Sutra 4.10 hope of self-preservation

Sūtra IV.10

They are beginningless, because hope is eternal

This hope of self-preservation is seen in all, in such forms as ‘May death not come’ or ‘May I survive’. It is not something spontaneous. Why not? How is it that there is fear of death, caused by memory of its hatefulness or of its pain, in a new-born animal which can never have had any experience of death? What is spontaneous would not need a cause.

They are beginningless, because hope is eternal. This hope of self-preservation is seen in all, in such forms as ‘May death not come’ or ‘May I survive’. It is not something spontaneous, arising and developing of its own accord. Why not? How is it that there is fear of death, caused by memory of its hatefulness or of its pain, in a new-born animal which can never have had any experience of death? If it were spontaneous it would not have any impelling cause such as memories of pain: what is spontaneous would not need a cause, for the heat of fire which is spontaneous does not look to any cause for its effect.

The memory of an object that has never been experienced, whether desirable or undesirable, will never assail anybody. Even when a pleasant thing has been experienced, there is no desire for it unless it is recalled; and again, no aversion and fear are ever found for an experienced unpleasantness if it is not recalled. So in any new-born animal, there is observed immediately a hope of self-preservation, from termination of life never experienced here in this life. As this hope is eternal, we infer experience of the termination of a previous life. And before that, an earlier one, and then a still earlier. We thus infer the beginninglessness of the memory-saṃskāra-s and their causes, the experiences of life and death. From this, it is certain that the living being passes through many wombs. For that reason, the saṃskāra-group is hard to get away from; it cannot be escaped. Why not?

Inasmuch as this mind, coloured by beginningless saṃskāra-groups, under the impulse of a cause taking up some saṃskāra-groups only, goes into operation for the experience of Puruṣa.

Others hold that the mind, like lamplight contracting when put in a jar and expanding when set on a platform, assumes the size of the body; and thus there is an intermediate state. This (supposed) world-flow is the right one (they believe).

But the teachers say that it is only the mental process of the all-pervasive mind which contracts and expands.

Inasmuch as this mind, coloured by beginningless saṃskāra-groups, under the impulse of a cause under the impulse of a karmic cause taking up some saṃskāra-groups only which have arrived at fruition of compatible effects from mature karma, goes into operation for the experience of Puruṣa, until it has completed its commitment.

As to this mind, others hold that the mind, like lamplight contracting when put in a jar and expanding when set on a platform, assumes the size of the body whether perhaps an elephant or a mosquito, as the light in a jar or on a platform and so on. And for this he gives further reasoning: and thus since there is the contraction and expansion, there is an intermediate state. In the interval after death and before the present birth, is the intermediate state. This (supposed) world-flow, the process by which one passes on, which also carries one beyond the body, the mind not being all-pervading is the right one (they believe).

But the teachers say that it is only the mental process (vṛtti) of the all-pervasive mind which contracts and expands. The word ‘teacher’ (ācārya) is used to promote reverence for what is being established. Although mind is all-pervasive, its fixity and movement, which are changes, occur by way of the senses; and in the yogic state, which is without the senses, there is the omniscience proper to its all-pervasive nature.

A fanciful idea of something outside experience, transcending the body, is not a valid cognition, because it is not perceived, any more than is the horn of a hare. A sacred text says: ‘While he is in the body, there is no escape from pleasure and pain’ (Chānd. VIII. 12.1), and another text: ‘Who worships them as infinite (obtains an infinite world)’. (Bṛhad. I.5.13) teaches that the senses are all-pervasive.

The causes are of two kinds: external and internal. The external require means such as the body and actions such as praise and salutations and so on. (The internal are) those beginning with Faith. Thus it is said that the meditations on Friendliness and the others are for meditators their sports, independent of any external means, and productive of the highest dharma.

Of the two, the mental cause is the stronger. Why? (Because after all,) by what could knowledge-detachment be overcome? Except by mental power, who could have devastated (like Uṣanas) the Daṇḍaka forest, or drunk up the ocean as Agastya did?

The contraction and expansion of the mental process (vṛtti) look to such causes as righteousness. The causes are of two kinds: external and internal. The external require means such as the body and actions such as praise and salutations and so on. What are the internal? He explains that they are those beginning with Faith (energy, memory, samādhi and prajña-knowledge – I.20). Thus it is said that the meditations on Friendliness and the others (I.33) are for meditators their sports, mental activities in which they engage independent of any external means not needing any external means but performed purely by mind alone, and productive of the highest dharma.

Of the two external and internal causes the mental cause the internal cause where mind is endowed with friendliness and the others is the stronger. Why so? By what could knowledge-detachment be overcome? Not by anything, is the meaning. Inasmuch as the whole class of the glories listed in the Third Part are accomplished by knowledge-detachment. Except by mental power, who could have devastated (like Uṣanas) the Daṇḍaka forest, or drunk up the ocean as Agastya did? So mental power alone is real power, and not the physical power. The holy text says: ‘Therefore that of the mind is highest’ (Mahānā. 79.12) and the Lord too has said:

Superior to the sacrifice with material things is the
knowledge-sacrifice, 0 Burner of the Foe;

All action without exception is perfected in knowledge.

(Gītā IV.33)

How then are these saṃskāra-groups destroyed?

(Opponent) They have been arising since time without beginning, so their destruction is not even remotely feasible. Yet unless they are destroyed, Transcendental Aloneness is not attainable.

 

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