Yoga Sutra 2.15 to the clear-sighted everything is pain alone

Sūtra II.15

Because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and the saṃskāra-s of them, and from the clash of the guṇa-s, to the clear-sighted, everything is pain alone

In every case, experience of pleasure is pervaded with passion-desire, deriving from some source conscious or unconscious; the karma-stock therefrom is produced by passion-desire.

How at a time when the object of experience is happiness, can it be pain? It has been said already (under II.5) that he is going to show that the experience of pleasure is pain. The answer is given now because in that place it was not explained. Because pain is the result of any action, and it has to be explained at length how it is reasonable that it (pain) should logically follow immediately on action.

Changes, anxieties and saṃskāra-s are to be understood separately; anxieties and saṃskāra-s are pain, and in addition to that pair there is change. These are pain alone, they cause pain, and because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s caused by them, everything is pain. Why everything? Because the causes are taints, which can only bring about pain. Birth and life and experience, and the objects which cause the deposits of taints and so on, are causes of pain, and so it is that everything is pain alone.

Is it so to everyone? No. He says: to the clear-sighted. He who can distinguish the elements of taints, etc., is the one who sees clearly; it means that he recognizes the taints and karma-s and their maturing, and sees that they are causes which produce pain in everything, all being essentially the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s in changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s. It is not so for others who do not have this clear vision, but for him it is all a fever of pain. Now when one becomes aware ‘I am in that fever’ as a fact in himself, even then one who is confused recognizes only this much: ‘I am in pain.’ If he were to discriminate further than that, he would think, ‘This pain will also produce further pain.’ Then he would be one who sees clearly, that all this is pain and has to be endured. So though at the time of suffering they see pain alone, those without clear sight do not realise that it will lead on to further pain in everything. Again, he who sees that change is a cause of pain is clear-sighted, one for whom all is pain.

He now explains how it is that there is painfulness in change: in every case the experience of pleasure is pervaded with passion-desire (rāga). By saying in every case he points to what is universally known by observation, since it is well known in the case of all living beings. Sons, cattle, gold and so on, attained after they have been striven for, constitute experience of pleasure. At the time of that experience the mind functions as passion, which is characteristic of the man who is feeling happy. This universal function is associated with taints and so causes virtue and sin. Pre-existing karma-stock is consumed as the result of karma-already-in-operation; on the occasion of experience, fresh karma is being piled up. So while the root is there, the karma-stock whose root is the taints, comes to maturity, that is, it happens.

So also when experiencing things which cause pain, he hates them, and he becomes bewildered; then there is a karma-stock created by the hate and illusion. Thus it is said: There can be no enjoyment of things without injury – built up on injury to others is the karma-stock of the body.

So also when experiencing things which cause pain which are hostile to the current of pleasure, he hates them, and with his mind furious to protect his experience of pleasure, he becomes bewildered, and so it is that the karma-stock is created by is produced by, the previous operation of hate and illusion. Or it may be taken that hate and illusion themselves are the two functions which have created it.

Thus it is said: There can be no enjoyment of things none of this pleasure without injury without causing harm somewhere. As being a cause of destruction, enjoyment is itself described as a destroyer, inasmuch as it has the double effect. Even when one thinks, ‘Let some other person also enjoy what is mine alone’, the possibility of any enjoyment at all is dependent on wealth, the acquisition of which must certainly have caused pain to others. All the more will be the pain by the fact of having caused such suffering. Therefore built up on injury to others is the karma-stock of the body; from operation of that cause, the body goes forward.

Thus on each occasion of enjoyment, the karma-stock of desire, anger and illusion increases in so many ways. Experience of pleasure, characterized as it is by passion-desire, fever and illusion, and a correspondingly many-faceted karma-stock, is changing, and accordingly painful; this is what is called the painfulness of change. But for the one who sees all this clearly, even on the occasion of pleasure there is only pain, like a man eating rice and yogurt which he knows have been mixed with poison.

