Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice

Using Shankara on the Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice

You have to know enough theory for a working basis; there is no need immediately to read the subtleties of the intellectual background.

(1) Read the Introduction for the General Reader

Introduction for the General Reader

The text translated here is an historical find: an unknown commentary on the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali by Śaṅkara, the most eminent philosopher of ancient India. Present indications are that it is likely to be authentic, which would date it about AD 700.

The many references to Yoga meditation in his accepted works have sometimes been regarded as concessions to accepted ideas of the time, and not really his own views. If he has chosen to write a commentary on Yoga meditation, it must have been a central part of his own standpoint, although he was opposed to some of the philosophical doctrines of the official Yoga school. One would expect a tendency to modify those unacceptable doctrines, if this text is really by Śaṅkara. This turns out to be the case.

For those familiar with yoga meditation, who want to go straight into the text, here is the method of presentation:

(1) The basic text, the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali (about AD 300), is displayed in large type thus:

Sūtra 1.01 Now the exposition of yoga

(2) Below each sūtra is a (mostly brief) commentary by Vyāsa (about AD 600). This is printed in italics, and set in from the left-hand margin. Sometimes this commentary is printed in separate paragraphs.

The word Now means that this is the beginning, and the topic now begun is understood to be an exposition of yoga

(3) Below each section of the Vyāsa commentary, and sometimes below the sūtra itself, is the newly discovered Śaṅkara sub-commentary (technically called a vivaraṇa), printed in roman type and not set in from the margin, thus:

No one will follow through the practices and restrictions of yoga unless the goal and the related means to it have been clearly set out, and the commentator first explains what they were in the mind of the sūtra author, so that people may be led to practice.

***

The structure of the Sanskrit text, which has to be followed in the translation, is that the words or phrases of the original sūtra, then of Vyāsa’s bhāṣya commentary, have first to be quoted and glossed, in order. In this translation, the sūtra or bhāṣya words being glossed in the main Śaṅkara vivaraṇa are given in italics.

Example:

Sūtra 2.48 From that, he becomes immune to the opposites

(Vyāsa) When a posture has been mastered, he is not overwhelmed by opposites like heat and cold.

(Śaṅkara) From that, he becomes immune to the opposites. From that, from becoming firm in a posture. He gives an example of what he means: not overwhelmed by opposites like heat and cold.

The text is in four Parts: I Samādhi (sustained trance-concentration); II Means; III Glory (supernormal powers, limited and limiting); and IV Transcendental Aloneness

Yoga

Yoga practice as a technique of meditation, under strict rules of morals, austerity and control of instinctive impulses, and generally with a religious background, is ancient in India. The aim is release from all limitations, including death. This is to be realized not by a physical or mental immortality, but by disentangling the true self- in this text called Puruṣa – from illusory identification with limitations. Then Puruṣa stands in its own nature, pure consciousness without the movement in consciousness called thought: this is release. In the philosophy of the Yoga school as it developed, it came to be called kaivalya or Transcendental Aloneness.

Such an ideal of release from the mind-cage is not appealing to the generality of mankind, who associate freedom with something like jubilation and triumphant states of mind. But the deepest tradition of what is now India always had a keen sense of the constriction of the body-mind complex. The yoga aspirant regards the man of the world, and also those aiming at supernormal enjoyments in some heaven, as prisoners simply wanting more prestige and space within the prison, or perhaps a better prison, but who have not realized that they are imprisoned. They are like the small children in a prison camp, who do not feel confined. Provided the food and affection hold up, and they are not frightened, their wishes do not go beyond immediate circumstances. They would not want to leave the place: it is home. But when they grow up, they feel the need to get out.

Still, the notion of a sort of mindless emptiness, which is the nearest most people can get to imagining consciousness absolute, is not attractive. Many yogic aspirants are thinking at the beginning of some of the supernormal powers and knowledge described in repetitive detail in the third part of these Yoga sūtra-s (with the warning that they are sources of inevitable pain). The powers are presented in the text not to invite people to practise them, but because some of them may occur spontaneously in anyone practising meditation on the true Self. Unless a practitioner has had some warning that one of these may come to him, and that they are all limited and limiting, and further that the disastrous excitement they cause may throw him back into the whirl of futile desires for a long time, he can be held up for years, or even a lifetime.

It is noteworthy that in this text, in his commentary on the five sūtra-s on God (I.23–28), Śaṅkara swings the whole trend of the practice towards oneness with God. He quotes the Gītā verse XI.55:

He who does works for Me, seeing Me as the supreme, devoted to Me, Free from attachment, without hatred for any, he comes to Me, O Pāṇḍava

In the Gītā this is identification with the creator-Lord, also described at great length in the commentary to the five Yoga sūtras here. It is quite different from the Transcendental Aloneness of the official Yoga school (to which, however, elsewhere he gives formal allegiance as a commentator on a Yoga text).

Yoga texts

A tradition developed in India that any system of religious or mystical practice must have as a background some satisfactory theory of the true nature of the universe and of the soul, and of its own modus operandi. In the case of yoga, this demand was met by the rise of a Yoga school; it is usually regarded (as in the present text, for instance) as sharing most of its philosophical ideas with the Sāṅkhya school, except that Yoga proposed the existence of a god where Sāṅkhya put the question aside as not susceptible of proof. Both Sāṅkhya and the Yoga system are dualistic: Puruṣa or transcendental self, pradhāna or unmanifest nature which periodically manifests as mind and matter, are equally real and eternal.

The earliest substantial text now surviving on the Yoga school – there are fragments of others – is the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali, tentatively dated about AD 300. A book of sūtra-s was little more than a collection of headings, similar to those circulated by any teacher to pupils, to be filled out by oral instructions, without which many of them can hardly be understood. The oral traditions later came to be recorded in brief written commentaries; these in turn became fuller – sub-commentaries on the commentaries – and finally systematic presentations of the whole system, but still under the sūtra headings. This format occasionally necessitated long digressions from the ostensible subject-heading.

An important part of the presentation was refutation of objections, and there are long sections of debate against an opponent, who as fast as one position is refuted shifts his standpoint to another. Some of the objections are based on the views of philosophical schools which were elaborately worked out and could be strongly supported; where the opponent is simply raising one point, it may look rather feeble in isolation from the rest of the system.

The first commentary on Patañjali is that by Vyāsa. He is thought to have lived some time between AD 540 and 650. The next established commentary, on both the sūtra-s and on Vyāsa, is a long work by the famous Vācaspati, dated about AD 850. He was by conviction a follower of the Vedānta school, which teaches an omniscient god who projects, supports and withdraws the universe by his divine power called māyā, and who is also the real self of everything in it. Māyā has an element of illusion, and the universe, though it appears, is not as real as god. Ultimately there is no duality: only god exists.

In his commentary, however, Vācaspati adopted what had developed as the doctrine of the classical Yoga school: the universe is real, arising from unmanifest subtle matter (pradhāna) which has no intelligence of its own, and is not created by any intelligent god. There is a god, but he is mainly teacher and helper, and only one self (Puruṣa) out of many.

There were thus three works which laid the foundations of the Yoga philosophical school: Patañjali’s Yoga sūtra-s about AD 300; Vyāsa’s commentary, about AD 600; and the sub-commentary by Vācaspati, about AD 850. The Yoga sūtra-s have been translated many times, an early version being by Ballantyne in 1880; Vyāsa also has been translated many times. A masterly translation of Vācaspati was published by Professor J. H. Woods of Harvard in 1914.

The Śaṅkara sub-commentary (Vivaraṇa)

There has now appeared, unexpectedly, a sub-commentary which claims to be by Śaṅkara, the great commentator on the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad Gītā, and the de facto founder of the non-dual Vedānta school. He lived about AD 700, and if this is genuinely by him it will precede Vācaspati’s work by some 150 years, and thus be of great importance. It will be an unknown work, on the theory and practice of yoga, by India’s greatest religious and philosophical genius.

The original Sanskrit text was published in 1952 as No. 94 in the Madras Government Oriental Series. It was based on a single surviving manuscript, which had to be re-arranged and considerably edited. This was done with great learning and patience by two pandits: P. S. Rama Sastri and S. R. Krishnamurti Sastri. Their judgement was, that this is a genuine lost work of Śaṅkara. It is certain that it existed in the fourteenth century, for it is quoted in a work of that date. Many of those who have worked on it are inclined to think it may well go back to Śaṅkara, about AD 700, and after working on it for a good time, I think it very probable. So far I have found nothing in it which would rule out the possibility, and quite a lot to support it. For the present purpose I shall assume it is by him.

The Yoga sūtra-s are in four Parts: I – Samādhi (trance in which the mental processes are inhibited partially or wholly); II – Means; III – Glory; IV – Kaivalya (Transcendental Aloneness). It is in the first Part, Samādhi, that he puts forward most of the original views, sometimes at great length, where he brings the thought into line with the Vedānta philosophy of which he was the leading representative. While ostensibly commenting on Vyāsa, he gives interpretations which are opposed to those of the Yoga school, at least as it developed. The most important passages come in the little group of sūtra-s on God, which total only five out of the fifty-one sūtra-s in this first Part. His remarks on these five sūtra-s take up nearly one-quarter of his commentary on the whole Part. Meditation on God, by the use of the syllable ‘OM’ in particular, has become the main practice of the yoga, whereas in Patañjali and in Vyāsa it is merely an alternative.

A Western reader may be surprised to find so much philosophical discussion in a text which claims to be a practical manual. But the view in India was that, as Śaṅkara explains at the beginning, people will not continue practice which demands their whole life unless they are intellectually satisfied about the goal and the means to it. This view is based on wide experience of human nature.

As a Western example, Dr Esdaile in Calcutta (1840) carried out hundreds of operations, including amputations, under hypnosis without pain to the patients, and modern surgeons who read the reports find them impressive; but he could give no account of how it worked, and his medical colleagues gave him no support. Lord Dalhousie, the Governor of Bengal, however, who knew prejudice when he saw it, backed Esdaile and put him in charge of a hospital in Calcutta. But when Dr Esdaile returned to Britain, he was far less successful with the patients in his native Aberdeen. They must have longed to be freed from pain, but because of their intellectual doubts could not give the full co-operation required. The Indian patients, on the other hand, could do so because there was justification in their own culture for the idea that mind could be separated from the operation of the senses. Soon after (1846), ether and chloroform were discovered, and the whole subject was dropped with relief. There is still no satisfactory account of hypnosis in Western intellectual terms, and this is undoubtedly a barrier to its further development; there is a justifiable unease about employing something not properly understood.

Śaṅkara stresses that intellectual conviction is supremely important in the early stages of yoga especially. Before there has been any direct experience, however small, it is all second-hand, as it were. After the first direct experience (as he explains in the commentary on sūtra I.35), there is an invigoration of the whole personality, and doubts no longer trouble the practitioner.

In the present text, for a long time Śaṅkara makes his explanations on the basis of inference and analogy; not tillsūtra I.25 does he quote sacred authority for his statements about spiritual truths. Once he has begun to do so, however, he cites the Upaniṣads far more than Vyāsa or Vācaspati. This is a possible indication of the genuineness of the work, as Śaṅkara in his other works stresses the absolute necessity of the Upaniṣadic teaching for realization of truth.

A special feature of the sub-commentary is that it presents the regularities of the universe as consciously planned and directed. The arguments are developed at great length, and the author evidently thought them extremely important for yoga practice. The events of the world are indeed predictable, but in the sense that the notes are predictable in a performance by an expert musician, and not in a merely mechanical sense. God controls everything from within.

There are references to something like the ‘anthropic principle’ proposed recently, which shows that the evolution of any form of life in the universe depends rather delicately on apparent ‘coincidences’ among the physical constants.

It is interesting that Śaṅkara had an idea of gravity as a pull. Here it is proposed (1.25) that movements of heavenly bodies are controlled by something like magnetism, and elsewhere in his writings (Praśna Upaniṣad III.8; Taittirīya Upaniṣad II.2.1) he says that things are pulled down to earth. But there too it is stressed that this is a conscious action by the divinity of the earth, who controls it exactly. ‘The deity of the earth by his grace keeps under control, by pulling down, the apāna (down-going) vital current of man; otherwise the body would fall because of its weight or would fly up into the sky if left free.’

There are certain principles which Śaṅkara holds as almost self-evident. One is, that anything that can be imagined or spoken of must be a knowable, and this means that it must be actually known either in the past or present or future. It would be meaningless to try to speak of something which is never known at any time.

The doctrine is extended, so that everything, in the past and future as well as the present, already is. Differences of time are merely of phase; essentially everything exists all the time. A similar view has been proposed by some modern cosmologists.

Śaṅkara assumes knowledge to be something like space: essentially unlimited. Their contents can be limited, and they seem to be limited by barriers. But in fact it is not so. God knows everything all the time.

Main points of the text

Part I. Samādhi

Following a rather disconcerting Indian tradition, the presentation begins with the expert. This Part is for one who already knows how to practise samādhi, sustained concentration in what could be called trance. To do this, he must be one who has greatly reduced the turmoil of illusory desires and fears. The orthodox account runs something like this: Puruṣa, pure consciousness-awareness, gives attention to prakṛti, describable as infinite unmanifest potentiality. As a result of his attention, it goes into world manifestation, as three conflicting elements – sattva (light), rajas (passion-struggle leading inevitably to pain), and tamas (darkness and inertia). Puruṣa is apparently caught up in prakṛti when he identifies himself with an element in it, in the erroneous belief that there is purity, happiness, and permanence to be had in experience of prakṛti. This illusion is called technically Ignorance (a-vidyā).

There is an omniscient god in the cosmos, but he is simply a special kind of Puruṣa, who is never deluded. He is not a creator or governor of the course of things, but confines himself to teaching, and removal of obstacles to release.

In the classical Yoga school, the illusion consists of being fascinated by prakṛti’s displays, which are put on in accordance with the merits and demerits of the souls who experience them. Prakṛti is real enough, but Puruṣa enters it, so to speak, as a soul, under an illusion as to its quality. There is one illusion, and it is removed by reducing the mental processes, first to one, by meditation and detachment, and finally giving them up altogether. A reader might suppose that this would simply lead to sleep. But sleep too is a mental process, and it has to be inhibited like all the others. Then Puruṣa remains in His own transcendental nature. There are many Puruṣa-s.

The swing towards Vedānta

A feature of this text is that there is a consistent pull towards the Vedānta. For instance, the author will say that as all the Puruṣa-s are consciousness pure and alone, it is hard to see how they could be distinguished. If indistinguishable, they will be the same. This is against the official view of the Yoga school in the Yoga-sūtra-s.

Again, God is presented in this text, at great length, as the creator of the universe by his divine mind. In Vedānta too, God is the all-creating and ruling overlord of the universe, which he projects as a sort of magic show, also entering into it as the Inner Ruler of each thing in it. Release can be effected by worshipping him and repetition of his expressing word OM, leading to experience of the real Self as one with God who transcends the universe and all descriptions.

This text continually hints that the universe is unreal, not real as the orthodox view of Yoga would have it. Still, when his duty as a commentator requires it, Śaṅkara presents the formal Yoga view.

In the Vedānta view, there are two illusions, not just one. Puruṣa, the real Self, is fascinated by prakṛti’s displays, under the illusion that happiness and other emotions are there where there is only suffering, and that a real self is there where there is only egoity: but more than that, the whole world-display is also an illusion, put on by the Lord who is within everything in it as the antaryāmin (inner ruler). So that at the very core of prakṛti there is the bliss of Brahman (God); only if the magic show is taken as absolutely real is there suffering. This final Upaniṣadic view is not expressed openly in the Vivaraṇa, but there are various indications of it, such as the references to the world-process as the complex plot of a drama. This is not the same as the Sāṅkhya-Yoga illustration of prakṛti as a dancing-girl.

In Śaṅkara’s Vedānta, the Yoga system is accepted as an authority on meditation practice and some other things like ethics and renunciation. But Vedānta aims to go further, for instance to become aware of the intelligence behind the workings of prakṛti, which is discovered to be divine as set out here in the 17–page long commentary to sūtra I.25.

The total inhibition of mental processes is also described in the Upaniṣads and in the Gītā (for example, VI.25: ‘let him not think of anything’ – this is the highest yoga, comments Śaṅkara). Often the technical terms used are those of Patañjali’s sūtra-s. But the object of meditation must be one recommended in the scriptures on Self-realization, just as here the Vivaraṇa restricts sūtra I.39, ‘Let him meditate on what appeals to him’, to prescribed objects and not to pleasures.

The techniques of samādhi are described. First is one-pointedness, concentration on some one of the prescribed objects – such as the sun, for instance. As the meditation is deeper and more sustained, associations are dropped off: name, concept, time, space, and finally all memories. Mind becomes so clear, pure, and still that the essence of the object of meditation blazes out as it is. When this is practised repeatedly on the same object, the knowledge becomes what is technically called Truth-bearing. In some cases it would correspond to what is called inspiration. The basis of the process is that mind is inherently omniscient, and the yogic practice simply removes its self-imposed limitations, and focuses the omniscience.

In such yogic practitioners, the mental processes are thinned and then reduced to one. The same process is applied to the roots of the mind, the seed-bed of dynamic seeds called saṃskāra, impressions left by actions and thoughts of a beginningless series of previous lives. When surface mental processes are in abeyance, the state consists of saṃskāra-s alone, and in an ordinary unpurified mind it manifests as dream or sleep. But the yogin’s seed-bed of saṃskāra-s, purified by impressions of yogic practice which overcome the other latent impressions (because yoga based on truth will always in the end overcome illusion), supports samādhi for longer and longer periods.

Finally, as detachment from the illusions of worldly ideas becomes complete, all mental processes are inhibited without exception. By extended practice of this, there is no more mental confusion which has obscured the distinction between Puruṣa and prakṛti, and Puruṣa stands out alone as pure awareness. This is a foretaste of release, and soon becomes permanent.

In the first Part, which is about one-third of the whole, Śaṅkara is establishing certain key positions, and refuting key objections, some of them highly technical. The general reader might at his first reading begin from near the end of sūtra I.1, where the Vyāsa commentary says: But the samādhi in the one-pointed mind makes clear the object as it is … Break at page 70, after reading sūtra 1.6 and sūtra 1.7, and come in again at sūtra 1.8: Illusion is false knowledge based on an untrue form.

Part II. Means

This is yoga presented for the man of the world, who must first clear, and then steady, his mind against the fury of illusory passions, and free his life from entanglements.

In sūtra 1, the means are first given collectively as the Yoga of Action (kriyā yoga). It consists of three elements: (1) Tapas: practising keeping the mind serene under the pressure of heat and cold, and other such opposites; (2) Self-study, which is study of the Upaniṣads, and also repetition of the sacred syllable OM; (3) Devotion to God.

These three means can by themselves remove the taints and bring about samādhi. It is noteworthy that when Śaṅkara defines the Yoga of Action (karma yoga) in his commentary to Gītā II.39, it is in the same three terms, and even similar wording.

In fact this is an expansion of the method given in the first Part, in sūtra 23, ‘Or by devotion to the Lord’. It was there described as meditation on the classical indications of God such as the creation and maintenance of the world as explained in the Upaniṣad-s, and also repetition of OM as the expression of God. In this second Part of the yoga sūtra-s, devotion is analysed further. The study and meditation on the Upaniṣad-s, and repetition of OM, are a separate heading, namely Self-study. Devotion to God, which had included them, is now confined to consigning actions to the Lord, or else surrendering the fruits of actions to the Lord. (These are two stages explained in Śaṅkara’s commentary to Gītā XII.10 and 11.)

The triple Yoga of Action will appear again at the end of the second Part, as the last three elements of the observances (sūtra-s II.32 and II.43–II.45). In that place, however, it is said again (sūtra 45) that from devotion alone comes perfection in samādhi. Nevertheless other methods, including the restraints such as harmlessness (ahiṃsā) are given, along with means such as posture. They are all, however, meaningful only as methods of thinning out the taints and helping to steady the mind. Any encouragements to practise such things as posture by promising long-lasting youth are against the spirit of the Yoga sūtra.

Nearly all the elements here are discussed by Śaṅkara in his Bhagavad Gītā commentary, and the arrangement of the restraints and observances of sūtra-s II.30 and II.32 is close to that in a group of verses in the Gītā, which is much older than Patañjali’s sūtra-s:

Yoga sūtra II.30 Gītā XVII. 14, 15
harmlessness (ahiṃsā) Tapas of body: harmlessness
not stealing straightforwardness
brahmacarya (celibacy) brahmacarya
not holding property not holding property (VI. 10).
truth Tapas of speech: truth
sūtra II.32
purity Tapas of body: purity
contentment contentment (II.55)
tapas tapas
self-study Tapas of speech: self-study
devotion to God devotion to God (passim)

The Gītā is a textbook of yoga from the practical standpoint, and many of its verses are poetic paraphrases of Upaniṣadic declarations. It does not justify its statements with systematic reasoning, as does the Yoga sūtra. The two texts are complementary to some extent. There is nothing in the Gītā like the elaborate account of the operations of the guṇa-s which is given in the Vivaraṇa here, but the Gītā gives vivid examples of the guṇa-s operating in thought and action of particular kinds. Often these examples show deep insight; for instance, that there is a firmness with which some people cling to fear and depression and grief (XVIII.35).

Śaṅkara here explains the Self-study of sūtra II.1 as study of sacred texts on release, beginning with the Upaniṣad-s. Now the Gītā, though generally taken as a single word ‘song’, has for its fuller title ‘the Upaniṣad sung (gītā) by the Lord’, and Śaṅkara in his commentary on it says that it contains the essence of the Upaniṣad-s. Here in the Vivaraṇa the Gītā is quoted a number of times, and it is called more than once āgama or sacred scripture. Śaṅkara’s Gītā commentary is a help in understanding the Yoga sūtra sub-commentary translated here. In the latter, for example, Śaṅkara modifies the analysis of experience into only lesser or greater pain by a sudden reference to Gītā XVIII.37, which speaks of happiness from inner purity produced by knowledge, non-attachment, meditation and samādhi (sūtra II.15). Again, on sūtra II.13 he refers to the distinction between Yoga and Sāṅkhya, a distinction discussed by him at great length in his Gītā commentary but not elsewhere.

The detailed exposition of the Taints elaborates the background, without which (as was said at the very beginning of the Vivaraṇa) people cannot be expected to sustain their practice. The fine distinctions such as dormant, checked, and scorched are not felt strange today. The comments on sūtra II.5 contain the first grammatical excursus, purely technical and to be passed over.

Then comes Sūtra II.13’s long discussion of karma, on which there is a final apt comment: ‘this course of karma is complicated and hard to know.’ It is noteworthy that on sūtra II.13 the Vivaraṇa overrules Vyāsa by citing Manu, for whom Śaṅkara has always great reverence.

The following analysis of experience into greater or lesser pain is not spiritual hypochondria, but to make the yogin-s vividly aware of the constrictions of present experience. If they sink into an apathy of acceptance the efforts to escape will flag.

The description of the guṇa-s is further background; the practical application is found in Gītā XVII and XVIII.

Vital sections for practice are those on Release and the relation of Seer and Seen (II.20–29). Unless this becomes clear and firm in the yogin, he will never be able to make the final transfer of awareness from a mental idea to pure consciousness. The abandonment of mental ideas will feel like loss of everything, annihilation in fact.

It may be noted that the concept of Puruṣa as for-its-own-sake and all else as for-the-sake-of-another, illustrated with the example of a mirror, is prominent in A Thousand Teachings, one of Śaṅkara’s other major works. It will come again under III.35.

The Part ends with introducing the eight steps of Yoga. Śaṅkara comments that their sole purpose is removal of the Taints, and attainment of samādhi. It is not expected that aspirants will become perfect in them before trying for samādhi. There is a certain lack of enthusiasm for the Restraints and Observances in the famous rush of modern life (when average TV viewing in many countries is over three hours daily), but in fact they are mostly negative: the last three of the Observances have been given already under the Yoga of Action at the beginning of the Part, as sufficient to take away Taints and bring samādhi. These are very positive.

The present sub-commentary on the Yoga sūtra is not a complete manual of practice. Some postures are merely named, leaving actual instruction to a teacher. More details on some points are to be found in the Gītā commentary, though there too a good deal is taken for granted. Take the process of prāṇāyāma. In this text and in the Gītā, exhaling to the limit and then checking the breath, and inhaling to the limit and then checking the breath, are separate practices, distinguished from suddenly holding the breath wherever it happens to be in mid-breath. In many later texts they were combined, and the breath was held only with the lungs full. Breathing with one nostril blocked is also a sign of later date.

Some of the practices of prāṇāyāma outlined in this text need expert direction. Śaṅkara knew the techniques, as shown by some original comments: for instance, on the inner sensations, and the ‘up-stroke’, a marked effect familiar to teachers of meditation. (It is referred to in Gītā VIII.9–13.) Modern yogin-s, such as Hari Prasad Shastri and Rama Tirtha, recommend simple exhalation (sūtra I.34) in a prolonged OM. This leads spontaneously to the ‘up-stroke’, as described by Swami Rama Tirtha in his essay called ‘Praṇayama and Will-power’. It must always be remembered that prāṇāyāma is part of a whole discipline which includes worship of God and strict self-control.

At the end of this Part, the sūtra-s give a number of ‘perfections’ which arise automatically when a given discipline has been perfected. They are not the same as the special powers and knowledge which are aims of particular meditations in the third Part. He shows for some, and by implication for others, that a desire for them would prevent the perfection of the discipline.

Sūtra II.37 runs, ‘With establishment in non-stealing, all precious things come to him.’ This is not simply a rigid honesty, because, as he explains, the perfection consists of desirelessness. One who practised non-stealing, therefore, with the secret aim of attracting wealth by this perfection, would never in fact perfect it till he had abandoned the aim completely.

There is no question of Śaṅkara’s own conviction of the reality of these effects. In his Brahma-sūtra commentary he quotes Yoga-sūtra II.44, From self-study, communion with the deity of his devotion’, as proof that the sage Vyāsa could meet the gods face to face, and he adds, ‘That yoga does, as tradition declares, lead to the acquirement of such powers … is a fact which cannot be set aside by mere vehement denial.’

In the first Part, there were some notable shifts of the philosophical positions towards Vedānta, and there are a few more in this Part. The sub-commentary in various places in the second Part elaborates on Vyāsa’s simile of yoga as like medical treatment. But on sūtra II.23 he takes it further, so that the treatment is not for any actual illness, but for a false auto-suggestion of having been poisoned, which causes symptoms of illness. Śaṅkara uses this simile of medical treatment in a number of places in his works, but this brings in a new and purely advaitic extension of it.

Part III. Glory

This begins with an analysis of the so-called inner limbs of Yoga, and the elements of samādhi. The description of the last is in terms of the highest stage of samādhi, when all memories have been transcended with other associations, and the object alone shines forth (sūtra I.43, 44).

There follow some long philosophical discussions on qualities and on time-phase, and then some of the supernormal knowledge and power resulting from samādhi practice taken to the limit. Śaṅkara gives some original comments which imply that he knew these practices. But though he describes a few in detail, most he dismisses briefly, and the long descriptions of heavenly realms in sūtra III.36 he ignores completely, whereas Vācaspati revels in the details.

(Incidentally it is not clear why saṃyama on the sun and moon should lead to knowledge of heavenly worlds and disposition of the stars respectively. The Chinese Taoist visions resulting from sun-meditation describe the interior of the sun – with equally surprising geography and inhabitants – and the stations of its orbit. Similarly those on the moon are more what one would expect.)

But Śaṅkara clearly takes literally the admonition of sūtra III.37 that these powers are perfections to the unpurified mind, but obstacles to samādhi, because they trigger off latent taints at the root of the mind.

Sūtra III.36 says that certain forms of supernormal knowledge arise from samādhi on Puruṣa, and Vyāsa comments: ‘they always arise.’ But Śaṅkara deliberately omits this comment of Vyāsa, and adds (under the next sūtra) that they do not arise in one who is detached. This direct contradiction of the sūtra, and of Vyāsa’s comment, shows the great independence of mind of the Vivaraṇa author, and are another instance of the swing towards a Vedāntic view.

It may be noted that in the case of powers arising from samādhi made to acquire them, the exercise of them carries in it a sort of contradiction. To effect the samādhi, memory must have been purified of all associations (sūtra I.43, 44). But after a success, the excitement will rouse all the latent desires, and it will become increasingly difficult, and finally impossible, to free the memory from them. So the power will be lost, except in one who exercises it without any interest in it of pride or advantage. Śaṅkara in his Brahma-sūtra commentary says that all these powers are ultimately dependent on the Lord.

The very long debate on words and meanings under sūtra III.17 is entirely technical; it is of perhaps great historical importance, but of no significance for the general reader.

Sūtra III.35 is a central sūtra for those who seek release, as the Vivaraṇa remarks. It is closely connected with some important sections of Śaṅkara’s A Thousand Teachings, on the switch from mental awareness of what can be only a ‘reflection’ of Puruṣa, to Puruṣa’s ultra-cognitive awareness.

Sūtra III.52 has an interesting (and surprising) discussion on time. Time is not absolute, but operational. This will be elaborated in the next Part, sūtra IV.12 and 13.

Part IV. Transcendental Aloneness (kaivalya)

There is an account of the mechanism of powers. They are not created by samādhi, for instance, but are implementations of the infinite powers of prakṛti along a channel opened by samādhi. Prakṛti is a seething mass of potentialities, somewhat like the vacuum as envisaged by physicists, in which virtual particles are continuously appearing and annihilating one another.

The question of projection of several bodies by samādhi-power is touched on (sūtra IV.4, 5); the Brahma-sūtra bhāṣya on the same point (IV.4.15) refers to yoga scriptures as authority. The conclusion is the same, that there are several minds, but the Vivaraṇa does not refer to the Brahma-sūtra analogy of a lamp lighting other lamps.

There are further discussions on karma and time, and a long polemic against Buddhist doctrines (sūtra-s IV.13–14). This is elaborated vigorously by the Vivaraṇa, implying that Buddhism was still an opponent to be reckoned with at the time of writing.

The final sūtra-s show perfection of Knowledge-of-the-difference, and then turning away from all mental operations including even that Knowledge, so that Puruṣa stands in its own nature, pure awareness. The final turning away is the virāma-pratyaya or idea-of-stopping of sūtra I.18. It is illustrated in Śaṅkara’s A Thousand Teachings I.19, which says at the beginning to the mind: ‘O mind, make more efforts at tranquillization’ and goes on to discard, on the basis of knowledge, the futile mental activity. It leads to nirvāṇa – the blowing out of a lamp, or the dying down of a flame as fuel is exhausted. This last simile is used in the Vivaraṇa to I.18: ‘the idea of stopping is still an idea while coming to a stop and before it has ceased to be an idea at all … as a fire, little by little going out, is still truly a flame until it finally becomes ashes.’ Release is now final because the saṃskāra-s and all other aspects of the guṇa-s have fallen off. Puruṣa makes no more illusory identifications.

Cosmology

The cosmological doctrines of Sānkhya-Yoga are occasionally referred to in passing, and a few Sanskrit words have to be learnt. Some of them, like karma and nirvāṇa, are already familiar, and with the Western interest in yoga, it is likely that there will be a readiness to accept Sanskrit, just as the Italian terms were accepted in music.

The brief outline of the world according to Sānkhya-Yoga (but not followed always by Śaṅkara, as has been mentioned) would be something like the following:

There are two eternal principles: unconscious unmanifest matter (pradhāna or prakṛti), and Puruṣa, pure consciousness. Pradhāna is made up of three elements, sattva (light), rajas (passion-struggle) and tamas (dark inertia). They are explained in the commentary on sūtra II.15.

When Puruṣa gives attention to pradhāna, the latter goes into manifestation, as a play begins when the audience is ready. The manifestation first takes the form of a principle called the Great (mahat). Like everything else, it is made up of the three elements or gunā-s: sattva, rajas, and tamas. It is sometimes called Being Only. As it plays little part in the discussions, it is enough to know that it is the first manifestation. From it arises Ahaṅkāra, which could be loosely called the cosmic I. Neither of these two can be meditated upon in their fullness, as they are too great.

On the physical side, the next manifestation is what are called tanmātra-s; they are roughly speaking potentialities of sensations like smell and so on. They are not directly accessible to the senses, but can be experienced in the special concentration described in sūtra I.35. Less subtle than these, but still not within the grasp of the senses, are the atoms of various kinds. The aggregates of the atoms are the physical wholes of the world, perceived by the senses.

On the psychic side, the cosmic I produces the minds of all beings. They essentially consist of sattva, but become clouded and stained by the two other guṇa-s, namely rajas and tamas. The minds produce (or attract to themselves) senses, both of reception and of action.

Mental operations produce dynamic latent impressions called saṃskāra-s. These are the base of memory, and of impulse generally. In samādhi, mental operations are inhibited, partially or wholly. The inhibition lasts only for a time, because the urge of saṃskāra-s disturbs; however, inhibition produces a saṃskāra of its own, which is hostile to and overcomes the other saṃskāra-s which lie at the base of the mind. A great part of the yogic training consists in weakening unfavourable saṃskāra-s and reinforcing favourable ones.

