Yoga Sutra 2.24 its cause is Ignorance avidya

Sūtra II.24

Its cause is Ignorance (a-vidyā)

This means the saṃskāra-complex (vāsanā) of illusory knowledge (viparyaya-jñāna).

The conjunction of each Puruṣa with the guṇa-s is the same. The conjunction of all of them with the guṇa-s is the same in each case. It is common, but what is individual is the conjunction of the separate consciousness (pratyak-cetana), the witness of the ideas of the mind (bauddha-pratyaya) with its own mind. And it is the failure-to-see by which this individual conjunction with its own mind comes about. Its cause the cause of the conjunction which makes it take the relation of possessor and possessed as its own true nature is Ignorance; this means the saṃskāra-complex (vāsanā) of illusory knowledge (viparyaya-jñāna).

(Opponent) But it has been said, ‘Illusion is false knowledge based on an untrue form’ (I.8), and it has been said that Ignorance is ‘conviction of permanence, purity and happiness and self in what are really impermanent, impure, painful and not-self. How is it now said to be the saṃskāra-complex of illusory knowledge?

(Answer) It is not wrong to say so. As the effect of Ignorance, the saṃskāra-complex is spoken of as Ignorance itself. When all causes are dissolved and there is the state of sameness, the saṃskāra-complex of illusion again and again makes pradhāna go into function. Actual illusion is never a cause of the functioning because it does not exist before the rise of mind (buddhi), and so it is taught that it is the saṃskāra-complex of illusion which is the cause of the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa.

Under the influence of the saṃskāra-complex of illusory knowledge, mind does not attain fulfilment of what it has to do, namely to know Puruṣa. While it has that involvement, again and again it revives. But in the culminating Knowledge of Puruṣa it attains fulfilment of what it had to do. With its involvement at an end, and failure-to-see gone, there is no cause of bondage and it does not revive again.

Under the influence of the saṃskāra-complex of illusory knowledge, mind does not attain fulfilment of what it has to do, it does not complete what it has to do, which is to know Puruṣa, as he says. For knowledge of Puruṣa is incumbent on the mind for its fulfilment, and the mind does not attain it while it has that involvement while that is incumbent on it; again and again it revives by the force of the saṃskāra-complex of illusory knowledge. But when it is fulfilled in Knowledge of Puruṣa, it attains its goal. He adds a further explanation:

With its involvement at an end, and failure-to-see gone, there is no cause of bondage. Failure-to-see alone is what binds, because karma and the fruition of karma have this as their root. When failure-to-see ceases, bondage ceases, being without its cause, and it (mind) does not revive again.

Here someone interrupts with the parable of the impotent man, who is asked by his simple-minded wife: ‘O impotent Sir! My sister has a son, why not I?’ He tells her, When I am dead, I will beget you a son.’ So here, the Knowledge being present now does not cause the mind to cease, so what hope is there that it will do when it has disappeared?

To this, one who is near to being a teacher says in reply: ‘But it is cessation of mind (buddhi) that is release. In the absence of its cause, failure-to-see, mind ceases, and that failure-to-see, cause of bondage, ceases through seeing. So it is cessation of mind (citta) that is release. Why then this needless confusion of his?’

Here someone interrupts with the parable of the man who is asked by his simple-minded wife: ‘O impotent Sir! My sister has a son, why not I?’ He tells her, ‘When I am dead, I will beget you a son.’ So here, the Knowledge being present now does not cause the mind to cease, so what hope is there that it will do so when it has disappeared?

(Opponent) The point is, that if Ignorance (a-vidyā) is the cause of the conjunction of mind and Puruṣa, and Knowledge (vidyā) makes Ignorance cease, then the rise of Knowledge ought to annul its opposite, Ignorance. But in fact Ignorance does not cease as soon as Knowledge arises. And if Ignorance thus does not cease when Knowledge is there, it will not cease when the Knowledge has perished, any more than there will be a son from an impotent man just because he is dead. And therefore Ignorance is not the cause of the conjunction.

(Answer) To this, one who is near to being a teacher replies. He is said to be only near to being a teacher in order to bring out the futility of the opponent’s position. He interposes in reply: In the absence of its cause, failure-to-see, mind ceases, and that failure-to-see, cause of bondage, ceases through seeing. Cessation of mind is release. Why then this needless confusion of his?

It has been explained in detail that Ignorance is the cause of the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa, that conjunction being itself the cause of suffering. It is by Knowledge that Ignorance ceases, and there should be no confusion about it. When it ceases, there must be a cessation of mind itself. Apart from Ignorance, there is no other cause of conjunction with mind, and therefore it is cessation of mind that is release.

As for the objection that buddhi does not cease to be immediately upon the rise of Knowledge, it is not valid. For the cause-effect relation is of more than one kind. For instance, carpenters and others build palaces; the palaces do not cease to be when the builders, their causes, have ceased work. And when a tree is broken, no special mark of that is immediately apparent (in the leaves). In the same way, while the saṃskāra-s, like a shot arrow in the air, have not yet exhausted themselves, for a time corresponding to the saṃskāra-s the mind continues its merely apparent existence. So the sacred text says, ‘For him there is delay only so long (as he is not delivered from the body; then he will be perfect.’ Chānd. VI. 14.2)

Pain that is to be escaped, conjunction as the cause of what is to be escaped, and the cause of the conjunction, have been declared. Now final release is to be spoken of.

 

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