The pleasure in objects is said to be Ignorance. Pleasure is the calm from satisfaction of the senses by experiences. Pain is when there is no rest from agitation. Freedom from thirst cannot be attained by practice of sense experience. Why not? Because passions increase with application to sense enjoyments and skill of the sense-organs also increases. Therefore application to enjoyments is not a means to happiness. Surely the pleasure-seeker in the trap of sense-objects, sunk in a deep mire of pain, is like a man who running away from the scorpion’s poison is bitten by a venomous snake. This which is in the end pain is counter-productive (but known as such) to the yogin alone, even on the occasion of pleasure.

Furthermore, all is pain only, because pleasure in objects is in fact Ignorance. That experience of pleasure in objects is essentially an undiscriminating idea. On this he says, The pleasure in objects is said to be Ignorance.

(Opponent) Where has this been explained?

(Answer) It has been explained in this commentary in these words: ‘When there comes about a failure, as it were, to distinguish between the experiencer and what is experienced, which are utterly distinct and nothing to do with each other, that is the condition for experience. But when the true nature of the two is recognized, that is Transcendental Aloneness. Then how could there be experience?’ (comm. to II.6, p. 191). Again, it will be said later by the sūtra-author, ‘Experience is an idea that fails to distinguish’ (sūtra III.35). The ever-changing Ignorance makes everything baneful, and so pleasure in objects is itself a bane, because it contains the seeds of pain, as even the sweetest thing (is bitter) if it is known to cause illness. To explain what it means to say that pleasure in objects is Ignorance, he gives the verdict of the holy texts: Pleasure is the calm from satisfaction of the senses by experiences. The experiences are objects like sound; the senses experience them, and then there is a resulting satiety. As a result, a pacification of the senses, a state in the form of the idea ‘There is nothing to cause disappointment or trouble’, an absence of any defect; this is pleasure.

But pain is when there is no rest no relief from agitation, because of the presence of desire. On this it is said: ‘There is no pain like thirst, no pleasure like freedom from thirst.’ (Mahābh.XIII. App.15.3997, with atṛṣṇā instead of tyāga).

(Opponent) It is only by enjoyment that there can be freedom from thirst; that is the goal of enjoyment. Enjoyment becomes happiness.

(Answer) That is why he says: Freedom from thirst cannot be attained by practice of sense experience. Why not? He replies: Because passions increase with application to sense enjoyments. As it has been said:

Never is desire pacified by enjoyment of desires;

It increases all the more, as the sacrificial fire by the butter (oblations) poured into it. (Manu II.94)

Skills techniques in the practices of enjoyment correspondingly increase in the senses. Even though it may be that skill of the senses is preceded (normally) by skill in the mind, still it is seen that in eating and so on there is a skill in the sense organs too. Like a man running away from the scorpion’s poison, bitten by a venomous snake, is the pleasure-seeker trapped by objects, caught by them, following after them, or obsessed with them, as a man’s fear excited by a scorpion with its lesser venom brings him into a greater suffering, caught by the more virulent poison of a snake. So fleeing from this first merely apparent pain, which is in the end great pleasure (Gītā XVIII.37), frightened by the idea that it is painful, he becomes sunk in a boundless mire of great pain. In this way this which is in the end pain, is counter-productive as regards pleasure (and known as such) to the yogin even on the occasions of pleasure. Thus the yogin enjoys pleasure only with misgivings in his heart, for the karma which has yet to be experienced according to its quality is more powerful (than the occasion of pleasure). Therefore to the discriminating, all is pain.

What is the painfulness in anxiety? In every case, experience of anxiety is pervaded with aversion, deriving from some source conscious or unconscious; the karma-stock therefrom is produced by aversion.

