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The Word "Yoga"

According to the grammarians the word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj" "to link, unite", to which is added the suffix "ghan" indicating completion. (cf. the English "to yoke" which is from the same root).

"That which unites, (links together), is called yoga."

Panini, in the classified roots of his grammar, gives three meanings to the word yoga. 1. Samyoga, "union", 2. Samyamana, "to bind", 3. Samadhi, "identification", (i.e. the dissolution of the individual into the total Being). The word "yoga" taken in the sense of link is therefore synonymous with the word "religion" which also means "the link".

Grammarians explain that the way of identification (samadhi) consists in "the silencing of (all) activities in the mind's substance". And Patanjali uses the very same words to define yoga (Yoga Darsh. 1, 2).

Vyasa too, in his commentary on Patanjali, takes re-integration (yoga) and identification (samadhi) as synonymous.

Shri Gada-dhara, the teacher of Logic (Nyaya), says:

"Re-integration means identification. It is of two kinds, conscious (samprajnata) and unconscious (asamprajnata).

"The union (samyoga) of some part of one's being with any thing, whatever it may be, of which there is a desire to know the essential nature, even though it be beyond sensory perception, through a mind brought under control by an effort to remove its instability, is called "conscious identification" (samprajnata samadhi). "Unconscious identification" (asamprajnata samadhi) is that mental union (manah samyoga) which arises in some part of the Self but which, because of the absence of inward uplift and of perfected inward contemplation, remains uncoordinated."

"Conscious identification is the state of full cognition. This means that in this state the object of contemplation is actually witnessed and the mind is fixed upon it. This is characterized by the silencing of all thought except that of the object contemplated. Hence Conscious identification is the silencing of mental activity with, as its result, the witnessing of the object of contemplation." (Yoga Sara Sangraha, p. 4.)

"Since it is defined as a state in which nothing is cognized—all notions must be abolished in unconscious identification. In this state there remains therefore nothing of the mind except the traces left by its previous activities. If this were not so, consciousness could not arise again." (Yoga Sara Sangraha, p. 5.)

All intuitive perceptions come within the realm of unconscious identification.

According to Vedanta, Yoga means supreme realization.

"Yoga is the re-union of the living self with the Supreme Self." (Yajnavalkya.)

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