The Institute is pleased to present to the student of the Yoga theory and practitioners of the Yoga discipline a reprint of its 1917 edition of the said work with a scholarly introduction in English by Prof. K. S. Arjunwadkar. Professor Arjunwadkar, Jagannath Shankarshet Sanskrit Scholar (1946), is trained in both traditional and modern methods. For about a decade he devoted himself to a rigorous study of and writing on original Yoga literature. During this period, he also taught this subject to Yoga lovers in India, and in England with the support of Miss Mira Mehta, a world known Yoga teacher and author of several books o Yoga, the last one, ‘Yoga Explained’, being in collaboration with Prof. Arjunwadkar. She has also developed a special website on Yoga to circulate his studies among Yoga lovers of the world.
In its birth country, Yoga has proved to be a grammar of Indian spiritualism. It is primeval and can be traced back to the real seal found in Mohenjodado excavation bearing the imprint of a Siva-like Yogi with erect pennies. Upanisads, especially the Svetasvatara, known as the locus classicus of Yoga, gives a vivid description of Yoga and the Bhagavadgita elaborates the same. The non-Vedic Jainism and Buddhism also have their own Yogic traditions. Their terms sometimes differ from the Patanjali vocabulary yet in doctrine they are akin to what is known later as Rajayoga/Rajavidya/Rajaguhya. As a devoted student of Buddhist literature for years, I personally believe that the original Buddhism was essentially a Yogis school and historical much earlier than the Patanjali tradition.
I congratulate Prof. Arjunwadkar for his erudite introduction and I am sure scholars will be benefitted by the same.
Philosophy, mysticism, magic these are the levels on which human mind works. These trends are visible from the times the Vedic literature was produced and are presumably much older than that. The major tools of these trends are (a) rational thinking, (b) imaginative thinking and (c) superstitious thinking or magic respectively. The last two levels are broadly faith-oriented. The first trend is reflected in the Rgvedic hymns like the Nasadiya, Purusa, and later, in most of the major Upa.; the second in (i) the major part of the Rgvedic hymns addressed to a number of deities and (ii) in the Upanisads, what are called upsana-s or meditations on sets of objects founded on their mutual, mystic relationship founded on some common characteristic howsoever insignificant; and the third in the Atharva- vedic magic formulae aimed at all mundane goals. The major difference between the second and the third trends is that while the second involves only mental visions, the third trend involves use of physical objects accompanied by the utterance of verbal magical formulae. These very trends are in essence visible in the origin and development of the concept of Yoga as found in the Raja-yoga (RY), the Hatha-yoga (HY) and the Tantra-yoga (TY).
The terms RY, HY and TY
Pata. names his subject as mere ‘Yoga’; its name Raja-yoga (Regal or Supreme or Prominent yoga) is not found in works earlier than the earliest treatise on Hatha-yoga, Svatmarama’s Hatha-yoga-pradipika (HYP). This work is a signed by Dr. Gode to the 14th c. AD. True, the term is employed by Varaha-mihira (6th c. AD) in his Brhat-samhita, but not in the sense of Pata.’s Yoga. It is used there to mean an astrological phenomenon. The term Hatha-yoga cannot be ealier than the Natha school of Matsyendra and Goraksa assigneed to the 11th-12th c. AD. Its earliest use on record is to be found in the Yoga-vasistha (13th c. A.D.; hathayogo hi duhkhadah V.54.9), where the term Hatha in the sense of a specific Yoga school is used. It details many Hatha concepts of Yoga, an employs the term Hatha also to mean the followers of the schools of that name (YV V.92.40). (For more discussion on the historical aspect of these terms, refer to the note at the end.) Still earlier, there is reason to believe that Hatha was known to the Mahabharata also, as it speaks of Yogins moving in the world in their subtle body (Crit. Edn. XII.304.5-6), - this is exactly what the Hatha-yoga-pradipika of Svatmarama speaks of the Natha yogins. The story of the meeting of Sulabha with Janaka informs us that she entered Janaka’s body through his eye-rays. (Crit Edn. XII.308.16-17) This implies miraculous powers achieve through Yoga. The term tantra is associated with magic and mystic practices from the times of Varaha-mihira.
