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Q & A: Is Karma yoga, Gyan Yoga difficult than Bhakti of Swami Samarth?
What kind of restrictions a person needs to apply while doing KARMA SADHANA OR GYAN SADHANA OR YOG SADHANA? I have been doing Shree Akkalkot Swami Samarth seva for 15 years. I am reading one book called "Shalakadarshan" on Swami Samarth written by Mukund Hanumante. He is very favorite devotee of Shree Swami Samarth. In that book, it is written that "Karma, Gyan and Yog marga are not easy to follow for common human being. Person has to do lots of meditation, pranayam, follow difficult rules etc. Especially Yog marg is very difficult." Will you be able to explain about yog marga? Is it same like yoga? Is YOG SADHANA very difficult to implement? Book says Naamsamaran is the easiest route to achieve God. Anyone can take naam anytime, anywhere. Devotee should not leave doing this sadhana at any cost. While doing sadhana, devotee may face some difficulties, but he/she should trust on Shree Swami Samarth and continue naam jap. Author had also mentioned about Bhakti marg. He had also mentioned that devotees find very difficult to do all other yoga, but Naamsamaran is easiest one among them. I have another question. I was experiencing one thing. I used to see "Maal" in Swami Samarth's photo, while doing naamsamaran. What is the meaning behind it? Have you heard about it?

Swapna (Name changed), USA

Devotion towards Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth

It is great to hear your details and your devotion towards Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth. In my view, you are doing absolutely great on the path you are on and you don't need to do any other yoga at all. What you are following is the Bhakti yoga which is the supreme yoga and the followers of this yoga are the most loved people by the God. All other yogas are for the people that do not have Bhakti within them (love or devotion without any expectations towards the God) and have more doubts towards the God than the Bhakti but still want to understand and attain the God.

Now, let me first repeat few statements that I mentioned in my answer to another devotee of Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth.

The only thing you need is a very clear understanding that you are progressing in the right direction and that Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth is always with you as long as you are in anusandhan with Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth. The path that we are traveling is probably of several lives (for some seekers of God it might be a shorter one), therefore, we as the sadhaks need to be patient and not get distracted if we do not see the expected signs or get the experiences that we expect on our journey to the God. Bhakti-yoga is the supreme yoga that the God loves the most. In my view, you absolutely do not need any help from anyone in this world. I consider Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth as an incarnation of Dattatreya (called Purnavatar in Marathi). Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth is already helping you on your path from mumukshu to sadhana and he WILL continue to do so. Let there be no doubt about this in your mind.

Naamsmaran, Meditation, Devotional reading, Anusandhan of Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth

Continue to do your naamsmaran, Keep reading about Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth as much as you can. That will bring stability and direction to your thoughts. You can do every effort that will help you increase your faith in Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth. Do your best in doing Anusandhan – the awareness of his presence in everything you do. Try to increase the duration of this Anusandhan – the duration of time when your mind is aware and thinking of Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth. Always remember, every moment he is with you as long as you are able to stay in his anusandhan. He is away from you only when you are away from him (technically in those situations too he is there behind you, but this situation is like you are trying keep him away from you.) Do every effort to raise your level of sattva guna. (naam jap or naamsmaran, spiritual readings, meditation and most important ‘Seva’ at one of the Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth temples near your place – this is the best of all.) Have absolute faith that Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth that he is never away from you (absolutely never). More details about devotion towards Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth

Now, going beyond the Bhakti yoga:

Karma yoga, Gyan yoga, Hatha yoga, Siddha yoga, Laya yoga

Here are my thoughts about your question on yoga sadhana

In my view, there are various yogas by which person can attain God. Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga, Gyan yoga, Hatha yoga, Siddha yoga, Laya yoga ....and there are many more traits of it. Ultimately, they all are founded on the same principal of attaining the God (increasing sattva guna removes the maya – veil of ignorance, and helps in detachment from desires). The only difference being their approach (path) towards the God. Which yoga to follow (or the combination thereof) entirely depends on the individual sadhak (seeker of the God) based on their interest and inclination towards each individual path.

All yogas (Karma, Gyan, Bhakti, Hatha, Siddha, Laya) are complementary to each other

Having said this, if you feel like doing other yogas there is nothing wrong about it and with your background of Bhakti yoga they are not difficult either. In fact all the yogas are complementary to each other. Yoga does not have rules and regulations. It is all about trying to progress towards the God with ones abilities. God does not put any rules of our travel. He just helps us to move forwards from wherever we are. Every individual is absolutely a different combination of Gunas (Raja, sattva and Tamas) According to their gunas a person will have various interests, inclinations and desires in the life. So if you feel doing Karma yoga (doing karma without attachment and expectation of fruit) you can always try it in your daily life and actions. At the same time remember, when you feel Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth is behind your actions you are already doing Karma yoga. What you need to practice more is detachment from the fruits of your actions. When you feel the result of your actions is the prasaad offered by Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth you are already following the Karma yoga. (It is extremely easy to say but most difficult to follow in real life.) When you are trying to understand about other paths you are already trying to do the Gyan yoga. It is more about being yoga of “awareness”. Here again the “anunandhan” is the form of the Gyan yoga. Kundalini yoga or siddha yoga is more meditative and the followers of Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth do the meditation too. During that period of meditation they are following meditative yoga anyway.

In short, in all the paths (except bhakti yoga) understanding the technicality of the God certainly helps (though it is not necessary) – It is again an individual’s choice which path to follow. But overall understanding the concept of the god always helps in the progress of an individual.

You mentioned” “I used to see "Maal" in Swami's photo, while doing naamsamaran. Wht is the meaning behind it?”

It is the effect of “devotion” within you. I feel you should consider this as a sign of your progress (sign in the path to the God) and that is great. At the same time we should not try to draw meaning out of it …that means we should not try to connect this to the material life that we live in because God is just helping to take you away from the world of Vikar, Maya and Desires. [What are Vikars? - Kama (Lust), Krodh (Rage or uncontrolled anger), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment or emotional attachment) and Ahankar (ego)], Maya – where veil of Ignorance prevails - is a stupefied state of mind which we call as Mudhavastha.

Always remember, the experiences on the any road are just the signs on the road. It is the job of the driver to look at the signs. You are a traveler; you don’t need to look at the signs. You have most skilled driver (your faith in Sri Akkalkot Swami Samarth) that is capable to take you to your destination.

Hope this helps.

Thank you.
Mahendra Joshi

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Q & A: Is Karma yoga, Gyan Yoga difficult than Bhakti of Swami Samarth? Topics: God and Yoga

Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of body, mind and soul. Everyone should follow one Yoga as their primary Yoga (based on their character). Then we must combine Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyan Yoga. This “Yoga Synthesis” will lead one to the God.
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Kundalini Yoga is also known by the names: Siddha Yoga, Sahaj Yoga, Shaktipat Yoga, Maha Yoga, Shakti Yoga or Kriya Yoga