Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Yogapratyuktyadhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutra 3)

Refutation of Yoga.

Etena yogah pratyuktah II.1.3 (137)

By this the Yoga philosophy is (also) refuted.

Etena: by this viz., by the refutation of the Sankhya Smriti; Yogah: the Yoga philosophy; Pratyuktah: is (also) refuted.

The Yoga philosophy of Patanjali is refuted here. Yoga is called "Sesvara-Sankhya".

The Purvapakshin says: The Yoga system is given in the Upanishads also, like the Svetavatara Upanishad etc. "Holding his head, neck, trunk erect" etc. Svet. Up. II-8. "The Self is to be heard, to be thought of, to be meditated upon" Bri. Up. II-4-5. "This the firm holding back of the senses is what is called Yoga" Katha Up. II-3-11. "Having received this knowledge and the whole rule of Yoga" Katha. Up. II-3-18. Yoga is an aid to the concentration of mind. Without concentration one cannot have knowledge of Brahman. Hence Yoga is a means to knowledge. As the Yoga Smriti is based on the Srutis, it is authoritative. The Yoga Smriti acknowledges the Pradhana which is the First Cause.

For the same reason as adduced against the Sankhya system, the Yoga philosophy by Patanjali is also refuted as it also accepts the theory that Prakriti is the cause of the universe.

This Sutra remarks that by the refutation of the Sankhya Smriti the Yoga Smriti also is to be considered as refuted because the Yoga philosophy also recognises, in opposition to scripture, a Pradhana as the independent cause of the world and the great principle etc., as its effects although the Veda or common experience is not in favour of these views.

Though the Smriti is partly authoritative it should be rejected as it contradicts the Srutis on other topics.

Although there are many Smritis which treat of the soul, we have directed our attention to refute the Sankhya and Yoga, because they are widely known as offering the means for attaining the highest end of man. Moreover, they have obtained the appreciation of many great persons. Further their position is strengthened by Sruti "He who has known that cause which is to be apprehended by Sankhya and Yoga he is freed from all fetters" Svet. Up. VI-13.

We say that the highest goal of man cannot be attained by the knowledge of the Sankhya Smriti, or Yoga practice. Sruti clearly says that the final emancipation or the supreme beatitude can only be obtained by the knowledge of the unity of the Self which is conveyed by the Veda. "Only the man who knows Brahman crosses over Death, there is no other path to go" Svet. Up. III-8.

The Sankhya and Yoga systems maintain duality. They do not discern the unity of the Self. In the text cited "That cause which is to be known by Sankhya and Yoga", the terms 'Sankhya' and 'Yoga' denote Vedic knowledge and meditation as these terms are used in a passage standing close to other passages which refer to Vedic knowledge.

We certainly allow room for those portions of the two systems which do not contradict the Veda. The Sankhyas say, "The soul is free from all qualities (Asanga)." This is in harmony with the Veda which declares that Purusha is essentially pure. "For that person is not attached to anything" Bri. Up. IV-3-16.

The Yoga prescribes retirement from the concerns of life (Nivritti) for the wandering Sannyasin. This is corroborated by the Sruti. "Then the Parivrajaka with orange robe, shaven, without any possession" etc. Jabala Upanishad. IV-7.

Their reasoning is acceptable to the extent to which it leads to Self-realisation.

The above remarks will serve as a reply to the claims of all argumentative Smritis. We hold that the truth can be realised nor known from the Vedanta texts only, "None who does not know the Veda perceives the great one" Taittiriya Brahmana III-12.9.7.

"I now ask thee that Person taught in the Upanishads" Bri. Up. III-9-2.