Tuesday, June 15, 2010







(edited and modified by Shree Vinekar)

There was a little girl from Kansas who traveled in a fantasy world and reached OZ where she found a wizard; she woke up after a dream full of fantasy and scared to see that she was safe in her bed at her Kansas home.

Similarly there was a girl in New York who went to Cambridge, Massachusetts and learnt a language that had literature "full of sex, violence including beheading,suppressing women, children, animals etc." She was so fascinated by such a literature that she studied the original language in which the lterature was written. In a short time admiring her 'scholarship' she was given the degree of Ph.D. at Harvard; also she was recognized as a scholar in that language. Later she went to the country where that language originated to expand and confirm her scholarship.

She stayed there for less than one year and came back to her motherland.

Suddenly she woke up terrified from a dream in which she was in a strange land with knowledge of a language of that land with these horrifying experiences.
However she was very much comforted and relieved to find herself back in her homeland U.S.A.. With such an enriching experience, she was associated with
School of Divinity at the University of Chicago. In her divine pursuit of "knowledge" she was determined to impart her experience focused
with a telescopic vision to her students. Her indomitable enthusiasm, energy and industry made her students scholars of the same experience without actually experiencing it. Scholar begets scholar. And, the scholars who created such scholars should also become authorities. Deservedly she became an authority on a religion of sex and violence and its language that well articulates its despicable nature.

Now there are the liberal instincts that induce her to fight such horrible aspects of a religion. To emancipate the victims of such a religion one has to take a firm stand against such horrible things she is able to perceive in that religion. She is also moved to publicly castigate perpetrators of such a religion.

One cannot fight a windmill assuming it to be an army but one can bracket each and every one who practices that religion as the source of such despicable way of life. This she realized by her telescopic vision through which she discovered that the Wendus in the strange land all had a double vision. This has caused a problem. There is opposition to her approach to an understanding of that religion.

How can one handle such an opposition?

One should say that all those who practice or profess as belonging to that religion must be condemned as bad as Nazis. (She has roots in the Asiatic middle east religious tradition and deep seated justifiable reasons to hate the Nazis). Then build a castle built on publications, lectures, scholars she had created, book reviewing admirers of her scholarship and the status of "a foremost authority" on that religion.

This is the saga of a mouse trying to shake the mountain. In this case it is the Himalayan Mountains.


A Wendian(not Indian) perception of Wendyskrit(not Sanskrit)and Wendus(not Hindus)

The Epic: "Wendyayana"; Kanda: "The Wendus (not the "The Hindus"): An alternative vision(or perversion)"


Wendy has forgotten the history of the United States when she talks so extensively and authoritatively about the others being suppressed in India over several centuries and millennia. Look at the following quote about what was happening in the US just a hundred or so years ago.

"In Harpers Weekly Magazine in 1874, a cartoonist named Thomas Nast drew a cartoon which demonstrated the South’s temperament concerning the education of newly freed Blacks. The illustration depicted two Black people kneeling down holding a baby and two armed white men standing over them. In the background of the cartoon lay a schoolbook and a burning school, while an ex-slave is being lynched. This cartoon reflected the national psyche of America at that time in world history. Anderson writes:

It is crucial for an understanding of American educational history, however, to recognize that within American democracy there have been classes of oppressed people and there have been essential relationships between popular education and the politics of oppression. Both schooling for democratic citizenship and schooling for second class-class citizenship have been basic traditions in American education (Anderson, 1988, introduction)."

Friday, June 11, 2010






Dr. Seshachalam Dutta

(Edited and modified by Shree Vinekar)

