(Union with God or Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst
of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga (sggs 730).

Undoubtedly, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings that exist with regard to the purpose and meaning of Yoga. In this Reflection, we will attempt to reflect on the followings in the context of Yoga, through the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS).

  1. What is Yoga?
  2. What is not Yoga?
  3. The Gurbani on: How to attain Yoga, and Who is Yogi?
  4. Misconceptions with regard to the purpose and meaning of Yoga.

1. What is Yoga?

Literally, Yoga means Union: everlasting Divine Union, linking with the Mool within (Source, Jot, Origin...); experience or realization of the Lord, Unity, Oneness, Enlightenment etc. The word "Yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root "Yuj", meaning "Join". Thus, Yoga simply means the joining of the ego-self (Haume or the sense of "I, me, mine, you") to the Higher, Pure Self within ("Joti-Svaroopa, Mool ") — our True Nature. In other words, Yoga means Unity, Unison, Integration, Transformation, existing as an Indivisible Whole, complete merger with Totality etc. Thus, its the skill in thoughts, words and action that leads to the state of Perfection (Pooran) which is full of Bliss (Anand) and totally free from the repeated suffering (sorrow or Dukha).

Therefore, to begin to understand Yoga, we have to be willing to, at least, open ourselves to Truth that the Lord actually dwells equally within each one of us and that we all are eligible to become one with Him, here and now; and that we already are the That (Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...). But, owing to our Haume or ego consciousness, we are unaware of it. In other words, if one believes that God only dwells in heaven, "up there", mountain tops, caves, jungles etc., and that He looks down on us in judgment and punishment, then one will find it difficult to embrace the true application of not only Yoga, but also Sikhism or any "ism" for that matter in his day-to-day life!

  • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਸੰਗੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਕਰਨ ਕਰਾਵਨ ਹਾਜਰਾ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Sabh kai sangee naahee door. Karan kraavan Haajraa Hajoor ||1||Rahaaou||: (God) is with all; (He) is not far away (from anybody). He is the Cause of causes, ever-present here and now — Haajraa Hajoor ||1||Pause|| (sggs 987).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ॥: Aatam mahi Raam Raam mahi aatam: God is in the Soul, and the Soul is in God (1153).
  • ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥: Jinee aatam cheeniaa parmaatam soee: Those who understand their own Soul, are themselves the Supreme Soul (sgg 421).

The Yoga is a Way to Be. It means to be Free (of Maya) — to be free of the inner garbage such as lust, anger, attachments, pride, jealousy, stubborn mindedness, selfishness, unrighteousness or untruthfulness, corruption, duality, and so on. It's remaining even-tempered in success and failure (Sam-Drishtee). If one is so free of the Bikaars, negativity or the evil tendencies (false ego-sense or Haume and it's faults), he can take on life in his own terms, play the game of his life properly without letting it affect him. Seen this way, hence, Yoga is discovering the art of proper living in all spheres of life: physical, mental and spiritual development.

Yoga is "conquering" of the Haume or ego-mind. There is tremendous emphasis in the SGGS on "conquering" of the mind. In fact, the great sage, Patanjali, who pioneered the Ashtang Yoga or Raaj Yoga, says, "Yoga is the removal of the mind's noise." Once the mind's "noise" (Haume or false ego-sense) is completely removed, then, one can become established in his Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) within. Ashta means eight (8). Patanjali's eight-fold Yoga is the path of Self-Mastery and Meditation. It aims at liberation (Mukti) from the worldly bondage (Maya) and at Perfection (Pooraa) of the whole apparatus of the body-mind-intellect through which the life expresses out in the world - control of the body through which the perceiver in us perceives the objects of the world; control of the mind through which the feeler in us feels the field of emotions; and the control of the intellect through which the thinker in us thinks the realm of thoughts.

It's the constant contemplative or meditative state that is completely free all desires and cravings arising from thoughts of the worldly objects of the senses, and fully restraining the senses from all sides by "annihilating" the mind through reason (Viveka or discriminating intellect) controlled by steadfastness. Life without Viveka is indicated to be like shooting arrows without aim. With the gradual practice of this state, one attains Peace, Sahaj, Bliss (Anand) etc.

Thus, Yoga relates to the uninterrupted fine-tuning of the three aspects of the human personality - the body, the intellect and the mind, respectively, meaning attempting to realize the life's Perfection. It's to become living-liberated (Jeevanmukta) while still living in the body (living of life without getting attached to worldly things).

Seen this way, one's entire life either consciously or subconsciously is Yoga. Thus, in itself Yoga has very little to do with a particular religion, but it has a great deal to do with individual spirituality and the individual's Perfection in his life.

Man's actions are carried out for the sake of security in the worldly life. It seems that survival alone is not enough for him. In other words, fear is at the bottom of the man's actions. So it is out of a feeling of insecurity or fear that his social life is structured. To complicate things further for us, the mind by nature (as we know it) will not listen to the Intellect (Budhi) and drag it back repeatedly and constantly by worldly thoughts. Accordingly, the SGGS makes it clear that it's not easy to control the mind. There are no quick fixes and hence patience is required to succeed in it. Yoga is the means with which we can become fearless and One with the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...).

  • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਾਛਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੈ ॥ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਪੰਚ ਕਰੇ ਨਹ ਡੋਲੈ ॥ ਐਸੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਜੋਗ ਕਉ ਪਾਲੇ ॥ ...:| Suni maashhindraa Nanak bolai ...: Says Nanak, O Machhindra (Machhindra Yogi)! Listen. Bring the mind (which wander in Bikaar: lust, anger, greed etc.) under control. (Once the mind is under cotrol) then it does not wander. Obtain such skill of Yoga (way of living...) ... (sggs 877-878).
  • ਮੁੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਮੋਨਿ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਝੋਲੀ ਪਤ੍ਰ ਕਾ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਰੇ ॥ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਸੀਅਉ ਅਪਨਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਉ ਆਧਾਰੁ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਐਸਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵਹੁ ਜੋਗੀ ॥ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭੋਗੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ਚਢਾਵਉ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਸਿੰਗੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਫਿਰਉ ਤਨਿ ਨਗਰੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਕਿੰਗੁਰੀ ਬਜਾਈ ॥੨॥ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਲੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਲਮ ਤਾੜੀ ॥ ਕਹਤੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਬਾੜੀ ॥੩॥੭॥: Mundraa moni daiaa kar jholee patr kaa karahu beechaar re..: (To calm the mind from it's Bikaars or noise) make this silence your ear-rings (Yogis ware ear-rings, keep a wallet with them and a begging ball with them), and compassion your wallet; let meditation be your begging bowl. (protect yourself from Bikaars or negativity) make this sewing of the patched coat for you, and take the Lord's Name as your support. ||1|| Becoming the Gurmukh (perfect spiritual being) is Jap, Tap, Sanjam and the enjoyer. Practice such Yoga, O Yogi. ||1||Pause|| Apply the ashes (Yogis apply ash to their bodies) of wisdom to your body; let your horn (Yogis blow loud horns as if to awake the God from deep sleep) be your focused consciousness (on God). Become detached, and wander through the city of your own body; play the harp of your mind (i.e. search God within). ||2|| Enshrine the five Tatvas - the five elements (i.e., the Lord), within your heart; let your deep meditative trance be undisturbed. Says Kabeer, listen, O Saints: make righteousness and compassion your garden within. ||3||7|| (sggs 970).
  • ਕਾਨੜਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਕਹਨ ਕਹਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਕਈ ਕੇਤੈ ॥ ਐਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਬਿਰਲੋ ਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜੋ ਤਤ ਜੋਗ ਕਉ ਬੇਤੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੀ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਏਕੈ ਏਕੀ ਨੇਤੈ ॥ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਸਭੁ ਭਲਾ ਹੀ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਹਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਸਭ ਜੇਤੈ ॥੧॥ ਸੋਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਖੀ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਛੋਡਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਲੇਤੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹੈ ਕਤ ਆਵੈ ਕਤ ਰਮਤੈ ॥੨॥੩॥੨੨॥: Kaanraa, Mahalaa 5 || Kahan kahaaban kaou kaee ketai...: Kaanraa, Mahalaa 5. Many speak and talk (about God, Truth, Source, etc.). But one who understands the (real) Essence of Union (Yoga, ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ-ਮਿਲਾਪ; Realization of Truth, Realization True Consciousness, Realization Joti-svaroopa, Realization of one's True Nature, and so on) - such a humble servant (ਸੇਵਕ) is very rare||1||Pause|| (The one who enjoys such Union with the Universal Essence, Truth, etc.) experiences no pain (ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਕੋਈ ਦੁੱਖ ਨਹੀਂ ਪੋਹ ਸਕਦਾ) - (within) he is totally at Peace (he is Joyful, Happy, ਪ੍ਰਸੰਨ in His Hukam - for him Dukha and Sukha are one and the same). With his eyes, he sees (everywhere) only the One Lord. No one seems evil to him - all (seems) good (to him). There is no defeat (while fighting with his own mind's Bikaars or passions) - he is totally victorious. ||1|| (Such person established in Pure Consciousness) is never in sorrow - he is always happy (within); (he) does not gives this (ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ, Bliss, etc.) up, and (he does not) take anything (in exchange for it). Says Nanak! who becomes such humble servant of the Lord does not come and go (birth and death - repeated suffering). ||2||3||22|| (sggs 1302).

As indicated in the foregoing Shabad, the one who understands the true essence of Yoga is very rare in this world. In other words, one who practices Yoga regularly and do so with a proper understanding of its holistic nature, is very rare. True Unity (Union or Oneness) will come only through our faith in the immense power of the inner Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...).

When we hear the word Yoga, generally what immediately comes into the mind is the Path of Patanjali's eight-fold Yoga (also called Raaj-Yoga) or just a particular component of within the umbrella of Raaj a-Yoga.

Raaj-Yoga (Path of Self Control and Meditation): Eight steps of the Raaj-Yoga as pioneered by Patanjali. The important thing to remember is that all eight steps are significant and are to be followed sequentially, leading to the ultimate realization of Truth. It is said that the first two steps are meant for moral purification, without these no spiritual progress is possible. Also, the first five steps of the Raaj-Yoga are for preparations of the mind for Yoga, which is concentration. The last three steps constitute the application of concentration, which is known as Samyama. In other words, Patanjali grouped the last three steps (Dharnaa, Dhyana, and Samaadhi: 6 through 8 ) under this collective term of Samyama meaning, self mastery. The first five steps when combined with the last three steps of Dharnaa, Dhyana, and Samaadhi, it becomes proper or holistic Yoga. The great ones have described these eight limbs of Yoga as the metaphysical soldiers who aid (only if all steps are followed sequentially) the Yogi or the devotee in his battle with the evil soldiers of his sense-blind mind. These essentials of this Yoga Path are briefly described as follows.

1) Yama: restraints from violence, untruthfulness, non-chastity, stealing, and material possessions. Yama represents the moral power to resist these evil inclinations toward immoral behavior. By observing the moral conduct, the devotee can remove the fundamental hurdle that can block his progress toward Self-realization. On the other hand, breaking the rules of moral conduct will bring the devotee nothing but misery and suffering.

