Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 23 13:09:21 CST 2002

Olivia Cattedra <omcatt at CIUDAD.COM.AR> wrote:

>i had read in this board, some weeks ago,  a definition of the word niyoga
>as inner union as consecquences of knowledge (if i dont misunderstood), i
>wish more information around it, since looking in the internet for
>definitons i found the following, which is quite different of the
>here-quoted niyoga. thank all of  you in advance, and happy new year

The word niyoga is used in two different senses in two different contexts.
It comes from prefixing ni- to the verb root yuj (to yoke), and deriving
the noun form yoga from the verb root. Depending upon the entities that are
to be yoked together, different meanings can be ascribed to the derivative
words. This is dictated by context.

The epic stories you quote are well known instances of asking a respected
person to father a child in lieu of a dead/impotent husband. There is also
some evidence to believe that it was a culturally accepted way of showing
respect to an exalted visitor. Thus, a king might offer one of his queens
to a visiting rishi, as a way of honoring the rishi. This is called niyoga
in the dharmashAstra texts. It comes from using the word yoga to mean
sexual union.

In the context of philosophy and Mimamsa interpretations of scripture, the
meaning is quite different. Here, niyoga primarily means "injunction". From
the context, we know that the subject of the injunction is meditative
yoking (yoga) of the sacrificer's mind to the ritual.


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