The various branches of Yoga

Each branch of Yoga is but a path leading toward the one end-unfoldment, development, and growth. He who wishes first to develop, control and strengthen his physical body so as to render it a fit instrument of the Higher Self, follows the path of “Hatha Yoga.”

He who would develop his will-power and mental faculties, unfolding the inner senses, and latent powers, follows the path of “Raja Yoga.” He who wishes to develop by “knowing” – by studying the fundamental principles and the wonderful truths underlying Life, follows the path of “Gnani Yoga.” And he who wishes to grow into a union with the One Life by the influence of Love, he follows the path of “Bhakti Yoga.”

But it must not be supposed that the student must ally himself to only a single one of these paths to power. In fact, very few do. The majority prefer to gain a rounded knowledge and acquaint themselves with the principles of the several branches, learning something of each, giving preference of course to those branches that appeal to them more strongly, this attraction being the indication of need, or requirement, and, therefore, being the hand pointing out the path. It is well for everyone to know something of “Hatha Yoga,” in order that the body may be purified, strengthened and kept in health in order to become a more fitting instrument of the Higher Self. It is well that each one should know something of “Raja Yoga,” that he may understand the training and control of the mind, and the use of the Will.

It is well that everyone should learn the Wisdom of “Gnani Yoga,” that he may realise the wonderful truths underlying life – the Science of Being, the scientific and intellectual knowing of the great questions regarding life and what lies back of life – the Riddle of the Universe. And it is well that everyone should know something of “Bhakti Yoga,” that he may understand the great teachings regarding the love underlying all life. The man best calculated to make general advancement along occult lines, is one who avoids running to extremes in any one of the branches of the subject, but who, while in the main following his own inclination toward certain forms of “Yoga,” still keeps up a general acquaintance with the several phases of the great philosophy. In the end, man must develop on all his many sides, and why not keep in touch with all sides while we journey along. By following this course we avoid onesidedness; fanaticism; narrowness; shortsightedness and bigotry.