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Mahayoga – The Final Yoga

Mahayoga, often considered the final and highest form of yoga within certain aspects of Shaivism, represents a profound union with the divine, specifically with Shiva. The concept is rooted in ancient scriptures, such as the Vayaviya Samhita 7.2.37, where five types of yoga are delineated, with Mahayoga standing as the culmination of this spiritual journey.

In Mahayoga, practitioners aim to transcend all forms of attraction and attachment, ultimately achieving a sublime union with Shiva. This state of union is characterized by a profound sense of oneness and connection with the divine, transcending the limitations of the material world.

The framework of Mahayoga aligns with the traditional steps of yoga as described by Patanjali around 200 CE. These steps, known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, serve as a guide for spiritual seekers to attain self-realization and union with the divine. The eight limbs include Yama (moral disciplines), Niyama (observances), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (state of blissful union).

In the context of Mahayoga, practitioners would follow these steps diligently to purify the mind, body, and spirit, paving the way for a heightened spiritual experience and ultimate union with Shiva. The emphasis on transcending attractions and attachments suggests a detachment from worldly desires, fostering a deep inner focus and devotion to the divine.

Mahayoga, therefore, represents not only a systematic approach to spiritual practice but also a profound philosophy that underscores the transformative power of yoga in achieving union with the divine. It encapsulates the essence of Shaivism, emphasizing the ultimate goal of realizing the divine nature within oneself and attaining a state of oneness with Shiva.