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Taraka Yoga – A Protecting Philosophy In Hindu Religion

Taraka yoga is a protecting philosophy in Hindu religion. Taraka in Hindu philosophical literature is what can save a person and safely take him across the ocean of existence or the cycle of birth and death. It is described in Tarasana Upanishad. Here, Sage Bharadvaja asks Yajnavalkya, ‘What is that saves? What is it that which guards? Yajnavalkya replies, it is mystic chant ‘Om Namo Narayanaya.’ This eight-syllabled mystic chant in absolute and, because it saves a person, is called Taraka.

Advaya Taraka Upanishad describes Taraka Yoga as ‘the manifestation of the luster which stands above, to be realized through the vision fixed in the cavity at the center of both eyebrows.’ Here the mind is fixed along with vision on a spot that, according to hatha yoga and Taraka School, is called ajna chakra. This Upanishad directly starts with ajna chakra and has prescribed mudra and other practices.

Patanjali lays down Tarakayana (Yogasutra – III – 54) as the knowledge that is Savior. He states – the savior knowledge is the one arising out of discrimination which pertains to all objects simultaneously in all its details and without the normal order of acquiring knowledge.

This is a special type of knowledge which normally comes through the mind and the medium of sense organs. The mind can attend on a sense organ at one time and then pass on to the next. Here the yogi has conquered pradhana, the eternal source of the entire material world (Yoga Sutra II.48). He has the natural speed of mind and capacity to know objects, irrespective of sense organs. He is capable of knowing all things at the same time together with all their features. There are limitations to the knowledge process of a normal individual. But in the case of a master yogi, the mind become universal, so the knowledge by each sense organ in due order is no more expected. He acquires every type of knowledge about everything simultaneously, without the help of sense organs and even without the objects themselves.

The knowledge appears to be miraculous and mysterious. But the arduous effects which the yogi has gone through make it possible. The knowledge does not come from outside. It is dormant in every man. It has to be awakened by yogic practices. This is not the gift of a chosen few. It is the right of every individual. But only a few try to cultivate it and only a rare individual succeeds in the attempt.

Patanjali has passed on this knowledge to posterity.

The first type of Taraka Yoga is purely devotional. The second is based on Upanishadic yoga and the last is termed Taraka Jnana by Patanjali, because its natural consequence leads to kaivalya (isolation) of purusha and prakriti.