Yoga Sutra 2.19 the three gunas which make up the Seen

Sūtra II.19

What particularizes itself, and what does not, what goes (liṅga, the Great principle) and what does not (a-liṅga, pradhāna), are guṇa-implementers

To determine the different phases the differentiation of the states of being of the three guṇa-s which make up the Seen whose nature has been described, the following sūtra is presented; What particularizes itself and what does not, what goes and what does not, are guṇa-implementers.

(Grammatical excursus on the peculiar reading of the sūtra: viśeṣāviśeṣa-liṅgamātrāliṅgā guṇaparvāṇaḥ instead of viśeṣāviśeṣa-liṅgamātrāliṅgāni guṇaparvāṇi.)

a-liṅga is a technical term for pradhāna, which does not go to dissolution (na liṅgati, see I.45), nor come from somewhere else. A masculine noun, a-liṅga, may be correctly derived from the root (liṅg, to go) by the extension (Mahābh. III.1.134) to any (qualified) root of the capacity of the pac- group roots to form a noun of agency by merely adding -a. The noun consequently assumes the appropriate gender (i.e. the masculine of an agent). Liṅga (not from a verbal root but in the conventional sense of) a mark (cihna) would be neuter (not masculine as here), and would point to an instrument (not an agent). Or else this may be taken as an adjectival compound (bahuvrīhi) meaning that there is no mark, no indication, of accessibility to direct perception, of that which is called pradhāna.

Thus what particularize themselves, and the others, are called parvan, derived (uṇādi iv.112) from pṝ to fill, because they fulfil (pālayanti) the purpose of Puruṣa by providing experience and transcendence, or else because they implement (pūrayanti) their own changes. The root pṝ takes the suffix -an to form a noun of agency (parvan), by the sūtra (Pā. hi.2.75) ‘(and these suffixes, including -an) are found affixed to other roots’. (As to its gender) the rule is that a noun ending in -n and not expressing agency is neuter, while if it does express agency it is of common gender. For instance merudṛśvan, one who has seen Meru, may be in the nominative merudṛśvā or merudṛśvanī.

Thus, what particularizes itself, and the others, are implementers. What implementers? They are guṇa-implementers.

There is however a reading of the sūtra by others: ‘Particularized and unparticularized and liṅga-alone and without-liṅga are guṇa-implementations.’

Of these, space, air, fire, water, and earth are the elements, which are particularizations of the unparticularized subtle elements: sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. Ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose are the mental sense-organs, and voice, hands and feet, organs of excretion and generation are organs of action; mind, the eleventh organ, is directed to everything. These are the particularizations of the unparticularized I-am-ness.

Of these, space, air, fire, water, and earth are the elements. Space is based on the subtle element (tanmātra) of sound; air is based on the subtle element of touch, and is characterized by sound and touch. Fire is based on the subtle element of form, and characterized by sound, touch, and form. Waters are based on the subtle element of taste, and characterized by the four: sound, touch, form, and taste. Earth is based on the subtle element of odour, and characterized by the five: sound, touch, form, taste, and smell.

(Opponent) Space is eternal. It is not a particularization of something that first appeared and later perished. Whatever appears, we see to be particularized and like earth, which first appears and subsequently perishes. So if space had a beginning it would be a particularization, first arising and subsequently perishing. And that is not so. Therefore space has no beginning. And if you say that its particularity is to be an absence which makes room (for other things), not so, because then the absence of other things, with forms, would also be eternal likewise. Space is eternal because it does not have the characteristic of non-eternality, being all-pervading like the Self and such things.

(Answer) No, for that would contradict scripture (āgama). It would be opposed to the scriptural text, Trom that, from this Self, space was created’ (Taitt. 2.1). And it contradicts tradition.

(Opponent) The statement quoted is figurative, meaning merely that space became manifest.

(Answer) Not so, for that would mean that the subsequent statements of the creation of air etc. would also be figurative, because the same passage says that from space, air was created.

When you say of a thing which does not have the particularity of an origin that it is therefore not non-eternal, it comes to saying that because it is not particularized it is eternal. And it follows that what is particularized, is not eternal. And if so, since there is particularization as bondage and release and awareness and unawareness and so on in the self, etc., according to the Vaiśeṣika, it follows that their existence would be non-eternal, and his ultimate atoms and so on would also be non-eternal.

Time, place, space, and mind, are not all-pervading and not eternal, because like jars they are dependent on another (parārtha) and not self-sufficient (svārtha). Like jars, again, they have a beginning as being neither pradhāna nor Puruṣa. Similarly, space (ākāśa, with a beginning and so not eternal) is in the field of the external senses. It is an element like earth, and coming into conjunction with material things like earth which are not eternal, it partakes of their qualities. In medicine even it is said that an excess of space, like an excess of air, is something to be treated; expert physicians agree that excess of space (nabhas) is a symptom to be treated, which shows that it is classed among transient things.