Various words for mind are used rather indiscriminately in this text: antaḥ-karaṇa (inner organ), citta, manas, buddhi (sometimes distinguished as a higher mind), sattva. In the last case, the name of the guṇa of luminosity (sattva) is used for mind.

To follow the discussions on re-birth centred round II.13, it is useful to know that Nandīśvara was a poorly-off human, who through intense devotion was suddenly transformed into a divine being; Nahuṣa, a divine being, entertained a thought of lust and was on the spot changed into a snake.

The translation

The general reader of a text like this must be prepared for certain conventions. Sanskrit compounds of a basic text are often ambiguous, and one great responsibility of the commentator is to explain how they are to be understood. An example from English would be, ‘a widely-read author’. The commentator has to say whether it means that the author has himself read widely, or that his words are read by many people. In translation, of course, the compound has already been resolved when it first occurs in the basic text (here Vyāsa), and the subsequent comment is only a repetition. Nevertheless, in a translation it has to be given, and occasionally an extra gloss is thrown in which does add something. But the reader should be warned of this apparently redundant wordiness.

In the free commentary, however, once the original words have been explained (and it was the convention that every one of them must be commented on), Śaṅkara is terse. He expects his readers to have an excellent memory, and to be able to follow the argument without repetitions. As the point sometimes requires a knowledge of an opponent’s philosophical position, the general reader must accept that some passages will be obscure to him. I have not adopted the custom of putting in a series of parentheses to explain what I think he means.

This is a difficult text, and the conventional Sanskrit format makes translation occasionally awkward. The word in the basic text has to be followed immediately by its gloss, which means that sometimes the sentence has to be turned very artificially. Nevertheless, I hope that it will be found accessible to non-specialists, even at occasional cost to precision. In fact, the proper drive for precision can sometimes over-shoot into unreadability and even incomprehensibility.

I have hyphenated English plurals of Sanskrit words, to make them easy to distinguish from Sanskrit words in ‘-s’ such as rajas or tamas. I have also split up compounds where feasible, to make the elements easier to recognize, and I have usually separated off the negative prefix ‘a-’.

The Sanskrit words in parenthesis are mostly terms characteristic of Saṇkara, and important for the question of authenticity. They have no significance for the general reader who is primarily interested in Śaṅkara’s yoga practice, on which this text throws a flood of light.

To facilitate reference, I have put headings to the sections of the text: they are only approximate, as the subject can change abruptly. No such headings are to be found in the text itself.

Authenticity

To examine and judge the likely authenticity of this text will require not only expert philological and historical knowledge. The ideas of the text also have to be compared with those of Śaṅkara’s well-attested works. It is not enough to know the wording of the texts, however exactly. And ideas may be known without being understood.

A great scholar of Śaṅkara’s works once remarked that Śaṅkara’s mistake was to suppose that consciousness could only be one: Śaṅkara simply did not see that there could be two similar consciousnesses. The point was made as though it were obvious, and so it is, but only from a naïve standpoint. Erwin Schrödinger, Nobel Prize physicist and a philosopher of science, in his famous What Is Life? discussed this very point, and explicitly cited the Advaita view, which he confirmed. Schrödinger’s support does not prove that Śaṅkara was right, only that his ideas are not to be dismissed out of hand.

The long arguments for an intelligent world-creator and ruler here in sūtra-s I.24 and 25 would, not very long ago, have been similarly dismissed as nursery teleology. Many of them are now acceptable, as massively evidenced for instance in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Barrow and Tipler (Oxford University Press, 1986).

The validity of yogic states, dismissed by Edgerton as ‘self-hypnosis’, is to be proved or disproved by experiment, not by pre-conceptions. In a sense, Japanese scholars have an advantage because they are familiar with a still-living stream of meditation practice, which is well attested historically to have freed many from the fear of death, and to have been a source of inspiration in many fields of culture. The life of the late Hari Prasad Shastri in London was equally convincing to his pupils.


(2) Read: 1.02– 1.06

Yoga Sutra 1.02

Yoga is inhibition of the mental processes

(Opponent) If the sūtra has been presented to give this definition, it should have been ‘Yoga has inhibition of the mental processes’; to put them in apposition is not right, for a definition should not be simply the thing defined. Or at any rate it should have been said, ‘The definition is, inhibition of the mental processes.’

(Answer) A definition is projected (adhyas) on to the thing defined. When we say ‘This person is Devadatta’ there is a projection (adhyāsa) of the definition on to the thing defined. So there is no fault.

The omission of the word All shows that the cognitive (samādhi) too is yoga.

(Opponent) (The commentator’s previous gloss) But the ultra-cognitive is when there is inhibition of all mental processes is also a definition of it, so the sūtra should have been ‘Yoga is inhibition of all mental processes.’ This has not been said and the definition is too wide.

(Answer) As to why the word All is omitted from the sūtra, he says that if All were put in, it would be denying that the cognitive samādhi, which comes about by restricting the processes to a single point, is yoga at all. To prevent that, the word All is left out.

(Opponent) If so, the cognitive and ultra-cognitive have the same definition and are not in fact distinguished.

(Answer) The subject is yoga, as we see from the repetition of the word (in the first two sūtra-s). And unless he did intend a distinction, there would have been no point in putting into the definition the word yoga (which is well known to include meditation on objects).

(Opponent) The word yoga is of minor importance for actual exposition; it would suit the purpose of exposition if the definition just said ‘Inhibition of the mental processes’ without the word yoga at all.

(Answer) Not so, because what was introduced was an exposition of yoga, and it is exposition of yoga that has been begun, not exposition of non-yoga. The proposed definition could have too many contexts and would not be connected to the meaning of the words ‘exposition of yoga’. For the idea of an exposition of yoga does not follow from the words ‘inhibition of mental processes’.

(Opponent) Why then should the word yoga lead to a definition of the ultra-cognitive samādhi alone, and not to a definition of the cognitive, if there is no such distinction in the word itself?

(Answer) Because it applies exactly. What applies loosely is not a definition of a thing. The definition as inhibition applies exactly to the ultra-cognitive samādhi, but only loosely to the cognitive. Having horns is not the mark of cow-ness, because it applies also to buffaloes and other animals.

(Opponent) Neither is inhibition exact as a definition of the ultra-cognitive; (it is too loose) because there is inhibition in the cognitive too, namely inhibition of the undesired mental processes.

(Answer) True, but the ultra-cognitive cannot be defined by anything else except inhibition. Inhibition alone is its definition because nothing else is there, whereas the cognitive is definable in terms of special characteristics like verbal associations. As a parallel case, when tangibility is cited as a defining mark, it is the element Air alone that is defined by the fact of tangibility, which is regarded as special to it, though in fact tangibility is found also in the other elements in the descending order from Fire (to Water and then Earth).

Thus the word yoga is simply a corroboration (anuvāda), and so it is that All has not been put in the sūtra. It is settled that the ultra-cognitive is defined by the bare word ‘inhibition’, and if ‘All (the mental processes)’ were included, it would deny that the cognitive also is yoga. Therefore this is the definition of ultra-cognitive alone, and the commentator will sum up later in these words: Ultra-cognitive (a-sam-prajñāta) in the sense that in it no thing is cognized (sam-prajñāyate): this yoga is inhibition of the mental process.

What is the nature of that mind, inhibition of whose processes is called yoga? To explain mind and its processes and their inhibition, the commentator says:

Now mind always tends towards illumination, activity, or stasis (sthiti); so it consists of the three guṇa-s.

Mind is said to consist of the three guṇa-s, because it is always tending towards illumination, activity, or stasis. Illumination is making known, bringing to light, that being characteristic of sattva guṇa. Activity is motion and operation, that being characteristic of rajas. Stasis is being stationary, limitation, and resistance, such being characteristic of tamas. These are the invariable tendencies of the guṇa-s, and as mind is always tending towards one of them, it is true to say that it is continual transformation of the three guṇa-s.

To the objection that illumination and the others have not been established as causes, he says:

For mind-sattva is by nature illumination.

The word For means that this is something generally accepted; it is well known in the world and from scripture how mind makes everything manifest. So mind is sattva, and is therefore called mind-sattva, because its main transformation is that of sattva.

Or again, mind can be pointed out clearly as pure knowledge (khyāti) having other mental processes mutually combining and separating. So it is that he says For mind-sattva is by nature illumination.

Mingled with rajas and tamas, mind is drawn towards power and possessions. Pervaded by tamas, it becomes subject to a-dharma, Ignorance, attachment and helplessness. That same mind, when the covering of illusion (moha) has dwindled, pervaded by a measure of rajas, is endowed with dharma, knowledge (jñāna), detachment and power. When the last trace of the stain of rajas is removed, the mind is grounded in its own nature, becoming simply the Knowledge (khyāti) that sattva and Puruṣa are different, and it is endowed with the Rain-cloud of Dharma, which the meditators call the highest prasaṅkhyāna (continuous meditation on Knowledge).

Now he explains the conflicting varieties of mental processes which arise from relative dominance or subordination of rajas and tamas. When sattva is predominant, but mingled with rajas and tamas, they being equally strong, mind becomes fond of power and possessions, and this fondness for them is passion. The meaning is, that thoughts arise concentrated on the passion for power and possessions.

When that mind, which is illumination by nature, is pervaded by tamas, with rajas subordinate in it, then tainted thoughts arise of a-dharma and the other three (Ignorance, passion, and helplessness).

That same mind, when the covering of illusion has dwindled, when tamas has been overcome, as when the rain-cloud passes away the darkness is at an end and the sun-disc illumines everything pervaded by a measure by a trace of rajas, is endowed with dharma, etc. (knowledge, detachment, and power), and pure thoughts of dharma and the others arise.

When the last stain of the trace of rajas is removed, the mind is grounded in its own nature in its own nature as illumination and that alone. It becomes simply the Knowledge that sattva and Puruṣa are different. Mind is sattva, and Puruṣa is the experiencer (bhoktṛ); discriminating them as different is Knowledge (khyāti) of them, awareness of them. The word simply indicates that it is free from taints or any other things (than Knowledge). It is endowed with the meditation called Rain-cloud of Dharma, this being the samādhi of that name.

The mind overcomes rajas and tamas by power of prasaṅkhyāna, which is meditation (dhyāna) established in the perception of the nature of Puruṣa alone, pure Knowledge itself, which the meditators the yogins call the highest prasaṅkhyāna (continuous meditation on Knowledge).

The power-of-consciousness is unchangeable, does not engage with objects, has the objects shown to it, is pure and infinite.

Having explained what the mental process is in itself, he shows how it is to be inhibited. The power-of-consciousness (citi-śakti) is unchangeable: consciousness alone is power, so it is called power-of-consciousness. Powers which blossom out only in births appropriate to the possession of those powers are not inherent power, but consciousness is inherent power, dependent on nothing else. It is therefore eternally established. The apposition of the word consciousness (citi) meaning pure consciousness (cinmātra) and the word power (śakti) is to show that the subjective consciousness is of unvarying nature. This being so, it is something unchanging. When in an abiding possessor-of-qualities (dharmin), one quality (dharma) gives way to a different one, that is called change. Since this consciousness never changes, it is unchanging. For just this reason, it does not engage with objects. For it is only things like mind, which do change, that are found to engage with objects.

So the various objects are shown to it: an object is shown to it through the mind (antaḥ-karaṇa). Therefore it ispure and therefore in space and in time it is infinite. (In this explanation which has been given) each fact is to be understood as the cause of the next one.

Opposed to pure consciousness is Knowledge-of-the-difference (viveka-khyāti), whose nature is sattva-guṇa. Therefore the mind, turning away from even that Knowledge, inhibits it.

An example of the contrary is mind and senses. Opposed to pure consciousness is Knowledge-of-the-difference, whose nature is sattva-guṇa. Sattva-guṇa means pure sattva, and its essence is that alone. To say that its nature is sattva means that its nature is essentially to illumine. Again, it is said to be essentially sattva-guṇa because this thought is not concerned with any object of the world.

Again, Knowledge is bound by the very fact of being Knowledge, just because it is essentially sattva. This Knowledge being thus distinct from, and opposed to, the characteristics of the power-of-consciousness described, does have changes and so on.

Being associated with qualities like change, it is inferior to the supreme Puruṣa which is free from them.Therefore because it sees the defect (doṣa) in its own nature, the mind, turning away from giving up even that Knowledge, inhibits it.

In this state what remains is saṃskāra-s, and it is the seedless (nirbīja) samādhi. There is no cognition of anything in it, so it is ultra-cognitive. This yoga is inhibition of the mental processes.

In this state the state of inhibition what remains is saṃskāra-s; only saṃskāra-s are left. This samādhi in this state of inhibition is the seedless. The meaning is, that here the seed is gone; in this all the seeds of taint and so on are gone.

To show this very mark of the ultra-cognitive samādhi, he quotes the sūtra, This yoga is inhibition of the mental processes.

What is Puruṣa, the cognizer of buddhi (buddhi-bodhātman), in that state when there is no object for him?

Yoga Sutra 1.03

Then the Seer is established in his own nature

Then the power-of-consciousness rests in its own nature, as in the state of release. But when the mind is extraverted, though it is so, it is not so.

It has been said that yoga is inhibition of the mental processes, by which inhibition the true being of Puruṣa as the cognizer (boddhṛ) is realized. In which case some might suppose that with inhibition of the thoughts of objects, there would be inhibition of the subject, the cognizer, the Puruṣa, also. Then they would assume that it would not be sensible to try to attain Knowledge-of-the-difference, the means to release, and that the exposition of yoga, which aims at that Knowledge, would be futile. To show that inhibition of the mental process is not inhibition of Puruṣa, and to point directly to the result of Knowledge, the commentator says: What is Puruṣa, the cognizer of buddhi, in that state when there is no object for him? Then the seer is established in his own nature.When the mental process has been inhibited, then the power-of-consciousness rests in its own nature.

In that state, in the state of inhibition, when there is no object for him since the object, the mental process, is not there, what is the nature of Puruṣa, the cognizer of buddhi? Puruṣa is the cognizer of buddhi in the sense that he is aware of buddhi in its transformations as the forms of the mental processes. The nature of Puruṣa is simple awareness of them; the one who is aware is not different from the awareness. If the one who is aware were different from the awareness itself, he would be changeable and then would not be a mere witness who has objects shown to him. So his awareness and subjectivity are spoken of figuratively as if conforming to a mental process. But the sūtra will say, The Seer is sight alone (II.20).

Here it is being asked, what is the real being of that Puruṣa, the cognizer of buddhi (buddhi-bodhātman)? The compound buddhi-bodhātman means that his nature is pure awareness of buddhi. Is it a perishable nature? Or if it is real being (sad-bhāva), what sort of real being is it, and how does it come about?

Then the Seer is established in his own nature: when the mental process has been inhibited, then the power-of-consciousness rests in its own nature. Rests in its own nature means that it is like release. He is going to speak of that real being later (IV. 19) when he says Mind is not self-illumining, because it is itself something perceived.The phrase about resting in its own nature has been used in order to clear up any doubt as to what is its real being.

(Opponent) The sūtra is in definite terms, and it must follow that at some other time the power-of-consciousness is not so established, for otherwise the specification Then would be meaningless. And if at this other time it is not established in its own nature, there is the objection that it will be subject to change, because it will then have become associated with a different condition.

(Answer) But when the mind is extraverted, though it is so, it is not so. The first phrase though it is so shows that even in this time of extraversion, the power-of-consciousness is established in its own nature, it is not so shows that the specification of the time of extraversion has some meaning.

How can this be? It is because objects are displayed to it.

Yoga Sutra 1.04

Otherwise, it conforms itself to the mental process

In the extraverted state, whatever the process in the mind, Puruṣa has a process not distinguished from it. As a sūtra says: There is only one sight, and the sight is knowledge alone.

(Opponent) If though it is so means that power-of-consciousness does rest in its own nature even when mind is extraverted, and not so denies that it so rests, there is the contradiction that the same thing both is so and is not so, and our side asks in bewilderment, How can this be?

(Answer) The answer from our side is, Otherwise, it conforms itself to the mental process.

(Opponent) Well, why does it conform to it?

(Answer) Because objects have been displayed to it. Though in the two cases there is no distinction as to the resting in its own nature, still there is a distinction according to whether it conforms to the mental processes or not, and so it is not a contradiction between being so and being not so.

(Opponent) Connection with conformity to a mental process is connection with a different state, and must entail defects like changeability.

(Answer) The answer lies in the fact that objects have been displayed to it. The apparent change is not intrinsic but projected (adhyāropita), like a crystal’s taking on the colour of something put near it.

In the extraverted state outside the inhibited state whatever the process in the mind tainted or untainted, there is a process not distinguished from it, like it, which is natural to this one (Puruṣa). Without a process in the mind, and without this nature (of Puruṣa), there would be no process in Puruṣa. There is always something known to Puruṣa, so no change is involved in him.

There is a sūtra by an earlier teacher (ācārya): There is only one sight, and the sight is knowledge (khyāti) alone.There is only one sight (darśana) of buddhi and of Puruṣa. What does this mean? The sight is knowledge alone.Sight is a process of the mind (buddhi). It is a knowledge in the sense that it is known by Puruṣa; it is also knowledge in the sense that by it the nature of buddhi and of Puruṣa is known. It is an instrument in that the form of the object is apprehended by it, and it is an object inasmuch as it is apprehended by its own nature as knowledge; similarly, it is a sight in that it is seen, and also sight in that things are seen by it; it is knowledge (jñāna) in that it is known and also that things are known by it. This is how it is all to be understood.

(Opponent) But mind itself is the knowing agent (khyātikartṛ); it is that which is known and which knows. There is no need to suppose any other knowing.

(Answer) That we shall refute when we come to the sūtra, (Mind) is not self-illumining because it is something perceived (IV.19).

(Opponent) If all this is simply manifested (parivjṛmbhita) by mind, and Puruṣa sits apart, how can he be the experiencer (bhoktṛ)?

(Answer) Why not? Agents (kāraka) are of various kinds. Some are operational, and some are effective by mere proximity without any operation. When we say that one cooks, the man active in putting things on the fire and so on is called the agent; the pot, though not performing any operation by its holding and supporting the food, is still called a ‘cooker’. The space in the pot itself does provide a place for the food, but we do not take this to be an operation by it.

Again, there is the king who is an agent by merely appearing (at the council), whereupon all the (ministerial) agencies become agents carrying out their own operations. The sun does not look to some external instrument for his shining, nor does he perform any operation. He does not produce some previously non-existent shining as he comes and goes. It is simply that shining is his nature. So he is said to illumine by proximity alone, manifesting jars and so on as bright forms.

In our present case too, the mental processes, pervaded by his nature as consciousness (cid-ātman), are seen by Puruṣa who is pure sight.

To show how Puruṣa is the seer he now says:

Mind is like a magnet.

Even the philosopher who holds that knowledge (jñāna) arises from a conjunction of the self (ātman) and mind (manas), calls the self the knower (jñātṛ), as pervading the known object by knowledge, not as performing an operation. Knowledge too, being (in his view) an attribute (guṇa) of the self, is without action; it is simply its nature to show objects. It cannot be maintained that a man cannot be said to know without some action, for a man is said to know when he pervades the object with knowledge.

If, however, new knowledge is assumed from conjunction of the self and mind, that knowledge belongs to self and not to the mind, for it is said that he knows, and not that his mind knows. Why?

(Opponent) Admitted, but the reason is that the self is what we call the inherent cause (samavāyī-kāraṇa, having knowledge as an attribute).

(Answer) That has not been established. Just as what had to be demonstrated was, why the knowledge should belong to the self (and not to the mind), so it would have to be demonstrated why self should be the inherent cause, and not mind, inasmuch as you maintain that mind is not itself the self, and that knowledge arises from conjunction of the two.

(Opponent) Let it be because of the recollection in memory of the saṃskāra, laid down by the knowledge, of the self as the sole agent.

(Answer) No, for that too would have to be demonstrated. In that case also it has to be shown why the saṃskāra of knowledge and the recollection of the memory should relate only to the self and not to the mind.

(Opponent) Let us say that it is because desire (icchā, an attribute of self in our system) and its fulfilment are (referred to) the same place.

(Answer) No, again it is the same thing. Once (it is accepted that) they are produced by a conjunction, it cannot be shown why the results and the desire should pertain to self alone and not to mind.

Moreover, this knowledge too is accepted (by you) to be a knowable object, so an infinite regress will follow. And it cannot be that one knowledge should be known by the instrument of another knowledge, and that by another, and that by another, endlessly.

To avoid the regress, one might say that at some point there is a knowledge which is primary, perceived not by some other knowledge but spontaneously by itself alone. But this would imply that (other) objects too should be able to perceive themselves spontaneously, just as knowledge is held to do.

(Opponent) Let us say that knowledge itself shines, and it makes others shine, being naturally luminous like a lamp, and so there is no defect in the argument, because nothing else is naturally luminous.

(Answer) Then even things like lights would never be known.

(Opponent) Well, knowledge knows spontaneously because it is an attribute of the self, and is luminous by nature as well, whereas things like lights which shine outwards are of opposite character to knowledge. So the argument holds.

(Answer) Not that either. If to be an attribute of the self and also luminous by nature were a cause for spontaneous knowing by knowledge, everyone would be omniscient.

(Opponent) There also has to be some knowable form.

(Answer) Not even that. (For knowledge to know itself) the cause of one knowledge would be the fact of the form of another knowledge, and in the same way, the form of the first knowledge as a knowable would cause yet another knowledge, and so the regress would be unavoidable.

Furthermore, no example is found to instance anything being subject and object for itself; even a light needs an eye to be known. Nor (can it be said that there) are two parts in knowledge, since it has no parts.

Even if it had, since they would both be luminous, they could not be subject and object to each other, any more than two lights.

Furthermore, if being both subject and object were accepted of knowledge, it could never be the real nature of the self.

Therefore knowledge of objective forms, and memory, and its recall, and effort and desire and so on, are all essentially not-self, because they are objects of knowledge like outer forms, and because they exist-for-another (parārtha) as is shown by their dependence on the body-mind aggregate for the manifestation of their forms and other qualities. So because they have dependence, and are impermanent, and are accompanied by effort – for these and similar reasons it is certain that they are essentially not-self.

Mind is like a magnet, serving by mere proximity, by the fact of being seen. It is the property of its owner, Puruṣa. There is a beginningless relation, and this is the cause of Puruṣa’s awareness of the mental processes.

Mind is as it were a magnet. As a magnet serves to pervade with itself the iron, by merely being placed near it, so the mind serves to pervade with itself the self (ātman) which is pure consciousness, by the fact of being seen by it. It is spoken of as like a dancing-girl, because it puts on a display, by means of the inner-organ (antaḥkaraṇa – thought, emotion and so on). Here mind (citta) is the one who puts on the display, and Puruṣa is the one who sees it.

(Opponent) How does this distinction come about?

(Answer) It comes about as the relation of a thing to its owner.

(Opponent) But how does the relation of thing and owner come about?

(Answer) It is the nature of each.

(Opponent) What is this nature?

(Answer) Mind is comparable to a magnet.

(Opponent) What is the cause of Puruṣa’s being aware of the mind process?

(Answer) A magnet serves by mere proximity, the mind by the fact of being seen. There is a beginningless relation, and this is the cause of Puruṣa’s awareness of the mental processes.

There are many of them in the mind, and they are to be inhibited.

Yoga Sutra 1.05

The mental processes are of five kinds; they are tainted or pure

The tainted are caused by the five taints (kleśa); they become the seed-bed for the growth of the accumulated karma seed-stock. The others are pure and are the field of Knowledge. They oppose involvement in the guṇa-s. They remain pure even if they occur in a stream of tainted ones. In gaps between tainted ones, there are pure ones; in gaps between pure ones, tainted ones. It is only by mental processes that saṃskāra-s corresponding to them are produced, and by saṃskāra-s are produced new mental processes. Thus the wheel of mental process and saṃskāra revolves. Such is the mind. But when it gives up its involvement, it abides in the likeness of self (ātman) or else dissolves.

The mental processes are to be inhibited, though they are many. In the extraverted state, Puruṣa conforms to them as has been explained. Why are they to be inhibited? The sūtra says, They are tainted or pure.

(Opponent) They are too many to be inhibited.

(Answer) To this the sūtra says, They are of five kinds. Though there is an infinity of them, tainted and pure, still they are of only five kinds, of five classes, five groups. Only by recourse to practice and detachment, which oppose them en bloc, does inhibition succeed; their mere number does not make inhibition impossible, though there is no effective means of inhibiting them one by one.

The tainted are caused by the five taints, for mind, impelled by Ignorance and the other four taints, again and again invites the self, and they become the seedbed for the growth of the accumulated karma seed-stock. Karmas are favourable, unfavourable, and mixed, and they are referred to as karma seed-stock inasmuch as they have a latent drive towards producing fruits. The mass of them is held together, each sometimes predominating and sometimes auxiliary to others. With that mass of karma seed-stock as cause, Ignorance and the other taints become the seed-bed for tainted mental processes. When these last appear, the karma seed-stock is near to ripening.

The pure are the field of Knowledge, they are the seats (āspada) of Knowledge. They oppose involvement activity of the saṃskāra-s with the guṇa-s sattva, rajas, and tamas. It is because they are directed towards the field of Knowledge that they are pure, since Knowledge brings about release (apavarga).

When pure thoughts arise in the midst of a mass of tainted ones, do they themselves become tainted – like drops of water thrown into a pot of milk? And do the tainted, caught in a current of pure ones, themselves become pure? What would follow if they did? If pure ones that happened to be in a current of tainted ones were to become tainted, it would mean that memory, which conforms to the saṃskāra of the thought which produced it, and on whose accuracy life in the world depends, would be unreliable, for the thoughts would be inherently uncertain. So he says In gaps between tainted ones, there are pure ones which remain pure, and in gaps between pure ones, the tainted are still tainted. And this being so, it is only by mental processes (vṛtti) that saṃskāra-scorresponding to them are produced. Though the taints and so on do set up saṃskāra-s, it happens only through the medium of mental processes, and this is the force of the word only. And by saṃskāra-s, mental processes corresponding to them are produced; so the wheel of process and saṃskāra continuously incessantly revolves.

Such is the mind, characterized by having processes and saṃskāra-s each causing the other; but when it has given up its involvement (adhikāra) when the activity caused by Ignorance has ceased and it rests in the causal state alone it rests in the likeness of self (ātman) in the likeness of Puruṣa, as pure Knowledge alone, for a time conforming to the remainder of the saṃskāra-s which have already begun to function (prārabdha), or else dissolves when the saṃskāra-s have come to an end.

The mental processes, tainted or untainted, are of these five kinds:

Yoga Sutra 1.06

Right knowledge, illusion, logical construction, sleep, memory


(3) Read: 1.12 – 1.22

Yoga Sutra 1.12

Their inhibition is by practice and detachment

Flowing both ways, the so-called stream of the mind flows to good or flows to evil. When it is borne on to release, down into the field of discrimination, that is the flow towards good: when it is borne on to saṃsāra, down into the field of failure to discriminate, that is the evil flow. By detachment the current towards objects is dammed, and by practice of discriminating vision the auspicious current of discrimination is made to flow. Thus inhibition of the mental process depends on both.

He explains the means for their inhibition: Their inhibition is by practice and detachment. The characteristics of practice and detachment will be described in the coming sūtra-s. By these two the mental processes already described are inhibited, because they are opposed to them. Inhibition (nirodha) means cessation (upaśama). To show discrimination as the object of practice and detachment, the commentary explains the mind-stream.

The men of saṃsāra are always carried by the mind, as by a stream, towards objects. They are borne on to saṃsāra, ending up in saṃsāra, which is like an ocean, dammed up: held back, made to flow: set in movement, by making an opening. The form udghāṭyate is an optional retention of the long vowel in the causative, which otherwise would be short according to the Pāṇini sūtra 6.4.92.

So it depends on both, it is dependent on both practice and detachment.

Yoga Sutra 1.13

Practice is the effort at steadiness in it

Steadiness is the tranquil flow of the mind without mental processes. Practice is the effort thereto, the vigour, the enthusiasm, in undertaking the discipline to that end.

To explain the practice for it, he says, Practice is the effort at steadiness in it. in it means in their inhibition. The word steadiness is in the locative case, to show causality. The steadiness which is the cause of the inhibition of the mind is the result of effort, and the effort which is its cause is practice, the tranquil flow as it were of a stream free from mud is a transformation into a pure form of a mind without mental processes, which have been inhibited.

Effort: vigour, enthusiasm, are synonyms.

Practice is undertaking the discipline, the yoga discipline of restraints and observances and the others listed in sūtra II.29, to that end.

Yoga Sutra 1.14

But practised for a long time, uninterruptedly and with reverence, it becomes firmly grounded

Practised for a long time, practised uninterruptedly, practised with reverence – carried through with austerity, with brahmacarya, with knowledge and with faith, in reverence, it becomes firmly grounded. The meaning is that the purpose is not suddenly overwhelmed by an extravertive saṃskāra.

But how does this become firm? He says, Practised for a long time, uninterruptedly. Unless it is for a long time, and unless it is uninterrupted, the practice does not become firmly grounded, and therefore both are mentioned. The practice is also specified as to be done with reverence. He explains that firmly grounded means that it is not overwhelmed by an extravertive saṃskāra suddenly in a rush.

Yoga Sutra 1.15

Detachment is consciousness of self-mastery, of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about

Detachment is the consciousness of self-mastery of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about. It is that consciousness in one who is unmoved by visible objects like women, food and drink, or power, who is without thirst for objects heard about such as attainment of heaven or the state of the gods or of those absorbed into prakṛti, is inwardly aware of the defects in them by the power of his meditation, and who is wholly impassive – that consciousness of self-mastery which has nothing to avoid and nothing to accept, is detachment.

To describe detachment (vairāgya) he says, Detachment is the consciousness of self-mastery of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about. The word object has to be taken twice: without thirst for any object seen, and without thirst for any object heard about.

Visible objects means what are both objects and directly perceived. What would they be? He illustrates with the examples of women, food and drink, and power. Though there is an infinity of objects, yet the principal impulse of passion is to possess women, food and drink, and power. In these cases passion is at its most powerful and is to be opposed with corresponding effort. So with objects heard about, which here means those described in the scriptures – the attractions of going to heaven, the joy of being dissolved into prakṛti, or the pleasure of the discarnate state of the gods.

(Opponent) Detachment (vairāgya, without rāga or passion) is simply freedom from thirst, for it will be said (comm. to sūtra II.7), Passion is thirst, is greed.

(Answer) No, for there are four distinct stages in the state of detachment: (1) awareness of striving, (2) awareness of transgressions, (3) awareness of mind alone, and (4) awareness of mastery. The awareness common to these four is detachment. So the commentator says that it is absence of thirst for visible objects or objects heard about, but it is the fourth one, to which the other three are preliminary, which he means, not a detachment which is merely freedom from thirst (perhaps temporary, in the absence of the objects or perhaps without knowledge that they exist).

He explains, he who is inwardly aware of the defects in them – seeing the defects causes detachment from objects, whereas seeing good points in them causes passion;

by the power of his meditation by practising meditation on seeing their defects; who is wholly impassive wholly unresponsive to objects even when right in front of such things, earthly or heavenly. As a crystal does not in fact take the colour of objects beside it, so his mind is in a state free from passion for them.

that consciousness of mastery, consciousness that they can be mastered. It is the state when all that is called desirable is recognized to be capable of being mastered, the state when it is realized that the senses have been mastered, or when the mastery becomes conscious.

Yoga Sutra 1.16

It is the higher detachment when from knowledge of Puruṣa there is no thirst for (even) the guṇa-s

One who is aware of the defects in objects visible or heard about is detached from objects, but one who from practising the vision of Puruṣa has his mind pure like it and clear-seeing, is detached from even the guṇa-s, with their qualities manifest or unmanifest. Thus detachment is of two kinds.

The second, higher one is nothing but pure Knowledge. When it rises, the yogin in whom this Knowledge has dawned thinks, ‘Attained is what was to be attained, destroyed are the taints which were to be destroyed; broken is the continuous chain of the cycle of being, bound by which men born will die, and having died will be born.’ Detachment is the highest peak of Knowledge: it borders on Transcendental Aloneness.

Detachment is of two kinds, higher or lower according to what it refers to. The lower has been described, now the higher is stated: It is the higher detachment when from knowledge of Puruṣa there is no thirst for even the guṇa-s. It refers to detachment. higher means that it comes at a later time than the first-mentioned one, or again that its object and cause are higher than the cause and object of the first one, or again that it is highest and supreme because it is nearest to release.

