By Periyava
Translation By V. Krishnaraj

யோகத்தின் தொடக்கம் கர்மமே : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி)
Yoga begins with Karma: Deivathin Kural Pat One
It is a commonly held view that Yoga is breath control and sitting still like a statue. Yogam means union or merger. In our life, we often join with something or other. These unions are not permanent. That is why the mind is constantly vacillating. What is then Yogam? Genuine Yogam is an irrevocable union with that which is supreme and perfect. The hypostasis of the mind is Paramātman. The Yogis exercise breath control to turn the mind to the source. The root (origin) of thoughts is that of breath too. If the breath subsides in the source, the mind subsides there too.
Viyogam is antithesis of Yogam and means disunion. If a person leaves the body in death, we say he attained Deha Viyogam.
Bhagavan says in Bhagavadgita (6:23) If there is disjunction from sorrow, it becomes Yoga. ‘Tam Vidyāt duḥkha saṁyoga viyogam yogasanjñitam’
In this world, what we generally characterize as pleasures is also (a form of ) sorrow. All life’s experiences that separate us from Paramātmaṉ are sorrow.

Since mind is restless, experiences of happiness and sorrow happen to us. If the mind stops oscillating, they don’t exist. Purity of mind by practice is one-pointedness. For the attainment of Yoga, this is the path. All Yogis do not begin with breath control. When we engage in a virtuous act with total immersion in it, the mind will remain pure. If you try to control the mind directly, it will pull itself away and scatter in all directions. Not paying attention to the mind and applying oneself to a virtuous act, there is less chance for the mind to become unsteady.
In olden days, they wore Arikaṇdam (Circular ring around the neck) for the practice of discipline and prevention of reclination. Lying down with the ring around the neck is impossible. Likewise, to prevent the mind wandering in different directions, we should wear the circular cervical ring of total dedication to a virtuous deed.
Performing Yakñjam (யக்ஞம்), observing vows, building temple towers, digging lakes… were the common charitable works of the yester years. This was not the be-all and end-all. They were not the ideal or the target. The thrust of these deeds is to develop one-pointedness. While performing Good deeds, multiple sorrows and insults come your way. Since the deeds must be completed, they keep aside these roadblocks and continue to accomplish the undertaken jobs. This is the way to Mental Purity. Later we can practice breath control and Dhyanam.
Take the Kazhakkodi. It rolls without gathering dirt. If you smear on it some Vibhuti (sacred ash), it rolls and sheds it too. Let us roll towards Paramātmaṉ without sticking to happiness or sorrow and merge with him. This merger is Yogam. That is our basic state. That is our ultimate state. Somewhere in the middle, we lost it and changed for some unknown reason. That is why we don’t understand our original state. We should begin our journey to Paramātmaṉ from the standpoint of performing rites and rituals.