|Therefore yoga is
used in the sense of union in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. As all our sin and
misery are due to our separation from God, we must go back to Him and be in union
with Him, if we want to have permanent happiness. This union is to be effected through
disinterested action (Karmayoga), through loving devotion (Bhakti-yoga) and through
spiritual insight (jnana-yoga).
yoga in a technical sense is used to indicate not the goal of religious life, but the way.
Patanjali, the author of the famous
Yoga-sastras, was the first to systematize the practices of this technical yoga. He
defined yoga as citta-vrtti-nirodha or restraining the functions of mind. But the
practices themselves had been in vogue in this country since the Vedic period. The Upanishads
mention them. The Buddhist and Jain scriptures approve of them and prescribe
The Bhagavad Gita recommends them. Therefore, all our later bhakti scriptures accept them as
legitimate means of
concentrating our minds on God. Thus there is practical unanimity on the part of all
Indian teachers of religion as to the utility of yoga practices.