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Yogaśāstra ("Yoga treatise") is a Sanskrit work on Yoga, Jain philosophy and practice by the Jain Svetambara philosopher Hemachandra (floruit 12th century). It is a systematic exposition of Jain doctrine using the canonical scriptures (sruta) and tradition (sampradaya), as well as influenced by the Jain scholastic tradition of thinkers like Umasvati and Haribhadra.[1]

The Yogaśāstra also shows influence from Hindu Yoga, Shaiva Tantra, and Buddhist meditation.[2] Hemachandra also wrote a voluminous auto-commentary, the Svopajnavrtti, which together with the Yogasastra is "the most comprehensive treatise on Svetambara Jainism known to us".[3] This work was instrumental in the survival and growth of Jainism as well as the spread of Jainism overseas as it has served as a handbook for Jains in Africa, England and North America.[4] The text was highly influential in its incorporation of Tantra into Jain practice.

The first three chapters are on the Jain "three jewels", the Ratnatraya. The text also outlines various forms of Jain yoga in an eightfold scheme similar to Patanjali, as well as Jain ethics and philosophy. Hemachandra discusses topics such as pranayama, asana, nadis, divination, dhyana and forms of Jain tantric meditation.[5]

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

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NotesEdit

  1. ^ Olle Quarnström, The Yogasastra of Hemacandra : a twelfth century handbook of Svetambara Jainism, 2002, introduction
  2. ^ Chapple, Christopher (editor); Yoga in Jainism, page 22.
  3. ^ Olle Quarnström, The Yogasastra of Hemacandra : a twelfth century handbook of Svetambara Jainism, 2002, introduction
  4. ^ Olle Quarnström, The Yogasastra of Hemacandra : a twelfth century handbook of Svetambara Jainism, 2002, introduction
  5. ^ Chapple, Christopher (editor); Yoga in Jainism, page 22.