Yoga is a complete system with its metaphysics and epistemology. It has its spiritual, psychological, physical and philosophical importance. The term `Yoga', has been often misinterpreted. Modern generation considers 'Yoga', as a means to physical well-being only. This book presents meaning and method of yoga in the Vedas, Upanisads, Jainism, Buddhism, Patanjala Yoga and Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. It throws light on true nature of yoga. The book will help the lovers of yoga to choose right path of yoga to attain perfection.
Niranjana Bhate completed her M.A. (Philosophy) and Ph.D. (Yoga philosophy) from Tilak Maharashtra University, Pune. For few years she worked as a lecturer at Tilak Maharashtra University where she taught western Philosophy and Ethics. Some of her articles on yoga have been published in an International Journal of Yoga, 'Yoga Mimamsa'. Recently she has undertaken work of translation of some texts and hopes to publish the work soon!
Yoga tradition is very ancient. In Panini, the word 'Yoga' is derived from the root `Yuj , in the sense of samadhi (concentration) and Yujir' in sense of joining or connecting. According to Panini, 'Yogi' means a man who practices religious austerities. In early 1920's, during excavation of Indus civilization (about 3000BC), traces of early Yoga were found in Indus cities. There are some Terra-Cotta seals found during excavation. They are called as "Pasupati Seal" which show horned deities seated in manner of the yogic postures. The Vedas, Upanisads, Mahabharata, Smrtis, Puranas, Yogavasistha describe Yoga. Eighteen chapters of Bhagavad Gita are named as different Yogas. Vaisnavism and Saivism also mention Yoga.
In Indian Philosophy, there are six darsanas or philosophical systems. Most of these systems accept Yoga as means to attain liberation. Bhagavan Patanjali, for the first time, took great efforts to collect these scattered pearls, and systematized them in aphoristic style or Yoga sutras. He gave' Yoga', a status of darsana, a Philosophical school. Bhasya of Vyasa, Vacaspati misra and Vijnana bhikkhu are well known.
Along with the Patanjala Yoga, it is necessary to consider the two important sramana traditions of India. The two sramana traditions, the Buddhism and Jainism are avaidic or nastika darsanas as they do not accept authority of the Vedas. While remaining four systems accept authority of the Vedas. Thus, they are called as astika darsanas. Both Mahavira and Buddha did not accept the authority of the Vedas and criticized sacrifice system. They undertook rigorous practice of virtues, meditation and tapa to attain emancipation. Thus, in order to understand the 'Yoga' it is necessary to study these three systems.
Meditation is the core of the Buddhism. Vipassana and samath are the two dhammas preached by Buddha.' Buddhaghosa in his classic work Visuddhimagga' has given the gist of Pitakas. The formula is Sila Samadhi and Prajna. It is the noble eight fold path towards nibbana. We can call it `Yoga', if we compare it with eight fold Yoga of Patanjala. Yoga in the Mahayana Buddhism includes practice of Parmitas.
In the Jainism, agama directly or indirectly contain some yogic concepts such as four types of dhyanas. In the Jaina darsana, doctrine of ratnatraya is accepted as a means to moksa. They are Samyak darsana (right inclination), Samyak jnana (right cognition) and Samyak caritra (right conduct). According to A. Haribhadrasuri, all means conducive to moksa are Yoga. Thus Ratnatraya itself is Yoga, as means to moksa. It is cause of kaivalya. A. Haribhadraji's contribution to Yoga is remarkable. He has presented Jaina Yoga and its impartial comparison with the Patanjala Yoga, Buddhism and other Yogas prevalent at that time. Later on A. Jinabhadraganiji, A. Subhacandraji and A. Hemacandraji have contributed to the Jaina Yoga with their works.
Sri Aurobindo has presented a new Yoga, called as integral Yoga'. He was the great Yogi. His Yoga is new, as he has introduced some new concepts (transformation of lower nature, ascent and descent and superman), new terms (Supermind, Overmind and Supramental) with new aim and method. He has tried to synthesize different yogic systems of India. This study has included Integral Yoga, as it represents Yoga of modern India.
Significance of the Study
Yoga does not mean practice of asanas or breathing. It is a complete system with its metaphysics and epistemology. It has its spiritual, psychological and physical importance. The term `Yoga', has been often misinterpreted. There are many definitions of Yoga. In the Buddhist texts, 'Yoga' means bondage. Bhagavad Gita defines it as `Yogah karmasu kausalam'. Patanjali defines it as, 'restraint of mental states'. Modern generation considers 'Yoga', as a means to physical well-being. There are many misconceptions about Yoga. 'Yoga' is popular all over the world in innumerable number of forms and names such as Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Amrt Yoga, Green Yoga, Atma Yoga and so on. Every day new schools of Yoga are emerging. These schools are combinations of old and new yogic methods. If this continues for longer time, we may forget our precious ancient tradition of Yoga. As a student of philosophy, it is necessary to understand the concept of 'Yoga' and to preserve our ancient treasure of Yoga. In order to understand 'Yoga' in the Buddhism, Jainism and Patanjala Yoga; important works of some scholars who had done research in this area, were studied. However, it was observed that study of yoga either in one system or in two systems at a time has been done. In present work author studied yoga in more than two systems of yoga.
The objective is to understand meaning and method of Yoga in the Vedas, Upanisads, Jainism, Buddhism, Patanjala Yoga and Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga.
Due to Philosophical literary nature of the study, Descriptive method is used to collect and analyze the data. The primary data includes the original texts and translations of some of them in English, Maratlii, Hindi and Guajarati. The secondary data involves reference works of some scholars related to the topic. Both types of sources are used to define Yoga and to describe method of Yoga in the particular system of Yoga under consideration in each chapter. Comparison of similar terms and concepts among the Upanisads, Buddhism, Jainism and Patanjala Yoga is done in the last chapter. Critical analysis of the Yogic concepts is done wherever is essential.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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