Contribution of Vachaspati-Mishra to Samkhya System

by Sasikumar. B | 2017 | 35,637 words

This page relates ‘Vacaspati Mishra—Work on Yoga’ of the research on the Sankhya [Samkhya] school of Indian philosophy with special reference to the contribution of Vachaspati-Mishra. The study includes concepts such as Epistemology (validity and worth of knowledge), Ontology (theory of being or reality), Psychology (science of behavior and mind), Phenomenology (the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness) and Ethics (the removal of errors), all forming an essential part of Samkhya philosophy.

Chapter 2.4 - Vācaspati Miśra—Work on Yoga

Patañjali defines Yoga as the restraint over mental dispositions.[1] Though the origin and development of Yoga is not clear, it could be traced from the time of Upaniṣads themselves. Yoga as a system was sufficiently old. The Upaniṣads such as Kena, Kaṭha and Śvetāśvatara etc. show a full acquaintance with the nature and means of Yoga. The classical phase of Yoga as an Orthodox system owes its foundation to Patañjali, author of the Yogasūtra. There is a tradition which identifies this with the Patañjali who wrote the great commentary, Mahābhāṣya, on Pāṇini’s grammar, and also believes that he wrote a work on medicine as well. Thus, it is claimed that Patañjali was a triple healer healer of physical ills, of defects in speech, and of the deformities of mind and spirit. It is with the third aspect, healing of mind and spirit, that the Yogasūtra is concerned.


Tattvavaiśāradī is a contribution of Vācaspati Miśra which deals Yoga System in the light of Yogasūtras. It is a commentary on Yogabhāṣya. It cannot be fully appreciated Vyāsa’s contribution to Pātañjalayogasūtras without Vācaspati Miśra’s Yogatattvavaiśāradī It must be stated in the credit of Vācaspati Miśra that the tradition of Patañjali and Vyāsa was restored by his efforts. Thus, it is due to Vācaspati Miśra alone, the secrets of Yogaśāstra could be fully restored to posterity. Yogatattvavaiśāradī includes four pādas, the nature of samādhi, the means of samādhi and the attainments of samādhi are respectively dealt with. The fourth pāda explains the nature of Kaivalya. The ultimate goal envisaged by the Yogaśāstra is Kaivalya. When the citta realizes that Puruṣa totally different from Pradhāna and its evolution, it becomes inclined towards the state of Kaivalya coming itself under the pressure of the vivekajñāna. It becomes free from all the saṃskāras as reduced to the state of the burnt seeds by the fire of viveka. This point is brought out by Vācaspati Miśra.

Footnotes and references:


Yogasūtra 1.2

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