Mantrayoga

(‘yoga through mantra’)

The Vāyavīya Saṁhitā is an important work on Śaivism. It describes yoga as of five kinds. Mantrayoga is the first in the series. It is that yoga in which, by the constant repetition of the mantra imparted by the guru, the mental states become steady.

When this is associated with prāṇā-yāma or breath-control, it is called Sparśa-yoga. Sparśayoga develops into Bhāvayoga when mantrajapa or the repetition of the mantra stops automatically, leaving only the bhāva or feeling. By further practice, the world appearance in its various forms, disappears, thus leading to Abhāvayoga.

At the last stage of spiritual evolution union with Śiva is attained. This is Mahāyoga.

The eight steps of yoga described in the Yogasūtras of Patañjali (200 B. C.) are also included in this practice.