‘Yoga’ literally means ‘union’- spiritual union of the individual soul with the Universal Soul. Bhagavad Gita defines Yoga as that state than which there is nothing higher or worth realising and firmly rooted in which a person is free from all pains and misery. According to Patanjali, Yoga is a spiritual effort to attain perfection through the control of the body, senses and mind and through right discrimination between Purusa and Prakrti.

Yoga is the practical path of realisation of the theoretical ideals of Samkhya Philosophy in order to achieve the Samkhya ideal of kaivalya. It includes moral restraints and spiritual imperatives to ultimately achieve meditation in which the self is completely and transparently understood.

Source of Knowledge –
Yoga accepts three pramanas which are agreed by the Samkhya – perception, inference and verbal testimony. Though Yoga states that there is only one Purusa (Supreme self) who is eternal, ubiquitous, beyond time and space whereas Samkhya expresses that there are many Purusas (innumerable number of selves).

Purusa is the eternally pure and transcendental consciousness. It is the chitta with the reflection of the Purusa in it, is the phenomenal ego (jiva), which is subject to birth and death and to all painful or pleasurable experiences. There are five kinds of sufferings (klesa) which it is subject to- ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, clinging to life and instinctive fear of death.

Yoga advocates control over the body, the senses and the mind. It does not want to kill the body but recommends its perfection. Sensual attachment and passions distract body as well as the mind. They must be conquered and to overcome them, Yoga gives us the Eightfold Path of Discipline or the Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga is described as the Samkhya with God. Yoga accepts the existence of God which is only one of the many objects on which Yogis can concentrate their mind, thus God in Yoga has only practical importance. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan has also supported this view. According to him, the God of Yoga is not the summum bonum of life. According to Patanjali, God is free from the law of karma, pain, pleasure, joys, and all sorts of worldly attachments. God does not need any kind of liberation since he is beyond law of karma. An individual seeks liberation because he has to bear the fruits of his karmas. There are three arguments offered by the Yoga school for the existence of God which are as follows;

      • Scriptural testimony – Scriptures are ancient and old but stands as references for the existence of god. In Vedas and the Upanishads, it is described that God is the ultimate existence, eternal and summum bonum of life.
      • The efficient cause – Prakrti and Purusa are different and distinct in their nature. They can’t come close to each other without intervention of an efficient cause. This efficient cause is ‘God’. He is responsible for bringing prakriti near to the purusa. As a result, the world and living beings in it are created.
      • The ultimate in hierarchy Human beings possess limited knowledge. But God is the ‘Supreme Being’ and the source of all substratum of the universe and became the creator of all living creatures in the earth. The whole world is so vast that an ordinary human being can neither create nor control over it. Hence, God’s existence is acclaimed.

The Yoga philosophy speaks about the theory and practice for the realization of the ultimate truth concerning human being and the world. It is closely associated with Samkhya philosophy. The Yoga presents a practical path for the realization of the self whereas the Samkhya emphasizes the attainment of knowledge of self by means of concentration and

meditation. As described by Bhagvad Gita, Yoga and Samkhya are the practical and theoretical sides of the same system.