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Tattva Vaisharadi By Vacaspati Mishra

Tattva Vaisharadi is an elaborate and most important commentary on Yoga Bhashya (also known as Samkhya Pravachana Bhashya) of Vyasa by Vacaspati Mishra.

Vachaspati Mishra is assigned to 900 CE (not unanimously accepted). The identity of the author Vyasa is uncertain. According to some, he is the same Krishnadvaipayana Veda Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata. According to others, he is a great yogi, possibility belonging to the 4th – 5th century BCE. The commentary is the oldest among the commentaries on Yoga Bhashya. The commentator appears not to follow any other commentary on this work. It can be taken as a work on both Yoga and Samkhya, since Yoga is considered a part of the latter.

This commentary is very useful inasmuch as it supplies various readings of Yogabhashya. In many places, opinions of the philosophers belong to other schools, like Vainasikas, Vijnanavadins, and Nastikas, have been referred to, which help us in the better understanding of our author’s standpoint.

The commentary categorically explains that expressions like apare, kecit, etc., used in Yogabhashya, are very important, an attempt very laudable, because of its being a definite pointer of the opponents in question in Tattva Vaisharadi on Yogasutra at I.17, I.22, I.32, III.32, analyzing the concepts of Samadhi, ekatattva, samvega (kaivalya) and, in other cases, the discussion on the philosophy of the world and meaning of sphoa.

The similes like ‘japakusuma’ ‘dasadadima’ etc., in this commentary, help the reader to follow the import easily. The author himself mentions that this Tattva Vaisharadi is ‘a commentary – concise but pregnant with implication and clarity” (samkshipta-spasha-bahvartha-vyakhya), which is undoubtedly justified. There is a commentary named Patanjalarahasya by Raghavananda Sarasvati, a disciple of Advayabhagavatapada, on this Tattva Vaisharadi, which is very short and appears not so useful.