Dear Editor, The four objects of human pursuit (purushartha) as per Indian tradition are righteousness (Dharma, sense of duty), earning wealth (Artha), earthly pleasures (Kama) and Liberation (Moksha). The ultimate goal of Yoga is to know one’s self within and bring union between the individual self (Atman) and Universal Consciousness (Parmatman), to attain liberation (Moksha or Kaivalya) from cares and anxieties, pains and sufferings of worldly life and enjoy Truth-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute. That is possible only when the mind (Chitta) is made free from modifications. Thus annihilation of the pronensities of mind (Chitta vritti nirodha) becomes the first objective. The aims and objectives for practising Yoga may be varied and may vary from person to person depending upon their background, needs and requirements and the problems they face in their fields. Spiritual Dimension – It belongs to realm of ideas, beliefs, values and ethics that has arisen in the minds and conscience of human beings, particularly ennobling ideas. Yoga inspired routine of physical practices trains the body and self-control and morality enhance character building. Broadly the objectives are bringing peace and tranquillity and freeing the individual from stress and strain, worries, fears and anxieties; bringing balance and harmony in the body-mind-soul complex; exploring and unfolding latent talents; gaining sound health by training the body and mind in a way to avoid rigidity and bring flexibility, to keep the internal body clean and detoxified; developing immunity and becoming the Master of the mind and work efficiently to one’s full potential. Myths about Yoga – One of the misconceptions about yoga is that it is nothing but some physical exercises called asanas, breathing exercises called pranayama and mental exercises called meditation, in order to keep man physically healthy and mentally free from stress and strain. Another misconception is that it is purely a spiritual practice and not meant for people busy in worldly life. In fact, yoga is not confined to asanas, pranayama and meditation alone. These are only three out of many limbs of Hatha Yoga and Ashtang Raja Yoga. Over and above these two kinds of yoga, there are many other kinds of Yoga, viz, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga, Laya yoga, Mantra yoga, Tantra yoga, Kriya yoga etc. Yoga is not confined to a particular religion but it is a system for self-realisation, for manifestation of divinity lying dormant within, through physical, mental, moral, intellectual and spiritual practices. In fact, the aim of yoga is not to unite us with the Greater Self as we are already united and there is no separation. Even at this very moment we are united with the cosmic consciousness. So the aim is to make us realise our identity with the Greater Self and make us know and tune with our existing inner nature which we fail to discover because of ignorance and conditioning. Arun Jandial, Jammu.
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