Yoga Sutra 3.44 samyama on their physical form

Sūtra III.44

From saṃyama on their physical form, essential nature, subtle form, inherence, and purposefulness: conquest of the elements

Here, the earths, having as particulars sound, etc., together with attributes like shape, etc., are defined as physical (sthūla).

Each one of the elements (bhūta) is five-fold: physical, essential, subtle, inherent, and with-a-purpose. Here, the earths have as particulars sound, etc.: sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. They are earth because of the operation of the subtle elements (tan-mātra) of the five kinds.

together with attributes like shape etc. In regard to the earths, these (attributes) are the shape, etc., which means shape, rough texture, impermeability, saltiness, rigidity, exclusiveness, endurance, dark colour.

Then, liquidity, clearness, subtlety, softness, weight, conservation, purification, adsorption, etc., are attributes of the watery.

Then the fiery are: rising, consuming, purifying, burning, cooking, lightness, brilliance, etc.

Then the gaseous are: transverse motion, purification, impulsion, strength, dispersion, etc.

The spatial are: omnipresence, non-displacement, permeability.

With these attributes such as shape, etc., particulars are defined in the classic for mundane purposes as physical (sthūla). So also the four-fold particulars of liquids such as taste, along with the attributes of subtlety, etc.; and the threefold particulars of fire such as colour, with the attributes of rising up and consuming, are also defined as physical.

Then the gaseous particulars of sound and touch, with (attributes such as) transverse motion, are physical.

And the particulars of space, with attributes like omnipresence, are physical.

This is called the first the physical aspect of the elements.

The second aspect is the universal, having a defined outline in the case of earth, liquidity for water; for fire, burning; for air (wind), impetus; omnipresence for space. This is technically called the Essential nature. Of the universal, sound and the rest are particulars. So it is said: ‘Of these things, which are wholly comprised of one class, it is only the attribute that makes any distinction.’

Material substance is an aggregate of universal and particular. For aggregation can be of two kinds: (either) where the distinction between the parts is abandoned, as for instance a human body, a tree, a herd, or a wood; (or) aggregation where the parts that make it up are still distinguished by name, as for instance (the collective) Both-gods-and-men, in which gods are one part and men are one part. Only with both can it be termed an aggregation.

The second aspect, the essential nature, is now spoken of. It is the universal which, itself undivided, runs through the different earths, having a definite outline in the case of earth. Similarly the universal running through the watery tastes, etc. is liquidity for water; so too for fire, the universal running through fiery colour, etc. is burning; for air, the universal running through the touch and transverse motion, etc. is impetus; then the universal running through sound, etc. is omnipresence for space. This is the second aspect called technically the Essential nature.

Of that universal aspect, sound and the rest are particulars. And so it is said: of these things, which are wholly comprised of one class since sattva and the other two guṇa-s are running through them, it is only the attribute (dharma) that makes a distinction.

Material substance (dravya) is an aggregate of universal and particular. How so? For aggregation can be of two kinds established in two ways: (either) where the distinction between the parts is abandoned, in the sense that there is no idea of distinguishing them, as for instance a human body, a tree, a herd, or a wood, (or) aggregation where the different parts that make it up that comprise it are still distinguished by name both of them being specified, as for instance (the collective) Both-gods-and-men, in which gods are one part and men are one part. Only with both, with both the elements that make it up retaining their own distinctness can it be termed an aggregation.

What is meant here is both difference and non-difference, as when one can say of a grove of mango trees, or a society of Brahmins, simply ‘mango-grove’ or ‘Brahmin-society’.

This again is of two kinds: where the parts sustain their structure even when separated, and where the parts do not do so. An example of where the parts sustain their structure is an aggregate like a wood or a society; examples of where they do not sustain their structure are an organic whole, a body, a tree, or an ultimate atom. Patañjali (the Grammarian) says that a material substance is an aggregate made up of different parts which do not sustain their structure when separated.

This is called the Essential aspect (svarūpa).

What is meant here is both difference and non-difference of the two things, as in the expression ‘a grove of mango trees’. A meaning of difference is conveyed by ‘of mango trees’, and a meaning of non-difference by ‘a grove’. The nominative and genitive in the phrase ‘a grove of mango trees’ refer to those two, non-difference and difference.

This aggregate again is of two kinds: where the parts sustain their structure even when separated, and where the parts do not do so. An example of where the parts sustain their structure remain self-sufficient, is an aggregate like a wood or a society; examples of where they do not sustain their structure do not remain self-sufficient in isolation, are an organic whole, a body, a tree, or an ultimate atom. For the ultimate atoms too have a structure inasmuch as they are the effects of the three guṇa-s and have defined form just as much as a jar. Patañjali (the Grammarian) says that a material substance (dravya) is an aggregate made up of different parts which do not sustain their own structure when separated.

This is called the Essential aspect (svarūpa), consisting of universal and particular.