Now the painfulness of anxiety (tāpa) is explained. A developing experience of pleasure becomes painful when its inevitable result is realized, through knowledge of its true nature, as does the pleasure of eating a sweet of yogurt and rice when known to be mixed with poison, in spite of the fact that its apparent nature does give a shade of pleasure sensation. Here again the painfulness is from the true nature of the thing, inasmuch as anxiety is inherently adverse.

Seeking means to pleasure by body, speech, and mind, he gets excited, and sets about helping or harming others. By that helping or harming of others he piles up virtue and sin. This karma-stock arising out of greed and delusion is called the pain of anxiety.

What is the painfulness of saṃskāra? From experience of pleasure, there is a saṃskāra-stock of pleasure; from experience of pain, a saṃskāra-stock of pain. So the maturing of karma is experienced as pleasure or pain, and it again lays down a karma-stock. In this way the beginningless stream of pain, inherently adverse to him, distresses the yogin alone.

Tormented by that pain, seeking means to pleasure refinements of various kinds, he gets excited, and sets about helping or harming others. Then by that helping or harming of others he piles up virtue and sin. This virtue and sin created by helping or harming others becomes a karma-stock arising out of greed and delusion, the pain of anxiety extending itself further and further. For the man who sees thus clearly, all is pain alone, as caused by involvement with objects.

Now he goes on to the pain of saṃskāra-s produced by experience of joy and suffering. What then is the painfulness of saṃskāra? From experience of pleasure, there is a saṃskāra-stock of pleasure; from experience of pain, a saṃskāra-stock of pain. Since pleasure and pain are pervaded by passion and hate, their respective saṃskāra-stocks too will be pervaded by passion and hate. So the maturing of karma in the form of birth, life span and experience is experienced as pleasure or pain.

The saṃskāra-stock of pleasure-pain experience is made up entirely of that experience, and so the saṃskāra-s as well as the experiences are entirely pervaded by passion and aversion. The respective saṃskāra-stocks become factors in action and experience, and in this way the saṃskāra-stocks become sources of pain. The dynamic character of saṃskāra is itself painful, and that is the painfulness of saṃskāra. For no one employs a means to an experience or action which he does not remember, and it is well known that memory depends on saṃskāra.

Even if a saṃskāra were not inherently painful, still to the man of clear sight who knows that it will cause pain, its very existence is itself pain, like the mere fact of having eaten poison (before any effect is felt). Thus as a result of change, anxiety and saṃskāra, everything indeed is pain. In this way the beginningless stream of pain, inherently adverse to him, distresses the yogin alone.

(Opponent) It is inherently adverse to the others also. Why does it not distress them?

(Answer) It does not distress the others, just because their minds are undiscriminating and calloused with every foulness of taints and so on. To them, the adverse quality is not the main thing. A man accepts on his head a fist-blow, even like a hammer, from his beloved. He puts up with the wetting and fouling by his baby son held to his chest. He feels he is moving in an ocean of joy and has no resentment at all in him. To him, it is not inherently adverse. So in the case of the undiscriminating man, he assents to the passion-desire and thereby increases it all the more.

(Opponent) The circumstances are the same for the yogin too, so why does it distress him?

Why? Because the knower is like an eyeball. As a thread of wool flicked on to the eyeball causes pain by its touch, but not on to other parts of the body, so these pains afflict the yogin alone, who is sensitive as an eyeball, and not another recipient of them. But that other is subjected again and again to pain brought on by himself, casting it off and then subjected again to what has been cast off again and again, with his mental processes from time without beginning shot through and through so to say with the various saṃskāra-complexes (vāsanā), taking on what he should avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’, born again and again – (on him) the three-fold sufferings, with causes both objective and subjective, flood down.

(Answer) It afflicts him alone. Why? Because the knower is like an eyeball. The meaning is, that it afflicts him because of his purity and his withdrawal. The cause is not the same for him, inasmuch as he is a knower. He does not have an undiscriminating mind calloused with feelings of taints and so on, for he would not be a knower unless he had got rid of that calloused mind. So it is that it afflicts the knower alone, who is sensitive like an eyeball, and not the others.

