What is the Purpose of Yoga? Part III

For the last two days, I’ve been writing about the purpose of yoga.  When I asked that very question, “What is the purpose of yoga?”  I received 174 different responses.  According to one respondent, that was exactly what I should receive because there is no one purpose of yoga.

I’ve also mentioned in the previous posts that you shouldn’t believe me.  Because I went into such depth about it yesterday, I won’t repeat why you shouldn’t believe me here.

In yesterday’s post, I broke the responses I received into three groups:


Bhoga is all about getting what we believe we want—health, wealth, name and fame.


Yoga is not about creating union.  Yoga is Union.  Union already exists.  Exactly how are we supposed to use yoga to create the union that yoga already is?  At best, we might say that the union of yoga helps us recognize the union that yoga is.

It’s easier to just say that yoga is union


This is the tricky one.  This is not the purpose of yoga; rather, this is both the entry way into the purpose and how the purpose of yoga is accomplished.  As Swami Kripalu wrote,

In fact, the real practice of yoga begins only after self-realization.
Swami Kripalu, Science of Meditation, Chapter 9, Section 8
(available at www dot naturalmeditation dot net)

The real work of yoga is that we establish ourselves so firmly as consciousness that we never leave that knowing but why?

The Purpose

Some of the answers which actually touched on the purpose of yoga were: Moksha.  Liberation.  To let go of who we are not.  To accept what is as is.  Oneness.  Freedom.  To be.  To know who I am.  Samadhi.  To choose happiness and love instead of anger and fear.  To be the I am that I am.  Mukti.

The entire purpose of yoga can be expressed in three words:

To be free.  The purpose of yoga is for you to be free.

The purpose of yoga is for you to be free of fear, anger and doubt.

It’s Too Simple

I know, it’s too simple and it’s not esoteric enough but it is true.

Fear is the reason for bhoga.  We want health, wealth, fame and name because, to one degree or another, we’re afraid of life without them.

Fear is the reason we seek to create union.  We fear a life of separation and division.

Fear may or may not be the reason we seek self-realization.  More importantly though, self-realization banishes fear.  When we know the answer to the question, “Who am I?”  fear begins to lose its hold over us.  When we understand the answer to that question—when we have investigated so thoroughly through knowledge and experience that we can never leave it–there is no fear left.

The Guru’s Word

My guru this way: I am at peace with myself as I am and the world as it is.  He also said this:

The purpose of life is to realize who we are and merge with it.  That means union.  That means yoga.  That means love.
.  .  .  .
The objects [that we are seeking love from] are not a problem.  Looking for love, Union, in any object is the problem.
Yogi Amrit Desai, 24 March 2014

It could be said that the purpose of yoga is to be love but that takes quite a bit of explaining.  No explanation is needed to help someone understand the benefits of being free from fear, anger and doubt.

The Gita says (Amrit friends, whose voice did you just hear?)

The blessed Lord said: Arjuna, these are the qualities of one who Latina divine state: fearlessness; a pure-thinking heart; staying on the yoga path of wisdom (no matter what happens); always giving generously; Control of the senses; a life of self-sacrifice; a desire to study scriptures; acceptance of austerities; straightforwardness .  .  .  .  These are the characteristics, Arjuna of a man or woman destined for divine life.
Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3

Don’t Believe

Don’t just believe me and don’t immediately disbelieve me.  Instead work it out for yourself.  Does your purpose for doing yoga, whatever it is, free you from fear?  Fear of being unhealthy.  Fear of separation.  Fear of not attaining moksha.

What if you are a devoted practitioner but you still experience fear, anger or doubt?

Perhaps, that is the very reason you are reading this.  Contact me directly @ ramdas@bhaktihouse.us or leave a comment below.

Jai Bhagwan