2) Niyama: observances including self-control, developing Virtues like purity (outer and inner) contentment, austerity, religious study, and self-surrender to God. Niyama represents the power of devotees to adhere to purity of the mind, contentment in all situations, self-discipline, contemplation, and single-pointed devotion to God. Thus, combination of Yama and Niyama makes the foundation on which the Yogi can start building his Spiritual life. Both harmonize body and mind resulting in deeper Spiritual practices.

3) Aasan: physical exercise (Hatha yoga) to keep the body healthy and the spinal cord straight in preparation for long periods of meditation. Thus, this third step prescribes the Asana or necessary correct bodily and mental posture for meditation. The correct bodily and mental control enable the devotee to meditate for long period of time without becoming restless. Various of Aasan as have been mentioned in the texts on this particular Yoga system.

4) Pranayama: rhythmic breathing for the control of vital energy through certain regular breathing techniques. It helps concentration of the mind. It is said that Praanyaama represents the vital link between the matter and the Spirit. If this life force is allowed to flow outward, it allures one to senses; if the flow is reversed inward, it pulls the Consciousness to the eternal Bliss (Anand). This metaphysical soldier helps the Yogi to disarm the sense-army of the blind mind.

Sitting still (step 3) and rhythmic breathing (step 4) makes the mind fit for looking inward.

5) Pratyahara: detachment of the mind from the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound) which provide pleasant or unpleasant feelings. Pratyahara, represents withdrawal of consciousness from the senses. Upon attainment of Pratyahaara, the devotee is able to switch off the life force from the senses at will, while the mind and Consciousness are calm and interiorized. This metaphysical soldier helps the devotee to prevent the sense-army from causing sudden scattering of the mind in the material world. This mental exercise gradually slows the rush of thoughts from within to the surface of the mind. All these 5 steps help the mind becoming ready for concentration on one object or on one idea.

6) Dharana: removal of thoughts by concentrating the mind either on one external object or one internal idea upon which to meditate. Repeated attempts during Dharana ultimately lead to emptying all other thoughts. Thus, Dharana or concentration is fixity on the inner conception or object of meditation.

7) Dhyana: meditation. It is an unbroken flow of thought towards an external object or an internal idea. Dhyana or meditation is focusing of the freed attention on Spirit.

8) Samaadhi: super conscious state, which arises from this contemplation as the perception of Divine Union. Through intense practice, meditation turns into Samaadhi. In Samaadhi a person is unconscious of everything about oneself. Even the object of meditation melts away but the vision of the object occupies the entire mind. The knowledge of the object becomes complete. It transcends time, space, and causation; the three elements present during ordinary, sensory experience and are, therefore, beyond the mind's ability to comprehend.

In general, Raaj-Yoga focuses on the subtle body. The ultimate aim is to realize Truth, Pure Awareness, Bliss or Infinite Wisdom within, which is one's True Nature (Joti-Svaroopa). By practicing Spiritual discipline indicated in the SGGS, a devotee in fact brings about a harmonious and desired balance in life.

  • ਗੁਨ ਨਾਦ ਧੁਨਿ ਅਨੰਦ ਬੇਦ ॥ ਕਥਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਮੁਨਿ ਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੰਤ ਮੰਡਲੀ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਾਨ ਦਾਨ ਮਨ ਰਸਿਕ ਰਸਨ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਤ ਤਹ ਪਾਪ ਖੰਡਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਭੁਗਤਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦ ਤਤ ਬੇਤੇ ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਅਖੰਡਲੀ ॥ ਓਤਿ ਪੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਛੂ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਡੰਡਲੀ ॥੨॥੨॥੫॥: Gun naad dhuni Anand beda...: (Singing) the Glory of God is the Sound-current or Naad (of Yogis). The Bliss (Anand) arising from the Celestial Music (singing God's Glory) is the Vedas. (those who have) silenced (their minds noise, i.e., negative tendencies or Bikaars) they join together, in the Realm of the Saints (Saadh-Sangat), sing and listen to this God's Glory ||1||Pause|| Spiritual wisdom, meditation, faith and charity are there (in the Saadh-Sangat); their minds savor the Taste of the Name of the Lord. Chanting it, sins are destroyed. ||1|| This is the technology of Yoga, Spiritual Wisdom, devotion, Intuitive Knowledge of the Shabad and the Essence of Reality, chanting and unbroken intensive meditation. Through and through, O Nanak, merging into the God's Light, they never again suffer pain and punishment ||2||2||5|| (sggs 1322).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਰਾਵੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਜੋਗੁ ॥: Gur man maariyo kari sanjog. Ahinis raave Bhagti Yoga: By uniting with the Guru (God), the mortal conquers and subdues his mind. Day and night, he savors the Bhagti-yoga (sggs 1170).
  • ਇਸਹਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਰਾਜ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Isahi maar raaj jog kamaavai: Killing it (mind or ego), attains Raaja Yoga (sggs 237).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਕੀਨੋ ਰਾਜੁ ਜੋਗੁ ॥: Gur kai bachan keeno raaj jog: Through the Guru's Word, I practice Raaja Yoga (sggs 239).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਪਿ ਜੀਵੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥: Kahu Nanak jap jeevai Giaanee: Says Nanak, the Giaanee lives by meditating on God (sggs 806).

If one reads the entire SGGS thoroughly, he will find reference to Bhagti, Giaan, Vichaar, which essentially indicate to thoroughly understand the Gurbani (Gurmat - Aatam Giaan...). That understanding then has to lived (Karani - implementation, practice, living), etc. All these are mentioned in the SGGS not for the pleasure of reading, listening or quoting. but to sincerely practice in day-to-day living.

