The Joyous Meditation Teachings of Lorin Roche


The Definition of the Sanskrit Word, “Yoga”

This is the actual definition of the word yoga in Sanskrit. Looking over the rich diversity of meanings, you can feel how ancient the word is, with vast semantic range, starting with joining your horses together to joining your body and soul together.

yoga

• m. ( √1. yuj ; ifc. f(ā).) the act of yoking , joining , attaching , harnessing , putting to (of horses) RV. MBh.
• a yoke , team , vehicle , conveyance S3Br. Kaus3. MBh.
• employment , use , application , performance RV
• equipping or arraying (of an army) MBh.
• fixing (of an arrow on the bow-string)
• putting on (of armour)
• a remedy , cure
• a means , expedient , device , way , manner , method
• a supernatural means , charm , incantation , magical art
• a trick , stratagem , fraud , deceit Mn. Katha1s. (cf. yoga-nanda)
• undertaking , business , work RV. AV. TS.
• acquisition , gain , profit , wealth , property ib. Kaus3. MBh.
• occasion , opportunity Ka1m. Ma1rkP.
• any junction , union , combination , contact with (instr. with or without saha , or comp.). MBh. Ka1v. &c (yogam √ i , to agree , consent , acquiesce in anything R. )
• mixing of various materials , mixture MBh. R. VarBr2S.
• partaking of , possessing (instr. or comp.) Mn. R. Hariv.
• connection , relation (yogāt , yogena and yoga-tas ifc. in consequence of , on account of , by reason of , according to , through)
• putting together , arrangement , disposition , regular succession Ka1t2h. S3rS.
• fitting together , fitness , propriety , suitability (°gena ind. and -tas ind. suitably , fitly , duly , in the right manner
• exertion , endeavour , zeal , diligence , industry , care , attention (°yoga-tas ind. strenuously , assiduously ; pūrṇena yogena , with all one's powers , with overflowing zeal)
• application or concentration of the thoughts , abstract contemplation , meditation , (esp.) self-concentration , abstract meditation and mental abstraction practised as a system (as taught by patañjali and called the yoga philosophy ; it is the second of the two sāṃkhya systems , its chief aim being to teach the means by which the human spirit may attain complete union with īśvara or the Supreme Spirit ; in the practice of self-concentration it is closely connected with Buddhism) Up. MBh. Ka1v. &c ( IW. 92) any simple act or rite conducive to yoga or abstract meditation Sarvad.
• Yoga personified (as the son of dharma and kriyā) BhP.
• (in sāṃkhya) the union of soul with matter (one of the 10 mūlika-arthās or radical facts) Tattvas.
• (with pāñcarātras) devotion , pious seeking after God.
• m. (with jainas) contact or mixing with the outer world
• m. (in astron.) conjunction , lucky conjuncture
• a constellation , asterism (these , with the moon , are called cāndra-yogāḥ and are 13 in number ; without the moon they are called kha-yogāḥ , or nābhasa-yogāḥ) VarBr2S.
• the leading or principal star of a lunar asterism W.
• N. of a variable division of time (during which the joint motion in longitude of the sun and moon amounts to 13 degrees 20 minutes ; there are 27 such yogas beginning with viṣkambha and ending with vaidhṛti) ib.
• (in arithm.) addition , sum , total Su1ryas. MBh.
• (in gram.) the connection of words together , syntactical dependence of a word , construction Nir. Sus3r. (ifc. = dependent on , ruled by Pa1n2. 2-2 , 8 Va1rtt. 1)
• a combined or concentrated grammatical rule or aphorism Pa1n2. Sch. Siddh. (cf. yoga-vibhāga)
• the connection of a word with its root , original or etymological meaning (as opp. to rūḍhi q.v.)
• a violator of confidence , spy L.

Clicking on the big blue numbers should take you to the actual page in the Monier-Williams dictionary. A superb resource.

