Yoga – Blueprint for Perfection

Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Bombay, February 1963

What is the need for the International Yoga Fellowship Movement?

The need for the revival of yoga can hardly be overstated. Yoga presents a panacea for all the mental, moral and material ailments of the inner and outer world of man. Yoga is more relevant today than ever before. The International Yoga Fellowship Movement exists and has come into being to emphasise and satisfy the need for a yogic culture. It has a special significance because it is not conceived to be one of the sporadic and piecemeal endeavours which are popular today, but a systematic and progressive movement.

What kind of yoga does the fellowship seek to propagate?

Yoga is not a methodically divided, neatly labelled compact body of practices. The various designations such as hatha yoga, raja yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga and kriya yoga do not indicate different kinds of yoga. The difference is only in degree. Each type of yogic practice is useful to an aspirant at different stages of progress in sadhana. However, we do not wish to propagate a yoga synthesis. Its forms are purely distinct and need to be so maintained. We cannot have a synthesised yoga as we have a synthesised drug. So, in the International Yoga Fellowship the word yoga stands for homogeneous values with heterogeneous ways of obtaining them.

Why this emphasis on yoga? Why not start a movement for the renaissance of vedic knowledge or a revival of ancient values, both cultural and philosophical?

To my mind, yoga is indeed the quintessence of both Indian philosophy and culture. However narrowly it may be understood, yoga is a philosophical system and an applied science as well. Moreover, much of what yoga has to say about the body and mind of man is today being borne out by scientific research. Academic knowledge of Indian philosophy can hardly serve the needs of the average person who wants to lead a better, happier and more progressive life. In fact, it is not the task of philosophy to enable man to do so. It is this dual aspect of yoga, which renders it a most desirable and important element of our culture, that needs to be revived.

Is yoga a program, a method or a philosophy?

Yoga is a blueprint for perfection. You can consider it from all three standpoints. It is a program in so far as it assumes the shape of a movement with definite aims and objectives. It is a method in the sense that yogic kriyas are methodical and pure. Whatever your spiritual orientation may be, yoga can always be very useful. Few methods of self-realization are so universally valid and practical as yoga. I am tempted to say that yoga is the only modus operandi for self-realization.