“The Hindus-An Alternative History of India” (hereinafter called “HINDUS”) a recently published book by Wendy Doniger, Ph.D., is the most degrading, scurrilous and damning book by a professor of Chicago University. This is a second book of its kind portraying Indian society in such derogatory terms next only to the infamous “Mother India” by Katherine Mayo, which Mahatma Gandhi condemned as a sewage report. If a Government has a justification to ban a book, this is the one. Indian Government is not to be credited with the virtue of the freedom of press or tolerance to intellectual works when it comes to attack on religious sensibilities. More innocuous work, Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie was banned by the Government of India before it hit the book stores. If the government didn’t ban it, Indian Muslims might have burnt it. Indian Muslim painter-artist Hussain could paint Sita in nude, but let him paint Muhammad in the nude and see what happens to him. Who speaks for the honor of Hindus? The ruling party simultaneously pretends to be secular and at the same time co-opting Hindu credentials. The opposition BJP pretends to notice nothing unless it is published in Hindi; and once in three years it raises the slogan of Ram Mandir construction to get the votes, as though this is the only pertinent issue of concerns to Hindus. True, Doniger points out - that the Hindus are ill-defined disparate mass of people designated as “Hindus “ by the foreigners who gave them that name “Hindu” by exclusion of other foreign faiths. So no one speaks for Hindus, unlike for Christians and Muslims. Any book similar to this one on Muslims would have invited worldwide wrath among the Muslims leading to fatwa’s and no publisher would have dared to publish such a work. The only tepid response of outrage the author experienced was for a speech she gave prior to this publication at Oxford, from Jitendra Bharadwaj who hurled an egg at her (and missed); for he obviously lacked the eloquence and wit to match hers to verbally debate her in the public. No one condones such crude gesture which she cited in her book at the beginning and also at the end, almost as an inspiration for her voluminous vindictive work: but just as he missed his aim, she missed the point that he was only expressing his disgust, even if crudely, not really to harm her but to only humiliate her minimally compared to the monumental insult, injury and humiliation she was hurling at another culture. To this day she never realized what provokes such disgust in her writings although she claims to have psychoanalytic insights to view Hindu culture and mythology from the lens of Sigmund Freud.

Without any specifics, except for a slant reference to Hindutva political groups as revisionists, Doniger accuses Hindu scholars of “double vision” and portrays all of Hindu mythology as vulgar and obscene. As a former belly dancer, she sees everything with a sexual connotation and her reading of Hindu sacred texts are replete with sexual innuendos. Showing an affectation of sympathy, she talks of caste distinction and sexism in ancient Hindu society in the most demeaning manner. This is a stereotypic Western Indologists’ attitude. True Casteism is a bane of Hindu Society; but discrimination based on birth is not unique for Hindus. As a Jew (Jewess?) she calls herself “very much Jewish.” She should know that the discrimination of Sephardim Jews by Ashkenazi or the problem of Beta Israel and dark Jews is not reconciled to this day. Coming to women’s "rights,” historically women in every ancient culture were treated subordinate to men, including in Jewish or Christian societies. This is a well-known fact. Did not God of Abraham condemn women to bear children in sorrow, as Bacon put it succinctly, women were born to love and suffer and men to toil and suffer. St. Paul told women to keep their mouths shut in church congregations advising them to ask their husbands if they had any questions! Not in India, but it was in England and its colonies the practice of “rule of thumb” prevailed, condoning beating of wives with a stick no thicker than her husband’s thumb! Throughout her voluminous book Doniger feigns sympathy for Hindu women and other oppressed castes. If she needs comparative analysis of womanhood of various religious groups, Hindus at least are not guilty female circumcision (genital mutilation) as currently practiced in some Muslim and Jewish communities.

"HINDUS” is a 779 pages long book covering the antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Colonial and the contemporary History of India. What are her qualifications for the authorship? She confesses that she is no Historian, nor a philosopher, or an anthropologist but a simple philologist with some knowledge of Sanskrit, which in the West familiarly titled “Sanskritist”, meaning one with midget of knowledge of Sanskrit. While the knowledge of Sanskrit may render her to claim presumable ability to unravel the ancient history India or Hindus, what claim does she advance to the times Sanskrit was not the language of the courts, in middle ages and modern times? Here she engages in reckless diatribe on Hindu customs, culture, politics and religious practices.

