Swami Veda Bharati holds the prestigious title of Mahamandaleshwara in the Swami order of monks. He is also the Chancellor of HIHT University, Dehradun, which was established by Master Swami Rama. He has authored approximately 18 books on Indian spirituality including a 1500 page comprehensive commentary on two of the four chapters of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras. Before taking the vows of Swamihood in 1992, Swami Veda Bharati was known as Dr. Usharbudh Arya.
More than 36 years ago I wrote in one of my books that there are three brands of yoga:
- Hollywood yoga. This is yoga for beauty of face and body for only a youthful look. Spiritual purpose of having a body is completely ignored. Millions of people worldwide are now attracted to this brand of yoga.
- Harvard yoga. This is yoga of intellectual studies undertaken by scholars and scientists (such as academic translations of Yoga yexts, and medical and scientific papers published about the effects of yoga)
- Himalayan yoga. This is our path. It is the yoga of serenity, self-purification, meditation and final self-realization. It is the yoga of the ancient tradition of the Vedas and Upanishads and of the great Masters.
Now I see another three brands of yoga, based on the three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas.
- Tamo-yoga. This is indulged in by those who continue to use mind-altering drugs, thinking that this random firing of neurons is some kind of meditation. Yoga is a misnomer here. It is also the yoga of those who practice some asanas but continue to use foods obtained by violence, alcohol and such.
- Rajo-yoga. This is the commonest form of yoga nowadays. Yoga re-interpreted as fast non-contemplative movements, sometimes accompanied by rajasic loud music. Some forms of these rajo-yogas is practiced in artificially contrived environments that destroy serenity and inner peace. Their product is excitation, not calming effect.
- Sattva-yoga. Yoga of the sattvic minds. In it every movement is accompanied with self-observation, quiet breath rhythm, a preparation for meditative state, then leading to practice like yoga-nidra and deep meditation. It requires also emotional purification so that serene sentiment becomes one's natural state.
I urge the seekers to look for the sattvic Himalayan yoga with a clear goal of finding inner calm, a pure self, a contemplative life style.