Yog is a rigorous sadhana. It is constant practice and if there is a break, you have to start all over again. Keep the ego in check, maintain detachment from the physical, and practice single-pointed focus on stilling the mind. Different kinds of yog cater to different sorts of people with all kinds of desires. For the beginner who comes with lots of desires is Gyan Yog. Other forms of yog like Hath Yog and practices like Sanatan Kriya are for those who can take a guru but also have desires. Within yog’s various forms, the most difficult is Bhakti Yog. There is none above it because it is nishkam and poorna—the yog meant for the adept.
In Bhakti Yog is complete surrender to the guru; no scope of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ exists. A guru could be a book or a stone or a human being in which you have 100 per cent confidence and through which energy is channelised into you. If the guru is human, and has a human body, is something lacking? The problem in Bhakti Yog is that when a human being is the guru, you see the weaknesses and demerits first. Complete surrender cannot happen because that thought stays in the mind. At that time, most sadhaks discount their experiences, undermine them and give predominance to the physical aspects of the guru, which is a sure gateway to perdition.
Whenever you think of your guru in the physical form, you end up interpreting him or her in your own way. Since it is your interpretation and not the guru’s, and you are full of so many failings, your weaknesses are reflected in your guru who is like a mirror for the shishya. Once you start seeing weaknesses, you start doubting the guru. Bhakti Yog is so dangerous that even if the slightest doubt occurs in your mind once, it is considered disrespect of guru (guru niradar) and years of sadhana go waste. It also happens when you have a guru but you go somewhere else looking for solutions. A guru is not for your convenience; today this is convenient so you are here and tomorrow some other place is better, so you go there. This does not happen in any yog, leave aside Bhakti Yog. If you consider someone a guru and he or she asks you do something, but you start looking elsewhere (“let us try that instead”) then it is deemed guru niradar. If you have a guru whom you have asked for something, then it will happen. If not, something is lacking either in your guru or in your guru bhaav. If it is the latter, then delve within and trace what is lacking.
Bhakti Yog’s power ensures that something you wish for, say or try to do happens. But it is also the most difficult of all yogs. Remember the ones who practiced Bhakti Yog—Meera, Hanuman, Prahlad, Draupadi, Meghnath, Shravankumar and the Paanch Pyaare of Guru Gobind Singh. Take one wrong step, and the results of yog of myriad years comes to naught. In Hath Yog, there is forgiveness but in Bhakti Yog there is none.
There are misconceptions about yog, that being in yog means doing nothing, that if ‘one has bhakti, automatically everything will happen’. It does not. In bhakti, you do not see anything except the sadhya. Bhakti Yog does not mean you are given instructions, instead you are merged in ek tattva completely and your bhaav is selfless.
Yogi Ashwini is the spiritual head of Dhyan Ashram.