On this he explains the difference between the knower and the ignorant by some examples. As a thread of wool though its touch is so light flicked on to the eyeball, causes pain because of the extreme sensitivity of the eyeball, so the pain afflicts the yogin whose consciousness is so refined and whose heart is so pure. The thread of wool lashed even very violently on to another member of the body will not cause pain by its contact. So the other recipient is not afflicted by pain, because his mind has become calloused with taints, like other limbs of the body which have hard skin.

He continues: So those pains afflict the yogin alone, who is like the eyeball, and not another recipient. He shows how the other recipient is like the other limbs of the body, in the next passage, beginning But that other and concluding with the words the sufferings flood down. But that other is subjected to pain brought on by himself; the effect of karma is brought on a man by way of mental process, the pain being induced by causes animate and inanimate; subjected to pain again and again, casting it off by leaving the body, and then in another place, having taken on another body, that pain which he had cast off emerges; with his mental processes from time without beginning shot through and through so to say with various saṃskāra-complexes, with Ignorance.

What is the character of this other? Taking on what he should avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’. ‘I’ is something supposed, by illusion, in the body and senses and their qualities of action, attribute, and result; ‘mine’ is the idea of it in regard to externals, animate and inanimate. Both of these should be avoided, as they are wholly seeds which ripen into tainted karma. Without these two, passions, etc., and their karmic ripening cannot come about, so they are to be avoided, and this is a man who is taking on what he ought to avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Born again and again like one of the other members of the body in the simile, to be pursued by sufferings with causes both objective and subjective, objective in the form of a god or the elements of nature, and subjective, being that particular kind of cause; the sufferings result from both these kinds of cause.

Three-fold: the sufferings whether from external or the other causes are of three kinds, in that they are either past, future, or present. As the sūtra will say, ‘To be escaped is the pain not yet come’ (II.16). Or again, they are three-fold as being essentially taint, and karma, and its ripening, and again their triple painfulness is from change, or from anxiety, or from saṃskāra. So they are three-fold, and these flood down, they are the inevitable consequence.

Seeing that other one, and himself, and all beings, borne away by the stream of pain without beginning, the yogin takes refuge in right vision, destroyer of all pain.

Seeing that other one, the undiscriminating recipient, and himelf and all beings, being borne away by the stream of pain without beginning submerged in that torrent of pain, the yogin takes refuge in right vision, destroyer of all pain.

(Opponent) But if he is a yogin, he must already have got right vision.

(Answer) One who is practising the yoga methods is a yogin even if he has not got right vision. The statement shows that yoga is the means to right vision.

Seeing that yoga and the fruit of yoga (powers) are all nothing but pain, he takes refuge in right wisdom. As the sūtra will say, ‘From indifference to that too, the seeds of imperfection are destroyed, and there is Transcendental Aloneness’ (III.50).

And from the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s, all is pain alone to the clearsighted man.

And for another reason, all is pain to the clear-sighted man. What reason is that? From the clash of the operations of the guṇa-s.

(Opponent) Why has the teaching made a division between the reasons? It should have said simply, ‘Because of changes, anxieties, saṃskāra-s, and clash of operations of the guṇa-s.’

(Answer) There is no mistake. Everyone knows experiences of pleasure and pain and the saṃskāra-complexes of them, and these are referred to in the phrase ‘Because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s’. But the man who has clear knowledge, which can distinguish their cause, becomes aware – in the perfection of his discrimination – of the clash of the operations as caused by the guṇa-s (in the mental processes), and this is a separate cause. But inasmuch as they are all painful and so causes of pain, they are put together in the one sūtra.

With their operations always tending to light or activity or fixity respectively, the guṇa-s are mutually dependent on each other. They produce ideas of just three kinds: peaceful, violent, and deluded. Because the operation of the guṇa-s fluctuates, the mind is a quick changer, as it is said. Each when predominant in operation and predominant as a mental idea, clashes with the predominance of the others, but when unmanifest, they co-operate with the predominant one.

