Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.

Ashtaanga Yoga

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
(Redirected from Asthanga Yoga)

By Sangeetha Rajah

This Yoga is also called Raja Yoga or the 8-Fold Path.

These eight limbs together constitute the complete system known as classical Ashtanga Yoga from the famous yoga textbook known as the Yoga Sutras, written by the Sage Patanjali.

First and foremost, yoga is a systematic process of spiritual unfoldment. Yoga is a 5000-year-old system of self-knowledge and God-realization, the aim of which is to unleash our full human potential-including our physical, ethical, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual dimensions.

The eight limbs are

  1. Yama - Rules of Social Conduct
  2. Niyama - Rules of Personal Behaviour
  3. Aasana - Physical Postures
  4. Praanaayaama - Control of Vital Force
  5. Pratyaahaara - Control of the Senses
  6. Dhaarana - Right Attention or Concentration
  7. Dhyaana - Meditation
  8. Samaadhi - Absorption

The first five limbs (from Yama to Pratyaahara) make up the outer aspect of Yoga and the last three (Dhaarana, Dhyaana, Samaadhi) are called Samyama or Integration. Yama and Niyama refer to the right attitudes, values and lifestyle practices necessary for Yoga, its ethical foundation. Aasana, Praanaayaama and Pratyaahaara are the means to control the outer aspects of our nature as body, breath and senses. Attention or concentration naturally leads to Meditation, which in time results in Absorption or the Unification of the Perceiver, the Perceived and the process of Perception. We get the knowledge of our true Self [1].


The five Yamas or the dharmic principles of social behaviour are

  1. Ahimsa - nonviolence
  2. Satya - truthfulness
  3. Asteya - non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya - abstinence or control of Sexual energy
  5. Anabhinivesa - non-clinging or detachment


The five Niyamas or the dharmic principles of personal behaviour are

  1. Santosha - contenment
  2. Saucha - purity
  3. Svaadhyaaya - self-study
  4. Tapas - self-discipline
  5. Iswara pranidhaana - surrender to God


Aasana means right posture or the posture in harmony with our inner consciousness. Aasanas bring harmony to the physical body, particularly the musculoskeletal system that is the support of the body.


Praana means life force and Aayama means extension or expansion. Praanaayaama is not simply breath control but the controlled expansion of the life force. It consists of deepening and extending the Praana until it leads to a condition of Peace. When Praana is at peace, the life force the senses, emotions and mind are out to rest.


Prati means counteracting or controlling and Aahaara means bringing near or fetching. Here Aahaara is to be taken as our sensory organs. Pratyaahaara is the right management of the senses to put them to rest. The techniques involved in Pratyaahaara either shut off the senses, like closing the eyes or ears, or using our senses with attention and concentration rather than distraction. This includes the various forms of Mantras or visualizations or listening to our inner sounds (naada).


Dhaarana means holding or controlling. It involves developing and extending our power of attention. The techniques involve various ways of directing our attention like concentrating on the six chakras, Ishta devata, and the like.


Dhyaana means contemplating, meditating. Meditation is the natural state of awareness. Meditation helps us to realize our own self. The object of meditation may be an external object like the ocean, sky, space, Ishta devata or an idea or a principle. It may be with a form (Saguna) or totally formless (nirguna).


Samaadhi is but becoming one with the object of our perception. It is the absorption of ourselves into the consciousness that shows joy and fulfillment in life. It brings us to the underlying Divine nature in all the things. It is the natural outcome of true meditation.


  1. Yoga and Ayurveda by Dr.David Frawley