These elements are particularizations of the unparticularized subtle elements: sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. They are particularizations as having various particular qualities, peaceful or violent or dull, etc. The subtle elements are unparticularized because they do not have such qualities.

Ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose are mental sense-organs (buddhi-indriya) directed towards forming ideas (buddhi) of the objects like sound; their existence is inferred from the ideas of their respective objects. Voice, hand and foot, organs of excretion and generation are inferred as operators of the actions like speech.

(Opponent) There is no proof of the existence of voice and so on as separate organs.

(Answer) They are established from the scriptural texts. There are passages of scripture referring to the organs, such as ‘Of all the Vedas, the organ of speech is the place of merging’ (Bṛhad. Up. 2.4.11). And in the traditions everywhere there are directions and prohibitions to do or not do certain things, showing that ears and others are organs. The well-known maxim, ‘No impulsive speaking, no fidgeting with hands or feet’ (Manu IV.177) illustrates the point.

And then, voice and the other organs of the group are effective, like the eye. For in all the limbs we see the power of the (motor) organ going into operation, as in the case of sight. From birds to serpents and plants, there is always a mouth. Mind the eleventh is directed to everything to every object past future and present, and to the sense and motor organs.

These eleven sense-organs are particularizations of the unparticularized I-am-ness; I-am-ness is the feeling that I am, the idea ‘I am’. This which is I-am-ness is characterized or indicated by the idea I am’; this the sixth of the unparticularized principles is the I-notion (ahaṅkāra).

These are the particularizations of the unparticularized.

This is the sixteen-fold transformation of the guṇa-s into particulars.

Of the guṇa-s sattva etc. without particularized form, this is the sixteen-fold transformation. Space has much sattva, air rajas, fire has sattva and rajas, earth has sattva and tamas. (Water omitted – Tr.) As being objects, there is some tamas in (all of) them, but their particularization is according to the principal guṇa. As luminous, all senses have much sattva, but the buddhi-senses with mind as the sixth are predominantly illuminators and so have much sattva. The action-senses have much rajas, being primarily action.

Now the six unparticularized. They are the subtle elements of sound, touch, form, taste, and smell, distinguished (respectively) by one, two, three, four, and all five, beginning with sound. The sixth unparticularized is pure I-am-ness.

These are the six unparticularized transformations of the Great principle, whose nature is pure being, which is bare form (liṅga- mātra). Beyond the unparticularized is that Great (self) which is pure being; supported in it, these fulfil their development to the limit.

And in the reverse process, they are supported in that Great (self) which is pure being, and go back to that pradhāna, the formless (a-liṅga) which is neither being-non-being (niḥsattāsattam), nor yet existent-non-existent (sadasat).

The six unparticularized are the subtle elements of sound, touch … . Though the subtle element of touch has both characters (sound and touch), it is designated by the principal one (i.e. touch). The word mātra (in tan-mātra) is to rule out particularizations like peaceful, violent, and so on.

Distinguished by one, two, three, four, and all five characteristics: the distinction of the subtle element of touch is the character of having both sound and touch, and in this way each one has fewer characteristics than the one following it in the list.

The sixth unparticularized is pure I-am-ness (asmitā-mātra). In the list of the subtle elements beginning with sound, it stands sixth; it is the unparticularized (form) of the eleven sense-organs.

pure being, pure existence; the bare form (liṅga-mātra, literally ‘what goes’) the first form from the formless pradhāna, like the seed’s becoming a sprout.

Of that whose nature, whose reality, is Great, beyond all particularizations and unparticularizations, these are the six unparticularized transformations of the guṇa-s like sattva, supported in the form called the Great. Beyond more subtle than the unparticularized is the Great principle called bare form (liṅga-mātra); supported in that Great which is pure being because of its greatness, supported in that which is their cause, they fulfil their development in the final particularizations like earth.

(And in the reverse process, they are supported in the Great self which is pure being, and then go back to the unmanifest pradhāna without form (a-liṅga), which has neither being nor non-being and is not existent-non-existent.) The Great Principle is a transformation of these (guṇa-s) into bare form, and their formless transformation has neither being nor non-being.

The formless state is not caused by any purposefulness of Puruṣa; no purpose of Puruṣa brings it about, nor is there any purpose of Puruṣa in it. Hence it is classed as eternal.

And in the reverse process when the unparticularized are dissolved, they are supported in the Great self which is pure being bare form (liṅga-mātra), and then go back to the unmanifest. What is that unmanifest?

neither being nor non-being without particularized or unparticularized;

not existent-non-existent: existent in the sense of being a slight development from the unmanifest; non-existent in the sense of being more subtle than the unparticularized. Existent-non-existent refers to the Great principle, which is both existent and non-existent in these senses. The unmanifest which has neither of the qualities is therefore not existent-non-existent.

