Yogavarttika of Vijnanabhiksu: Vol 2. Sadhanapada

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Item Code: IHD91
Author: T.S. Rukmani
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Text with English trans. and critical alongwith the text and English trans. of the Patanjala Yogasut
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 8121500745
Pages: 286
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight 550 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket

This is the first time that an attempt to render the Yogavarttika into English has been made. Its syncretic nature and the difficulty of understanding it without the aid of the sutra and bhasya has always deterred the undertaking of this work for a study in such detail. The present work gains added importance due to the critical notes given under every varttika. The bringing together of all the three-the sutra, bhasya and varttika-will serve the scholar and layman alike and will fulfil the need along felt for such a work.

The first volume in this series dealing with the Samadhipada has had a very good response. The Hindu dated 21st December 1982 while reviewing the book mentions 'Dr. T.S. Rukmani has achieved tremendous success in her endeavor and has also made the world of scholars deeply indebted to her for bringing out this immaculate edition and translation of the Yogavarttika pertaining to Samadhipada. The splitting of the Bhasya and the Varttika topic wise, provision of accurate and lucid English translation with copious explanations and footnotes and an erudite glossary of technical terms make this work extremely useful...The author has promised the release of the remaining three padas of the Yogavarttika and it is hoped that they will be released fairly soon on the same model as the present meticulous edition'.

About the Author 

After a spell of eighteen years at the Indraprastha Collage for Women, University of Delhi Dr. T.S. Rukmani joined as Co-ordinator of the Non-Collegiate Women's Education Board, University of Delhi in June 1981. Since July 1982 she is working as Principal of Miranda House, the only University Collage for Women in Delhi. Her other published work, besides the first volume of this work, is A Critical Study of the Bhagavata Purana. She also publishes research papers regularly in both national and international indological journals. 





This is the second volume on the 'Yogavarttika of Vijnanabhiksu' covering the Sadhanapada. In this volume the same plan of approach, as in the first volume, has been adopted. Since the general division of the three texts (the sutras, bhasya and varttika) through 14 pt. black, 12 pt. black and 12 pt. white has met with the approval of scholars that plan has been followed in this volume as well. The same three texts used in the preparation of volume one have been used here as well. They are (1) The Calcutta Edition (Cal. edition) published by Sri Jivananda Vidyasagara Bhattacarya in 1897 (2) The text published by Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office (CSS. edition) Varanasi in 1935 and 3) the text published by Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan (BVP. edition) Varanasi in 1971.

No general introduction is included in this volume since the introduction to the first volume covers various problems related to Vijnanabhiksu, As nothing new has come to light regarding either Bhiksu's date or his works since the first volume was published, the interested reader can consult the first volume for problems of general interest like Bhiksu's date, his works, his interpretation of Vedanta and Sankhya &c. The general philosophical position of Vijnanabhikshu as a syncretist philosopher has also been discussed in volume one. It only remains to point out some important yogic points raised in the Sadhanapada.

Amongst the four padas, the Samadhipada concerns itself mainly with samadhi itself and the means to it. By mentioning that it (Samadhipada) is meant only for a superior aspirant most laymen are excluded from following it. But the Sadhanapada is the chapter on the means to yoga for a man who is engaged in an active life and hence is the chapter to interest anyone trying to follow yoga.

Starting with 'yoga in the form of action' (kriyayoga II. 1) this pada enumerates all the five 'klesas' which are the basis of the cycle of birth and death (samsara). Each 'klesa' (affliction, hindrance) and its various sub-divisions are defined in the sutras beginning with II. 3 and ending with II. 9. When dealing with 'avidya' which is the basis of all other 'klesas', Vijnanabhikshu points out the basic difference between 'avidya' and 'asmita' while explaining sutra II. 6.

From sutra 10 onwards there is a detailed study of both the gross and subtle afflictions which form the basis of 'the latent deposit of deeds' (karma-saya), An interesting classification of the deeds which fructify in this life and those which fructify in future lives, as also the discussion on whether one karma gives rise to one birth &c., helps to shed light on the different traditions which were prevalent at the time. It also reveals the meticulous attention to detail that commentators like Bhiksu brought to bear on their study. The reader can refer to sutras II 12, 13 and 14 for a detailed discussion on the above points.

