To say that Yoga is simply the name given to the practice of certain asanas,for the body’s well being is narrow and incomplete.

From what I infer,the word Yoga means union,literally.

Then ,Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras define Yoga as

Yogas chitra nivritti

(Do Correct my above quotation if it’s wrong,please)

Then we have Sri Krishna teaching Arjuna different types of Yoga(Jnana,Raja,inter Alia)

Can someone explain how

the literal meaning of Yoga :Union,

Patanjali Rishi’s definition,

And what Sri Krishna taught Arjuna,

are talking about the same “Yoga”?(if they do,that is)

(If they are not,would someone explain the difference as well?)


1 Answer 1


Hindu shastra talks primarily of four Yogas.

Four Paths to Moksha

Some perceive me through meditation, others through the path of spiritual knowledge; others through the path of devotion and still others through the path of action.

Kurma Purana II.4.24

The path through meditation is Raja Yoga and described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. The path of spiritual knowledge is Jnana Yoga. The path of devotion is Bhakti Yoga. The path of action is Karma Yoga.

Sri Krishna discusses all 4 Yogas in the Gita while Patanjali only discusses the path of contemplation in his Yoga Sutra.

Patanjali means by chitta vritti nirodha a state known as Samadhi.


The perception of one form (object of contemplation) alone is Samadhi wherein the awareness of the surrounding place is absent. Only the object is perceived. This is the excellent injunction in the Yoga.

Kurma Purana ii.11.41


Patanjali's definition of Yoga as citta vritti nirodhah (Yoga Sutra 1.2) states that when all modifications of the citta or the mind are controlled and suppressed (niruddha) a man experiences the Purusha or the Self. In the normal state a man is separated from his Self. In the state of Samadhi when the mind stops a man becomes united with the Self.

  • I understood the difference in the implied meaning of the Gita and the Yoga Sutras,but how should both of these be looked at,when a/the literal meaning of Yoga is “union”?
    – Amethyst
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 7:30
  • @Amethyst In both cases, the goal is same - union. Union with Brahma. Paths are different but all leads to same result.
    – Ketan
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 15:18
  • @Ketan I presume this union what is implied in the 4 Mahavakyas?
    – Amethyst
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 16:13
  • Thanks concise and great. Is there anything in any scripture that you know of that would imply moksha can be described as permanent samadhi on brahman or on parabrahman, continuous abiding in or as Brahman?
    – Al Brown
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 1:51

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