Abstract

The Yoga Sūtras, a Sanskrit text authored by the Indian philosopher Patañjali (ca 100 b.c.e . to 200 c.e. ), are interpreted using Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s (1865–1961) model of Western alchemy. The alchemical process gave Jung a language with which to understand the psyche’s transformation from unconscious to increasingly conscious states. This process, which Jung termed individuation or Self-becoming, serves as the interpretive lens to view the Yoga Sūtras. Alchemical stages are compared to Patañjali’s definition of yoga (citta-vṛtti nirodhaḥ), the obstacle to achieving yoga (saṁyoga), and the goal or end of yoga (kaivalya). Through utilizing an alchemical hermeneutic the aim of the Yoga Sūtras reads not as a final separation of matter and spirit as traditionally interpreted, but as depicting a process of reunification and differentiated wholeness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 717-730
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-03
Open Access
No
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