|But the Yoga-sastra
clearly points out that these supernormal powers are really obstacles in the way of
samadhi. It is only by disregarding them and passing on that the yogin reaches his goal of
union with God. Thus the yoga discipline which aims at the purification of the body, the
training of the mind and the forming of character is a means to mystic union.
It will be observed that in the eight-fold yoga described above there is
no hard and fast line between one stage and another. It is only for purposes of
instruction that we divide and subdivide the sadhanas as we divide and subdivide virtues.
As moral life is one, so is religious life. There is only one way, as there is only one
God. But there are several stages in it and hence we have several names. All divisions of
the path are more or less arbitrary and exist only in our imagination.
If we begin to lead a religious life, we shall be able from our
own experience to add to or subtract from the lists of sadhanas prescribed by the old
masters. It is the spirit behind their instructions that we have to imbibe and not the
minute and in distinguishes able details. But there is one thing that is
indispensable to every sadhaka and that is the grace of the Lord. We may practice
external sadhanas and all the internal sadhanas without exception, we may steep ourselves
in religious books and we may acquire the reputation of being pious men. But all these are
of no avail without the grace of God.