Basically, yoga means "union." It is the Sanskrit ancestor of the English word "yoke." Hence, it comes to mean a method of spiritual union. A yoga is a method—any one of many—by which an individual may become united with the Godhead, the Reality which underlies this apparent, ephemeral universe.To achieve such union is to reach the state of perfect yoga.

The ancient yogis believed that there was an actual centre of spiritual consciousness, called "the lotus of the heart," situated between the abdomen and the thorax, which could be revealed in deep meditation. They claimed that it had the form of a lotus and that it shone with an inner light. It was said to be "beyond sorrow," since those

We are to live so that no harm or pain is caused by our thoughts, words or deeds to any other being. In a positive sense, this means that we must cultivate love for all, and try to see the one Atman within everybody. We must think of ourselves as the servants of mankind, and be ready to put ourselves

This is the force which regulates the various functions of the vital energy (prana). One of the brother-disciples of Sri Ramakrishna actually had this power; and it is recorded that he once used it to light the path for Ramakrishna on a dark night. However, Ramakrishna later found it necessary to take the power away from him because it was

According to Patañjali, the mind (chitta) is made up of three components, manas, buddhi, and ahamkara. Manas is the recording faculty which receives impressions gathered by the senses from the outside world. Buddhi is the discriminative faculty which classifies these impressions and reacts to them. Ahamkara is the ego-sense which claims these impressions for its own and stores them up

By "a dream experience" Patañjali means a dream about a holy personality or a divine symbol. Such dreams can properly be called experiences, because they bring a sense of joy and revelation which remains with us after we have awaked. In the literature of Indian spirituality we fmd many instances of devotees who dreamed that they received a mantram from

Purity is cleanliness, both physical and mental. If a man thinks of himself as being the dwelling-place of the Atman, he will naturally feel that his body and mind have to be kept clean. External cleanliness is chiefly important because of its psychological effect upon us; the mere act of washing suggests the removal of mental as well as physical

The "seed of evil" is ignorance. Because of ignorance, man forgets that he is the Atman and creates for himself the illusion of a private, separate ego-personality. This ego-personality is intent upon satisfying its desires, and acquiring possessions and powers over external nature. Of all powers, the psychic powers are, from the standpoint of the ego, the most desirable; and

When the lake of the mind becomes clear and still, man knows himself as he really is, always was and always will be. He knows that he is the Atman. His "personality," his mistaken belief in himself as a separate, unique individual, disappears. "Patañjali" is only an outer covering, like a coat or a mask, which he can assume or

One of the most attractive characteristics of Patañjali’s philosophy is its breath of vision, its universality. There is no attempt here to impose any particular cult upon the light of his presence—no matter how dimly it shines through the layers of our ignorance—that we fashion our own pictures and symbols of goodness and project them upon the outside world.