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Psychology and Religion

A sculpture of a Hindu yogi in the Birla Mandir, Delhi

The grasping of “the whole essence of these teachings” seems also to be the whole essence of “self-liberation/’

The Westerner would take this to mean: “Learn your lesson and repeat it, and then you will be self-liberated.”

That, indeed, is precisely what happens with most Western practitioners of yoga. They are very apt to “do” it in an extroverted fashion, oblivious of the in-turning of the mind which is the essence of such teachings.

In the East, the “truths” are so much a part of the collective consciousness that they are at least intuitively grasped by the pupil.

If the European could turn himself inside out and live as an Oriental, with all the social, moral, religious, intellectual, and aesthetic obligations which such a course would involve, he might be able to benefit by these teachings.

But you cannot be a good Christian, either in your faith or in your morality or in your intellectual make-up, and practice genuine yoga at the same time.

I have seen too many cases that have made me skeptical in the highest degree.

The trouble is that Western man cannot get rid of his history as easily as his short-legged memory can.

History, one might say, is written in the blood. I would not advise anyone to touch yoga without a careful analysis of his unconscious reactions.

What is the use of imitating yoga if your dark side remains as good a medieval Christian as ever?

If you can afford to seat yourself on a gazelle skin under a Bo-tree or in the cell of a gompa for the rest of your life without being troubled by politics or the collapse of your securities, I will look favourably upon your case.

But yoga in Mayfair or Fifth Avenue, or in any other place which is on the telephone, is a spiritual fake. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 802.