Jainism and Patanjali Yoga (Comparative Study)

by Deepak bagadia | 2016 | 109,819 words

This page relates ‘Similarities and differences of both the Philosophies in Nutshell’ of the study dealing with the Spiritual Practices of Jainism and Patanjali Yoga in the context of ancient Indian Philosophy (in Sanskrit: Darshana), including extracts from the Yogasutra and the Tattvartha-Sutra. The system of Yoga offers techniques which are scientifically designed for the spiritual development of an individual. Jainism offers ethicical principles and meditation practices to assist with spiritual development.

Part 12 - Similarities and differences of both the Philosophies in Nutshell

[Full title: Similarities and Differences of both Philosophies (of Patanjali Yoga and Jainism) in Nutshell]

1. According to Indian Philosophy, Yoga is a Astika-darsana, where as Jainism is Nastika-darsana.

2. Jainism is broadly considered as a religion, Yoga is a spiritual science

3. Patanjala yoga believes in Isvara whereas there is no existence of Isvara in the form of creator of this universe according to Jainism.

4. Pranayama is one of the most important limb of Astangayoga for progress towards higher and inner Yogic journey, which is not there in original scriptures of Jainism

5. Both the philosophies Yoga and Jainism are experimental and experiencial sciences.

6. Practice and implementation of it based on philosophy is must in both.

7. Same three valid means of acquiring knowledge (Pramanas) in both philoso-phies namely Pratyaksa, Anumana and Agama, but understanding is different.

8. Setting up of good conduct through Yama in Yoga and Vrata in Jainism is es sential in both philosophies for spiritual pregress.

9. As a result of spiritual upliftment, many similar and different achievements are mentioned in both darsana as Siddhis in Yoga and Labdhis in Jainism. Both have warned that they are hurdles on spiritual path and should be taken only to enhance confidence. (According to Patanjali Yoga Sutra-3/37 and Dashavaikalika-sutra-9/2/22, Uttaradhyayana-sutra-35/18, 6/16).

10. Though meditation is the most essential and important step in both these philosophies for upward movement of consciousness from gross to subtle, many other different preparative stages are described for purification, training and perfection of body-mind complex. Meditation accelerates the process of evolution of consciousness. Out of five stages of spiritual evolution as mentioned by Jain scholars Shri Haribhadrasuri and added by Shri Hemchandracarya, the details of first four stages, namely adhyātma (spirituality), bhāvanā (attitude), dhyāna (meditation) and samādhi (spiritual absorption) are similar and comparable to Patanjali’s stages of vitarka, vicara, ananda, asmita of Samprajnata Samadhi. Also, the fifth one vṛttisaṃśaya (complete detachment) of Jainism is comparable to Asamprajnata Samadhi.

11. Asamklista bhavanas mentioned in Jain Agama (Atmanbhavana of Acaramgasutra) are of five types. They are comparable with five klista vrttis of Yoga, as one should minimise and get rid of them.

12. In both Yoga and Jainism, the journey of a common man has begun with actions and attachments (karma), afflictions (kleśa) followed by propensities (vāsanā) to bring impurities in citta. Meditational practices bring him out of this vicious cycle and take towards spirituality. As he reaches the final stage of spiritual progress in both the cases, i.e. dharmamegha samadhi in Yoga and 13th and 14th state of Gunasthanakas in Jainism (sayogi and ayogi kevali), you get completely free from Klesas-karma[1].

Following table indicates similarities and differences in spiritual practices and related aspects in Yoga Philosophy and Jainism:

[Table showing comparison of spiritual practices in Jainism and Yoga]

