The path to liberation through yogic mindfulness in early Ayurveda

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  • Introduction: It can come as a surprise to discover that buried in one of the earliest medical treatises in Sanskrit is a short tract on the yogic path to liberation. This tract-a mere thirty-nine verses-occurs in the Chapter on the Embodied Person (Satirasthana) in the Compendium of Caraka (Carakasamhita). The Compendium is a medical encyclopedia and perhaps the earliest surviving complete treatise on classical Indian medicine. It is even more surprising to find that this yogic tract contains several references to Buddhhist meditation and a previously unknown eightfold path leading to the recollection or mindfulness that is the key to liberation. Finally, Caraka's yoga tract almost certainly predates the fa­mous classical yoga system of Patafijali. Let us explore these points in turn.

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    Copyright © 2012 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted by permission. This content may not be further reproduced in any form by digital or mechanical means without prior written permission of the publisher.
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    • Wujastyk, D. (2012). The path to liberation through yogic mindfulness in early Ayurveda. In D. G. White (Ed.), Yoga in practice (pp. 31–42). Princeton: Princeton University Press.