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The Yoga school of Hinduism is mentioned in foundational texts of other orthodox schools such as the Vaisesikha Sutras, Nyaya Sutras and Brahma Sutras, which suggests that the Yoga philosophy was in vogue in the 1st millennium BCE. It influenced and was influenced by other schools and Indian philosophies. There are, for example, numerous parallels in the concepts in the Samkhya school of Hinduism, Yoga and the Abhidharma schools of thought, particularly from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century AD, notes Larson. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras may be a synthesis of these three traditions.



From the Samkhya school of Hinduism, the Yoga Sutras adopt the “reflective discernment” (adhyavasaya) of prakrti and purusa (dualism), its metaphysical rationalism, as well its three epistemic methods to gaining reliable knowledge. From Abhidharma Buddhism’s idea of nirodhasamadhi, suggests Larson, the Yoga Sutras adopt the pursuit of an altered state of awareness, but unlike Buddhism, which believes that there is neither self nor soul, Yoga is physicalist and realist like Samkhya in believing that each individual has a self and soul. The third concept that the Yoga Sutras synthesize into its philosophy is the ancient ascetic traditions of isolation, meditation and introspection.


he systematic collection of ideas of the Yoga school of Hinduism is found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. After its circulation in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, many Indian scholars reviewed it, then published their Bh??ya (notes and commentary) on it, which together form a canon of texts called the P?ta˝jalayoga??stra (“The Treatise on Yoga of Pata˝jali”).

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