Adhyatma Yoga is a Sanskrit term. The word Adhyatma means the highest or true Self, and Yoga means a way or method (literally, a joining or yoking). So Adhyatma Yoga is the method of realising the true Self.
Adhyatma Yoga is closely related to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, which provides a rational philosophy of the nature of human beings and the world. Adhyatma Yoga is the practical means to a direct knowledge of that Reality.
Methods of Adhyatma Yoga
The methods include meditation and related practices. It begins with ethical living based on goodwill to all and the desire to cause no injury to others. The next stage is reflection on the nature of the world and in particular the question of 'what am I?'
Some are motivated primarily by an intellectual interest, for others it is an emotional desire to find harmony and unity. We are encouraged to develop the mind and emotions in balance.
The teachings of non-duality (Advaita) point to a unity and wholeness beyond the apparent divisions between Self and other and the individual and the universal.
When the urge to know the Reality within and around us becomes our primary interest, and we realise that other ways of enquiry cannot overcome the separations, Adhyatma Yoga provides a method of seeking the Reality of our own nature.
The path is in many ways a process of purifying and refining the mind. We need to be able to focus the attention steadily. And most important we need to distinguish between our consciousness, and the contents of our minds. So it is not so much cleverness we need as clarity and discernment.
This is what we develop through meditation and the other practices of Adhyatma Yoga.
Books and Teachers of Adhyatma Yoga
We can learn quite a lot about these methods from books and other sources. However there are times when we need to make careful inner adjustments. For this, the guidance of one who knows the way and the goal is needed. This is why we hear about the need for contact with a teacher from one of the authentic schools.
The founder of Shanti Sadan, Hari Prasad Shastri, was asked by his own teacher to establish a centre of Adhyatma Yoga where the methods could be taught and practised in the traditional way. The centre has continued to do so since then under subsequent Wardens.
More on Non-Duality
If you are doing some regular meditation and reflection on the non-dual ideas, you are welcome to contact us with any questions about the teachings, or for further suggestions about your practice.