There are four main paths of yoga:
- Jnana yoga: The path of knowledge and wisdom.
- Karma yoga: The path of action.
- Bhakti yoga: The path of devotion or love.
- Raja yoga: The path of psychic control.
This is a system of yoga of intelligence, devotion and knowledge Knowledge helps us to know the various things of the world and to attain higher and higher understanding that leads to the realization of god. The ignorant man fails to realize his own identity, but knowledge, helps him to realize himself and also helps to provide realization of mind body.
Karma in Sanskrit refers to an ‘action to knowledge’ and is the essence of karma yoga. The karma yoga enables people to act in the right direction, which renders good services to society. By following duties selflessly, without any thought of gain or success, you can sublimate your soul. This requires perfect detachment from fruits of action. This is a path of practical living, of selfless service, of self-negation, offering the acts themselves and their fruits at the feet of the divine.
Bhakti yoga is a path of surrender through love and devotion. In this path a devotee sees God as the supreme expression and embodiment of love. The chanting of the lord’s name, singing his praise, and engaging in worship and ritual are the main features of this path. It is the easiest path to enlightenment and hence the most popular.
Raja yoga is the science of physical and mental control. Raja yoga is also known as Hatha yoga. It is a system for attaining perfection of mind and body through systematic physical exercises. The systematic practice of Hatha yoga ultimately helps to attain raja yoga.