WHEN WE FIRST discover Adhyatma Yoga—the Yoga of Self-knowledge—it is reasonable for us to ask: ‘There are so many forms of yoga. Is the Yoga of Self-knowledge just another variation to add to the range?’ The answer is: No. The Yoga of Self-knowledge is an ancient teaching. There are grounds for regarding it as the root of all subsequent forms of yoga.
As we will see, its emphasis is not on the physical postures—valuable as these may be for our physical well-being. The Yoga of Self-knowledge is more concerned with bringing order and harmony to the inner life of our mind. Meditation is a key practice to lead our mind to this tranquillity. Then we will find that in this serenity, a deeper knowledge is uncovered within us. This knowledge relates to the ultimate nature of our being.
The word Adhyatma means that ultimate nature. It translates as our ‘higher Self’. This is our ‘I’ as it is in itself, without the ideas superimposed onto the ‘I’ by our thoughts. And the I, contemplated in this way, is realised to be infinite, boundless, one in all.
This deeper knowledge is liberating because it reveals our true identity. We find that our ‘I’ transcends our mortal body and our fluctuating mind. It is ever pure, ever free, ever illumined.
All yogas are practical teachings. They involve making active efforts. If we apply the practices and techniques of the Adhyatma Yoga, we will have in our hands the most effective form of self-help that we have so far encountered in our life.
The goal of this higher Yoga is nothing less than full inner illumination. It is as valid now as it was in ancient times. This illumination means lasting fulfilment through Self-knowledge. It is not a new stream of knowledge, but a recognition of the intrinsic freedom of our being and consciousness. Our ultimate destiny is to realise this Truth.
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