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Psychology of Yoga and Meditation

A hymn from the Rigveda says:

What was hidden in the shell,

Was born through the power of fiery torments.

From this first arose love,

As the Germ of knowledge,

The wise found the roots of existence in non-existence,

By investigating the heart’s impulse.

Goethe said the same:

You follow a false trail;

Do not think that we are not serious;

Is not the kernel of nature

In the hearts of men?

These verses from the Rigveda propose that the existence of the world is in fact a psychic function.

They would have us understand that these human qualities constantly generate heat, and that this glow begets the world. The world to our way of thinking is not begotten in this way, but to the Indian that’s what the world is: namely, consciousness.  ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 56

Another passage where the concept of the tapas plays a role occurs in the myth of the creator of the world, Prajâpati. In the beginning, he was alone. Apart from him there was nothing:

Pragâpati had the desire of creating beings and multiplying himself. He underwent (consequently) austerities. Having finished them, he created these worlds, viz., earth, air and heaven. He heated them (with the lustre of his mind, pursuing a course of austerities); three lights were produced:

Agni from the earth, Vayu from the air, and Aditya from heaven.

He heated them again, in consequence of which the three Vedas were produced. This means “he heated himself with his own heat,” in commutatio.

“He brooded, he hatched.” He incubates himself. This is the word used for the technical concentration exercises out of which yoga developed. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 57

In the East, the guru, i.e., the leader, gives the tschela, i.e., the student, a particular instruction about the object he is to meditate upon. Guru and student are not outlandish peculiarities.

Every moderately educated person in the East has his guru who instructs him in this technique. It has been this way since ancient times, a form of education practiced by one whose qualifications as a leader are not endorsed by any university. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 57

The classic text offering an overview of yoga teaching is a work from the second century BCE: the Yoga Sûtra by the grammarian Patañjali. It is an exceptionally deep book containing a plenitude of profound ideas, incredibly difficult to

translate because it presents the secrets of yoga in an exceptionally concise language: four texts for a total of 195 tenets. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 57

Patañjali, who wrote the Yoga Sûtra, is sometimes referred to as the author of Mahâbhâshya (Sanskrit for great commentary), a commentary on Panini’s grammar Astadhyayi.

As this was written in the second century BCE Jung dates the Yoga Sûtra to around the same time. However, it is disputed that Patañjali was also the author of the Mahâbhâshya. Recent research dates the Yoga Sûtra between 325 and 425 CE. See Maas (2006), p. xix; also introduction p. l. 58, fn 115

Klesha, Sanskrit, meaning “trouble” or “affliction.” “These factors, which can be compared to the drives of an earlier generation of psychologists, provide the cognitive and motivational framework for the ordinary individual enmeshed in conditional existence (samsâra) and ignorant of the transcendental Self.” (Feuerstein, 1997, p. 156). According to Patañjali, kriya-yoga aims at the attenuation of the kleshas. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 59, fn 117