The Yoga Sutras are a composite of various traditions


By Samyr Ahmad

The Yoga Sutras are a composite of various traditions

The levels of samadhi taught sopra the text resemble the Buddhist jhanas. According esatto Feuerstein, the Yoga Sutras are a condensation of two different traditions, namely “eight limb yoga” (a??a?ga yoga) and action yoga (Kriya yoga). The kriya yoga part is contained per chapter 1, chapter 2 sutras 1-27, chapter 3 except sutra 54, and chapter 4. The “eight limb yoga” is described con chapter 2 sutras 28–55, and chapter 3 sutras 3 and 54.

There are numerous parallels con the ancient Samkhya, Yoga and Abhidharma schools of thought, particularly from the 2nd century BCE sicuro the 1st century AD, notes Larson. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras may be verso synthesis of these three traditions. From the Samkhya school of Hinduism, Yoga Sutras adopt the “reflective discernment” (adhyavasaya) of prakrti and purusa (dualism), its metaphysical rationalism, and its three epistemic methods preciso gaining reliable knowledge. From Abhidharma Buddhism’s intenzione of nirodhasamadhi, suggests Larson, Yoga Sutras adopt the pursuit of an altered state of awareness. However, unlike Buddhism, which believes that there is neither self nor soul, Yoga is physicalist and realist, like Samkhya, mediante believing that each individual has verso self and soul. The third concept that Yoga Sutras synthesizes into its philosophy is the ancient ascetic traditions of isolation, meditation and introspection, as well as the yoga ideas from the 1st millennium BCE Indian texts such as Katha Upanishad, Shvetashvatara Upanishad and Maitri Upanishad.

According to Wujastyk, singleparentmeet referencing Maas, Patanjali integrated yoga from older traditions in Patanjalayogasastra, and added his own explanatory passages preciso create the unified work that, since 1100 CE, has been considered the rete di emittenti of two people. Together the compilation of Patanjali’s sutras and the Vyasabhasya, is called Patanjalayogasastra.


The Yogabhashya is per commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, traditionally attributed sicuro the legendary Vedic sage Vyasa who is said onesto have composed the Mahabharata. This commentary is indispensable for the understanding of the aphoristic and terse Yoga sutras, and the study of the sutras has always referred sicuro the Yogabhashya. Some scholars see Vyasa as per later 4th or 5th century AD commentator (as opposed to the ancient mythic figure).

Scholars hold that both texts, the sutras and the commentary were written by one person. According puro Philipp A. Maas, based on a study of the original manuscripts, Patanjali’s composition was entitled Patanjalayogasastra (“The Treatise on Yoga according esatto Patanjali”) and consisted of both Sutras and Bha?ya. This means that the Bha?ya was sopra fact Patanjali’s own sistema.

The practice of writing verso set of aphorisms with the author’s own explanation was well known at the time of Patanjali, as for example in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosabha?ya (that, incidentally, Patanjali quotes). These research findings change the historical understanding of the yoga tradition, since they allow us preciso take the Bha?ya as Patanjali’s very own explanation of the meaning of his somewhat cryptic sutras.

The Yogabhashya states that ‘yoga’ in the Yoga Sutras has the meaning of ‘samadhi’. Another commentary (the Vivarana) by per indivis Shankara, confirms the interpretation of yogah samadhih (YBh. I.1): ‘yoga’ mediante Patanjali’s sutra has the meaning of ‘integration’. This Shankara ed Vedantic scholar Adi Shankara (8th or 9th century). Scholarly opinion is still open on this issue.


Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or books (Sanskrit Pada), containing con all 196 aphorisms, divided as follows:

  • Samadhi Pada (51 sutras). Samadhi is a state of direct and reliable perception (prama?a) where “the seer” (Purusha, pure consciousness, the Self) abides mediante itself. Samadhi is the main technique the yogi learns by which esatto calm the workings of the mind, whereafter Kaivalya, the isolation of ‘the seer’ from the impurities of the mind, is attained. The author describes yoga and then the nature and the means of attaining samadhi.


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