Article: Yogīndu

Contributed by Jérôme Petit

Yoga-sāra

A typical Digambara representation of a siddha, shown as an empty space. This underlines the idea that a siddha has no body and is a soul that has recovered its original purity. It regains this purity when it is liberated from the cycle of rebirth. In thi

Image of a siddha
Image by Hindi Granth Karyala © Public domain

As the Paramātma-prakāśa does, the Yoga-sāra describes the true nature of the self. The title means Essence of Activity [Leading to Liberation]. Here the term yoga designates all the rules that an aspirant to liberation must follow, like meditation or self-control. It is a short text of 108 stanzas, a kind of summary of the Paramātma-prakāśa.

It describes quickly the threefold aspect of the self and invites the aspirant to know what the self is about, instead of encouraging him to follow conventional conduct prescribed by the Jain doctrine. The number 108 is also the number of beads in a rosary, so the number in itself is an invitation to recite this text every day and learn it by heart.

The metre used is the dohā, which was extremely popular among medieval Indian poets because it produces short, balanced stanzas that are easy to memorise.

Legacy

Yogīndu's influence can be seen in later writers, both Jain and otherwise.

Rāmasiṃha Muni

Both Yogīndu's use of the Apabhraṃśa language and dohā metre inspired a mystical poet, who probably lived in the 11th century. He is known as Rāmasiṃha Muni – ‘the monk named Rāma, powerful as a lion’.

His DohāpāhuḍaOffering of Stanzas – is more an anthology of existing verses than a real composition. The text has many references to Yogīndu and many borrowings of some entire stanzas, as Colette Caillat points out.

This anthology gathers verses that invite aspirants to realise the self, which is made of knowledge – jñāna-maya – and is free from ageing and death – ajarāmara. Even if the technical vocabulary is purely Jain, the mode of expression of the spiritual quest can be found in Brahmanical poetry. Later mystical poets, such as the non-Jain Kabīr, also employed this style.

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