The guṇa-s are sattva, rajas and tamas; mental processes are formed out of them; there is pain from the clash of these. The guṇa-s are embodied in forms, like the inner organ of mind. As there is continual change of predominance among the guṇa-s, their operations clash; one of them is overcome by the rising up of another. Thus the operations of each of the three guṇa-s are every moment alternately suppressing the others or helping them to appear.

When among the three guṇa-s, which are inherently either happiness or pain or delusion respectively, a process belonging to one is in possession, it is not that there is no connection with the others. So the conclusion is this: when rajas arises, which is inherently pain, it is not to be taken that just because there is some pain, it must necessarily be pain only from a process of rajas. Sattva and tamas are there along with the rajas, and the painfulness is theirs too. And the rise and cessation of sattva and tamas follow from the operation of rajas, so that pain belongs to all of them.

He explains further: With their operations always tending to light or activity or fixity respectively, the guṇa-s are mutually dependent on each other. Although mutually clashing, they also act towards each other as helper and helped, like oil and wick and fire in a lamp. They produce ideas of just three kinds, peaceful of sattva, violent of rajas, and deluded of tamas. They go together as auxiliaries to each other. When a peaceful idea of sattva has arisen, it is at once overthrown by an upsurging thought of force, or rajas aided by tamas.

When some idea of force, a rājasik idea, comes to rise, supported by another guṇa, it is soon overcome by an idea of delusion, namely a tāmasik idea, supported by sattva, or else by a sāttvik idea supported by tamas. The idea of tamas in its turn is overcome by ideas of the other two, and similarly the sāttvik idea is overcome. Thus the guṇa-s have their rise and subjection and activity.

Why is this? Because the operation of the guṇa-s fluctuates, the essential nature of the guṇa-s shows in the forms of the mind, and the mind is a quick changer, as it is said.

(Opponent) Where is this said?

(Answer) In holy texts.

(Opponent) But why should the guṇa-s clash with each other?

(Answer) Because there cannot be more than one thing predominant in the one place, any more than in an inner room, darkness and light could be simultaneously predominant. There cannot be simultaneous predominance of the guṇa-s making up the form of the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) – in the shape of happiness, pain or delusion – either in their own forms as operational processes of light, activity and restriction, or as ideas of happiness and the others characterized by knowledge, etc.

The mental process is linked, along with the guṇa which is manifest, with the other two guṇa-s in their unmanifest forms, which do not clash because they are in the state of one evenness. As it is said, each when predominant in operation and predominant as an idea clashes with the predominance (in operations and ideas) of the others, but when unmanifest, they co-operate with the predominant one. When there is predominance (by sattva) in the form of happiness, there is no predominance (by rajas) in the form of pain or (by tamas) in the form of delusion. When the one is dominant, the others are not. So when the mental process of knowledge is predominant, that of the idea of greed is not so. When any one of them predominates the others do not.

So these guṇa-s come to form ideas of happiness, pain and delusion respectively, through the support of the other two, each one thus having the form of all. However the distinction is made between them according to which guṇa is then in the principal place.

So these guṇa-s come to have the ideas of happiness, pain and delusion respectively through the support of both the others. The idea of happiness comes to sattva through the support of both rajas and tamas; rajas comes to have the idea of pain through the support of both sattva and tamas; tamas too comes by its ideas of delusion through the support of sattva and rajas. So each has the effect of all.

(Opponent) If so, how is the distinction made that this is a sāttvik idea and this of tamas and this of rajas?

(Answer) He says, However the distinction is made between them according to which guṇa is then in the principal place. The identification (as of a particular guṇa) is made or rejected according to whether it is predominant or subsidiary. Even in the scheme of the five elements, what is classified as ‘earth’ is also watery and fiery. There is this kind of clash of the guṇic processes and therefore all is pain to the clear-seeing man, as it has been said. The purpose is, that from (awareness of) this clash, there should come about the supreme detachment.

