If you ask an audience-what is yoga? , you will get various answers according to their level of awareness.
Very few ponder deeply to find the true meaning of yoga.
Superficial yoga is getting popular all over the world as it is in terms of their superficial life style.
People are attracted to yoga due to the propaganda that it can solve the problem of obesity, shape the body, cure various ailments, stress management etc…
Definitely yoga is helpful to achieve all these benefits but these all are just by-products only.
One is blessed with all these benefits only when one practise yoga with the true understanding of yoga, keeping the right attitude and goal in mind.
Yoga is not just physical exercise, though it provides all the benefits of physical exercise, it has higher purpose.
One should turn to yoga with the motive of achieving the highest purpose of yoga.
What is the highest purpose of yoga?
The science of yoga evolved 10000 years back (or older than that period) as a spiritual science helping the humanity to have the right perspective of life and help him in his journey towards the highest goal of life.
According to yogic science, man is in pursuit of happiness which is ultimately fulfilled in Self realisation.
Life is a continuous process of experimentation with happiness and till the final realisation of his own true Self, he is in turmoil.
So, Self realisation is the highest purpose of Yoga.
Yoga is a scientific technique to accelerate this process of evolution and help humanity to transcend the problems of existence.
Along with this progressive journey, one enjoys better health, fitness of the body, peace and inner bliss.
Literally the word yoga means to joint, to connect…That obviously refers to the separation we are facing right now.
The separation is the cause of all suffering and the solution is to feel connected.
There are three types of separation or divisions human being confronting with the identified existence as an individual.
He is alienated from his own true Self, he is divided from the other people and creatures, and he lost the sense of belongings to this nature or universe.
This separation causes all kinds of fear and anxieties due to the distorted state of mind.
Yoga is a learning process to find his own being.
Once he realises his own self, naturally he gets related with other people and become one with the universe.
Essentially we all are made of same life stuff and mutually very much related.
This truth is ignored due to the ego sense.
Again to get back to that spirit of oneness is the highest target of Yoga.
A, Present scenario of yoga-
Based on the above understanding, let us examine the present scenario of yoga. Yoga is a popular term all over the world at present. Day by day more people are attracted to yoga and it has become almost the fashion of the present day. If you browse the net, you can see thousand varieties of yoga with new labels. Lot of deviations and manipulations from the original science of yoga. The commercialisation of yoga is a grave problem. And one get confused to understand what yoga stands for. In the west, yoga is almost like an acrobatic practise. The more the tougher and challenging, it is more appealing to their ego. In India, there is a tendency of monopolising yoga as a religious domain. The truth is that Yoga is a universal science and it belongs to the whole humanity. The great value of yoga is obscured and a shadow of so called modern yoga is dominating the present scene.
B, Relevance of yoga in the modern time-
Yoga is an age old science found by ancient masters in India, but it is relevant for all ages and meant for all human being on earth. Yoga is widely accepted in the modern time mainly because of its scientific basis satisfying the reasoning mind of modern man. It is not a religious dogma rather a combination of science, philosophy and art. Stress and related ailments are mounting up in the present world. Modern science still groping in darkness to find effective solutions to this crisis. If you analyse, you can see that almost 90% of the modern diseases are due to the stress factor. At this juncture, the wisdom of ancient masters regarding health and disease show a new light in dealing with the problems. There are lot of scientific papers published in various international medical journals validating the yogic techniques to heal the common ailments of the present day. The holistic approach to healing is fast growing and lot of research is being conducted across the globe. This is one reason for the relevance of yoga in the modern time.
Modern man is in genuine spiritual crisis. The established religions have been degenerating without refreshing the system to accommodate the evolving societies and the searching mind is totally perplexed without finding meaning and purpose of life. Yoga is revived because of its ethical and scientific basis which gives new hope to the spiritual starvation of the modern world. Yoga gives more clarity to the confused mind and the whole interpretation of life become possible with the light of yoga. Yoga shows him the direction and purpose of life. Based on the popularity of Yoga, it can be assumed that yoga is getting accepted as the universal religion. May we all get connected with ourselves and the Universe.