YOGA, MEDITATION & WISDOM
(Formerly *A Moment for Meditation*)
THE FIVE PATHS OF WISDOM
While there are four paths of yoga (Karma, Bhakti, Raja, Gyana), which will be discussed in a future column, today I will be talking about the “Five Paths of Wisdom” as taught within Kundalini Yoga.
As with all important things, connecting to the path to wisdom is a much longer journey than you might think upon undertaking it. It is filled with obstacles; frustration; deep inner work, which is almost always painful, and strange twists and turns in the road.
In brief, the stages or “pads” are:
Saram Pad – Novice
Karam Pad – Apprentice
Shakti Pad – Practitioner
Sehej Pad – Expert
Sat Pad – Master
1. Saram Pad
“A novice must cultivate obedience, motivation and discipline” ~ Yogi Bhajan
All beginners start with Saram Pad. It is the first exposure to something new that
you wish to explore, in which you have no experience. You just know that you
are desiring something new. Your motivation can be that a friend is doing it, that
you are in physical or emotional pain and this may alleviate it, or it just calls to
you. This is what could be termed “the honeymoon” phase.
2. Karam Pad
Karam means “to accomplish tasks”. This is the stage where you have gained
some experience. You have seen the benefits, the pros and the cons. You
will feel that you need to continue to learn more. In this way, you compare the
new experiences with what you experienced in the past. You will continue to
gain new perspective, and you may choose to challenge yourself.
Within yoga, this would be the time when you would start your Sadhana, or your
daily spiritual yoga and meditation practice.
3. Shakti Pad
Shakti Pad is known as the test of power, or ego.This is the stage where decisions are made. Will you continue with your current path, continuing to learn more or will you decide to stop and find something entirely new.
This is when you begin to make your choices. In the past, it was your teacher
who would be telling you what to practice. Now, you will make that decision.
What is your goal, your motivation, in your practice? You may experience
doubt as you begin to move beyond your instructor’s teachings. For this
spiritual journey, you choose whether to continue to follow this teacher, find
another teacher, or find your own path within your practice. All teachers, even
within the same spiritual/yogic community will have different viewpoints.
4. Sehej Pad
This is when you completely immerse yourself in your path, every step on
this journey is a joy. You are completely focused and are eager to find new
challenges. You develop an attitude of what is called *seva* or service to
others and your spiritual community.
In Sehej Pad, you are learning, but you are also teaching. Teachers can teach,
but, they should also still be students, as you are always learning. You learn as
you teach your students; their thoughts, their ideas.
It can take years to move beyond this stage. It take much hard work and
discipline. Some stay in this stage and never move beyond it, but they are happy
because their path brings them such joy.
5. Sat Pad
“Sat” means “Truth”.
This is the last stage. There is no separation between you and your path.
It has become such a part of you. You have achieved a transcendence
and have become one with your spirituality.
An article in Yoga Journal by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., who was one of my instructors years ago while in Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, likes the 5 Paths of Wisdom to the growth of a plant.
Saram = Seed (Formula)
Karam = Sprout (Wisdom)
Shakti = Leaves Appearing (True Wisdom)
Sehej = Blooming Flower (Great Wisdom)
Sat = Sending out New Seeds (Infinite Wisdom)
This article can be found at: http://www.yogajournal.com/article/teach/stages-of-learning/
In the future of this *re-focused* column, I will be discussing The Four Paths of Yoga, as mentioned above, and The Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Blessings and Sat Nam,