(Opponent) How is this purpose shown?

(Answer) A distinction was made in the sūtra, which first said ‘because of the pain from changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s’ thus pointing to the pain-producing character of all thirst for things seen or heard about. But that has no relation to the supreme detachment, which is from the pain of things invisible.

But by adding ‘and from the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s’, he teaches the supreme detachment, namely detachment from the possession of qualities whether manifest or unmanifest. For there is pain from the very fact of mutually clashing guṇa processes. And when it is said here that each of them has the form of all, as either principal or subsidiary, the reference is to manifest and unmanifest qualifications. This is why the sūtra makes separate mention of the clash of the processes of the guṇa-s.

What produces this great mass of pain is Ignorance; what causes its annihilation is right vision.

As classics of medicine are in four parts: illness, cause of the illness, the healthy condition, and the remedy – so this work too has just four parts: saṃsāra, cause of saṃsāra, release, means of release.

Of these, saṃsāra with its many pains is what is to be escaped; the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa is the cause of what is to be escaped; liberation (hāna) is the absolute cessation of the conjunction; right vision is the means to liberation.

From the fact of pain in change and anxiety and saṃskāra, it is demonstrated that the seed which produces this great as characterized by the guṇa-s and their qualities mass of pain, is Ignorance, and what causes its annihilation is right vision as its opponent. Since Knowledge (vidyā) is based on things as they really are, it is only Knowledge that causes the annihilation of Ignorance which is based on things otherwise than as they are, just as the correct view of the thing as it is, the moon single, abolishes the view of a false thing, the moon seen double.

As accompanied by the fundamental cause of pain, taints and karma-s and their ripening, all is pain, and so it has been shown. The one who suffers from that pain is the man of clear sight (vivekin), and as such he is the proper object of a work on right vision (samyagdarśana-śāstra) and not the other one, who ‘accepts the very pain. He now seeks to illustrate the point by an example: As classics of medicine are in four parts: illness, cause of the illness, the healthy condition, and the remedy.

As the classics of medicine are divided for teaching purposes into four: illness, cause of illness, the normal state of health, and the treatment for that purpose, and it is called four-fold as having these four parts of illness, etc., so in this work of yoga. There is saṃsāra with its mass of pain; its cause is the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa, arising from Ignorance; liberation from saṃsāra so caused is the purpose of a work on right vision (such as this one); and there is right vision itself. With these four, this too is a system of four parts. Again it is four-fold because its subjects are divided in the four ways.

In this (liberation) it is not that the true nature of the one who escapes has to be acquired or escaped from; that would mean that release would entail his destruction.

In this, it is not that the true nature of the one who escapes (has to be acquired or escaped from).

(Opponent) Here should have come the definition of the one who escapes, namely the sūtra ‘The Seer is sight alone’ (II.20).

(Answer) Not so. In order to explain the purpose of undertaking the work, saṃsāra has been described, with its taints and so on, all ending up in pain. The work is directed to that traveller-in-saṃsāra (saṃsārin) who by reason of the pain of saṃsāra has become a man of clear sight (vivekin). For such a man of clear sight the work is undertaken, and this was indicated in the first sūtra. Right vision alone is the goal of the work thus begun. This is therefore the right place, immediately following on the description of the pain of saṃsāra, to teach that the true nature of the one who escapes, namely Puruṣa, is not to be acquired or escaped from.

(Opponent) Why should it not be? Unless it is either acquirable or avoidable, it turns out to be nothing at all. In the world, happiness and what causes happiness are to be acquired, and pain and what causes it are to be avoided. So this Puruṣa too – being a thing – should have qualities on one side or the other.

(Answer) What would follow in that case? release would entail his destruction. If this had the character of something to be avoided, then it should be destroyed. And what would happen upon release? It would entail destruction of the self.