Definition of terms as defined in the Gurbani could be different then those defined by others. We will see the difference in the light of some examples from the Gurmat.

Let's take couple of example now. Yogis emphasize on restraints from non-chastity and thus stay Jatee (ਜਤੀ). For that, they would abandon their families, societies, and their household life and move to jungles, caves or mountain tops. Now just imagine until and unless the Haume is removed how can one overcome his lust (lust being the offspring of the Haume)? Once Haume is rooted out, then lust (and other negative tendencies) will also be gone, leaving no need to run away from the woman, the society or the household life! How logical! Therefore, according to the Gurmat, the real ਜਤ is in eradicating the Haume from within. By violent restraints, one cannot become ਜਤੀ. As Bhai Gurdaas Jee says, "Having one women as wife he (the Sikh) is a celibate and considers any other woman his daughter or a sister". Similarly, the Gurmat's definitions of Giaan, Dhyana, Bhagti etc. are very specific.

  • ਇਕਿ ਬਨ ਮਹਿ ਬੈਸਹਿ ਡੂਗਰਿ ਅਸਥਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਪਚਹਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੩॥ ਹਠੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਰੈ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਪਾਠ ਪੜੈ ਲੇ ਲੋਕ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਭਰਮਸਿ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਨ ਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਕੈਸੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੪॥ ਜਤਨ ਕਰੈ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਰਹਾਈ ॥ ਮਨੂਆ ਡੋਲੈ ਨਰਕੇ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਬਾਧੋ ਲਹੈ ਸਜਾਈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਉ ਜਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈ ॥੫॥: Ik ban mahi baisahi ddogar asathaan...: Some sit in the forests, and some make their home in the mountains. Forgetting the Naam, they rot away in egotistical pride. Without the Naam, what is the use of spiritual wisdom and meditation spiritual wisdom (that is used in ਗਿਆਨ-ਚਰਚਾ, scholarly discussions, etc.) and meditation? The Gurmukhs (the true spiritual beings) are honored in the Court of the Lord. ||3|| Acting in stubbornness and egotism, (Truth) is not attained (Realized, etc.). Studying the scriptures, reading them to other people, and wandering around at places of pilgrimage, the disease (egotism) is not taken away. Without the Naam, how can one find Sukha? ||4|| No matter how much he tries, he cannot control his semen and seed. His mind wavers, and he falls into hellish existence. Bound and gagged in the City of Death, he is tortured. Without the Name, his soul cries out in agony ||5|| (sggs 905).
  • ਏਕਾ ਨਾਰੀ ਜਤੀ ਹੋਇ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ਧੀ ਭੈਣ ਵਖਾਣੈ ॥: Ekaa naaree jatee hoi par naaree dhee bhain vakhaanai: Having one women as wife he (the Sikh) is a celibate and considers any other woman his daughter or a sister (Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Vaar 6, Paurree 8).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਭਗਤੀ ਰਤਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Nanak bhagatee ratiaa har har naam samaai: O Nanak, imbued with the Lord's devotion (Bhagti); one becomes absorbed in the His Name (sggs 1414).

Hatha Yoga/Raaj Yoga is associated with rising or awakening of the coiled Kundilini (Praan or energy).

However, the Gurbani indicates the Kundilini uncoils (disentangles, rises, awakens, enlightens, untied, etc.) in the Satsangat. Now, what's Satsangat? Essentially, when the mind has linked (Sangi) with Sat (Truth), that is Satsangat. Obviously the hint here is toward the twisted Budhi (intellect), deluded Budhi, corrupted Budhi, coiled or entangled Budhi, ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਵਿਰਤੀ, ਸਾਕਤ ਵਿਰਤੀ, ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ਵਿਰਤੀ, and so on.

The Gurbani indicates that such twisted or coiled Budhi becomes uncoiled or disentangled in the Satsangat. In other words, "Kundilini" (ਮਨ ਦੇ ਵੱਟ-twists or crookedness of the mind) becomes untangled when it links or associate with Sat (or Truth, which is its Mool, Source, Origin - Joti-Svaroopa...).

  • ਇੜਾ ਪਿੰਗੁਲਾ ਅਉਰ ਸੁਖਮਨਾ ਤੀਨਿ ਬਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਈ ॥ ਬੇਣੀ ਸੰਗਮੁ ਤਹ ਪਿਰਾਗੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਜਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਤਿਥਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਤਹਾ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਗਮਿ ਚੀਨੈ ਬਿਰਲਾ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਤਹਾਂ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਰਮਈਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Irhaa Pingulaa aour sukhamanaa teeni basahi ik thaaee ||..: (Who has Realized the Lord, for him the energy channels of the) Irhaa, Pingalaa and Shushumanaa dwell in one place. (Also, for him) this is the true place of Tribeni (confluence of the three rivers) and Priyag this is where his mind takse its cleansing bath. ||1|| O Saints! The Immaculate (free from Maya) Lord dwells in that State (or awakens within the), (but) rare one who goes to the Guru Gur Gami) Realizes that State. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 974).
  • ਕੁੰਡਲਨੀ ਸੁਰਝੀ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦ ਗੁਰੂ ਮੁਖਿ ਮਚਾ ॥: Kundilini surjhi sat sangat parmanand guroo mukhi machaa: Through the association with Sat (Truth) - Satsangat - the Kundilini unentangles; through the Word of the Guroo, they enjoy the Supreme Bliss. (sggs 1402).

