Yoga etymologically is explained as the “union”. Union means or implies the ‘coming together’ of more than one entity. Philosophically it is explained as the coming together or convergence of Jivatma and the Paramatma. It is also explained as the dropping of the ‘curtain’, the sense of separation, thus realising the ultimate.
Tradition gives the analogy of ‘ghatakasha’ and ‘chidakasha’. In other words, it is about realising that the space inside the pot is the same as the space enveloping it. The sense of separation exists due to the layer of the pot which is causing this sense. Once the mud layer called pot drops or breaks, the space inside and outside both are inseparable and indistinguishable. Essentially, Yoga is an aspiration and ‘work in process’ as long as the sense of separation exists. Once the oneness is achieved, the purpose is achieved. Hence, all the binding conditions and rules are for the sadhakas who are yet to reach the condition of oneness. When they reach, they have graduated from the Yoga process and become ‘Yogi’.
Humans are known for their awareness and evolved conscience. They set a goal about something and would like to achieve it. Fundamental to any achievement is ‘action’. Action is Kriya. For every action, we have the doer and the outcome. Thus, the karma triangle’s sides are, the ‘working’, the ‘doer’ who is working, and thirdly the one ‘on whom’ it is worked upon or the outcome. These in the tradition are known as Kriya, Karta, and Karma. This generally gives a sense of separation.
Yoga is spirit convergence and is in confluence. In a deep meditative ‘working state’, the Karta (doer) immerses in action so much that the awareness of self or ‘doing’ is not felt. One who is working on something loses the sense of separation and becomes one with the work and the objective. Here the union is achieved and Yoga is realised. Thus, feeling the oneness through the Karma marga (action path) becomes plausible for even those who can't get the nuances of the philosophical inquiries right. Losing oneself (ego) at work by excelling in the work makes it happen. Thus, excellence in ‘action’ without the self’s attachment makes convergence facilitation and Yoga’s attainment. Hence, is the saying ‘Yoga Karmasukaushalam’.
Prof S Ainavolu is a Mumbai-based teacher of tradition and management. Views are personal. https://www.ainavolu.in/blog