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.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 717-730
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.