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Asparsa Yoga Of Gaudapada

Asparsha Yoga is a form of yoga advocated by Gaudapada, one of the earliest expounder of Advaita philosophy in a systematic form. Asparsa Yoga is described by him in his Mandukya Karika.

It is that yoga which has no sparsha i.e, touch, relationship with anything at any time; it is of the very nature of Brahman.

Unlike some kinds of yoga which are painful, Asparsha Yoga is said to be joyful and beneficial. It is avivadah – in which there is no dispute. Gaudapada, in karika IV.2 says “I bow down to that yoga that is well known as free from relationships, joyful to all beings beneficial, free form dispute, non-contradictory and set forth in the texts.”

The Bhagavad Gita tells us that all delights born of the sense are gateways to pain and sorrow. It also defines yoga as disassociation from pain. Gaudapada, therefore, has followed the way of the Gita.

Gaudapada describes this yoga as very difficult to attain by any yogi and says that it is not surprising that yogis shrink from it in trepidation. He has criticized them by adding that such yogis fear that which is fearlessness incarnate.

Gaudapada holds that knowledge alone is the means to release. Yoga, as a discipline of meditation and subjugation of the mind, is powerless to bring about this beautiful result, as it falls short of the knowledge of non-difference and Brahman-atman identity.

Yogis cannot transcend duality and difference, which are mere illusions. They are afraid of atma nashana or losing their difference, their individuality. Hence they recoil in dread from advaita (non-difference).