Choose the Yoga path that best suits you, and you choose the way to know God.
The philosophy of Yoga tells us that the root cause of our sorrows and suffering is loss of contact with our true Self. Our recovery is only possible by reestablishing contact with our innermost Self, the Reality of all realities, and by recognizing that knowledge of Self is our salvation.
In this comprehensive guide, Swami Adiswarananda introduces the four spiritual paths of Yoga—Karma-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Raja-Yoga and Jnana-Yoga—and what you can expect as an aspirant on each path. Covering the message and practice of each of the Yogas as well as philosophy and psychology, preparatory practices, common obstacles and ways to overcome them, this accessible book will prove invaluable to anyone wishing to follow a Yoga practice in order to realize the goal of Self-knowledge.
In America, Yoga is primarily understood as a series of physical exercises. But in this book, Adiswarananda, a monk who follows the influential 19th-century guru Ramakrishna and teaches in New York City, unpacks with clarity the spiritual systems of Yoga. A Hindu philosophy, Yoga is intended to bring about union with God. Within Yoga are differences in understanding and practice, so Yoga encompasses diverse ideas and ways. The author systematically examines the four types of Yoga referred to in the title, using the same organizing concepts (philosophy, psychology, practices, obstacles) so that differences and similarities among the paths can be clarified, even about such heady topics as "ultimate reality." Along the way a good deal of the Hindu understanding of God and human nature is translated, literally and figuratively, into Western-friendly ideas and terms. ("Meditation is not relaxation, as is often thought nowadays.") Sanskrit terms are explained in a glossary. Characteristic of explanations of philosophy, the text tends toward lecture-like dryness, even while clear. A guidebook rather than a how-to, this would make a good reference for students of Eastern spirituality.