By Swami Harshananda
Yogasārasaṅgraha literally means ‘abridged edition of the essence of yogadarśana’.
The basic text of the Yogadarśana or the Philosophy of Yoga is the Yogasutras of Patañjali. This work has several commentaries of which the Vyāsabhāsya is considered the primary authority. Vijñānabhikṣu who has written a scholarly gloss on it, called the Yogavārttika, has beautifully summarized the entire work in this treatise, the Yogasārasañgraha. It is in simple prose, often interspersed with plenty of relevant quotations culled from various authoritative texts. There are four chapters called ariśas.
Content of Yogasārasaṅgraha
A brief synopsis of the contents are as follows:
Yogasvarupa or Nature of Yoga and its Utility
It is the first chapter which includes the following topics:
- Five functions of the citta or the mind
- Nirodha defined as withdrawal of the function of the mind
- Results of two kinds of samādhis
- Cessation of pain and attainment of mokṣa or liberation
- Four kinds of samādhi, which are part of samprajñātasamādhi
- Two kinds of asamprajñātasamādhi
Yogasādhana or Yogic Practices
It is the second chapter. It includes the following topics:
- Abhyāsa and vairāgya as primary means to yoga
- Parikarmas or special practices that help in controlling the mind
- Kriyāyoga comprising tapas, svādhyāya and Iśvarapraṇidhāna
- Five kleśas or troubles of the mind and their elimination
- Eight steps of meditation like yama, niyama and so on
- Importance of the last three steps
Yogasiddhis or Powers
It is the third chapter. It includes the following topics:
- Dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi defined as saiyama
- Various kinds of siddhis or powers arising out of saiyama on various objects
Kaivalya or Liberation
It is the fourth chapter. It includes the following topics:
- Kaivalya defined
- Reconciling the view of Yoga system on liberation with the views of other schools
- Kaivalya is cessation of all duhkha or sorrow
- Points of difference between Yoga and Sāṅkhya philosophies
- Two new points:
- Sphoṭa - powers of the antahkaraṇa
- Manovaibhava - powers of the internal organ
Yogasārasaṅgraha has been considered one of the best books on the Yoga philosophy of Patañjali because of its clarity as also comprehensive nature.
- He lived in 200 B. C.
- He lived in 16th century A. D.
- Samādhis means perfect meditation.
- Samprajñātasamādhi means conscious or concrete samādhi.
- Asamprajñātasamādhi means abstract samādhi.
- Abhyāsa means repeated efforts.
- Vairāgya means detachment.
- Tapas means austerity.
- Svādhyāya means study of the scriptures.
- Iśvarapraṇidhāna means devotion to God.
- Dhāraṇā means fixing the mind on the object of concentration.
- Dhyāna means continuous concentration.
- Samādhi means perfect meditation.
- Kaivalya means isolation or liberation.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore