“The goal of Yoga is to quiet the mind, so that it can listen with absolute fidelity the infallible advice of the inner voice. “Yogananda

Patanjali (1), a sage who systematizes the knowledge and philosophy of Yoga, gives us a first approach and connects us with the goal of yoga: Chitta vritti nirodha or the goal of Yoga is: the cessation of mental movements.

Chitta is translated as everything that includes: thoughts, prana (the vital energy), manas (the consciousness of the senses), ahamkara (the ego) and buddhi (the intellect). Citta would be consciousness and all its forms of expression.

The meaning of the word Yoga for Patanjali has nothing to do with union, he does not use it in that sense. Originally, the word yoga comes from the action of putting the yoke on the ox. The word yoke corresponds in Sanskrit etymologically with yoga and in that sense the yoke would put it in our mind at the time of controlling it.

Later on and from other texts it is thought of as Union. Union takes place in the individual soul (Atma) with the Universal soul (Atman). Then Yoga is understood as the union of our being or Individual Consciousness, with the Universal Consciousness. This union in a more restricted sense also has to do with the union of the complementary parts in one’s own body. The same name Hatha Yoga, which refers to the psychophysical discipline also has to do with the union of the complementary parts. Ha is the sun and Tha is the moon. What Yoga seeks is this union and then to transcend it. The union occurs in one’s body with the higher (more spiritual) and lower (more material) energies. Union of the head and the heart. This will lead us to the transcendence of the duality that is known as maya (illusion).

Patanjali’s Yoga establishes eight steps or Ashtanga Yoga of a yoga as a means of control of the mind and the senses.

Yoga is mastering oneself, mastering Maya (avidya or illusion). To rise above duality and perceive the (secret) unity  of creation. Ignorance has to do with our own nature. We have forgotten who we are and that causes us suffering.

 

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