On the Boundary between "Yogakkhema" in the "Suttapiṭaka" and "Yogakṣema" in the "Upaniṣads" and "Bhagavadgītā"

  • Chiara Neri La Sapienza University, Rome
  • Tiziana Pontillo University of Cagliari
Keywords: yoga, khema-/ kṣema-, yogakkhema-/ yogakṣema-, tatpuruṣa, dvandva, boundary, intertextual comparison, Summum Bonum, Suttapiṭaka, Taittirīya-upaniṣad, Kaṭha-upaniṣad, Bhagavadgītā


The combination of the stems yoga- and khema-/kṣema- occurs in phrases or compounds in both ancient and in middle Indo-Aryan sources but what is intriguing is that such a combination is generally interpreted as coordinating in the former occurrences and as subordinating in the latter ones. In particular, yogakkhema- within the Buddhist Theravāda Canon and its commentarial literature is regularly analysed as a tatpuruṣa and often translated as ‘freedom from bondage or safety’.
We recently presented a part of the Vedic and Pali documentation collected in the context of more broadly shared research on this subject during the 18th Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (Section: “Buddhism and Its relation to other religions”) held at the University of Toronto on August 20th–25th, 2017, now published as Pontillo and Neri 2019. The case of yogakṣema/yogakkhema in Vedic and Suttapiṭaka sources. In response to Norman. In: Journal of Indian Philosophy 47(3): 527–563. Here, we shall take a further step in the above-mentioned comparison by concentrating on the occurrences of the compound yogakṣema/yogakkhema as found in the upaniṣads and in the Bhagavadgītā and in some comparable Suttapiṭaka passages with the aim of understanding what might have been the boundary that this word historically crossed in the framework of an assumed dialogue between different traditions.


Abbreviations and primary sources:

A = R. Morris (ed.). 1885; 1888. Vols. I–II; E. Hardy (ed.). 1897; 1899; 1900. Vols. III–V. Aṅguttaranikāya. London: PTS.

Aṣṭ = R. N. Sharma (ed. and transl.). 1987–2003. The Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini. Vols. I–VI. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

AŚ = R. P. Kangle (ed.). 1986 [1965]. The Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

AVŚ = V. Bandhu (ed.). 1960–1962. Atharvaveda (Śaunaka) with the Padapāṭha and Sāyaṇācārya’s Commentary. Hoshiarpur: Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute.

BhG = S. K. Belvarkar (ed.). 1945. The Bhagavadgītā. Being reprint of relevant parts of Bhīṣmaparvan from Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute’s edition of the Mahābhārata, for the first time critically edited by S. K. Belvalkar. Poona: Bhandakar Oriental Research Institute.

BhGC = W. L. Shāstrī Paṇśikar (ed.). 1936.. Śrīmadbhagavadgītā with the Commentaries

Śrīmatśaṅkarabhāṣya with Āndagiri; Nīlakaṇṭhī; Bhāṣyotkarṣadīpikā of Dhanapati; Strīdharī; Gītārthasaṅgraha of Abhinavaguptāchārya and Gūḍharthadīpikā of Madhusūdana with Gūḍhārthatattvāloka of Śrīdharmadattaśarmā. Bombay: Nirṇaya Sagar Press.

Dhp = O. von Hinüber and K. R. Norman (eds). 1994 Dhammapada. Oxford: PTS.

Dhp-a = H. C. Norman (ed.). 1906. The Commentary on the Dhammapada. Vols. I–IV. London: PTS.

It = E. Windisch (ed.). 1889. Itivuttaka. London: PTS.

KaUp = Kaṭhopaniṣad. In: V. P. Limaye and R. K. Vadekar (eds). 1958. Eighteen Principal Upaniṣad. Vol. I. Poona: Vaidika Saṃṣodhana Maṇḍala.

M = V. Trenckner and R. Chalmers (eds). 1888. Vol. I; R. Chalmers (ed.). 1888; 1899. Vols. II–III. Majjhimanikāya. London: PTS.

Mp = H. Kopp (ed.). 1956. Manorathapūraṇī (Aṅguttaranikāya-aṭṭhakathā). London: PTS.

MuṇḍUp = Muṇḍakopaniṣad. In: V. P. Limaye and R. K. Vadekar (eds). 1958. Eighteen Principal Upaniṣad. Vol. I. Poona: Vaidika Saṃṣodhana Maṇḍala.

Nīlakaṇṭhavyākhyā = See BhGC.

Paṭis = A. C. Taylor (ed.). 1905. Vol. I; 1907. Vol. II. Paṭisambhidāmagga. London: PTS.

PTS = Pali Text Society.

ṚV = N. S. Sontakke and C. G. Kashikar (eds). 1983 1933–1951]. Ṛgveda-Samhitā with a Commentary of Sāyaṇācārya. 4 vols. Poona: Vaidika Saṃṣodhana Maṇḍala.

Śaṅkarabhāṣya = See BhGC.

Th, Thī = H. Oldenberg and R. Pischel (eds). 1883. Theragāthā and Therīgāthā. 2nd ed. London: PTS.

Th-a = F. L. Woodward (ed.). 1940. Vol. I; 1952. Vol. II; 1959. Vol. III. Theragāthā aṭṭhakathā. London: PTS.

TU = Taittirīyopaniṣad. In: V. P. Limaye and R. K. Vadekar (eds). 1958. Eighteen Principal Upaniṣad. Vol. I. Poona: Vaidika Saṃṣodhana Maṇḍala.

Secondary sources:

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Bandhu, V. 1960; 1963. A Grammatical Word-Index to the Four Vedas. Vols. I–II. Hoshiarpur: Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute.

Bodhi, B. 1995. The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya (with Ñāṇamoli Bhikkhu). Boston: Wisdom Publications.

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Charpentier, J. 1928–29. Kaṭhaka Upaniṣad. Translated with an Introduction and Notes. In: Indian Antiquary, 57: 201–207, 221–229, 58: 1–5.

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Johnston, E. H. 1939. On Some Difficulties of the Kaṭha Upaniṣad. In: S. M. Katre and P. K. Gode (eds). A Volume of Eastern and Indian Studies Presented to Professor F. W. Thomas. (New Indian Antiquary, Extra Series, 1). Bombay: Karnatak Publishing House: 122–127.

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Olivelle, P. (ed. and transl.). 1998. The Early Upanisads. Annotated Text and Translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Radhakrishnan. 1949. Bhagavadgītā. With an Introductory Essay, Sanskrit Text, English Translation and Notes. London: Allen & Unwin. [Repr. 1993. Delhi: Indus].

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Stoler Miller, B. 1991. The Bhagavad-Gita. New York–Toronto–London–Sydney–Auckland: Bantam Books.

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How to Cite
Neri, Chiara, and Tiziana Pontillo. 2019. “On the Boundary Between "Yogakkhema" in the "Suttapiṭaka" and "Yogakṣema" in the "Upaniṣads" And "Bhagavadgītā"”. Cracow Indological Studies 21 (2), 139-57. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.21.2019.02.05.