Four Yogas

With regard to the categorisation of various Yogas, the distinction made by Vivekananda, an important disciple of Ramakrishna, is probably the simplest and the most relevant. He said in his "Raja Yoga":

"Each soul is potentially divine.
The goal is to manifest the Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.
Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free.
This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are nothing but secondary details."

In this quotation, "work", "worship", "psychic control" and "philosophy" represent the means of Four Yogas, namely Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga, respectively.

Namely, Karma Yoga utilises the daily work as the means to achieve the higher state of consciousness (Zen may be described as Karma yoga, in this sense); Bhakti Yoga is a Yoga which emphasises the devotional aspects of spiritual seekers: Raja Yoga seeks to achieve inner mental control by spiritual exercise, and Jnana Yoga tries to achieve the universal consciousness exclusively through the real knowledge that our real self (Atman) and the Universal Self (Brahman) are nothing but identical.

Although not one of these four Yogas is superior to the other, Guhen Kitaoka's personal orientation is heavily tilted towards Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.

According to the Guhenian system, the most representative Raja Yogi (practitioner of Yoga) is Patanjali, who established the whole tradition of meditation (a means of mental control), and the most important Jnana Yogi is undoubtedly Shankaracharya, the founder of Advaita (non-dualistic) Vedanta.

Also, in the Guhenian system, NLP, the most progressive communicational psychology, is modern Raja and/or Jnana Yoga, and the two important figures who had had a heavy influence on the advent of NLP, Milton H. Erickson and Gregory Bateson, are the most important modern Raja Yogi and Jnana Yogi respectively.

Copyright ©1996-2000, by Guhen Kitaoka. All rights reserved internationally.