CD3 Track 3: The Branches of Yoga

We understand that there are several branches of Yoga such as Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga. The branches of Yoga are mentioned in Bhagavad Gita and people separate the teaching. They hold onto only one branch of yoga and think that it is the whole tree. But actually it is not.

Someone will say that I am practising Karma Yoga, and understand this to be whatever they are doing in their daily life, such as cooking, gardening, cleaning, and so on.

Someone else will say I am practising Jnana Yoga. They study and read spiritual books. They learn large parts of the spiritual texts off by heart and say, “Now I have knowledge.”

Another person will say I am practising Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. They are doing bhajana, kirtan, (spiritual devotional chanting & praying to God) and understand that yoga is complete in that. Christianity is also based on Bhakti Yoga, because there is a prayer, “Oh Lord you are everything and everywhere, we are a sinner and you have to purify us.” So this is in the Bhagavad Gita too.

The Kriya Yogi understands that there is no separation, and sees the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita as a whole. What God has shown in the path of Gita: Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, we can see that these all come one after the other. There are many branches, and once we have knowledge of all the branches, we come to the tree itself, and to its root. The human body is also like a tree – but we say we are like an upside-down tree – there are many branches in the body and the spine is the trunk of the tree, and our roots are not down in the earth, but they take us in an upward direction.

So for the Kriya Yoga practitioner, Kriya Yoga practice itself in the first step is Karma Yoga. After that, the knowledge or wisdom that we gain, and the understanding of what we are doing and what we are doing it for, that is known as Jnana Yoga. Finally, to see our Self everywhere that is known as Bhakti Yoga. And that kind of person understands that God is omnipresent and omnipotent. These are the last stages of Kriya Yoga. And there is even more after.

Yogi Prakash Shankar Vyas (Guruji)