The emphasis of the Gurmat (the Teaching of the SGGS) is to remove the cause of ALL our mental ailments. Once that cause is removed, the symptoms of ALL our ailments will also disappear simultaneously. What is that root cause? As indicated in the SGGS, that root cause is none other than our false ego-sense (Haume, Mayaic Budhi...). All our ailments, negativity, evil tendencies or Bikaars are the offspring of this Haume. Hence, once the Haume is rooted out, ALL evil tendencies (lust, anger, greed, attachments etc.) will also fold their tent and disappear!

2. What is not Yoga?

As time and again indicated in the SGGS, spiritual hypocrisy (Pakhand) is not Yoga. Consider the following verses (and many more in the SGGS) in this context. They speak for themselves.

  • ਪਾਖੰਡ ਕੀਨੇ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Paakhand keene Yog na paaeeai bin satgur alakh na paaiaa: Practicing hypocrisy, Yoga is not obtained; without the Satguru, the unseen Lord is not found (sggs 1043).
  • ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਗਵਾਈ ਹੰਢੈ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Yogi jugat gavaaee handhai paakhand Yog na paaee: (O Pakhandee or hypocrit) Yogi, you have lost the Way; you wander around confused. Through hypocrisy, Yoga is not attained (sggs 909).
  • ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਭਗਵੀ ਕਪੜੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਮੈਲੇ ਵੇਸਿ ॥: Yog na bhagavee kaparree jog na maile ves: Yoga is not obtained by wearing saffron or dirty robes (sggs 1421).
  • ਹਠਿ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਨ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਵਹਿ ਭੇਵਾ ॥: Hath nigrahi na tripataavahi bhevaa: None can satisfy (his mind) through the stubborn (rituals etc.) (sggs 906).
  • ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਡੰਡੈ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਭਸਮ ਚੜਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਮੁੰਦੀ ਮੂੰਡਿ ਮੁਡਾਇਐ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਵਾਈਐ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੧॥ ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਸਰਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੋਗੀ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤਾੜੀ ਲਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਦੇਸਿ ਦਿਸੰਤਰਿ ਭਵਿਐ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਈਐ ॥: Yoga na khintha Yog na dandai....: Union with God (Yoga) is not obtained by puttin on a patched coat; Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by (walking with) the staff (in hand); Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by smearing the body with ashes. Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by wearing the ear-rings, nor by the shaven head. Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by blowing of the horn. (Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga. Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by mere words. One who looks upon all with a single eye (eve vision), and knows them to be one and the same — he alone is known as a Yogi (the one who has attained Union with God) ||1|| Pause|| Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by wandering to the tombs of the dead; Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by sitting in trances. Union with God (Yoga) is not attained by wandering through native and foreign lands or bathing at places of pilgrimage (sggs 730).
  • ਏਹੁ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਿ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਪਰਭਵਣੁ ਕਰਹਿ ॥: Ehu Yog na hovai jogee ji kutanb shod parabhavan karahi: This is not Yoga, O Yogi, to abandon your family and wander around (sggs 909).
  • ਮਤੁ ਭਸਮ ਅੰਧੂਲੇ ਗਰਬਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਾਗੇ ਜੋਗੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥1॥ ਮੂੜ੍‍ੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਤੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕਾਲਿ ਤੇਰੈ ਆਵੈ ਕਾਮ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Matu bhasam andhoole garab karahi...: You fool! How can you have forgotten the Lord's Name? At the very last moment, it and it alone will be of any use to you. ||1||Pause|| Do not make such a show (do not feel proud) of rubbing ashes on your body. O naked Yogi, this is not the way of Yoga! (many so called Yogis rub ashes on their body and remain naked) ||1|| (sggs 1189).
  • ਜਿਨਿ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਦਿਤਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਚੇਤਹਿ ਨਾਹਿ॥ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਮੂੜੇ ਜੋਗੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: Jin jeeou pind ditaa tis chetahi naahi...: He blessed you with body and soul, but you do not even think of Him. You fool! Visiting graves and cremation grounds is not Yoga (sggs 1190).
  • ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜੋਗਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੋਗੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਰੋਜਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ...॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਬੈਠਿਆ ਸੁੰਨਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਭੇੜਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਭਿੜਿ ਸੂਰ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਕੇਤੇ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਧੂੜ ॥ ਲੇਖਾ ਲਿਖੀਐ ਮਨ ਕੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੀਜੈ ਸਾਚੈ ਨਾਇ ॥੨॥ : Mahalaa 1 || Na Bheejai raagee naadee Bedi ...: Mahalaa 1. (God) is not won over by playing music, singing songs or reading (scriptures such as) the Vedas (etc.). He is not won over by Giaan (knowledge, Giaan Charchaa - ਗਿਆਨ-ਚਰਚਾ, etc.), meditation or practicing Yoga. He is not won over by feeling sad and depressed forever. He is not won over by beauty, wealth and pleasures (ਰੰਗ-ਤਮਾਛੇ ਵਿਚ ਰੁੱਝਿਆਂ). He is not won over by wandering naked or (visiting) sacred shrines. He is not won over by giving donations in charity. He is not won over by living alone in the wilderness. (God) is not won over by fighting and dying as a warrior in battle i.e., by becoming a martyr or Shaheed. He is not won over by rubbing dust (to the body - some rub ashes to the body). (one is) judged by the state of his mind. O Nanak, the Lord is won over only by His Name ||2|| (sggs 1237).
  • ਕਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਹਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਜੋਗੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਤਸੰਗਤੀ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਖੋਲਿ ਖੋਲਿ ਕਪਾਟ ॥: Kar bhekh na paaeeai har braham Yog har paaeeai satasangatee oupades guroo gur sant janaa khol khol kapaat: Yoga - Union with God - is not obtained by wearing religious robes; God is found in the Satsangat and the Guroo's Teachings. The humble Saints throw the doors wide open (sggs 1297).
  • ਸੋ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸੋ ਪਾਏ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਕੀ ਨਗਰੀ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵਸੈ ਭੇਖੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਐਸਾ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਿਸੁ ਘਟਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: So jogee jugat so paaye jis no Gurmukh naam paraapat hoi...: He alone is a Yogi, and he alone finds the Way, who, as Gurmukh, obtains the Naam. In the body-village of that Yogi are all blessings; this Yoga is not obtained by outward show. O Nanak, such a Yogi is very rare; the Lord is manifest in his heart (i.e., who has realized God within) (sggs 556).

