Could someone explain to me:

  1. What is the role of yoga & meditation in Hinduism - what is its purpose and relation to God?
  2. And how is Hinduism's yoga/meditation practice and purpose different from Buddhist practice and purpose?

Thank you.

  • Should 'Hi', 'thanks,' taglines, and salutations be removed from posts? , Please avoid writing tag lines. That's why I removed it while editing your post.
    – Kedarnath
    Oct 10, 2014 at 5:57
  • Got it, but while avoiding salutations is ok with me, I don't agree with removing thanks. Courtesy is a good thing and up to individuals. In my original post I didn't have "Hi" anyway. Also, can you automatically assume all StackExchange guidelines for Hinduism SE without checking in meta?
    – a20
    Oct 11, 2014 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


I am following roughly the book 'The Serpent Power' by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodruffe).

The reason for us not seeing anything beyond the material world is because our physical mind which has neural correlates with the brain is incapable of seeing beyond the material world.

Hindu scriptures say that there is another mind, a spiritual mind or pure mind, which is indeed capable of seeing beyond the material world. This spiritual mind is connected with Chakras or energy centers located inside the sushumna channel in our spine.

There are broadly two methods of developing this spiritual mind.

One method is to take help from Divine Beings. Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Raja Yoga (partially), Patanjali's Yoga (partially) are some of the methods that take help of Divine Beings.

The other method is to decline any Divine help and do it with one's own effort. Jnana Yoga and Buddhism claim to follow the second method. In reality many Jnana Yogis and Buddhists do take help of Divine Beings.

  • Wow, thanks, very interesting information. Hope you don't mind I added paragraphing for readability. So you're saying that both Hindus and Buddhists agree there is a spiritual mind? Is there a scriptual term for it? Thanks.
    – a20
    Oct 9, 2014 at 17:12
  • Yes, Dalai Lama accepts it. For example, "On the luminosity of being" written by the Dalai Lama he writes: "Now I'd like to say more about the fundamental nature of the mind. There is no reason to believe that the innate mind, the very essential luminous nature of awareness, has neural correlates, because it is not physical, not contingent upon the brain. So while I agree with neuroscience that gross mental events correlate with brain activity, I also feel that on a more subtle level of consciousness, brain and mind are two separate entities." Oct 10, 2014 at 1:45
  • The term spiritual mind is used in some Ramakrishna Math literature. I would say that the term 'pure mind' or 'suddha chitta' is probably the term used in spiritual literature. They mean the same. Oct 10, 2014 at 1:49
  • The Chinese believe in Qi energy, "Theories of traditional Chinese medicine assert that the body has natural patterns of qi associated with it that circulate in channels called meridians (Nadis). Symptoms of various illnesses are often seen as the product of disrupted or unbalanced qi movement through such channels (including blockages), deficiencies or imbalances of qi, in the various Zang Fu organs. Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to relieve these imbalances by adjusting the flow of qi in the body using a variety of therapeutic techniques.'
    – a20
    Oct 10, 2014 at 2:10
  • They also believe just like us in Chakra centers, they call them "Dan Tien"s. If the spritual mind doesn't "reside" in our brain, does it somehow reside in our 'energy centers' (Chakras/DanTiens)? Or is it partly within us and partly outside us in nature and cosmos?
    – a20
    Oct 10, 2014 at 2:12

Yoga is the union of the subject and the object. Meditation is the ways, the means, to attain that. Through meditation we learn to control the mind. We are not aware of the spiritual world because since our birth our minds have been constantly bombarded by sensory experiences. To see the bottom of a pool of water, the water must be still, there cannot be any waves on the surface of the water. If you teach your mind to stop accepting sensual stimuli, then the spiritual world will opne up by itself. Swami Vivekananda said "Control the mind, cut of the senses, then you are a Yogi; after that, all the rest will come...." Our minds need to be stilled so that we can perceive what is below the surface. Vivekananda also said " This going outwards must be stopped [the mind looking only towards the senses]. This is what is meant by turning the eyes inwards, and then alone the glory of the Lord within will be seen."

Vivekananda's book "Raja Yoga" also has his translation of Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms.

There is no philosophical difference between Mahayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Buddha said - find out for yourself. Meditate. Find out yourself if there is a difference by meditation, not argumentation.

  • Loved this comparison: "To see the bottom of a pool of water, the water must be still, there cannot be any waves on the surface of the water."
    – Just_Do_It
    Sep 5, 2017 at 17:38

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