respectful and friendly you are freed from the hands of Maya. The third step Is to perform unsteady devotional service to Krishna, which can also be called Bhajana-Kriya. It’s offering everything or some of the things we do with Krishna. For example, many Hindus usually offer food as a sign of respect when they worship. So, when I cook I will offer my food to Lord Krishna. The fourth step is about giving up my sinful life and works ( Martha nivritti). This means clearing the unwanted qualities in my heart such as lust, anger, greed and pride. An example would be me eating less meat. The 5th would be using my own body and mind constantly to be able to serve Krishna. The sixth step is called Ruchi which means taste. It is the stage where I would get a taste of Bhakti which means I will not feel any more tiredness or exhaustion, my attention is all focused on doing the Bhakti. The 7th step is called the Askati, all my attention is given to Krsna without even trying. The 8th is when I leave everything behind. An example would be detaching myself from all the material attraction or giving zero respect for any material things. I’m eager to serve the Lord and pleased to live in a place where the Lord had lived. Finally, the ninth step is called Prema ( pure love for the Lord). This stage is when my love is pure to Krishna. Attracted to the Krishna like a magnet. I spend my life experiencing life and detached from the Lord.
In conclusion, these are the different paths of which Hindus use to try to reach the almighty god Brahman. There is no one better than the other. Hindus choose a certain yoga that represents their inner self, their likeness and they’re values. For Hindus, it does not matter which individual chooses because every path leads to Brahman. Yoga is all about uniting your Atman to the lord Brahman in many different ways. Yoga is one of the most precious gifts that deals with connecting our body and our mind to achieve something. It reduces stress, knowing our own Atman, controls our emotions and feelings and it pushes away the negativity out. I believe that Bhakti yoga is the perfect fit for me. It allows me to just be myself, give the utmost love to people and looking at the god as my only friend who I can rely upon and talk to any time.