Lesson 5 - What is God? - Yogic Perspective

Any practitioner of Yoga should know the Yogic perspective of God. The God is referred by many names such as Bramhan, Atman, Shiva and so on. Though the names are many the underlying principal remains the same. In Lesson 1 it was mentioned that the final aim of Yoga is self-realization and self-realization is same as God realization. Now we will elaborate on this fact further so as to have clear understanding of Yogic point of view on the subject.

The Yoga philosophy is largely based on Samkhya philosophy. The Samkhya philosophy says that this material world is result of the union of Purusha (soul) and Prakrati (nature). The Prakrati affects everything with its three fold qualities or gunas - Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. However, Samkhya philosophy do not accept existence of God. Yoga on the other hand accepts the concept of God. Yoga says that the God is nothing but a special form of Purusha that is free from all the limitations that the ordinary Purusha has. This also means that we all are "small" form of God. We are bound by the laws of nature whereas God is not. If we learn to expand our consciousness then we can unite with Him. That is what self-realization is all about.

As per Yogis the God is a soul that is free from the "Law of Karma". The law of Karma is often referred as the law of cause and effect. It states that when you perform any Karma (cause) you are bound by its results (effect). Your Karmas are in turn can be Tamasic, Rajasic or Sattvic. If you do Tamasic Karmas then the results will be Tamasic. Similarly results of Rajasic and Sattvic Karmas are Rajasic and Sattvic respectively. To explain in simple words the law of Karma acts like a battery. See the figure below:

As you can see current emerges from the positive pole, crosses the complete electrical circuit and then comes back to the negative pole. The same thing happens with Karma. Whatever Karma emerges from you ultimately comes back to you again. If you perform good Karma the same good Karma will come back to you in some or the other form. Similarly, if you do bad Karma then it will haunt you back. That is why all the religions advice you to do good or Sattvic Karmas. We all are bound by this law of Karma. The God on the other hand is free from this law. Since the God is free from the law of Karma He is also free from pain and afflictions. Yogis also treat God as the ultimate Guru not limited by time dimension.

We always identify an object with a word. For example, when we say word "lotus", we are referring to a specific type of flower. Almost all the things that we know have some equivalent word referring them. We can not visualize or understand things unless we know their name. If you wish to visualize lotus then you mentally say lotus and its image appears in front of your eyes. Similarly, in Yoga even God has a word that expresses Him. That word is Om or Pranava. The Sanskrit letter Om is written as shown below:

The word Om consists of three letters - A, U and M. The sound A represents the waking state; the sound U represents the dream state, and the sound M represents the deep sleep state. Thus Om is encompassing and beyond these three states. In order to understand and realize God one must chant Om mentally. Just chanting is not sufficient. One must meditate on the meaning of the word Om. Practice this meditation regularly and your consciousness will expand.

May the Peace be with you.



Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a yoga mentor, meditation teacher, and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To read more about him go here. More details about his Kriya and Meditation online course are available here.

Posted On : 06 October 2006

Tags : Yoga Patanjali Raja Yoga Ashtanga Yoga Meditation Courses Spirituality