[Advaita-l] Patanjali Yoga Sutra. I.3
vaidix at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 27 14:04:12 CDT 2009
Dear Dr. Yadu and Shri Vidyasankar,
YS I.3 is one of the rarest of rare cases when tradition as handedover is under question because
YS doesn't have any surviving oral tradition as backup. It is remarkable that our forefathers maintained
the traditions without yielding to any temptations to change them.
A more frequently occuring situation is when words adopted by one tradition (say classical Hinduism)
meant something else under extinct traditions (e.g., words like manas, chitta, sense organs etc differ
from Shrutis). The solution for this is to read all of Acharyas' commentaries carefully.
The most invariable feature of all current traditions is branding of anything not properly understood
in terms of what is considered as jnana in today's terms as karma kanda. This applies to 90% of
upanishat content. The solution for this is to understand that what we as humans consider as jnana
is actually karma for devas.
Having said that, do we have to accept tradition in above three cases? or do we have a recourse?
One vedic scholar explained to me by means of an illustration: "Your grandfather was doing sandhya
vandanam and his angavastram becomes loose and slips a bit. Do you have to loosen your angavastram
daily thereafter?" He said when it comes to maintaining tradition, there is no choice, but when it comes to
accepting it for yourself, you need to apply due diligence.
In the oral tradition, YS I.2 & I.3 may have been a single sutra: yogaschittavRttinirodhastadA~draSTuH
svarUpe~vasthAnam. The svarita ensures sandhi is split correctly. If this is correct, it speaks volumes
about our history. At some point in time YS ceased to be an oral tradition because Rtviks stopped
practicing pranayama. Yoga being a popular subject it was taken over by others who don't know finer
details of grammar, and the division into individual chapters may have happened at this stage. I haven't
studied YS beyond I.1-6, II.20-21, but I think it is a good sample to conclude that some disconnect exists
between YS, advaita and Shruti today.
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