Yogadrstisamuccaya of Haribhadra Suri (Study)

by Riddhi J. Shah | 2014 | 98,110 words

This page relates ‘Preface’ of the study on the Yogadrstisamuccaya: a 6th-century work on Jain Yoga authored by Haribhadra Suri consisting of 228 Sanskrit verses. The book draws from numerous sources on traditional Yoga. Three important topics are stipulated throughout this study: 1) nature of liberation, 2) a liberated soul, and 3) omniscience.


A few years ago I heard my spiritual mentor (my sadguru) Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri[1] (20th century) speaks about the role –a scripture plays in guiding a seeker on the spiritual path in the absence of the author who wrote the scripture. Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri called that scripture a granthaguru. I became curious to know more about Haribhadrasūri when Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri spoke about Haribhadrasūri being his granthaguru. Whenever I heard discourses of Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri, he frequently quoted verses from the works of Haribhadrasūri. It inspired me to acquire knowledge regarding the life and works of Haribhadrasūri. I got an opportunity to study four Yoga scriptures namely Yoga-Viṃśikā, Yoga-Śataka, Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and Yogabindu of Haribhadrasūri under the guidance of Paṇḍita Vasantbhai in Ahmedabad. The incredibility of these works inspired me to further explore their profound meanings.

During that time I passed the Research Eligibility Test (RET) and was suppose to choose a subject for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy. Among the four Yoga scriptures of Haribhadrasūri, the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya appealed to me the most. Hence I thought of undertaking a critical study of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya. In the mean time I got an opportunity of attending discourses on the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya delivered by Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri for three days in Kirtidhama, Palitana. He said following lines about the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya. The lines are: “[...]” It means that the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya is a mirror that reflects the state in which a soul currently is. His words further convinced me to explore the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya in detail. And that is how the analytical study of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya was initiated.

The text Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya contains two hundred and twenty eight verses and is written in Sanskrit. The auto-commentary (svopajñaṭīkā) written on the same is also in Sanskrit. The eight yogadṛṣṭis and topics related to them are explained in a very subtle and clear manner by Haribhadrasūri. He has obliged us by composing the auto-commentary on the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya. A commentary written on any work elaborates the concisely ii presented aphorisms or verses of that particular text. If a writer and commentator, of one and the same text, are two different scholars, then there may remain a gap between its writer’s intended meanings of the original text and the explanation given by its commentator. While an auto-commentary is free from this flaw. It is so because the writer of the text and its auto-commentator are not two different scholars. The concisely presented verses of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya by Haribhadrasūri are explained in detail in its auto-commentary written by him only. The complete architectonic of eight yogadṛṣṭis has not been found yet in the literary works of Haribhadrasūri’s predecessors. Therefore wherever we face a problem in understanding the verses of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya it is only the auto-commentary written on the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya that can help us understand the implied meanings of the verses. Thus, we can say that it is the auto-commentary of a text, which appropriately conveys the intentions of the author. The present thesis is a modest attempt to analyze the content of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya in the light of its auto-commentary written by Haribhadrasūri only.

Though the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya contains only two hundred and twenty eight verses, its every verse contains deep-rooted meanings. Certain verses of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya are elaborated at complete length in the auto-commentary. While the auto-commentary on certain verses of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya is apparently to the point. Hence it becomes difficult to grasp the subtle meanings of the verses of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya. Even though we take support of the auto-commentary, it is very tough to grasp what Haribhadrasūri is attempting to say beyond words. Reading the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya in-between the lines is next to impossible for an ordinary person like me. It can be done only with the grace of a sadguru (a self-realized spiritual mentor). Therefore, the present thesis may contain faults like language lapse, inappropriate understanding of the content of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, ambiguous presentation and so on. Though in the present work we have tried to analyze each and every verse of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, it is possible that certain verses are discussed at full length while certain are explained in brief. It is also possible that some verses are given more importance compared to other verses.

This thesis named “An Analytical Study of Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya of Ācārya Haribhadrasūri” is divided into six chapters. The introduction is presented before the first chapter. The introduction contains discussion on the research problem, the objective of the present research work, the methodology used to prepare this thesis and the comprehensive summary of the thesis. The present thesis contains six chapters. The first chapter talks about “The Jain Yoga Tradition–A Historical Review”. While the second chapter deals with “Life, Date and iii Works of Ācārya Haribhadrasūri”. The chapter three is about “Introduction to the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya’. In the fourth chapter we have discussed “The Eight Yogadṛṣṭis and the nature of a liberated soul”. The fifth chapter is about “A line of demarcation between the first four yogadṛṣṭis and the last four yogadṛṣṭis’. The last and the sixth chapter of the thesis presents “The Influence of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya upon successors of Ācārya Haribhadrasūri”.

First of all I make a full acknowledgement of my deep gratitude and obligation to Lord Neminath and Lord Mahāvīra. I express my indebtedness to Haribhadrasūri and my spiritual preceptor Ācārya Yaśovijayasūri for the unfailing light and guidance received from them during my studies. I take this opportunity of making an acknowledgement of my debt to the jainācāryas whose works and commentaries I have referred in this thesis. I am also grateful to scholars whose editions and translations I have gone through during my studies.

I owe a tremendous obligation for the encouragement that I received from my supervisor Professor Jagat Ram Bhattacharyya during my studies. I am grateful to him for the illuminating guidance I received from him. I have always found in him the combination of benevolence and scholarship. He has always instilled courage into me, when my spirits were dropping.

I express my gratefulness to the Vice Chancellor Dr. Samaṇī Charitrapragya, the Research Director Professor B.R. Dugar, Head of the department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Professor Damodar Shastri, the Registrar Dr. Anil Dhar, administrative authorities and staff memebers of Jain Vishva Bharati University, Ladnun for their co-operation to accomplish my study.

I am grateful to the authorities and staff, of the Central Library (Vardhman Granthagar), Ladnun, Acharyashree Kailasasagarsuri Gyanmandir, Koba and L. D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, the Central Library, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan and Bhogilal Lehrchand Institute of Indology, Delhi for their support.

I shall offer a special thanks to my senior Dr. Vandana Mehta and my colleagues Vinita Songara, Priya Jain, Manisha Sharma, Priyanka Jain and others for their support.

I must also place on record my obligation to my gurubhāi Ajeetbhai Doshi from Mumbai, who has helped me with suggestions and discussions of texts and problems. I shall offer thanks to Sanjaybhai from Ahmedabad and Mohan ji from Ladnun for typing this thesis iv work with utmost patience. I express my gratefulness to all who directly or indirectly helped me in my studies.

I shall be failing in my duty and guilty of unpardonable ingratitude if I do not express my indebtedness to my parents and other family members. Without their kind support and affection the present work would not have accomplished.

(Riddhi J. Shah)

Footnotes and references:


The chief ācārya of the samudāya, which was headed by Saṅghasthavira Ācārya Siddhisūri.

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