With such lack of training how would she venture to write a history? She claims to use synecdoche- “selecting one or two moments in history.”……. “Taking a small piece of history and using it to suggest a full range of enduring human concerns.” The problem with this approach is that she confuses mythology and history. This approach oversimplifies history, for example: Cain killed his brother Abel, the first brother in creation and hence we have to assume brothers killed brothers in the biblical lands! Despite this shortcoming, she claims immunity from personal criticism, since she is an academician and hence claims objectivity. But in her writing she is embroiled in personal hatred for male Brahmins generated by her dislike for the egg thrower Brahmin, and further has partisan political vindictiveness against Hindu Nationalists, and therefore such argument in favor of immunity for an objective academician doesn’t hold water. She and her publisher can be sued for defaming RSS as participants or conspirators in Gandhi’s assassination and sexual innuendoes in matters religious may be treated as pornography and blasphemous. She brackets M.S.Golwalkar with Aurangazeb and Hitler. Nowhere does she recognize that the ideal and idol for Indian Muslims is Aurangazeb the great Alamgir and not Akbar (see Iqbal).

Poorly indexed, the book makes difficult for quick reading and review; she suggests one could quickly access her book from the index as the “dog sniffs the back of another to find what it ate!” She claims she herself does that often. But she should know, as a dog keeper, the analogy has sexual connotation-the dog sniffs the behind of the bitch to find whether it is in heat, and not to investigate her diet! This is an example of her humor in the text-vulgar and obscene- which seems to entertain some of her Indian friends. There are enough Gangadins among Indians who fall for it, no matter what positions in academia they occupy. Some of them have unabashedly endorsed her book. Now we come briefly to the content of the text.

Various aspects of this book have been already extensively reviewed, mostly in negative light. The British commentators found the inadequacies in the accounting of colonial period. Numerous Indian commentators were outraged at her drawing history from anecdotes in Mythology; her accounting of Muslim rule was equally wanting in fact and authenticity. She talks about Basava Purana which was written first in Telagu and later in Kannada, both of which languages are outside her expertise. Her analysis of religious texts is equally appalling and mostly gratuitous.
Doniger says that she is very Jewish and then if that is true she needs to know that Samson’s mother begged for a child from the Sun who came out of his chamber and gave her one. This she should know is mythology and not history; neither the parting of the Red Sea by Moses is history. How then, she portrays that Sun coming down to give Kunti as “Hindu History” and that “Sun God” “raped” her when the son born of this union as described in the original Mahabharata was by extra uterine conception (Sadyogarbha). In another episode she takes some tribal folk lore and talks of Sita, the most venerated mother symbol for countless Hindus as having voluptuous longing for her husband’s brother. This comment was what precisely provoked Jitendra Bharadwaj it is surmised. Ramayana is not historical work, it is not even “itihasa” it is an “Aadi-kavya” and like purana, a product of his imagination, written by a great poet, Maharshi Valmiki. It is not a history by any stretch of imagination. She thus confuses Hindu Mythology with Hindu History. Both these great epics of Hindus, Ramayana and Mahabharata, give enough preambles to conclude that these are the poetic elaborations of the imagination of the poets to illustrate some eternal principles that impact human life and society with an attempt to illustrate the then prevalent knowledge, philosophy and human affairs. They are not literal historical documents or archives. They are a means to understand the Sanatana Dharma or some Vedic truths. However, this is not to deny that some historical events may have been incorporated in the plot of these stories.

Doniger is fascinated by sexual context of Indian writings. She says every Sanskrit word has “its own meaning, an opposite meaning, a god’s name and denotes a position in sexual intercourse.” This is the height of her sexual obsession. Her Sanskrit proficiency should be left to other scholars to critique. Witzel of Harvard questions it. She split the phrase Satyaagraha as Satya+ Graha, instead of Satya+aagraha (Savarna deergha sandhi) demonstrating her ignorance of elementary Sanskrit that is transparent to any educated Indian without a Ph.D. in Sanskrit. She accuses male Brahmins filtering the Sanskrit texts, does not explain in what way. According to her analysis Brahmins are of two kinds, those who whispered in the ears of kings (and became rich) and others that were dirt poor who begged for their food every day. There are none in between by her accounting. We know that the great works were written, not by those who whispered in Kings' ears but by the very poor Brahmins. Vamadeva who wrote a section in Rigveda once was so hungry that he ate entrails of a dog (see: Radha Kumud Mukherji). Her wonderment discussing Raivika as why a low caste Hindu could be allowed by Brahmins to flourish is absurd considering most of the Upanishads were written by Kshaktrias and not by Brahmins.

