, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 259-276
Date: 15 Mar 2012

Yogasūtra 1.10, 1.21–23, and 2.9 in the Light of the Indo-Javanese Dharma Pātañjala

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This paper discusses a series of sūtras of Patañjali’s Yogasūtra, namely 1.10, 1.21–23, and 2.9, in the light of their paraphrase and/or interpretation found in the Dharma Pātañjala (‘Book/System of Patañjali’), an Old Javanese-Sanskrit Śaiva scripture retrieved from a rare West Javanese codex unicus dated ca. 1450 AD. Besides a philosophical exposition of the tenets of a form of Śaiva Siddhānta, the Dharma Pātañjala contains a long presentation of the yoga system that apparently follows the first three chapters of Patañjal’s Yogasūtra, either interweaving Sanskrit excerpts from an untraced versified version of the latter text with an Old Javanese commentary, or directly rendering into Old Javanese what appears to be an original Sanskrit commentary. Although the Old Javanese prose often bears a strong resemblance with the arrangement and formulation of the topics treated in the Yogasūtrabhāṣya, it diverges from that commentary in several respects. The Dharma Pātañjala often presents specific doctrinal details that are found in other (sub)commentaries or in the Arabic rendering of the sūtras-cum-commentary composed by al-Bīrūnī before 1030 AD, or adds original elements that are unattested elsewhere. The testimony of the Dharma Pātañjala turns out to be useful in order to solve some of the dilemmas posed by the selected sūtras. It may also help us to better understand the textual cultural transmission and cultural reception of Patañjali’s work in both South and Southeast Asia, for its author, rather than freely borrowing from different Sanskrit commentaries, appear to have drawn upon an as yet unidentified, and possibly lost, ‘common source’.