YOGA BHRASHTA: FALL IN YOGIC GRACE - eArticle by Shameem Akhtar

Yoga Bhrashta: Fall in Yogic Grace - eArticle by Shameem Akhtar - IdeaIndia.Com

Yoga warns against a fall from grace when we waver from our intense awareness of its goal of self-purification and self-realisation

Shameem Akhtar

Free eArticle to read online


Yoga is a path mapped for the spiritual seeker. As in any path, you may trip or get lost if you forget the original destination, of self-realisation. The one who falls from yogic grace is referred to as yoga bhrashta. Yogic texts warn against many traps along this tricky path. Just as in a game of snake and ladders so too in yoga, after having gained immensely both physically and spiritually, one may pitch headlong, descending right back to where one started. The reasons for the fall may vary. But the descent is an actual spiritual event that may be prevented only through extreme vigilance.

This yoga is difficult to win, but easy to lose, the ancient Indian texts called Upanishads warn us. The legendary tussle between Sage Vishwamitra and Sage Vashishtha may be cited as a good example of how yogic tapas (or austerity practices) may not necessarily add up to your karmic balance. Here it is Vishwamitra who grazes the fate of becoming a yoga bhrashta ever so often. Vishwamitra was born a king, kshatriya, who yearned to become a self-realised ascetic like Vashishtha. He is often seen manipulating incidents just so he may pit his yogic powers against Vashishtha. Invariably, he always loses. Finally, it dawns on him that despite his stupendous yogic prowess he will always stumble on one big block that he is yet to vault: his ego. In fact, it is his ego that prods him into these yogic and spiritual jousts. Vashishtha does not seek to fight because he has nothing to prove.

But Vishwamitra’s burning ambition to be the greatest Brahmarishi (the highest ranking amongst Indian sages) is what is stopping him from becoming one! So to win, he must not fight! At this point, when his ego recedes Vishwamitra’s yoga blossoms fully, so he does finally become a Brahmarishi. This halts his regression in yoga. Then, his glory gets the stamp of immortality as he becomes the creator of the most powerful mantra in Indian spiritualism, the Gayatri.

Shameem Akhtar: a certified yoga shiromani with the internationally-acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada), she is also a certified yoga acharya (advanced level in teacher's training in hatha yoga) with them. (Both courses are set in ashram atmosphere with yoga training and practice extending from pre-dawn till night-fall). She has done the Sadhana Intensive course (also with the Sivananda Institute, at its Uttarkashi branch) which includes nine hours of yoga daily (with the majority of this focused on pranayama or breathing practices). She is also a certified yoga teacher with the Chennai-based Asana Andiappan Institute for yoga and naturopathy, and a certified yoga shiromani and yoga acharya with the Chennai-based Shiva Yoga Institute. She is also certified practitioner, trainer and master trainer in Neurolinguistic Programming (the latest buzzword internationally in mindpower training) with the US based American Federation of NLP, and was trained by the founder himself, Dr William Horton.


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