Synthesis of Yoga in The Veda

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  • Introduction

    There is no ascertainable history of the ancient beginnings of yoga. We are aware of traditions of esoteric practices in ancient Egypt, Chaldea, Greece, Persia, India and of other similar traditions. There was no doubt an age of Mysteries; there was, undoubtedly, even a pre-Vedic age and a pre-Chaldean age, during which there seemed to have developed experiences and explorations leading to discoveries which were important to the developments of yoga. The results of these discoveries seem, however, to have been lost in some developments of the past, or they seem to have been assimilated - probably very much diminished in the content and import - in some traditions of religion or of philosophy. It is thus difficult to determine what exactly was the knowledge that the ancients possessed, as also their real achievement and contribution to the advancement of humanity.¹

    There is, however, available in India the most ancient record, known as the Veda,² a composition of a unique and accomplished character, the language of which is mysterious and ambiguous, betraying some possible secret. There is no doubt that the Vedic Samhitas preceded the Upanishads, which are themselves very ancient. There is no doubt also that the Vedas speak of Pitarah, of the forefathers, and of their achievements in glorious terms. It seems, therefore, that we have in the Veda a record of some very ancient times (supposedly of 10,000 B.C. or of 5000 B.C. or of 2500 B.C.?) which might give us a clue of at least the Indian age of

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