Principles and Concepts

What is Sehaj Yoga?

“Yoga” means union, and therefore, means of merger with Divinity. Guru Nanak’s way is called – Naam Yoga or Sehaj Yoga. The word Sehaj means the natural or gradual process. Just as vegetables cooked over a slow fire retain their flavour, so in the same way, the sehaj discipline of mind and body, will bring out the essential goodness of a human being. Sehaj Yoga differs radically from Hath Yoga.

Sehaj Yoga is peculiar to Sikhi. It is the best form of three traditional Yogas – Karam Yoga, Giaan Yoga, and Bhagti Yoga. Here the three types merge to form an ideal one. Actions which are noble and righteous, along with meditation on “The Name” and the elimination of the ego, pave the way to God realization. In Guru Granth Sahib Ji it is called the Fourth stage, “Chautha Pad”, which means that it is beyond the three Gunas of Rajas (activity), Tamas (darkness), and Satav (peace), and the three states – Awakening, Dream and Dreamless sleep. It is a state of equipoise, called “Turiya”.

The maladies of the soul must be cured in this life, otherwise they are carried over to the next life. For this a dedicated life of self- discipline is essential:

ਪੰਚ ਚੇਲੇ ਮਿਲਿ ਭਏ ਇਕਤ੍ਰਾ ਏਕਸੁ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਕੀਏ ॥
ਦਸ ਬੈਰਾਗਨਿ ਆਗਿਆਕਾਰੀ ਤਬ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜੋਗੀ ਥੀਏ ॥੨॥
“(Through the blessings of the Guru’s Wisdom) I have brought the five senses together, and they are now under the control of the one mind (rather than straying away). (Through the Guru’s Wisdom) when the ten organs (rise above corruption & wickedness, they) become obedient to the Lord – since then I have became an Perfect Yogi. ||2||”
(Ang 208)

Just as the lotus remains in water and is not made wet by it, so the devotee may remain unstained by Maya or worldly things. Sehaj also creates contentment and desirelessness. Man is, in essence Divine. No sooner does he realize this than he wishes to merge into the Universal Source. The wall of egoism may only be destroyed with the Guru’s guidance and God’s grace.

The union of man with God is like the consummation of marriage or like the confluence of two streams – Sangam. Such a union is possible, while living in the midst of worldly things and performing daily duties.