Yoga for Transformation
by Dada Shiilabhadrananda
Ananda Marga teaches Tantra Yoga as a transformational tool designed
to give the practitioner deep happiness, a universal perspective
on life, and spiritual awakening. Ananda Marga believes that such
yoga is a resource to be used for the betterment of the individual
and human society.
We are in the midst of a revolutionary change in human consciousness.
More than ever before, we are questioning old values, doubting the
way we have always done things, trying to make sense of a world
which seems to lurch from one crisis to another: oil, food, stock
markets, economy, water.
The remarkable changes that have globalized society in the last
20 years are pushing us towards adopting a new paradigm of living.
Whether it be the field of medicine, social justice, the green movement,
revelations in science or the spiritual renaissance, we are in the
midst of sweeping changes not seen since the dawn of civilization.
Hence the explosion of interest in meditation, yoga, alternative
healing practices, eco-friendly homes and workplaces, strengthening
of local economies, vegetarianism, and a host of other new trends
that are reconfiguring the way we think and live.
In this flux of change and unfamiliarity it would be easy to become
confused and frightened. What is the best education for my kids?
How do I meet my innate spiritual needs when traditional religions
seem to fall short? How can I find kinship and community in an increasingly
fast-paced, individualistic approach to survival?
The ancient holistic tradition of Tantra Yoga is making an increasing
impact in the thinking of people everywhere interested in new ways
of living in harmony with oneself and the world.
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science."
According to the philosophy of Tantra Yoga, the Universe is a resultant
of the interplay between Consciousness and Its Creative Principle.
The Cycle of Creation Cosmic Cycle) is seen to be manifested in
two phases: from the very subtle (Supreme Consciousness) to the
very crude (inert matter) and from the very crude to the very subtle
again. Within this cosmic scheme of things, the human being may
be found on the upper levels of this returning cycle, as he/she
approaches the final stages of the cosmic evolution. As human beings
we are the most consciously evolved beings, although it may sometimes
appear otherwise. It is essential that humans assume full responsibility
for their unique talents and abilities and utilize them for the
advancement of all beings with which we co-inhabit the planet with.
Yogic philosophy states that the creation is the result of the crudification
of invisible, unqualified consciousness by the creative principles
inherent within itself.
These creative principles can be divided into three categories according
to their degree of influence over the consciousness. They are sometimes
referred to simply as "forces of nature", for they exist
at all times in all things and all beings. They are:
• Sattvic (sentient) principle: This
binding quality is the most subtle. It is associated with awareness,
purity, happiness, sensitivity and lightness.
• Rajasic (mutative) principle: This
binding quality is less subtle than the first. It is associated
with change, growth, movement, restlessness and activity.
• Tamasic (static) principle: This binding
quality is the crudest of the three. It is associated with decay,
degeneration, ignorance, death and inertia.
A few examples will help us understand the interplay of these constantly
interacting forces. Did you ever observe a flower? Its beauty, luster
and shine are evidence of the dominance of the sentient force. Its
growth and development from the seed are evidence of the mutative
force. When it begins to decay, shed its petals and whither, this
is the manifestation of the static force.
What about yourself? When you wake up in the morning, you fight
hard to conquer the static waves that dominate your body and mind
– you would just rather sleep more! During the height of the
day, you don’t seem to be able to slow down – the mutative
force is very manifested in you at that time. But when you retire
to view a beautiful sunset or take a walk in the nature, you feel
uplifted by the sentient force that dominates your mind at that
The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yunj, which means "to
unify". The unity envisioned in yoga is a mystical state of
Oneness with all of Creation. It is a rare mental state realized
by mystics, prophets and sages throughout history in many lands.
For some it is considered the highest level of consciousness attainable.
In different cultures it is known by different names: samadhi, nirvana,
satori, salvation, enlightenment and so on.
But Yoga is also a path or methodology leading to the state of Oneness.
Whether we believe we can ever attain those lofty heights, it is
true that many people are benefiting from the many changes that
they experience as a result of a systematic practice of the various
components of the Yogic lifestyle. Some of those components include:
observance of universal ethical principles, practice of asanas (yoga
postures), deep breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration and meditation.
Although Yoga is more commonly understood today as being yoga postures
(asanas), this is only one aspect of a whole spectrum of practices
that gradually and subtly develop us physically, mentally, socially
Some people believe that the emerging relevance of Yoga practice
and philosophy will assist humanity in bridging the gap between
the old and new ways of looking at ourselves and our world.
The Tantra Yoga taught in Ananda Marga is totally compatible with
this emerging way of life. The lessons of meditation in Ananda Marga
are taught freely to anyone interested to learn. Yoga postures,
diet, fasting and a host of other holistic practices are also gradually
introduced to the new aspirant according to his/her capacity and
willingness to understand and incorporate these habits into his/her