Further analysis of her classical discussion on her Hindu history may not add much; it would be flogging a dead horse considering volume of reviews this book has attracted. Instead of dwelling on the antiquity, I will try to focus on Doniger’s lack of knowledge of contemporary Indian history.

Her hatred for Brahmins is revealed by her hateful treatment of so called Sangha Parivar, following the leftist propaganda of clubbing anyone who disagrees with disparagement of Hindu traditions and History as Sangha Parivar does, a political loose alliance of disparate groups with only common dedication to protect Hindu interests. She calls Tilak a militant Nationalist who only asked for Swarajya (or “self Government” and not even complete freedom) and spent years in British Jail! In her view that is militancy. (This was not even the view of the British who imprisoned him.) She deemed Gandhi's Satyagraha as ineffective in transforming his own people but only effective against the British - apparently the civilized British because they were morally evolved people. Little does she know that the British had once already faced the wrath of their own armed forces that turned against them and feared such wrath which ultimately prompted them to consider giving independence to India.

Again she is ignorant of recent history of India, when Winston Churchill called Gandhi a half naked Fakir and wondered why he attracts such attention and called Gandhi’s followers , Nehru and others as Straw men and that British Government should ignore their demands for self government. Anyone with inkling of modern Indian History should know that Gandhi’s greatest power was to awaken the sleeping Hindu Nation and to energize Indians to demand complete freedom. In this, his skill was unparalleled. It is a travesty of truth to attribute India’s liberation to the Christian charity of morally superior British persuaded by Gandhi’s Satyagraha.

Discussing RSS, she portrays Golwalkar as a Nazi admirer and BJP as anti Jewish. She is ignorant of the fact for over 50 years Nehru was anti–Israel, during his life time did not recognize Israel and India did not have diplomatic relations with that country; but it was the BJP Government under Vajpayee that had opened relations with Israel. Most of her leftist friends in India are anti-Israel, pro-China, pro- Russia, pro-Arab and Pro-Muslim. She recklessly included in the book much discredited innuendo of linking RSS with Gandhi’s assassination, a charge which was repeatedly challenged in the courts. This may be music to the ears of Congress and its leftist allies. Not so fast, –she has something for the idol of the Congress Party, Mahatma Gandhi, too.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha is like the attitude of an “Indian woman used against her husband withholding sexual access.” There is sexual connotation in her understanding of how Indian women take on their husbands! What would she suggest, sleep with neighbor’s husband! Gandhi was a sort of Tantric. Tantrics, as we all know are a deviant Hindu cult (vama margis) as Acharya Rajanish who opposed austerities of Yoga and espoused enjoying five M’S: Madya, Maunsa, Matsya, Maithuna, and Mudras. Although Gandhi never ate meat or drank liquor, according to Wendy, he practiced a kind of tantric sex, not following Upanishadic and Vaishnavic traditions, he normally advocated. In her own words:

“The practice of celibacy of Gandhi-sleeping beside girls (young almost to call jail baits in the U.S) to test/or prove his celibate control or stiffen his resolve. This practice drew not so much on Upanishadic and Vaishnava ascetic traditions which were source of many of Gandhi’s practices, as upon ancient Tantric technique of internalizing power, indeed creating magical powers by first stirring up the sexual energies and withholding semen.” The implication here is that the man got jollies looking at girls lying next to him in bed, got excited and then controlled his instincts (erections?) to make the sexual energy flow to his head (oordhwaretaka. To use the expression of Jimmy Carter, he might have only sinned at heart!

Even Vivekanada was not spared. Wendy accuses him of advocating beef eating to Hindus. This is a strange revelation, not found in the entire literature on Vivekanada. No such reference is found - in the literature in reality. He actually ate beef while he was in Chicago according to an anecdote narrated by someone. This is another example of her use of synecdoche! So he had clay feet according to Wendy for eating beef in Chicago. As a foremost scholar of Hinduism she has not stated whether there was any real prohibition against eating American cows in the Hindu scriptures. Wendy alone could explain what “enduring societal concerns” she is referring to when trying to find some dirt in the biographies of National heroes and idols of all Indians (Gandhi and Vivekananda) and magnifying it out of proportion, as if these obscure facts of their lives,, even if true, are ruling the consciousness and conduct of all Indians.