The trends as found in Yoga traditions: Raja-yoga
Pata., the exponent of the RY and the oldest systematic author on the subject, handles his main subject in a rational way in keeping with the tradition of scholarly works on similar subjects such as the Brahma-sutra of Badarayana, if we set aside the part in his work dealing with miraculous powers or siddhis. The object of Pata.’s Yoga is liberation of it practitioner from worldly life by the realization of the soul’s real nature through the control of mind. No wonder, therefore that the topics of asana and pranayama occupy functional, and hence nominal, position in his scheme. Though the topic of siddhis in YS is followed by Pata.’s warning to the genuine Yoga practitioner to keep off from them, it is this non-rational topic aiming at mundane powers that links HY to RY in a surreptitious way.
As against RY, the basis of HY is mystic as confirmed by its concept of human physiology (cakras, nadis etc) and the ways it recommends to control it (sat-karmans, awakening of the kundali / kundalini etc) to the extent of making the body immortal, which is its ultimate goal. Some works on this type of Yoga do make attempts to align it to RY, but without success, as the distance between them on the points of their goals and means is unbridgeable. No wonder, therefore, that it altogether drops some topics in Pata.’s system such as yamas and niyamas, and elaborates such topics as asanas and their further development called mudras, etc.
TY, as I term it, borrows some aspects from, or com- parable to those in, HY. Yet it differs totally from it in its complex methodology involving charms, diagrams, magic syllables, and the multiplicity of deities associated with them, aimed at a range of mundane benefits. Some Hatha practices are so self- torturing and obnoxious, and some Tantra practices are so grotesque and licentious (admitting even liquor, sex etc as part of religious rites), as to make one shudder at the thought of admitting them anywhere near the level of spirituality as the hallowed term ‘Yoga’ implies. How strange that the same term Yoga conveys so wide a range of meanings as to make room for concepts from no sex to sex! It may, however, be noted that such trends are rooted in human nature itself and are as old as Vedic times as illustrated by some sacrificial ritual the horse sacrifice prescribes a ritual in which the wife performer of the sacrifice, yajamana, is asked to sleep with the dead horse), and a number of magical charms in the Atharvaveda aimed at all imaginable worldly gains. History with that these trends cannot be suppressed despite the heights thoughts attained by intellectuals.
The term Yoga conveys a range of meanings
Let us now see what the first trend, the rations has to offer us. Within its scope, the term Yoga con range of meanings. It is not only in our own times that the Yoga has changed its meaning by way of extension (sc include AV) and/or limitation (so as to imply only pc and breath training), and has appeared with the prefix Modern’. History of this word shows that as early as when Bhagavad-Gita (BG) assumed its present form (400 B.C. A.D.), the scope of the term Yoga was widened so as elude in its span practices aligned to spiritual goals such as action (duty, karman), devotion (bhakti), renunciation (samnyasa) and knowledge (jnana), not aimed at worldly besides meditation (dhyana) in which sense the term was already established. This is consistent with the basic mean the term Yoga, viz. means, coming from the root yuj to (The BG range of Yoga is not unrelated to the goal of viz. liberation or isolation, kaivalya, as Samkhyas would name it; and the Yoga school borrows Samkhya terminology exposition of its philosophical outlook. Yoga may thus regarded as an abridgement of the longer or full word, adhyatma yoga, employed in the Katha Upa. (1.2.12) or dhyana-yoga employed in the Svetasvatara Upa. (1.3). BG (8.8) appears to treat it as an abridgement of abhyasa-yoga when it implies dhvana, meditative Yoga and makes a pun on the word in its basic meaning, union, equating it with vi-yoga, its antonym, meaning separation. Says BG (VI.23): though called Yoga, this process is in effect vi-yoga, as it separates the practitioner from suffering.
The BG concept of ideal devotion and Narada’s concept of devotion in Narada-bhakti-sutra come closer to Pata.’s surrender of actions to God (II.32). All the three are aimed at cleansing the mind of all worldly considerations. The difference consists in the first two treating it as complete way leading to liberation, while Pata. treats it as a primary aid of Yoga, the real means to liberation.
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