Whew! This is what yoga means. In Sanskrit, the dictionary, which is the consensus of the Pundits, is prescriptive, and sets forth what is correct. So in Sanskrit, the word yoga has a very broad semantic range, 37 definitions in all.

yoga
yoga [p= 854,3] [L=172001]
» pp. 856 , 858.
yóga [p= 856,2] [L=172324]
( √1. yuj ; ifc. f(ā).) the act of yoking , joining , attaching , harnessing , putting to (of horses) RV. MBh.
856,2] [L=172325]
S3Br. Kaus3. MBh.
856,2] [L=172326]
RV. &c
856,2] [L=172327]
MBh.
856,2] [L=172328]
ib.
856,2] [L=172329]
L.
856,2] [L=172330]
Sus3r.
856,2] [L=172331]
MBh. Ka1v. &c
856,2] [L=172332]
ib.
856,2] [L=172333]
Mn. Katha1s. (cf. yoga-nanda)
856,2] [L=172334]
RV. AV. TS.
856,2] [L=172335]
ib. Kaus3. MBh.
856,2] [L=172336]
Ka1m. Ma1rkP.
856,2] [L=172337]
instr. with or without saha , or comp.). MBh. Ka1v. &c (yogami , to agree , consent , acquiesce in anything R. )
856,2] [L=172338]
MBh. R. VarBr2S.
856,2] [L=172339]
instr. or comp.) Mn. R. Hariv.
856,2] [L=172340]
yogāt , yogena and yoga-tas ifc. in consequence of , on account of , by reason of , according to , through) Ka1tyS3r. S3vetUp. Mn. &c
856,3] [p= 856,2] [L=172341]
Ka1t2h. S3rS.
856,3] [L=172342]
°gena ind. and -tas ind. suitably , fitly , duly , in the right manner) MBh. Ka1v. &c
856,3] [L=172343]
°yoga-tas ind. strenuously , assiduously ; pūrena yogena , with all one's powers , with overflowing zeal) Mn. MBh. &c
856,3] [L=172344]
esp.) self-concentration , abstract meditation and mental abstraction practised as a system (as taught by patañjali and called the yoga philosophy ; it is the second of the two khya systems , its chief aim being to teach the means by which the human spirit may attain complete union with īśvara or the Supreme Spirit ; in the practice of self-concentration it is closely connected with Buddhism) Up. MBh. Ka1v. &c ( IW. 92)
856,3] [L=172345]
yoga or abstract meditation Sarvad.
856,3] [L=172346]
dharma and kriyā) BhP.
856,3] [L=172347]
yoga system MBh. S3am2k.
856,3] [L=172348]
khya) the union of soul with matter (one of the 10 mūlika-arthās or radical facts) Tattvas.
856,3] [L=172349]
pāśupatas) the union of the individual soul with the universal soul Kula7rn2.
856,3] [L=172350]
pāñcarātras) devotion , pious seeking after God Sarvad.
yóga [p= 856,3] [L=172351]
(with jainas) contact or mixing with the outer world ib.
yóga [p= 856,3] [L=172352]
(in astron.) conjunction , lucky conjuncture La1t2y. VarBr2S. MBh. &c
856,3] [L=172353]
cāndra-yogā and are 13 in number ; without the moon they are called kha-yogā , or nābhasa-yogā) VarBr2S.
856,3] [L=172354]
W.
856,3] [L=172355]
of a variable division of time (during which the joint motion in longitude of the sun and moon amounts to 13 degrees 20 minutes ; there are 27 such yogas beginning with vikambha and ending with vaidhti) ib.
856,3] [L=172356]
arithm.) addition , sum , total Su1ryas. MBh.
856,3] [L=172357]
Nir. Sus3r. (ifc. = dependent on , ruled by Pa1n2. 2-2 , 8 Va1rtt. 1)
856,3] [L=172358]
Pa1n2. Sch. Siddh. (cf. yoga-vibhāga)
856,3] [L=172359]
opp. to hi q.v.) Nir. Prata1p. Ka1tyS3r. Sch.
856,3] [L=172360]
L.
856,3] [L=172361]
of a Sch. on the paramārthasāra
yógā [p= 856,3] [L=172362]
N. of a śakti Pan5car.
yógā [p= 856,3] [L=172363]
of pīvarī (daughter of the pits called barhiads) Hariv.
(H2) &c
(H1) m.
[p= a yoke , team , vehicle , conveyance
[p= employment , use , application , performance
[p= equipping or arraying (of an army)
[p= fixing (of an arrow on the bow-string)
[p= putting on (of armour)
[p= a remedy , cure
[p= a means , expedient , device , way , manner , method
[p= a supernatural means , charm , incantation , magical art
[p= a trick , stratagem , fraud , deceit
[p= undertaking , business , work
[p= acquisition , gain , profit , wealth , property
[p= occasion , opportunity
[p= any junction , union , combination , contact with (
[p= mixing of various materials , mixture
[p= partaking of , possessing (
[p= connection , relation (
[p= putting together , arrangement , disposition , regular succession
[p= fitting together , fitness , propriety , suitability (
[p= exertion , endeavour , zeal , diligence , industry , care , attention (
[p= application or concentration of the thoughts , abstract contemplation , meditation , (
[p= any simple act or rite conducive to
[p= Yoga personified (as the son of
[p= a follower of the
[p= (in
[p= (with
[p= (with
(H1B) m.
(H1B) m.
[p= a constellation , asterism (these , with the moon , are called
[p= the leading or principal star of a lunar asterism
[p= N.
[p= (in
[p= (in gram.) the connection of words together , syntactical dependence of a word , construction
[p= a combined or concentrated grammatical rule or aphorism
[p= the connection of a word with its root , original or etymological meaning (as
[p= a violator of confidence , spy
[p= N.
(H1B) f.
(H1B) f.


