Any distinction between "yoga" and "marga"?

pslvax!siva!sadhu at UCSD.EDU pslvax!siva!sadhu at UCSD.EDU
Sat Oct 7 07:57:25 UTC 1995

|Are the four "yogas" known as bhakti, jnana, karma, and raja, actually 
|"margas" and not "yogas"? Should the four paths be properly called 
|bhakti, jnana, karma, and the yoga margas, or is the term interchangable?
|Then, into the above scheme, where do such yogas as kundalini, kriya, 
|hatha, and sahaja fit? Would these serve as subsets of yoga marga?
|Any clarification is greatly appreciated!
|Anshuman Pandey


Here's one point of view:

Any distinction between "yoga" and "marga"?.  Well, yes,
they are not exactly interchangeable, so at least, from the school of 
Saiva Siddhanta, there is.  But they are not exactly distinct either.
Marga is a path or state.  Yoga is union (a state), or also one of many
practices leading to union, and also, one of the margas.  The many
yoga practices can be done within all of the margas, but tend to blossom
in the order of the margas.  Hatha yoga, for example, is part of
good health, for any stage of life, but is also preparation for
meditation in the yoga marga.  

The four margas, or "stages" of the soul's evolution on the path to
enlightenment, which also are called padas, are:

	charya pada:  virtuous living, unselfish service.  includes
	karma yoga, or action without thought of reward.  also called
	dasa marga.

	kriya pada: worshipful sadhanas and joy of communion with
	God.  includes bhakti yoga, or devotional yoga.  also called
	satputra marga.

	yoga pada:  meditation (under the guidance of a guru), 
	includes raja yoga and kundalini yoga practices.  known
	also as the sakha marga.

	jnana pada: the state of the realized soul, the path of

These 4 margas are not alternative ways, but cumulative ones, each
leading to the next.  The Tirumantiram affirms:

"Being the Life of life is splendorous jnana worship.  Beholding the Light
of life is great yoga worship.  Giving life by invocation is external
worship.  Expressing adoration is charya."

Regarding the number four: there are 4 margas but the term marga is used
elsewhere, such as the san marga, or path to truth (which is comprised
of the 4 padas), or the sadhana marga, the path of personal striving.
I speculate that the number 4 reoccurs often because it is useful in
describing many cycles of nature.  For example, the 4 seasons (well,
in india, there are more than 4, true), or the 4 yugas (sat, treta,
dvapara, and kali).  Then there are the 4 ashramas, or stages of individual
life, student, householder, senior advisor, and religious solitaire
(brahmachariya, grihastha, vanaprastha, sanyasa).  And we have
the 4 great dharmas: personal, social, racial, and universal (svadharma,
varna dharma, ashrama dharma and rita dharma).  So it may be said 
there are 4 great yogas, but also, that there are many more than 4.       

And I'm sure that there are many more than 4 points of view on
your question!  This is a case of the mind of man, observing and
organizing natural evolution into a system of classification,
rather than a set of absolutes.

Om Namasivaya

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