[Advaita-l] Patanjali Yoga Sutra. I.3

Bhadraiah Mallampalli 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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