What is its cause? Its cause is Knowledge of Puruṣa. What is its object? There is no thirst for even the guṇa-s, sattva and the other two. One who is aware of the defects in objects visible or heard about is detached from objects: with this sentence he reminds us of the previous detachment with its cause and object, in order to make clear the different object and cause of the higher one. From practising the vision of Puruṣa as cause, one has his mind pure like it and clear-seeing; here it refers back to the vision of Puruṣa, which is pure because it is free from the impurity of the taints. Or it may refer to the purity of Puruṣa itself which makes clear-sighted the vision which rests on it as an object of meditation. The mind of that yogin is made clear-sighted.

detached from even the guṇa-s: this means that the higher detachment is from the guṇa-s, whereas the previous one was detachment from actual objects seen or heard about. This one is from even the guṇa-s, which are the cause of those objects, with their qualities manifest or unmanifest: in the state of the Great principle for example, they have manifest qualities, and in the state of pradhāna, they are unmanifest in qualities. He is detached from them.

Detachment, then, is of the two kinds, the previous one and this one, and the latter, being caused by the vision of Puruṣa and being detached from even the guṇa-s, is nothing but pure Knowledge, inasmuch as it is supreme clarity of the vision of Puruṣa alone.

The seer of Puruṣa becomes one who is free from rejecting or accepting anything, as it says (sūtra IV.29), For one who is through and through a man of discriminative knowledge, but is not grasping over his meditation practice, there comes about the samādhi called Raincloud of Dharma.

When it rises when detachment rises (the yogin) in whom this Knowledge has dawned the vision has appeared,‘Attained is what was to be attained’ and so on. For it borders on Transcendental Aloneness because that does not need any other means.

Detachment being nothing but pure Knowledge, there is no difference between detachment (vairāgya) and knowledge (jñāna), and there can therefore be no difference at all between their two opposites, passion (rāga) and Ignorance (a-jñāna). It is right that passion should be a particular state of Ignorance, for it will be said (II.8) that Ignorance (a-vidyā) is five-fold (including passion).

(Opponent) That contradicts the classical division of buddhi-states into eight. (Note: the eight-fold classification is into pairs: Knowledge-Ignorance; detachment-passion; dharma-a-dharma; power-helplessness. Tr.)

(Answer) No, because we accept a distinction within Knowledge (and Ignorance) which brings the six-fold up to eight. We are saying that detachment is extreme clearness of Knowledge (jñāna). In the same way, passion is a special particular state of Ignorance.

(Opponent) But there are several other different states of Knowledge and Ignorance, so the number will still not come out as eight.

(Answer) It will, because they are defined by their fruitfulness or the reverse. The members of the quartet of Knowledge-states are defined according to the differences of their results, and the quartet of Ignorance-states are defined by the fact of being their adversaries, namely a quartet of a-dharma and so on. So a total of eight is reached. It is the pairs of opposites like dharma and a-dharma which are being defined as the qualities; it is not simply a question of divisions of Ignorance (a-jñāna).

How is the samādhi defined which is called cognitive and which follows when the mental process has been inhibited by these two means?

It has been said by the commentator (sūtra 1.1) that cognitive samādhi, accompanied with verbal associations and so on, will be spoken of later. The occasion has now come, when the mental process has been inhibited by these two means’, by detachment, higher and lower, and by practice, which is also to be understood to have two forms. What are the two forms of practice? The other remaining form, namely the practice for ultra-cognitive samādhi, will be given in sūtra I.18: It follows from the practice of the idea of stopping. From the wording, it is clear that there must have been a previous practice on an object of meditation. Furthermore he will say later (I.32), To prevent (the obstacles), practice on one principle.

The commentator has also said, (I.12), By detachment the current towards objects is dammed and by practice of discriminative vision the auspicious current of discrimination is made to flow. He has not said that cognitive samādhi is putting down the mental process entirely. The power to inhibit the whole mental process comes only after the withdrawal of its functioning first in regard to undesired objects; cognitive samādhi is still accompanied by certain mental objects. That is why in the second sūtra, inhibition was not given as the definition of cognitive samādhi.

Yoga Sutra 1.17

It is cognitive because accompanied with verbal associations (vitarka), with subtle associations (vicāra), with joy (ānanda), and the form of I-am-ness (asmitā)

The first (with vitarka) is an experience of something physical as the mind’s object of meditation. It is with subtle associations (vicāra) when the object of meditation is subtle. Joy means delight. I-am-ness is the feeling of being an individual self.

It was explained under the second sūtra that inhibition is not the definition of cognitive samādhi. When the mental process has been inhibited by the two means described, namely practice and detachment, how is the resulting samādhi to be described? It is cognitive, because accompanied with verbal associations, with subtle associations, with joy, and the form of I-am-ness. The word accompanied goes with each of them, so it means that it is accompanied with experience of the physical, with experience of the subtle, with experience of joy, and accompanied with the form of I-am. The word form in this last has the implication of ‘alone’, so that it means that the three previously mentioned qualities, of physical experience and so on, have ceased. The samādhi accompanied with verbal associations is experience of something physical as the object of the mind’s meditation. This experience is a confused meditation, the mind being transformed into the first form of meditation where it is mixed up with the physical. In the experience of the subtle, it relates to something subtle. Still more subtle is the third experience which is characterized by joy. ‘I-am’ is the bare thought of individual self-hood, when he is in samādhi on ‘I-am’ as his own nature. He will give an example (under I.36): Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of I-am alone.

(Opponent) But he is going to put I-am-ness (asmitā) among the taints when he says: The single selfhood, as it were, of the powers of seer and seeing is I-am-ness (II.6). How should samādhi be associated with a taint like I-am?

(Answer) It is a reasonable point, but there is no reason why the samādhi should not be in the form of I-am, because this is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone. Though there may be Ignorance in the object of meditation as I-am, this is not Ignorance in the yogin’s thought. For example, telepathy does not involve taking on the Ignorance of the thought of the other party. One reading the thought of another mind does not himself become ignorant from some defect of Ignorance in the thought of the other mind on which he is meditating.

Again, taint (kleśa) is something invariably characterized by illusion (viparyaya), as in the ideas ‘I go’ or ‘I am thin’. Not so the yogin’s mind, because rajas and tamas have been subdued in it.

Of these, the first samādhi – with verbal associations, sa-vitarka – is associated with all four. The second – with subtle associations, sa-vicāra – is without the verbal associations of the first. The third- with associations of joy, sa-ānanda – is without the subtle associations of the second. The fourth, being pure I-am, is without the association of joy. All these samādhi-s rest on an object.

In this sequence of four, an earlier one is associated with the qualities of all the later ones, and a later one is without the qualities of any earlier one. The purpose of the sūtra, then, is to define samādhi-s in terms of being associated with members of this set of four qualities. This is the normal way of defining a thing, by the special qualities which go with it, as ‘cow’ is defined as having a dewlap, etc.

Lest from the expression I-am it might be supposed that among these samādhi-s there is one without an object, he says, All these rest on an object.

It might be thought that I-am is something without any idea in it. But it is not so, for the established meaning of the expression I-am is ego (ahaṅkāra). And so he will say later, I-am is a feeling.

Now what is the means to ultra-cognitive samādhi, and what is its nature?

Ultra-cognitive samādhi was defined in the words Yoga is inhibition of the mental processes. Having defined it, then what is the means to it, what is the discipline by which it can be approached? and what is its nature, what is it in itself, what sort of state is it? To show how its nature is connected to the particular discipline for it, the sūtra now says:

Yoga Sutra 1.18

The other (samādhi) follows on practice of the idea of stopping, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone

The words follows on practice of the idea of stopping show the relation to the discipline, but consists of saṃskāra-s alone explains its nature. They both go with The other, which therefore follows on the practice, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone. It is the seed-less ultra-cognitive samādhi, which is other than the cognitive samādhi which has just been defined in the previous sūtra.

When all the mental processes have stopped and only saṃskāra-s remain, the samādhi of the mind thus inhibited is ultra-cognitive. The means to it is the higher detachment. No meditation on an object can be a means to it, so the meditation is made on the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything. It is void of any object. The practice of this finally leads to a state as it were of absence of objects: this is the samādhi without seed which is ultra-cognitive.

stopping is ceasing. The compound idea-of-stopping (virāma-pratyaya) means: stopping and the idea of it; the form of the idea is simply stopping, so it is called the idea of stopping. It still has the form of an idea at the time of ceasing from everything, while it is still coming to a stop and before it has ceased to be an idea at all. In the same way a flaming fire which is little by little going down as its fuel is used up, is still truly flame until it finally becomes ashes.

The practice of this idea of stopping finally leads to a state, which must have been preceded by this practice, where only saṃskāra-s remain: with the stopping of the ideas, what remains is only the saṃskāra-s of them. The meaning is that when the mind has withdrawn from ideas of objects, there remain saṃskāra-s alone. The means to it is the higher detachment: the further degree of detachment is the means to this samādhi.

(Opponent) It should have been said, the higher detachment also, because it has just been said that the means to inhibition is by practice and detachment both.

(Answer) Not so. There could be no question that practice is one of the means, because the sūtra itself sayspractice of the idea of stopping. But there might have been a doubt about detachment, which was not mentioned, and in merely supplying that, it is not necessary to say ‘also’.

(Opponent) Well then, why is there no mention of detachment in the sūtra itself?

(Answer) It has been mentioned already.

(Opponent) Why was it mentioned there (and not here)?

(Answer) Because detachment was the context there, and it was mentioned in connection with the further (higher) detachment as distinct from the earlier one. The earlier detachment is confined to the field of the cognitive samādhi, and the remaining and higher detachment is a discipline with a different field, concerned only with the samādhi without seed (nir-bīja). So the sūtra did not use the word ‘detachment’, but the commentator indicates what is necessarily implied, because it has been declared, Their inhibition is by practice and detachment (I.12).

No meditation on an object can be a means to it, because that would be incompatible with this samādhi which has no object, whereas the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything is compatible with the samādhi with no object, and the meditation is on it. This is the samādhi without seed, with only saṃskāra-s remaining, which is ultra-cognitive.

This is of two kinds: the result of a means, or the result of birth. Of these, it is the one resulting from a means that is for yogin-s.

Yoga Sutra 1.19

It results from birth in the case of gods discarnate, and in the case of those who absorb themselves into prakṛti

In the case of the gods free from a physical body, they experience a state of seeming release by the mental experience of their own saṃskāra-s alone. And they pass beyond this state when the saṃskāra-s causing it have finished maturing. So also those who merge themselves into prakṛti; a commitment still remains in their mind in spite of the absorption, and though they experience a state of seeming release, it is only so long as their mind is not set whirling again by the force of that commitment.

This without-seed samādhi is of two kinds: the result of a means, or the result of birth. The first is a result of, is attained by, a means, and it is for yogin-s. Though the gods discarnate are indeed yogin-s, here the reference is only to those who are engaged now in the yoga discipline beginning with restraints (sūtra II.29). Their samādhi is attained by way of faith, energy, and memory (sūtra I.20).

The gods discarnate do have an eight-fold elemental body. by mental experience of their own saṃskāra-s alone,the remainder of the saṃskara-s laid down by detachment and practice, they experience a state of seeming release. But when from the dropping away of sattva-guṇa the saṃskāra-s causing it have finished maturing they fall away from it.

As to the ones merged in prakṛti, there is a commitment which has not been fulfilled. Inasmuch as they have not attained the Knowledge-of-the-difference between (sattva) guṇa and Puruṣa, the mind has still a commitment which has not been carried out, so mind in this state experiences only a seeming release, as in the case of the gods, it is only so long as their mind is not set whirling again by the force of the commitment by the force of the compulsion to acquire Knowledge (vidyā), so long they experience the seeming release.

Yoga Sutra 1.20

For the others, it comes after faith, energy, memory, (cognitive) samādhi, and knowledge

The one resulting from a means is for yogin-s. Faith is a settled clarity of the mind: like a good mother, it protects a yogin. When he has that faith, and is seeking knowledge, there arises in him energy. When energy has arisen in him, his memory stands firm. When memory stands firm, his mind is undisturbed and becomes concentrated in samādhi. To the mind in samādhi comes knowledge by which he knows things as they really are. From practice of these means, and from detachment from the whole field of mental process, arises ultra-cognitive samādhi.

The ultra-cognitive samādhi resulting from a means is that of the yogin-s, and it follows from faith, energy, memory, samādhi, and knowledge (prajñā). What is called faith is a settled clarity of the mind in regard to attaining release, and to what he hears about the means to it; it is like the settled clarity of the water after the application of the kataka nut (which traditionally clears muddy water). Like a good mother, it protects a yogin, it defends him against adversities. When he has that faith, and is seeking knowledge, that is, when his goal is right vision (saṃyag-darśana), there arises energy enthusiasm for practising the yoga training. When energy has arisen in him, his memory is firm, memory of such things as the scriptural knowledge becomes very powerful. The qualification ‘in the case of a seeker of knowledge’ is to be read into each step. When memory stands firm, his mind is undisturbed and becomes concentrated in samādhi.

To the mind in samādhi comes extreme clarity of knowledge (prajñā), which has the power of illumining everything. He explains it further: by which he knows things as they really are, he knows facts like the self (ātman) as they really are (yathā-bhūta).

From practice of these means: as has been said, from the practice of the idea of stopping, there is vision of the self (ātman), and from detachment from the whole field of mental process, arises ultra-cognitive samādhi.

Yogin-s are of nine kinds, according to the methods which they follow, either mild or moderate or intense, and then sub-divided according to the energy – mild, moderate or ardent – with which they practise these respective methods. A mild method may be practised with mild or moderate or ardent energy, and so with the moderate method. Of those who practise intense methods,

Yoga Sutra 1.21

For those who practise with ardent energy, it is near

They soon attain samādhi and the fruit of samādhi.

The yogin-s, who practise the four methods beginning with faith, are of nine kinds. As he explains, they are divided according to the methods which they follow, either mild or moderate or intense. Each of these classes is sub-divided into three. Progress in the application of the method may be slow, or it may be moderate, or it may be energetic, and so it is with each of the three methods without exception. For those who practise the intense methods with ardent energy, samādhi and the fruit of samādhi are near at hand.

Yoga Sutra 1.22

Even among the ardent, there is a distinction of mild or moderate or intense

They may be mild or moderate or intense in their ardent energy, and so there is a further distinction. For the mildly ardent it is near: for the moderately ardent it is nearer: for the intensely ardent yogin who is practising intense methods, samādhi and the fruit of samādhi is nearest of all.

Even among these ardent yogin-s there are distinctions corresponding to whether their progress is slow or moderate or ardent, and this is a distinction of the saṃskāra-s created by their previous practice of the discipline. For the highest of them, the attainment of samādhi is nearest at hand.

The purpose of the sūtra is to fortify the enthusiasm of yogin-s in their practice. It is as in the world, where the prize goes to the one who runs fastest in the race. But again, by making it clear that (all) yogin-s whether slow or not do attain their aimed-at goal, it should arouse an undepressed spirit in them; those, on the other hand, who have become over-anxious as a result of fatigue from intense efforts, might lose heart (unless told the goal is near).

Is this the only way by which samādhi is soon attainable, or is there perhaps some other means?


(4) Read 1.23 – 1.26, God. Sūtra-s only

Pass over the elaborate proofs. Take it as a working hypothesis to be confirmed by experiment.

Yoga Sutra 1.23

Or by special devotion to the Lord

As a result of the special devotion which is bhakti (love of God), the Lord bends down to him and rewards him according to what he has meditated on. If the yogin has meditated on it, the attainment of samādhi and its fruit is near at hand.

He explains that there is another way, Or by special devotion to the Lord. The meaning of the word Lord will be given later; here he describes devotion. It is the devotion which is bhakti, and the Lord bends down to him and rewards him. The Lord comes face to face with him and gives his grace to the yogin who is fully devoted to him, according to what the yogin has meditated upon; the grace is effortless, by the mere omnipotence of the supreme Lord. By that grace of the Lord, samādhi and its fruit are soon attainable.

Who is this Lord who is neither pradhāna nor Puruṣa?

Yoga Sutra 1.24

Untouched by taints or karma-s or their fruition or their latent stocks is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa

The taints are Ignorance, I-am-ness, desire, hate, and clinging to life. Karma-s are good and bad. Their fruition is the results they bring. The corresponding latent impulses (vāsanā) are the latent stocks. All these exist in the mind but are attributed to Puruṣa, for he is the experiencer of their results. It is as when victory or defeat, which are events on the battle-field, are attributed to the ruler. Untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa.

Who is this Lord who is neither pradhāna nor Puruṣa? In the Sāṅkhya classics no proof of God is given, and one asks for some proof of the Lord, that he really exists, and again what is the special nature of this Lord who necessarily is not directly known. He gives the answer to these points in the sūtra, Untouched by taints or karma-s or their fruition or their latent stocks is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa.

Ignorance and the others are taints, because they cause defilement. They have been caused by previous karma-s, good and bad; this phrase good and bad implies that there are also some which are a mixture of good and bad. Their fruition is the experience of birth and life. These taints, karma-s, and fruitions lie latent (but dynamic) until they are absolutely dissolved and these are the latent stocks; the phrase can be taken to mean simply the whole mass of taints, karma-s, and fruitions.

They exist in the mind because they are mental processes (mano-vṛtti) but are attributed to Puruṣa. How so? He is the experiencer of their results. As victory and defeat, which are events of battles, are attributed to the king, because the result relates to the king.

Untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa. No reference to tense is intended, because the implication is that he is not touched by it, nor will be touched by it, nor has been touched by it. The meaning is: never bound to taints of karma-s or their fruition or accumulation.

Is he then one of those who have attained their release? There are many who have done so. (No,) untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa. Others have attained release by cutting the three bonds, but for the Lord such bondage never was nor will come to be, as it will for one who has absorbed his mind into prakṛti. But the Lord is ever freed, ever the Lord. His eternal perfection is from perfect sattva.

To clarify the meaning of the sūtra he says Is he then one of those who have attained their release? There are many who have done so. For it is possible that being untouched by taints and karma-s might be only for some particular time. There are many who have been released: are they too Lords? No, because of the potentiality of contact, they are not absolutely untouched by taints etc. For them, there are both contact (in the past) and freedom from contact (now), but the Lord is never touched. The word untouched is not of itself unrestricted as to time, and it must be applied by extension to cover all times. So he alone is here called untouched who is absolutely never touched.

The others attained release after cutting the three bonds. The three bonds are those of the unmanifest prakṛti, those of manifest principles, and those connected with sacrifices; having destroyed them by right vision (saṃyag-darśana) they attained release, but for the Lord, bondage, by taints and karma-s, never was. It is not as in the case of a released one, where previous bondage must have existed, just because he does come to attain a state of release. For release (mukti) is release from some previous bondage. nor will it come to be, as it will come to be for one who has absorbed his mind into prakṛti. For him, a future mass of bondage, of the saṃsāra which has not yet come into operation, is inevitable. Then the (ordinary) man whose saṃsāra has begun to operate already, and whose mind is not absorbed into prakṛti, is subject to both past and future masses of bondage. What we have said is to show that untouched has no reference to time. He is ever freed, ever the Lord.

It has been said in the sūtra that the Lord is a special Puruṣa. The Puruṣa of the Lord will have no character of divine power, because power pertains to the mind; transcendent (niratiśaya) power must be connected to a perfect (prakṛṣṭa) mind. He confirms this conclusion in order to lead on to what follows: That eternal perfection of the Lord is from his perfect sattva. The perfection is the possession of the powers of omniscience and omnipotence, eternal and transcendent.

This perfection – does it have a cause or is it without a cause? The cause is holy scripture. Then what is the cause of scripture? The cause is the perfection (of the divine mind).

To clarify what is being said, he begins with this question: is there any cause for it or is it causeless? The word nimitta means karaṇa (cause). So the point is, is it caused or uncaused? Now what is the object of the question?

(Opponent) If in the first place it is taken to have a cause, then it was illogical to say ever the Lord, because his perfection would not be eternal (if it had been caused). Again, if without a cause, it would follow that the perfection, which is an effect, would never come to exist at all. For no effect is ever found without a cause.

(Answer) It is not uncaused, because holy scripture is its cause. Scripture here means knowledge (jñāna); the perfection has a cause, because scripture is its cause. Scriptural knowledge is universal and eternal, and rests in a transcendent self-sufficient principle apart from ordinary postulates and proofs.

(Opponent) Knowledge has to be known by someone, and before that, it would have been imperfect. So what is the cause of scripture? If scriptural knowledge appears spontaneously (svābhāvika), it would be caused by imperfection like the ideas of a man drunk or mad (which arise suddenly from nowhere). But then again, if it has a cause, prior to the operation of that cause the scripture would have been defective.

(Answer) It is not causeless, in so far as it has perfection of sattva as its cause, which is to say that it rests on perfect sattva; and this is why there is no defect of knowledge spontaneously appearing (svābhāva jñāna- associated by the opponent with madness).

Furthermore, even if it were (taken as) spontaneously appearing knowledge, it is not like the ideas of madmen, because it rests on sattva and so is always free from Ignorance and other taints. Just as there is a beginningless relation, like that of seed and sprout, between knowledge, saṃskāra, and memory, related as they are as mutually cause and effect, just so there is a beginningless and endless relation between scripture and his perfection in the mind of the Lord, a relation which is ever active. The perfection of the Lord is simply the effect of the omniscience which is its cause.

There is an explanation by others, to the effect that the word nimitta (normally ‘cause’) here means ‘proof.’

Scripture is its cause would then mean that it is the proof of it, for the Lord’s perfection is proved by scripture. Then what proves scripture? The proof of it is the pure sattva of the Lord. For the authoritativeness of scripture is because it was composed out of pure sattva, as in the case of Manu and others. Thus scripture says, ‘Whatever Manu said is medicine’ (Taitt. Sam. 2.2.10.2). So in ordinary life, what is declared by a teacher is authoritative.

Between those two – scripture and perfection – present in the divine sattva, there is a beginningless relation.

Scripture and perfection are eternally related, as proof and proved.

(Opponent) But the scripture which is supposed to prove perfection is not now in the divine sattva.

(Answer) It is, because since the sattva produced it, scripture is still present in it. Scripture arose from it, but is still present in it, just because it is omniscient. In ordinary life we see that what originates from something is in fact still present in it, as a cloth is present in the threads that compose it.

That scripture originates from the sattva is known from inference and authority. So the proof of the perfection is scripture, and the proof of scripture is the Lord; there is no fallacy of mutual dependence because they depend on different things.

(Opponent) If the authority of the Lord is based on scripture, but the scripture derives its own authority from the divine authority, then there would be the circle of mutual dependence.

(Answer) The authority of the Lord is established by inference, so there is no such fallacy.

Thus it is that he is ever and always the Lord and ever and always freed. That divine power of his is without any equal or superior.

Thus it is – how so? The relation, in the form of mutual cause and effect, between the divine repository of perfect sattva, and the perfection and transcendent knowledge, is eternal; because it is eternal, he is ever and always the Lord and ever and always freed. That Lordship is without any equal or superior. This is the conclusion of the proofs to be given now. Or again, it is a summing up of the sūtra. Now he explains how the power of the Lord is unsurpassed:

For to begin with, it is not surpassed by any other power, because whatever other power would surpass it, would be that itself

It is not surpassed by any other power. Why not? because whatever other power one might suppose would surpass it, would be that itself- the power which we are explaining, since whatever other surpassing power there is, that power is the Lord. There is no power equal to it, because perfection cannot be equalled.

Where the summit of power is attained, there is the Lord, and there can be no power equal to his. Why not? Suppose there were two equal Lords, and something which was the object of a wish by both, one of them wanting it to be new and the other wanting it to be old. Then if one succeeded, the other would be demeaned by frustration of his will. Nor could two equals possess the same thing at the same time, because that would be impossible. Therefore he who has power neither equalled nor surpassed, he alone is the Lord. And he is a special Puruṣa.

For there cannot be two kings in one kingdom, nor one king in two kingdoms. And so he explains, Suppose there were two equal Lords, then … one of them could not have his way without overriding the will of the other. If the two wanted the same thing, they could not both achieve it; there would be a battle for supremacy over the desired object. The fact of equality would be the very thing to destroy it.

And the conflict might be undeclared: an overt superiority on one side and a hidden superiority on the other are still in opposition. The point is that things which seem the same have relative superiorities (along with their apparent equality).

Therefore this Lord is one whose power has none to equal or surpass it, and it is established that the Lord is a special Puruṣa apart from pradhāna and Puruṣa-s.

Yoga Sutra 1.25

In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent

All certain knowledge, of past or future or present or a combination of them, or from extra-sensory perception, whether that knowledge be small or great, is the seed of omniscience. He in whom it becomes transcendent is omniscient. The seed of omniscience attains the ultimate, because it is something which has degrees, like any measurable. He in whom knowledge attains the ultimate, is omniscient. And he is a special Puruṣa.

A proof is added in demonstration of the Lord who has been described: In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent. In whom in that Lord as described, it is proper that it should become transcendent. What should become transcendent? All certain knowledge whether from perception or from inference, with its field the past, with its field the future, or with its field the present, or with its field a combination of them, or with its field what is beyond the senses. As the past and future are part of what is beyond the senses, those perceptions are all called extra-sensory. This extra-sensory perception is three-fold: with its field the subtle, with its field what is concealed, and with its field what is distant. The well-known limited knowledge, whether small or great, can increase by the very fact that it has degrees, so it is the seed of omniscience, as the knowledge of smoke (is the seed) of the knowledge of fire.

He verily is omniscient in whom the supreme limit is reached. It is said in whom because knowledge abides in a knower, so a knower is implied, and it is in that knower.

So with power too. It has degrees and so increases, and the one in whom it attains the limit is omnipotent. By this it is established that there is a creator, controlling the maintenance and withdrawal of the world also. He in whom the increase of power reaches the ultimate is the supreme Lord. And the perfection is the absence of the defect (doṣa) of illusions (viparyaya) like powerlessness.

(Opponent) If so, then in that Lord there will be perfection of ignorance (a-jñāna) too, increasing till perfect in its own nature by reaching the limit.

(Answer) Not so, because ignorance is opposed to knowledge, and these two opposites cannot coexist in a single being. For where knowledge is preeminent, ignorance is impossible. Where light increases, darkness can only be lessened.

(Opponent) The reverse should hold too.

(Answer) Not so, because when there is light, we do not see darkness. When darkness is there, it is removed by a light, but when there is a light it is never overcome by darkness.

Even in the rainy season when the sun does not appear because it is covered by clouds, that is merely a screening of the vision; the light itself is not overcome, as darkness is (by light).

Therefore ignorance cannot exist where there is increase of knowledge, any more than darkness can exist in the sun; for the material cause (upādāna) of knowledge is sattva, which always and altogether overcomes the other guṇa-s, rajas and tamas.

Further, there cannot be an increase in ignorance as such, because its object is not a real thing; whereas there can be growth of knowledge, whose object is knowable (real) things. If ignorance had a real thing as its object, it would be knowledge.

(Opponent) One might say that ignorance attains its perfection in inanimate things.

(Answer) But that cannot be called perfection, but a complete absence of knowledge (and that is all). If there were a perfection of ignorance, then a thousand repetitions of ignorance would not be dispelled by a single knowledge (as they are). It ought to require knowledge arising the corresponding number of times to dispel the ignorance. Therefore by its very nature, ignorance can have no ‘perfection’.

Anything that has degrees increases till the ultimate is attained; the limited measure of things like fruits ends up in the vastness of space. And so the seed of omniscience can reach a highest limit. It is a direct perception by one entity of the whole and the parts of the total aggregate of things, which are all knowables like jars.

It is because things are knowables that men seek for them, as they look for jars for instance. Again, the earth is something produced, for it has parts like a jar.

So the world has been constructed by One who knows the separate classes of living beings, of their karma and its means and its results, and he provided the world as an appropriate place for these to be experienced, as one might build a palace for people to live in. The earth is created by One who has the knowledge of what is to be experienced by the many living beings, like rice and barley (cultivated by a farmer for others to eat).

These two examples show that the abode of all the living beings, the earth with its mountains and rivers, has been created by a single conscious master craftsman, adapted so that those who live in it can have the appropriate experiences.

The sun is created by one Knower who has power to control the light in which the many beings share, for its essence is light, like a lamp. The sun’s course, rising and setting at fixed times, is ordered by One who knows its purpose, for it goes according to fixed times as if pulled along. The course of sun, planets, moon and stars is controlled by one intelligent Lord; for to keep to fixed times is inherently difficult, as it is for a punctilious student or servant.

The waxing and waning of the moon is controlled by a single Knower of the times of the lunar month, etc., for there is accurate discrimination of the divisions of time, as with a clock. The moon has been created by one who knows those discriminations of time, because its waxing and waning are controlled to the minute.

The world has a single Lord who is intelligent; just as when there are many groups of living beings each with its appointed leader and with conflicting interests, the whole tribe has a single sovereign.

There must be a supervision by some one entity of the whole complex of occupations with their means and ends, as in the example of war, for instance, where mutually opposing or co-operating interests must subserve a single purpose. There must be a supervision because it is complex, as in the operations of a potter. This is our position.

Everything is simultaneously overseen by One, because there are mutual relations between many things, and relations too are well known to be of more than one kind.

When a means like the fire rite (agnihotra) is to be undertaken, it is overseen by someone, because it is essentially a means to effect a purpose, like the satisfaction of hunger from eating.

All powers are overseen by some one, because of the fact that they are things, like jars. When there is no intervening obstacle, everything material is perceived by someone, since there is a relationship with that thing’s attributes of sound and so on; as the sound is clearly heard when a man is munching a large cake, even apparently very far off.

Inherently everything is known directly by somebody by the very fact that it is a knowable, as in the case of a drama. In the absence of obstacles, everything is known by someone, inasmuch as everything is related to everything else, as the actors are bound together in the plot of the drama.

The omniscient (Lord) is free from saṃsāra because he has no Ignorance – in that like a released self; he is apart from taints, etc. because his knowledge is unobstructed – in that like a perfect yogin.

By the fact of that freedom from Ignorance and obstruction by taints, etc., it is certain that he has perfect knowledge of every object without the mediation of senses like the eye; the all-pervading mind of the supreme Lord is in simultaneous contact with every object, and so can perceive everything. For there can be no reason for his not perceiving the totality of things.

Nor can there be any obstruction by solid forms any more than by space, for his mind is in contact with all things. There being infinity of objects, there is infinity of their appearances and disappearances, of memories and purposes; but the process of that mind is like the light of the sun, for it grasps them in their forms as objects.

His mind-sattva is not impeded by any covering of taints and so on arising from contact with a-dharma. Sattva, all-pervading and in-all-things, does have also a dependent perception (in ordinary men) through the gates of the senses, where its innate mode of activity overcomes the limiting obstructions of a-dharma, etc. For instance, a lamp set in a perforated jar illumines what is outside through the openings of the holes in its enclosure; but this same lamp, when its enclosing covering has been shattered, illumines everything without being dependent on holes for a path. Just so the sattva of the Lord, being untouched by the covering of taints, etc., has perception of absolutely everything at the same time, for there is no cause which could suppress any particular object. So there is no question of transcending or failing to transcend (some limitation).

The world, then, must have a single Lord by whom everything is perceived, because there are many different kinds of things for which he stands as the protector, as in the familiar case of a kingdom.

The wise have taught the performance of duties of caste, stage of life and so on, with their respective agents, experiencers, action, discipline and the related results. These are to be performed by those seeking the results, or by those who are fearful of committing sins. So it is like applying medical remedies. The teachings are like medical prescriptions in that it is for the sake of others that they are taught, in that they are relied on by informed people, and in that they deal with things which the ordinary man would not come to know without being taught.

The sole efficient cause for the fashioning of body and senses is someone knowing all their purposes, for they are means of bringing about definite actions and states, like the machine which works the marionettes in a dolls’-house show. (Gītā XVIII.61).

They have a definite arrangement, as it has.

And the senses, as instruments, are comparable to a plane for paring wood fine.

Again, they all make up the occasion for definite effects, the purposes of the human experiencer and the means for his experiences, as a jar does. These are the reasons for their existence.

Earth is perishable because it is of middling dimensions, liable to be destroyed by various causes, a basis on which experience can take place, with forms which are means for producing the results of actions; in some places it is piled up, in others reduced, or increased or taken away or burnt or split.

Things like the body, composed of earth and other elements, are perishable, because they have the power of destroying each other, as armed men have.

And on the other side, in every way the opposite to man, there is space, with its properties of creation and destruction. It makes things manifest, as the receptacle which holds the external sense-objects with their properties, like a jar.

Therefore it is established that there is a supreme Lord (parameśvara) whose lordship is unlimited in power and knowledge.

(Opponent) The meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’, because all that can be known is individual things denoted by words, whose knowers must depend on some means to know them, just as we do.

The word ‘Lord’ does not imply any connection with unlimited knowledge. It is a word, like the word jar, and the world has no omniscient Lord of all, for it consists of independent beings in mutual confrontation like princes and kings. In the past and future as in the present, no living beings experience omniscience, just because they are living beings like ourselves. There is no omniscient Lord of all as you imagine, for none such is known, any more than the horn of a hare.

