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YOGA

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The Sanskrit word yoga is derived from the root yuj means to bind together, hold fast or yoke, which also governs the Latin iungere and iugum, and the French joug and so on. Yoga signifies a union of the individual soul with the Supreme Spirit. It is an old Indian practice, imparting that the man's bondage results identification of the soul with the body and that his liberation is attained through the knowledge of their separateness. Some kinds of yoga are the 1) karma yoga 2) jnana yoga 3) dhiyan yoga 4) mantra yoga 5) laya yoga 6) bhakati yoga 7) surta shabda yoga and 8) hatha yoga.

In short, yoga is an ancient form of mental discipline and physical exercise. Fixity of one-pointed concentration is the key feature of yoga. The Muslim mystics also took deep interest in the tradition of the hatha yoga that greatly resembles to the Sufic tariqa in Islam. For illustration, Qadi Ruknuddin Samarkand lived at Lakhnauti in Bengal during the rule of Sultan Alauddin Mardan (1207-1212). He translated an Indian work on yoga, called Amrta-Kunda into Persian, then Arabic. This work deals with the principles of yoga; known in the Muslim Sufi circles at that time. Later, the yoga practices were adopted by the Indian Sufi orders, such as Ghawthiyya, founded by Shah Muhammad Ghawth of Gawlior (d.1562), who compiled Bahr al-Hayat, the translation of Amrta-Kunda. As-Sanusi describes the importance of the 84 poses (asthan), whom he called jalsa, vide his as-Salsabil al-ma'in (Cairo, 1935). It was Ibn Ataullah (d. 709/1309), the yoga method reached Egypt, who also wrote a systematic treatise on the zikr, entitled, Miftah al-Falah (Recollection of God). Biruni made the Arabic translation of the yoga-sutra entitled Kitab Patanjal al-Hindi fi'l Khalas min al-amthal (London 1954). The Muslim Sufis termed the yoga as jujiyya. Ibn Battuta however called it joki (pl. jokiyya).


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