Emblem of the Ramakrishna Order

Swami Vivekananda wrote it and explained it thus:

  • The wavy waters in the picture are symbolic of karma,

  • the lotus of bhakti, and

  • the rising-sun, of jnana.

  • The encircling serpent is indicative of yoga and awakened kundalini shakti,

  • while the swan in the picture stands for the Paramatman (the Supreme Self).

Therefore, the idea of the picture is that by the union of karma, jnana, bhakti and yoga, the vision of the Paramatman is obtained.

Our main problem is to be free. It is evident then that until we realise ourselves as the Absolute, we cannot attain to deliverance. Yet there are various ways of attaining to this realisation. These methods have the generic name of Yoga (to join, to join ourselves to our reality). These Yogas, though divided into various groups, can principally be classed into four; and as each is only a method leading indirectly to the realisation of the Absolute, they are suited to different temperaments. Now it must be remembered that it is not that the assumed man becomes the real man or Absolute. There is no becoming with the Absolute. It is ever free, ever perfect; but the ignorance that has covered Its nature for a time is to be removed. Therefore the whole scope of all systems of Yoga (and each religion represents one) is to clear up this ignorance and allow the Atman to restore its own nature. The chief helps in this liberation are Abhyasa and Vairagya. Vairagya is non - attachment to life, because it is the will to enjoy that brings all this bondage in its train; and Abhyasa is constant practice of any one of the Yogas.

-The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
Volume 8 [ Page : 152 ]
FOUR PATHS OF YOGA