The Sanskrit word yoga means both union with the divine and the means to attain that union. Over the millennia, many kinds of spiritual discipline evolved and were called yogas. Swami Vivekananda codified these numerous paths and practices under four headings, corresponding to basic personality types: for the emotional, Bhakti-Yoga, the Yoga of Devotion; for the active, Karma-Yoga, the Yoga of Unselfish Work; for the intellectual, Jnana-Yoga, the Yoga of Discriminating Knowledge; and for the meditative, Raja-Yoga, the Yoga of Mind-Control. In this issue of American Vedantist, we highlight each of these approaches in turn.
American Vedantists owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to Swami Vivekananda. If he had not come to the United States, our lives would be entirely different and far poorer. The message he taught and the life he lived have given immeasurable meaning and purpose to our lives. But the debt owed to Vivekananda is far greater than that of his individual followers or any individual country.