Yoga Sutra 1.24 the Lord is a special kind of Purusa

Sūtra I.24

Untouched by taints or karma-s or their fruition or their latent stocks is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa

The taints are Ignorance, I-am-ness, desire, hate, and clinging to life. Karma-s are good and bad. Their fruition is the results they bring. The corresponding latent impulses (vāsanā) are the latent stocks. All these exist in the mind but are attributed to Puruṣa, for he is the experiencer of their results. It is as when victory or defeat, which are events on the battle-field, are attributed to the ruler. Untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa.

Who is this Lord who is neither pradhāna nor Puruṣa? In the Sāṅkhya classics no proof of God is given, and one asks for some proof of the Lord, that he really exists, and again what is the special nature of this Lord who necessarily is not directly known. He gives the answer to these points in the sūtra, Untouched by taints or karma-s or their fruition or their latent stocks is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa.

Ignorance and the others are taints, because they cause defilement. They have been caused by previous karma-s, good and bad; this phrase good and bad implies that there are also some which are a mixture of good and bad. Their fruition is the experience of birth and life. These taints, karma-s, and fruitions lie latent (but dynamic) until they are absolutely dissolved and these are the latent stocks; the phrase can be taken to mean simply the whole mass of taints, karma-s, and fruitions.

They exist in the mind because they are mental processes (mano-vṛtti) but are attributed to Puruṣa. How so? He is the experiencer of their results. As victory and defeat, which are events of battles, are attributed to the king, because the result relates to the king.

Untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa. No reference to tense is intended, because the implication is that he is not touched by it, nor will be touched by it, nor has been touched by it. The meaning is: never bound to taints of karma-s or their fruition or accumulation.

Is he then one of those who have attained their release? There are many who have done so. (No,) untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa. Others have attained release by cutting the three bonds, but for the Lord such bondage never was nor will come to be, as it will for one who has absorbed his mind into prakṛti. But the Lord is ever freed, ever the Lord. His eternal perfection is from perfect sattva.

To clarify the meaning of the sūtra he says Is he then one of those who have attained their release? There are many who have done so. For it is possible that being untouched by taints and karma-s might be only for some particular time. There are many who have been released: are they too Lords? No, because of the potentiality of contact, they are not absolutely untouched by taints etc. For them, there are both contact (in the past) and freedom from contact (now), but the Lord is never touched. The word untouched is not of itself unrestricted as to time, and it must be applied by extension to cover all times. So he alone is here called untouched who is absolutely never touched.

The others attained release after cutting the three bonds. The three bonds are those of the unmanifest prakṛti, those of manifest principles, and those connected with sacrifices; having destroyed them by right vision (saṃyag-darśana) they attained release, but for the Lord, bondage, by taints and karma-s, never was. It is not as in the case of a released one, where previous bondage must have existed, just because he does come to attain a state of release. For release (mukti) is release from some previous bondage. nor will it come to be, as it will come to be for one who has absorbed his mind into prakṛti. For him, a future mass of bondage, of the saṃsāra which has not yet come into operation, is inevitable. Then the (ordinary) man whose saṃsāra has begun to operate already, and whose mind is not absorbed into prakṛti, is subject to both past and future masses of bondage. What we have said is to show that untouched has no reference to time. He is ever freed, ever the Lord.

It has been said in the sūtra that the Lord is a special Puruṣa. The Puruṣa of the Lord will have no character of divine power, because power pertains to the mind; transcendent (niratiśaya) power must be connected to a perfect (prakṛṣṭa) mind. He confirms this conclusion in order to lead on to what follows: That eternal perfection of the Lord is from his perfect sattva. The perfection is the possession of the powers of omniscience and omnipotence, eternal and transcendent.

This perfection – does it have a cause or is it without a cause? The cause is holy scripture. Then what is the cause of scripture? The cause is the perfection (of the divine mind).

To clarify what is being said, he begins with this question: is there any cause for it or is it causeless? The word nimitta means karaṇa (cause). So the point is, is it caused or uncaused? Now what is the object of the question?

(Opponent) If in the first place it is taken to have a cause, then it was illogical to say ever the Lord, because his perfection would not be eternal (if it had been caused). Again, if without a cause, it would follow that the perfection, which is an effect, would never come to exist at all. For no effect is ever found without a cause.

(Answer) It is not uncaused, because holy scripture is its cause. Scripture here means knowledge (jñāna); the perfection has a cause, because scripture is its cause. Scriptural knowledge is universal and eternal, and rests in a transcendent self-sufficient principle apart from ordinary postulates and proofs.