He could not be omniscient and a Lord if he were incorporeal like a released self. Again, if he is supposed to have a body, then his embodiment would be in accordance with dharma and a-dharma and he would be a being of this world (saṃsārin) just like ourselves. If he is to be without a body, then he will not be the creator of the world who blesses his devotees; he will be simply a released self.

We admit that the particular ordering of the world is adapted to give particular experiences, but that is purely natural like the sharpness of thorns, or the opening and closing of waterlilies and lotuses. The going and staying of sun, moon, and stars also is natural to them, like the action of magnets.

(Answer) If it were merely natural, there would not be the order in the earth and elsewhere. Nor is there any example of anything accomplished of itself; it is generally accepted that the sharpness of thorns is not merely from their nature (but has a cause).

(Opponent) Heat and so on are, so to say, the very nature of fire; in the same way, order in the world is caused by the qualities of the things.

(Answer) Then the order in palaces too would be from the mere qualities of the things, and the argument would be too wide.

(Opponent) Let this too be from their nature.

(Answer) That is not right, because it is apparent that the order in the world is connected with the aim of giving experience of the results of dharma and a-dharma. It will subsequently control the states of the agent and his dharma and a-dharma.

Therefore the order in the world is not natural, because it has a purpose, namely to provide experience for living beings, like the order in a palace. The movement of the moon and stars is not natural, just because it is a movement, like the movement of us human beings.

(Opponent) Let us say that our movements too are natural.

(Answer) No, because then they ought always to be the same, like the heat of fire. The heat of fire being natural, there is nothing to produce any drive to attain something for itself, because there is no subject there. But in the order of action and result, there is a drive to attain something for oneself (as in building a palace), arising from a definite cause, and it is not merely natural.

(Opponent) Let the definite cause of the drive be the nature of the order in palaces.

(Answer) Allowing that the nature could be of this kind, then the order in the world too will embody a drive from that same definite cause as with the palaces. Therefore your argument is not at all a clearing up of the weak point, namely that there is dependence on an outside agent, and in fact it proves the opposite.

Your inferences are no proofs because they go against ordinary experience, against proper inference, and against authority. First there are the contradictions in the inference from the standpoint of having degrees (sātiśaya, as opposed to the transcendence or niratiśaya of the sūtra). Then the contradiction with sacred authority is established by such texts as ‘he who is all-knowing, omniscient’ (Muṇḍ. Up. 1.1.9) and ‘One ruler’ (Kaṭh. Up. 5.12).

But there is also contradiction of common experience. Everyone, including women and cowherds, does turn to God, under names like Śiva and Nārāyana. Even when they are being disobedient or distracted in their minds, running wild into fields prohibited by him, they still bow their heads before the Lord and worship him with offerings of lotus garlands. By this they hope to attain their ends.

(Opponent) The only contradiction is between two propositions: one declares the non-existence of omniscience, and the other is your own inference.

(Answer) That proposition of yours is no true inference. Why not? From the first, it is faulty. When you begin by saying that the meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’, your very statement has referred to the Lord, so you are making an issue of something already established (siddha-sādhyatā).

(Opponent) It is only the Lord as proposed by us. …

(Answer) Then it is the fallacy of specifying something uncertain.

(Opponent) What we are saying is, that the Lord is not omniscient.

(Answer) As before, you are making an issue of what you have already established (by your own words – siddham sādhyate).

And it contradicts your own position. How so? With the development of the seeds (potentialities) of power and omniscience, an ultimate must be reached, as with any measure. The word ‘Lord’ means that power has attained its ultimate, and ‘omniscient’ means that knowledge has similarly attained. The attainment of the ultimate means unlimitedness. As with all measures, the limitations of the measure come to an end in the self or in universal space or the like.

In fact you are referring to the meaning of the words while at the same time their meaning – that the Lord is the attainment of the ultimate – is supposed to have been rejected. If a word has part of its meaning rejected, it is not being meaningfully used.

(Opponent) Well, we do not admit that for all measures there is a final unlimitedness.

(Answer) That is opposed to your own doctrine. For if there is no all-pervadingness of self and space and so on, they will have the defects of limited measure and of transience.

(Opponent) The all-pervadingness of the self means simply that it shows itself in all places by its effects (as individual selves).

(Answer) Then the inference (sāmānyato-dṛṣṭa) would have to be drawn that the selves of birds should exist in the bodies of men. Here too inference cannot be contradicted.

(Opponent) You have not shown that our conclusion does contradict inference.

(Answer) The contradiction of inference comes in saying that self and space must be perceptible things, like elements such as earth. No such contradiction of inference can be allowed, because it would mean that inference would cease to exist (as a proof).

(Opponent) Let us do without inference.

(Answer) Then there could be no confidence in perception either.

(Opponent) Perception is valid because it produces confirmable ideas.

(Answer) The ideas from inference are equally certain, so that too should have validity.

(Opponent) Inference (for instance, of fire) is only when there is a perceived relation with the (seen) object, namely smoke.

(Answer) In that case inference would cease to exist. (Proposition) this place which has smoke does not have fire; (reason) because no relation with fire is known by direct perception; (example) as in places known to be without fire.

(Opponent) In such cases where the relation is not seen, the apparent force of inference comes from the fact that it agrees with some other means of proof.

(Answer) Then direct perception – inasmuch as it is a proof just like inference – would be a proof only because of agreeing with yet another proof. It would turn out to be no more of a proof than inference, because there would be no further proof to confirm it. Therefore the authoritativeness of inference cannot be impugned, in view of the fact that it produces ideas which are certain.

Further, one who does not accept the force of inference should have no fear of snakes and the like, because he has never actually perceived any personally fatal relation with them. He would not make use of medicines to cure disease, because he would have no fear of death. And as he would have had no experience of birth, he would think that his body had never been born. And he would not reject or take up or use things. Therefore inferring from the general case that what is measurable has increasing degrees, it is established that there is a knowledge which is unlimited – the knowledge possessed by the Lord.

Moreover, in the very statement that there is not a divine omniscience, we find a recognition that it exists, because it is impossible to deny what has no meaning. The word ‘not’ by itself has no sense. When it is said that the Lord is not omniscient, in those words the fact of an omniscience somewhere has been accepted.

As when it is said that there is no horn on a hare, or that there is no son of a barren woman, or there are no flowers in space – things like horns and sons and flowers do exist somewhere; the denial of them is only as related to the hare and the barren woman and space. So here too. When it is said ‘the Lord is not omniscient’, by the denial of any relation between what is meant by ‘Lord’ and what is meant by ‘omniscience’, an omniscience is being accepted, of someone other than the Lord. For unless the related things have been accepted as existent, their relationship can not be denied. Their existence thus proved, is now denied by you and made out to be unproved. Which is mere futility, for there can be no denial of the universally accepted meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. To deny the universally accepted infinite extent of space with the words ‘there is no space of infinite extent’, and then to propose that it exists in the limited measure of things like jars, is not reasonable.

When the Lord and omniscience are denied, the position is self-refuting by its own words, for it accepts the Lord and omniscience as the established meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’. It cannot be that fire is not the meaning of the word ‘fire’.

(Opponent) The words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’ are not of established meaning.

(Answer) Even so, it is not reasonable to deny that they refer to something. One cannot take up a position as to something which is not established at all. One is not entitled -just because the matter is not established – to denythat there is a goatherd girl on this mountain. The denial would have no basis because it would refer to something uncertain.

(Opponent) Between the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’, with (allowably) established referents, and unlimited Lordship and omniscience, which have not been established as existing, the relation is simply imagined by certain people, like the imagination of flowers in the sky. It should be denied.

(Answer) There too, since a meaning has been accepted and then denied, the proposition is self-refuting.

Because you admit that the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’ mean universals, manifesting more than one lord and omniscient one, namely some with degrees and others transcendent.

It is well known that the two words give rise to the idea of something with more than one manifestation, in that they are connected with ideas of superior and inferior. For it is not that when the head of a village is called the lord of it, the heads of two or three villages will not be even greater lords, or that one who is the head of a single household should not be lord of it. This is the ordinary sense of the word.

In grammar, the word omniscient is always connected with the idea of degrees (i.e. knowing about every fact in one or more particular fields). ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’, with limits or without limits, must be accepted as the things referred to by the two words. So a proposition which denies them is contradicting what has been accepted, like denying that the meaning of the word ‘great’ is the greatness of Self or of space and so on.

(Opponent) There is no unlimited Lord or omniscient one, for none such is ever perceived; there is no Lord, any more than there is a man with two heads.

(Answer) Still, since it is admitted that the words do refer to something, the proposition contradicts what has been admitted. Inferring from the fact that lordship and omniscience are potentialities which increase by degrees, the fact of unlimited Lordship and omniscience can be known. Like anything measurable, they go to infinity, and they are not uncertain just because they are not directly perceived.

(Opponent) The word ‘Lord’ as it stands does not mean omniscient, because omniscience has to be demonstrated as a fact, like any other knowledge.

(Answer) That would be a proposition opposed to all proofs, which all establish that the settled meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is the omniscience which we are discussing.

Now let us see what he would say who maintains that the meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’ because omniscience must be demonstrated factually like a jar-

(Opponent) There is no omniscient one in this world. Neither in time or direction or space or habitations of living beings, nor in living beings themselves, is there omniscience. Nor does any proof demonstrate anyone who is omniscient. True knowers never meet anyone omniscient.

(Answer) Such statements deny any unlimited Lord or omniscient one, and they are contrary to the accepted meanings of the words, so they must be said to be unsound as propositions.

(Opponent) Why then, the proposition that the son of a barren woman does not exist because no living being ever meets him anywhere in the world at any time, and no living being is the son of a barren woman, would be subject to the same unsoundness!

(Answer) Not so, because the words denying the existence of the barren woman’s son do not refer to any established meaning, as do the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. All you have done is to deny a meaning which is merely an idea produced by stringing the words together; there is no acceptance of the existence of a barren woman’s son. So the denial is not self-contradictory.

(Opponent) What the negation ‘the Lord is not omniscient’ is rejecting is simply an idea that had been accepted; of course it could never reject an actual fact, like a mahout driving away an elephant. If by a ‘not’ one could drive away a fact, then by a simple ‘not’ one would drive off the ideas of the theist (īśvara-vādin). What is being rejected here is a mere idea; this is a standard form of refutation, and there is no defect in our position.

(Answer) Yes, but there is a distinction. The idea of an established thing may get denied at some other particular time, being based on the universal of the thing, as in the sentence ‘there is no jar (here and now)’. Another idea, of something imaginary, induced by verbal associations and without any real content at all, is also rejected, as in ‘there is no son of a barren woman’.

But where there is rejection of a true fact established by some means of right knowledge, such rejection of what is admitted to exist must be wrong, as in the sentence, ‘the meaning of the word Lord is not omniscient’. The statement that the transcendent omniscience of the Lord is the meaning of the words ‘the Lord’s omniscience’ is generally accepted, and by that indicatory mark it is established that an unlimited Lordly omniscience does exist, just as words like ‘great’ and ‘many’ imply an infinite extent.

These words like ‘great’, carrying as they do the sense of the normal corresponding universals of degrees of greatness and so on, are indications pointing to the existence of an unlimited universal greatness, etc., manifesting in those degrees. The manifestation of unlimited greatness has the power of pervading the universals of greatness, etc., in the corresponding manifestation of limited degree. Whenever there is the limited degree, that unlimited pervades it. But the latter, being unlimited, is not something that can be pervaded by something else, so in infinity the pervading universal comes to an end, since that always depends on the existence of something which it can pervade. Thus it is established by right knowledge that the refusal of any meaning to the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’, which has been urged, is a rejection of a demonstrated fact; as such, it is a false position.

Nor can it be made out that the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’ do not have these meanings, or have some other meanings. From the gradually increasing degrees of power, omniscience and lordship among men, (we infer) a principle which is unlimited, and to labour to deny it is a position contradicting inference. Moreover in denying the Lord ‘imagined by the other side’, they end up basing themselves on a (telepathic) perception of the minds of others.

(Opponent) It is only from the words (of those others) …

(Answer) No, because their words accord (with what we are saying), inasmuch as they show that the fact of degrees is a conclusive indication proving the existence of absolute omniscience. In denying such meaning to the words, you deny what you have accepted, and as before it is contrary to inference.

Again, without omniscience there is no certainty about the (limited) knowability of things. Why? Because that depends on having accepted the absolute knowledge and power which we have described. Now let him willingly accept what is similar (to what he has already accepted), and then there is the certainty of omniscience, from what has been already accepted.

To deny what is similar to what one has accepted comes to saying, ‘a pot is not a pot, because it is a thing, like a cloth’; it would be like that here too.

Unless an unlimited principle is accepted, there would be no certain basis for the postulated characteristics of the knowability of objects. And when it is accepted, what needs to be proved further? He who would say to a satisfied man, ‘Do not eat the food’, what would he have accomplished?

(Opponent) Well then, accepting the Lord beyond limitations, I deny that he possesses omniscience.

(Answer) This is not reasonable, because omniscience too has no limits. Lordship and omniscience which have degrees are in the field of superiority and inferiority, and therefore indefinite, so they cannot be the principal meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. Words like ‘great’ are not being used in their primary sense when used to describe things like jars, because jars are of indefinite size, as against things like space. So here too, infinite Lordship and omniscience, which are not indefinite, are the principal meanings of the words. Rejecting the principal meaning of words leads nowhere.

You reject the omniscience of the Lord on the assumption that he must have the character of a knowable object; but it would similarly follow that if he were a knowable object like a jar he should be unconscious, because it is the same argument. As knowability would involve non-omniscience, so it would involve unconsciousness.

(Opponent) That contradicts perception.

(Answer) Here again, how is it that you do not even glance at your own contradiction of inference and sacred authority?

Nor can it be that somewhere there has been something illusorily projected, for or against. For among the knowables, the actual things always exist; a delusion is not classed as a knowable thing.

(Opponent) He is not omniscient because he is a self.

(Answer) It would follow that your gods would not have knowledge, any more than a released self.

(Opponent) That contradicts perception.

(Answer) You yourself are contradicting inference and authority, as before. As to the point that neither in the past nor in the future does anyone know of any Lord, which throws doubt on any knowledge of gods at the present time, inasmuch as living beings are the same now as in the past and future: the answer is, that living beings of the past and future know through indicatory marks such as having degrees, and as inquirers they are conversant with the means of right knowledge, so that they are like ourselves (and will reach the same conclusion).

(Opponent) The Lord has no body, so he is no more omniscient than the released selves, or space for example.

(Answer) Not so, because he has a body.

(Opponent) Since manifest and unmanifest (principles) are all without a body, we must conclude that such a Lord would not be eternal, because having a body he would then be connected with dharma and a-dharma.

(Answer) No, because he is without a body.

(Opponent) It is a contradiction that he both has a body and has not.

(Answer) No, for there is the example of the same self which when released has no body, but while in the process of releasing himself, has one.

(Opponent) In that particular case there is no contradiction because the times are different.

(Answer) Here too we accept difference of time. Furthermore just because he is the Lord, he has the double potentiality of simultaneously having instruments and being without them. So the holy texts say, ‘Without a body, in all the bodies’ (Kath. Up. 2.22), ‘Who stands in all beings’ (Bṛhad. Up. 3.7.15), and ‘Who is all-knowing, omniscient (Muṇḍ. Up. 1.1.9) and others.

(Opponent) The holy texts of the Veda aim at giving injunctions and prohibitions, and not ideas about the Lord.

(Answer) Not so, for the holy texts (just cited) are not ancillary to anything else. For indications and so on from texts that are ancillary would not give right knowledge of something else (but these do).

(Opponent) They are merely ancillary, for rites like the full moon sacrifice contain the injunction to study of the scriptures on the Self and repetition of Om (svādhyāya).

(Answer) No, because there are other injunctions such as the soma rite, with separate instructions for them, and they could not each be ancillary to the other. So when holy texts say for instance ‘He is to be thought on, to be meditated upon’, it is proper that they have their own field, and are not ancillary to rites like agnihotra.

(Opponent) There is no result (from pure self-realization).

(Answer) There is, for it is shown in statements of the holy texts like ‘He attains all worlds and all desires who has sought that self and realized it’ (Chānd. Up. 8.12.6).

(Opponent) These texts are merely supplements to injunctions to worship (upāsanā), and they are simply praise.

(Answer) There cannot be praise by describing what does not exist at all. For the sense of the text ‘Vāyu is the swiftest god’ (Taitt. Saṃ. 2.1.1) cannot be that Vāyu is not the swiftest.

(Opponent) There could be praise by referring to something that does not exist in certain places.

(Answer) No, because here we are concerned with something established by inference (as all-pervading).

(Opponent) As he is conjoined with all bodies and sense organs, the Lord must be affected by the happiness and pain of all living beings.

(Answer) No, because there are other auxiliary causes for them. Dharma and a-dharma are the causes responsible for the embodiment and experience of living beings. Dharma and a-dharma are the causes which bring them to pain and other experiences, and there is no dharma or a-dharma in the Lord. What connects the effects of body and so on with their cause is the absolute omnipotence; it is like a house (built by the Lord) and the one who has entered it (the living being).

(Opponent) There is no perception of everything (by the Lord) because perception needs sense-organs (which are limited), as we find in our own experience.

(Answer) No, because there is no cause to obstruct those (such as the Lord or perfect yogin-s) who have the capacity to perceive all things. Any restriction of the field (of knowledge) is made by the covering up, by dharma and a-dharma, of sense-organs which are (inherently) all-pervasive. Where the veiling by the obstacles of dharma and a-dharma is not found, there is nothing to prevent the sense-organs from having as their field everything without exception.

Or again, the Lord experiences everything through the sense-organs of all the living beings, into which the inmost self, itself without sense-organs, has entered as into a house. There is nothing without the living Inner Dweller; the holy texts ‘Who is abiding in earth’, ‘Who is abiding in water’ (Bṛhad. Up. 3.7.3 and 4) and others teach us of the Lord as the Inner Dweller in all.

And again, his perfect sattva, endowed with the Lordliness of eternal power and knowledge, going everywhere like space, is in touch with everything; it illumines every object because it is directed to everything, and it is never obstructed because it has no association with dharma or a-dharma and so on. Therefore, though the Lord has no body and no sense-organs, he is perfect in omniscience.

(Opponent) A mind can only come into touch with forms and so on by means of sense-organs like the eye.

(Answer) No, for this holds only in the absence of divine power or the dharma (which gives special power).

And it is found in the world that sometimes objects of vision are not perceived by the eye. When the object of vision is total blackness, it is known even with closed eyes by an attentive inner organ, and that same complete blackness is not apprehended even with eyes wide open when the mind has wandered off. It is the same with the light apprehended in space.

(Opponent) But darkness is simply absence of light; it is not a thing.

(Answer) It is, for an absence could not conceal things.

(Opponent) It is simply from absence of light, the cause of perception, that things like jars are not seen; it is not that darkness conceals them.

(Answer) Not so, because there is a light of the eye itself, and it is not that it depends on another light to help it. To the extent that there is nothing else of a different nature to conceal the things, just so much of them will be lit up by the light of the eye. For a light does not depend on another light to second it in lighting up things. If it did depend for help on some other light, then even at night, seconded by the light of the moon, it should perceive forms as clearly as in daylight, since there would be no cause of obstruction.

Again, if darkness were merely an absence, then it should not appear as a weak darkness in brilliant moonlight at night; it ought to be destroyed by that all-pervading light in whose brightness it stands. With an actual thing in the brightness, it is natural that it should have distinctions of weakness and intensity and so on, but not with an absence, for that can have no such distinctions.

(Opponent) Without assistance, the eye cannot perceive, and there is no cognition.

(Answer) This too is not invariably so. In the case of a flash of forked lightning, there is indeed light but it is so intense that the sight does not perceive anything by it. It is not however reasonable that the dazzlement which is seen as a result of connection with lightning should be an absence of perception, for it is not opposed to perception.

Again, in the medical texts, the shadow (of the patient) is said to be sweet, or to be cold. But there can be no sweetness or coldness of what is not a thing. And they call darkness good or bad for certain eye conditions: but an absence could not be so characterized.

Furthermore, a shadow is perceived as from a light. If darkness were a non-existent, how could there be – within the circle of illumination – a shadow caused by the light?

(Opponent) If we take it as a real thing, there is the difficulty that the two are opposites (co-existing).

(Answer) No; it is possible as with the snake and its poison. Poison is deadly, but not to the snake, and so with the light and its shadow.

Therefore darkness is a real thing, being intense or faint like light, excluding what is opposed to it like a jar, and making a distinguishing line for the perceiver, like a boundary.

Thus it is possible for the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) to perceive a sense-object even without recourse to the senses. Even when the ears are covered by bowls, there is awareness of the singing in them. Nor can it be supposed that the bowls would constitute another ear; if bowls are put over the ears of a deaf person, he cannot hear with them.

Again, we find that forms and so on are perceived, without need of senses, also through the knowledge of statements.

Further (if perception depended absolutely on the co-operation of the senses) nothing would arise from the memory, whereas we know that there is some degree of perception in the mind without the senses, for in a dream the memories stand out clearly as forms and other objects (like sounds).

If perception of an object is effected only by an accompanying conjunction of senses and mind, then in sleep, when they are separated, it would be inhibited. But this is not so.

Moreover it is everywhere agreed that the mind is independent in perception of pleasure and pain.

Therefore the senses are illumined by the mind, which is purely independent and spontaneous in its perception of objects. So it was said through a sense-channel (comm. to I.7) and there is the holy text ‘By the mind alone he sees, by the mind he hears’ (Bṛhad. Up. I.5.3).

(Opponent) As the senses have recourse to light, so the mind is a perceiver only when it has recourse to the help of the senses.

(Answer) No, because even the example is not invariably so. Nocturnal animals, for instance, see things by a second kind of faint light, as if it were full day. And even in the light of day, an owl does not see anything at all.

Further, take the case of weighing gold. We see that an expert can tell the amount of it by merely looking, without using any means of finding out the weight (such as using the scales).

(Opponent) Then the eye and other senses serve no purpose.

(Answer) The senses are like the scales, in that they are useful for the others. Just as a man who has very fine discrimination in the field of weighing has the skill to determine the quantity of gold without using any scales, so there is the possibility of the mind’s perceiving an object, through its own great purity, even without calling on the aid of senses like the eye.

For a result which is normally accomplished by several men may still be accomplished by one; for example, a stone which would take more than one to lift may be seen to be lifted single-handed by some strong man.

So it is that the objects which are perceived by the mind of others only with the aid of the senses are perceived by the mind-sattva of the supreme Lord by its simple regard, without their having to be observed through an eye and so on. There is perfection of pure power and glory in Him, where they reach their peak.

But because of the inferiority of the saṃsārin-s (beings of the world) in power and knowledge, due to the taint of Ignorance, their mind depends on the aid of the senses, as when weak people combine to lift a stone.

Now there are certain worldly beings, like Buddha and Ṛṣabha, who become lords, but they do not achieve the transcendent power, knowledge and glory. Because there is the fact that they are limited by time; even those who are devoted to their religion admit that the Buddhas are limited by time.

So their Lord is limited in time. It can only be inferred, from the evidences of their being in time and having a beginning in time, that the sovereignty and so on of the Buddhas is not complete and has degrees. At one time they did not have it, at one time they do not have it, at one time they will not have it – these are the three indications for the inference. It is thus the opposite of transcendence.

Since their perfection is time-dependent, the earlier Buddhas would have had the advantage of time, but there could not be unlimited power and glory and omniscience in them, because it would be opposed by that of later ones.

(Opponent) They have equal power and knowledge and sovereignty, but their equal sovereignty and rulership is not at the same time.

(Answer) Still, since that would mean frustration of a desire of some Buddha from a different time to come into touch with things of this time, he could not have absolute sovereignty. For inasmuch as desire has no bounds, one Buddha will some time desire to overrule another Buddha and to come into his sphere; if he does not do it, his omnipotence would be impaired.

(Opponent) Another Buddha has no need of his grace. And there is no passion in him, so he will have no desire to enter the sphere of another Buddha.

(Answer) Formerly he had the desire for the condition of Buddhahood at some time, and that must come to fulfilment in the time of some Buddha or other. And there are other living beings to whom he could give his grace, so it is reasonable that he should wish to dwell in that other time. Not all the living beings of that time will have been given grace by the future Buddha.

Though it is suffering for his Buddhahood, yet in order to give his grace to living beings, from his Buddhahood he will come to be in that other time, according to his wish.

And the Buddhists admit that their perfect one’s state of Buddha-nature and freedom from pain was formerly associated with Ignorance, so that transcendent power, knowledge and glory do not pertain to Buddha or to Ṛṣabha or any other tīrthakara.

But these defects do not apply to our Lord, for he is not limited in time. His power, knowledge and sovereignty are unlimited, and so we infer that no defect of having degrees or uncertainty can be suspected of him who is as it were like space.

Inference comes to an end in determining a universal and it cannot pronounce on individual cases. Particulars like names are to be known from sacred authority. He himself needs no grace; his purpose is to give grace to living beings, by teaching knowledge and dharma. At the dissolution at the end of the aeon, and at the great dissolution, he resolves, ‘I will save them, caught as they are in saṃsāra.So it is said: The First Knower, assuming a created mind out of compassion, as the exalted highest seer declared the doctrine to the inquirer Āsuri.

Inference comes to an end in determining a universal and it cannot pronounce on individual cases. In determining the universal of the existence of a special Puruṣa with transcendent power, knowledge and sovereignty, the inference exhausts itself, because it goes only so far. The example of inference which was given (sūtra 1.7) was, that if there is getting to a place, there must be movement. Inference has no capacity to determine individual qualities or names, etc., of the Lord, though they exist, because these are not in the field of a pure universal.

To sum up: inference cannot tell us about individual qualities, because all it does is to reveal universals. How should inference reveal things absolutely inaccessible to it, outside its field, matters where it has no power or knowledge, questions of dharma and a-dharma and limitation and so on? So it does not reveal what is outside its field.

(But in its field) the inference that omniscience exists does not need the failure of the inference that omniscience does not exist. For inference is not something which has to wait for confirmation by another; when fire is inferred from the sight of smoke one does not wait for a statement by a third party.

He himself needs no grace because there is nothing which he lacks for himself; his purpose is to give his grace to living beings sunk in the mire of Ignorance. There is no other to give the teaching which is a boat by which they can cross over the sea of saṃsāra, and he teaches knowledge and dharma to those who take sole refuge in him.

Nor is the fact whether he is or is not omniscient to be arbitrarily taken as self-evidently doubtful, because we do not hold that the true being of the omniscient one is self-evident like a jar. Until it is settled that it is truly a hare, one cannot doubt whether or not the hare has horns.

(Opponent) What comes from another is dubious.

(Answer) It may come from another, but if you yourself do not know the true nature of the Lord, why should you doubt it?

(Opponent) He might be under an illusion.

(Answer) If no universal (of omniscience) is ever perceived, it cannot be a cause of illusion. For no one erroneously sees a cuckoo in the mother-of-pearl (in which they do sometimes erroneously see silver, which they must have seen existing somewhere else). So he says, Particulars like names are to be known from sacred authority. They are to be looked for in scriptures like the Veda, Itihāsa, Purāna, and books on yoga and dharma.

by teaching knowledge and dharma to those who take refuge in none other, who have entrusted themselves to him entirely, at the dissolution at the end of the aeon and at the great dissolution when the particular knowledge from the scriptures, which were received from the grace of the Lord, and the teachers of that knowledge, are all destroyed, again and again compassion rises to fill him – ‘I will save them’. And likewise it has been said, The First Knower, assuming a created mind out of compassion, as the exalted highest seer declared the doctrine to the inquirer Āsuri. The First Knower means the one who in the beginning knows the knowledge which is not affected by rajas or tamas. Or the word first may refer to the fact that knowledge and dharma are at the beginning and the teaching begins with them, and that beginning is this Knower. He created a mind by his mere intention, a yogic mind, and entered into possession of it, in order to give the teaching.

as the exalted highest seer (ṛṣi): that he is the highest is known from scripture (āgama). Ṛṣi means, according to the root, on the one hand ‘seeing’ (from ṛṣ to see) and on the other hand ‘condition’ (from ṛ to go). The Lord alone, the highest ṛṣi, under the names Kapila or Nārāyana and so on, taught the inquirer Āsuri.

Therefore the Lord has been ascertained to be other than pradhāna or Puruṣa, and to be the source of grace for all living beings through his knowledge of their states and the ripening of the fruits of their karma. It is not to be objected that this does not show how the Lord endowed with the wealth of perfect sattva does create, or how he grants his grace, and so on, for it has been said, From scripture it is to be sought. There are things outside the range of inference to which it cannot reach, since it does not extend to particulars and their relationships.

Yoga Sutra 1.26

This teacher of even the first teachers, because not particularized by time

The first teachers are particularized by time. But with the Lord, time as a measure does not apply to him who is the teacher of even the first teachers. It is to be understood that as he is proved to be in the state of perfection at the beginning of this creation, so too at the beginning of past creations.

This highest Lord who has been described is the teacher of even the first teachers, those who teach all the related means and ends for material results and for the highest bliss (niḥśreyasa). The meaning is that he creates the knowledge and instruction which they give. For all the kinds of knowledge arise from him, as sparks of fire from a blaze or drops of water from the sea.

We have mentioned that he is the first knower, since he is not particularized by time. Other teachers are so particularized; they are qualified by past or future, or by being present now. But this Lord is inferred by them, and so by us, to be the eternally freed Lord.

(Opponent) Since he is a teacher like the others, how is it that he is not particularized by time?

(Answer) time as a measure does not apply to him to whom no measure can apply. A measure with its various sub-divisions may determine the limits of all that changes, but cannot make the Lord an object of its operations.

(Opponent) The perfect sattva of the Lord is an effect of pradhāna, and any effect of pradhāna must be particularized by time. So why not the divine sattva? It is only Puruṣa, and nothing else, which is not particularized by time, and that is because Puruṣa does not change. You might, of course, suppose that the Lord has no connection with any sattva, like the Lord in some other doctrines.

(Answer) No, because it is accepted by us that he is endowed with perfect sattva.

(Opponent) You could suppose that it is only the effect produced by the Lord’s sattva which time particularizes, and not the sattva itself.

(Answer) That is not right either, because anything which is manifest can be measured, and the sattva of the Lord is manifest.

(Opponent) You might say that the divine sattva exists only in the latent state of pradhāna.

(Answer) That will not do, because then there would be no knowledge from it.

(Opponent) Well then you might say that you accept the doctrine that the effect is the cause, so that the sattva is the latent pradhāna state of knowledge.

(Answer) This is not satisfactory either, because it has to be available for ordinary life. And if it were so, it would mean that the knowledge of different people could not be distinct, because it would all be in a state of mere being, without any separate relations.

(Opponent) Or you could say that in the state of manifestation, some of the effects are distinguishable by time, and not others.

(Answer) That is contrary to reason.

(Opponent) You could meet that objection by saying that it is proved by scripture that the divine sattva transcends time.

(Answer) Not so, because scripture only makes facts clear (but does not create them).

(Opponent) You might argue that it is only the fact of the now manifesting sattva transcending time, unknown as that fact is, which scripture makes clear.

(Answer) Not that even, for it has its cause in the states of inhibition, which would be limited by time on this view; but as it is perfectly pure (in those states too) it could not be limited; so there would be a contradiction.

So the conclusion is, that in view of the perfect purity of the divine sattva, it is proper that it should transcend time.

(Opponent) The perfection of purity of other teachers transcends time because it is caused by their being endowed with yoga and dharma and so on, but this is not so with the Lord.

(Answer) The sattva of the Lord is pure sattva, and in it rajas and tamas are always subdued, so that it is independent of dharma, etc., as a cause; the knowledge which rises in it is purely illuminative and transcends time.

And the supremacy which is its effect also transcends time. As the heat and light of fire are not delimited by time in the fire, so the purity, knowledge and perfection of the divine sattva attain the state transcending time. So the commentator states with the Lord, time as a measure does not apply, and this is said just of these effects.

His role as teacher has no limits. he is proved to be in the state of perfection in knowledge and purity at the beginning of this creation, and so at the beginning of other creations as well. It is proved by inference from the fact of creation of beings, and also made known by the scriptures. so too at the beginning of past creations of the beings of those former times. In the same way inference and scripture establish it for future times as well.

The purport of the sūtra is this: Just as seen guru-s are continuously served, in their capacity as teachers of knowledge and dharma and other things, by pupils who depend on them exclusively, so this Lord who is the teacher of all teachers should be meditated upon in the worshipper’s heart, by those devoted to him alone under his various names like Nārāyana.

