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The Word "Yoga"

According to the treatises of Yoga supreme realization is considered as the aim of all yogic practice. But the means of this realization as well as all intermediary stages are also taken to be included in the term yoga. The main obstacle to realization being the constant activity of the mind, yoga is thus defined:

"To silence the mind leaving all mental activity is yoga." (Yoga Shastra.)

"The silencing of the mind's activities which leads to the complete realization of the intrinsic nature of the Supreme Person is called yoga." (Yoga Sara Sangraha, p. 1 (Adyar ed.)).

"The word yoga can also be used by extension for knowledge, love, action, etc., since these are also means of liberation (Moksha), and are thus the instruments of re-integration (yoga)." (Yoga Sara Sangraha, p. 2.)

"The activities of the mind are said to number five. These are ascertaining of facts (pramana), false knowledge (viparyaya or knowledge contrary to facts), imagination (vikalpa), sleep (the experience of being unconscious) and memory (smriti)." (Yoga Sara Sangraha, p. 2.)

"The modes of ascertaining the real nature of things are direct experience, deduction therefrom and the traditionally transmitted revelation." (id., p. 2.)

"The mental activity which through sensory perception leads to exact knowledge of things as they are constitutes the ascertaining of facts through direct evidence (Pratyaksha Pramana)." (id., p. 2.)

"Mental activity resulting from the generalization of categories is deduction (anumana)." (id., p. 3.)

"Mental activity contrary to facts constitutes false knowledge and is the result of a defect [either in the perception or in the Object]." (id., p. 3.)

"The mental activity of sleep is limited to the experience of happiness during sound sleep which gives rise to such memories as 'I slept pleasantly'." (id., p. 3.)

"Memory is exclusively the activity resulting from imprints left [upon the mind's substance by former experiences]." (id., p. 3.)

The Bhagavad Gita preaches re-integration through the way of action (karma-yoga).

"O Dhananjaya, conqueror of wealth! Having removed all attachment and established oneself in the path of realization, one should remain in action, keeping an even mind, whether one's actions bear fruit or not. It is this very equanimity of heart which is named yoga." (Bhagavad Gita 2, 48.)

According to the Puranas "That particular inclination of the mind which is accompanied by an active desire to know the Self and which leads to union with the Principle, is called yoga." (Vishnu Purana VI, 7, 3.)

In mathematics the word yoga means addition.

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