The Great principle is the transformation of these guṇa-s like sattva into bare form (liṅga-mātra); supported in it, the unparticularized fulfil their development, and also go to dissolution.

The unmanifest has neither being nor non-being, and is the formless (a-liṅga) transformation of these guṇa-s. There is no transformation of the guṇa-s into any more subtle state, because as has been said: ‘The scale of subtlety ends in pradhāna’ (sūtra I.45).

Because it is formless, The formless state is not caused by any purposefulness of Puruṣa; no purpose of Puruṣa is an impelling cause of that formless state. The point is that there is no correlation of the formless state with any purpose of Puruṣa. He explains: no purpose of Puruṣa brings it about. Why is there no connection of that state with the purpose of Puruṣa? He says: nor is there any purpose of Puruṣa in it for it is self-sufficient; even to gods it cannot be known, as are known the Great principle and others.

That is why it is classed as eternal. For things like earth, which are subject to a purpose of Puruṣa, are seen to be non-eternal. But this state of pradhāna is not subject to any such purpose, and hence is classed as eternal.

But purposefulness of Puruṣa is a cause of the three differentiated states. This purpose being their final and efficient cause, they are classed as non-eternal.

But the guṇa-s, conforming themselves to all qualities, neither perish nor are produced. The manifestations past and future, going and coming, which accompany the guṇa-s, make them appear as if they had the qualities of being produced and disappearing. It is as when it is said, ‘Poor Devadatta! Why poor? Because his cows are dying.’ It is only from the death of the cows that he is poorly off not that he himself has suffered harm.

But purposefulness of Puruṣa is a cause of the three differentiated states particularized, unparticularized, and pure being; the states of the Great, etc., are subject to a purpose. This purpose being their final and efficient cause, they are classed as non-eternal, inasmuch as these states of the Great and the others come and go. But the guṇa-s, conforming themselves to all qualities, conforming to all changes neither perish nor are produced. As a snake conforms its length to its particular serpentine coilings, so the guṇa-s conform to the particularized and other states as what are considered to be lumps of earth and so on. As the snake does not dissolve when a coiled form dissolves, nor is produced when a particular coiled form is produced, so with the guṇa-s also. In the same way, when pots and trays of clay are destroyed or produced, the clay of which they are made is not thereby destroyed or produced.

The manifestations of qualities (dharma) past and future, going and coming (in the present) of these three kinds, which accompany the guṇa-s of which the guṇa-s are the causal material make them appear as if they had qualities of being produced and of disappearing – apparently arising and coming to an end, not that they really do so.

To give an illustration he says: when it is said, ‘Poor Devadatta! Why poor? Because his cows are dying’, it is only from the death of the cows that he is poorly off, not that he himself has suffered harm. A parallel case is given to illustrate the point. Just as in the case of Devadatta and his poverty, the ‘wealth’ of guṇa-s by the manifestations such as the Great principle which accompany them, and the variety caused by their clashing against each other and their separating, as also the ‘poverty’ when all that (variety) dissolves, are not any diminution or increase for the guṇa-s themselves.

Bare form (liṇga-mātra) is next to the formless (a-liṅga), and the differentiations from it do not depart from the sequence in their development.

(Opponent) If every thing is an effect of pradhāna, why are not particularized or unparticularized produced directly (and not only after the Great principle)?

(Answer) Bare form is next to the formless, as the root of the tree is closest to the seed, and it is the root that is formed and differentiates first of all, not any of the later stages of the tree. So here the Great principle takes form in the pradhāna where it was concealed, and differentiates, becomes manifest, first, before the subsequent particularizations which are too remote. So he says that they do not depart from the sequence. They keep to the order, for one never sees anything which comes into existence out of its proper sequence.

The six unparticularized are formed in and differentiate out from the bare form (the Great principle), held to the due sequence of change; and in these unparticularized, the elements and sense organs are formed and differentiated. As has been said, there is no further principle beyond the particularized; they do not change further into any other principle. But there are changes of phase – of quality, of time-character, and of intensity – to be explained later.

So the six unparticularized as described are formed in and differentiate out from the bare form (the Great principle) to which they are immediately proximate, held to the due sequence of change, and in these unparticularized, the elements and sense organs are formed and differentiated. In the subtle elements, the physical elements (bhūta) are formed and differentiated, as in the pure I-am-ness the senses along with the mind are formed and differentiated. As has been said, there is no further principle beyond the particularized, space and the others listed. The meaning is that there is no transformation into some further principle beyond the particulars. They do not change further into any other principle. What is called a principle is something common to all that supports life, lasting up to the cosmic dissolution (mahā-pralaya). Nothing like this appears beyond earth, etc., but there are changes of phase in accordance with the state of their quality (dharma) and time-character (lakṣaṇa) and state of intensity (avasthā): there are changes of phase – quality, time-character and intensity – which will be explained later in the Third Part.

The Seen has been explained. Now he takes up the determination of the true nature of the Seer.

 

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