Yoga Body, a book by Mark Singleton
fritsstaal at BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Mar 8 16:21:17 UTC 2011
BUT: "the English word "yoga" is NOT a homonym of the Sanskrit word *yoga*.
> Yes, this is exactly what came to my mind too. There are three
> of yuj in the dhātupāṭha, in fact:
> - 4.68, yuja samādhau
> - 7.7, yujir yoge
> - 10.264, yuja ... saṃyamane
> accounting for yujyate, yunakti, and yojayati respectively, with slightly
> different meanings. In contrast to Nārāyaṇakaṇṭha, cited by Dominic, yoga
> commentators like Bhoja derive yoga- (as in the Yogasūtra) from 4.68, thus
> undermining, or even opposing, the "yoga means union" view. Indeed, yoga
> sometimes glossed as "viyoga," i.e., separation (of, e.g., puruṣa and
> prakṛti). Clearly, the word is used from before the Mokṣadharma onwards
> many related but different senses. Where semantic drift (as opposed to
> historical phonological discreteness) becomes homonymy is of course
> debatable. But the fact that the grammarians distinguish three roots
> suggests that the Sanskrit tradition internally sensed the word yoga as
> being at least three homonyms.
> However, there's a more important point. I've just looked up the passage
> about homonyms that has exercised George Thompson, and I think George has
> missed the point that Singleton is making. See the snippet
> Google Books; and the relevant pages 15 and 16 from Singleton's book
> attached to this email. After a passage addressing the issue of partisan
> ownerships of the word and idea of yoga, Singleton suggests that it might
> helpful to consider the English word "yoga" as a homonym of the Sanskrit
> word *yoga*. He doesn't quite put it like that, but it's clear enough
> that's what he means. The point of this suggested strategy is to
> the modern English use of the word from essentializing arguments about the
> meaning and history of the Sanskrit word. Singleton isn't actually
> that "yoga" in Sanskrit is a series of homonyms.
> Dominik with a k.
> On 8 March 2011 05:23, Dominic Goodall <dominic.goodall at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear List,
>> Is this not just a reflection of the old idea that the form yoga can be
>> derived from what have long been judged to be different verbal roots ?
>> Commentators tend to defend their view of what yoga really is by quoting
>> (from the Dhātupāṭha) either
>> yujir yoge
>> yuja samādhau.
>> Theistic commentators tend to favour the former (e.g. the tenth-century
>> Kashmirian Nārāyaṇakaṇṭha commenting on Mṛgendratantra, yogapāda 2) .
>> Historical linguists may not believe these to be properly separate
>> but the view that yoga and yoga can be homophones appears to be quite an
>> Dominic Goodall
>> École française d'Extrême-Orient,
>> 19, rue Dumas,
>> Pondicherry 605001
>> On 08-Mar-2011, at 9:00 AM, George Thompson wrote:
>> > Dear List,
>> > On another list there is a discussion of an interesting book with this
>> > written recently by Mark Singleton. In this book Singleton argues,
>> > provocatively, that modern hatha yoga practices are bearly a 100
>> > and that they have been heavily influenced by early 20th century
>> > gymnastic regimens. As far as I am concerned there is nothing
>> > controversial about Singleton's interesting new claims.
>> > But early on in his book, Singleton tries to suggest that the term
>> > classical Sanskrit is not just one term. He claims that it is a
>> > homonyms \that mean different things in the Upanisads, the Gita, the
>> > Sutras, the Shaiva Tantras, etc.
>> > But, in my view this is a very embarrassing error for any Sankrit
>> > make. In English "to," and "two," and "too," are homonyms. Also,
>> > and "through" are homonyms. Aso, in some dialects of English,
>> > "merry," and "Mary," are all also homonyms.
>> > But in Sanskrit, there is is only one word, "yoga," which has only one
>> > but any meanings. There are no homonyms of "yoga" in Sanskrit. There
>> > just that single word. Singleton obviously has no idea what he is
>> > about here when it comes to the notion of homony,m. That's bad
>> > he is young, and maybe he can be excused for this slight error. But
>> > review of his otherwise good book Doniger repeats the same linguistic
>> > the Sanskit terrn "yoga" consists, in her view, of several so-called
>> > homonyms.
>> > This of course is very bad linguistics.
>> > I don't know what to think. Should we just be silent about such small
>> > errors? Or should we call them out?
>> > George Thompson
More information about the INDOLOGY