This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007

 

Transformation of consciousness in Patañjali's Yogasūtra and K.C. Bhattacharyya's thought

Daniel Raveh — Tel-Aviv University, Isreal

 

In the proposed paper I endeavour to reflect on transformation of consciousness, as depicted (even prescribed) by Patañjali, both philosophically and therapy-wise. Hence I will offer a close reading of ‘central junctions’ of the Yogasūtra, with constant reference not merely to Vyāsa, but also to K.C. Bhattacharrya in his ‘Studies in Yoga philosophy’ as a (pre-) contemporary ‘bhāşya-kāra’ with a firm freedom-conception of his own. I will underscore the role of philosophy in this ‘therapeutic treatise’ which opens with the unequivocal statement yogaś citta-vŗtti-nirodhah; a statement which prima facie leaves no room for philosophy, rationality or thought. In this respect I will draw on Daya Krishna’s article ‘Patañjali's Yogasūtra: The Undeciphered text – Anomalies, Problems and Paradoxes’ (in the revised edition of his Indian Philosophy: A Counter Perspective, Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 2006). Therapy-wise I will investigate into the meaning of the kleśa and samskāra notions, to shed light on the ‘treatment’ offered by Doctor Patañjali to the phenomenal human existence as a malady. I will further touch on the notion of disengagement (vairāgya-pratyāhāra-kaivalya; ‘the subject as freedom’ in K.C. Bhattacharyya’s terminology), or the capacity of disengagement, as the ‘liberative remedy’ prescribed by the Yogasūtra-kāra. The famous aşţānga-yoga scheme of his Sādhana Pāda (except for the pratyāhāra notion) will not be my focus this time. Calling attention to what I would like to refer to as 'yoga treatment' I will also draw on Wilhelm Halbfass's insightful essay ‘The Therapeutic Paradigm and the Search for Identity in Indian Philosophy’ (in his Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian Thought, Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1992).

This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models,

Bangalore, 26-28 December 2007,
which was organised jointly by SVYASA and the ICPR.