Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume I, 1906-1950 (Vol 1)

[Carl Jung on Hatha Yoga]

To Pater X.

Dear Pater, 17 January 1942

Thank you very much for your kind letter and the parcel of books.

I am truly astonished at the depth and the extent of your study of yoga.

As you say very rightly, some people pay no attention to yoga because they do not take it seriously, while others claim to know a great deal more about it than they actually do.

Yoga, to me, is no more than a subject for research.

It neither impresses nor deceives me.

During my stay in India I saw for myself that yoga is not at all what we think.

There Hatha yoga is often no more than acrobatics, or simply gymnastics; or else it is a physiological aid to concentration, an aid which these highly emotional people need very much in order to master themselves.

In the course of these concentration exercises the individual gets into a dream state, or auto-hypnotic condition, which removes him from the world and its illusions.

Since the goal of yoga is the void of deep sleep, yoga can never be a final truth for the occidental world.

Yoga seems to me, like many other similar practices, to be a wilful and technical application of a special individual experience.

A descent to the greatest depth in oneself ( “the ocean of divinity” ) is undoubtedly the ideal being followed.

This encounter with the greatest in oneself must therefore be the impressive experience that is sought for again through the yoga technique.

I have tried to formulate this idea in a parable on the mandala which you will find in the pamphlet on rebirth; I enclose it together with a little essay on yoga which I had forgotten.

With sincere regards and my best wishes for the New Year,

C .G. Jung;~Carl Jung, Letters Volume 1, Pages 310-311.

Footnote: Hatha Yoga aims at the achievement of perfect health and supernormal bodily powers. It is both a preliminary to all other Yoga disciplines and a system in itself.