Why do all main scriptures on Yoga emphasize the need to learn this science and its techniques from a proper teacher or Guru?
– question asked by Swami Purnachaitanya, International Faculty – Art of Living (Disciple of Sri Sri Ravishankar ji, Founder AOL)
Acharya’s Reply –
Beloved Swami Purnchaitanya,
It is really good to see this humility in asking this question in open forum. Although the questions are asked to seek, know and correct our understanding and not just to know the views.. but you say, ‘I know the answer’. And I think it would be really great for the forum to be blessed with your knowledge. It is my request please do write your own views about this subject matter for the benefit of all.
Many people have already replied to this question and the gist is very much common everywhere… i.e. Yoga should be learnt from a Yogi, personally face to face because he knows the needs of disciple and engages in corrections then and there before its too late. This is definitely correct but if we are discussing Yoga then we should listen to the Vedic rishis more than anyone because it is they who have invented it. They kept on-passing this knowledge verbally (through the ways of shruti) to their successive disciples.
All I am saying – Vedas can only provide us with the uncontaminated knowledge on Yoga (albeit only through a teacher). BUT (and this is a big BUT!) even the teacher needs books to become a teacher. Someone who is teaching physics at Oxford learnt it from different teachers of physics who were referring to some ‘Book’. (I don’t think anyone would have ever come across a physics teacher who did not refer to an authentic Physics book) Here in the case of Yoga.. these books are called ‘Shaastras’. And which shastras? Undoubtedly the most authentic books on Yoga can be Upanishads.
Those who have access to some of Upanishads, please read Yogakundalyopanishad and in chapter 2 of the same go to shloka number 10 and 11. Which says the following –
शास्त्रम् विनापि सम्बोधुं गुरुवोऽपि न शक्रयुः |
तस्मात्सुदुर्लभतरं लभ्यं शास्त्रमिदं मुने || कृष्ण यजुर्वेद, योगकुण्डल्योपनिषद २/१०||
Which literally means ‘Without books (shastras) even Gurus can not give you knowledge of Yoga. Shastras are ultimate yet O Muni, the shaastraare rare too.’
यावत् लभ्यते शास्त्रं तावदां पर्यटेद्यतिः ।
यदा संलभ्यते शास्त्रं तदा सिद्धि करस्थिता ।। कृष्ण यजुर्वेद, योगकुण्डल्योपनिषद २/११॥
It is further said “One should keep roaming in the search of such a sharstra till one finds it because when a shastra (a guru with shashtra or we can take it as a Guru who teaches from an authentic book) is found the success (siddhi) in Yoga becomes too easy to attain.
In Yoga, the Guru is extremely important BUT the more important is what he teaches you must come from an authentic book (Vedic shashtra). If Gurus don’t follow authentic books and start mixing their own self-invented techniques in Yoga – then the disciples are most likely to be doomed.
We can further deliberate on this subject if you have any questions and I would be happy to bring forth all the experience and knowledge for everyone here which I have gained in benign company of my Yoga Guru Paramhamsa Shri Shri Shri Balendu ji Giri Maharaj.
– Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath
The above question was asked by Swami Purnachaitanya ji on a public discussion forum – Quora