Compound words with *YOGA

There are lots of interesting compound words with *YOGA

daivayoga
daíva--yoga [L=96821]
juncture of fate , fortune , chance
(H3) m.

yogāga
yogā* ga [p= 857,3] [L=172579]
a constituent or part of the Yoga , means of attaining it (generally said to be 8 in number , viz. yama , niyama , āsana , prā*ā*yāma , pratyāhāra , dhāraā , dhyāna , and samādhi , or according to another authority 6 , viz. āsana , prā*asarodha , with the last four as enumerated above ) , Yogas. Sarvad.
(H3) n.


kriyāyoga
(H3) kriyā-yoga [p= 321,1] [L=58041]
m. the connection with an action or verb APra1t. Pa1n2. 1-1 , 14 Ka1r.
[L=58042]
the employment of expedients or instruments MBh. iii , 69 Sus3r.
[L=58043]
the practical form of the yoga philosophy (union with the deity by due performance of the duties of every day life , active devotion) Yogas. ii , 1 BhP. iv , 13 , 3
[L=58044]
N. of wk.


māyāyoga
(H3) māyā́--yoga [L=163136]
m. the application or employment of illusion , employment of magical arts R. BhP.





By contrast, Yoga defined in the American Heritage Dictionary online at Bartleby.com.
This is a very streamlined definition, and reflects the way Americans use the term, not the full definition as it is in Sanskrit, which is more about harnessing the horses and getting ready for war.

NOUN: 1. also Yoga A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquillity. 2. A system of exercises practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind.ETYMOLOGY: Hindi, from Sanskrit yoga, union, joining. See yeug- Indo-European Roots ENTRY: yeug-DEFINITION: To join.Derivatives include yoke, jugular, adjust, junta, and yoga. I. Zero-grade form *yug-. 1. Suffixed form *yug-o-. a. yoke, from Old English geoc, yoke, from Germanic *yukam; b. jugate, jugular, jugum; conjugate, subjugate, from Latin iugum, yoke; c. zygo- zygoma, zygote, –zygous; azygous, syzygy, from Greek zugon, yoke, and zugoun, to join; d. Yuga, from Sanskrit yugam, yoke. 2. Suffixed (superlative) form *yug-isto-. jostle, joust; adjust, juxtapose, juxtaposition, from Latin ixt, close by, perhaps from *iugist (vi), “on a nearby (road).” 3. Nasalized zero-grade form *yu-n-g-. join, joinder, joint, jointure, junction, juncture, junta; adjoin, conjoin, conjugal, conjunct, enjoin, injunction, rejoin, rejoinder, subjoin, from Latin iungere, to join. II. Suffixed form *yeug-m. zeugma, from Greek zeugma, a bond. III. Suffixed o-grade form *youg-o-. yoga, from Sanskrit yoga, union. (Pokorny 2. eu- 508.)


