Yogadrstisamuccaya of Haribhadra Suri (Study)

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

This page relates ‘Yama (Restraint or Self-control)’ 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.—This section belongs to the series “The Eight Yogadrishtis and the nature of a Liberated Soul”.

Chapter 4.1b - Yama (Restraint or Self-control)

The great sage Patañjali, who composed the Yogasūtra, enumerated eight limbs of yoga in it.

They are:

yamaniyamāsanaprāṇāyāmapratyāhāradhāraṇādhyānasamādhayo'ṣṭāvaṅgāni [1]|

Yama, the first yoga limb, means restraint or self-control. According to Patañjali yamas are five in number. They are:

ahiṃsāsatyāsteyabrahamacaryāparigrahā yamāḥ[2] |

Apart from these five yamas the mentioning of ten yamas was in vogue in smṛti literature. They are:

brahamacaryaṃ dayā kṣāṃtirdānaṃ satyamakalkartā |
ahiṃsā'steyamādhurye damaśceti yamāḥsmṛtāḥ || 3.31 || ”

Haribhadrasūri is very clear and particular in his expression. Since we do not confuse the afore-mentioned ten yamas with five yamas well-known in Yoga philosophy, Haribhadrasūri in his auto-commentary, on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, quotes[3] Patañjali’s Yogasūtra. Thus, Haribhadrasūri conveys that a word yama, used in the twenty first verse of Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, conveys five yamas.

The definition and nature of the five yamas are often found in the sacred literature of Hinduism. The five yamas somewhat match with the five vows (great or minor) mentioned in Jain sacred literature[4] . Therefore Haribhadrasūri does not attempt to describe them in his present treatise. He categories each yama into four stages[5] . They are meant to indicate the betterment in the performance of each yama. The performance of ahiṃsā yama with Pravṛtti stage will always be better than its performance by icchā stage.

The name of four satges are[6] :

  1. icchā,
  2. Sthairya (also known as sthira)
  3. Pravṛtti,
  4. Siddhi.

These four stages are in ascending order. It implies that the starting point is icchā and the ultimate stage is Siddhiyama.

The categorization of five yamas into four stages by Haribhadrasūri reminds us the classification, done by him, of sthāna, urṇa etc. five types[7] into afore-mentioned four stages.

However, Yogaviṃśikā defines icchā as,

tajjuttakahāpīīi saṃgayā vipariṇāmiṇī icchā |

And Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya defines it as,

tadvatkathāprītiyutā, tathā'vipariṇāminī |... || 215 ||

Though both these treatises are written by Haribhadrasūri only, we find difference as vipariṇāminī and avipariṇānī. The word vipariṇāminī is explained as follows by Upādhyāya Yaśovijaya in his commentary on Yogaviṃśikā.

The lines are:

... “vipariṇāminīviśvakatarbṛ humānādigarbhaṃsvollāsamātrādyatkiñcidabhyāsādirūpaṃ vicitraṃ pariṇāmamādadhānā icchā bhavati,... || 5 ||

Haribhadrasūri in his auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya defines avipariṇāminī as follows:

..., tathā'vipariṇāminī tadbhāvasthiratvena,.... || 215 ||

The names of these four stages reflect their respective meanings too. By the word icchā yama we understand that its practitioner possesses strong desire for performing any of the five yamas. The Pravṛtti yama indicates actual practicing of yama which is born out of the strong inclination for performance of yamas. Sthira yama is the consistent and mature practice of yamas. Siddhi yama means the most accomplished state. In this stage the practitioner is said to have achieved mastery, over practices of yamas. Such understanding of meaning of these four stages is done from the perspective of a layman. Still these meanings are not in complete accordance with the scholarly definitions given by Haribhadrasūri.

He, being an erudite scholar and versatile writer, has defined the four stages of each yama as follows:

1. Icchāyama : Yama by intention:

tadvatkathāprītiyutā, tathā'vipariṇāminī |
, prathamo yama eva tu || 215 ||

Icchāyama is the first stage. A practitioner in this stage possesses inner inclination for yamas. It is well reflected in his interest for listening stories of those who are expert in observing yamas. His inclination for yamas is also exhibited through his very little practice of yamas done with high regards for those who are perfect practitioner of yamas.

2. Pravṛttiyama : Yama by activity:

sarvatra śamasāraṃ tu, yamapālanameva yat |
pravṛttiriha vijñeyā
, dvitīyo yama eva tat || 216 ||

Pravṛttiyama, the second yama, means practicing five yamas with the psyche generally predominated with calm/placidity.

3. Sthirayama : Yama by firmness:

vipakṣacintārahitaṃ, yamapālanameva yat |
tat sthairyamiha vijñeyaṃ
, tṛatīyo yama eva hi || 217 ||

The third sthirayama observes yamas without being anxious about transgressions (aticāra). A practitioner of sthirayama is very confident about various observances of yamas, due to constant practice, that now he is not worried about their faults in the practices. The constant and consistent practice of yamas has made him an expert on it. Therefore he never falters while observing them.

4. Siddhiyama : Yama by accomplishment:

parātharsādhakaṃtvetat, siddhiḥ śuddhāntarātmanaḥ |
, caturtho yama eva tu || 218 ||

Siddhiyama is that stage where a practitioner’s observance of yamas are accomplished. Hence, his yamas cause welfare of others. It is possible only for that practitioner who is pure from within. At this stage the practitioner has acquired so much power that by his mere presence enmity etc. among people get destroyed.

It is interesting to refer the explanation of four stages viz. icchā etc. given by Upādhyāya Yaśovijaya in his commentary[8] on Yogaviṃśikā of Haribhadrasūri. This explanation pertains to five types of yoga viz. sthāna, urṇa, artha, ālambana and nirālaṃbana. In Yogaviṃśikā Haribhadrasūri has stated that each of sthāna etc. is categorized into four stages.[9]

Footnotes and references:


See 2.29 of the Yogasūtra.


See 2.30 of the Yogasūtra.


| yathoktam –“ahisaṃाsatyāsteyabrahamacaryāparigrahā yamāḥ” (. 2.30) |........ || 231 ||
    Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya (2010)


(find sūtra from tattvārthasūtra)


ihā'hisaṃdayaḥ pañca, suprasiddhā yamāḥ satām |
aparigrahaparyantā-stathecchādicaturvidhāḥ || 214 ||
   –Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya (2010)


| ete ca icchāpravṛttisthairyasiddhibhedā iti vakṣyati |
............................................................ || 21 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya (2010)


ṭhāṇunnatthālaṃbaṇarahio, taṃtammi paṃcahā eso |
dagu mittha kammajogo, tahā tiyaṃ nāṇajogo 3 || 2 || -ibid.


See page: 6 and 7, commentary on verses: 5 and 6, -ibid.


ikkiko ya cauddhā, itthaṃ puṇa tattao muṇeyavvo |
icchā-pavitti-thira-siddhabheyao samayanīīe || 4 ||
   –Yogaviṃśikā, Published by Divya Darshan Trust, 1998, 2nd edn.

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