Meaning Of YogaMeaning Of Yoga
Every language is intimately connected to the culture and traditions of the land. Understanding the culture/religion can never be separate from the language and vice versa. Understanding the true significance of a word becomes imperative when it has profound implications. This is immensely true of Indian spirituality. The word yoga is a word widely used and so needs to be properly understood. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj. The root yuj can have 3 meanings viz. to unite, to resolve and to restrain. We will look at these meanings in the context of the spiritual world. Yoga in the meaning of unite means the union of the individual (jivatma) with the supreme reality (paramatma). Yoga in the meaning of resolve means resolving all thoughts into a single continuous thought of the essence of all thoughts i.e. truth of all that is there in the world. The meaning of resolution is what is widely meant when we talk about the Samadhi (trance) of yogis. Yoga in the meaning of restrain means the restraining of the mind from its endless distractions and focusing it back on the truth.
Presently when the word yoga is used alone it is assumed to indicate Hatha Yoga the term for Asanas and physical postures. Yoga is also widely used in association with other words like in karma yoga, jnana yoga etc. But it means much more. The word Yoga can have another meaning in Sanskrit which is topic. In fact not knowing this is the source of a lot of misconceptions in the spiritual world. When one says yoga in combination with another word as the title of each of the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, yoga does not mean union but it means topic i.e. the topic of karma, the topic of jnana (knowledge), the topic of bhakti (devotion) etc. When this is understood it becomes clear that bhakti, karma etc are not different means to the same goal but mutually non-exclusive aids meant to be understood and used by every spiritual aspirant. Because the word yoga is not understood as a topic people assume that bhakti yoga is for the emotional person, karma yoga is for the extrovert, jnana yoga is for the intellectual etc
And Krishna also uses yoga in the sense of life-style a spiritual aspirant takes to which is either a life style committed to action or a life style committed to knowledge. This, in brief, are some of the connotations of the yoga.
by: Swami Gopal