Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali

Cover-Consciousness in Jung and PatanjaliConsciousness in Jung and Patañjali is available in Hardback and various eprints including Nook and Kindle. To order a copy directly from Routledge please click here.


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 and Patañjali’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.


‘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.

‘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


I recently recorded a 7-minute interview about Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali for an author’s spotlight broadcast at my graduate school, Pacifica Graduate Institute. This is a short teaser of what is inside the covers.

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