Angry Hindus are writing protesting letters to the Chicago University administration, a futile exercise; because she is not offending Muslims, but the docile Hindus. More effective way of dealing with such outrageous assault on the honor of the Nation is to (1) ban the publication outright in India and (2) for RSS to sue the author and publisher for defaming the organization by linking it with the assassination of Gandhi. It remains to be seen whether the Government has the stomach for action and whether the conscience of RSS will be stirred enough to take it upon itself enough seriously to get ready for a battle, without Shiva Sena raiding the book stores. A nation that acts like a floor mat invites contempt from all adventurers, as we have seen with the publication of El Sari Rojo (The Red Sari) fictional biography of Sonia Gandhi. What riles the Congress is not the fictional part of it but facts alluded in it, her adolescent life and her sweethearts in Italy before she married an Indian and the questions of her virginity prior to marriage. Compared to this book “Sari Rojo” "THE HINDUS: An Alternative History of India" is a sweeping insult for the Nation, its past and present.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


First Published on www.sookta-sumana.com February 23, 2008. All rights reserved.
Visit www.sookta-sumana.com and www.sookta-sumana.blogspot.com for more insightful commentaries about Indian culture, politics, and philosophy.

A Brief Overview of the History and True Elements of Yoga


Shreekumar , Shyamala and Jay Vinekar

Over the past several decades, the practice of Yoga has become highly popularized as a sophisticated form of holistic exercise. However, mainstream practice of Yoga, around the world, incorporates only a certain few aspects of the complete philosophy behind the discipline. Moreover, Yoga is being practiced without giving the appropriate and, indeed, necessary attention to the science underlying the philosophy. These mainstream forms of Yoga, which are being taught and practiced in gyms and “Yoga clubs,” fall more into the classification of “healthy, low-impact work-out.” Furthermore, Yoga is commonly promoted by the inadequate definition as being simply “a stress-relieving exercise” in the context of "stress management" and lately the basics of Yoga psychology are watered down as "mindfulness."

However, in order to reap the full rewards that the science and philosophy of Yoga affords the body and the mind or "soul", it is necessary for the dedicated practitioner to understand two basic things: 1.) The practitioner must know the basic history behind the discipline; and 2.) The practitioner must comprehend the nature of all the aspects that encompass the discipline, as well as how these aspects work together, through proper practice, in order to provide the full benefit.

The following brief synopsis of the true history and aspects of this ancient discipline will give novice and intermediate practitioners a good foundation from where to begin the proper pursuit of Yoga.


Yoga is an ancient discipline which originated in the Vedic Sindhu-Saraswati Culture. This discipline or science was summarized in the form of aphorisms by the sage Patanjali. His work, Patanjala Yoga Sutras, or Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms are known as elucidating Ashtanga Yoga, meaning eight aspects of Yoga. They are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The first five are known as the Bahiranga, meaning the external (body of knowledge) , and the latter three as Antaranga, meaning internal (body of knowledge). The reason for this classification is that the external techniques can be easily taught and the practices can be observed. The inner techniques are difficult to observe for an observer and difficult to teach or practice. The true inner transformations of the body-mind-spiritual system may take many years to accomplish the ultimate goal of Yoga and for a lucky few could be instant as in the case of Swami Vivekananda (who incidentally did not have to practice the Hatha Yoga techniques of Asana, Pranayama, etc. very long if at all, and considered these as dispensable never elaborating them in details in his writings with justifiable mild disdain for these ventures because he was a Vedanta oriented Yogi who emphasized the Antaranga - Jnana Yoga, though his guru Ramakrishna Paramahansa practiced bhakti yoga primarily initiating Vivekananda through a technique called Shaktipata, these aspects of Yoga are not relevant here in discussing
Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali)