Purpose/ Topic Reference: Yoga / Jainism Spiritual Practice in Yoga Spiritual Practice in Jainism
Aim of Practices. Descriptions Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Vyasabhasya, Tattvartha-sutra Control of cittavrtti More of philosophy (vicara) than actual practices Control and conquering self, mind and senses. More of practices (acaras)
Ultimate Goal As above Samadhi followed by kaivalya. Isolation of purusa from prakrti achieved through astangayoga and other practices Kaivalya followed by moksa. Achieved through meditative practices under triratnasamyagdarśanajñānacāritrāṇi mokṣamārgaḥ (Tattvartha-sutra 1.1)
Varieties of Practices for different categories of sadhakas As above + Vyasabhashya Different levels of sadhana suggested for different levels of aspirants. Separate standards/levels: grhasthadharma and sadhu-dharma (pravṛttimārga-nivṛttimārga or śrāvakācāra-śramaṇācāra)
pramana: means of Acquiring knowledge Yogasutra + Vyasabhasya Tattvartha-sutra 1) pratyaksa: direct perception through senses, 2) Anumana and 3) agama (Inference & Testimony) Knowledge through senses & mind is indirect (paroksa): mati and sruti 1) Direct/ pratyaksa through soul: avadhi, manahparyaya, keval 2) and 3) are same
Prime Obstacle and Remedy As above avidya / Pancaklesas Remedy: kriya-yoga mithyattva / mithyadrsti samyaktva / samyakdrsti
Social & Self discipline As above yama / niyama svadhyaya as important anga anu / mahavrtta, gunavrtta for self discipline, svadhyaya as part of samyak darsana
Practices at Physical level As above + Uttaradhyana Physical stability with asana. Patanjali has defined posture It starts with Sthana/ postures. Few practices for kayaklesa,
  and Thanamga sutra and procedure, but no names. kayotsarga, godhuli mudra are mentioned in Agamas
Breathing practices Patanjali Yoga Sutra Avasyaka sutra Pranayama is breaking the flow of inhalation -exhalation Regulation of breath is not strongly recommended, Japa in coordination with breath is referred
Internal practices Patanjali Yoga Sutra Tattvartha-sutra Starts with dharana: First step of antarangayoga, binding mind on an object ekagramanah Sannivesana: salambana dhyana-focusing mind
Subtler practices As above Meditation, samadhi after dharana dhyana stage dhyana here is a broader term than antarangayoga
ekagrata = Focus As above samprajnata samadhi First two stages of sukladhyana: 1 & 2
niruddha state ultimate As above asamprajnata samadhi Sukladhyana stages: 3 & 4
Sequence of Spiritual journey Patanjali Yoga Sutra and Tattvathasutra Tarakajnana-vivekakhyatiasamprajnata samadhi -kaivalya Samyak darsanasvasamvedamjnanasamyak caritrakevalajnana
Concept of Diet As above No direct mention for food Anasana, Avamaudarya or Unodari i.e. fasting and restricted food: external tapa
Concept of Spiritual progress / States Patanjali Yoga Sutra and Tattvathasutra + Samavayanga sutta First know Manifested (vyakta) and unmanifested (avyakta) elements. Gradual Progress from vyuthita citta to nirbija samadhi, dharmameghasamadhi and to kaivalya First get knowledge of jiva -ajiva of Jain traditions as samyak darsana. Fourteen gunavrttas / jiva sthanaka of adhyatmika vikasa taking to kaivalya.
Causes of Influx of karma Yogasutra + bhasya Tattvathasutra Klesas, cittavrttis (mental modifications) resulting into actions yoga (activities of Body, mind and speech)
Causes of bandha or bondages. Remedies: Yogasutra + bhasya Tattvathasutra avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, abhnivesa (klesa) kriyayoga mithyattva, avirati, pramada, kasaya and yoga. anekantavada to handle abhinivesa/ klesanivrtti.
Means of stoppage Yogasutra + Abhyasa & vairagya. samvara: gupti, samiti, dharma,
of karma-Influx bhasya Tattvathasutra antarangayoga anupreksa, parisah-jaya, caritra
Means of anhilition of karma Patanjali Yoga Sutra (4.7) and Tattvartha-sutra A true Yogi gets rid of both merits and demerits Abhyasa-Vairagya, Kriyayoga, Astamga-Yoga and Pratiprasava of gunas: depends on level of aspirant A true aspirant gets rid of Pap-punya both at the end. Tri-ratna: Samyak darsana -jnana-caritra. Nirjara
Vibhutis or siddhis v/s riddhis / labdhis Patanjali Yoga Sutra (4.1) sthanamgsutra(2 /2),Prajnapana (6/144), aupapatika(24) Obtained by birth, Medicines, mantra, japa-tapa. devariddhi by birth, rajya-riddhi by various efforts, gani-riddhi by tapa. 24-64 riddhis in various agamas & other post-agama scriptures
Attainment of pure form of self involves Patanjali Yoga Sutra and Tattvathasutra gradual upward transformation by cittavritti nirodha Transformation by total Anhilition of karma
Supreme authority Patanjali Yoga Sutra and Tattvathasutra Isvara-purusavisesa arihanta, tirthankara
Attitude or Atmabhavana Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Acharangasutta -II. klista and aklista vrttis samklista and asamklista bhavana
Approach to liberation (Broad) Yogasutra + bhasya Tattvathasutra All are eligible for Kaivalya irrespective of caste and religion All, non-Jaina also can attain siddha-liberated state (Sthanangasutta 1/214-22)
heya, heyahetu, hana, hanopaya Yogasutra + bhasya Tattvathasutra samsara, samsarahetu, moksa, moksopaya bandha, asrava, moksa, nirjara

Footnotes and references:


tataḥ kleśakarmanivṛttiḥ || Patanjali Yoga Sutra, 4.30

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