Yoga Sutra 2.28 destruction of impurity and a growing light of knowledge

Sūtra II.28

From following up the methods of yoga, destruction of impurity and a growing light of knowledge up to Knowledge-of-the-difference

Knowledge-of-the-difference when perfected, Knowledge-of-the-difference when mastered, attaining its ultimate fruit in the seven-fold ultimate state of knowledge, is the means to release. Every perfection must have its own means. He introduces the subject of the means to perfection of Knowledge-of-the-difference: From following up the methods of yoga, destruction of impurity and a growing light of knowledge up to Knowledge-of-the-difference.

This does not mean to say that Knowledge-of-the-difference comes about from practice of the yoga methods alone; perfection in it is in fact only for those who begin with worship of a guru, and practice of virtue (dharma). What he wishes to say is, that without this yoga as a means, it does not come about. The practice of the yoga methods is not the means by itself, but it is only out of that practice that the perfection in Knowledge-of-the-difference comes about. And so it is said by the teacher(s): ‘Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of truth (yogas tattva-jñānā-’rtha).’

Eight yoga methods are to be given. From practising them, illusory knowledge with its five parts, whose nature is impurity, is destroyed and perishes. When it is destroyed, there is manifestation of right vision. In proportion to the practice done, the impurity is thinned out. In proportion to its destruction, the light of knowledge increases correspondingly. The increase is an experience of increasing refinement up to Knowledge-of-the-difference, up to the realization of the true nature of the guṇa-s and Puruṣa.

Practice of the methods of yoga which are to be given, leads to destruction of impurity, namely the taints. With their destruction there is light, illumination. How far does this light develop? up to Knowledge-of-the-difference it is added in explanation.

Now the Commentator gives an elaboration of his own to make it clearer. Eight yoga methods are to be given. From practising them, illusory knowledge with its five parts is destroyed and perishes. When it is destroyed, there is manifestation of right vision (samyag-darśana), like a light.

How does it come about? In proportion to the practice done, the impurity is thinned out. And so Manu has said:

By prāṇāyāma-s let him destroy defects (doṣa) of body;

By concentrations (dhāraṇā), the sins,

By dissociation (pratyāhāra), sense attachments,

By meditation (dhyāna), attributes not divine. (VI.72)

In proportion to its destruction, the light of knowledge increases correspondingly, like that of the sun at the end of the cold season. The increase is an experience of increasing refinement of perception. How far does it go? up to Knowledge-of-the-difference. He explains this: up to knowledge of the true nature of the guṇa-s and Puruṣa. The refinement ends only in the Knowledge of the difference between sattva and Puruṣa.

Following up the yoga methods is the cause of disjunction from impurity, as the axe is the cause of disjunction of what it cuts; but it is the cause of attaining Knowledge-of-the-difference, as dharma is the cause of happiness. And it is not a cause of anything else.

How many kinds of cause are there listed in the authoritative books? They are said to be just these nine: Origination, maintenance, manifestation, modification, ideation, attaining, disjunction, alteration, sustaining – thus according to tradition, cause is of nine kinds.

Following up the yoga methods is the cause of disjunction from impurity and also the cause of attaining Knowledge-of-the-difference. It is a cause, as in the cases of dharma and the axe; but here a single cause has the double effect. It is not a cause of anything else. In connection with this subject of cause, he sets forth the causes recognized by authority. How many causes are there in the authoritative books? He replies that They are said to be just these nine, which he gives by quoting a verse: Origination, maintenance, manifestation, modification, ideation, attaining, disjunction, alteration, sustaining – thus according to tradition, cause is of nine kinds.

An originating cause of knowledge is the mind. A maintaining cause is the fact that mind is for the purposes of Puruṣa, just as the body is kept going by food. A manifesting cause is illumination of a form so that there is knowledge of the form. A modifying cause of the mind is a new object, as the juxtaposition of fire causes cooking. An ideational cause is the knowledge of smoke causing knowledge of fire.

To show the distinctions between them, he gives examples.

An originating cause of knowledge is the mind, for knowledge is a process of the mind, which is as water to the waves.

A maintaining cause is the fact that mind is for the purposes of Puruṣa. Mind is kept going by the fact of the purposes, namely experience and release, just as the body is kept going by food.

A manifesting cause is illumination of a form so that there is knowledge of that form. There is no perception of a form not made manifest by light.

A modifying cause of the mind is a new object. By juxtaposition of another object, the mind undergoes a change, as the juxtaposition of fire causes cooking. Fire is the cause of the change in form of what is cooked in the modification called cooking.

An ideational cause is the knowledge of smoke causing knowledge of fire. It is the cause of a fruitful idea of right knowledge. When it was said before that mind is an originating cause of knowledge, the meaning was simply that mind is the material cause of knowledge (irrespective of content).

The attaining cause of Knowledge-of-the-difference is following up the yoga methods; the same is the cause of disjunction from impurity. An altering cause is like a goldsmith with gold. Then with the one idea of a woman, Ignorance is the cause of delusion, the fact of painfulness is cause of aversion, the fact of happiness is cause of passion, and discriminative knowledge is the cause of unconcern. A sustaining cause is the upholding of the senses by the body, and that by them; and the elements of the bodies, and they mutually of each other, among all, whether animal, human or divine.

The attaining cause of Knowledge-of-the-difference is following up the yoga methods, as righteousness is the attaining cause of happiness; the same is the cause of disjunction from impurity, as an axe is the cause of cutting off.

An altering cause is like a goldsmith with gold, for having demolished one form of the gold, he fashions something different like a dish, and then demolishing that new dish, he fashions something else, an ornament. This is called alteration.

Then with the one idea of a woman, Ignorance is the cause of delusion, the fact of painfulness is cause of aversion towards that same idea of a woman, the fact of happiness is cause of passion, and discriminative knowledge is the cause of unconcern without any idea of repulsion or attraction. Thus the single idea of the woman is, like gold taking many shapes, separated into many by the differences of delusion, painfulness, happiness, and unconcern.

Sustaining cause: sustaining is support, as the senses by the body, for without the body, the senses do not have any support, and that by them, the senses (in turn) become the cause that sustains the body. For the body is sustained through the operations of the senses.

Further, the elements such as space are the sustaining cause of the bodies, for the elements are, as the basis, the sustaining cause of bodies from Brahmā down to a post; and they mutually are causes of sustaining each other by way of reciprocal assistance, among all the categories animal, human and divine, the sustaining cause. Why? Because of their mutual dependence. The animal bodies are the sustaining cause of the human and divine, serving as beasts of burden, as givers of milk, and for sacrifices, etc. And the human bodies, by sacrifices and by domestication, sustain the divine and animal respectively; so too the divine sustain the other two by providing the cold and hot and rainy seasons.

Similarly all classes and stages of life are causes of sustaining each other by helping. The whole world is upheld by mutual co-operation.

These then are the nine causes; their potential capacity applies to the other things also. But following up the methods of yoga is a cause in only the two ways.

It has been said that there are just the nine forms of causality, and others are rejected. Their potential capacity applies to the other things also in accordance with their respective potentialities. But following up the methods of yoga is a cause in only the two ways, as has been explained.

Now what are the yoga methods, by practising which there will be the two-fold effect (disjunction from impurity, Knowledge-of-the-difference)?

Now the methods of yoga are defined.

 

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