Kapilas Samkhya Patanjalis Yoga

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Three means of correct knowledge: perception, inference Sankhya syllogism , and valid testimony. Prakriti cannot be perceived, not because of its non-existence, but because of its subtlety. It is perceived in its effects. Gunas aren't really qualities or attributes, they are constituents. Prakriti is a three-strand rope.

Samkhyayoga Part 8

Sattva - buoyant and illuminating; rajas - exciting and mobile: tamas - sluggish and enveloping. Analogy of wick, oil and light - opposing things do work together. Prakriti is only a means to purusha's en-lightenment. A simple non-composite thing must exist apart from Nature. The soul can not be destroyed. Being non-composite logically implies that spirit purusha has, referring back to section xi:. The principle of the identity of indiscernables:If two things have identical properties, then they must be identical.

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A controller independent from nature must exist. This would make the soul active, which it presumably is not. There must be something to experience pain and pleasure. Parable of the two birds: the enjoyer and the one who simply looks on. Argument from ascetic isolation. Valid testimony of scripture and seers.

There is something beyond nature, viz. Purashas must be plural because of 1 different times of birth and death; 2 different bodies engaging in action; 3 different proportion of gunas. Only proves plurality of jiva souls? Purusha is isolated, neutral, seer, spectator , inactive. Contradicts most of XVII? Experiences no pleasure, pain or delusion. Sattva - virtue, wisdom, nonattachment possession of lordly poweres goodness.

Tamas is the reverse. The spritual body is invisible "formed primevally, 1 unconfined, 2 lasting, composed of will, 3 migrates, is devoid of experience's, and is invested in dispositions. Does the subtle body disappear in final liberation?

Yes, because prakriti contracts completely at the end. It does "merge" back into nature. Celestial evolution has 8 forms sattva levels animal tamas evolution 95 and one human form rajas.

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Evolution is done by prakriti itself. Not by God, not Brahman, and not by Ishvara the Lord. Prakriti is like a cook who retires after making the meal. Nature, properly understood, provides "nourishment" for purusha on its way to liberation. The purusha who realizes that is needs no more sustenance will then be free from nature, putting the "cook" out of work. If God is a creator, he would create only happy mortals. And if mortals were in pain, he would be obligated to eliminate it. Thus, God cannot be involved in the operation of prakriti. When such texts teach Yoga, they often do so with quotes from the older Vedas.

It is not a new or original teaching, nor was it ever meant to stand on its own.

Antecedents of Samkhya Philosophy

The topics addressed in it from yamas and niyamas to dhyana and samadhi are already taught in detail in the older literature. In the Mahabharata Shanti Parva While no single simple Hiranyagarbha Yoga Sutras text has survived, quite a few of its teachings have remained. In fact, the literature on the Hiranyagarbha Yoga tradition is much larger than that on Patanjali Yoga tradition, which itself represents a branch of it. We cannot speak of a Patanjali Yoga tradition or of a Patanjali Yoga literature apart from this older set of Yoga teachings rooted in the Hiranyagarbha tradition.


The Patanjali Yoga teaching occurs in the context of a broader Yoga Darshana that includes other streams. There is only one Yoga Darshana that existed long before Patanjali and was taught in many ways. It is the Yoga Darshana attributed to Hiranyagarbha and related Vedic teachers. Who then was Hiranyagarbha, a human figure or a deity?

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

As a form of the Sun God, Hiranyagarbha can be related to other such Sun Gods like Savitri, to whom the famous Gayatri mantra is addressed. Therefore, the Hiranyagabha Yoga tradition is a strongly Vedic tradition. We can call it the Hiranyagarbha Vedic Yoga tradition. Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita IV.

Vivasvan taught this Yoga to Manu, the original man or first king, making it into the prime Yoga path for all humanity. It also identifies Hiranyagarbha with the Buddhi or Mahat, the higher or cosmic mind Mahabharata The chief disciple of Hiranyagarbha in the ancient texts is said to be the Rishi Vasishta, the foremost of the Vedic seers seer of the seventh book of the Rig Veda , who passed on the Yoga teachings to Narada Mahabharata Shanti Parva Vasishta is made into the prime early human teacher of such other Vedic disciplines as Advaita Vedanta the tradition of Jnana Yoga or the Yoga of Knowledge , and of carrying on the Yoga teachings of Shiva and Vishnu as well as that of Hiranyagarbha.

There are several very important Yoga texts in the Vasistha line including the Vasishta Samhita and Yoga Vasishta , the latter of which is often regarded as the greatest work on both Yoga and Vedanta. The original Yoga tradition is not the Patanjali tradition but the Hiranyagarbha tradition. It teachings are found not only in the Yoga Sutras but in the Mahabharata , including the Bhagavad Gita , Moksha Dharma Parva and Anu Gita , which each contain extensive teachings on Yoga from many sides.

The Hiranyagarbha Yoga tradition is the main Vedic Yoga tradition. The Patanjali Yoga tradition is an offshoot of it or a later expression of it.


Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta are all presented as aspects of this same tradition in the Mahabharata. Ayurveda and Vedic astrology are important aspects of its outer application. If we want to go back to the real roots of Yoga and restore the original teachings of Yoga, we should return to the Hiranyagarbha Yoga Darshana. Much of modern Yoga rests upon a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the Yoga Sutras. The first problem is that many people try to look at the Yoga Sutras as an original text that stands in itself, when it is only a later compilation that requires examining its background in order to make sense of it.

Second, the Yoga Sutras , as a sutra work consisting of short aphorisms, can be easily slanted in different directions according to the inclinations of the interpreter. The teachings of the Hiranyagarbha Yoga Darshana, on the other hand, are more complete and can be cross referenced to avoid such distortions.

Third, the Yoga Sutra tradition has been made sectarian, notably opposing Yoga and Samkhya to Vedanta. This is not something of the modern age only, but occurred in old debates between these philosophical systems going back to the Middle Ages and before. The original Hiranyagarbha Yoga Shastra, however, is presented as in harmony with Samkhya and Vedanta, such as we find it in the Mahabharata.

The synthesis of these three systems is in fact as old as Krishna, if not older. This older integral Yoga is the same general type of Yoga-Vedanta taught by great modern Yoga gurus of India like Vivekananda, Yogananda, Aurobindo, Shivananda, and his many disciples, and many others, the very teachers who first brought Yoga to the West in the last century. They have taught the Yoga Sutras , the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads together as part of the same broader tradition.

So how do we approach the Yoga Sutras then?