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Hemacandra's Yogasastra manuscript sample page (miniature Devanagari script, Sanskrit)

Yogaśāstra (lit. "Yoga treatise") is a 12th-century Sanskrit text by Hemachandra on Svetambara Jainism.[1][2] It is a treatise on the "rules of conduct for laymen and ascetics", wherein "yoga" means "ratna-traya" (three jewels), i.e. right belief, right knowledge and right conduct for a Svetambara Jain.[2] As a manual with an extensive auto-commentary called Svopajnavrtti, it was instrumental to the survival and growth of Svetambara tradition in western Indian states such as Gujarat and the spread of Sanskrit culture in Jainism.[1]

The Yogasastra is unlike the conventional much older yoga texts found in Buddhism and Hinduism, but shows their influence.[3] Probably titled "yoga" because its royal patron was attached to yogic traditions of 12th-century India, the Yogasastra treatise is a systematic exposition of Jain doctrine using the Svetambara scriptures (sruta) and tradition (sampradaya), as well as the teachings of many prior Jain scholars such as Umasvati, Subhachandra, and Haribhadra.[4]

The first three chapters are on the Jain "three jewels", the Ratnatraya. These include within its scope the Svetambara's equivalent to the sravakacara – also called upasaka dhyayana – of the Digambara tradition of Jainism.[2] The text is far more extensive, and incorporates various forms of Jain yoga in an eightfold scheme similar to Patanjali, as well as Jain ethics and philosophy. Hemachandra includes and discusses topics such as pranayama, asana found in Hatha yoga, nadis, divination, Maitrī (friendship to all beings), Sadhana found in Buddhist yoga, dhyana as well as forms of Jain tantric meditation.[3] The treatise also discusses pratima (murti), puja (devotional worship), vrata (fasting), sraddha (reverence to distant ancestors) and sangha seva (service to the Jain community).[2]

The śāstra along with its auto-commentary was translated into English by Olle Quarnström in 2002.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Olle Qvarnström: Translator (2002), Hemchandra (Author), The Yogasastra of Hemacandra: A Twelfth Century Handbook on Svetambara Jainism, Harvard University Press, ISBN 9780674009349, Quote: "The Yogasastra and its voluminous auto-commentary, the Svopajnavrtti, is the most comprehensive treatise on Svetambara Jainism. Written in the twelfth century by the polymath Hemacandra, it was instrumental in the survival and growth of Jainism in India as well as in the spreading of Sanskrit culture within Jaina circles. Its influence extended far beyond confessional and geographical borders and it came to serve as a handbook for the Jain community in Gujarat and overseas."
  2. ^ a b c d Robert Williams (1991). Jaina Yoga: A Survey of the Mediaeval Śrāvakācāras. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xii–xiii. ISBN 978-81-208-0775-4.
  3. ^ a b Christopher Key Chapple (2015). Yoga in Jainism. Routledge. pp. 22–24, 140–147. ISBN 978-1-317-57218-3.
  4. ^ Hemacandra; Olle Qvarnström (Transl & Editor) (2002). The Yogaśāstra of Hemacandra: A Twelfth Century Handbook of Śvetāmbara Jainism. Harvard University Press. pp. 1–7. ISBN 978-0-674-00934-9.
  5. ^ Hemacandra; Olle Qvarnström (Transl & Editor) (2002). The Yogaśāstra of Hemacandra: A Twelfth Century Handbook of Śvetāmbara Jainism. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-00934-9.