Yama: Limits. These are ethical constraints in relating with the society. (e.g., society can mean family, friends, neighbors, fellow workers, fellow citizens, ultimately all living beings, giving a person a global view of humanity and the entire biosphere). The aspirant has to learn to practice these in his daily conduct. Ahinsa, Satyam, Asteyam, Brahmacharya, Asangraha (or Aparigraha). Simply speaking these are the inner attitudes of not harming others, being truthful, not taking anything that belongs to others, live in harmony with nature, and not be greedy and accumulate unnecessary things (example of Aparigraha: do not claim other's intellectual property and appropriate it as yours without acknowledgment). Travel light in your life journey and remain ethical, honest, and real in interacting or relating with the real world, people you relate with and other living beings, treating them with respect  to maintain harmony. If practiced correctly these attitudes will make a person feel at ease and give internal peace and balance to live at peace with oneself and one’s surroundings.

Niyama: Attitudes that will give a better quality of life. Shoucha, Santosha, Tapas, Swadhyaya, Ishwarapranidhana.

Inner and outer cleanliness, contentedness, striving for transformation for the better status (higher spiritual status) , study of Self and adhyatma (the science of transcending the mundane self or one's ego), and an attitude of surrendering to Supreme Being (accepting that not all events can be
controlled, leading to the ability to adapt to the environment experiencing minimal conflict with it, learning to let go.)

You will notice that there is no room for inducing guilt and shame in these Yamas and Niyamas.

Asana: Postures. Various isometric (exercises) postures, that are maintained with ease and stability, are described. The idea behind this is to ease the tensions between different muscle groups and train the organs or parts of the Brain to attain a balance so the body musculature and the brain circuits can be freed of the tensions created by the internal conflicts and traumatic experiences. The practitioner will in time get deeper experience of his/her awareness of the body and its processes leading to better control of neuromuscular system and one's attentional processes. (In other words better cortical and subcortical or pyramidal and extrapyramidal motor balance) These lead to breaking down of many usual tensions between opposing forces in the body, when unleashed experienced as tremors or vibrations in the body
(angamejayatvam). The asanas are designed to decrease and alleviate this angamejayatvam.

Pranayama: These are various breathing techniques. These are designed to ease the disturbances of breathing that come about when facing stress. It is claimed that the emotional brain is linked closely with breathing, for example with crying, sighing, fast breathing, breath holding or hyperventilation, etc. By increasing the conscious control of this semi-autonomic function of breathing, the practitioner indirectly trains the parts of the brain that organize and control the feelings and emotions (called manas); thus he/she can  experience that his breathing as well as his emotions can be brought under more conscious control. It is recommended (by Dr. S. L. Vinekar) that a practitioner not engage in many of the advanced Pranayama techniques until he/she has prepared the body musculature to attain a relaxed state so it will not make extra demands for oxygen from the lungs. This can be attained by the previous three techniques, by changing mental attitudes and avoiding conflict with the environment, resolving inner conflicts and tensions, and balancing the body musculature and the brain circuits

Pratyahara: Withdrawing the sensory orientation of “attention” from external to internal focus. This is a technique primarily practiced through Shavasana. (This technique of yoga was initially investigated scientifically for stress management and was introduced as a technique in the composite prescription of Psycho-physiological Therapy in 1962 in the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Cardiology at the KEM Hospital of the University of Bombay in Mumbai, India. The results of this research were later reported in the "British Journal of Psychiatry" in Nov. 1966 and the journals "Angiology" and "Biofeedback and Mind Control" in 1968 both directed by late Dr. S. L. Vinekar, Joint Director of Research at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, Lonavla, (Pune), India, who worked with two different teams of clinical investigators to conduct the clinical trials in his capacity as the Honorary Consulting Physician at K.EM. Hospital who designed and developed the clinically applicable version of Psychophysiological Therapy which he had previously published about in detail in the book "Yogic Therapy" published in 1961 by the Ministry of Health, Government of India - authors "Swami Kuvalayananda and Dr. S. L. Vinekar." The text of this book was primarily written by the second author with proper acknowledgement of the status of his Guru and guide as the primary author, as is a common practice in Indian ethos and tradition.)

