Today I read in Philipp Maas’s contribution to Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy (edited by Eli Franco) an intriguing critique of Colebrook and of all the Indologists who, seemingly following him, thought that there was nothing philosophical in Yoga apart from its Sāṅkhya component and that what was typical of Yoga alone was not philosophical.
I am always attracted to the idea of shaking from the roots my convictions, but this time I could not help asking: Where are they? Where did the Yoga philosophers hide while the others were discussing?
It is surely difficult to establish what is “philosophy” and what is not. Why should metaphysics count more than ethics? Why should epistemology be more “philosophical” than race or gender studies? Moreover, the recent Yoga in Transformation conference showed (even to me) that Yoga grew in close contact with other philosophical schools (e.g., with the Buddhist Abhidharma) and that interesting debates took and take place among Yoga authors (e.g., about the interpretation of specific practices). Similarly, it is possible that Yoga authors are found in texts we would not at first consider “philosophical”, such as the Epics, or the Purāṇas.
Nonetheless, if we think of philosophy as the dialectical enterprise to which authors such as Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, Kumārila, Maṇḍana, Śaṅkara and Abhinavagupta (I know, I am only naming the “classics”) contributed, the absence of philosophers distinctively reconducible to a Yoga school seems striking. Thus, the question:
Who are the Yoga philosophers? What and where (i.e., in which texts) did they discuss? In other words: What am I missing?
On the Yoga in Transformation conference, see here.