upaya svarupam

upaya svarupam — The Means to God-realization. The process by which one works towards a spiritual goal is known as yoga, which means to yoke or to join. It indicates the unification of the seeker with the sought. The Veda declares tat tvam asi — “Thou art that which you seek”. So Yoga should not be thought of as a process whereby the remote becomes attainable but rather as a process whereby obstacles and hindrances to the revelation of our true and natural state of being are removed. This process of self-realization is also called upaya — which means “a methodology”. Yoga is the procedure whereby one achieves insight, wisdom and enlightenment. The Bhagavad Gita is the handbook par excellence of Yoga in which the three principle upayas (processes of Yoga) are taught.

They are:-

1. karma yoga - yoga of action done without interest in rewards.
2. jñana yoga - yoga of knowledge and meditation.
3. bhakti yoga - yoga of devotion

These three apply to the perfection of action, intellect and emotion respectively. To these the Srivaishnava acharyas add another one:

4. shadanga yoga (sharanagati) — the path of self-surrender.

The Tengalais place even greater emphasis on:

5. acharya abhimana — taking refuge in a Spiritual Preceptor.

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