Yoga Sutra 4.33 the succession is conjoined to each instant

Sūtra IV.33

The succession is conjoined to each instant, (but) recognizable at the very end

The succession is conjoined to each instant, (but) recognizable at the very end. ‘Conjoined to each instant’ (pratiyogin) means that it is joined to each successive instant.

The succession is essentially the immediate following-on of the instants, recognized by the very end, the limit. Because no ageing of a cloth, which has not gone through a succession, comes about at the very end.

The succession is essentially the immediate following-on of the instants, the immediate following-on of the instants is its essence, its very being, as has been explained (III.52). What then is the indication by which it is known? By the very end of the change, its limit, in the shape of the condition when it perishes, by that mark this, the succession, is recognized.

(Opponent) How is it recognized by the very end?

(Answer) Because no ageing of a cloth, which has not gone through a succession, which has not followed a succession, instant after instant, comes about (suddenly) at the end, the time of perishing. For no ageing of the cloth is seen in the bare existence of the thing. So it is inferred from the indication of the appearance of age; this succession is that by which this ageing has been brought about in the manifestation of the cloth.

(Opponent) If, then, there may be a succession that attains its limit, or that does not attain its limit, it is reasonable to speak of the guṇa-s having fulfilled their purpose and the succession of their changes coming to an end (IV.32). It follows that attainment or non-attainment of the limit should be allocated to permanence or non-permanence of succession (respectively). Of these two, succession is seen in the case of impermanent things like a cloth, but not in the case of permanent things. So there is a doubt whether the coming to an end of the succession of changes can apply in the case of the guṇa-s.

Succession is found in permanent things also. Permanence is of two kinds: the permanence-in-change (of guṇa-s) and immutable permanence (of Puruṣa-s). Permanence-in-change is when the essence of a thing is not destroyed in its changing. In both the cases, the nature is not destroyed and so there is permanence.

(Answer) Succession is found in permanent things also.

(Opponent) What, everywhere?

(Answer) No. Permanence is of two kinds: the permanence-in-change of the guṇa-s, and immutable permanence, of Puruṣa-s.

(Opponent) Tell us how there can be permanence in the guṇa-s which are ever changing.

(Answer) When the essence of a thing is not destroyed in its changing. That whose nature is known by right knowledge (pramāṇa), is the essence of a thing. That in a thing which is not destroyed or made to vary, that is also permanence. So it is with the guṇa-s: their respective essences of happiness, pain and delusion, their respective characteristics of illumination, activity and stasis, are their nature which is not destroyed. So these too are permanent though changing.

In both cases guṇa-s and Puruṣa-s the nature is not destroyed, and so there is permanence. Therefore, as change is observed among the permanent guṇa-s too, they both have, and have not, an end.

Of the two, there is succession in guṇa-dharma-s such as the Great principle, which is perceivable at the end of the changes, so that it has a termination. But among the eternal guṇa-s, which are dharmin-s, it does not have a termination. Among the immutable eternals, freed Puruṣa-s established in their true nature alone, their existence as themselves is imagined to be experienced only in terms of a succession. As it is imagined on the basis of mere words, by assuming existence to be a process, it does not in fact have any termination.

Of the two, there is succession in guṇa-dharma-s such as the Great principle, which is perceivable at the end of the changes, so that it has a termination, as with the body and so on. But among the eternal guṇa-s, which are dharmin-s, it does not have a termination, because they are eternal. Among the immutable eternals, freed Puruṣa-s established in their true nature alone, their existence as themselves is imagined to be experienced only in terms of a succession, which though it does not in fact exist in the freed Puruṣa-s, is imagined, as an approximation to the experience of freed Puruṣa-s. As it is imagined on the basis of mere words, by assuming existence to be a process, it does not in fact have any termination. From the point of view of the highest truth, the meaning is that there is no succession in Puruṣa-s, inasmuch as they do not change.

(Opponent) Now as regards this world, which functions in the guṇa-s whether as stasis or as activity, is there a termination of the succession or is there not?

(Answer) This cannot be answered definitely. How is there any question that can be answered in absolute terms? For instance, Everyone born will die: will everyone who has died be re-born? can be answered by making a distinction. What distinction? The skilful one in whom Knowledge has arisen and whose craving has faded away will not be re-born; the others will be re-born.

Then, Is human birth a superior one, or is it not superior? (The answer is:) In comparison with animals, it is superior, but in relation to Gods and sages, it is not.

So this question (about the world) is not really answerable as a generalization without making a distinction – (for instance in the form) Is this world purely finite, or is it purely infinite? (The answer is:) For the skilful (yogin) the world has a termination, but not for others. The question (as put) was illegitimately limiting itself to one alternative: the question was not properly formulated.

(Opponent) Now as regards this world, which functions in the guṇa-s whether as stasis in the form of pradhāna or as activity in the form of assuming change, is there a termination of the succession or is there not?

(Answer) This cannot be answered definitely. It cannot be asserted decisively that there is, nor that there is not. But by making a distinction, that in some cases there is and in some cases there is not, it can be answered.

How is there any question that can be answered in absolute terms without making a distinction? For instance, the answer Everyone born will die applies only to the Ignorant (a-jñānin).

(Opponent) But even the man of Knowledge must die.

(Answer) Not so, for the imagination of death is for the Ignorant alone, not for the Knower. So it is said: ‘It is through illusion (mithyā) alone that the foolish say one dies.’

Will everyone who has died be re-born? can be answered by making a distinction, for there is no absolute answer.

(Opponent) What distinction?

(Answer) The skilful one in whom Knowledge has arisen and whose craving has faded away will not be re-born; the others who are Ignorant will be re-born.

Then, Is human birth a wholly superior one, or is it not wholly superior? is a question not answerable categorically. Only by making a distinction can it be answered. How so? In comparison with animals, it is superior, but in relation to gods and sages, it is not superior.

So this question (about the world) is not really answerable as a generalization, without making a distinction – for instance in the form Is this world purely finite, or is it purely infinite? is not answerable categorically because no account has been taken of bondage and release, but it is answerable by making a distinction: For the skilful (yogin) the world has a termination, but not for others. So the question was illegitimately limiting itself to one alternative: when it asked whether the world is purely finite, or purely infinite, the word ‘or’ was limiting it illegitimately to a single alternative. So the question was not properly formulated because it was in general terms without distinctions, like the other questions whether all that die will be re-born, and whether human birth is a purely superior one or not. It was thus proper to make the distinction when it was said: With that, the guṇa-s have fulfilled their purpose and the succession of their changes comes to an end (IV.32).

The termination of the involvement of the guṇa-s is what is called Transcendental Aloneness. Now its nature is to be determined.

The termination of the involvement of the guṇa-s is what is called Transcendental Aloneness. Now its nature is to be determined. There are conflicting views about it. For some, it is absolute cessation of the chain of vijñāna-consciousness. But for others, it is a state of Puruṣa which is unconscious and simply subsists, having cut off its nine attributes of buddhi, desire, aversion, effort, pleasure, pain, righteousness and unrighteousness, with their saṃskāra-impressions. For others it is union (sa-yujya) with the Lord, and for others it is attainment of omniscience and other attributes equal to those of the Lord. Thus opinions are conflicting on what is meant by Transcendental Aloneness (kaivalya). Here then, to dispel the divergence of opinion, the true nature of Aloneness is determined:

 

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