Now what is their subtle aspect? It is the subtle element called tan-mātra, cause of the physical elements. The ultimate atom is a single part of it. This comprises universal and particular and is an aggregate made up of different parts which do not sustain their own structure when separated. All the subtle elements are similar in this respect.

Now what is their subtle aspect? It is the subtle element called tan-mātra, cause of the physical elements. As it comes from the co-operation of a number of the ultimate atoms, The ultimate atom is a single part of it of the subtle element (tan-mātra). This too (the ultimate atom) comprises universal and particular and is an aggregate made up of different parts which do not sustain their own structure when separated. All the subtle elements are similar in this respect. So the subtle elements, free of particularity, and their component parts the ultimate atoms, are the third aspect of the elements, called the subtle aspect, and it is to be the object of saṃyama.

Because space arises from the operation of a subtle element, it has parts, and so is not eternal. Nor can space be perceived apart from sound, for there is no separation of dharma and dharmin.

(Opponent) With something like hair, the blackness goes and whiteness comes in its place. So things like blackness are attributes, going and coming in due order. But what does not go with the blackness and does not come with the whiteness is the material substance. Things such as space also have a real existence apart from attributes, because space, for instance, is separate from notions of sound.

(Answer) Not so, for the example does not show it. It is indeed the hairs, black and white themselves, which change according to the qualities such as blackness and whiteness. It has been said already that everything is of the nature of everything else (comm. to III.14). Attributes like whiteness are never found going and coming on an immovable support. The self-nature of a substance is not a question of taking off blackness and so on from it. It is said that substance is what is perceived by both sight and touch, and as colour and touch are of an organic whole, it is perceived by both sight and touch.

(Opponent) But colour is not perceived by touch, nor is touch perceived by sight; a material substance is what is perceived by both in the sense that ‘what I am seeing, that it is that I am touching’. But what is perceived by the eye alone, and what is perceived by touch alone, is an attribute.

(Answer) Not so, for when there is a heap of things of different classes, like sesamum seeds and beans and barley, they cannot be made out separately: the heap is perceived by both sight and touch. The sight-touch perceiver grasps attributes only, because the two are external senses, like hearing; no ‘class’ apart from attributes is perceived. For it cannot be separated out to be perceived.

Even in something like a jar, the colour and touch that are perceived by one, in a mutual superimposition of the sight-touch pair, are only a limited (apprehension); for this colour-form may be also evil-smelling or sweet-smelling, for example.

So it is that in the absence of sound there can be no space, a product of tan-mātra-s. It has therefore a structure, and is not eternal.

Now the fourth aspect of the elements: the guṇa-s, ever tending towards knowledge, activity and stasis respectively, which tendencies are carried over into their effects, are what is meant by guṇa-inherence (in the elements).

Now the fourth aspect of the elements: the guṇa-s ever tending towards knowledge, activity and stasis respectively, which tendencies are carried over into their effects, following on as the dharma-s of their effects, are what is meant by guṇa-inherence (in the elements). For they imitate them. This is the fourth aspect of the elements, called the guṇa inherence, which is to be made the subject of saṃyama.

Then their fifth aspect is Purposefulness: purpose of experience and purpose of release, both inherent in the guṇa-s. The guṇa-s being in the tan-mātra-s, in the elements, and in the transformations of the elemenets, everything is purposive.

Then their fifth aspect is Purposefulness. It is explained as purpose of experience and purpose of release, and the two are both inherent in the guṇa-s. The purposefulness which runs through the guṇa-s as the purpose of experience and the purpose of release is the fifth aspect of the elements, the object of saṃyama described as Purposefulness.

The guṇa-s are inherent in the tan-mātra-s, in the elements, in the transformations of the elements; thus tan-mātra as the subtle aspect pervades elements and their transformations. Since the Essential aspect of the elements pervades the elemental transformations, everything is purposive.

The guṇa-s themselves have the purpose of experience and release, and they pervade everything else, so that by their purposiveness, all transformations of the elements also have purpose.

From saṃyama on the five elements in their five-fold aspects, there manifest: vision, and mastery over them. Having mastered these natural aspects of the elements, he becomes master of the elements. After that, the elemental powers follow his purposive will as a cow follows its beloved calf.

From saṃyama on the five elements in their five-fold aspects, the aspects already described, beginning with the physical, making saṃyama in the order given, first on the physical aspect, and when that has been mastered in the form of direct cognition (sākṣātkaraṇa), the yogin should immediately make saṃyama on the essential aspect. And so on to the subtle, then the inherence, and then on to the purposefulness, in due order. (From that saṃyama) there manifest: vision of them as they truly are, and mastery over them. Having mastered these natural aspects of the elements, the yogin becomes master of the elements. After that, the elemental powers follow his purposive will as a cow, the elemental powers being compared to a cow, follows its beloved calf.

 

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