In Raghuvansh, poet Kalidas says “Sarir madh yam khalu dharmasadhanam“. That means for acquisition of Dharma or performance of duty, first and foremost importance is given to body. Shruti completes the previous saying. Shruti says that dharma, artha, kama, moxanam, arog yam mooluttama. That means to attain the ultimate goal of human life which is to attain Almighty, health is essential.
If we say that body is the first and foremost instrument to obtain the absolute or even to carry out jobs either small or big in life easily and naturally, it is not enough. Body must have no disease. One should have sound health, satisfied mind, steady intellect and there should be desire in the subconscious mind to carry out job on hand perfectly, All these are essential. A good student, a householder, an engineer, a doctor, a pleader or an advocate, an artist or a social worker can go up different steps in life and attain different goals beautifully, if he possesses disease-less body and sound mind. For proper and sound health, body and mind, Yoga is essential. Mind is the only cause for happiness or unhappiness in human life. Eyes can observe outside world, but mind can only be observed by mind itself. That is why entry in subtle life from the gross life makes it essential to practise Yoga.
Performance of any job calls for deeply quiet attitude of mind, besides having concentration and soundness of mind. All this becomes possible by means of Yoga. If one regularly performs a few Yogasanas, Pranayamas and Dhyana at fixed hours, then such a Sadhana carried out in conjunction with Yama and Niyama will prepare a man in individual discipline, bodily discipline, vital discipline and discipline of senses. With the control of the senses one can attain the unfathomable element which is beyond mind and intellect.
The life we live is not well defined. How can one imagine a life without conflicts? That is why it has been said in Mantras of marriage ceremony: Be careful, not to get pricked while plucking a rose. Paths in life are very hard and we only find difficulties there on. There is no charted path in this desert of mundane world, unknown waves arise, tornadoes strike. In such conditions, Oh Shiva, I pray, “arrange everything well organized”.
In life all times are not alike. Untrained body or mind can get deranged at any moment. Lack of capacity of forbearance and understanding can blow away goodness of human life, juice of life gets dried out. All days cannot be alike. At one time Raja Harischandra travels in Viman (an aeroplane). Same king Harischandra gets to crematory, when on another occasion he gets sold out. However, in such conditions only Yaugic life can provide soundness and tidiness along the roadway. What is the reason for creation of separating walls of egoism and mineness between a husband and a ˜wife, mother and father and children? It points out to paucity of awareness in us. In modern times either in the west or in the east, the entire society has mental tension as its burning problem. Practice of Yoga develops one bodily, mentally and enhances powers of subtle body also. This Yoga can, in short, fulfill all the requirements of self-control, such as general daily life’s essentials like hunger, having no constipation, getting good sleep, not getting easily disturbed and not getting over emotional. Yoga does fundamental work of maintaining humanness in a human being. If a human being has turned brutal it needs to help in pacifying the Tamasic attitude in a human being. Yoga converts Rajasik attitude to Sattvik attitude.
Majority of the people carry on with the understanding and belief that we are all engaged in mundane work, so why should we get involved in Yoga? But really this is not the case. We use vacuum cleaner in standing position, clothes are washed in washing machines while standing, dish washer cleans crockery while we stand, there is standing kitchen, even toilets are having western style seats. So where do you have the occasion to sit with folded knees? Yes, if we go to attend a death gathering, we may have to sit with folded feet. But these days chairs are provided there too! We have hardly any exercise for knees. Again overseas countries mainly consume bread and rice. These varieties also include pasta, pizza and coke providing threefold binding for a Jiva in cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. In this age of high society, high tech, your complaint will also be high. No surprise!
The working of the body is classified in six parts:
1. Respiratory system
2. Circulatory system
3. Alimentary system
4. Genito-urinary system
5. Locomotor system
6. Nervous system
Yogasana and Pranayama practice cast deep impression on all these systems. By the practice of Yogasana and Pranayama equanimity of mind is established in all difficult situations like need for control over emotions, control of anger, instability of mind, putting a stop on emotionalism, mental soundness, capacity to fight diseases etc. But the essential requirement is that, practice should be continuous and regular. With Yogasana, Pranayama and daily meditation common mass of people can avoid many problems of life. Shri Krishna indicates in the Geeta that this subject as above carries no shortcomings. If with sincerity some little practice is continued, it can give enough capacity to fight so many future problems.
Having considered what Yoga is and why one should practice Yoga, we will now go deep to discuss this subject.