In nutshell, anything or any activity that keeps one away from the uninterrupted contemplative lifestyle (Naam-Simran, inner Bhagti, Gurmukh Lifestyle...) is disapproved by the SGGS. In other word, if one's spiritual efforts turn into a mere show of empty rituals or Pakhand (hypocrisy), and makes one freeloader is disapproved by the SGGS.

The SGGS emphasizes that even for Bhagti, healthy body and sound mind is important. Therefore, there is no harm in practicing simple exercises and/or Pranayama to improve health and alertness. But, instead of equating them with God Realization, we need to regard them, only for what they are worth, no more and no less.

We are also told by the SGGS that Yoga cannot be attained through merely talking about it; reading books about it; debating about it; scholarships; etc. Here the SGGS points out another type of hypocrisy (Pakhand) about God Realization (Union with God, Self-realization etc.). The SGGS says that such hypocrisy (Pakhand) will not give us the experience of God either.

  • ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Galleen yoga na hoyee: Yoga is not obtained by mere words (sggs 730).
  • ਙੰਙਾ ਙਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮੁਖ ਬਾਤਉ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਰਿ ਭਾਤਉ ॥ ਙਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਦ੍ਰਿੜ ਸੋਊ ॥ ਕਹਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਕਛੁ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਊ ॥: N(g)angaa giaan nahee mukh baatayu. anik jugat sastar kari bhaatayu. giaanee soyi jaakai drir soyoo. kahat sunat kashoo yog na hoyoo: N(g)angaa (an alphabet of the Gurmukhi), Spiritual wisdom is not obtained by mere words of mouth. It is not obtained through the various debates of the Shaastras and scriptures. They alone are spiritually wise, whose minds are firmly fixed on the Self. By just hearing and telling stories, no one attains Yoga, or Union with God (sggs 251).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗਲੀ ਕੂੜੀਈ ਕੂੜੋ ਪਲੈ ਪਾਇ ॥: Nanak galee koorreeee koorro palai paai: O Nanak, from false talk, only falsehood is obtained (sggs 141).
  • ਇਕਿ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਗਲਾ ਗਲੀ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Ik firahi ghanaere karahi galaa galee kinai na paaiaa: Some wander around, babbling on and on, but none obtain Him by babbling (sggs 91).

3. Gurbani On: How to attain Yoga, and Who is Yogi?

Having gone through the other parts of this Reflection, this part becomes rather easy. The SGGS has made it very easy for all of us as to how one can attain True Yoga within, here and now — "(Yoga or Union with God) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga". Consider the following verses.

  • ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਡੰਡੈ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਭਸਮ ਚੜਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਮੁੰਦੀ ਮੂੰਡਿ ਮੁਡਾਇਐ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਵਾਈਐ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੧॥ ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਸਰਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੋਗੀ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤਾੜੀ ਲਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਦੇਸਿ ਦਿਸੰਤਰਿ ਭਵਿਐ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਈਐ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਤਾ ਸਹਸਾ ਤੂਟੈ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਵਰਜਿ ਰਹਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਿਝਰੁ ਝਰੈ ਸਹਜ ਧੁਨਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਘਰ ਹੀ ਪਰਚਾ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੩॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀਵਤਿਆ ਮਰਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਐਸਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਵਾਜੇ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਵਾਜੈ ਤਉ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਤਉ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੪॥੧॥੮॥: Yog na khinthaa Yog na dandai Yog na bhasam charraaeeai...: Yoga is not obtained by puttin on a patched coat; Yoga is not attained by (walking with) the staff (in hand); Yoga is not attained by smearing the body with ashes. Yoga is not attained by wearing the ear-rings, nor by the shaven head. (Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga. Yoga is not attained by mere words. One who looks upon all with a single eye (eve vision), and knows them to be one and the same — he alone is known as a Yogi. ||1|| Pause|| Yoga is not attained by wandering to the tombs of the dead; Yoga is not attained by sitting in trances. Yoga is not attained by wandering through native and foreign lands or bathing at places of pilgrimage. (Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga ||2|| Meeting with the Satguru, doubt is dispelled, and the wandering mind (running towards its Bikaars or negativity) is restrained. Nectar (of the Naam) rains down, celestial music resounds (Sahaj Avasthaa), and deep within, wisdom is obtained (i.e., one unites with his Mool within). (Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga ||3|| O Nanak, remain dead while yet alive — practice such a Yoga. When the horn is blown without being blown, then you will attain the fearless state. (Yoga) is attained by remaining unblemished in the midst of the worldly filth (Maya) — this is the way to attain Yoga. ||4||1||8|| (sggs 730).
  • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧੇ ਅਲਿਪਤ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੇ ॥: Sabh kai madhe alipat nirabaane: In the midst of world happenings, remain detached and balanced in Nirvaana (sggs 102).
  • ਗ੍ਰਿਹਸਤ ਮਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰਬਾਨੁ ॥: Grihasat mahi soee nirabaan: In the midst of your household, remain in Nirvana (sggs 281).
  • ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਨੀ ਵਿਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Says Nanak by the Gur-grace (Grace of the Gur-Giaan, Wisdom…), who are connected with one-pointed consciousness (singule mindedly, ਇਕ ਮਨ ਇਕ ਚਿੱਤ ਹੋਕੇ) they realize (Him) in the midst of Maya (sggs 921).

Prerequisite necessary for spiritual growth of such pure spiritual life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) is indicated to develop detachment (Bairaag), control of the senses and mind, desirelessness, and so on. This emphasizes to show that without self-discipline man cannot engage in Higher pursuits. Naam Simran prepares us for the Divine Union.

One may ask, "how is it possible to live in the midst of the world without desires?". For this it is essential to understand why one gets desires in the first place. Desires arise in the mind due to possessiveness, greed, jealousy, attachments, selfishness, etc.. The Aatmaan is eternal and Blissful (Anand) but instead of identifying himself with it, out of ignorance, man identifies with his body-mind-intellect personality and searches for happiness outside his body. Only when it dawns on him that the sensory pleasures are fleeting that he commences his search for eternal Bliss within and develops a taste for spiritual life. That which we understand as mind will lose its differentiation when desires are overcome. Becoming satiated, once the mind has given up possessiveness, it will also give up desires. The mind can find contentment, fulfillment or satisfaction only in itself. When the limitations imposed by the body-mind-intellect personality are overcome, the mind becomes one with the Infinite (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool ) within. The SGGS indicates that the worldly desires disappear when dispassion (Bairaag) grows.

Clearly, it's not easy to be a true Yogi. The Gurbani tells us exactly who the true Yogi is. The Gurbani indicates that whosoever knows the "ਜੁਗਤਿ" (Way, etc.) to live properly to know the Lord within is a true Yogi.

  • ਸੋ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੋ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: So Yogi jo jugati pashaanai. Gur parasaadee eko jaanai: He alone is a Yogi, who understands the Way (to live life properly to Realize he Lord within). By the Gur-Grace (the Grace of the Divine Knowledge, Aatam Giaan, Gur-Shabad-Giaan...), he Realizes the One (Lord). (sggs 662).

4. Misconceptions with regard to the purpose and meaning of Yoga.

First of all, some probably think that the SGGS disapproves or even condemns Yoga. If the true, holistic meaning and purpose of Yoga is understood, then we will know that its' not accurate to say that the SGGS disapproves Yoga. As indicated throughout the SGGS, the only purpose of this human life is to attain Union (Oneness, linking, etc., with God). That's exactly the true meaning and purpose of Yoga. Then how can one say that the SGGS disapprove Yoga (Union: with the Lord within, who is the Fountain of all Yogas and Knowledge or Giaan)?

  • ਨਮੋ ਜੋਗ ਜੋਗੇ ਨਮੋ ਗਿਆਨ ਗਿਆਨੇ ॥: Namo Yog Yoge namo giaan giaane: Salutation to Thee O Fountain of all Yogas! Salutation to Thee O Fountain of all knowledge!(Guru Gobind Singh, Jaap Sahib 186).
  • ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਤਾ ਸਾਚਾ ॥: Adhiaatm karma kare taa saachaa: Who lives a Spiritual Lifestyle (i.e., practical Spirituality) - he alone is a true (Yogi) (ggs 223).

Truth is that — as time and again indicated in the SGGS — the person who knows the real essence or who has the holistic understanding of Yoga is very rare in this world (the Gurmukh). The path to Realize the Lord is indicated in the SGGS to be very arduous: like racing along the razor's edge or walking along the double edged sword. Who wants to tread such a path? Very rare one indeed! The rest of us (over 99.9 percent category) just talk and take the low road and disapprove everything Good that comes along the way!

There are many misconceptions about Yoga. Why? Although this ancient science of uniting with God Consciousness within originated in India, but it got almost forgotten there. Recently, however, it has rebounded back to India from the West. Most of us are familiar only with this rebound of this science. In the West, as well as in India, the majority associate Yoga with the method of disciplining the body and the mind, gymnastic like feats, indulging in sex and intoxication (Smoking Sulphaa, Gaanjaa etc.). Yoga is not just physical postures (Aasan), mental and breathing exercises, and indulging in sex and intoxicants.

In the view of Spiritual hypocrisy, it is of no surprise to see so many cheaters in the garb of so called Indian and Eastern Yogis, Taantric and mystics pullulating all over India as well the West. They have made the mockery of this sacred science of Yoga. The purpose Yoga is to unite with one's Pure Consciousness (Joti-Svaroopa) within. Today's so called Yoga practice — which involves various sense pleasures, make-show practice of gymnastic like feats, indulging in sex and intoxication — are contradictory to the Yoga's real principles.

What is disapproved by the SGGS is this Pakhand baajee (hypocrisy) associated with Yoga practices. Just as the SGGS emphatically disapproves the Pakhand baajee (hypocrisy) associated with Pakhandee Saadhoos, Saints, priest class, religious scholars (Pandit, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ) empty rituals, religious garbs, other religious paraphernalia etc., the SGGS also disapprove the Pakhand baajee (hypocrisy) associated with Yoga practices. Simply put, what the SGGS disapproves about the Yoga is that which is not Yoga: Pakhand (hypocrisy) associated with practices of joining (Union) with one's Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...)!!

