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Silence Unheard

Deathly Otherness in Patanjala-Yoga

Yohanan Grinshpon

Publication Year: 2002

Silence Unheard maintains that the reality of PatanÅjali’s Yogasuµtra is a profound silence barely and variously audible to the scholars and interpreters who approach it. Even the Yogasuµtra itself is an “approach,” a voice articulating an other— a silent, beyond-speech yogin. Author Yohanan Grinshpon presents PatanÅjali as a Saµn³khya-philosopher, who interprets silence in accordance with his own dualist metaphysics and Buddhistic sensibilities. The Yogasuµtra represents an intellectual’s conceptualization of utter otherness rather than the yogin’s verbalization of silence. Silence Unheard focuses on the yogin’s supra-normal experiences (siddhis) as well as on the classification of silences and the ultimate goal of disintegration through gun|a balance. The book provides a translation of the Yogasuµtra divided into two sections: an essential text, concerning the yoga practitioner, and a secondary text, concerning the philosopher. Grinshpon also surveys the encounters of intellectuals, scholars, seekers, devotees, and outsiders with the Yogasuµtra.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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pp. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Sometimes I consider Pātañjala-Yoga the epitome of cool sobriety. Its envisaged end-of-ends, the ultimate default of life, postdisintegration silence, seems to me profoundly reasonable, an only, inevitable, necessary end. At other...

Introduction: Challenges of an Oxymoronic Genre

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pp. 1-11

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1 Eight Characters in Search of the Yogasūtra: The Lively Banalization of Yogic Deathly Silence

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pp. 13-35

Sages and scholars, no less than others, desire to live on and on. Not only continuity of living is desired, but also the indefinite extension of a certain essence of life and identity. Scholars are people; they are what...

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2 Daily Life in Samādhī: The Dying Yogin’s Real Life and a Plea for Holistic Presentation of the Yogasūtra

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pp. 37-51

The yogin chooses certain death over life in this world; this death is good insofar as it is necessary for awakening. The Pātañjala yogin—the Vivekin— is a courageous philosopher, if indeed he is terribly bound for truth. According to Patañjali, the dying yogin...

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3 The Yogasūtra and the Dying Yogin’s “Lively Interior”

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pp. 53-64

The teaching of yoga is a lesson in innerness. The emaciated, dying yogin seems to have had a glimpse into a new interior domain. The lonely figure of the yogin, isolated, immersed in a predeath (or deathlike) condition,1 seems...

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4 Causality, False Linearity, and the Silent Yogin’s Presence in the Yogasūtra

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pp. 65-78

Beginnings are tense, paradoxical, pregnant. There is an outburst of meaning, but also—often—a strong sense of containment and self-reference. Certain desires find expression there, attesting to wishes to discharge, communicate,...

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5 Untying the Knot of Existence: Liberation, Deathly Silence, and Their Interpretation in Pātañjala-Yoga

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pp. 79-90

Mankind is confronted by contained, deathly silence in the figure of the emaciated, dying yogin, and is compelled to speak by force of deep concern and anxiety. Black and infinite silence resembles the quiet of postdissolution...

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6 The Dying Yogin’s Challenge; Homelessness and Truth

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pp. 91-94

Silence and understanding are homeless; they have no precise location. According to Sāṅkhya, true knowledge is extremely paradoxical; it must exist but cannot be situated, since the mind, obviously, cannot contain or sustain...

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The Essential Yogasūtra; An Exercise in Rereading as Rewriting

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pp. 95-121

The narrative of the composition of the Yogasūtra is that of an encounter. This book argues that the act of reading the Yogasūtra is, at its fullest, a reenactment of that originary encounter with the myth of the dying yogin. This section attempts...


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pp. 123-146


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pp. 147-151


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pp. 153-156

E-ISBN-13: 9780791489949
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791451014
Print-ISBN-10: 0791451011

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2002