Universität Wien FIND

142019 UE The epistemology of classical Patanjalayoga: Readings in the Patanjalayogasastra with commentaries (2021W)

Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 24 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch



Mi 12:00-13:30, SR 5, ab 6.10.
Format: The class will be conducted in English and – at least from the current point of view – take place on-site, in accordance with the University’s regulations concerning safety and hygiene. For registered students who will not be able to attend on-site, the format can be adjusted to a hybrid one. If necessary, we will switch to an online format only.


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Reflections on the number and nature of means of knowledge (pramāṇa) are an important component of the development of the various philosophical traditions of South Asia, also in their fruitful controversies that edged them on towards further considerations and refinement, and are documented from the early centuries of the common era onwards, especially in the context of the theoretical conception and systematization of scholarly debate. Among what will become the dominant philosophical traditions starting with the classical period of the intellectual history of South Asia, the philosophical tradition called Yoga, later on classified as one of the six worldviews of the so-called orthodox–Brahminical intellectual and religious milieu, is no exception. This tradition is based on the foundational work that was simply called the Pātañjalayogaśāstra (PYŚ) and in the course of time traditionally conceived as consisting of actually two different works, that is, the basic authoritative Yogasūtra-s ascribed to a certain Patañjali, and an explanatory commentary upon them ascribed to a certain Vyāsa. The work as a unified composition, in which also some earlier materials had been integrated, can be dated to approximately the fifth century. Its thought – comprising philosophical theory properly speaking (ontology and metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and soteriology) and a philosophizing theory of spiritual and religious practices – is in many ways related to the philosophical tradition of Sāṃkhya, but shows also close connections to the world of Buddhist thought.
The author of the PYŚ addresses the topic of the means of knowledge very much at the beginning of his work, consisting of four chapters, in the context of an enumeration of five different modes of the mind (citta) in sūtra 1.6. The means of knowledge appear first in this list and are then identified as three: perception, inference and tradition (sūtra 1.7). They are explained only in the commentary part of the PYŚ, whereas the following modes of the mind are allotted their individual characterizations in one sūtra each (sūtra-s 1.8–11). The author then continues, beginning with sūtra 1.12, with an exposition on how these modes may be suppressed, which relates back to the very characterization of yoga in sūtra 1.2.
After the usual brief introduction, we will read the text of the sūtra-s from the very beginning of the PYŚ up to sūtra 1.7, in order to place the commentary passage on the means of knowledge into its context. Our textual basis will be the critical edition of the first chapter of the PYŚ on contemplation (samādhi) by Philipp A. Maas. As we will progress with the commentary passage on the three means of knowledge, we will supplement our reading with selected extracts from later commentaries, such as Vācaspati Miśra’s Tattvavaiśāradī (10th c.), Bhojadeva’s Rājamārtaṇḍa (11th c., on the sūtra-s only) and Vijñānabhikṣu’s Yogavārttika (16th c.). Special attention will be paid to the lengthy and sophisticated commentary called Vivaraṇa ascribed to the famous Śaṅkara, the founding figure of Advaita Vedānta, which is available in a critical edition by Kengo Harimoto.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Oral and written performance form 50%, respectively, of the basis of assessment. Oral performance is constituted by constant active participation in class, as an expression of the thorough preparation of the assigned Sanskrit readings and of the reading of the prescribed and recommended secondary literature, by way of the presentation of independently prepared translations and text analyses, as well as through active involvement in the interpretation, discussion and problematization of the reading materials, supplemented by a brief oral presentation on a specific issue. The written work comprises a short written assignment (2–3 pages) during the semester and a paper (7–10 pages) on a topic assigned by the instructor, to be prepared after the conclusion of the course.
Regular attendance is obligatory and essential. If more than three class meetings are missed, the overall assessment will be negative.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

This is a course designed for first-semester students of the MA program “Languages and Cultures of South Asia”; there are no special requirements.



Primary and secondary literature (see below) will be placed on a course reserve shelf in the branch library of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University Library or are available as online resources provided by the library. Further materials will be recommended and made available in the course of the semester.