The practice of Yoga can be lumped mainly in two types. One type is responsive and is practiced by people living in the society (while living in the midst of Maya or the "filth" of the world).

The second kind is total withdrawal from social life (including abandonment of one's family, society and go sit on mountain tops or in caves or in forests, and live as freeloader etc.). If we follow the entire spirit of the SGGS, we will agree that it's this second type of Yoga practice not encouraged in the Gurmat (the Teaching of the SGGS) at all.

In addition to the misconceptions discussed above, there are many other misconceptions that exist with regard to the purpose and meaning of Yoga, such as: Yoga is a part of the Hindu religion; Yoga means sitting in exasperating postures for hours at a time; the physical side of Yoga is the most important component (gymnastic like exercises will bring one instant peace and happiness), Yoga is a sport, Yoga is only for women (seeing women in seemingly impossible poses on covers of magazines), everybody must practice the same Aasan, one has to be very agile to practice Yoga, Yoga Aasaa should be practiced out of doors, incense should be burned when practicing Yoga, smoking (or drinking alcohol etc.) is alright while practicing Yoga, Yoga exercises should be practiced in the room with high temperature, Yoga is only for stress relief, Yoga is a quick fix, the mind has to go blank in meditation, Yoga is just a way for us to keep physically fit, etc. The list goes on and on.

Gymnastic like exercises do not lead to Union (Yoga) with Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). As we can see in the first part of this Reflection, exercises are just one component of the Ashtang-Yoga, not a complete or holistic Yoga in itself. Also, often they result in an obsession with the limbs of the body and their roles, because they are self-directed, without the Guidance of the Satgur's Teaching (Gurmat-Aatam Giaan). However, we are time and again reminded in the SGGS that the real Yoga (Union: with God) cannot be attained without living the Satguru's Teaching.

  • ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਜ ਨਿਹਕੇਵਲਾ ਰਿਦ ਕਰਮਣਾ ਬਚਸਾ ॥ ਜੋਗੇਨ ਕਿੰ ਜਗੇਨ ਕਿੰ ਦਾਨੇਨ ਕਿੰ ਤਪਸਾ ॥੪॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੇਤਿ ਜਪਿ ਨਰ ਸਕਲ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਦੰ ॥ ਜੈਦੇਵ ਆਇਉ ਤਸ ਸਫੁਟੰ ਭਵ ਭੂਤ ਸਰਬ ਗਤੰ ॥੫॥੧॥: Har bhagat nij nihakevalaa rid karamanaa bachasaa...: God's devotees are pure in thought, word and deed. What they got to do with Yoga, giving feasts and charity, and practicing penance? ||4|| Meditate on the Lord of the Universe, O man; He is the source of all the spiritual powers and Siddhis. Jai Dev has openly come to Him. In the past, the present and the future He is All-pervasive present ||5||1|| (sggs 526).
  • ਚਾਰਿ ਪੁਕਾਰਹਿ ਨਾ ਤੂ ਮਾਨਹਿ ॥ ਖਟੁ ਭੀ ਏਕਾ ਬਾਤ ਵਖਾਨਹਿ ॥ ਦਸ ਅਸਟੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਏਕੋ ਕਹਿਆ ॥ ਤਾ ਭੀ ਜੋਗੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਲਹਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਕਿੰਕੁਰੀ ਅਨੂਪ ਵਾਜੈ ॥ ਜੋਗੀਆ ਮਤਵਾਰੋ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Chaar pukaarahi naa too maanahi.| Khatt bhee ekaa baat vakhaanehi. Das asattee mil eko kahiaa. Taa bhee jogee bhed na lahiaa ||1|| Kinkuree anoop vaajai. Jogeeaa matavaaro re ||1|| rehaaou ||: The four Vedas proclaim it, but (O Yogi) you don't believe them. The six Shaastras also say one thing. The eighteen Puraanas all speak of the One God. Even so, O Yogi, you don't understand this mystery (of Celestial harp that plays in all beings). ||1|| The celestial harp plays the incomparable melody (in all beings), but in your intoxication, you do not hear it, O Yogi. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 886).

Last, but not least, many think that the Yoga is just Pranayama. Again, as we can see in the first part of this Reflection, Pranayama is just one component of the Ashtang-Yoga, not a complete or holistic Yoga in itself. Pranayama consists of two components - inhalation of the breath and exhalation of the breath. For these two components, the two words used in the Gurbani are "ਖੇਚਰ" (Khechar) and "ਭੂਚਰ" (Bhoochar). Where, ਖੇਚਰ = {ਖੇ-ਅਕਾਸ + ਚਰ-ਚੱਲਣਾ} ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਉਤਾਂਹ ਚਾੜ੍ਹਨੇ; and ਭੂਚਰ = {ਭੂ-ਧਰਤੀ} ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਹੇਠ ਉਤਾਰਨੇ. In nutshell, ਖੇਚਰ ਭੂਚਰ = ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਚਾੜ੍ਹਨੇ ਉਤਾਰਨੇ, or ਪ੍ਰਾਣਾਯਾਮ. The Gurbani says that Pranayama (ਖੇਚਰ ਭੂਚਰ) is "contained in the Grace of the Gur-Giaan".

  • ਖੇਚਰ ਭੂਚਰ ਤੁਲਸੀ ਮਾਲਾ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Khechar bhoochar tulsi maalaa gur parsaadee paaiaa: Some do Pranayama and some wear Tulsi Maalaa ( rosary of sweet basil), but I have found these contained in the Grace of the Gur-Giaan. (sggs 973).

— T. Singh