"Yu" itself means both to unite or to separate, to unite with the real and
separate from the unreal. To it is combined the consonant "j" additionally emphasizing energy,
creativity and direction. Hence the meaning of Yoga arises as integration, discrimination and
discipline. There are many synonyms for Yoga in Sanskrit and other languages. It is often called
the way or the path or the work.
Yoga as work is not our ordinary
work of seeking to gain things for ourselves or become something. It
is not some form of attainment, achievement or acquisition. It is the
spiritual work of dissolving our egoistic drives into the cosmic will.
As such it is a path of inaction or action opposite the ordinary direction of
outward expansion. It involves meditation, patience, perseverance, silence, solitude and
The analogy of Yoga is like making an
irrigation ditch from a river to irrigate a piece of land. The work
does not create the water but only makes a channel for it to flow.
Without contact with the inner waters of truth, Yoga therefore has
no purpose. Hence in the ancient writings Yoga was also called
"Yajna", meaning sacrifice, surrender, offering or
consecration. The Yogic work is the sacrifice of the outer and the
lower to afford a path for the inner and the higher to manifest. Yoga
proceeds by a special grace or power. This is called the "Yoga
Shakti" or power of Yoga. It is the Yoga Shakti that does the
real work, not our personal will. This Yoga Shakti is the inner form
of the Goddess, the secret energy and intelligence of Mother Nature