It’s been a long time since the previous article dedicated to the issue of Yoga Sutras’ inconsistency was published. An interested reader might have become tired of waiting, and an incautious one could have forgotten the point. So I recommend that before getting down to the text below you read the previous post. For those who won’t I shall remind the basic conclusion. Yoga Sutras does not prove to be an integral and consequent text written by one person at one time; it consists of several completed fragments that come from different Traditions with large time gaps between them.
These fragments can be singled out distinctly pursuant to the following methodological grounds.
1. Consistency of each fragment style.
2. Consistency of used notions thesaurus.
3. Uniformity of described mind-techniques and experience.
4. Presence of finished quotes taken verbatim from other sources.
On the basis of the foregoing criteria I have singled out five different fragments of Yoga Sutras. Notwithstanding the chapter four: there’s little doubt it is an extraneous element within the basic text. As well as inclusions from Buddhism that are 1 or 2 lines long. The latter can be told easily by their being totally out of the basic text tune, and being in fact quotes from Pali sutras.
I’ve defined the first fragment as “Yoga of intellectual and empiric character”. This is how the Sutras start, and probably this fragment was the Sutras’ oldest version. The essential points of the fragment are set forth in the lines 2-4.
tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe-'vasthānam॥1.3॥
1.3. Then drashtar (the inner observer) abides in its genuine invariable state.
Is some aspects it seems to be close to existentialism. There is an underlying observing element – drashtar, and the Sutras tell nothing about its nature because it is rather experienced than perceived. This element may identify itself with more superficial structures of the mind (vrittis) and thus turn “scattered” and become sarupyam – co-formed with its vrittis. The task of an individual practicing this type of yoga is to attain the state when Drashtar abides in its deep, genuine form (svarupa). This is what intellectually-philosophic yoga is.
What is then samadhi? It is “recovery” of the originally pure perception from the said vrittis. The samadhi mentioned at the end of the first section is a truly cognitive notion. This is a state in that a yogi perceives the world “as is”, the way it is done by clean Drashtar which is not tinted by vrittis. This might be a dream of a philosophically-disposed intellectual: “to finally see the things as they are.” Nothing follows samadhi but the end of the section and the first fragment.
The second fragment follows ontological and more mundane goals. I’ve defined it as “Substantial mysticism”. Though giving it a second look we would find it to be the Samkhya we know. There comes Purusha, and Purusha is no longer an existential experience but something of rather perceptible nature. The term “purusha” stems from the root “pūr” or “pr” – “to fill, to be filled, to be full”, and this is the way it’s been actually preserved in these words [both Russian and English – transl. note]. Purusha is the one who is filled [with]. In Vedas purusha is a Man, the one filled with virile strength. And though in the framework of Samkhya the term has been slightly “shifted”, etymology still has it all. The ontological concern declared in this fragment is liberation from suffering, and attaining kaivalya as the ultimate goal.
The term kaivalya is an abstract noun cognate to the adjective kevalam – “to be alone”, that is, “detachment, isolation”. If we consider European tradition, this will in a way be similar to Stoicism and its ethos of autarkia. Both cases stand for specific states of individual’s detachment from the influence of suffering in virtue of viveka, the distinction. “A wise man grieves neither for the living nor for the dead”, because there is distinguishing knowledge in him that disengages him from erroneous identifications. Yet it no longer goes about Drashtar disengaging from vrittis, but Purusha from Pradhana (Prakriti).
heyaṃ duḥkham anāgatam ॥ 16॥
16. (2) The suffering that has not yet set in [is something that] must be eliminated.
Draṣṭṛ-dṛśyayoḥ saṃyogo heya-hetuḥ ॥ 17॥
17. (2) The union of the one who sees and that seen is the cause of [the aspect – transl. note] that should be eliminated.
Let me note this difference to be conceptual. Vrittis is a product of chitta, i.e. our own mind, while Pradhana is a real object. And it no longer goes about cognition. Or, to be more specific, cognition is no longer a goal, it becomes merely a means of eliminating suffering.
That is, this type of yoga is truly different from the yoga of the first fragment.
