Fundamental Unity of the Different Yoga Systems
by Swami Chidananda
When you take up serious effort in Yoga Sadhana, no matter what Yoga you may adopt, you must have dedication and intensity. Even if you do a little Sadhana, it should be unbroken, it should be continuous, it should never be given up, it should be daily, daily, daily. It should be daily, daily, daily; it should be unfailingly regular.
That which has been spat out should not be picked up from the earth and put into the mouth once again. No decent person with any sense of respectability will do it. Spat out means spat out. That is the attitude the Sadhaka must take, the Yogi must take. That is called Vairagya. The continuous practice of Vairagya and the keeping up of an unbroken continuity in your Sadhana—what is known as Abhyasa—must be there side by side until you come face to face with your Beloved God or attain Vedantic illumination or Asamprajnata Raja Yoga Samadhi. Until then, Abhyasa and Vairagya should go hand in hand relentlessly.
In this respect, all Yoga is one. The foundation for all types of Yoga is identical. There is no difference in the basis. The outer form of each Yoga may be different, but the inner anatomy of the progress of the Yogi is the same. It is a fiery determination to keep the effort unbroken and continuous, unfailing and regular and determined. It is a fiery determination never to slip back, never to allow the mind and the senses to fall into old grooves. It is becoming firmly and continuously established in Vairagya. This is the inner form of Yoga Sadhana.
Ultimately, the fruit of Yoga is also identical, whether you come face to face with your beloved Lord through Bhakti or whether you attain Vedantic Aparoksha Anubhuti or Cosmic Consciousness where you feel that everything is the Lord, where you feel, “Vasudeva Sarvam Iti”, “Siya Ram Maya Saba Jaga Jani”, “Sarvam Vishnu Mayam Jagat”. The fruit of Yoga is the same to a Raja Yogi who practises meditation and attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi as to a Karma Yogin who practises Nishkama Karma Yoga with Isvara Drishti or Narayana Bhava in all Nama-Rupa, who sees the manifestation of the Lord in all creatures and serves them and attains cosmic vision, Darshan of Narayan, Darshan of Atma. Once you attain the supreme experience be it through Karma yoga or Bhakti Yoga or Jnana Yoga—there is cessation of all sorrow, pain and suffering.
That is the attainment of supreme bliss and blessedness—bliss, bliss, bliss, indescribable infinite bliss, limitless bliss—Paramananda, divine bliss, divine joy. In that state there is no desire, there is no wish, one wants nothing, one has no desire left, all desires are fulfilled and finished. In that condition one is in a state of absolute bliss, one is in a state of total eternal satisfaction. Whatever he has wanted he has got, and therefore, whatever he had to do to get it is all done. There is no more doing, no more striving, no more need for any effort or activity. This outcome is identical, no matter which way you have got on to the roof, whether you took the inside staircase or whether you took τhe outside staircase, or whether you put the ladder and climbed the ladder, or whether you asked someone to put a rope down and you went up the rope, or whether you asked someone to take you on a helicopter and drop you there. No matter in what way you landed on the roof, you are on the roof all the same. You are in a condition identical with those others who too have reached the roof-top by one means or the other. The attainment is identical. Even so, all the different Yogas ultimately take the seeker to the same supreme summit of blessedness and bliss where there is Sarva Duhkha Nivritti, cessation of all sorrow, where there is Paramananda Prapti, attainment of supreme bliss, where there is Nitya Tripti, eternal satisfaction, where there is that state of fullness, Paripurnata, where man says, “I want nothing” and becomes Apta-Kama, where he becomes Krita-Kritya or one who has done all that there is to be done. That supreme attainment is the fruit of Yoga, call it Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga or Raja Yoga, call it Karma Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Kirtan Yoga, Laya Yoga, Hatha Yoga or whatever.
So, though there is apparent difference of form in the outer structure of the various Yogas differently named, the basis and the attainment are both identical in all cases. Two factors are indispensable and necessary as the very basis to carry you from start to finish, from A to Z, and they are Abhyasa and Vairagya—Akhanda Abhyasa and perfect Vairagya. Without these two, no Yoga can proceed. And the ultimate fruit of attainment is also identical. All forms of Yoga, no matter how completely different they may look on the surface, how clashing and contrary to one another they may seem to be in outer detail, are the same in the ultimate achievement, in the ultimate reckoning.
If you take a deeper and inner glimpse, you find that all this clash and conflict is only between the Ganas of Siva and the Vanaras of Rama. The Ganas of Siva and the Vanaras of Rama may clash, but Rama and Siva have no difference. Rama worships Siva and takes His Name and Siva worships Rama and takes His Name. They have no difference. They have got identical Bhava. In the same way, the outer structure and details of the Yogic ascent may be different; the details of practice may be different—they have to be—and they may even look contradictory.
And the followers of the different Yogas may even quarrel with one another and say that each one is wrong. But it is all futile and vain. It is all a puerile attitude and approach to Yoga, a limited vision lacking in depth. Those who have inner vision see all Yoga as fundamentally one, as identical from start to finish, based upon Sadachara and self-control and purity of conduct and character and righteous living, and progressing through unremitting, unbroken effort and perfect dispassion, and ultimately culminating in the cessation of all sorrow, in the attainment of supreme bliss—absolute fullness and eternal satisfaction. In that supreme state, in that great experience, all Yoga becomes unified and you find that all the erstwhile differences merge and disappear and you begin to wonder why it was like that in the beginning.
Peace, Love, Harmony