Yoga Sutra 2.34 meditation on their opposite

Sūtra II.34

The contrary ideas, violence and the others, done or caused to be done or approved of, preceded by greed, anger or delusion, mild, medium, or intense – all result in endless pain and Ignorance. This is the meditation on their opposite

Of these, violence is taken as the example. It is threefold: done, or caused to be done, or approved. And each one of these too is threefold: from greed, as by one desiring meat and skin; from anger, as by one believing himself injured; from delusion, as by one who thinks that thereby he will acquire merit. Then greed, anger, and delusion are again threefold, namely mild, medium, and intense, so that violence has twenty-seven divisions. Again these three last have three further sub-divisions, mildly-mild, medium-mild, and intensely mild; then mildly-medium, medium-medium, and intensely medium; then mildly-intense, medium-intense, and intensely intense. In this way there are eighty-one sub-divisions of violence.

Now the sūtra shows what the contrary ideas are in themselves, the distinctions between them, the cause of their rise and their result:

The contrary ideas, violence and the others: this is what they are. Done, or caused to be done or approved of, are the distinctions; preceded by greed, anger, or delusion, shows the cause of their rise; mild or medium or intense means that the taint in them is either mild or medium or intense; result in endless pain and Ignorance: this is the meditation on their opposite, or it may be that the result is simply stated.

Of these, violence is taken simply to illustrate them all. It is of three kinds: done, caused to be done, or approved of. It is effected by one’s own action, or caused to be done by employing an agent, or approved of, when what is done by others is assented to in one’s own mind.

Each one of these too is three fold: from greed, as done or caused or approved by one desiring meat and skin, whereby a deer is killed; from anger, as by one believing himself injured; from delusion, as by one who thinks thereby he will acquire merit. There are thus these nine kinds, and each of these too has three further sub-divisions. They are mild, medium and intense. Again these three last have three further subdivisions: mildly-mild, medium-mild, and intensely mild; then mildly-medium, medium-medium, and intensely medium; then mildly-intense, medium-intense, and intensely intense. In this way there are eighty-one sub-divisions of violence.

But with the distinctions of acting under orders, optional action and action in combination, in fact the varieties are innumerable, and there are also differences in the victims.

The analysis is to be applied in the case of falsehood and other (breaches of restraints and observances).

These contrary ideas result in endless pain and Ignorance; (let one practise) meditation on their opposite. So the killer deprives the victim of spirit, hurts him with a blow of a weapon, and then tears him away from life. Because he has deprived another of spirit, the supports of his own life, animate or inanimate, become weakened. Because he has caused pain, he experiences pain himself in hell or as an animal or a ghost. Because he has torn another from life, he goes to live in a life in which every moment he wishes to die, because the retribution as pain has to work itself right out, while he is panting for death.

This reasoning should be applied- with just the necessary changes – to the other contrary ideas like untruth. Let one meditate on the unwelcome consequences, which follow like a shadow, of the contrary ideas, and let him not devote his mind to contrary ideas.

Though there are the eighty-one divisions, in fact the varieties are innumerable because of further differences of action under orders, optional action, and action in combination. Take the difference as to orders. An officer gives orders to another, as from the king. Though himself only the king’s officer, he is in charge and is said to be in charge. And all the officers either in a group or by choosing one, do the killing. Now it is the original commander who is said to be responsible for the killing done by the officers whether in a body or by one chosen. Then there are differences in the victims, as in the case of the executioner (who kills only a) man who has been condemned.

This analysis, the distinctions of done or caused to be done or approved of etc., is to be applied in the case of falsehood and other (breaches of restraints and observances).

The contrary ideas result in endless pain and Ignorance; they have endlessly as their result both pain and Ignorance. Let one meditate on the opposite, let him not turn towards them with his mind, but think: ‘They endlessly result in pain, they endlessly result in Ignorance.’

Now he adduces the cruelty caused by the three fold operation of violence, to illustrate the distinction of results. The killer deprives the victim of spirit, by his murderous appearance and threats, he deprives the terrified victim of courage, hurts him with a blow of a weapon, and then tears him away from life, he ends his life.

Because he the killer has deprived another of spirit, the supports of his own life, animate or inanimate, either cattle or fields, etc., become weakened. Because he has caused pain as by blows of his weapon he experiences pain himself in hell or as an animal or a ghost according to the injury he has inflicted. Because he has torn another away from life, he comes to live in a life in a different mortal life in which every moment he wishes to die, because the retribution as pain has to work itself right out, it has inevitably to be experienced while he is panting for death.

Even if there should be an admixture of merit of some kind, so that the sin of violence is much reduced by a predominance of merit, still the life of happiness attained by the circumstance of merit will be a short one, because of the adverse association with violence.

This which has been said of violence should be applied – with just the necessary changes – to the other contrary ideas like untruth. Let one meditate on the unwelcome consequences which follow like a shadow on the contrary ideas like violence and let him not devote his mind to contrary ideas.

When the contrary ideas, escaped by meditation on their opposite, become of sterile quality, then the resulting divine powers so caused are an indication of the yogin’s success.

When the contrary ideas, escaped by meditation on their opposite, become of sterile quality: they have a quality, and that quality is sterility. When they have been cut off at the root and do not appear in the mind of the yogin, then the resulting divine powers so caused by rigid adherence to the restraints and observances are an indication of the yogin’s success. The respective results of harmlessness and the others are evidence of success; success in yoga is determined by result alone. Furthermore as an incentive to the yogic practices, the divine power consequent on each is set out. Here is explained the particular sign of firmness in each one of the restraints and observances, a sign observable by direct perception, unlike the results of prescribed holy actions such as sacrifices. The sign of yogic success is given for each practice individually.

 

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