The word, syzygy, comes from the same root as yoga.

SYLLABICATION: syz·y·gy
PRONUNCIATION: sz-j
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. syz·y·gies
1. Astronomy a. Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. b. Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. c. The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line. 2. The combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody.
ETYMOLOGY: Late Latin szygia, from Greek suzugi, union, from suzugos, paired : sun-, su-, syn- + zugon, yoke; see yeug-

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

When we modern Americans and Europeans use the word yoga, we almost never use the full semantic range of the word, as it has been used for thousands of years in India, in the classic Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita, or the Mahabharata (of which the Gita is one small part).

Here in the West, we are changing the usage of “yoga” to mean what we want it to mean, and we ignore the whole history and complexity of the word. We intend only several, out of dozens of meanings. This is OK. English is a living language, and the definitions of words change according to usage. The dictionary follows usage.



See also:

 yogagati

yóga--gati [L=172379]
state of union , the being united together BhP.
(H3) f.
 yogayātrā

yóga--yātrā [p= 857,1] [L=172477]
the road or way to union with the Supreme Spirit , the way of profound meditation Bhartr2.

of an astrological wk. by varāha-mihira

wk.
(H3) f.
[L=172478]N.
[L=172479]of another
 yojana

yojana [p= 854,3] [L=172003]
» pp. 858 , cols. 1 , 2.
yójana [p= 858,1] [L=172744]
joining , yoking , harnessing Pa1rGr2. Hariv.

RV.

ib.

m. ; ifc. f(ā).) a stage or yojana (i.e. a distance traversed in one harnessing or without unyoking ; esp. a partic. measure of distance , sometimes regarded as equal to 4 or 5 English miles , but more correctly = 4 krośas or about 9 miles ; according to other calculations = 2 1÷2 English miles , and according to some = 8 krośas) RV. &c

Sa1h.

= yoga) Up.

= paramā*tman) L.

L.
yójana [L=172752]
(ā). use , application , arrangement , preparation RV. Ka1tyS3r. MBh. Sa1h.
yójana [L=172753]
(ā). erecting , constructing , building Ra1jat. Katha1s.
yójana [L=172754]
(ā). junction , union , combination Sa1h. Veda7ntas.
(H2) &c
(H2) n.
[L=172745]that which is yoked or harnessed , a team , vehicle (also applied to the hymns and prayers addressed to the gods)
[L=172746]course , path
[L=172747](sometimes
[L=172748]instigation , stimulation
[L=172749]mental concentration , abstraction , directing the thoughts to one point (
[L=172750]the Supreme Spirit of the Universe (
[L=172751]a finger
(H2B) nf
(H2B) nf
(H2B) nf



kriyāyoga
kriyā-yoga [p= 321,1] [L=58041]
the connection with an action or verb APra1t. Pa1n2. 1-1 , 14 Ka1r.

MBh. iii , 69 Sus3r.

yoga philosophy (union with the deity by due performance of the duties of every day life , active devotion) Yogas. ii , 1 BhP. iv , 13 , 3

of wk.
(H3) m.
[L=58042]the employment of expedients or instruments
[L=58043]the practical form of the
[L=58044]N.


māyāyoga

māyā́--yoga [L=163136]
the application or employment of illusion , employment of magical arts R. BhP.

(H3) 

m.





ayoga

a-yoga 1 [p= 85,3] [L=14929]
separation , disjunction

Das3ar.

Ka1vya7d.

