Yoga darshan, also known as yoga philosophy, is a system of philosophical thought that encompasses the entire science and practice of yoga. It is one of the six classical schools of Indian philosophy and provides a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the self and the universe.
The foundational text of yoga darshan is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is a collection of 196 aphorisms that outline the philosophy and practice of yoga. According to the Yoga Sutras, the purpose of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind in order to attain a state of pure awareness and union with the true self.
Yoga darshan teaches that the universe is composed of two fundamental principles, purusha (pure consciousness) and prakriti (matter or nature). Purusha is the true self, unchanging and eternal, while prakriti is constantly changing and impermanent. The interaction between purusha and prakriti gives rise to all of the manifest universe.
Yoga darshan also outlines the eight limbs of yoga, which are a system of practices for attaining spiritual liberation. The eight limbs include:
Yama (restraints) – ethical guidelines for interacting with the world
Niyama (observances) – personal practices for self-discipline and purification
Asana (postures) – physical postures for health and well-being
Pranayama (breath control) – techniques for controlling the breath and vital energy
Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) – techniques for turning the attention inward
Dharana (concentration) – techniques for focusing the mind on a single object
Dhyana (meditation) – techniques for achieving a state of deep meditation
Samadhi (absorption) – the ultimate state of union with the true self and the universe
Overall, yoga darshan provides a comprehensive understanding of the nature of reality and the means for attaining spiritual liberation. It is a profound and transformative philosophy that continues to inspire and guide practitioners of yoga around the world.