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Karma Yoga, raja yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga are different paths of sadhana.

Karma yoga is unselfish performance of prescribed duty in complete renunciation of fruits of action. Whatever one does is done as a service to God to appease Him. Karma must be done the best possible way which nobody else can do better. Renunciation of fruits means not expecting a particular result, neither good nor bad. Whatever be the result, he should be content with it, without elation with good result nor dejection with bad result.

Raja yoga involves the eight fold discipline prescribed in Patanjali yoga system. They areyama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. These must be learnt from an adept yogi guru and must be began early when the body is young and strong.

Bhakti yoga is devotion to God. Listening to and singing the glory of the Lord, remembering, serving, worshipping, prostrating, and making friendship and self surrender to the Lord is described as nine ways of devotion. Japa or the repetition of the holy name is the easiest form of bhakti. Raja yoga and jnana yoga which demand severe penance and renunciation are difficult in Kaliyuga. People have weak body and mind because they indulge in unlawful, illegal and immoral activities. For them japa with faith and devotion is the easiest way to salvation. Anybody at anytime, without any prerequisites can do japa.

Yajnanam japa yajno' asmi : I am japa yajna, the best of all yajnas, says Lord Krishna in Gita, Meditation along with japa, that is remembering God constantly while repeating the holy name gives quick results. Even the repetition mechanically, called namochhara, slowly gives good results in the long run. Therefore japa never goes waste.

        God destroys sins of even wicked hearted who unintentionally remember Him. Just as the fire burns even those who unintentionally touch it. Satsanga, the company and service of sages, is an effective part of bhakti, satsanga burns the sins just as the fire burns everything coming in contact with it. It is the best way to purify the heart.

Jnana yoga demands four-fold discipline as prerequisite.

I. The discriminative knowledge of the eternal and the transient.

ii. Aversion to enjoyment of fruits and deeds on earth and heaven.

iii. Discarding fanciful imagination, control of senses, regression from the objects of pleasure, forbearance, contentment and faith in guru & Vedas.

iv. Intense desire for liberation from bondage.

With these qualifications one should approach a realised guru, surrender and serve with devotion and when guru is pleased, he should ask for instructions on Upanishads.

     You must acquire that knowledge by prostrating at the feet of the wise, serving them with devotion and beseeching them for instructions. ( Gita 4.34)

     One should approach with offerings in hand a guru well versed in Vedas and firmly absorbed in the contemplation of the Supreme in order to know the Truth. ( Mundaka up, 1.2.12)


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Last Updated: Sat Dec 25, 2004