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Psychology of the Yoga Way

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In this new feature of our website, we present every week a new selection of the teachings of Vedanta, taken from a variety of sources lectures and writings of Swami Adiswarananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature, and other spiritual texts.










The psychology behind the practice of meditation in Yoga is to feed a single thought to the mind and make the mind repeat that thought in a methodical and persistent way. Meditation is the practice of deliberately concentrating on one, single thought, which in time develops into a huge wave of that thought and drowns all other thoughts of the mind. Swami Vivekananda says:

What is the result of constant practice of this higher concentration? All old tendencies of restlessness and dullness will be destroyed, as well as the tendencies of goodness too. The case is similar to that of the chemicals used to take the dross from gold ore. When the ore is smelted, the dross is burnt along with the chemicals. So this constant controlling power will destroy the previous bad tendencies, and eventually the good ones also. Those good and evil tendencies will destroy each other, leaving alone the Soul in Its own splendour, untrammeled by either good or bad, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.


The Yoga system reminds us that there are two tendencies in every individual that operate simultaneously: one is the will to attachment and the other is the will to freedom. The will to freedom, according to Patanjali, is natural in every individual; the will to attachment is a kind of perversion. The way of Yoga is to cultivate and strengthen this will to freedom by the conscious practice of meditation.

The state of kaivalya, or final liberation in Yoga, results from perfect knowledge, and the keynote of perfect knowledge is perfect nonattachment. Perfect nonattachment is attained through undeviating practice of the eight-limbed Yoga. Patanjali stresses three vital points on the practice of Yoga: practice must be steady and unbroken; practice must be without attachment to the result; and practice must be conducted with undaunted enthusiasm and devotion.

(To be continued)

Book  stop.gif (845 bytes) Weekly Message Archive