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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Where we find reference to Yoga methods


[Footnote 6: _Yugya@h_ is used from the root of _yujir yoge_ and not from _yuja samadhau_. A consideration of Pa@nini's rule "Tadasya brahmacaryam," V.i. 94 shows that not only different kinds of asceticism and rigour which passed by the name of brahmacarya were prevalent in the country at the time (Pa@nini as Goldstucker has proved is pre-buddhistic), but associated with these had grown up a definite system of mental discipline which passed by the name of Yoga.]

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In the _Bhagavadgita_, we find that the word yoga has been used not only in conformity with the root "_yuj-samadhau_" but also with "_yujir yoge_" This has been the source of some confusion to the readers of the _Bhagavadgita._ "Yogin" in the sense of a person who has lost himself in meditation is there regarded with extreme veneration. One of the main features of the use of this word lies in this that the _Bhagavadgita_ tried to mark out a middle path between the austere discipline of meditative abstraction on the one hand and the course of duties of sacrificial action of a Vedic worshipper in the life of a new type of Yogin (evidently from _yujir yoge_) on the other, who should combine in himself the best parts of the two paths, devote himself to his duties, and yet abstract himself from all selfish motives associated with desires.

Kau@tilya in his _Arthas'astra_ when enumerating the philosophic sciences of study names Sa@mkhya, Yoga, and Lokayata. The oldest Buddhist sutras (e.g. the _Satipa@t@thana sutta_) are fully familiar with the stages of Yoga concentration. We may thus infer that self-concentration and Yoga had developed as a technical method of mystic absorption some time before the Buddha.

As regards the connection of Yoga with Sa@mkhya, as we find it in the _Yoga sutras_ of Patanjali, it is indeed difficult to come to any definite conclusion. The science of breath had attracted notice in many of the earlier Upani@sads, though there had not probably developed any systematic form of pra@nayama (a system of breath control) of the Yoga system. It is only when we come to Maitraya@ni that we find that the Yoga method had attained a systematic development. The other two Upani@sads in which the Yoga ideas can be traced are the S'vetas'vatara and the Ka@tha. It is indeed curious to notice that these three Upani@sads of K@r@s@na Yajurveda, where we find reference to Yoga methods, are the only ones where we find clear references also to the Sa@mkhya tenets, though the Sa@mkhya and Yoga ideas do not appear there as related to each other or associated as parts of the same system. But there is a remarkable passage in the Maitraya@ni in the conversation between S'akyayana and B@rhad ratha where we find that the Sa@mkhya metaphysics was offered

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in some quarters to explain the validity of the Yoga processes, and it seems therefore that the association and grafting of the Sa@mkhya metaphysics on the Yoga system as its basis, was the work of the followers of this school of ideas which was subsequently systematized by Patanjali. Thus S'akyayana says: "Here some say it is the gu@na which through the differences of nature goes into bondage to the will, and that deliverance takes place when the fault of the will has been removed, because he sees by the mind; and all that we call desire, imagination, doubt, belief, unbelief, certainty, uncertainty, shame, thought, fear, all that is but mind. Carried along by the waves of the qualities darkened in his imagination, unstable, fickle, crippled, full of desires, vacillating he enters into belief, believing I am he, this is mine, and he binds his self by his self as a bird with a net. Therefore, a man being possessed of will, imagination and belief is a slave, but he who is the opposite is free. For this reason let a man stand free from will, imagination and belief--this is the sign of liberty, this is the path that leads to Brahman, this is the opening of the door, and through it he will go to the other shore of darkness. All desires are there fulfilled. And for this, they quote a verse: 'When the five instruments of knowledge stand still together with the mind, and when the intellect does not move, that is called the highest state [Footnote ref 1].'"


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