The third fragment is the Eight-limbed yoga that is most widely quoted in relation to Yoga Sutras. The paradox of the Eight-limbed yoga is that it has nothing to do with kaivalya. Its objective is even more prosy – mastering siddhis, vibhutis, i.e. the supernatural, paranormal capacities (as they are erroneously supposed to be). But if we take a look at specific vibhutis listed in the third section we will see they are not walking in the air or some other mystic stuff of the kind. In fact, these are cognitive siddhis.
The first half of the third section sutras are arranged in the following way: by means of samyama (i.e., having effected samyama, namely, dharana, dhyana, samadhi) on a certain object we perceive this. In fact, it is a specific mind-technique of cogitative character. And this samadhi, that in this case is equal to samyama, is intellectually-focused one. Though samadhi here is neither an ultimate state nor a goal, yet a duly sharped tool of cognition applied to different objects. And this piece is interrupted with inclusion of seven lines at the end of the third section that differ in their style and bring verbs in. Or, to be more specific, one verb: djayante – “are born”, which as if marks off an obviously different, [later] added fragment.
The rest of the Sutras is arranged in the nominal manner, and prior to this case only one verb can be found at the end of the second section (that [the verb – transl. note] I consider to be a borrowing as well). A few lines that follow this mark-off are written in a drastically different manner (which is still common for these very lines). Which formula goes as follows: By gaining victory over this, one acquires a siddhi of this kind. That is, the idea of effecting samyama as an act of cognition over a notion is added by an aspect of gaining “victory” over a primary element, victory over bhuti, prana, etc. It gives cause to assigning these lines as an independent (fourth) fragment that I have named “Shaman-and-hero insertion”. I call it heroic since the author takes interaction with subtle reality as a kind of victory. A victory over a spirit, for instance, the way some shamanic traditions have it. The shamanic tradition that was well-known in India which myths tell about vidyadhars –supernatural beings that “defeated” vidya and appropriated it. Actually, it is this aspect of spirits arising in one of the fragment’s sutra that gave me the ground to call it [the fragment – transl. note] a Shaman-and-hero one.
Sthāny-upanimantraṇe saṅga-smayākaraṇaṃ punar aniṣṭa-prasaṅgāt ॥ 51॥
51. (3) In case of invitation from [creatures] abiding in [higher] realms [a yogi must feel] neither vanity nor rejoicing because unwanted attachment [may appear] again.
What catches the eye in this fragment’ sutras is that the promised siddhis are no longer of a cognitive nature, but rather material and corporeal. And they obviously bear a utilitarian character.
The fifth fragment of Yoga Sutras is not located in one single place yet is as if “sprinkled” throughout the text. Nevertheless, its parts are united by specific view of mind structure and corresponding techniques that stands obviously out from the rest of the text. I’ve called it “the Tradition of Ekagrata”, though it is early Buddhism that is distinctly noticeable within it. On the other side, the given fragment is sufficiently integral in its nature, and I thus don’t refer it to the Buddhist infusions that I intend to analyze in one of the following articles.
In this concept human mind is deprived of its ontological basis (drashtar, or purusha). Only chitta is preserved, which can be whole (ekagra), gathered (prasada), or, conversely, torn apart and scattered (vikshepa). The goal of the proposed yoga lies in bringing it together. So the authors of this model need neither vritti of the first fragment (which is successfully replaced by the concept of parinamas) nor Pradhana of the second one. Another interesting aspect about it is that the authors of this fragment represent both samadhi and nirodha to be just a parinama– i.e., one of chitta modifications.
sarvārthataikāgratayoḥ kṣayodayau cittasya samādhipariṇāmaḥ ॥11॥
11. (3) Samadhi-based modification of concentration lies in cessation of mind polydirectional character and onset of its one-pointedness (ekagrata).
Note that in terms of this model the term ‘samadhi’ becomes entirely void of cognitive element and is thus reducible to experiencing the integrity, which connotes perfectly to early Buddhism.
And finally, the entire fourth section should be treated as a separate piece because it has nothing to do with the whole of the previous text. This point has been much discussed both in scientific literature and this blog, so we will not repeat the theme once again.
For those who want to take a more detailed look I’ve prepared a file with text markups, and I leave it here. The origin of each Tradition, their dating, as well as sources of Buddhist infusions shall be considered in the articles that will follow.
(TO BE CONTINUED AND EXPLAINED FURTHER)