What is Yoga as per The Linga Purana
17.1.6 The Essence of Yoga
Yoga means union with God. The state of yoga is impossible to attain without the blessings of Lord Shiva. It needs a concentrated and focussed mind. There are some specific spots in the human body concentrating upon which, enables a man to attain the state of yoga-spot between the eyebrows, lower part of the throat, Navel and six inches above it etc. The state of yoga can never be attained until and unless a person has fully controlled the tendencies of sense organs. It can be achieved with the help of eight means-Yama (Penance), Niyama (discipline), Asana (Posture), Pranayama (Breath-control), Pratyahara (restraint of passion), Dharana (retention), Dhyana (concentration) and Samadhi (deep meditation). Each of them holds an important position in the path of yoga.
Describing about the methods of performing yoga, Sutji says— A person should sit with his legs crossed in Padmasana and try to concentrate his mind by fixing his gaze between his eyebrows. He should keep his spine erect. He should meditate either on the form of Omkar or on the form of lord Shiva. Breath control is an important aspect of yogic exercise. A man should exhale deeply for 32 times and then breathe in deeply. He should then retain his breath as long as possible and visualize lord Shiva within his body. By constant practice he will achieve mastery over this art and a time will come when he will experience divine bliss. This divine bliss can not be experienced unless one has attained a deep state of meditation (Samadhi).
17.1.7 Obstacles in the Path of Yoga
A man experiences numerous obstacles in the path of Yoga-laziness, restlessness confusion, a diseased body etc. The main reason for being lazy is a bulky physique and one’s inability to concentrate his mind. Lack of concentration results in restlessness, which is a major obstacle in the path of yoga. If a person in unsure about the results he becomes confused. It is impossible for a person suffering from any disease to concentrate his mind.
All the above mentioned hurdles can be overcome by firm resolution. A man who has successfully overcome all these obstacles might experience other obstacles in the form of siddhis (divine powers). There is a real danger of getting lured by these divine powers. As a result his mind may get distracted from his original goal and he may deviate from his path. The names of these siddhis or divine powers are-Pratibha (having knowledge of past present & future incident), Shravana (being capable of listening to abnormal sounds), Varta (whatever is said becomes true), Darshana (capable of seeing things which can mot be seen by the mortal eyes), Aaswada (being capable of experiencing divine (tastes), Vedana (being capable of relieving other’s pain by a mere touch). If a person successfully overcomes all these allurements then he becomes a siddha- or man of accomplishment and divine powers.
17.5.13 Different Types of Yoga
The sages asked Sutji as to how should a devotee meditate on Lord Triyambaka following the path of Yoga. Sutji then retold the tale which Mandishwar had once narrated to Sanatkumar–
1. The first type of Yoga is called Mantra Yoga. In this type of yoga a devotee tries to attain deep state of meditation by chanting mantras. The chanting of mantras helps a man to concentrate his mind.
2. The second type of Yoga is known as Sparsha Yoga. In this type of yoga, a man acquires perfection in breath-control by constantly practicing various exercises like Rechaka (Exhalation), Kumbhaka (retention), etc. These exercises helps to purify the nerves and blood vessels.
3. The third type of yoga is known as Bhava Yoga. This is the state in which a person’s mind is totally engrossed in the thoughts of Lord Mahadev. This state of mind can not be attained unless the two former types of yoga have been mastered.
4. The fourth type of Yoga is called Abhava-yoga. When a man has mastered this particular yoga his ego is subdued in totality.
5. The fifth type of yoga is called Maha yoga. It helps a man to understand his real self and get united with the supreme Almighty.
The secret of Yoga should be revealed to worthy disciples who are virtuous and religious.”
This way, Sutji described the divine tales of Linga Puran and blessed the sages.The Linga Purana contains eleven thousand shlokas in it. The study of Linga Purana fulfills all the four worldly aspirations of a man- Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.It also helps a man to attain salvation.