Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali

1st Edition

By Leanne Whitney


172 pages

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The East-West dialogue increasingly seeks to compare and clarify contrasting views on the nature of consciousness. For the Eastern liberatory models, where a nondual view of consciousness is primary, the challenge lies in articulating how consciousness and the manifold contents of consciousness are singular. Western empirical science, on the other hand, must provide a convincing account of how consciousness arises from matter. By placing the theories of Jung and Patañjali in dialogue with one another, Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali illuminates significant differences between dual and nondual psychological theory and teases apart the essential discernments that theoreticians must make between epistemic states and ontic beliefs. 

Patañjali’s Classical Yoga, one of the six orthodox Hindu philosophies, is a classic of Eastern and world thought. Patañjali teaches that notions of a separate egoic "I" are little more than forms of mistaken identity that we experience in our attempts to take ownership of consciousness. Carl Jung’s depth psychology, which remains deeply influential to psychologists, religious scholars, and artists alike, argues that ego-consciousness developed out of the unconscious over the course of evolution. By exploring the work of key theoreticians from both schools of thought, particularly those whose ideas are derived from an integration of theory and practice, Whitney explores the extent to which the seemingly irremediable split between Jung andPatañjali’s ontological beliefs can in fact be reconciled. 

This thorough and insightful work will be essential reading for academics, theoreticians, and postgraduate students in the fields of psychology, philosophy of science, and consciousness studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the East–West psychological and philosophical dialogue.


‘Dr Whitney’s book is an important contribution to those of us interested in the East-West dialog about the nature of consciousness. She has the rare gift of expertise in both Jung’s psychology and Patañjali’s metaphysics, and her text reveals the important similarities and distinctions found in the work of these two gigantic figures. Students of transformation will benefit by Dr Whitney’s clear articulation of the ways in which depth psychology and yoga philosophy complement each other.’ - Lionel Corbett, Professor, Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA

‘Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali is a brilliant analysis of Western and Eastern concepts of consciousness, motivated by the author's personal experience that there's something beyond a materialistic brain-based explanation of consciousness. A deep dive into personal ego, impersonal awareness, dual and nondual realities, and beyond. Highly recommended.’ - Dean Radin, PhD, Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences, USA

'When Carl Jung studied Yoga traditions, he dealt with an abstraction, a relic of the exotic "other." With wide practice of Yoga worldwide, one can no longer dismiss its insights as inappropriate for non-Asians. Leanne Whitney's book updates our thinking about Yoga and shows its benefits to contemporary psycho-therapeutic theory and practice.’ - Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director, Master of Arts in Yoga Studies, Loyola Marymount University, USA.

'This book is an important contribution to the East-West dialogue that Jung considered so necessary. Too, this book continues a tradition whose genesis may be attributed to a then young scholar of Jungian psychology who, in 1985, published Jung and the Post-Jungians. Andrew Samuel’s seminal reference to the evolution of Jungian thought introduced many of the critiques of Jungian orthodoxy that are topical today. Dr. Leanne Whitney’s book continues this tradition with a provocative inquiry that makes us reconsider the aspects of the Abrahamic and Enlightenment traditions that are impediments to actualizing our own higher consciousness.' - Robert Mitchell in the International Journal of Jungian Studies 11 (2019) 79–92

'The book hardly exceeds 150 pages in length, but its substance outperforms its physical weight by far. From a proper background of what is ontically undivided, it is Whitney’s vision that a ‘depth psychology–classical yoga fusion can yield a contemporary, and more lucid, understanding of the multiplicity of forms on the foreground’. I couldn’t agree more.' - Harald Atmanspacher, Zürich, writing in the Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2019.

Table of Contents




An Overview of Patañjali

Patañjali on Consciousness/Unconsciousness

Patañjali on Mind/Psyche

Patañjali on Ego/Self

Patañjali on the Transformation of Human Consciousness



2. Jung

An Overview of Jung

Jung on Consciousness/Unconsciousness

Jung on Mind/Psyche

Jung on Ego/Self

Jung on the Transformation of Human Consciousness


3. Jung and Patañjali Back-to-Back

Jung and Patañjali on Consciousness/Unconciousness

Jung and Patañjali on Mind/Psyche

Jung and Patañjali on Ego/Self

Jung and Patañjali on the Transformation of Human Consciousness

In Summary



4. Jung on Yoga

The Teological Function of the Psyche

Jung on Yoga: Conclusion



5. A Synthesis of Jung and Patañjali

The Efficacy of the Unconscious

Validating the Consciousness of the Unconscious



6. Conclusion



About the Author

Leanne Whitney received her PhD in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. She works as a transformational coach, Yoga teacher, and documentary filmmaker. Leanne’s professional papers include Depth psychology through the lens of Classical Yoga: a reconsideration of Jung’s ontic reality and Jung and non-duality: some clinical and theoretical implications of the self as totality of the psyche co-authored with Dr. Lionel Corbett.

About the Series

Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies

Series Advisor: Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, Essex University, UK.

The Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies series features research-focused volumes involving qualitative and quantitative research, historical/archival research, theoretical developments, heuristic research, grounded theory, narrative approaches, collaborative research, practitioner-led research, and self-study. The series also includes focused works by clinical practitioners, and provides new research informed explorations of the work of C.G. Jung that will appeal to researchers, academics, and scholars alike.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Jungian