The Psychology of Yoga

Yoga is not a modern invention of the human mind, but our

ancient and prehistoric possession. The Veda is our oldest extant

human document and the Veda, from one point of view, is a great

compilation of practical hints about Yoga. All religion is a flower

of which Yoga is the root; all philosophy, poetry & the works

of genius use it, consciously or unconsciously, as an instrument.

We believe that God created the world by Yoga and by Yoga

He will draw it into Himself again. Yogah prabhavapyayau,

Yoga is the birth and passing away of things. When Srikrishna

reveals to Arjuna the greatness of His creation and the manner

in which He has built it out of His being by a reconciliation

of logical opposites, he says “Pasya me yogam aishwaram”,

Behold my divine Yoga. We usually attach a more limited sense

to the word; when we use or hear it, we think of the details of

Patanjali’s system, of rhythmic breathing, of peculiar ways of

sitting, of concentration of mind, of the trance of the adept. But

these are merely details of particular systems. The systems are

not the thing itself, any more than the water of an irrigation

canal is the river Ganges. Yoga may be done without the least

thought for the breathing, in any posture or no posture, without

any insistence on concentration, in the full waking condition,

while walking, working, eating, drinking, talking with others, in

any occupation, in sleep, in dream, in states of unconsciousness,

semiconsciousness, double-consciousness. It is no nostrum or

system or fixed practice, but an eternal fact of process based on

the very nature of the Universe.

Nevertheless in practice the name may be limited to certain

applications of this general process for specific and definite ends.

Yoga stands essentially on the fact that in this world we are

everywhere one, yet divided; one yet divided in our being, one

with yet divided from our fellow creatures of all kinds, one with

The Psychology of Yoga 19

yet divided from the infinite existence which we call God, Nature

or Brahman. Yoga, generally, is the power which the soul in one

body has of entering into effective relation with other souls,

with parts of itself which are behind the waking consciousness,

with forces of Nature and objects in Nature, with the Supreme

Intelligence, Power & Bliss which governs the world either for

the sake of that union in itself or for the purpose of increasing

or modifying our manifest being, knowledge, faculty, force or

delight. Any system which organises our inner being&our outer

frame for these ends may be called a system of Yoga




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