Understanding Bhakti, Karma, Jana & Raja Yoga
Swami Vivekananda said, “All streams of Yoga lead to the same goal.
Do it by work (Karma Yoga), worship (Bhakti Yoga), philosophy (Jyana Yoga) or psychic control (Raja Yoga) by any one or two or all of these and be free”.
- Karma Yoga – the yoga of action and selfless service.
- Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of devotion.
- Rāja Yoga – the yoga of meditation.
- Jñāna Yoga – the yoga of will and intellect.
The four paths of yoga have been in existence from the time yoga originated. However, in the past, only one of these paths was in focus at a given time.
The Bhagavad gita discusses the four paths of yoga to an extent. Shankara focuses mainly on jnana yoga, Ramanuja has focused only on bhakti yoga. Patanjali’s yoga sutra mainly emphasized the importance of raja yoga.
Karma yoga was not known till the 1890s, when Swami Vivekananda spoke extensively about the four paths of yoga in his teachings worldwide.