Just as the human teachers turn their face towards the wholly devoted pupil and give him their favour, so this supreme teacher gives his favour when there is pure contemplation on him. The holy text says:

He who has supreme devotion to the Lord, and to his teacher as to the Lord, is a mahātmā, and from him shine forth these glories which have been related

(Śvet. Up. 6.23)

and tradition says:

He who does works for me, seeing me as the supreme, devoted to me, Free from attachment, without hatred for any, he comes to me, O Pāṇḍava

(Gītā II.55)


(5) Read: 1.27 -1.32

Yoga Sutra 1.27

Of him, the expression is praṇava (OM)

What is expressed by praṇava is the Lord.

It has been said Or from devotion to the Lord (sūtra I.23). How should one perform devotion to him, and what is the means of that devotion? To explain the form in which the devotee contemplates on him, the sūtra says Of him, the expression is praṇava (OM). Of the Lord who has been described, the expression the expressing word, is praṇava. In the same way the word cow expresses something which has a dewlap and horns and so on. Now the word praṇava is variously explained etymologically:

pra stands for prakarśena, perfectly;

nu (= nava) stands for yate, he is praised;

praṇava the word OM, praises (praṇauti) the Lord;

the Lord is devoutly worshipped (praṇidhīyate) through it by his devotees; they bow down (praṇam) to him through it;

through it they worship (praṇidhā) the Lord mentally; here the extra -dhā stands for the final -va (of praṇava).

Mental devotion for things known only indirectly is through a word, as with the worship of the sacred mountain Meru or the god Indra. It is the Lord who is expressed by the word OM; the sound of the word accords with its meaning.

From the termination -ava is understood avati, he favours. The meanings like ‘protection’ are excluded from this word here. He brings out his devotees from saṃsāra, he leads those in saṃsāra to nirvāṇa, he brings to a devotee unsurpassed joy, he grants him samādhi to lead him to the highest truth. But all these meanings are associated with the most intense love of the Lord.

Does the power of expression of this syllable OM arise from conventional usage, or is it something fixed, like the relation between a lamp and its light?

The relation of what is to be expressed here, and its expressive word, is fixed. But conventional usage directs attention to what has been established by the Lord. Thus the relation of father and son is a fixed one, but it is made clear by conventional usage in the form ‘He is that man’s father; that man is his son’.

When the Lord is continuously worshipped in the mind by means of this syllable OM, he gives his grace. There are many sacred texts such as ‘Om kham brahman’ (Bṛhad. Up. 5.1.1) ‘Brahman called Om’ (Taitt. Up. 1.8.1) and the traditions ‘Om tat sat’ (Gītā 17.23) ‘Om Viṣṇu is all’ (first name of the Thousand Names of Viṣṇu). The grammarians declare that OM, ending as it does in ‘m’, is an indeclinable which does not take inflections.

(Opponent) Granted that the Lord, or someone, set up at some time this convention for common usage, in the form ‘let this (OM) be the name of that (Lord)’. But before the convention was set up, thus giving devotees an option whether to worship by OM as the name of the Lord or by some other name, they would have used one of the other names. So let it be now; why should OM be singled out (as his expressive word)?

(Answer) The relation is fixed like that between a lamp and its light. So even at a first hearing, the Lord is understood, like the sun by its light.

(Opponent) If there is already a fixed relation, it is pointless to have a convention about it too. Unless the convention is established from the first, it is only a useless reiteration.

(Answer) The relation of what is to be expressed here and its expressive word is fixed. Whether the word be taken as permanent or transient, the conventional usage makes luminously clear that very fixed relation.

(Opponent) If the relation is fixed, people ought to understand it the first time they hear it.

(Answer) The relation of word and meaning is a relation of idea and what causes the idea, and though it is fixed, it is not perceptible to the senses, any more than the relation between a sense and its object. The capacity to express, and the capacity to be expressed, are not directly perceptible things.

(Opponent) Well, the meaning can be inferred from the word by which it is spoken.

(Answer) That is not so, because the relation is not perceptible. It depends on the usage of others, and an inference does not depend on the usage of others (so this cannot be an inference).

The convention is established exactly in accordance with the relation of the capacity of expression and the capacity for being expressed at the beginning of creations. The scriptural sages affirm that the relation of word and meaning is permanent, inasmuch as it is permanently accepted.

(Opponent) An object can be inferred from a relation which is itself inferred.

(Answer) You will have to explain how a relation of word and meaning can be inferred.

(Opponent) Having ascertained the meaning from seeing the effect of the word (on its hearers), he understands the relation between them, just as when one knows a form through the eye, that is the visual relation.

(Answer) There is this refutation: definite knowledge comes from the word alone, without any inference. And when one has achieved his object by cooking food in one way, what would he gain by cooking it in another way?

(Opponent) A relation is perceived from seeing the conjunction of the two things several times, as with the relation between fire and smoke.

(Answer) We do not agree, for even in a hundred conjunctions, the relation of word and meaning is never directly perceived, as is perceived the relation between fire and smoke even at the beginning. And it is the same thing with a sentence and its meaning.

Therefore the conventional usage makes clear the relation between the Lord who is expressed and praṇava (OM) which expresses him, which is a fixed relation like the fixed relation of father and son. Since there is a convention as the means, the meaning is not recognized at the first hearing, any more than an object in darkness is recognized by the eye.

(Opponent) A word is something passing, and how can there be a permanent relation when one of the things related is passing? There is no permanent relation between a rope and a pot, which are passing things.

(Answer) In the cases of proof and proven, sense-organ and its object, action and its agencies, there is a fixed relation although the things related are passing. So too here the relation is ever-fixed, because it never varies; the convention is in accordance with the relation of the capacities of expression and being expressed at the beginning of creations.

Just as there is creation of form and eye, in accordance with the capacity of being perceived and of perceiving in the previous creation, so in this case conventional usage is established in accordance with the capacity of being expressed and of expressing.

Since it is invariably accepted, and there is the growing chain of traditional use of one thing to make another understood, the consensus is permanent and not otherwise; so the scriptural sages (āgamin) expounders of the Veda (veda-vādin) affirm. And the relation of word and meaning is based on that consensus, so they tell us.

Therefore it comes to this: whether from the standpoint of the traditionalists or from the other standpoint, in any case the relation is fixed, like that of father and son, and it is made manifest by the conventional usage.

If there were not the fixed relation between this expressive word and what it expresses, it would not be true that through the form of praṇava, OM, the Lord is met face to face. In the same way it would not be proper to take a fire as the means of cooking unless there were a fixed relation between the raw food and what cooks it. But since there is the fixed relation between this expression and what it expresses, it is proper to employ OM as a means for practising worship of God, and this is the purport of the whole commentary.

When the yogin has recognized the power of OM to express its meaning (the Lord), he should undertake –

Yoga Sutra 1.28

Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning

Repetition (japa) of it and meditation (bhāvanā) on the Lord who is signified by OM. When the yogin thus repeats OM and meditates on its meaning, his mind becomes one-pointed. So it has been said:

After OM repetition, let him set himself in yoga,
After yoga, let him set himself to repetition.

When OM repetition and yoga come to perfection
The supreme self (paramātman) shines forth.

When the yogin has thus understood the relation of the expression OM and its meaning, how does he attract the grace of the supreme Lord? The sūtra says, Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning. Practice of repetition of OM, which is the expression of the Lord, taken as consisting of three-and-a-half measures (mātra) or of three measures, is called japa; the repetition is either mental or in a low voice (upāṃśu).

meditation on its meaning the meditation is setting the heart on the Lord, the meaning, who by the word OM has been recalled and brought into the mind. The words he should undertake are to be supplied at the beginning of the sūtra. Yogin-s who are doing both attain one-pointedness of mind. He illustrates how the one-pointedness is the result of that worship by quoting the verse.

After OM repetition after repetition of the praṇava syllable, his mind bowed before the Lord, let him set himself in yoga let him meditate on the Lord, its meaning. When his mind becomes unwavering from meditation on the Lord, the meaning, let him set himself to repetition let him repeat OM mentally. Mental repetition is recommended because it is closer to meditation (than is verbal repetition). The sense is that the mind must not run towards objects. When OM repetition and yoga come to perfection when he is not disturbed by other ideas contrary to them, he is perfect in repetition and in yoga; by that perfection in repetition and meditation on the supreme Lord (parameśvara) the supreme self (paramātman) who stands in the highest place (parameṣṭhin)shines forth for the yogin.

And what happens to him?

Yoga Sutra 1.29

From that, realization of the separate consciousness, and absence of obstacles

As a result of devotion to the Lord, there are none of the obstacles like illness, and he has a perception of his own true nature. As the Lord is a Puruṣa, pure, radiant, alone, and beyond evil, so the Puruṣa in him, witness of the buddhi, knows himself to be.

The commentary introduces this sūtra with the words And what happens to him? The word And refers to the fact that one result, namely attainment of one-pointedness of mind, has already been mentioned in the previous sūtra. And is there some other result for him, or is it perhaps one-pointedness alone? The sūtra now says From that, realization of the separate consciousness and absence of obstacles. From that devotion to the Lord, there is realization of the separate consciousness: it is conscious of its own buddhi as separate, and so the self (ātman) is called the separate consciousness. The realization of it is awareness of one’s own nature as it really is.

(Opponent) The Puruṣa is already realized in everyone in the feeling ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am sad’. This is a well-known fact; why the special mention of it?

(Answer) True, but it is not seen as distinct by the thought in the mind. In ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am sad’, the ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ have the same common referent, the idea ‘here I am’, and they are in the field of mental processes, so they are certainly merely ideas of Ignorance.

He realizes: As the Lord is a Puruṣa, pure free from the stains (mala) of the taints, etc., and therefore

radiant clear, and therefore

alone (kevala) without the three guṇa-s, and therefore

beyond evil without the three kinds of suffering, a perfect being, who is

witness, so this too, my own Puruṣa, is pure, radiant, alone, beyond evil, and witness of the buddhi.

With the words As and so, which point to an example and something like that example, he announces that there is a difference between the Lord and the individual selves (kṣetrajña). This is because they (unlike the Lord) are subject to bondage and release, and also because pradhāna serves their purposes (first experience and then release). For these reasons too the kṣetrajña-s differ among themselves.

Now what are the obstacles? They are what distracts the mind. Which are they, and how many are they?

Yoga Sutra 1.30

Illness, apathy, doubt, carelessness, laziness, failure to withdraw, misconceptions, failure to attain a state, instability (in the state) – these distractions of the mind are the obstacles

There are nine obstacles which distract the mind. They appear only in conjunction with the mental processes described previously, and without the obstacles, the latter do not arise.

Illness is loss of balance in the humours (dhātu), secretions (rasa) or organs. Apathy is mental ineffectiveness. Doubt is an idea embracing both alternatives, in the form ‘This might be so, or it might not be so’. Carelessness is lack of devotion to the means to samādhi. Laziness is inertia from heaviness physical and mental. Failure to withdraw is a hankering caused by past addiction to objects. Misconceptions are illusory knowledge (viparyaya jñāna). Failure to attain a state is not attaining any stage of samādhi. Instability is when a state has been attained but the mind is not established in it. It is an obstacle because in true attainment of samādhi the mind would be established there.

These distractions are explained as the blemishes, adversaries and obstacles of yoga.

In number they are nine, and they consist of illness and the rest. Illness is loss of balance in the humours, secretions or organs. The humours are air, bile, and phlegm; when the harmony between them is lost they become out of balance, and this happens when there is habitual excess (of one or two of them). Medicine teaches that an increase of a humour may be spontaneous or caused by something else.

The secretions are particular transformations of the food eaten. They are of seven kinds, and they are called secretions (rasa) because they are effects of the food-essence (rasa). Technically they are named rasa, blood, fat, flesh, bone, marrow and semen (śukla) and they become out of balance when there is excess or loss.

Disorder of the organs is blindness, deafness, etc.

Apathy is mental ineffectiveness a sort of paralysis.

Doubt is an idea which touches two contradictory alternatives, for instance, ‘Is it a post or a man?’

Carelessness is lack of devotion to the means to samādhi a lack of persistence.

Laziness is inertia from heaviness physical and mental.

Failure to withdraw means either actual contact with the objects, or hankering the desire or thirst caused by past addiction.

Misconceptions are illusory knowledge deluded ideas about the yoga methods or the path itself.

Failure to attain a state not attaining any stage of samādhi; the stages such as vitarka have been mentioned as particular qualities of the mind, and will be discussed later (sūtra I.41–44).

Instability is when a stage of samādhi has been attained but it is unstable. Then by some means he should try to re-establish his unsteady mind in it. If this attempt is not successful, it is called instability.

These are the nine obstacles (antarāya). They are called antarāya because they move (āya) towards or create, an interval (antara), a gap, a break. They are known as the distractions, adversaries or blemishes in the achievement of yoga.

They appear only in conjunction with the processes of the mind described previously. They are distractions of mind because they distract it with various objects, and they appear only in conjunction with the processes of the mind of the five kinds, the two groups being reciprocally impelling and impelled. without the obstacles in the absence of illness and the other obstacles, the aforesaid mental processes like right knowledge do not arise, because there is no power to support them. As inevitably causing processes in the mind, the mental distractions are all classed as equally unfavourable.

Yoga Sutra 1.31

Pain, frustration, restlessness of the body, spasmodic breathing in or out are the accompaniments of these distractions

The pain is that proceeding from the self, or proceeding from living creatures, or proceeding from the gods. Pain is that by which living beings are struck down, and which they struggle to end. Frustration is the mental agitation when a desire is obstructed. Restlessness of the body is what makes it unsteady and trembling. Spasmodic breathing is inhaling the air from outside, or exhaling the abdominal air. These are the accompaniments of the distractions; they occur in one whose mind is distracted, and do not occur in one whose mind is concentrated in samādhi.

Pain is that by which living beings are struck down, and to end which they struggle, they strive. It is of three kinds, the first being that proceeding from the self (ādhyātmika). What is related (adhy) to self (ātman) is adhyātma, and what arises from that is ādhyātmika. The pain is physical or mental. Physical is caused by disharmony of the humours, etc., and mental is caused by frustration of desires. The second is that proceeding from living creatures (ādhibhautika). Adhibhūti is what relates to (adhi) creatures (bhūta), and what is caused by them is ādhibhautika. And it is what comes about from domestic or wild animals, such as deer and other creatures. The third is that proceeding from the gods (ādhidaivika). Adhideva is what relates to (adhi) the gods (deva), and what comes about from them is ādhidaivika, for instance what is caused by rain and wind. The change of the vowels in these cases is by the rule of grammar that compounds like adhyātma, when they take the -ika suffix, undergo the vṛddhi strengthening in both their parts.

Pain is only one – of the nature of rajas – but it is here classified under the different causes.

Frustration is the mental agitation when a desire is obstructed; it is a baffled moving about.

Restlessness of the body is what makes it unsteady and trembling.

Spasmodic breathing in or out means in the first case drawing in the air in deep gasps but exhaling it slowly, while the second is the reverse.

These are the accompaniments of the distractions in that they are concomitants of distraction. They do not occur in one whose mind is concentrated: to the extent that it is concentrated, to that extent they do not occur.

These distractions which are antagonistic to samādhi are to be inhibited only by that pair, practice and detachment.

The distractions can be inhibited or extinguished only by the pair, practice and detachment. Distractions are unaffected by any other counter-measures. When it is said, in the commentary to I.29, From devotion to the Lord, realization of the separate consciousness and absence of obstacles, that obstacles are inhibited also by a previous devotion to the Lord, it is implied that there is no capacity to become devotees of the Lord without practice and detachment.

He sums up the content of practice in the following sūtra:

Yoga Sutra 1.32

To prevent them, practice on one principle

To prevent the distractions, let the mind practise meditation on one principle.

It has been said that they are inhibited by detachment and practice; the first has been described, and now he deals with practice. To prevent them, these distractions practice on one principle, on a single truth.

(Opponent) That one principle cannot be the object of meditation practice, because it is a real thing, and the fullness of real things like self (ātman) cannot even be spoken. They are established in their own greatness and not simply mental. He is going on to deny that such real things have any dependence on the mind, for instance in sūtra IV.16, A thing is not dependent on a single mind.

(Answer) With this doubt in mind the commentator says, let the mind practise meditation on one principle. Here he is showing how to understand what the sūtra says about practice on one principle.

But for one who (like a Buddhist) holds that mind is something momentary, no more than the (succession of) ideas determined by each object in turn – for him mind must be invariably one-pointed, and can never be distracted.

(Opponent) There is no one enduring mind which could hold an idea resting on a single principle. The mind issimply the ideas, each determined by an object in turn and each perishing each moment. There is no stability in the ideas which could be known as a self. Nor is any mind perceived as an enduring possessor of the ideas, apart from them. Even the idea of I as ‘I’ is only a relation of similarity because it too is only a flow (of ideas). It is as with a lamp-flame, which is nothing more than the hairs of the wick.

(Answer) This would mean that the possessor of the successive I-notions would be itself different for each one, because it would be identical with the ideas, which are absolutely distinct from each other. The possessor would have as its object the idea of the ‘I’ then present, and so be different from the possessors of the I–notions which are past or to come, because they would have other notions for their objects, different as a cloth from a jar, or rather, differentiated by time as a jar now present is different from one that has been broken or one not yet made. All the I-notions would be separate mental objects, just because they are notions, like notions of a jar and a cloth and other things.

He points out, moreover, that the view would contradict the (Buddhist’s own) scripture: for one who holds that mind is something momentary … mind must be invariably one-pointed, just because there could be no distraction there. And since the mind could only be one-pointed and without distraction, the teaching of the scripture about removing distraction would be meaningless. There is the teaching (in Buddhist scripture also) of meditation on friendliness, etc., for training the mind, and to hold the mind to be as he maintains, would contradict the scripture.

(Opponent) Neither is there distraction if we accept your theory of something which possesses the successive ideas (vṛtti), because it is not separate from them; so the teaching about removing distraction would be pointless for you too.

(Answer) Not so, because we maintain that it possesses idea after idea. If indeed the ideas were produced separate from each other, independent and absolutely separate from their possessor, and determined each by its object, there would be this difficulty. But we do not admit this.

What then is our position? In its nature as possessor of the ideas, mind is a unity which has many objects; it is apart from the field of its objects, the ideas, and is steady, since we do not accept the illusion of its being both existent and non-existent. And so the commentator shows that the theory of self (ātman) is correct.

It is a fact that mind is withdrawn from all quarters and concentrated in samādhi on one object (in Buddhism also) and is then one-pointed. It follows that it is not something determined by successive objects.

If this mind runs in various directions because of the change of ideas, then for you (the Buddhist), just as if you were a follower of Sāṅkhya and yoga, it is withdrawn restrained from all quarters from all objects and concentrated in samādhi made steady on one object such as the self (ātman) and is then one-pointed. The sense is that this is something which is a proper goal of human effort.

So the teaching of scripture about training the mind is logical. It follows that it is not something determined by successive objects: from his own scriptural teaching about training the mind, the advocate of momentariness has already assumed, like the follower of Sāṅkhya and yoga, a mind which is a unity but with many objects, and not determined by successive objects. Otherwise he would be contradicting his own scripture.

If one (a Buddhist) holds that a mind is one-pointed as a stream of similar thoughts, one-pointedness being a property of the stream-mind, then the stream-mind, being composed of momentary instants, cannot be a unity.

(Opponent) A stream of similar thoughts is the one-pointed mind. It is a stream of thoughts which are similar, alike, and as that single series, the mind is one-pointed. The opposite, a stream of thoughts which are dissimilar, is distraction. One-pointedness is attained by ruling out distraction, and that is the purpose of the teaching, so where is there any contradiction of our scripture?

(Answer) There is, for the Buddhist does not admit that a stream of mind is a single thing to be possessor of qualities. For he does not accept a stream-mind which is a single thing possessing the qualities of the ideas past, present and future. If he did accept it, he would have to give up his own position. How so? Because the stream-mind, not being momentary, cannot be a single thing (which in the Buddhist system must be momentary) which could have the quality of one-pointedness. For all he accepts is ideas, closely following on one another like a line of red ants.

(Opponent) Let us suppose that even if it is not a single thing, there can still be a quality of one-pointedness of the totality of the ideas as streams of similar ideas, as it were the illumination consisting of all the rays of a lamp.

(Answer) Not so; for things which rise and perish at different times cannot form a combination. And the example does not demonstrate the point; the many rays do not make up one illumination, because they are different from one another. The illumination is not one single quality of the rays.

It may be maintained that it is as a member of the stream that an idea has the quality of one-pointedness; but since each idea is determined by its object, whether the stream be of similar or dissimilar ideas, each must be one-pointed and there will never be distraction. Therefore there has to be some enduring mind, one but with many objects. How could ideas be produced, inherently independent and not linked to a single mind? For one idea would remember what had been seen by another idea, and one idea would have experiences in accordance with the karma-s accumulated by other ideas.

(Opponent) It may be maintained that it is as a member of the stream that an idea has the quality of one-pointedness, as in a line of red ants, each single ant is red.

(Answer) That involves the same defect as before. Each idea is a member of the stream, whether that is of similar or dissimilar ideas, and as before, it follows that it can only be one-pointed, since it is determined by its object; as a result there will never be distraction. And so if the training of the mind is to be taught by the scripture, some enduring mind has to be accepted, one but with many objects.

How could ideas be produced, inherently independent and not linked to a single mind as their cause? You must answer this. For it would mean that one would remember something seen by another – Yajñadatta would be remembering what had been seen by Devadatta.

And one idea would have experiences in accordance with the karma-s accumulated by other ideas. An unborn son ought not to come to enjoy the fruit, heaven or the like, of accumulated karma performed by his father (for himself).

(Opponent) For the purpose of the particular consciousness of the future son, the active consciousness as it perishes lays down some saṃskāra in the seed-bed consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna).

(Answer) Not so; because the seed-bed consciousness and the active consciousness are entirely distinct, and moreover are not real (vastu).

If the active consciousness is not different from the seed-bed consciousness, then they are one and the same thing and there is a difference only in name, so there would not be a memory connected with the laying down of a saṃskāra. If however they are different, in that case the separate active consciousness, just because it is separate, will not register as a saṃskāra in this particular seed-bed consciousness any more than in the seed-bed consciousness of some other stream.

Even if we allow that it does lay down a saṃskāra, still the seed-bed consciousness, being the saṃskāra-s laid down by the active consciousness, is not relevant to another place and time. And since it is accepted (by the Buddhist) as momentary, inasmuch as it perishes instantly, it cannot serve to help any other consciousness. If we allow that it can help even though separated by time and space, then it will also have to help in the production of yet other separate series.

If it remains as it is into another time, then momentariness is abandoned; if it stays for another moment, why should it not stay for a long time?

(Opponent) The first seed-bed consciousness perishes after it has laid down a saṃskāra of the future seed-bed consciousness, which is similar to itself, of the particular saṃskāra of the active consciousness which is to exist in the future time.

(Answer) Not that either. Because there is no other saṃskāra. If there were one, it would entail an infinite regress. If there is no substratum, then how can the idea of a seed-bed consciousness of the active consciousness help for laying down a saṃskāra? If a seed-bed consciousness is to lay down the saṃskāra of the future seed-bed consciousness which is to arise in the future and which does not exist yet, let the active consciousness itself lay down the saṃskāra of the future active consciousness which is to arise, but which does not exist yet, without looking to a seed-bed consciousness.

There is no example of something perishing laying down a saṃskāra of something else which is in the future and not yet existent. Nor can it make a saṃskāra in what is merely future. It is a contradiction to say that a future thing is being impressed with a saṃskāra by a previous thing, and at the same time to say that it is future. If a future thing, not existent at the time, is to be so impressed, what sense would it have to speak of the series as being the same or not the same? No definite connection being there, anything could be impressed by anything.

It cannot be a simultaneous disappearance of the perishing one and rise of the future one, because that would entail non-momentariness.

(Opponent) Let it be like the ends of a balance – one goes down as the other comes up. It is a simultaneous perishing of the previous one and rise of the following one, of two momentary things (vastu).

(Answer) No, for that goes against your premise. For the one who holds this position (Vaināśika Buddhist) does not accept any other agency apart from the action of rise and destruction.

When action and agent are separate, inasmuch as the production of the action by the agent has to be something enduring, the doctrine of momentariness has to be abandoned. If there is nothing enduring, then the purpose of the action which is its motive would become no purpose.

If the action alone is the agency, and the agent is action, then the words ‘action’ and ‘agent’ would be synonyms. By the same reasoning, because a sprout is born and Devadatta is born, ‘sprout’ and ‘Devadatta’ should be synonyms. For in both cases there would be mere action of birth.

(Opponent) One action of birth is particular to Devadatta, and the other is particular to the sprout.

(Answer) Then distinction of agency is admitted, for there is no distinction in the fact itself.

(Opponent) One action of production is in itself distinct from another action of production, as the forms characterizing them are distinct.

(Answer) No, because that would entail the oneness of existence and nonexistence. ‘Here a sprout is born: the sprout dies’ – that which is born is that which dies. In this case when it is said ‘birth’ and ‘death’, it is sprout-birth and sprout-death. For the sprout is said to be the action or agent.

(Opponent) Still, the action of sprout-death is separate from the action of sprout-birth.

(Answer) Then the sprout-birth would be permanent, because the death is something separate from it.

(Opponent) It can be a combination of destruction and production.

(Answer) That would mean that a non-existent could be a combination. Why so? On your theory, there is no agent apart from the action itself; destruction itself has birth and destruction, and birth itself has birth and destruction. That non-existent (agency) cannot have attributes like being a combination, for what is non-existent has no attributes; thus you blur the distinction between existent and non-existent, and your assumption cannot be justified through perception or inference.

As to the example of the rise and fall respectively of the two ends of a weighing balance, the two ends of the balance are there at the same time, and the fall of one is due to the addition of something else, a weight, and so is the rise of the other. But here it is the destruction and production of two consciousnesses, one present and one future, and as in the case of the cause of the movement of the balance, unless there is some third thing as an outside cause, they will not happen at the one time. One cannot say that what is merely perishing produces a consciousness similar to itself; it would be absurd that Devadatta in the act of dying should by his death produce a son like himself.

(Opponent) As the lump of clay perishes in causing the production of a jar, so here.

(Answer) No, because that is simply the parts of the clay changing into the form of the jar. It is like one sorceress that possesses the many qualities, of lump of clay, of jar, and of others.

As to the case when seeds have made a dynamic-impression (vāsanā) on something else, the so-called conforming to the impressing thing by the thing impressed is still not a case of causation, because both the thing impressed and the impressor are enduring. For it is only enduring things, like the sprouts in the seeds, which are impressed by the dynamic-impressions of the seeds. There are also subtle parts of the impressing substance which do not at all enter into the process. Therefore it is logical that it is only presently existent sprouts, etc., which are impressed by the dynamic-impressions of the seeds. For there is no production of non-existent things like the horns of a hare. If it were a non-existent thing which is produced, then since the impressed and the impressor would both have perished, and what is not presently existing has nothing to distinguish it, it would not conform to the impressing substance, and would not arise. Or else, it might turn out to be something else, like a hand.

Or if absolute non-existence is to be produced, like the horn of a hare, then something defined as non-existent in the three periods of time would have to be in the impressed seed. Therefore an enduring agency, in conjunction with the several mental processes of present and future, has to be admitted.

To try to force this argument is to exemplify the fallacious argument that cow-dung, as being also a product of the cow, can make a milk dish.

And to suppose the mind to be a stream of different things would be to deny one’s own experience. When it is said ‘What I saw, that I am touching’, and ‘What I touched, that I remember’, though there is difference in the ideas, there is no difference in the notion of the ‘I’ as the common subject which has those ideas. This common self, the notion ‘I’, has as its field a single possessor of the ideas; how could it refer to a possessor of the ideas which is present as a mere similarity in absolutely separate minds? The idea of this identical ‘I’ is grasped in one’s own experience.

The man who seeks to maintain otherwise, namely that mind is no more than momentary ideas, exemplifies the fallacious argument that cow-dung, as being also a product of the cow, can make a milk dish. However energetically one may argue with many reasons, such as the fact that they are both products of the cow, one cannot make cow-dung out to be milk, and neither can he make memory and so on possible for a mind consisting of moments.

To suppose the mind to be a stream of different things would be to deny one’s own experience; if the mind is to be no more than ideas, it denies one’s own experience, in that one does not remember what has been seen by someone else.

If a (Buddhist) witness were asked, ‘What did you see?’ he would have to say ‘I did not see’, for on his theory what was seen was seen by another. How can there be such a denial of experience? What I saw, that I am touching and I alone; what I touched, that I am remembering and I alone. It is when there is one single subject of both the idea and the memory that knowledge presents a jar in the form ‘this is that’, otherwise it would be in the form ‘what someone resembling me saw is what I, who resemble him, am touching’. The idea ‘I’ in every man is present as one single subject of memory and of ideas, and it is directly perceived in ideas like ‘I am seeing’, ‘I am touching’ and ‘I am remembering’ as the one subject of those ideas, established as the identical possessor of the ideas.

(Opponent) The object of an idea is quite different from the memory of it, and even in regard to the same thing, the ‘I’ of the thinking would not be the ‘I’ of the remembering, by the simple fact that the words ‘thinker’ and ‘rememberer’ are different.

(Answer) No, because we see it directly, as he shows: The idea of this identical ‘I’ is grasped in one’s own experience.

And the supremacy of direct perception cannot be challenged by other means of right knowledge, because it is only by virtue of direct perception that they find any application.

(Opponent) ‘Thinker’ and ‘rememberer’ are different words and different ideas, so the I-notion is to be inferred as applying to different things.

(Answer) The supremacy of direct perception its authoritativeness, as of what is before the very eyes, cannot be challenged cannot be impugned from the side of inference.

This I-notion is a matter of right knowledge by direct perception, not something existing as a single subject only by similarity between ideas and memories of it. If what is proved by direct perception were to be challenged by inference, then the authoritativeness of inference itself would be lost, because inference is itself based on perception. So he points out that it is only by virtue of direct perception that other means of right knowledge find their application as such. The opponent, by his denial of direct perception, with the (consequent) denial of inference, is exposed to the fallacy of undermining his own position.

What holds (ādhāra) the saṃskāra of the idea of the present moment is no different from what holds the saṃskara-s of the past and future ideas; there is something which illumines them, as of the nature of self, as belonging to the same stream.

The substratum (āsraya) of the saṃskāra of the idea of the present moment is no different from the substratum upholding the saṃskāra-s of the past and future ideas; there is something which illumines them, from its nature as the self, as belonging to the same stream.

The present possessor of the I-notion is not separate from the past and future possessors of it; they have the idea as from their very nature, being joined to the same stream.

The idea now present is not separated from the possessors of the idea in the past and future, because there is something which illumines them, by nature coloured by the self, as belonging to the same stream.

The present possessor of the idea is not separated from the ideas past and future, because there is something which illumines them, as of the nature of self, as belonging to the same stream.

Since it is not found that separate streams mutually confound their memories, and memory is only observed in the individual stream, it is certain that there is a single subject in each. It is known to be so by the proof of direct perception, of all proofs the weightiest, so there is nothing left to be demonstrated by inference. No one takes a mirror to look at a mark on the palm of his hand.

Even so, some who will not accept the collapse of the inferences presented by the Vaināśika Buddhists, still produce plausible counter-inferences, and so he sums up: Therefore the mind is something enduring, one and with many objects, and it is for such an enduring mind that the training (parikarman) is prescribed by the teaching (śāstra). He is showing that the teaching is meaningful.

Therefore it is established that the mind is one, with a number of objects. The method of training this mind is now to be given.


(6) Read:1.33 –1. 40

Yoga Sutra 1.33

The mind is made clear by meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful

Let him practise friendliness towards all beings experiencing happiness, compassion to those in pain, goodwill to the habitually virtuous, and disinterest in habitual sinners. Such devoted meditations produce pure dharma, and thereby the mind becomes clear. When it is clear, it attains steadiness in one-pointedness.

How is the mind to be trained? Practice on one principle has been taught; what is the one principle which is to be the object of the practice? He says, meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful.

Friendliness is meditation on being a friend, one who rejoices in happiness when he sees it without anything like envy. So towards suffering, a kindly sympathy, and to the righteous he feels goodwill. It is added that he should practise disinterest in regard to the doings of the habitually sinful.

Practice of this all the time produces pure dharma, which does no injury to living beings; this dharma makes the mind clear. When it is clear, it attains steadiness in one-pointedness; the meaning is that by one-pointedness it is concentrated in samādhi, as the Gītā says, ‘The mind of the pure-hearted soon becomes steady’ (II.65).

(Opponent) Disinterest cannot produce dharma because it is not an action, so why is it included?

(Answer) If indifference were not mentioned, the mind would become engaged with those habitually sinful, and from the taint arising from dealings with them, it would not be fit for meditations on friendliness and the others. Disinterest is mentioned only in the context of steadying the mind so that there should be no a-dharma arising from casual dealings involving habitual sinners. The great thing here is steadiness of the mind.

When he has thus engaged his mind in meditation on one principle in this way, the mind will come to samādhi and no obstacles will then arise.

