[Advaita-l] mention of yama and niyama in shAnkara bhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Apr 27 05:56:37 CDT 2013

In the Prashnopanishad 5.1 bhashyam Shankaracharya says this about  dhyAnam:

..आत्मप्रययसन्तानाविच्छेदो भिन्नजातीयप्रत्ययान्तराखिलीकृतो
निर्वातस्थदीपशिखासमोऽभिध्यानशब्दार्थः ।
स एवं यावज्जीवव्रतधारणः ....।

//The meaning of the term 'abhidhyAna' (of this mantra), intense
meditation, is to have such an unbroken current of the idea of
self-identification (with the object of meditation) as is not vitiated by
other states of consciousness of a different order, and which is comparable
to the (unflickering) flame of a lamp in a windless place. (the aspirant)
who undertakes such a lifelong vow, aided by such multifarious forms of
yama and niyama (i.e.control of body and organs, and observance of moral
injunctions)  as truthfulness, abstinence from sexual pleasure, non-injury,
non-acceptance of presents, dispassion, monasticism, cleanliness (purity),
cओntentment, absence of dissimulation, etc.//

We can observe here that Shankara is alluding to the 'yama' and 'niyama' of
the Patanjali Yoga sutras:

Yama: ahimsA, satyam, asteyam, aparigrahaH, brahmacharyam.

niyama: shaucha, santoSha, IshwarapraNidhAna, svAdhyAya, tapas.

Shankara is mentioning a few of these as representative and also adds:
aneka, several, such aids.  That shows that the members under yama and
niyama listed by Patanjali too are not exhaustive; he too has provided a
representative list.


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