Divine Life Baltimore Meditation Center | Yoga Philosophy
Yoga means oneness of soul with God. Yoga philosophy teaches that God is the one infinite, all-permeating reality. This philosophy, also called Advaita Vedanta or Absolute Oneness, acknowledges that everything and everyone in the universe is a manifestation of this one divine reality and therefore is innately endowed with the nature and qualities of God. The purpose of life is for each person to realize this truth and to unfold and share his or her divine attributes. By unfolding his divine nature, man regains the consciousness of his spiritual identity. Our yoga philosophy emphasizes our connection and oneness with all life, selfless service, meditation, and unconditional love. Yoga philosophy teaches that man, as the manifestation of God, is never separate from God. The soul of man and God are one and identical. The application of yoga philosophy, meditation, and service provide the means for every being to realize his or her divine potential of spiritual oneness
Yoga is the way and the goal of realizing unconditional love, limitless existence, and infinite wisdom. Yoga derives from the Sanskrit root word “yuk,” to unite or join. It also relates to the yoke put on beasts of burden, such as oxen, and finds further expression in Jesus’ invitation, “Take my yoke (yoga) upon you.... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The practice of yoga reveals the presence of the light of oneness and universality—the light that is the presence of God in everyone and everything, the light that reveals our essential oneness, perfection, and beauty. To achieve the ideal of yoga, ancient self-realized beings offered specific methods and instructions for that purpose. These methods fall into four major categories, namely, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga.
JNANA YOGAis the path of pure consciousness. The cornerstone of Jnana Yoga is the recognition that all is one. Brahman is the ultimate Reality of absolute oneness and the source of all manifestations. There is but one Reality without a second, the One appearing as the many without any separation. Distinction appears only in manifestation, not in essence. Self-inquiry is a grand means for achieving transcendental consciousness. Constant inquiry into the question Who am I? ultimately leads to the answer, contained in the question: I AM. Jnana Yoga acknowledges maya as that which both conceals and reveals the ultimate Reality. To become established in Jnana requires self-discipline and intentional remembrance that there is “but one Reality that permeates thee and me and all beings,” as the young Avatar Shankarachariya expounded. “Therefore, rise above the consciousness of separation and realize thyself in all and all in thee.”
KARMA YOGA, the path of selfless-service and action. Karma Yoga is love in action and selfless service. It is achievement of self-realization through total dedication of all actions, both mental and physical, to the indwelling, creative Spirit, the source of all actions. Through Karma Yoga, one purifies one’s mind and heart and achieves the practice of the presence of God under all circumstances. The watchword of the Karma Yogi is, Not I, but theFather in me, the creative Source, is the performer of all actions.
BHAKTI YOGA is the path of love. Bhakti is intense devotion to the cultivation, realization, and expression of unconditional love in thought, word, action, and relationships. This may be considered the easiest way for the seekers after enlightenment to transform every aspect of their lives into unconditional love, ever new joy, and ever greater self-expansion in spiritual consciousness and oneness. It may be called “the active presence of divine Love in our interrelationships and identification through loving oneness with all beings and creation.”
In Bhakti Yoga, all experiences are regarded as gifts because the Bhakti invariably sees them as opportunities for drawing closer to the Beloved, who dwells in all hearts. The ideal Bhakti judges no man and no experience as good or bad, but as an opportunity to discover the positive value for both individual and collective upliftment. One who aspires to be fearless, ever free, joyful, and pure in thought, word, and action keeps his attention ever directed on the Beloved, who dwells in all. Thus, the light of love illumines his whole life and fills it with sweetness, contentment, and good will. In Bhakti Yoga, the means and goal are identical: the realization of unconditional love.
RAJA YOGA, called the royal path of spiritual unfoldment by the practice of specific techniques, is arranged in eight steps as presented in Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms. Raja Yoga is a spiritually scientific approach for gaining mastery over the mind and achieving self-knowledge.
Kriya is an important aspect of Yoga with the specific technique of meditation developed as Kriya Yoga. The foremost exponent of Kriya is Babaji, who reintroduced this ancient technique in modern times through Lahiri Mahasaya. Kriya meditation technique was introduced to the West by Swami Yogananda Paramhansa and continues to be taught by qualified Gurus to qualified disciples. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about meditation instruction.