Since all experience is in the ultimate analysis only pain to the discriminating, there is a classification of the different kinds of pain and the means for its removal in sutras beginning with II. 15. It is interesting to note that, during the discussion, the science of yoga is compared to the science of medicine (II. 15). The four-fold division of disease, its cause, its removal and the medicine for its removal has its yogic counterparts in pain, the cause of pain, the removal of pain and the means for its removal. The four-fold truth of Buddhism also strikes a parallel note here. This collection of sutras (II. 15-26) discusses in detail the nature of the seer (drasta), the seen (drsya), the contact between the two (samyoga) which is the basis of experience, the evolution of the different 'tattvas' (principles), 'moksa' (liberation), its means (samyagdarsanam) and other related matter. There is an interesting analysis of the nature of 'avidya' under sutra 23 and there is some light thrown on the nature of the negative in 'avidya.'

In the course of the discussion in these sutras (If. 15-26) Bhiksu differs from the traditional yogic interpretations at various places. It is sometimes in a word, sometimes in a reading and sometimes in a concept that Bhiksu differs. Bhiksu makes it a habit to attack Vacaspati Misra pointedly, perhaps due to the fact that Misra's 'Tattvavaisaradi' was already considered a standard commentary on the 'bhasya' of Vyasa. This only adds strength to the argument that Bhiksu was not hampered by the traditional yoga commentators.

Bhiksu's detailed analysis of 'prajna' (II. 27) and the five external aids to yoga (II. 29), with a minute description of the four varieties of 'pranayama' (II. 50-51) lends weight to the belief that he was a practising yogi and was describing the different kinds of 'pranayama' from personal experience. Thus while Bhiksu goes through great pains to describe the 'sthambhaka-desa-pranayama' Misra does not even comment on it. The last sutra (II. 55) throws some light on the different meanings of 'pratyahara' (withdrawal of sense-organs).

I Vijnanabhiksu's theistic commitment, already discussed in volume I, is clearly seen while dealing with 'Isvarapranidhana' under 'niyama' (II. 45). According to Bhiksu, mastery in the other aids to yoga comes through devotion to Isvara and he emphasizes the belief that the other limbs can achieve liberation soon, only when there is devotion to Isvara. Vijnanabhiksu's great learning in the various philosophical texts, grammar, epics, puranas and the sahitya-granthas is easily discernible in this work. It abounds in quotations from these different sources.

Bhiksu's style which leaves nothing to the imagination of the reader, is very much evident in this pada. The 'kartrkarmavirodha' (II. 16, 17) theory and the presence of the 'potency of the effect in the cause upto the existence of the substance' (II. 4, 10) are instances in point. His vitriolic attack against the advaita Vedantins continues and he abuses them as 'adhunikavedantabruvah', (II. 39) 'adhunikavedantabruvanmapasiddhantah' (II. 11) &c., Bhiksu's attention to detail leads him to analyse words etymologically. This is evident in his explanation of the term 'samvedanam' (II. 17), 'prakrti' (II. 18), apavarga' (II. 18), 'guna' (I1.19) &c. Bhiksu's exaggerated style, particularly when quoting from texts in support of his views, continues. Words like 'vakyasatebhyah' (II. 12) and 'evamvidhasrutismrtisatoktam' (II. 22), come "easily to Bhiksu.

In conclusion one could say that this pada confirms the opinion that Vijnanabhiksu was a practising yogi and would not compromise in his belief that 'yoga' was the only means to 'kaivalya' through the development of 'prajna.' Isvara is important because 'devotion to Isvara' will achieve the result faster by removing the obstacles.





I am thankful to the world of scholars who have received the first volume of this series, enthusiastically. This has been an encouragement in my efforts to complete the second volume within a year of the completion of Vol. I. I thank all those friends and colleagues who have helped me in many ways to complete this work. I do hope this second volume will also prove useful to both scholar and layman alike.



List of Abbreviations




Selected Bibliography


Sample Pages

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