Yoga Sutra 1.34

Or by expulsion and retention of prāṇa

Expulsion is emission of the abdominal air through the two nostrils by a conscious effort; retention refers to the process of prāṇāyāma. By these two means one can attain steadiness of the mind.

The word Or means an alternative, so this is a means to steadiness other than meditations on friendliness, etc. The sense is that one should attain steadiness by some one of the means beginning with meditation on friendliness; a number of means are given, with the idea that one of them will be easier to a particular person and time and place.

Expulsion and retention separately or together. The first is emission of the abdominal air up to the limit through the nostrils, not by the mouth. Retention is the full process of prāṇāyāma, to the limit. Though prāṇa is to some extent restrained even by expulsion (alone), its function of going out has not been inhibited, and so retention is added, meaning prāṇāyāma.

Yoga Sutra 1.35

Or achievement of supernormal perception of a divine object brings the mind to steadiness

When one makes a concentration (dhāraṇā) on the tip of the nose, he will have a sensation (saṃvit) of divine fragrance; on the palate, of colour; on the middle of the tongue, of touch; and on the root of the tongue, of sound. These supernormal perceptions arising hold the mind in steadiness, remove doubts, and become a means to samādhi cognition (samādhi-prajñā).

In the same way experiences like the moon, sun, a planet, a jewel, a light or a ray, are to be known as supernormal perceptions of actual objects.

Although what is understood from the scriptures and inferences from them, and from instruction by a teacher, are real facts, since these are qualified to describe things as they really are, still until some one part of it has been known directly for oneself, it is all second-hand as it were, and does not produce a firm conviction about release and other subtle things. Therefore some one definite thing has to be directly experienced in confirmation of what has been learned from scripture and inference and the teacher.

Or a supernormal perception of a divine object brings the mind to steadiness. This is a yogic perception, of some object like fragrance, for example, when that has been made the object of the meditation. There is a direct awareness (saṃvedana) of that fragrance.

For the yogin who is practising yoga which is to give face-to-face experience, the perception is the first direct awareness, and it gives him confidence, creating enthusiasm for the practice of yoga; it is like the appearance of smoke when wood is being rubbed together to create fire. Such a perception fills him with joy because of the confidence it creates, and brings his mind to steadiness.

When one makes a concentration on the tip of the nose, he will have a sensation (saṃvit) of fragrance an experience of delightful fragrance arises and continues, as if by the ordinary sense contact. This is the perception of fragrance. So with the tongue and others; they are the locations of concentration. These perceptions hold the mind in steadiness, remove doubts, and become a means to samādhi-cognition.

The forms of a ray, moon, sun, planet, or a light and so on, appearing to one who is concentrating his mind on them, or spontaneously when the meditation on the lotus of the heart is unsteady (vaiṣamya), are to be known as perceptions of actual objects.

Although what is understood from the scriptures and inferences from them and from instruction by a teacher, are real facts, and there is no uncertainty about them, inasmuch as there is no contradictory teaching, still until some one part of it has been known directly for oneself until there is a direct perception (pratyakṣa) of at least one thing taught by them it is all second-hand, as it were, and does not produce a firm conviction about such subtle things as release. Therefore some specific thing has to be directly experienced, to reinforce what has been so learnt.

When some one thing out of what has been taught has been directly perceived, everything else is firmly believed’, including such subtle matters as release, and this is why the yogin is directed to train the mind in this way.

As regards the concentrations of the mind which have not been mastered, when the consciousness of mastery has arisen in regard to the objects (so far practised), he will be able to perceive directly (and thereby master) all the others. Then faith, energy, memory and samādhi will come to him without hindrance.

When some one thing out of what has been taught has been directly perceived, everything else is firmly believed, including such subtle matters as release, and this is why the yogin is directed to train the mind in this way,beginning with friendliness and compassion (sūtra I.33) up to mastery, from the ultimate atomic particles up to ultimate magnitude (sūtra I.40); the training is set out in the section beginning with restraints, observances, posture and so on (sūtra II.29).

To sum up: by undertaking one of the practices taught in this section, some one thing is directly perceived; by this, doubt is removed and faith firmly established in the teachings right up to such subtle things as release, the extravertive mental processes are calmed, and the detachment called consciousness of mastery is accomplished. Then he will be capable of experiencing directly any of the things taught in the third chapter, beginning with the three transformations (past, present and future), whether to attain knowledge or powers. This is the purpose of teaching this mental training here, as the commentator has explained.

Yoga Sutra 1.36

Or a radiant perception beyond sorrow

The words ‘brings the mind to steadiness’ are to be supplied from the previous sūtra. When one concentrates on the heart-lotus, there is direct awareness of the buddhi. The buddhi-sattva is like shining space, but while the concentration is still wavering in stability, the perception takes the luminous form of a sun, or a moon, planet, or gems.

When the mind reaches samādhi on I-am-ness, it is like the still ocean, serene and infinite, I-am alone. On which it has been said: Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of I-am alone.

There are thus the two sorrowless perceptions, one of divine objects, and one of self alone, by which the mind of the yogin attains steadiness.

The sūtra has to be completed from the context, so that it runs: ‘Or where a radiant perception, beyond sorrow, is attained, it brings the mind to steadiness.’ As a perception in which light is experienced, it is called radiant, and as it causes sorrow to pass away, it is beyond sorrow. How is it produced? When one concentrates on the heart-lotus, there is a direct awareness of the buddhi an experience of its true nature. What then is this nature of the buddhi-sattva? Like shining space, ever radiant and all-pervading. But because there in that buddhi-sattva there isstill wavering (vaiṣamya) in the stability, because the concentration has not come to complete likeness of the buddhi-sattva as it is in itself, the radiant perception of the yogic concentration on the heart-lotus takes the luminous form of a sun or moon, planet or gems.

When the mind reaches samādhi on I-am-ness, on ‘I’ (ahaṅkāra), which happens when the buddhi-sattva approximates to its own true nature, it is like a still ocean, serene and infinite, I-am alone. On which it has been said as regards this samādhi Having discovered having attained the self the ātman of I-am-ness (asmitā) which is being explained, which is subtle as an atom being so subtle he should be conscious of I-am alone. He should be conscious only of the likeness of the object of the meditation. As the true form of the I alone, it is seen as distinct from what has coloured it, like a crystal taking on the colour of what it is laid on.

There are these two sorrowless perceptions, one of divine objects and one of self alone. All of them, from the perception of fragrance to I-am-ness, are entirely without sorrow. But the radiant perception is different from the group of five beginning with the experience of fragrance. The ones connected with an object are preliminary to the pure I-am, and as such, there is a difference in their fields. By which sorrowless radiant perception the mind of the yogin attains steadiness.

Yoga Sutra 1.37

Or on a mind whose meditation is on freedom from passion

Coloured by meditation on a mind free from passion, the mind of the yogin attains steadiness.

He from whose thinking all passion has gone, is free from passion, namely dispassionate. It is well known what dispassion is: there must be freedom from desire even in the case of a naturally passionate man in the presence of objects of desire, for instance women or possessions. Let him practise with this idea in mind. But actual objects should not be part of the meditation, because of the evils in them. Thus coloured by meditation on a mind free from passion, the mind of the yogin attains steadiness. For a mind, once the bridle of passion has been set on it, runs like a horse driven by another.

Yoga Sutra 1.38

Or meditating on the knowledge of dream and sleep

Either on the knowledge of dream or on the knowledge of sleep; the yogin’s mind in that form attains steadiness.

Meditating, either on the knowledge of dream or on the knowledge of sleep, the mind becomes of that form alone. What the mind meditates on as its own being, that form indeed it becomes. In the dream state, there is knowledge without any physical objects like sound and so on, and the nature of that knowledge is pure illumination. Now he meditates on what that knowledge is, but not on the remembered objects themselves (which appear in the dream). For the mind can be caught by the bridle of an object even merely remembered. But the meditation on the knowledge of deep sleep, which is essentially non-perception of any particular objects, rests on the idea of non-existence, and is peaceful, infinite, and characterized by an experience of immutability. When the mind rests on that, it is natural that it attains steadiness.

Yoga Sutra 1.39

Or by meditation on what appeals to him

Let him meditate on whatever appeals to him. Having found some one thing on which he can steady his mind, he will be able to steady it on other things also.

Let him meditate on whatever appeals with the aim of steadying the mind, for steadying the mind is the purpose here. It must not be to secure pleasures and so on, for there is the prohibition ‘Even if one should obtain objects, let him never dwell on them in any way’. Having found something which is a proper object for meditation on which he can steady his mind, he will be able to steady it on other things also, the things specifically prescribed for the training.

Yoga Sutra 1.40

His mastery extends right to the ultimate atom and to the ultimate magnitude

When he concentrates on it, he can steady his mind on anything subtle, right down to the ultimate atom; when he concentrates on it, he has steadiness of mind on anything substantial, up to the ultimate magnitude. When one can take his practice to either at will, it is full mastery; when he has full mastery, he does not require further practice in training.

The words right to are to be taken with both the extremes. When he concentrates on something subtle, in the course of his practice the mind experiences things progressively smaller and smaller till he comes to the ultimate atom. By practice he becomes able to remain steady in that experience.

When he can take his practice to either limit at will, it is full mastery. He has complete mastery who is not obstructed by any opposing thought in his experience of either the very small or the very great. The earlier practices are (part of) the highest (mastery), but there is this distinction: when he has full mastery he does not require further practice in training, whereas those in the early stages do require some more training.

There is, then, a three-fold concentration (dhāraṇā): the contracted which touches the limit of minuteness, the extended which touches the limit of greatness, and the third which experiences both of the limits. The sūtra implies all three.

Now when the mind has attained steadiness (sthiti), what sort of samādhi does it have, and on what objects?

When the mind has attained steadiness by one or more of the methods given what sort of samādhi does it have and on what objects? The following sūtra has been given to answer this question.


(7) Read: 1.41 –1. 49.

Note the conditions for inspiration given in 1.43 and 1.47. Not all Samādhi-s are Truth-bearing.

Yoga Sutra 1.41

Identification-in-samādhi (samāpatti) is when the mental process has dwindled and the mind rests on either the knower or the knowing process or a known object, and like a crystal apparently takes on their respective qualities

(Opponent) He is going to speak about the objects of samādhi in the Third Part (sūtra III.35): by saṃyama on what-is-for-its-own-sake, (distinct) from what-is-for-the-sake-of another, there comes knowledge of Puruṣa.There he is going to explain the nature of identification-in-samādhi, namely the nature of saṃyama, by the resultant effect, so the present sūtra is superfluous.

(Answer) Not so, because here he wishes to show the purpose of mastering the methods that have just been described. They have been properly mastered when the mind, identified in samādhi with the knower or with the process of knowledge or with a known object, assumes the appearance of it. Sūtra I.17 has already said that samādhi is cognitive when it is accompanied with vitarka (verbal associations), vicāra (subtle associations), ānanda (joy), and asmitā (I-am-ness), and now it has to be explained what they are. He cannot describe what they are without reference to samādhi, because they are properties of it.

When the mental process has dwindled means, when the ideas have died down.

The ideas, of right knowledge of external things and so on, have died down.

(Opponent) The ideas must have died out altogether. Only when they have all ceased does the commitment of the mind end, and there must be no dependence on anything physical or subtle.

(The answer is that Vyāsa in his commentary has explained that the cognitive states, where there is still one idea remaining, are preliminary to the other samādhi which is ultra-cognitive – Tr.)

The illustration is given of a flawless jewel. As a crystal, according to the different things set near it, becomes tinged with their colours and appears in their respective forms, so the mind is coloured by the object of meditation, and in samādhi on the object appears in the form of that object. Coloured by a physical object, it appears to have the nature of a physical object; coloured by meditation on a subtle object, identified in samādhi with a subtle object, it appears to have the nature of a subtle object. Coloured by any particular thing, identified with that thing in samādhi, it appears as that particular form.

So also with the senses, which are the process of knowledge. Coloured by meditation on the process of knowledge, identified in samādhi with it, mind appears to have the nature of the process of knowledge.

So also, coloured by meditation on Puruṣa as knower, identified in samādhi with Puruṣa as knower, it appears to have the nature of Puruṣa as knower. And coloured by meditation on Puruṣa released, identified in samādhi with Puruṣa released, it appears to have the nature of Puruṣa released.

(No Vivaraṇa comment on first two paragraphs – Tr.)

Identified with Puruṣa as knower means Puruṣa in its nature as causing buddhi to know (buddhi-bodhaka); concentrated on that, mind appears in the form of the knower; identified with Puruṣa released when this very knower of buddhi is no longer a knower of ideas of objects, then its state is the bare knowledge that sattva and Puruṣa are distinct.

When it is said that in this detachment the Puruṣa is released, the sense is that the mind is released from all taints. Freedom of the mind from taints is what is called ‘release’ of Puruṣa. This is why in the sūtra it says only knower.And here Puruṣa released means only the knower aspect of Puruṣa, otherwise he would have said just Puruṣa.When the highest consciousness of mastery in detachment has arisen, there is never again any involvement with saṃsāra. So it has been said: though there be still a bare connection with mind, if there is no connection with taints, ‘he is ever freed, ever the Lord’ (comm. to I.24).

Therefore it is said coloured by meditation on Puruṣa released, identified in samādhi with Puruṣa released, it appears to have the nature of Puruṣa released. Here it would be wrong to think that by meditating on mere cessation of any connection with mind one will be identified in samādhi with Puruṣa released and will appear in the form of Puruṣa released, because that would mean that the mind itself would have been dissolved. Puruṣa is at the limit of subtlety. Pradhāna is equally subtle, and mind is an effect of an effect of an effect of it. Mind, identifying itself in samādhi with Puruṣa or pradhāna, could not maintain itself when making the identification, any more than a jar can be identified with the jar-form without giving up its previous condition of clay-form.

(Opponent) But it is said that the Great principle (mahat) and the cosmic I (ahaṅkāra) are knowable to the mind of the yogin, even though it is an effect of them.

(Answer) As to whether they are knowable or not, there is a distinction according to how far the knowledge is to go. If they are to be knowablc, there has to be some special relation involving a knower whose nature is apart (from them). They are both manifest, so a special relation is not inconceivable; they could be known by a special relation in the same way that it is known by a special mental idea that one’s own Puruṣa is a knower and is released. But they cannot be known as the self (ātman) of all, because that would be too great to comprehend. They would be the self of the very mind which sought to know them as the self of all, and as such they could not be known as an object by it. Pradhāna and Puruṣa, however, are essentially absolutely unmanifest, and there can be no perception of them in their own nature, or of any relation between them.

(Opponent) If pradhāna and Puruṣa and the relation between them are not to be directly perceived, it would mean that the Lord is not omniscient.

(Answer) There is no question that everything other than pradhāna and Puruṣa and the relation between them is capable of being perceived, for it is universally accepted that the range of direct perception is unrestricted; what is not within the range of our perception is knowable to the Lord. If there is a knowable then certainly somehow or other someone must know it; without a knower, it would not be a knowable.

Now if prakṛti (= pradhāna) and Puruṣa are to be knowable as objects in their own nature, they would be things experienced, like the mind. Then (being objects) they would exist-for-another, and that other would have to be supposed to be beyond them.

(Opponent) The Puruṣa-s could know each other, without supposing any further knower.

(Answer) Not so; the Puruṣa-s being identical, there would be nothing to determine which was subject and which was object. And two lamps can not each be subordinate to the other.

Moreover if Puruṣa is going to be known, it implies that there is happiness and so on in his nature, and this would involve many further difficulties, such as the fact that the happiness, etc., would not be dependent on pradhāna as cause.

(Opponent) But he does speak of Puruṣa as directly perceived (in sūtra III.35): by saṃyama on what-is-for-its-own-sake, (distinct) from what-is-for-the-sake-of-another, there comes knowledge of Puruṣa.

(Answer) Yes, and it is rightly said. This is why we said that Puruṣa does not become an object in its own nature. In the commentary there it says, It is not that Puruṣa is seen by any idea of Puruṣa, which – because it is an idea – would be essentially mind. It is Puruṣa that sees the idea resting on his own self. And so it has been said: ‘By what indeed would one know the knower?’ (Bṛhad. Up. II.4.13)

(Opponent) The mind coloured by resting on Puruṣa is an object for Puruṣa, so in fact Puruṣa is directly perceived, for when an idea coloured by resting on a jar is perceived by Puruṣa, that is what is called the jar’s being perceived.

(Answer) The cases are not parallel. For Puruṣa is not pervaded by the mind, as the jar is. A thing like a jar is external and pervaded by the mind; not so Puruṣa, for it is infinite.

The limited mind, which would take Puruṣa as its object, cannot pervade that which is the infinite subject. If it could pervade Puruṣa, it should be able to pervade pradhāna too (which is impossible as it is only a remote effect of pradhāna).

Therefore, as the face is perceived in a mirror in the form of a reflection, so it is an idea transformed into the form of a reflection of Puruṣa which is seen by Puruṣa. Thus Vyāsa says, ‘As in the clearness of a mirror, one sees the self in the self (Mahābh. Śānti Parva 204.8).

There is no possibility of the mind’s taking on the form of some other released Puruṣa; though it might be the form of the other one, still it would be seen as one’s own. For it is nothing else than a transformation of the mind; it is only the mind which Puruṣa sees transformed into his own form. The possibility of the transformation is when there is a relation to the form of Puruṣa its owner, of whom the mind is the property.

(Opponent) Then how can it ever be known that any other Puruṣa even exists, when that other would not be related as owner?

(Answer) As another face can be seen by means of another mirror, so Puruṣa sees his own mind transformed into the form of another mind, corresponding to the second mirror, and so knows another Puruṣa.

But the distinction ‘This is his self, this is mine’ is known by inference alone, by the indication of the special attributes of a mind different from one’s own, for minds being composed of the three guṇa-s inevitably have attributes special to themselves. But Puruṣa-s being attributeless cannot conceivably be different in their own nature.

In this way the mind, like a flawless jewel, rests on and is coloured by the knower, or knowing process, or object of knowledge – Puruṣa, senses, or thing – and when it has become established in one of them, it takes on its form. This is called identification-in-samādhi (samāpatti).

It rests on the knower or on the knowing process or on an object, and it is coloured according to which one it rests on. When established there, it takes on that form.

The identification (sam-āpatti) is a complete assumption (samyag-āpatti) of the likeness in the form of an idea devoid of anything else. Though there are such identifications in the extravertive mind also, they are not very complete, because the mind is then predominantly under the control of rajas and tamas.

Yoga Sutra 1.42

The samādhi-identification is called sa-vitarka when it is mixed up with mental constructs of word, thing, and idea

We see for instance that the process of knowing takes place without discriminating between the word Cow and the thing Cow and the idea Cow, though they are on different levels, for there are some properties distinguished as belonging to words and others to things, and still others to ideas.

When a yogin makes the identification on a thing like a cow, if it arises in his samādhi-knowledge and manifests there full of mental constructs of word, thing, and idea, that confused identification is called sa-vitarka.

There are four of the samādhi-identifications. The sūtra explains the first of them: the identification is called sa-vitarka when it is mixed up with mental constructs (vikalpa) of word, thing, and idea.

There are verbal constructs, and constructs relating to things, and constructs relating to ideas. When it is mixed up and confused with mental constructs relating to what is being meditated upon, so that the thoughts interpenetrate each other, that is a confused identification.

(Opponent) Words and things and ideas are mutually exclusive. The yogin is supposed to meditate on just one thing, so let him take either a word, or a thing, or an idea; why should there be any confusion of mental constructs of words and things and ideas?

(Answer) This is just the point; ordinary knowledge is based on not distinguishing them. So it is that the normal usage has simply ‘cow’ to represent all three, and in knowing one of the three there is memory of the other two, not realized to be distinct from it.

(Opponent) Make the meditation simply on ‘that thing as it is’.

(Answer) No, because the conventional association of the word for that thing will inevitably follow.

(Opponent) Let him choose some word which is a universal, and before he has any association (by experience of any individual of the class).

(Answer) No, because it still involves the knowledge that there are the other things.

there are some properties distinguished as belonging to words. The letter ‘g’ (in the word gau, cow), the vowels with intonation rising or falling, and short medium or long, are ways of knowing for the ear, but they are not properties of things or of ideas. The properties of things are of another kind: the dewlap of the cow, its tail, hump, hoof, horn, appearance, touch, and so on. Then the properties of ideas are of still another kind: that their nature is to be knowable to Puruṣa, that they are essentially appearances, that they cause saṃskāra-s, and so on. These are not the properties of words or of things. In reality there is not the faintest possibility of confusion. Thusthey are on different levels.

When a yogin makes the identification on one of them if it rises and manifests in his samādhi-knowledge full of mental constructs of word, thing, and idea, if it is thus interpenetrated by conventional associations of word and thing and memories of them, then that confused identification is called sa-vitarka (with illusory projections relating to a physical thing).

But when there is purification from memories of verbal conventions, in a samādhi-knowledge empty of mental constructs of ideas heard or inferred, the object stands out in the form of its real nature alone, and limited to just that form. This is nir-vitarka identification, and it is the higher direct perception. It is the germ of authority and inference; from it, they have their being. That perception is not associated with any knowledge from outer authority or inference. The yogic perception, unmixed with any other source of right knowledge, arises out of this nir-vitarka samādhi. It is defined in the sūtra which follows.

Now he speaks of nir-vitarka identification. But when there is purification from memories of verbal conventions:a verbal convention is the general consensus ‘this is the expression for that, and that is what is expressed by this’, and the memory produced by it is the memory of the verbal convention. Purification from this memory means that it ceases, from (the recognition of) its illusoriness, when rajas and tamas have been overcome.

Knowledge from authority means scriptural (āgamika) knowledge, and knowledge from inference means knowledge from indicatory marks. These two, knowledge from inference and from scripture, relate only to universals, whereas the mental construct arising from them is an illusory projection (adhyāropa) of a particular, made by a superimposition (adhyāsa).

In the samādhi-knowledge of the yogin empty of the mental constructs of ideas heard of or inferred, free from illusory superimpositions (adhyāsa) of inferential or conventional verbal knowledge, the object stands out in the form of its real nature alone. This is knowledge of the thing as it is; the object, free from such associations as direction and location and time and past experience, stands vividly in its own qualities alone. It manifests in the form of its real nature; the samādhi-knowledge of the yogin is limited to the real nature of that object, and does not reveal anything of place or time, etc., apart from that object.

The knowledge is not even aware of itself as a process of knowing, because of its extreme transparency. It appears as the object alone, and this as described is the nir-vitarka samādhi. Nir-vitarka means that vitarka has gone from it, vitarka being illusory projection (adhyāropa) which is not really there.

It is the higher direct perception (pratyakṣa) perfect, pure. The lower perception is common to all, and must have come through a previous mental process as has been mentioned; this higher one is for a yogin alone. It is the germ of inference and authority. It is stated to be the germ of authority and inference, but these its effects may themselves sometimes be uncertain. There is however no uncertainty in what they have received from direct perception in nir-vitarka samādhi, and so he says from it authority and inference have their being. And that perception is not associated with any knowledge from outer authority or inference, because it has a different sort of object, namely a particular, whereas the knowledge they give is of universals.

Yoga Sutra 1.43

When there is purification from memories, (that samādhi) apparently empty of its own nature of knowledge, with the object alone shining forth, is nir-vitarka

Purified from memories, which are mental constructs of verbal associations, or knowledge from authority or inference, the samādhi-knowledge coloured by the object as it is, having given up seemingly its own nature of pure perception, is identified with the object, the nature of the thing alone. That identification is what is described as nir-vitarka (samādhi).

When there is purification from memories of mental constructs of verbal association, authority, inference the mental construct of verbal association, the mental construct of ideas from authority, the mental construct of ideas from inference – this it is which is the memory, by which an alien quality from something else is illusorily projected (adhyāropyate). For a thing cannot in reality be projected into another thing.

(Opponent) How can what has merely been heard of or inferred be projected as a direct perception?

(Answer) It is well known that it is; what one has heard of, what one has inferred, one now sees as ‘this’.

(Opponent) One may see it, but in fact it is only something one has inferred or heard about.

(Answer) No, because of the difference between a universal and a particular. What is heard of or inferred is a universal, but the object of direct perception is a particular thing. It is well known that there is sometimes illusory projection (adhyāsa) on to a thing of a universal similar to it.

The samādhi-knowledge of the yogin coloured by the object as it is, having given up seemingly its own nature of pure perception, is identified with the object, the nature of the thing alone. This word seemingly (iva) is used to show that its essence as cognition is not destroyed. For a crystal does not lose its inherent transparency by its proximity to the object placed against it. What is being said is, that the knowing process is unnoticed, and something different from it, an object, is there.

This as described is the nir-vitarka identification. In this a true object, apprehended as a unity such as a cow or a jar, though essentially a particular aggregation of atoms, is the whole world. It is apprehended as a unity, namely determined by a single idea (buddhi). It is a true object, in that it is something whose nature it is to be known by another.

The whole world consists of such true objects, apprehended as a unity like a cow or a jar, though essentially a particular aggregation of atoms. The special arrangement, a quality in which all the subtle elements take part, appears with an existence of its own (ātma-bhūta), inferred from its visible results, manifest in accordance with the causes of its manifestation.

The object is something like a cow or a jar, for instance; the object is not (as some Buddhists hold) no more than a knowledge in the form of a cow, etc. It is essentially a particular aggregation of atoms. A cow or jar is a thing which is a particular arrangement of atoms, which are themselves made up of the subtle elements (tanmātra), and the mind rests on one such thing. The object is a particular arrangement of these subtle things so arranged. So he says, an existence of its own, as a quality in which all the subtle elements take part, not apart from them, any more than the winding coils are apart from the snake.

(Opponent) Some hold that an effect is not the cause but quite apart from it.

(Answer) But they cannot explain the dependence of the effect on its cause. A thread depends on the filaments which make it up, as a cloth depends on its threads. Where two things are absolutely separate, one does not depend on the other; neither cloth nor threads, for instance, depends on a lump of clay (as a bowl does). If there are two absolutely separate things and one is destroyed, there is no corresponding destruction of the other; when a bowl is destroyed, a cloth does not disappear along with it.

(Opponent) What is called the cause is a relation. There is a relation of the threads to the cloth, and of the filaments to the thread, which is the cause (hetu), causing (karaṇa) both the dependence (when the cause operates) and the consequent destruction (when it ceases).

(Answer) A relation would include the relation between Caitra and his field; the fact of the particular relation would mean that Caitra would depend on his field and would be destroyed with it.

(Opponent) Well then, let us confine the word cause to a relation of inherence (samavaya).

(Answer) No, because a relationship, not being a particular, is not causal (between two things). Of two things related, the relation inhering in one side would not cause dependence, etc., in the other one; so even with a relationship defined as inherent, it is not clear which one would be caused to inhere in which. Nor do inherences of action, universals or particulars, exist without a substance, because dependence and so on exist only between substances. So there too a mere relation cannot have causality. Furthermore, if inherence is to be the cause of making one of the two things related to be dependent on the other, there would have to be a new inherence of the first inherence, and of that too another, and the result would be an infinite regress. And if an inherence relation among qualities is to make substances dependent, another inherence will have to be supposed to make the abstract inherence apply to the substances and make one of them dependent, and for that another and for that another – again an infinite regress.

If the effect does not exist before it originates, it can have no relation with the cause; there is no difference between the non-existence of hare’s horns and that of a jar. It has to be explained why there should be a causal relation with the jar (which does appear) and not with things like the horns of a hare.

What was non-existent before can not come into being, any more than a hare’s horns. What is different from threads cannot originate from threads, just because it is different from them; a jar, for example, cannot originate from threads.

(Opponent) What is existent already cannot originate either, because it already exists, like a jar present now. What is not different from something cannot originate from it, because it is already there, it is its very nature so to say.

(Answer) But to say that the existent does not come into being would mean that what does exist now never came into being, and this would be making an issue of something already established (siddha-sādhyatā). Nothing would ever manifest at all, and the conclusion could never be exemplified.

(Opponent) What I said was, that what is not different from something cannot originate from it.

(Answer) That is the same fallacy, and cannot be demonstrated. A thing is manifested out of its very nature; if there were no nature to manifest, even a thousand manifesting agencies could not effect the manifestation.

Furthermore the view (that a thing previously non-existent comes into being) would be the end of ordinary life. How so? Suppose Devadatta’s cow or horse is seen early in the morning complete with ears and tail, and then wanders into the forest where someone crops its ears and tail. With the separation of its former parts, it will – on your view – have been destroyed, but a new one with cropped ears and tail will have been born, which is ownerless and can therefore be possessed by that someone. Then everywhere things would be having parts cut from them, and because there would be no settled rule as to who owned what, it would be the complete destruction of worldly life.

(Opponent) The new whole, with cropped ears and tail, comes into being from the parts it still possesses.

(Answer) Not so, for new wholes with cropped ears and tail, re-created in an instant without father and mother and so on, are not seen in life.

Moreover it should belong only to the one on whose land it was born, and not to the one who owned the previous parts, as grass and leaves belong to the owner of the land on which they grow. If seeds in one field are carried away by flood-water to another field, the corn from these seeds is reaped only by the owner of the latter field, and not by the former owner of the seeds, who cannot object on the ground that he knows the corn has grown from his seeds and so he should take it. In the same way the owner of the field would take the crop-eared animal, and could not be prevented on the grounds that the whole had arisen from parts formerly possessed by another.

Again when the crop-eared horse has been produced and the man who sees that it is in his field has then taken it, the one who did the cutting comes and says that as the cutter he has a greater claim and should therefore take it himself. To let him lawfully take it would be the end of social life, and also contrary to scripture.

So the conclusion is, that a whole is one, and not different from the parts which cause it, being their effect.

(Opponent) It is different, because the words and ideas and qualities applicable to the cause are different from those applied to the effect.

(Answer) That is not convincing; we see cases where the thing is the same in spite of differences in words and ideas and qualities. Hasta, kara and pāṇi are different words for the same thing, namely a hand; fatherhood and sonhood are different ideas which may be about the same person; bound and freed, fixed and gone away are differences as to time; power to burn and power to cook are differences of quality. Differences such as direction and location, moreover, are inconclusive (for establishing otherness). So the commentator has said: with an existence of its own.

And it is inferred from its visible results such as the capacity for carrying and holding water in the case of a jar. Something whose effect is a manifest result must certainly exist.

From different points of view it is spoken of either in terms of its common cause or else in terms of its powers. It is itself fully perceptible, but it is inferred that it has been an unmanifest, now made manifest as an effect called (for instance) a jar, by the operation of agencies such as the potter and his staff and his cord, and which existed formerly in the state of the clay, and is now manifested in accordance with the causes, the staff and other agencies.

It appears, and disappears when another quality arises. This, with such qualities, is called a whole. It is one, large or minute, tangible, with the quality of action, and not permanent. The life of the world is carried on in terms of such wholes.

It appears, and disappears when another quality (dharma) arises. This, with such qualities, is called a whole.Now as atoms are imperceptible, in relation to them appearance and disappearance are meaningless. But these two do occur. So what comes to appear, and disappears when incompatible with a different quality which arises, and what for its manifestation requires manifesting agencies, that is called a whole. Such a whole is different from atoms.

There are also these factors which make the nature of a whole: it is one, large or minute, tangible, with the quality of action, and not permanent. These are factors separate from one another.

In the expression ‘one jar’, what is expressed by the word jar refers to the same thing as the oneness. There is the common reference: what this is, is one. But in the case of many atoms, there is nothing which can refer also to oneness.

As to large or minute there is nothing associated with the tiny atom which can refer equally to the quality of being large. So also with relative smallness, for the atoms are not small in comparison with other atoms, inasmuch as they are all atomic. They are called minute not in relation to other atoms, but from their being minute in comparison with other things.

And then, that whose quality is action, which is the reading of the compound kriyā-dharmaka. A whole is said to have fruitful function and activity, whereas there is no such fruitful functioning and activity in the case of atoms, for they are not utilizable by beings like us. A whole is impermanent whereas atoms are not taken to be so. Further it is visible whereas atoms are not seen, and it is tangible, for it can be left alone or acquired or held and so on. The life of the world is carried on in terms of such wholes but not in terms of atoms.

If one says that the particular aggregate is not real, and that no subtle cause is perceived for it, so that there is no whole apart from a mental construct and it is all false knowledge and not grounded in reality, then for him almost everything would turn out to be false knowledge.

If someone (like a Buddhist) says that the whole is not real – although its existence is so well demonstrated by proofs – and that no subtle causes like atoms are perceived, for him almost everything would turn out to be false knowledge (mithyā-jñāna), that is to say all knowledge of objects would be false.

For such a Buddhist everything is knowledge, appearing in the form of sound and other sense perceptions, in the form of happiness and other inner perceptions, and in the form of the knowledge of both of them. Sounds and so on are imagined wholes producing the knowledge-forms, but not accepted as real. Happiness and other feelings also, being objective, come into the same category of imagined wholes. The very knowledge of them, whose essence is to produce (unreal) knowledge-forms, is therefore illusory also; so everything turns out to be illusory knowledge.

