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

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 27 20:18:27 CDT 2009

Dear  Bhadraiahji,
It is true that there is no surviving oral tradition of Patanjali yogasutra (YS) but there were some yoga traditions / teachings before Patanjali.  Patanjali did not claim originality of his work. 
Lord Buddha lived before Patanjali. We find some details in the Buddhacarita about Lord Buddha's learning of Sankhya and Yoga under two different gurus. But Lord Buddha was not saitisfied because though in the Yogic state the individuality does not manifest it does reappear once the yogic state (trance) is over. It is another story how he could find the answer to that dilemma ie. how he removed the disconnect between the individual ego state and the ultimate Shunyata state. 
Before Lord Buddha we know that Lord Krishna told Arjuna about Sankhya and Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita (BG) and that was followed by the teachings in the Uttara Gita (UG). In the later stage in the Bhagavad gita Lord Krishna too removes the disconnect between the individual state and the ultimate state. 
Lord Krishna mentions that he revealed Yoga to Vivasvan  and that was in the Satya Yuga. 
It was probably around that time Dattatreya taught Yoga Shastra and we have these details in purana as well as in the Dattatreya Yoga Shastra (DYS), which are extant till today. At the end of DYS it is mentioned that Lord Vishnu in his Avatara as Dattatreya was the first to teach Yoga. It could also be that Dattatreya taught yoga to Vivasvan. We know that the advaitic text Avadhuta Gita is attributed to the same Dattatreya 
Whatever the chronological facts may be we are blessed that the DYS, BG, UG and the Puranas are extant till today. It may be that for whatever doubt one may have on the interpretation of  YS if one may wish to do further reseach on that then there are the extant earlier sources on Yoga to facilitate that kind of enquiry.
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya
--- On Mon, 4/27/09, Bhadraiah Mallampalli <vaidix at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Bhadraiah Mallampalli <vaidix at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] Patanjali Yoga Sutra. I.3
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Monday, April 27, 2009, 12:04 PM

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. 



Rediscover Hotmail®: Get e-mail storage that grows with you. 
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list