The Antaranga is inner change of focus to turn attention toward the Purusha or Atman. In order to do so the first prerequisite technique is to develop the ability to maintain a one-pointed attention, Ekagrata. The attention is focused on one object and the process of such one-pointed attention and also the object upon which the attention is focused are called Alambana. (This process can be a special meditative technique but can be generalized to living in the present with Samadhi - balanced Dhee - recently modified or combined with the Zen Buddhist techniques designed to achieve the state of Satori - promulgated in the recent Western folk literature and also by scientific investigators as "mindfulness." "Mindfulness" is a newly coined English word that did not exist in wide usage in 1950s and 60s when the original clinical research on yoga and the book Yogic Therapy was published. An astute reader will recognize that it is a fascinating old wine in new bottle.)

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are together called Sanyama.

This process entails increasing inner absorption to the relative exclusion of awareness of outer reality perceived through sensory apparatus. It is not just self-imposed sensory deprivation but pleasant or pleasurable relative sensory isolation.

Dharana: holding attention. Inward Dharana will be difficult and therefore the beginner is encouraged to focus on outer object perceived through one sensory organ (this technique of Dharana is a beginning of Antaranga, when directed to outer objects can be compared to "mindfulness"). The outer object can be a “yantra” or “Ishta-devata,” “Omkara” or  a flower, even a musical note, anything that can be pleasing to hold one's attention. For that matter whatever interests the aspirant can be chosen for "Dharana." (recently re-named under the rubric of "mindfulness")

Dhyana: The process of dhyana is deeper concentration, inwardly directed. Ultimate result of Dharana is considered to be blurring of the psychological (ego) boundary and a feeling of (as if) oneness with the object of attention. Dhyana is associated with gradual ease with which the mind or attention is permitted to focus on something and all other things gradually vanish from awareness.

Samadhi: Inner balance. The absorption then leads to internally focused attention and awareness with total absorption in the “themes” or contents of awareness. In this state the awareness of external reality nearly or totally vanishes. The internal contents of awareness or contents illuminated by Chitta are qualitatively or categorically described as Vichara, Vitarka, Asmita, Ananda, Vikalpa, Nirvikalpa, etc.

The goal is to divert the awareness (Chitta) away from its own contents. These contents are described as Chittavrittis (waves or impulses that lead to thoughts, feelings and actions). When all the chittavrittis are inhibited in the awareness, the true nature of pure consciousness (That True Consciousness - Purusha or Atman - which truly illuminates Chitta) lurks in the awareness of the subject, who automatically and with ease identifies himself or herself as that Consciousness which is the Ultimate Reality and not as the identity one carries in the "real world."  It has a profoundly beneficial effect, mainly in giving the inner peace and bliss the individual values the most. This is the state of true Happiness that the Yogis, Buddha included, aspired for, and once attained gradually started loosening the bonds of Karma that tie the individual to this world, making it possible to have special loving relationships that are simultaneously dispassionate (viraga) and Patanjali says this process or this state weakens the binding forces of Karma -  karmabandhanaani shlathayati).

Thus the process of Sanyama starts with the practice of dharana a preliminary step of Chittavritti Nirodha or in modern parlance "mindfulness" and progresses to the ultimate state of Nirvikalpa
Samaadhi, a state of consciousness in which all mental activities are momentarily inhibited
leading to an experience of pure Consciousness (Shiva, Shuddhatma, Brahman, Sat-chid-ananda, etc.) Thus the process of Samyama starts with "controlling" one and only one vritti as object of attention
in the technique of ekagrata moving on to holding and occupying one vritti as occupying the mental space (in Dharana as in "mindfulness" in modern parlance), leading to total absorption and identification with the object of meditation in the stage of Dhyana which when deepens eases one's mind into Samadhi where in all vrittis gradually dissipate attaining the true and complete
chittavritti nirodha meaning attenuation and inhibition of all chittavritties necessary to get the glimpse of the undifferentiated ultimate Consiousness (Purusha). This is a transcendental experience that transforms the individual into a state of Samadhi in every living moment ultimately manifesting the Union of individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness implied in the word Yoga.

So, one can see that the Yogic techniques are purely psycho-physiological in nature and can be universally practiced by any mature human being regardless of class, color, caste, sex, religion or national origin.