(Opponent) What is wrong with that?

(Answer) We shall explain what is wrong, in the Fourth Part, on Transcendental Aloneness (kaivalya). Moreover, since there is no other to be released, release would never come about.

(Opponent) Let it be that self alone is itself released from self.

(Answer) No. The action would be self-contradictory, and there cannot be a split in the very self. If self is to be what escapes from self which is to be escaped from, there will be yet another (escape), and so to an infinite regress. Each self which escapes would itself be escaped from. Nor can there be simultaneous existence of the two sides of the escape; and if they are to exist at different times, then they will not be self which is escaped from and self which escapes from it.

If it is accepted that the escaper is himself to be escaped from, there can never be the relation of escape, because there would be an infinite regress. In the infinite chain of escapers, it becomes meaningless for any escaper to strive for liberation at all, since he accepts that what he seeks to escape from is himself alone. There can be no resulting liberation, for the result sought by a man in bondage is not his own destruction, but release. Never does a man wish his own destruction, even when he sees that he is on the point of death. If this kind of escaper in the infinite chain did attain his purpose by destruction, he would not in fact be desiring true liberation, in the sense of attaining what liberation aims at.

As for the position that the one who escapes is eternal, this is what we are going to teach in the sūtra on the Seer in the Fourth Part on Transcendental Aloneness. Therefore what is to be escaped from is never Puruṣa but it is saṃsāra, the manifestation of the Great Principle and the rest, and full of pain. The point is, that Puruṣa has no such characteristics (as acquirability or avoidability); if it had such characteristics, it would imply a doctrine of its own perishability.

The doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused. The teaching that it is eternal, denying both the other views (as acquirable or avoidable) – that is right vision.

(Opponent) Well, let it be something to be acquired, as a material object which causes happiness is acquired in order to get happiness.

(Answer) Not so.

(Opponent) Why not?

(Answer) The doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused. If the relation is like that for acquiring material objects, and he is himself what is acquired, then the acquisition would be meaningless, because there is no other to acquire. A cloth is not acquired by the cloth itself; a thing has to be acquired by something else. And if another acquirer (of self by self) is supposed, there will be infinite regress, for he too will be acquired by another, and that one too by yet another.

Furthermore it would imply dependence on another. For a thing is acquired from something else which is its cause. Puruṣa will be taken as the cause of pradhāna consisting of sattva and the other guṇa-s, as the potter is the cause of acquiring the clay lump for a pot. But along with being the cause of acquiring pradhāna, this Puruṣa would (himelf) be acquired like pradhāna, and there would be the qualities like sattva in him also, because he would be something acquired like a lump of clay. So his acquisition of pradhāna would have nothing to give it any purpose.

(Opponent) Let it be acquired for the purpose of the Lord, or for mutual purposes among the Puruṣa-s.

(Answer) That would entail a whole mass of defects like being experienced, being unconscious, and being changeable. And therefore Puruṣa cannot have the qualities of pradhāna. And so he says, that the doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused.

He is going to say that the cause is not of Puruṣa. If acquisition of it were causeless, the operations of pradhāna would be causeless. And nothing can be found that is for itself alone, for we do not find that lamps, etc., are for themselves alone.

Denying both the other views: rejecting both – that self is to be escaped from or that it is to be acquired – there follows the teaching that it is eternal, the doctrine of eternality of self. Even though pradhāna, which is something to be acquired, also has eternality, still as inherently changing, that (eternality) is not eternal. Pradhāna has defects like inherent plurality, impurity, Ignorance and dependence on another. If the Puruṣa-s were like that, there would be no release. Since bondage and release and their causes, Knowledge and Ignorance, must refer to the self, it would mean that bondage and release would be indistinguishable. So the doctrine of eternality is reached by rejecting both other views – that self is to be escaped from or that it is to be acquired – and that is right vision.

The four parts of this work are now explained:

 

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