Comm. on Kum. iii , 14

Sus3r.

Sus3r.

L.

L.

of a certain conjunction of planets.
ayoga 2 [p= 86,1] [L=14982]
([ NBD. ]) = ayogava MBh. xii.
ayo--ga [p= 1316,1] [L=313500.1]
relating to iron, Nalac.

(H2) 

m.
[L=14930]separation from a lover
[L=14931]unfitness , unsuitableness , nonconformity
[L=14932]impossibility
[L=14933]inefficacy of a remedy
[L=14934]medical treatment counter to the symptoms , non-application or mis-application of remedies
[L=14935]vigorous effort , exertion
[L=14936]inauspicious conjunction of planets
[L=14937]N.
(H1) m.
(H3) mfn.





yogya
yogya [p= 854,3] [L=172002]
» pp. 856 , 858.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172715]
(fr. yoga and √1. yuj) fit for the yoke Pa1n2. 5-1 , 102
858,1] [L=172716]
partic. remedy S3a1rn3gS.
858,1] [L=172717]
gen. loc. dat. inf. with act. or pass. sense , or comp.) Ka1tyS3r. MBh. Ka1v. &c
858,1] [L=172718]
Kap.
858,1] [L=172719]
yoga , proper for religious meditation L.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172720]
a draught animal AV. S3Br.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172721]
a calculator of expedients W.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172722]
the constellation puya L.
yógyā́ [p= 858,1] [L=172723]
preparation , contrivance RV.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172724]
exercise , practice , (esp.) bodily exercise , gymnastics , drill MBh. Ka1v. Sus3r.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172725]
(pl.) the straps with which horses are attached to the yoke of a carriage , traces (?) RV. iii , 3 , 6
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172726]
the earth L.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172727]
N. of bharaī L.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172728]
of the wife of sūrya L.
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172729]
(only L. ) a vehicle or any machine
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172730]
a cake
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172731]
sandal
yógya [p= 858,1] [L=172732]
a kind of drug.
(H3) &c
(H2) mfn.
[p= belonging to a
[p= useful , serviceable , proper , fit or qualified for , able or equal to , capable of (
[p= perceptible
[p= fit for
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2) f.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) m.
(H2B) n.
(H2B) n.
(H2B) n.
(H2B) n.


yojana
yojana [p= 854,3] [L=172003]
» pp. 858 , cols. 1 , 2.
yójana [p= 858,1] [L=172744]
joining , yoking , harnessing Pa1rGr2. Hariv.
858,1] [L=172745]
RV.
858,1] [L=172746]
ib.
858,1] [L=172747]
m. ; ifc. f(ā).) a stage or yojana (i.e. a distance traversed in one harnessing or without unyoking ; esp. a partic. measure of distance , sometimes regarded as equal to 4 or 5 English miles , but more correctly = 4 krośas or about 9 miles ; according to other calculations = 2 1÷2 English miles , and according to some = 8 krośas) RV. &c
858,1] [L=172748]
Sa1h.
858,1] [L=172749]
= yoga) Up.
858,1] [L=172750]
= paramā*tman) L.
858,1] [L=172751]
L.
yójana [p= 858,1] [L=172752]
(ā). use , application , arrangement , preparation RV. Ka1tyS3r. MBh. Sa1h.
yójana [p= 858,1] [L=172753]
(ā). erecting , constructing , building Ra1jat. Katha1s.
yójana [p= 858,1] [L=172754]
(ā). junction , union , combination Sa1h. Veda7ntas.
yójanā [p= 858,1] [L=172755]
application of the sense of a passage , grammatical construction S3am2k.
(H2) &c
(H2) n.
[p= that which is yoked or harnessed , a team , vehicle (also applied to the hymns and prayers addressed to the gods)
[p= course , path
[p= (sometimes
[p= instigation , stimulation
[p= mental concentration , abstraction , directing the thoughts to one point (
[p= the Supreme Spirit of the Universe (
[p= a finger
(H2B) nf
(H2B) nf
(H2B) nf
(H2B) f.