(Opponent) Knowledge has to be known by someone, and before that, it would have been imperfect. So what is the cause of scripture? If scriptural knowledge appears spontaneously (svābhāvika), it would be caused by imperfection like the ideas of a man drunk or mad (which arise suddenly from nowhere). But then again, if it has a cause, prior to the operation of that cause the scripture would have been defective.

(Answer) It is not causeless, in so far as it has perfection of sattva as its cause, which is to say that it rests on perfect sattva; and this is why there is no defect of knowledge spontaneously appearing (svābhāva jñāna- associated by the opponent with madness).

Furthermore, even if it were (taken as) spontaneously appearing knowledge, it is not like the ideas of madmen, because it rests on sattva and so is always free from Ignorance and other taints. Just as there is a beginningless relation, like that of seed and sprout, between knowledge, saṃskāra, and memory, related as they are as mutually cause and effect, just so there is a beginningless and endless relation between scripture and his perfection in the mind of the Lord, a relation which is ever active. The perfection of the Lord is simply the effect of the omniscience which is its cause.

There is an explanation by others, to the effect that the word nimitta (normally ‘cause’) here means ‘proof.’

Scripture is its cause would then mean that it is the proof of it, for the Lord’s perfection is proved by scripture. Then what proves scripture? The proof of it is the pure sattva of the Lord. For the authoritativeness of scripture is because it was composed out of pure sattva, as in the case of Manu and others. Thus scripture says, ‘Whatever Manu said is medicine’ (Taitt. Sam. 2.2.10.2). So in ordinary life, what is declared by a teacher is authoritative.

Between those two – scripture and perfection – present in the divine sattva, there is a beginningless relation.

Scripture and perfection are eternally related, as proof and proved.

(Opponent) But the scripture which is supposed to prove perfection is not now in the divine sattva.

(Answer) It is, because since the sattva produced it, scripture is still present in it. Scripture arose from it, but is still present in it, just because it is omniscient. In ordinary life we see that what originates from something is in fact still present in it, as a cloth is present in the threads that compose it.

That scripture originates from the sattva is known from inference and authority. So the proof of the perfection is scripture, and the proof of scripture is the Lord; there is no fallacy of mutual dependence because they depend on different things.

(Opponent) If the authority of the Lord is based on scripture, but the scripture derives its own authority from the divine authority, then there would be the circle of mutual dependence.

(Answer) The authority of the Lord is established by inference, so there is no such fallacy.

Thus it is that he is ever and always the Lord and ever and always freed. That divine power of his is without any equal or superior.

Thus it is – how so? The relation, in the form of mutual cause and effect, between the divine repository of perfect sattva, and the perfection and transcendent knowledge, is eternal; because it is eternal, he is ever and always the Lord and ever and always freed. That Lordship is without any equal or superior. This is the conclusion of the proofs to be given now. Or again, it is a summing up of the sūtra. Now he explains how the power of the Lord is unsurpassed:

For to begin with, it is not surpassed by any other power, because whatever other power would surpass it, would be that itself

It is not surpassed by any other power. Why not? because whatever other power one might suppose would surpass it, would be that itself- the power which we are explaining, since whatever other surpassing power there is, that power is the Lord. There is no power equal to it, because perfection cannot be equalled.

Where the summit of power is attained, there is the Lord, and there can be no power equal to his. Why not? Suppose there were two equal Lords, and something which was the object of a wish by both, one of them wanting it to be new and the other wanting it to be old. Then if one succeeded, the other would be demeaned by frustration of his will. Nor could two equals possess the same thing at the same time, because that would be impossible. Therefore he who has power neither equalled nor surpassed, he alone is the Lord. And he is a special Puruṣa.

For there cannot be two kings in one kingdom, nor one king in two kingdoms. And so he explains, Suppose there were two equal Lords, then … one of them could not have his way without overriding the will of the other. If the two wanted the same thing, they could not both achieve it; there would be a battle for supremacy over the desired object. The fact of equality would be the very thing to destroy it.

And the conflict might be undeclared: an overt superiority on one side and a hidden superiority on the other are still in opposition. The point is that things which seem the same have relative superiorities (along with their apparent equality).

Therefore this Lord is one whose power has none to equal or surpass it, and it is established that the Lord is a special Puruṣa apart from pradhāna and Puruṣa-s.

 

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