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Durham e-Theses
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Textural and semantic studies in classical yoga

Feuerstein, G. A. (1975) Textural and semantic studies in classical yoga. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Notwithstanding that the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali has received more scholarly attention than any other yogic scripture with the notable exception of the Bhagavad-Gita, the existing translations and accounts of the Yoga-Sutra are marred by serious misinterpretations. It is argued that these misapprehensions are due to (a) an almost naive reliance on the Sanskrit exegetists and (b) the want of a critical, in-depth analysis of both the textual structure of Patanjali's work and his conceptual and doctrinal edifice. The present thesis represents an attempt to meet these desiderata by way of a strictly system-immanent interpretation of the teachings of Patanjali, founded on textual criticism. The data are arranged into two major parts. The first part (chapters 2-4) consists in a stringent examination of the textual structure of the Yoga-Sutra on the basis of an explicit methodology postulating, in conscious contrast to the a priori assumptions of previous researchers, the intrinsic homogeneity of the text. This approach proved generative of significant new perspectives. Above all, it established that the Yoga-Sutra is a composite of two sets of tradition, viz, Kriyayoga and Astangayoga, the latter being represented by a series of aphorisms which appear to be ‘quoted’ in the main text rather than arbitrarily interpolated. This crucial finding furnished the starting-point for the critical analysis, attempted in the second part of the thesis (chapters 5-7), of the conceptual framework of Classical Yoga as embodied in the Yoga-Sutra itself. It was possible to cast new light on several key concepts - philosophical, psychological and practical - of PataKjali's system of thought. These analyses clearly evinced the full autonomy of Patanjalayoga as a distinct darsana, thus correcting the popular misconception that Classical Yoga is merely Classical Samkhya transmogrified along theistic lines.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:19

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