Primary literature
Kashinath Shastri Agashe (ed.): Pātañjalayogasūtrāṇi vācaspatimiśraviracitaṭīkāsaṃvalita-vyāsa¬bhāṣya¬sametāni ... tathā bhojadevaviracitarājamārtaṇḍābhidhavṛttisametāni sūtrapāṭhasūtra¬varṇānu¬¬kramasūcībhyāṃ ca sanāthīkṛtāni. Pune 1904. (Anandashrama Sanskrit Series 47)
Gosvami Damodara Shastri (ed.), Sāṅgaṃ yogadarśanam arthāt pātañjaladarśanaṃ rāgha-vānandasarasvatīkṛtapātañjalarahasyākhyaṭippanīyuktayā ... vācaspatimiśraviracitayā tattva-vaiśāradyā vyākhyayā bhūṣitena vijn̄ānabhikṣunirmitayogavārttikasamudbhāsitena sāṃkhya-yogācāryaśrīhariharānandāraṇyakṛtabhāsvatīvṛttyā sahitena bhagavacchrīkṛṣṇadvaipāyanopa¬jn̄asāṃkhyapravacanabhāṣyeṇoddyotitaṃ … . Benares 1935. (Kashi Sanskrit Series 110)
Dundhiraj Shastri (ed.): Maharṣipravarapatañjalipraṇītaṃ yogasūtraṃ paṇḍitapravaradhārādhi¬patibhojarājakṛtena rājamārtaṇḍena dārśanikaśiromaṇibhāvagaṇeśaviracitena pradīpena paṃ. nāgojībhaṭṭanirmitayā vṛttyā yatipravara-rāmānandavihitayā maṇiprabhayā vidvadvarānanta¬devasampāditayā candrikayā yogirāja paṃ. sadāśivendrasarasvatīkṛtena yogasudhākareṇa ca samanvitam. 2nd ed. Varanasi 1982. (Kashi Sanskrit Series 83)
Kengo Harimoto: A Critical Edition of the Pātañjalayogaśāstravivaraṇa, First Pāda, Samādhipāda with an Introduction. Dissertation. University of Pennsylvania, 1999. Online resource.
Philipp A. Maas: Samādhipāda. Das erste Kapitel des Pātañjalayogaśāstra zum ersten Mal kritisch ediert. Aachen 2006. (Geisteskultur Indiens. Texte und Studien 9)
Narayana Mishra (ed.), Pātañjalayogadarśanaṃ vācaspatimiśraviracita-tattvavaiśāradī-vijñānabhikṣukṛta-yogavārttikavibhūṣita-vyāsabhāṣyasametam. 2nd ed. Varanasi 1982.
Polakam Shrirama Shastri – S.R. Krishnamurthi Shastri (ed.): Pātan̄jala-yogasūtra-bhāṣya-vivaraṇam of Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpāda. Madras 1952. (Madras Government Oriental Series 94)

Selected secondary literature
Michel Angot: Le Yoga-sūtra de Patañjali. Édition, traduction et presentation. Paris 2008.
Johannes Bronkhorst: “Patañjali and the Yoga Sūtras”. Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik 10 (1985), pp. 1921–212.
Johannes Bronkhorst: “Two literary conventions of classical India”. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques 45.2 (1991), pp. 210–227. Online resource.
Wilhelm Halbfass: Studies in Kumārila and Śaṅkara. Reinbek 1983. Appendix.
Kengo Harimoto: God, reason and yoga. A critical edition and translation of the commentary ascribed to Śaṅkara on Pātañjalayogaśāstra 1.23-28. Hamburg 2014.
Gerald James Larson – Ram Shankar Bhattacharya (ed.): Yoga. India’s Philosophy of Meditation. Delhi 2008. (Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies 12)
Philipp A. Maas: “On the written transmission of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra”. In: From Vasubandhu to Caitanya. Studies in Indian Philosophy and its Textual History, ed. Johannes Bronkhorst – Karin Preisendanz. Delhi 2010, pp. 157–172.
Philipp A. Maas, “A Concise Historiography of Classical Yoga Philosophy”. In: Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy, ed. Eli Franco, Wien, 2013, S. 53–90.
Suzanne Newcombe – Karen O’Brien-Kop (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (Edition 1). London – New York, 2020. Online resource
Albrecht Wezler: “Philological observations on the so-called Pātan̄jalayogasūtrabhāṣya-vivaraṇa (Studies in the Pātan̄jalayogaśāstra¬vivaraṇa 1)”. Indo-Iranian Journal 25.1 (1983), pp. 17–40. Online resource.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

MASK3a (UE a), MATB3b

Letzte Änderung: Di 28.09.2021 14:08