We rejoice that yoga is popular today, with yoga studios popping up everywhere. Regrettably though, it is usually presented as only a system of physical exercises that promotes health and reduces stress. This is certainly one of its valuable facets but, as Prabhuji, His Holiness Avadhūta Bhaktivedanta Yogacharya Śrī Ramakrishnananda Bābājī Mahārāja makes clear in Yoga—Union with Reality, yoga is much more than its physical aspect and “influences each and every aspect of the human being.”
It is heartening and refreshing to note that Prabhuji is not shy to relate yoga to Hinduism. As he states in Yoga—Union with Reality,
“Yoga is a system totally dedicated to bringing Hinduism to the realm of practice, thus existentially fulfilling the integral transformation to which it refers… It is not possible to accept the spiritual aspect, while denying the religious roots of yoga, which eventually forms part of Hinduism, the Vedic religion. Yoga is nothing less than one of the six darśanas, the principal orthodox schools.”
One among many fine themes that Prabhuji develops in this work is the relevance yoga brings to bear on contemporary concerns such as global warming. He skillfully depicts how, from the perspective of yoga, we are a part of the greater whole. As Prabhuji states in his book, “The meaning of the term yoga is ‘union’; however, it should be understood to imply a certain harmony or cohesion within a holistic vision of man, the world, the universe, and life.”
Yoga being so vast and deep, it is quite a challenge to encompass it all within a few words. We feel Prabhuji has succeeded with this superb statement: “… any conscious intention to shift from the animal toward the Divine, from the beast toward the transcendental in you, is yoga….”
Yoga—Union with Reality is a remarkable book, effective in clarifying many misconceptions about yoga, in delineating its broadness of perspective, and in sharing the precious insights of one who has practiced yoga in its fullness.
His Holiness Sad-guru Bodhinātha Veylansvāmī
163rd preceptor of the Nandinātha-sampradāya’s Kailaśa-paramparā