Yoga Sutra 1.42 samadhi-identification is called sa-vitarka when it is mixed up with mental constructs

Sūtra I.42

The samādhi-identification is called sa-vitarka when it is mixed up with mental constructs of word, thing, and idea

We see for instance that the process of knowing takes place without discriminating between the word Cow and the thing Cow and the idea Cow, though they are on different levels, for there are some properties distinguished as belonging to words and others to things, and still others to ideas.

When a yogin makes the identification on a thing like a cow, if it arises in his samādhi-knowledge and manifests there full of mental constructs of word, thing, and idea, that confused identification is called sa-vitarka.

There are four of the samādhi-identifications. The sūtra explains the first of them: the identification is called sa-vitarka when it is mixed up with mental constructs (vikalpa) of word, thing, and idea.

There are verbal constructs, and constructs relating to things, and constructs relating to ideas. When it is mixed up and confused with mental constructs relating to what is being meditated upon, so that the thoughts interpenetrate each other, that is a confused identification.

(Opponent) Words and things and ideas are mutually exclusive. The yogin is supposed to meditate on just one thing, so let him take either a word, or a thing, or an idea; why should there be any confusion of mental constructs of words and things and ideas?

(Answer) This is just the point; ordinary knowledge is based on not distinguishing them. So it is that the normal usage has simply ‘cow’ to represent all three, and in knowing one of the three there is memory of the other two, not realized to be distinct from it.

(Opponent) Make the meditation simply on ‘that thing as it is’.

(Answer) No, because the conventional association of the word for that thing will inevitably follow.

(Opponent) Let him choose some word which is a universal, and before he has any association (by experience of any individual of the class).

(Answer) No, because it still involves the knowledge that there are the other things.

there are some properties distinguished as belonging to words. The letter ‘g’ (in the word gau, cow), the vowels with intonation rising or falling, and short medium or long, are ways of knowing for the ear, but they are not properties of things or of ideas. The properties of things are of another kind: the dewlap of the cow, its tail, hump, hoof, horn, appearance, touch, and so on. Then the properties of ideas are of still another kind: that their nature is to be knowable to Puruṣa, that they are essentially appearances, that they cause saṃskāra-s, and so on. These are not the properties of words or of things. In reality there is not the faintest possibility of confusion. Thus they are on different levels.

When a yogin makes the identification on one of them if it rises and manifests in his samādhi-knowledge full of mental constructs of word, thing, and idea, if it is thus interpenetrated by conventional associations of word and thing and memories of them, then that confused identification is called sa-vitarka (with illusory projections relating to a physical thing).

But when there is purification from memories of verbal conventions, in a samādhi-knowledge empty of mental constructs of ideas heard or inferred, the object stands out in the form of its real nature alone, and limited to just that form. This is nir-vitarka identification, and it is the higher direct perception. It is the germ of authority and inference; from it, they have their being. That perception is not associated with any knowledge from outer authority or inference. The yogic perception, unmixed with any other source of right knowledge, arises out of this nir-vitarka samādhi. It is defined in the sūtra which follows.

Now he speaks of nir-vitarka identification. But when there is purification from memories of verbal conventions: a verbal convention is the general consensus ‘this is the expression for that, and that is what is expressed by this’, and the memory produced by it is the memory of the verbal convention. Purification from this memory means that it ceases, from (the recognition of) its illusoriness, when rajas and tamas have been overcome.

Knowledge from authority means scriptural (āgamika) knowledge, and knowledge from inference means knowledge from indicatory marks. These two, knowledge from inference and from scripture, relate only to universals, whereas the mental construct arising from them is an illusory projection (adhyāropa) of a particular, made by a superimposition (adhyāsa).

In the samādhi-knowledge of the yogin empty of the mental constructs of ideas heard of or inferred, free from illusory superimpositions (adhyāsa) of inferential or conventional verbal knowledge, the object stands out in the form of its real nature alone. This is knowledge of the thing as it is; the object, free from such associations as direction and location and time and past experience, stands vividly in its own qualities alone. It manifests in the form of its real nature; the samādhi-knowledge of the yogin is limited to the real nature of that object, and does not reveal anything of place or time, etc., apart from that object.

The knowledge is not even aware of itself as a process of knowing, because of its extreme transparency. It appears as the object alone, and this as described is the nir-vitarka samādhi. Nir-vitarka means that vitarka has gone from it, vitarka being illusory projection (adhyāropa) which is not really there.

It is the higher direct perception (pratyakṣa) perfect, pure. The lower perception is common to all, and must have come through a previous mental process as has been mentioned; this higher one is for a yogin alone. It is the germ of inference and authority. It is stated to be the germ of authority and inference, but these its effects may themselves sometimes be uncertain. There is however no uncertainty in what they have received from direct perception in nir-vitarka samādhi, and so he says from it authority and inference have their being. And that perception is not associated with any knowledge from outer authority or inference, because it has a different sort of object, namely a particular, whereas the knowledge they give is of universals.

 

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