The Yoga Tutor

Practicing Devotion

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 461 ]

One who practices this devotion (Isvara-pranidhana) is attempting to remove the obstruction of the 'Essential Self' by the egoism of the human personality.

This is done through the practice of nishkama karma, which is Self-less action and the performance of one's duty without any ulterior, or selfish motive -- which is the essential directive of the Bhagavad Gita.

In the beginning, the primary consideration here is not, in fact, the actual performance of the right action, for the young sadhak will often not know exactly what the will of the Divine is. As Taimni points out in his Science of Yoga:

"It is needless to say that this is a gradual process and for a long time the sadhaka has to work, as it were, in the dark, trying to do scrupulously what he/she think to be right without having any conscious knowledge of the Divine Will, for even if that Will were known, the wayward and uncontrolled personality would not allow it to be expressed freely and fully."

This means that the personality must first be brought under control and the ego subdued. This is a gradual process which unfolds during the practice of nishkama karma, whereby the sadhak eventually develops the ability to know what is the right action to be performed and gains the ability to perform it in the right way, at the right time.

Isvara-pranidhana is a practice that has to be performed in each and every moment. A beginning form consists of some prayers to start each day, or at certain special moments, such as before each meal. This ritualistic offering is the beginning of turning one’s mind toward a Higher Power, the one that lies behind and throughout all that is both manifest and unseen -- that Supreme Universality of Divine Will with which we must strive to attune ourselves.

The yogi then learns to consecrate all his/her actions to the Divine. Though, as Taimni points out, the 'Divine Will' may not be well perceived for quite some time, the effort itself to reach this great ideal gradually removes the obstructions. If the aspirant pursues this ideal with perseverance, they will ultimately succeed in becoming a 'conscious agent' of the Divine. Divinity will be reflected in their every effort -- and thus he/she becomes Divine...


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

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... It is indeed a masterful work."


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