Don’t imagine that Yoga is for blockheads. Although most Indian sādhus are illiterate, there has been any number of literate and intellectually gifted Yoga authorities in the course of Yoga’s 5,000 years of existence. Certainly, the writers who produced the great yogic textbooks and the commentaries on them were thinkers to be reckoned with. I am saying this only because there are some contemporary followers of Yoga who like to think that it is possible to practice Yoga without engaging the mind and who are suspicious of anyone with even a modicum of intelligence and a questioning mind. This is a modern phenomenon, which does not deserve further refutation.
There are also those critics who assume that Yoga and reason don’t mix well. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I refuted this biased notion in a short article published in the German magazine Yoga (no. 5) as far back as 1967. Since then, I have championed Yoga’s “rationality” in various books and articles. Let me just state that the universally acknowledged guiding light of Yoga is buddhi, the principle of higher reason. Without buddhi, there can be no Yoga and no enlightenment.
When we read Sanskrit works like Patanjali’s Yoga-Sūtra, Tirumūlar’s Tiru-Mantiram, or Shankarācārya’s commentaries, Rāmānuja’s commentaries, Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka, Jnānadeva’s wonderful Gītā interpretation, and the Bhagavad-Gītā itself, we are struck by the consummate intelligence and rationality of their authors. It is obviously possible to talk about Yoga in a meaningful, lucid, and cogent way. Yoga has nothing to do with nebulous mysticism or irrational emotionalism.
Wisdom, as the word suggests, is about true knowledge and not about dullness. It is for those with a lively intelligence and not—sorry—for those who think that reason is an obstacle on the yogic path.