Even direct perception and inference will turn out to be only appearances (ābhāsa), since their objects are illusions such as sound.

And even the knowledge of the Buddhist’s Omniscient One, that all is passing, painful, void, and without a self, and so on, will end up as false knowledge, since there is no object for it. Thus the free-thinking (sva-tantra) Buddhist (tīrthakara) has no credibility, and it has to be accepted that he and his doctrine would not exist (on his view), because they are no different from sound and other objects of knowledge.

Then what would be right knowledge, when there are no objects for it? Whatever is perceived is in fact taken as being a whole; the whole exists, accepted in life as large or small and so on, and becoming the object of nir-vitarka identification.

The corollary is this: what would be right knowledge, when there are no objects for it? In any case (on the Buddhist view) knowledge would be simply providing a form by itself. What itself provides the form cannot be accepted (as right knowledge of anything), so knowledge would all be of itself alone, and no more than illusion.

Then what would be the right knowledge, against which other knowledge is adjudged illusory? If one denies the existence of wholes, established though they are by all right knowledge and all proofs, no object for right knowledge can be produced, and if it cannot, then how can all knowledge be adjudged false? Illusory knowledge is only such when compared with some right knowledge; right knowledge and illusory knowledge presuppose each other.

(Opponent) Let us say that right knowledge is knowledge without an object.

(Answer) Since it could not know its own nature, its existence could not be established. If known, it would be an object, and therefore (on your view) an illusion like all wholes; it being illusion, the knowledge of it would be illusion too, and the knowledge of that fact too would be illusion. Everything would be illusion, as before.

Again, allowing that right knowledge is knowledge without an object, now since the existence of objects is not accepted (by the Buddhist), all knowledge will be without an object, and so would have to be right knowledge. In which case, all knowledge being right knowledge, it must be said what illusory knowledge would be.

(Opponent) Illusory knowledge is what appears as if it had an object, whereas right knowledge is what is absolutely without any object.

(Answer) There too it can only be said that there is no proof of its existence. So it has to be accepted inescapably that the objects of right knowledge are wholes: the whole exists, accepted in life as large or small and so on, and becoming the object of nir-vitarka identification.

Yoga Sutra 1.44

In the same way, when it is on subtle objects, it is called sa-vicāra (with subtle associations) and nir-vicāra (without subtle associations)

Of these two, the sa-vicāra identification refers to subtle elements, whose qualities are manifest, with a particular location, time, cause and experience as their features.

The object of the meditation is the subtle elements, and then it is called sa-vicāra and nir-vicāra. The subtle elements (tan-mātra) are those of sound, etc. In the Sanskrit compound deśakālanimittānubhavāvacchinneṣu, the word for ‘particularized’ applies to each element separately, so the meaning is: featured by a particular location, a particular time, a particular cause, and a particular experience.

For purposes of ordinary life, everything is taken as having a particular location and so on, as related to the knower of that object, its subject. Such being the case, sa-vicāra is when the mental-constructs (vikalpa) of location and the others are associated with the object.

It is clear that on this point there is no difference between sa-vitarka and sa-vicāra, because in both there are illusory projections (adhyāsa). But there is this distinction, that in sa-vitarka there are all the illusory projections of verbal convention and object and idea, as well as projections of location, time, cause and experience, whereas in this sa-vicāra, since the tan-mātra subtle elements have no established verbal associations, the subtle object receives illusory projections of location and the other three, but no projection of any distinctive name. This is a clear distinction from sa-vitarka.

The object of the meditation is the subtle elements, grasped as one single idea, characterized by the qualities which are now manifest, and it presents itself to knowledge in the samādhi.

A subtle object, grasped as one single idea, characterized by the qualities which are now manifest the above-mentioned location, time, cause and experience, or manifest qualities in general, is the object of the meditation, so it is not bare unparticularized knowledge; and it presents itself to knowledge in samādhi.

But what is called nir-vicāra samādhi is on the subtle elements as in all ways and by all means free from particularization by any qualities dormant, manifest, or indeterminable, yet corresponding to the qualities and being the essence of all qualities. The subtle element, in its true form alone, by being meditated upon as such, colours the knowledge in the samādhi with its true form.

Nir-vicāra samādhi is on the subtle elements as in all ways in every manner and by all means everywhere free from particularization by any qualities dormant, manifest, or indeterminable.

Dormant means that having performed its function, it has ceased from it; manifest means that it has come up into function; indeterminable means that it is neither dormant nor manifest nor a visible cause producing something. The unseen powers of a lump of gold to produce many unpredictable forms would be indeterminable qualities. The subtle elements are free from particularization by qualities, yet they correspond to all qualities because there is no object separate from the subtle elements. This is called nir-vicāra; all the features in the definition of nir-vitarka are applicable here to nir-vicāra.

The subtle element in its true form alone as free from particularizations of location, time, cause and experience, as the essence of all and as corresponding to all qualities being meditated on as such colours the knowledge in samādhi.

It is when the samādhi-knowledge is seemingly empty of its own nature, with the object alone shining forth, that it is called nir-vicāra. Sa-vitarka and nir-vitarka are concerned with physical objects and sa-vicāra and nir-vicāra with subtle objects. The distinction between nir-vicāra and sa-vicāra is made clear by what has been said about nir-vitarka.

It is when the samādhi-knowledge is seemingly empty of its own nature, with the object alone shining forth, that it is called nir-vicāra: in this respect nir-vicāra has the same feature as nir-vitarka. He now shows where they differ: the sa-vitarka and nir-vitarka are concerned with physical objects with things of substantial size. The compound ‘thing of substantial size’ means an identity, like the compound ‘head of Rāhu’ (which is all head). It is the vitarka pair which have this kind of object; the vicāra pair have subtle objects. The vicāra pair is to be understood after the pattern of the vitarka pair; in the second one of each pair, mental constructs disappear. The first ones of the pairs also are to be understood by their common features. And the distinction between the two pairs has also been stated.

It has been said that the sa-vicāra and nir-vicāra have subtle objects. Now the further point is considered: what is the limit of subtlety?

Yoga Sutra 1.45

The scale of (causal) subtlety of objects ends in pradhāna

In the case of an atom of earth, the subtle element (tan-mātra) of odour is a subtler (causal) object (for the vicāra meditations); in the case of water it is the subtle element of taste; in the case of fire, light; in the case of air, touch; of space, it is the subtle element of sound. Subtler than these is the cosmic I (ahaṅkāra), and subtler than that is the Great Principle (liṅga); more subtle than that is pradhāna (a-liṅga – uncreated nature). There is nothing more subtle beyond pradhāna. (But) surely Puruṣa is at the limit of subtlety? Indeed it is, but it is not a subtle cause of the Great Principle in the same way that pradhāna is. Puruṣa is not the cause which produces it; it is only a cause which sets in motion. Hence the limit of subtlety is described as pradhāna (the ultimate cause).

In the case of an atom of earth, the subtle element of odour is a subtler (causal) object. When the atom of earth is analysed, it is found that the subtle element (tanmātra) of odour alone is its very essence. And the essence of the subtle element of odour has the liṅga, the principle called the Great, as its subtle cause.

The word liṅga (literally, having origination, and therefore destruction) carries the meaning that the subtle elements, which together with the cosmic I (ahaṅkāra) have come forth from the pure liṅga, the Great, go (ga) to dissolution (li) in it, and again that they come back from dissolution, from the pradhāna. Pradhāna, on the contrary, being a-liṅga (without liṅga or origination) neither goes to dissolution in anything else nor comes back. Of the Great, the pure liṅga, the subtle cause is pradhāna, the a-liṅga.

(Opponent) Surely Puruṣa is at the limit of subtlety too, so where does it come in this progression of ever more subtle causes?

(Answer) This objection is raised on the basis of a certain theory that Puruṣa too is a cause, but our position is not touched by it. The subtlety of the a-liṅga lies in the fact that it has no liṅga or origin but is the cause of the origin of the liṅga or Great principle. The point is that whatever is the cause of some effect is relatively more subtle than that effect. The objection raised is, that Puruṣa too is essentially without liṅga or origin. This is true, but Puruṣa is not more subtle than the liṅga in this special sense of being the cause of it. Puruṣa, though it is indeed without liṅga, is not the material cause of the liṅga principle, the Great, which is thus not its effect. Pure consciousness (caitanya) cannot be correlated with any effect.

If it could be so correlated, Puruṣa would necessarily also be something experienced, and would thus be for-the-sake-of-another, and would be essentially pleasure and pain and delusion. Moreover pradhāna would no longer be the cause of everything. This would go against all the evidence, and so he says that Puruṣa is only a cause (hetu) in the sense that its presence as experiencer sets pradhāna in motion. This is the meaning of the statement that subtlety reaches the limit with pradhāna.

Yoga Sutra 1.46

These are samādhi from-a-seed

These four samādhi-identifications have external things as their seed, so the samādhi is from-a-seed (sa-bīja). When it is a physical object, the samādhi is sa-vitarka or nir-vitarka; when a subtle object, it is sa-vicāra or nir-vicāra. So the four categories of samādhi have been described.

They are from-a-seed because their objects are external things. The samādhi is from-a-secd, namely cognitive, as was explained under sūtra I.17: ‘cognitive because accompanied with verbal associations (vitarka), subtle associations (vicāra), joy (ānanda), and the form of I-am-ness (asmitā)’. When it is a physical object, the samādhi is sa-vitarka or nir-vitarka: when a subtle object, it is sa-vicāra or nir-vicāra. So the four categories of samādhi have been described.

Yoga Sutra 1.47

From skill in nir-vicāra, a clearness in the self

When the mind-sattva whose nature is light, is freed from rajas and tamas, and has a clear steady flow, without any veiling contamination of impurity, that is the skill in nir-vicāra. When this skill in nir-vicāra appears, there is an inner clearness in the self of the yogin, which is a progressively (anurodhi) clearer and brighter light of knowledge of the object as it really is.

The veiling impurity is a sort of contamination, consisting of the taints, etc. clearness in the self is the knowledge which can distinguish such things as the self (ātman). It is of this that it is now said that it is knowledge of the thing as it really is (bhūlārtha); it is a progressively clearer stage by stage corresponding to the progressive destruction of the taints and brighter very distinct light of knowledge the nature of samādhi-knowledge being extreme purity. The light is the knowledge, for by it one knows the thing as it is (yathāvastu). So it is said:

As a man on a crag sees those in the plain, so the man of knowledge,

High on the palace of knowledge beyond sorrow, looks on all the beings in their pain.

Yoga Sutra 1.48

In this, the knowledge is Truth-bearing

The knowledge which appears in that clearness of the mind in samādhi has the special name of Truth-bearing, in the literal sense that it brings truth alone, and there is no trace of erroneous knowledge in it. So it is said:

By scriptural authority, by inference, and by zest for meditation practice – In these three ways perfecting his knowledge, he attains the highest yoga.

In this in the light of knowledge, the inner clearness of the mind in samādhi, the knowledge which appears born of discrimination (viveka) has the special name of Truth-bearing, in the literal sense that it brings truth alone and there is no trace of erroneous knowledge in this, which is born of discrimination. For it appears in the one in whom all taint of error has been destroyed, and being born, it dispels the obscurities associated with the object of knowledge. So it is said:

By scriptural authority, by inference, and by zest for meditation practice – In these three ways perfecting his knowledge, he attains the highest yoga. Knowledge is a component part of yoga, and it has three degrees. The first is, to follow the instructions of the scriptures and the teachers; the second is mainly concerned with removing, by reason (yukti) and inference, objections to the authoritative teaching which is being studied, and so rightly establishing it; but the third is eagerness for constant practice of meditation on what has thus been established by the scriptures and by inferences from them. Perfecting his knowledge in these three ways, the yogin attains yoga.

Yoga Sutra 1.49

This knowledge is of a particular thing, unlike knowledge from authority or from inference

Authority means the scripture, and that deals only with universals – scripture cannot point to individual things. Why not? Because an individual does not have the conventional association with a word. Inference too has only universals for its object. The example of inference has been given, that where there is getting to another place, there is motion, and where there is no such getting to another place, there is no motion. And the conclusion is reached by inference by means of a universal. So the object of authority or inference is never a particular thing.

Ordinary perception gives no knowledge at all of some subtle or remote or hidden thing, but we cannot assert that the latter is not demonstrable and has no existence. A particular relating to subtle elements or to Puruṣa is perceptible by samādhi-knowledge alone.

The object of the Truth-bearing knowledge is a particular, and not any universal conceived by man, as the sūtra says. Its object is a particular; there is an infinity of particular objects, and there cannot be a separate word for each one, so the conventional association with a word is only for a universal. Even where there is a word for a particular (e.g. an individual name), that word cannot identify or communicate that particular to one who does not already know it.

Inference too has only universals for its objects. As said before (comm. to I.7), it is mainly concerned with determining universals. The example of inference has been given, that where there is getting to another place, there is motion, and where there is no such getting to another place, there is no motion. And the conclusion is reached by inference by means of a universal. and that is all that inference can give. So the object of authority or inference is never a particular.

(Opponent) But this particular, relating to subtle elements or to Puruṣa, cannot be known by ordinary perception either, and apart from the three accepted means of right knowledge there is no other means by which we could know it.

(Answer) Ordinary perception gives no knowledge of some subtle or remote or hidden thing, but we cannot assert that the latter is not demonstrable and has no existence. For what is proved by experience does exist – it rides on the king’s highway, as it were. A particular relating to subtle elements or to Puruṣa is perceptible by samādhi-knowledge alone.

(Opponent) You claim that these particulars relating to subtle things are known by direct perception (only in samādhi). But everything is made known by the Lord (in scripture). You may say that as they are facts, they must be known (or they could not be spoken of); then they are known from scripture and inference, but only in the sense that we can say ‘they exist’. There is no rule that all particulars must be knowable by direct perception. Not all the particulars are known even of something held out on the hand.

(Answer) Not so, because we infer that particulars related to anything at all are in principle knowable by direct perception. How so? The idea is this: a particular is something which is an effect, and as such the particulars, even those relating to subtle elements, must be directly perceptible to someone, like the particulars of what is held on one’s own hand. Therefore this knowledge has an object other than the knowledge deriving from authority or from inference, because its object is a particular.

When the yogin has attained samādhi-knowledge, a fresh saṃskāra made by the knowledge is produced.


(8) Read: 1.50 and 1.51 and refer back to 1.18.

Yoga Sutra 1.50

The saṃskāra produced by it inhibits other saṃskāra-s

The saṃskāra produced by truth-bearing knowledge removes the accumulated deposit of saṃskāra-s of extraversion. When the extravertive saṃskāra-s are overcome, no ideas arising from them appear. With inhibition of extravertive ideas, samādhi becomes habitual. Then there is knowledge from that samādhi; from that, more saṃskāra-s are laid down of knowledge, and so a fresh deposit of saṃskāra-s is built up. From that again knowledge, and from that more saṃskāra-s of it.

When the yogin has attained samādhi-knowledge, a fresh saṃskāra made by the knowledge is produced.Knowledge must set up a saṃskāra. Each time the knowledge is renewed, its special saṃskāra is reinforced. But the renewal of the knowledge is from again taking up meditation on the object, different from itself. The saṃskāra produced by Truth-bearing knowledge removes the other accumulated deposit (āśaya) of saṃskāra-s of extroversion: it can do this because it is produced by a different object, namely the thing as it really is (yathārtha). The accumulated deposit (āśaya) is so called because it ‘lies there’ (ā-śi) till release.

When the extravertive saṃskāra-s are overcome when the saṃskāra deposit of extraversion has been overcome by the saṃskara of samādhi-knowledge, no ideas arising from them from the extravertive saṃskāra-s appear.

With inhibition of ideas inhibition of extravertive ideas, samādhi namely the cognitive samādhi becomes habitualto the yogin. Then there is knowledge from that samādhi: from that, more saṃskāra-s are laid down of knowledge, and so in this way a fresh deposit of saṃskāra-s is built up. From that again knowledge, and from that more saṃskāra-s of it.

Why would not this new accumulation of saṃskāra-s draw the mind into involvement with it? It is because saṃskāra-s of knowledge cause the destruction of the taints, and so do not constitute anything that would involve the mind. In fact they make the mind cease its activity, for the exertions of mind come to an end in knowledge (khyāti).

(Opponent) The new accumulation of saṃskāra-s produced by samādhi-knowledge will set up movements which will involve the mind, because they will produce thoughts, as did the former accumulation of saṃskāra-s of extraversion, for they are equally saṃskāra-s of thought. And so the commentator expresses the doubt: Why would not this new accumulation of saṃskāra-s draw the mind into involvement with it? – mind which has the saṃskāra-s.

(Answer) The objection does not hold because they are saṃskara-s of inhibition. These saṃskāra-s cause destruction of the taints, and so do not constitute anything that would involve the mind. It is taints like Ignorance which cause saṃskāra-s producing thoughts of extraversion, and supply the drive for those saṃskāra-s to appear in the mind. But the saṃskara-s of ideas arising from samādhi will have produced ideas which inhibit the others, and they do not cause any mental involvement to appear to it.

They make the mind cease desist from its activity from mental processes arising from saṃskāra-s. For the exertions of mind come to an end in Knowledge. The birth of Knowledge of Puruṣa, and the existence of saṃskāra, is a contradiction. For one who is completely free from thirst will not desire to take a drink. In the same way, as regards Puruṣa there is nothing that has to be done by the mind, and no one feels he should do as a duty what is already done.

Yoga Sutra 1.51

When that too is inhibited, everything is inhibited, and thus this samādhi is without-seed
Thus ends the First Part, on Samādhi, of the Yoga sūtra-s composed by the great ṛṣi Holy Patañjali

This suppresses not only samādhi-knowledge, but also the saṃskāra-s of it. For the saṃskāra of inhibition suppresses the saṃskāra-s produced by samādhi. That there is a saṃskāra formed in the mind by inhibition is to be inferred from the experience that the inhibition remains steady for progressively longer periods.

And then when that too is inhibited, everything is inhibited, and thus this samādhi is without-seed. The word thus carries the sense of a conclusion. When that too is inhibited, the new saṃskāra produced by samādhi-knowledge. The word too shows that the samādhi-knowledge, which caused the saṃskāra, has also been inhibited. As has been said earlier (sūtras I.12, 18) the means to inhibition is two-fold: supreme detachment, and the practice of the idea of stopping.

What is the everything which is to be inhibited? The extraverted state, samādhi-knowledge, and the saṃskāra-s of both of them. Thence, everything being inhibited, it is samādhi without seed.

The saṃskāra produced by Truth-bearing knowledge inhibits that Truth-bearing samādhi-knowledge. And furthermore in the same way, it itself suppresses the saṃskāra-s of like nature to it and produced, like it, by knowledge which is its cause.

How so? The saṃskāra formed in the mind by inhibition: inasmuch as when samādhi-knowledge and the saṃskāra produced by it are inhibited, a saṃskāra is produced by that inhibition, which has not come from samādhi-knowledge. This comes about when samādhi-knowledge and the saṃskāra-s produced by it are removed. The saṃskāra of inhibition, then, suppresses the saṃskāra-s born of samādhi.

(Opponent) How is it known that this saṃskāra born of inhibition exists? Or if it does exist, that it represses everything else?

(Answer) To this the commentator says: from the experience that the inhibition remains steady for progressively longer periods. The inhibition holds steady for a time, and that time is experienced as progressively longer, increasing with each repetition. From that experience of the lengthening time of the steadiness of the inhibition, it is inferred that there is a saṃskāra produced by mind in the state of inhibition.

The mind, together with the saṃskāra-s of samādhi on outer objects, and the saṃskāra-s of the samādhi of inhibition which have promoted the release, is dissolved in its own original basis (prakṛti). Thus the saṃskāra-s do not cause the mind to continue to exist, but prevent its involvement with anything. The mind, no longer involved, ceases to exist, along with the saṃskāra-s which have promoted release. When mind ceases, Puruṣa abides in his own nature alone, and is therefore called pure, alone, and released.

Thus ends the First Part, on Samādhi, of the Commentary by holy Vyāsa, compiler of the Vedas, on the Yoga-sūtra-s of holy Patañjali.

The mind, no longer involved with anything, is ended, together with the saṃskāra-s which have promoted the release, being dissolved in its cause, I-am-ness (asmitā) or egoity (ahaṅkāra) which is its original basis (prakṛti). Those saṃskāra-s, inasmuch as they are born of knowledge and of inhibition, prevent its involvement with anything, and do not cause it to continue to exist.

Consequently the mind, no longer involved with anything, with its purpose fulfilled in regard to that Puruṣa, ceases to exist, along with the saṃskāra-s which promoted release. When it ceases, Puruṣa abides in his own nature alone and is therefore called alone and released, release being simply cessation of the mental process.

Thus ends the first Part, on Samādhi, of the commentary on the Yoga sūtra-s of Holy Patañjali, as explained in the vivaraṇa written by Holy Lord Śaṅkara (Śrī Śaṅkara Bhagavat), a teacher who is a paramahaṃsa and parivrājaka, and a disciple of holy Lord Govinda whose feet are worshipped.

Yoga Sutra 1.18

The other (samādhi) follows on practice of the idea of stopping, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone

The words follows on practice of the idea of stopping show the relation to the discipline, but consists of saṃskāra-s alone explains its nature. They both go with The other, which therefore follows on the practice, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone. It is the seed-less ultra-cognitive samādhi, which is other than the cognitive samādhi which has just been defined in the previous sūtra.

When all the mental processes have stopped and only saṃskāra-s remain, the samādhi of the mind thus inhibited is ultra-cognitive. The means to it is the higher detachment. No meditation on an object can be a means to it, so the meditation is made on the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything. It is void of any object. The practice of this finally leads to a state as it were of absence of objects: this is the samādhi without seed which is ultra-cognitive.

stopping is ceasing. The compound idea-of-stopping (virāma-pratyaya) means: stopping and the idea of it; the form of the idea is simply stopping, so it is called the idea of stopping. It still has the form of an idea at the time of ceasing from everything, while it is still coming to a stop and before it has ceased to be an idea at all. In the same way a flaming fire which is little by little going down as its fuel is used up, is still truly flame until it finally becomes ashes.

The practice of this idea of stopping finally leads to a state, which must have been preceded by this practice, where only saṃskāra-s remain: with the stopping of the ideas, what remains is only the saṃskāra-s of them. The meaning is that when the mind has withdrawn from ideas of objects, there remain saṃskāra-s alone. The means to it is the higher detachment: the further degree of detachment is the means to this samādhi.

(Opponent) It should have been said, the higher detachment also, because it has just been said that the means to inhibition is by practice and detachment both.

(Answer) Not so. There could be no question that practice is one of the means, because the sūtra itself sayspractice of the idea of stopping. But there might have been a doubt about detachment, which was not mentioned, and in merely supplying that, it is not necessary to say ‘also’.

(Opponent) Well then, why is there no mention of detachment in the sūtra itself?

(Answer) It has been mentioned already.

(Opponent) Why was it mentioned there (and not here)?

(Answer) Because detachment was the context there, and it was mentioned in connection with the further (higher) detachment as distinct from the earlier one. The earlier detachment is confined to the field of the cognitive samādhi, and the remaining and higher detachment is a discipline with a different field, concerned only with the samādhi without seed (nir-bīja). So the sūtra did not use the word ‘detachment’, but the commentator indicates what is necessarily implied, because it has been declared, Their inhibition is by practice and detachment (I.12).

No meditation on an object can be a means to it, because that would be incompatible with this samādhi which has no object, whereas the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything is compatible with the samādhi with no object, and the meditation is on it. This is the samādhi without seed, with only saṃskāra-s remaining, which is ultra-cognitive.

This is of two kinds: the result of a means, or the result of birth. Of these, it is the one resulting from a means that is for yogin-s.


Re-read these passages till you have a good idea of the basic pattern of the Yoga.


Your practise

(1) If you are cut off (say in solitary confinement) and the need is great, devote several hours a day to the basic practice of disentangling Seer from Seen (eg 2.35).

When this is established and comes of its own accord sometimes, practise giving up thoughts (1.18) in meditation. The yoga then takes over (1.50).

Yoga Sutra 2.35

With establishment of harmlessness, in his presence enmity is abandoned

This happens with all living beings.

With establishment of harmlessness, when it is firm and clear of contrary ideas, in his presence enmity is abandoned; in the presence of that one who follows harmlessness, even natural enemies like snake and mongoose give up their antagonism.

Yoga Sutra 1.18

The other (samādhi) follows on practice of the idea of stopping, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone

The words follows on practice of the idea of stopping show the relation to the discipline, but consists of saṃskāra-s alone explains its nature. They both go with The other, which therefore follows on the practice, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone. It is the seed-less ultra-cognitive samādhi, which is other than the cognitive samādhi which has just been defined in the previous sūtra.

When all the mental processes have stopped and only saṃskāra-s remain, the samādhi of the mind thus inhibited is ultra-cognitive. The means to it is the higher detachment. No meditation on an object can be a means to it, so the meditation is made on the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything. It is void of any object. The practice of this finally leads to a state as it were of absence of objects: this is the samādhi without seed which is ultra-cognitive.

stopping is ceasing. The compound idea-of-stopping (virāma-pratyaya) means: stopping and the idea of it; the form of the idea is simply stopping, so it is called the idea of stopping. It still has the form of an idea at the time of ceasing from everything, while it is still coming to a stop and before it has ceased to be an idea at all. In the same way a flaming fire which is little by little going down as its fuel is used up, is still truly flame until it finally becomes ashes.

The practice of this idea of stopping finally leads to a state, which must have been preceded by this practice, where only saṃskāra-s remain: with the stopping of the ideas, what remains is only the saṃskāra-s of them. The meaning is that when the mind has withdrawn from ideas of objects, there remain saṃskāra-s alone. The means to it is the higher detachment: the further degree of detachment is the means to this samādhi.

(Opponent) It should have been said, the higher detachment also, because it has just been said that the means to inhibition is by practice and detachment both.

(Answer) Not so. There could be no question that practice is one of the means, because the sūtra itself sayspractice of the idea of stopping. But there might have been a doubt about detachment, which was not mentioned, and in merely supplying that, it is not necessary to say ‘also’.

(Opponent) Well then, why is there no mention of detachment in the sūtra itself?

(Answer) It has been mentioned already.

(Opponent) Why was it mentioned there (and not here)?

(Answer) Because detachment was the context there, and it was mentioned in connection with the further (higher) detachment as distinct from the earlier one. The earlier detachment is confined to the field of the cognitive samādhi, and the remaining and higher detachment is a discipline with a different field, concerned only with the samādhi without seed (nir-bīja). So the sūtra did not use the word ‘detachment’, but the commentator indicates what is necessarily implied, because it has been declared, Their inhibition is by practice and detachment (I.12).

No meditation on an object can be a means to it, because that would be incompatible with this samādhi which has no object, whereas the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything is compatible with the samādhi with no object, and the meditation is on it. This is the samādhi without seed, with only saṃskāra-s remaining, which is ultra-cognitive.

This is of two kinds: the result of a means, or the result of birth. Of these, it is the one resulting from a means that is for yogin-s.

Yoga Sutra 1.50

The saṃskāra produced by it inhibits other saṃskāra-s

The saṃskāra produced by truth-bearing knowledge removes the accumulated deposit of saṃskāra-s of extraversion. When the extravertive saṃskāra-s are overcome, no ideas arising from them appear. With inhibition of extravertive ideas, samādhi becomes habitual. Then there is knowledge from that samādhi; from that, more saṃskāra-s are laid down of knowledge, and so a fresh deposit of saṃskāra-s is built up. From that again knowledge, and from that more saṃskāra-s of it.

When the yogin has attained samādhi-knowledge, a fresh saṃskāra made by the knowledge is produced.Knowledge must set up a saṃskāra. Each time the knowledge is renewed, its special saṃskāra is reinforced. But the renewal of the knowledge is from again taking up meditation on the object, different from itself. The saṃskāra produced by Truth-bearing knowledge removes the other accumulated deposit (āśaya) of saṃskāra-s of extroversion: it can do this because it is produced by a different object, namely the thing as it really is (yathārtha). The accumulated deposit (āśaya) is so called because it ‘lies there’ (ā-śi) till release.

When the extravertive saṃskāra-s are overcome when the saṃskāra deposit of extraversion has been overcome by the saṃskara of samādhi-knowledge, no ideas arising from them from the extravertive saṃskāra-s appear.

With inhibition of ideas inhibition of extravertive ideas, samādhi namely the cognitive samādhi becomes habitualto the yogin. Then there is knowledge from that samādhi: from that, more saṃskāra-s are laid down of knowledge, and so in this way a fresh deposit of saṃskāra-s is built up. From that again knowledge, and from that more saṃskāra-s of it.

Why would not this new accumulation of saṃskāra-s draw the mind into involvement with it? It is because saṃskāra-s of knowledge cause the destruction of the taints, and so do not constitute anything that would involve the mind. In fact they make the mind cease its activity, for the exertions of mind come to an end in knowledge (khyāti).

(Opponent) The new accumulation of saṃskāra-s produced by samādhi-knowledge will set up movements which will involve the mind, because they will produce thoughts, as did the former accumulation of saṃskāra-s of extraversion, for they are equally saṃskāra-s of thought. And so the commentator expresses the doubt: Why would not this new accumulation of saṃskāra-s draw the mind into involvement with it? – mind which has the saṃskāra-s.

(Answer) The objection does not hold because they are saṃskara-s of inhibition. These saṃskāra-s cause destruction of the taints, and so do not constitute anything that would involve the mind. It is taints like Ignorance which cause saṃskāra-s producing thoughts of extraversion, and supply the drive for those saṃskāra-s to appear in the mind. But the saṃskara-s of ideas arising from samādhi will have produced ideas which inhibit the others, and they do not cause any mental involvement to appear to it.

They make the mind cease desist from its activity from mental processes arising from saṃskāra-s. For the exertions of mind come to an end in Knowledge. The birth of Knowledge of Puruṣa, and the existence of saṃskāra, is a contradiction. For one who is completely free from thirst will not desire to take a drink. In the same way, as regards Puruṣa there is nothing that has to be done by the mind, and no one feels he should do as a duty what is already done.


(2) If you are relatively free from obligations, with basic needs at hand, practise at least three hours a day.

Patañjali hardly mentions a guru, but without some senior adviser few can keep going without changing the rules to suit themselves. This causes many failures. Capacity for devotion to God arises naturally in anyone who meditates with serious enquiry. When developed it gives direct vision (2.44) and perfection in Samādhi (2.45).

Yoga Sutra 2.44

From self-study, communion with the deity of his devotion

Gods, sages, and perfect beings to whom he is devoted come before the vision of the man intent on study of the self and give him their help.

Gods, sages, and perfect beings to whom he is devoted come to the vision of the man intent on study of the self and give him their help, in such ways as teaching.

Yoga Sutra 2.45

From devotion to the Lord, perfection in samādhi

The samādhi of one who has devoted his whole being to the Lord, is perfect. By this he knows unerringly whatever he desires, even in other places and times and bodies. The knowledge from that knows the thing as it really is.

From devotion to the Lord, perfection in samādhi. The samādhi of one who has devoted his whole being to the Lord, is perfect. By this perfection in samādhi he knows unerringly whatever he desires. His knowledge (prajñā) knows the thing as it is (yathābhūta), even in other places and times and bodies.

Having set out the restraints and observances, with their perfections, we go on to posture and the further steps.


(3) If you have commitments, you must establish a do-or-die resolution to practise Yoga of Action (2.01,2.02).

It requires some heroism. Evenness of mind in all concerns of daily life is the main tapas.

Then there must be determination to set aside at least an hour-and-a-half every single day to the two other elements; self-study includes holy reading.

The Gītā is a summary of the Upaniṣad-s in verse ( Sir Edwin Arnold’s Song Celestial is also in easily memorable verse.) Teachers today give meditations on avatars such as Rama and Jesus; they culminate in a vision which changes the whole life.

It is essential to practise hard at the Yogic action, which must be energetic but free from a claim on results; it is given in detail in the early chapters of the Gītā.

Yoga Sutra 2.01

Tapas, self-study, devotion to the Lord, are the yoga of action

The means are listed: Tapas, self-study (svādhyāya), devotion to the Lord, are the yoga of action.

(Opponent) But tapas, self-study, and devotion to the Lord are going to be given among the observances (II.32); why are they mentioned here?

(Answer) The purpose is as has been said: to show how one of extravertive mind may become steady in yoga.

(Opponent) Not so, because that purpose is declared along with the list of observances. And do not say that it is also taught here that they thin out the taints, because that too is taught in that place. ‘From following up the yoga methods, destruction of impurity’ (II.28), and impurity means such things as the taints. As to (the other effect mentioned here namely) that they take him towards samādhi meditation, that too will be given as the result of a yoga method: ‘From devotion to the Lord, perfection in samādhi’ (IL45). So to have instruction on tapas and the other two in this place is meaningless.

