ASHTĀNGA-YŌGA (eight-limbed Yōga): [ಅಷ್ಟಾಂಗ ಯೋಗ]


The Yōga system proposed by Patanjali [ಪತಂಜಲಿ], called Rāja-yōga [ರಾಜ-ಯೋಗ], has eight limbs – yama, niyama, āsana, prānāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhārana, dhyāna, samādhi [ಯಮ, ನಿಯಮ, ಆಸನ, ಪ್ರಾಣಾಯಾಮ, ಪ್ರತ್ಯಾಹಾರ, ಧಾರಣ, ಧ್ಯಾನ, ಸಮಾಧಿ].

Yama and niyama are, respectively, the moral and spiritual rules. The first one consists of moral injunctions like truthfulness, continence, non-violence, non-stealing and nonacceptance of free gifts. The second consists of spiritual rules, such as cleanliness, austerity, self-study, self-contentment and meditation on Ishvara. While āsana is a lesson in the postures and related exercises, prānāyama is training in the regulated breathing. Pratyāhāra [ಪ್ರತ್ಯಾಹಾರ] means withdrawal of the senses from their respective ‘foods’ (objects, such as smell, colour, taste, etc.) and of mind, intellect, etc. from thinking, desiring, etc. In fact, pratyāhāra is the first lesson in meditation. Once the mind empties itself of all its contents temporarily, it is able to have attention (dhārana), leading to meditation (dhyāna). The ultimate state of meditation is called samādhi in which the subject is unaware both of himself and of the external world, and feels one with reality.

One who is able to attain samādhi is free from the evil influences of prakrüti [ಪ್ರಕೃತಿ], manifested by its forms, namely, mind, intellect, body, etc. The freedom of the soul from prakrüti is the ultimate goal of the eight-limbed Yoga.

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Guru Basava Vachana

Akkamahadevi Vachana

[1] From the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.