Question: There are many types or paths of yoga. Bhakti yoga, raja yoga, hatha yoga, tantra yoga, purna yoga. They all probably lead to the same goal because basically it is one system. How to understand what is the most effective for you?
Answer: This is a misconception. They DO NOT all lead to the same destination. I know this ‘all paths lead to the same place’ is a very popular philosophy, phrase, idea, whatever, but it is not true. It is absolutely not true. All paths do not lead to the same place. And all philosophies don’t say the same thing. Many times I am speaking and people say, “Oh, you are saying the same things I am.” And I say, “No, I’m not saying the same things you are.” (laughs) Before that we’ve already heard what they say. “Oh, you believe the same things that I do.” No, I don’t. (laughs) You see, it is not that all is one. Just like I answered her question about kundalini: it doesn’t lead to the same place. We don’t have to get into all these, where they will all go and da-da, but just know it is not all the same.
So you have to choose as a spiritual voyager. You must first find out where each yoga path or system takes you. Find out, “Oh, this one goes here, here, here, here. The process of this and this is its process. And then you find out, you choose which one do you want, where do you want to go, what process do you want to follow? I mean it is an individual decision. You have to decide.
But you can’t really decide unless you know what is going on. It is like going to the airport and you don’t know where you want to go. You just ask them:
– Give me a ticket.
– Where do you want to go?
– Oh, don’t all planes go to the same place?
– No, one goes to Moscow, one goes to Kiev, one goes to Istanbul…
– Really?! Oh, somebody told me they all go to the same place.
– Well, I am sorry, sir, you are wrong. You tell me where you want to go and I’ll set you up with the right ticket.
So it is your decision.
– Oh, I think I’ll to go to Moscow.
– Ok, fine, here is your ticket. Your plane leaves at this time, gate number such and such, your seat number 24C. Good luck! And you can have a vegetarian meal on the way. (laughing)
– Oh, ‘spasibo’! Haribol. (laughing)
So, it is really like that. But most people, they don’t put in the time or effort to find anything. They just sign up for something. (laughs) “Oh, raja yoga is in town. Let’s go there! That is the newest one. It must be the best, it is the newest.” You can do it, people do it all the time, most people do it, but…
Here is a true story, I am going to end with this because it is getting late. Very relevant to your question. I was at an esoteric fair one time, in Canada. And there were all these different people presenting things. Crystals, tarot card readings and, you know, they would photograph your aura with kirlian photography, read your palm, whatever you wanted. And then there were all these different groups of people promoting their system or path or organization, whatever.
And there was a big group with a big area for their presentation. And they were involved in kundalini yoga. They would invite people to come and sit in the chair, and they had their teachers who would come over and stand behind the person and do a few things, you know, energy work and a few touchy things. And maybe they could make it so you felt a little something (makes whooshing sound). And people go, “Wow!”
And so, anyway, I just watched for a while and I could see who was in charge of this whole thing, I could understand who was in charge. And so I went over and talked to him a little bit. And so I ask him:
– I have a question.
– Sure, sure, go ahead.
– If I join your group and follow your process under your guidance, where will I go? Say, I am absolutely successful, what will be my final destination?
And he changed the subject. And I said, “Wait, that is not what I asked. Can you just answer my question?” And he changed the subject again. I said, “Come on, just look, I’ve got this question. If I follow your path and I am successful, where will I be, what will be my perfection?” And finally he said:
– You know, I don’t know. (laughter)
– What?! You don’t know? You are asking all these people to do this and you don’t even know where it goes?
– No, but it is better to be on some path than no path.
– I am not so sure about this. (laughs/laughing)
Ok, thank you. And this was a worldwide well-known yoga teaching. So even the leaders don’t know. So I didn’t sign up (laughs/laughing) because I knew where it goes anyway I just wanted to see if he knew. But most of where it goes is the money goes in their pocket.