The Integrity of the Yoga Darśana

A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga

By Ian Whicher

Subjects: Hindu Studies
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791438169, 440 pages, November 1998
Hardcover : 9780791438152, 440 pages, December 1998

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Table of contents




Selected Background Material on the Development of Yoga in Early Hindu Thought

The Term "Yoga"

Yoga in the Vedas

Yoga in the Upanisads

Yogic Themes in the Bhagavadgita and the Moksadharma

Yoga and Samadhi

The Pedagogical Dimension of Yoga: (i) The Practitioner (Yogin) and the Commitment to Practice

The Pedagogical Dimension of Yoga: (ii) The Spiritual Guide or Preceptor (Guru)

Concluding Remarks

The Yoga -Sutra : Introduction and Metaphysical Perspective

Introduction to Patañjali and the Yoga -Sutra

Distinguishing Samkhya and Yoga, and the Transition to the Yoga -Sutra

Prakrti as Viewed in the Yoga -Sutra

The Purusa -Principle in the Yoga -Sutra

The Mind (Citta ). Its Nature, Structure, and Functioning


An Introduction to Karma, Samskara , and Vasana

Introduction to Yoga Epistemology


Klista- and Aklista-Vrtti


Theory of Reflected Consciousness in Yoga

A Closer Look at "Perception" in the Yoga-Sutra

Nirodha , Yoga Praxis, and the Transformation of the Mind

Nirodha : The Foundation of Yogic Praxis

Nirodha (Cessation): Annihilation/Negation or Transformation of the Mind?

Abhyasa (Practice) and Vairagya (Dispassion)

A Preliminary Look at the Meaning and

Practice of Samadhi

Preparation for Samadhi

An Overview of the Astanga -Yoga

Cognitive Samadhi

Samadhi : The Heart of Patañjali's Soteriological Methodology

An Analysis of Yoga -Sutra I.41

Vitarka -Samadhi

Vicara -Samadhi

Ananda -Samadhi

Asmita -Samadhi

A Further Look at Cognitive Samadhi

From Knowledge to the "Aloneness" of the Knower

The Soteriological Role of Samskara in Yoga

Enstasy (Asamprajñata -Samadhi )

"Aloneness" (Kaivalya ):Implications for an Embodied Freedom-A Final Analysis and Assessment of the Yoga-Sutra





Maintains that the Yoga-Sutras do not advocate abandonment of the world, but rather support a stance that enables one to live more fully in the world without being enslaved by worldly identification.


The Integrity of the Yoga Darśana centers on the thought of Patañjali, the great exponent of the authoritative and Classical Yoga school of Hinduism and the reputed author of the Yoga-Sutras. In this textual, historical, and interpretive study, Whicher offers a plausible and innovative reading of the "intention" of the Yoga-Sutras, namely that Yoga does not advocate the abandonment or condemnation of the world, but rather supports a stance that enables one to live more fully in the world without being enslaved by worldly identification. Challenging and correcting misperceptions about Yoga drawn by traditional and modern interpretations of the Yoga-Sutras, the author argues for a fresh vision of the spiritual potential present in this seminal text, thereby contributing to our understanding of the meaning and practical relevance of Yoga and its reception today.

Ian Whicher is Deputy-Director of the Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research at the University of Cambridge.


"A superb piece of work, this book provides an original, constructive, and insightful interpretation of the Yoga system. Whicher provides a helpful hermeneutic for understanding this key philosophical and practical tradition. By suggesting that Yoga upholds both consciousness and activity, Whicher corrects the mistaken notion that Yoga condemns the world, suggesting that Yoga seeks to purify and improve the individual and his or her relationship with the world."-- Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University

"Recently there has been a great deal of interest in the Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali. Scholars and general readers have been looking for a clearer presentation of the material, and this work fulfills this need." --Ashok Malhotra, State University of New York, Oneonta