View Full Version : yoga - different viewpoints

19 March 2012, 11:13 AM
hariḥ oṁ


The next few posts is to take a look at the different ways yoga is considered. It will not be only patañjali-muni , but others that have offered their direct views and experiences.

This whole notion of yoga is of great interest ( to me ). Why so ? Because different muni's describe this yoga in different words and terms.
What they try to offer us is the the defintion, conditions, methods, and achievement by trying to actually define the term yoga. So, I thought to offer some of the ideas of this term yoga from various view points for one's kind consideration.

So, if I may, let's set the foundation:
Patañjali-muni defines one view of yoga in the 2nd sūtra ,samādhi-pāda (1st chapter).
yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ

yogaś - process of yoking; union from 'yuj'
citta - as a noun it is thinking , reflecting , imagining , thought; some put this as active mind
vṛtti - ' rolling , or rolling down' i.e. patterning, turnings, movements.
nirodhaḥ - suppression , destruction ; some prefer stilling, cessation, restrictionIf we look at the definition above there is one word that is implied , yet not written. It is the word ' occurs' . This sentence then reads:
Yoga occurs (when) stilling (nirodhaḥ) the active (vṛtti) mind (citta).

It is the next sūtra the informs us of the ~condition~ that occurs due to this 'stilling' (nirodhaḥ):

tadā draṣtuḥ¹ avasthānam svarūpe

then the seer/perceiver resides (in) his own form

Said another way, then the SELF abides in its true, original unperturbed form.

This word yoga is rooted in yuj. It is defined as:

to join , unite , connect , add , bring together
to come into union or conjunction with
to fasten on or in
to be absorbed in If we reivew the words from the above list, ' to be absorbed in' begs the question , to be absorbed in what ?
To this we have different ( not opposing) answers and thus the subject of the next post.



draṣtuḥ - dṛṣṭa - seen , perceived ; dṛṣṭi - seeing beholding
avasthānam - resides, dwells, rests
svarūpe - svarūpa - one's own form or shape , the form or shape ; 'in reality'

19 March 2012, 01:52 PM
hariḥ oṁ


' to be absorbed in' it begs the question , to be absorbed in what ?
If we were to look at patañjali-muni's work, it would be the absorption into samādhi. Samādhi समाधि - is one-pointed absorption; One can say the mind is absorbed or 'concentrated' - but it is not the act of concentration.

We can look at this as samā+dhi ; samā = equal, whole, complete, evenness, sameness + dhi = recepticle, which is a weak form of dhā that means holding, possessing. Hence we can say samā + dhi is the recepticle of holding wholeness, even-ness.

Another view of this absorption can be saṃyoga. That is, yoga is saṃyogo yogaḥ ( from the parākhyatantra¹) This saṃyoga means 'contact, conjunction , combination , connection' ; It is also defined as 'direct material contact'. Hence we go from ~absorption~ to yoga being defined as saṃyoga .

Now another view ( again, not opposing, just a different perspective) comes from the yogabīja¹ and calls out once again saṃyogo yogaḥ. Yet here the notion of saṃyoga takes on the defintion of 'union' and rightly so IMHO.
Devī asks śiva (śaṃkara¹) , what is yoga defined as , and what is achieved by yoga ? Īśvara (śiva, śaṅkara) says, yoga is the unification of many pairs of opposites, such as the in-breath and the out-breath (apānaprāṅayor yogaḥ), the unification of the sun and the moon (sūryachandramasor yogaḥ) , the individual soul with the universal soul (jīvātamātmaparamātmanoḥ yogaḥ).

So we can see in the examples above there is ~continunity~ in defintions, yet not conformity. But there is more to the story and that will continue in the next post.


samādhi - another view: sama + ā + dhā : sam or sama = sameness, evenness, homogeneous + ā = although completely +
dhā = take hold of , hold , bear , support. Hence samādhi = 'to hold sameness/evenneness completely'.The even-ness is the concentrated one-pointedness.
parākhyatantra - is from śaiva siddhāna , one of the 6 schools of śaivam. The śloka is found in 14.97 to 14.101
yogabīja comes from the nātha sampradāya.
śaṃkara - another name of śiva and is defined as causing prosperity , auspicious , beneficent .
Note the difference in spelling if spelled this way, saṃkara - mixing together , commingling , intermixture ; can also mean confusion. The difference is in s vs. ś
Some people spell śaṃkara as śaṅkara

Neil Advani
07 November 2012, 10:34 PM
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