Original language of Yoga Suutra

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 5 06:50:58 UTC 2000

>In techniques of praa.nayama retention of praa.na  is denoted with
>kumbhaka, expulsion -- with recaka. And inhalation --puuraka--
>would have been mentioned as well, but it is not.

Not in the yogasuutra. kumbhaka, recaka and puuraka are not
mentioned in the text anywhere. Where praa.naayaama is
described, the simple term used is gati-viccheda of zvaasa
and prazvaasa. suutra I. 34 refers to something much simpler
than praa.naayaama. See below.

>cittaprasaadana is neuter,
>vi.sayavatii (I.35) is a feminine adjective, same for jyotismatii (I.36).
>It seems that there is some other noun missing.

vi.sayavatii qualifies the noun prav.rtti, which is feminine,
so the explanation is rather simple. vizokaa and jyoti.smatii
in I. 36 would follow from the noun sthiti in I. 35, which is
also feminine in gender. I don't see any missing noun yet.

Even otherwise, there is much that can be said about mixing
of linguistic gender. In the sentence, "agnir vai pratyak.sa-
devataa", the word devataa is feminine, but agni is masculine.
Change of the gender here does not indicate a missing noun.
In the yogasuutras, see III. 1-2, where deza-bandhaH (masc)
is dhaara.naa (fem) and ekataanataa (fem) is dhyaanam (neut).
In IV. 34, kaivalyam (neut) is svaruupa-prati.s.thaa (fem).

>When I experience shortness of breath, the advice to take a deep breath
>is useless. When deep breath (like in pra.nayama) is an option,
>zvaasa is absent already.  Matsyaasana works much better for zvaasa.
>That is another, empirical, point against interpreting
>pracchardana and vidhaara.na as expulsion and retention of breath.

If so, then what would "of praa.na" mean, in the sUtra?

When one feels short of breath after physical exertion,
the first step to regain strength is to stop and take deep
breaths. In the same way, when anger, fear or frustration
cause shortness of breath, the first thing to do to calm
down is to take a few deep breaths. This is not useless
advice. Many sports coaches say the same. It also need not
be in the controlled fashion of praa.naayaama, which comes
after yama, niyama and aasana.

Best regards,

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