(Answer) No, it has meaning. It shows that yoga practice, being the means to right vision (samyagdarśanopāya), comes before right vision. All the yoga methods are means to right vision and therefore precede it in time. From among them, some of the observances are here mentioned to illustrate the point that all the means must come first. Obviously the means must come first, but the point should thus be clear.

(Opponent) If they come before right vision, the latter should be mentioned immediately afterwards (instead of the taints, in II.3).

(Answer) No, because right vision is the direct adversary of the taints, etc., since Ignorance (the first taint) is the root of all evil, and Ignorance is destroyed when directly confronted by right vision.

(Opponent) Then one may ask: are tapas and the other two the direct opponent of Ignorance, or is that opponent right vision alone?

(Answer) In a work on right vision, first of all its field has to be stated, and that is: Puruṣa overcome by the mass of taints and karma-s and their fruition, as the man suffering from illness is the field of a medical work. Now the field and the subject of the field (viṣaya, viṣayin) should be defined by a mention immediately after tapas, etc., otherwise it will not be clear what is the field and what the subject of the field.

Moreover the teaching on the means to right vision at the beginning of this Part shows its connection with the First Part. There the yoga of the already concentrated (samāhita) mind was set out, and here it is shown how the extravertive mind, by tapas, etc., may become steady in yoga.

Now it has to be explained that the purpose of tapas and the others is samādhi meditation and thinning out the taints.

(Opponent) It is going to be said later on, ‘From devotion to the Lord, perfection in samādhi’ (II.45) and ‘From destruction of impurity by tapas, perfection of body and senses’ (II.43), so that a perfection is going to be stated for each means separately.

(Answer) Not so; what will be said there is only a statement in praise of the means, supplementary to the perfections given here, where the sūtra says, ‘to actualize samādhi and thin out the taints’ (II.2). What is said later on will be added in praise of the means.

Now the words of the sūtra are explained. The compound tapas-self-study-devotion-to-God means tapas andself-study and devotion to God. It is these which are yoga in the form of action, so this is yoga of action. Tapas and the others are actions, and as their aim is yoga, they are themselves called yoga. Yoga is the mental state of samādhi, and this yoga of action aims at that; he who practises it is a yogin.

In one without tapas, the yoga does not succeed. Tapas is taught because impurity, coloured from time without beginning by karma-s and taints and saṃskāra-complexes, a net of sense contacts, is not destroyed without tapas. And they hold that it is to be practised without the calm of the mind being upset by it.

Self study is repetition of purifying (mantra-s) like OM, or study of the scriptures on release. Devotion to the Lord is consigning all actions to the Lord the supreme teacher, or letting go their fruits.

Tapas is fasts like kŗcchra and cāndrāyana, and endurance of pairs of opposites like heat and cold; self-study (svādhyāya) is repetition of OM, and the purifying scriptures on release (mokṣa-śāstra), beginning with the Upaniṣads; devotion to the Lord is consigning actions to the Lord, the supreme teacher, or else letting go their fruits and surrendering them to the Lord.

(Opponent) What has tapas got to do with yoga? It is concerned with the body and its impurities and so on, and remote from mental concentration, whereas self-study and devotion to the Lord are relevant to yoga because they are inner means.

(Answer) This is why he says, In one without tapas, the yoga does not succeed. One will not succeed in yoga whose attitude is to cherish the body and bodily things, whose habit is to avoid discomfort of body, senses and mind, who sees the body absolutely as his self and thinks of it as very delicate. This is why tapas is taught.

Impurity, coloured from time without beginning … by saṃskāra-complexes (vāsanā), formed of complexes of saṃskāra impressions of sense contacts from time without beginning, and so variegated, a net of sense contacts;the objects of present time are a net, by which net of the present objects the mind is caught like a fish in a net; this is not destroyed without tapas. And how can there be samādhi for a mind whose impurity has not been destroyed?

And they the yogas hold that it tapas is to be practised without the calm of the mind the inner means to samādhibeing upset by it. Since the goal is calmness of mind, if one should upset that by tapas, the very purpose would be frustrated.

This yoga of action is –

Yoga Sutra 2.02

To actualize samādhi and thin out the taints

Practised hard, it actualizes samādhi, and thins out the taints. When the taints have been thinned out, it will by the fire of meditation practice make them like scorched seeds, inherently infertile. Then the subtle realization, the knowledge of the utter difference between sattva and Puruṣa, no more caught up in taints because they have been thinned out, its involvement at an end, tends towards dissolution.

What is the purpose of this yoga of action? To explain its final purpose he says: To actualize samādhi and thin out the taints. How it comes to have the two-fold purpose, the commentator explains: practised hard, it actualizes samādhi; when it is combined with the other yogic methods it actualizes samādhi and thins out the taints. As he will say: ‘With the destruction of impurity from following up the yoga methods, light of knowledge up to Knowledge-of-the-difference’ (II.28).

He says on this: When the taints have been thinned out, it will by meditation practice (prasaṅkhyāna) by constancy in right vision (samyagdarśana) arising from the thinning out of the taints make them like scorched seeds like seeds whose fertility has been destroyed by being scorched, and which are therefore inherently infertile, infertile because they are not found to have any power to propagate, and inherently so because that is now their quality. This yoga will make the taints without the power of propagation.

Then the subtle realization, knowledge of the utter difference between sattva and Puruṣa, no more caught up in taints because they have been thinned out, and with its involvement at an end, will tend towards dissolution; it will tend no more to turn to the course of the world.

Even if the Knowledge (khyāti) that sattva and Puruṣa are wholly different should be produced by instruction of the scripture and teacher without practice of the yoga methods, still as the taints and a-dharma and so on will not have been removed at all, it will not produce the realization (prajñā) with involvement at an end; again and again there will be re-involvement with them. This the commentator shows by the phrase no more caught up in taints.

Now what are the taints? And how many are there?

 

Nearly all Yogis support themselves with the OM (1.28) and Maitri (1.33) practices. These also bring out hidden natural potentialities from the mind (1.29; 3.33). But the so- called Glories are the delusive manipulations of the world-illusion and are mires of attachment.

Yoga Sutra 1.28

Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning

Repetition (japa) of it and meditation (bhāvanā) on the Lord who is signified by OM. When the yogin thus repeats OM and meditates on its meaning, his mind becomes one-pointed. So it has been said:

After OM repetition, let him set himself in yoga,
After yoga, let him set himself to repetition.

When OM repetition and yoga come to perfection
The supreme self (paramātman) shines forth.

When the yogin has thus understood the relation of the expression OM and its meaning, how does he attract the grace of the supreme Lord? The sūtra says, Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning. Practice of repetition of OM, which is the expression of the Lord, taken as consisting of three-and-a-half measures (mātra) or of three measures, is called japa; the repetition is either mental or in a low voice (upāṃśu).

meditation on its meaning the meditation is setting the heart on the Lord, the meaning, who by the word OM has been recalled and brought into the mind. The words he should undertake are to be supplied at the beginning of the sūtra. Yogin-s who are doing both attain one-pointedness of mind. He illustrates how the one-pointedness is the result of that worship by quoting the verse.

After OM repetition after repetition of the praṇava syllable, his mind bowed before the Lord, let him set himself in yoga let him meditate on the Lord, its meaning. When his mind becomes unwavering from meditation on the Lord, the meaning, let him set himself to repetition let him repeat OM mentally. Mental repetition is recommended because it is closer to meditation (than is verbal repetition). The sense is that the mind must not run towards objects. When OM repetition and yoga come to perfection when he is not disturbed by other ideas contrary to them, he is perfect in repetition and in yoga; by that perfection in repetition and meditation on the supreme Lord (parameśvara) the supreme self (paramātman) who stands in the highest place (parameṣṭhin)shines forth for the yogin.

And what happens to him?

Yoga Sutra 1.29

From that, realization of the separate consciousness, and absence of obstacles

As a result of devotion to the Lord, there are none of the obstacles like illness, and he has a perception of his own true nature. As the Lord is a Puruṣa, pure, radiant, alone, and beyond evil, so the Puruṣa in him, witness of the buddhi, knows himself to be.

The commentary introduces this sūtra with the words And what happens to him? The word And refers to the fact that one result, namely attainment of one-pointedness of mind, has already been mentioned in the previous sūtra. And is there some other result for him, or is it perhaps one-pointedness alone? The sūtra now says From that, realization of the separate consciousness and absence of obstacles. From that devotion to the Lord, there is realization of the separate consciousness: it is conscious of its own buddhi as separate, and so the self (ātman) is called the separate consciousness. The realization of it is awareness of one’s own nature as it really is.

(Opponent) The Puruṣa is already realized in everyone in the feeling ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am sad’. This is a well-known fact; why the special mention of it?

(Answer) True, but it is not seen as distinct by the thought in the mind. In ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am sad’, the ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ have the same common referent, the idea ‘here I am’, and they are in the field of mental processes, so they are certainly merely ideas of Ignorance.

He realizes: As the Lord is a Puruṣa, pure free from the stains (mala) of the taints, etc., and therefore

radiant clear, and therefore

alone (kevala) without the three guṇa-s, and therefore

beyond evil without the three kinds of suffering, a perfect being, who is

witness, so this too, my own Puruṣa, is pure, radiant, alone, beyond evil, and witness of the buddhi.

With the words As and so, which point to an example and something like that example, he announces that there is a difference between the Lord and the individual selves (kṣetrajña). This is because they (unlike the Lord) are subject to bondage and release, and also because pradhāna serves their purposes (first experience and then release). For these reasons too the kṣetrajña-s differ among themselves.

Now what are the obstacles? They are what distracts the mind. Which are they, and how many are they?

Yoga Sutra 1.33

The mind is made clear by meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful

Let him practise friendliness towards all beings experiencing happiness, compassion to those in pain, goodwill to the habitually virtuous, and disinterest in habitual sinners. Such devoted meditations produce pure dharma, and thereby the mind becomes clear. When it is clear, it attains steadiness in one-pointedness.

How is the mind to be trained? Practice on one principle has been taught; what is the one principle which is to be the object of the practice? He says, meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful.

Friendliness is meditation on being a friend, one who rejoices in happiness when he sees it without anything like envy. So towards suffering, a kindly sympathy, and to the righteous he feels goodwill. It is added that he should practise disinterest in regard to the doings of the habitually sinful.

Practice of this all the time produces pure dharma, which does no injury to living beings; this dharma makes the mind clear. When it is clear, it attains steadiness in one-pointedness; the meaning is that by one-pointedness it is concentrated in samādhi, as the Gītā says, ‘The mind of the pure-hearted soon becomes steady’ (II.65).

(Opponent) Disinterest cannot produce dharma because it is not an action, so why is it included?

(Answer) If indifference were not mentioned, the mind would become engaged with those habitually sinful, and from the taint arising from dealings with them, it would not be fit for meditations on friendliness and the others. Disinterest is mentioned only in the context of steadying the mind so that there should be no a-dharma arising from casual dealings involving habitual sinners. The great thing here is steadiness of the mind.

When he has thus engaged his mind in meditation on one principle in this way, the mind will come to samādhi and no obstacles will then arise.

Yoga Sutra 3.33

By the prātibha supernormal knowledge too (he knows) everything

The supernormal knowledge called prātibha helps the yogin across, it being the first phase of knowledge-born-of-discrimination – like the glow of the sun at dawn. From this too the yogin-s know everything, namely from the rise of the supernormal knowledge called prātibha.

By the prātibha supernormal knowledge too (he knows) everything. When the yogin makes saṃyama on the self (ātman), or is supremely devoted to the Lord (īśvara), the knowledge which rises spontaneously in his mind issupernormal and helps him across, it being the first phase of knowledge-born-of-discrimination which is going to be described.

like the glow of the sun at dawn: becoming to some extent visible at daybreak as the reddening, when it is about to rise. This is the first phase. From this too the yogin-s know everything, namely from the rise of the supernormal knowledge of prātibha.

 

When enthusiasm flags, read 2.15 – 2.17; look around you and see how anxiety, pain and death are rushing towards us like an express train. Yoga is a way to escape them.

Yoga Sutra 2.15

Because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and the saṃskāra-s of them, and from the clash of the guṇa-s, to the clear-sighted, everything is pain alone

In every case, experience of pleasure is pervaded with passion-desire, deriving from some source conscious or unconscious; the karma-stock therefrom is produced by passion-desire.

How at a time when the object of experience is happiness, can it be pain? It has been said already (under II.5) that he is going to show that the experience of pleasure is pain. The answer is given now because in that place it was not explained. Because pain is the result of any action, and it has to be explained at length how it is reasonable that it (pain) should logically follow immediately on action.

Changes, anxieties and saṃskāra-s are to be understood separately; anxieties and saṃskāra-s are pain, and in addition to that pair there is change. These are pain alone, they cause pain, and because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s caused by them, everything is pain. Why everything? Because the causes are taints, which can only bring about pain. Birth and life and experience, and the objects which cause the deposits of taints and so on, are causes of pain, and so it is that everything is pain alone.

Is it so to everyone? No. He says: to the clear-sighted. He who can distinguish the elements of taints, etc., is the one who sees clearly; it means that he recognizes the taints and karma-s and their maturing, and sees that they are causes which produce pain in everything, all being essentially the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s in changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s. It is not so for others who do not have this clear vision, but for him it is all a fever of pain. Now when one becomes aware ‘I am in that fever’ as a fact in himself, even then one who is confused recognizes only this much: ‘I am in pain.’ If he were to discriminate further than that, he would think, ‘This pain will also produce further pain.’ Then he would be one who sees clearly, that all this is pain and has to be endured. So though at the time of suffering they see pain alone, those without clear sight do not realise that it will lead on to further pain in everything. Again, he who sees that change is a cause of pain is clear-sighted, one for whom all is pain.

He now explains how it is that there is painfulness in change: in every case the experience of pleasure is pervaded with passion-desire (rāga). By saying in every case he points to what is universally known by observation, since it is well known in the case of all living beings. Sons, cattle, gold and so on, attained after they have been striven for, constitute experience of pleasure. At the time of that experience the mind functions as passion, which is characteristic of the man who is feeling happy. This universal function is associated with taints and so causes virtue and sin. Pre-existing karma-stock is consumed as the result of karma-already-in-operation; on the occasion of experience, fresh karma is being piled up. So while the root is there, the karma-stock whose root is the taints, comes to maturity, that is, it happens.

So also when experiencing things which cause pain, he hates them, and he becomes bewildered; then there is a karma-stock created by the hate and illusion. Thus it is said: There can be no enjoyment of things without injury – built up on injury to others is the karma-stock of the body.

So also when experiencing things which cause pain which are hostile to the current of pleasure, he hates them,and with his mind furious to protect his experience of pleasure, he becomes bewildered, and so it is that thekarma-stock is created by is produced by, the previous operation of hate and illusion. Or it may be taken that hate and illusion themselves are the two functions which have created it.

Thus it is said: There can be no enjoyment of things none of this pleasure without injury without causing harm somewhere. As being a cause of destruction, enjoyment is itself described as a destroyer, inasmuch as it has the double effect. Even when one thinks, ‘Let some other person also enjoy what is mine alone’, the possibility of any enjoyment at all is dependent on wealth, the acquisition of which must certainly have caused pain to others. All the more will be the pain by the fact of having caused such suffering. Therefore built up on injury to others is the karma-stock of the body; from operation of that cause, the body goes forward.

Thus on each occasion of enjoyment, the karma-stock of desire, anger and illusion increases in so many ways. Experience of pleasure, characterized as it is by passion-desire, fever and illusion, and a correspondingly many-faceted karma-stock, is changing, and accordingly painful; this is what is called the painfulness of change. But for the one who sees all this clearly, even on the occasion of pleasure there is only pain, like a man eating rice and yogurt which he knows have been mixed with poison.

The pleasure in objects is said to be Ignorance. Pleasure is the calm from satisfaction of the senses by experiences. Pain is when there is no rest from agitation. Freedom from thirst cannot be attained by practice of sense experience. Why not? Because passions increase with application to sense enjoyments and skill of the sense-organs also increases. Therefore application to enjoyments is not a means to happiness. Surely the pleasure-seeker in the trap of sense-objects, sunk in a deep mire of pain, is like a man who running away from the scorpion’s poison is bitten by a venomous snake. This which is in the end pain is counter-productive (but known as such) to the yogin alone, even on the occasion of pleasure.

Furthermore, all is pain only, because pleasure in objects is in fact Ignorance. That experience of pleasure in objects is essentially an undiscriminating idea. On this he says, The pleasure in objects is said to be Ignorance.

(Opponent) Where has this been explained?

(Answer) It has been explained in this commentary in these words: ‘When there comes about a failure, as it were, to distinguish between the experiencer and what is experienced, which are utterly distinct and nothing to do with each other, that is the condition for experience. But when the true nature of the two is recognized, that is Transcendental Aloneness. Then how could there be experience?’ (comm. to II.6, p. 191). Again, it will be said later by the sūtra-author, ‘Experience is an idea that fails to distinguish’ (sūtra III.35). The ever-changing Ignorance makes everything baneful, and so pleasure in objects is itself a bane, because it contains the seeds of pain, as even the sweetest thing (is bitter) if it is known to cause illness. To explain what it means to say that pleasure in objects is Ignorance, he gives the verdict of the holy texts: Pleasure is the calm from satisfaction of the senses by experiences. The experiences are objects like sound; the senses experience them, and then there is a resulting satiety. As a result, a pacification of the senses, a state in the form of the idea ‘There is nothing to cause disappointment or trouble’, an absence of any defect; this is pleasure.

But pain is when there is no rest no relief from agitation, because of the presence of desire. On this it is said: ‘There is no pain like thirst, no pleasure like freedom from thirst.’ (Mahābh.XIII. App.15.3997, with atṛṣṇā instead of tyāga).

(Opponent) It is only by enjoyment that there can be freedom from thirst; that is the goal of enjoyment. Enjoyment becomes happiness.

(Answer) That is why he says: Freedom from thirst cannot be attained by practice of sense experience. Why not?He replies: Because passions increase with application to sense enjoyments. As it has been said:

Never is desire pacified by enjoyment of desires;

It increases all the more, as the sacrificial fire by the butter (oblations) poured into it. (Manu II.94)

Skills techniques in the practices of enjoyment correspondingly increase in the senses. Even though it may be that skill of the senses is preceded (normally) by skill in the mind, still it is seen that in eating and so on there is a skill in the sense organs too. Like a man running away from the scorpion’s poison, bitten by a venomous snake, is the pleasure-seeker trapped by objects, caught by them, following after them, or obsessed with them, as a man’s fear excited by a scorpion with its lesser venom brings him into a greater suffering, caught by the more virulent poison of a snake. So fleeing from this first merely apparent pain, which is in the end great pleasure (Gītā XVIII.37), frightened by the idea that it is painful, he becomes sunk in a boundless mire of great pain. In this waythis which is in the end pain, is counter-productive as regards pleasure (and known as such) to the yogin even on the occasions of pleasure. Thus the yogin enjoys pleasure only with misgivings in his heart, for the karma which has yet to be experienced according to its quality is more powerful (than the occasion of pleasure). Therefore to the discriminating, all is pain.

What is the painfulness in anxiety? In every case, experience of anxiety is pervaded with aversion, deriving from some source conscious or unconscious; the karma-stock therefrom is produced by aversion.

Now the painfulness of anxiety (tāpa) is explained. A developing experience of pleasure becomes painful when its inevitable result is realized, through knowledge of its true nature, as does the pleasure of eating a sweet of yogurt and rice when known to be mixed with poison, in spite of the fact that its apparent nature does give a shade of pleasure sensation. Here again the painfulness is from the true nature of the thing, inasmuch as anxiety is inherently adverse.

Seeking means to pleasure by body, speech, and mind, he gets excited, and sets about helping or harming others. By that helping or harming of others he piles up virtue and sin. This karma-stock arising out of greed and delusion is called the pain of anxiety.

What is the painfulness of saṃskāra? From experience of pleasure, there is a saṃskāra-stock of pleasure; from experience of pain, a saṃskāra-stock of pain. So the maturing of karma is experienced as pleasure or pain, and it again lays down a karma-stock. In this way the beginningless stream of pain, inherently adverse to him, distresses the yogin alone.

Tormented by that pain, seeking means to pleasure refinements of various kinds, he gets excited, and sets about helping or harming others. Then by that helping or harming of others he piles up virtue and sin. This virtue and sin created by helping or harming others becomes a karma-stock arising out of greed and delusion, the pain of anxiety extending itself further and further. For the man who sees thus clearly, all is pain alone, as caused by involvement with objects.

Now he goes on to the pain of saṃskāra-s produced by experience of joy and suffering. What then is the painfulness of saṃskāra? From experience of pleasure, there is a saṃskāra-stock of pleasure; from experience of pain, a saṃskāra-stock of pain. Since pleasure and pain are pervaded by passion and hate, their respective saṃskāra-stocks too will be pervaded by passion and hate. So the maturing of karma in the form of birth, life span and experience is experienced as pleasure or pain.

The saṃskāra-stock of pleasure-pain experience is made up entirely of that experience, and so the saṃskāra-s as well as the experiences are entirely pervaded by passion and aversion. The respective saṃskāra-stocks become factors in action and experience, and in this way the saṃskāra-stocks become sources of pain. The dynamic character of saṃskāra is itself painful, and that is the painfulness of saṃskāra. For no one employs a means to an experience or action which he does not remember, and it is well known that memory depends on saṃskāra.

Even if a saṃskāra were not inherently painful, still to the man of clear sight who knows that it will cause pain, its very existence is itself pain, like the mere fact of having eaten poison (before any effect is felt). Thus as a result of change, anxiety and saṃskāra, everything indeed is pain. In this way the beginningless stream of pain, inherently adverse to him, distresses the yogin alone.

(Opponent) It is inherently adverse to the others also. Why does it not distress them?

(Answer) It does not distress the others, just because their minds are undiscriminating and calloused with every foulness of taints and so on. To them, the adverse quality is not the main thing. A man accepts on his head a fist-blow, even like a hammer, from his beloved. He puts up with the wetting and fouling by his baby son held to his chest. He feels he is moving in an ocean of joy and has no resentment at all in him. To him, it is not inherently adverse. So in the case of the undiscriminating man, he assents to the passion-desire and thereby increases it all the more.

(Opponent) The circumstances are the same for the yogin too, so why does it distress him?

Why? Because the knower is like an eyeball. As a thread of wool flicked on to the eyeball causes pain by its touch, but not on to other parts of the body, so these pains afflict the yogin alone, who is sensitive as an eyeball, and not another recipient of them. But that other is subjected again and again to pain brought on by himself, casting it off and then subjected again to what has been cast off again and again, with his mental processes from time without beginning shot through and through so to say with the various saṃskāra-complexes (vāsanā), taking on what he should avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’, born again and again – (on him) the three-fold sufferings, with causes both objective and subjective, flood down.

(Answer) It afflicts him alone. Why? Because the knower is like an eyeball. The meaning is, that it afflicts him because of his purity and his withdrawal. The cause is not the same for him, inasmuch as he is a knower. He does not have an undiscriminating mind calloused with feelings of taints and so on, for he would not be a knower unless he had got rid of that calloused mind. So it is that it afflicts the knower alone, who is sensitive like an eyeball, and not the others.

On this he explains the difference between the knower and the ignorant by some examples. As a thread of woolthough its touch is so light flicked on to the eyeball, causes pain because of the extreme sensitivity of the eyeball, so the pain afflicts the yogin whose consciousness is so refined and whose heart is so pure. The thread of wool lashed even very violently on to another member of the body will not cause pain by its contact. So the other recipient is not afflicted by pain, because his mind has become calloused with taints, like other limbs of the body which have hard skin.

He continues: So those pains afflict the yogin alone, who is like the eyeball, and not another recipient. He shows how the other recipient is like the other limbs of the body, in the next passage, beginning But that other and concluding with the words the sufferings flood down. But that other is subjected to pain brought on by himself;the effect of karma is brought on a man by way of mental process, the pain being induced by causes animate and inanimate; subjected to pain again and again, casting it off by leaving the body, and then in another place, having taken on another body, that pain which he had cast off emerges; with his mental processes from time without beginning shot through and through so to say with various saṃskāra-complexes, with Ignorance.

What is the character of this other? Taking on what he should avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’. ‘I’ is something supposed, by illusion, in the body and senses and their qualities of action, attribute, and result; ‘mine’ is the idea of it in regard to externals, animate and inanimate. Both of these should be avoided, as they are wholly seeds which ripen into tainted karma. Without these two, passions, etc., and their karmic ripening cannot come about, so they are to be avoided, and this is a man who is taking on what he ought to avoid, namely ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Born again and again like one of the other members of the body in the simile, to be pursued by sufferings with causes both objective and subjective, objective in the form of a god or the elements of nature, and subjective, being that particular kind of cause; the sufferings result from both these kinds of cause.

Three-fold: the sufferings whether from external or the other causes are of three kinds, in that they are either past, future, or present. As the sūtra will say, ‘To be escaped is the pain not yet come’ (II.16). Or again, they are three-fold as being essentially taint, and karma, and its ripening, and again their triple painfulness is from change, or from anxiety, or from saṃskāra. So they are three-fold, and these flood down, they are the inevitable consequence.

Seeing that other one, and himself, and all beings, borne away by the stream of pain without beginning, the yogin takes refuge in right vision, destroyer of all pain.

Seeing that other one, the undiscriminating recipient, and himelf and all beings, being borne away by the stream of pain without beginning submerged in that torrent of pain, the yogin takes refuge in right vision, destroyer of all pain.

(Opponent) But if he is a yogin, he must already have got right vision.

(Answer) One who is practising the yoga methods is a yogin even if he has not got right vision. The statement shows that yoga is the means to right vision.

Seeing that yoga and the fruit of yoga (powers) are all nothing but pain, he takes refuge in right wisdom. As the sūtra will say, ‘From indifference to that too, the seeds of imperfection are destroyed, and there is Transcendental Aloneness’ (III.50).

And from the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s, all is pain alone to the clearsighted man.

And for another reason, all is pain to the clear-sighted man. What reason is that? From the clash of the operations of the guṇa-s.

(Opponent) Why has the teaching made a division between the reasons? It should have said simply, ‘Because of changes, anxieties, saṃskāra-s, and clash of operations of the guṇa-s.’

(Answer) There is no mistake. Everyone knows experiences of pleasure and pain and the saṃskāra-complexes of them, and these are referred to in the phrase ‘Because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s’. But the man who has clear knowledge, which can distinguish their cause, becomes aware – in the perfection of his discrimination – of the clash of the operations as caused by the guṇa-s (in the mental processes), and this is a separate cause. But inasmuch as they are all painful and so causes of pain, they are put together in the one sūtra.

With their operations always tending to light or activity or fixity respectively, the guṇa-s are mutually dependent on each other. They produce ideas of just three kinds: peaceful, violent, and deluded. Because the operation of the guṇa-s fluctuates, the mind is a quick changer, as it is said. Each when predominant in operation and predominant as a mental idea, clashes with the predominance of the others, but when unmanifest, they co-operate with the predominant one.

The guṇa-s are sattva, rajas and tamas; mental processes are formed out of them; there is pain from the clash of these. The guṇa-s are embodied in forms, like the inner organ of mind. As there is continual change of predominance among the guṇa-s, their operations clash; one of them is overcome by the rising up of another. Thus the operations of each of the three guṇa-s are every moment alternately suppressing the others or helping them to appear.

When among the three guṇa-s, which are inherently either happiness or pain or delusion respectively, a process belonging to one is in possession, it is not that there is no connection with the others. So the conclusion is this: when rajas arises, which is inherently pain, it is not to be taken that just because there is some pain, it must necessarily be pain only from a process of rajas. Sattva and tamas are there along with the rajas, and the painfulness is theirs too. And the rise and cessation of sattva and tamas follow from the operation of rajas, so that pain belongs to all of them.

He explains further: With their operations always tending to light or activity or fixity respectively, the guṇa-s are mutually dependent on each other. Although mutually clashing, they also act towards each other as helper and helped, like oil and wick and fire in a lamp. They produce ideas of just three kinds, peaceful of sattva, violent of rajas, and deluded of tamas. They go together as auxiliaries to each other. When a peaceful idea of sattva has arisen, it is at once overthrown by an upsurging thought of force, or rajas aided by tamas.

When some idea of force, a rājasik idea, comes to rise, supported by another guṇa, it is soon overcome by an idea of delusion, namely a tāmasik idea, supported by sattva, or else by a sāttvik idea supported by tamas. The idea of tamas in its turn is overcome by ideas of the other two, and similarly the sāttvik idea is overcome. Thus the guṇa-s have their rise and subjection and activity.

Why is this? Because the operation of the guṇa-s fluctuates, the essential nature of the guṇa-s shows in the forms of the mind, and the mind is a quick changer, as it is said.

(Opponent) Where is this said?

(Answer) In holy texts.

(Opponent) But why should the guṇa-s clash with each other?

(Answer) Because there cannot be more than one thing predominant in the one place, any more than in an inner room, darkness and light could be simultaneously predominant. There cannot be simultaneous predominance of the guṇa-s making up the form of the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) – in the shape of happiness, pain or delusion – either in their own forms as operational processes of light, activity and restriction, or as ideas of happiness and the others characterized by knowledge, etc.

The mental process is linked, along with the guṇa which is manifest, with the other two guṇa-s in their unmanifest forms, which do not clash because they are in the state of one evenness. As it is said, each when predominant in operation and predominant as an idea clashes with the predominance (in operations and ideas) of the others, but when unmanifest, they co-operate with the predominant one. When there is predominance (by sattva) in the form of happiness, there is no predominance (by rajas) in the form of pain or (by tamas) in the form of delusion. When the one is dominant, the others are not. So when the mental process of knowledge is predominant, that of the idea of greed is not so. When any one of them predominates the others do not.

So these guṇa-s come to form ideas of happiness, pain and delusion respectively, through the support of the other two, each one thus having the form of all. However the distinction is made between them according to which guṇa is then in the principal place.

So these guṇa-s come to have the ideas of happiness, pain and delusion respectively through the support of both the others. The idea of happiness comes to sattva through the support of both rajas and tamas; rajas comes to have the idea of pain through the support of both sattva and tamas; tamas too comes by its ideas of delusion through the support of sattva and rajas. So each has the effect of all.

(Opponent) If so, how is the distinction made that this is a sāttvik idea and this of tamas and this of rajas?

(Answer) He says, However the distinction is made between them according to which guṇa is then in the principal place. The identification (as of a particular guṇa) is made or rejected according to whether it is predominant or subsidiary. Even in the scheme of the five elements, what is classified as ‘earth’ is also watery and fiery. There is this kind of clash of the guṇic processes and therefore all is pain to the clear-seeing man, as it has been said. The purpose is, that from (awareness of) this clash, there should come about the supreme detachment.

(Opponent) How is this purpose shown?

(Answer) A distinction was made in the sūtra, which first said ‘because of the pain from changes and anxieties and saṃskāra-s’ thus pointing to the pain-producing character of all thirst for things seen or heard about. But that has no relation to the supreme detachment, which is from the pain of things invisible.

But by adding ‘and from the clash of the operation of the guṇa-s’, he teaches the supreme detachment, namely detachment from the possession of qualities whether manifest or unmanifest. For there is pain from the very fact of mutually clashing guṇa processes. And when it is said here that each of them has the form of all, as either principal or subsidiary, the reference is to manifest and unmanifest qualifications. This is why the sūtra makes separate mention of the clash of the processes of the guṇa-s.

What produces this great mass of pain is Ignorance; what causes its annihilation is right vision.

As classics of medicine are in four parts: illness, cause of the illness, the healthy condition, and the remedy – so this work too has just four parts: saṃsāra, cause of saṃsāra, release, means of release.

Of these, saṃsāra with its many pains is what is to be escaped; the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa is the cause of what is to be escaped; liberation (hāna) is the absolute cessation of the conjunction; right vision is the means to liberation.

From the fact of pain in change and anxiety and saṃskāra, it is demonstrated that the seed which produces this great as characterized by the guṇa-s and their qualities mass of pain, is Ignorance, and what causes its annihilation is right vision as its opponent. Since Knowledge (vidyā) is based on things as they really are, it is only Knowledge that causes the annihilation of Ignorance which is based on things otherwise than as they are, just as the correct view of the thing as it is, the moon single, abolishes the view of a false thing, the moon seen double.

As accompanied by the fundamental cause of pain, taints and karma-s and their ripening, all is pain, and so it has been shown. The one who suffers from that pain is the man of clear sight (vivekin), and as such he is the proper object of a work on right vision (samyagdarśana-śāstra) and not the other one, who ‘accepts the very pain. He now seeks to illustrate the point by an example: As classics of medicine are in four parts: illness, cause of the illness, the healthy condition, and the remedy.

As the classics of medicine are divided for teaching purposes into four: illness, cause of illness, the normal state of health, and the treatment for that purpose, and it is called four-fold as having these four parts of illness, etc., so in this work of yoga. There is saṃsāra with its mass of pain; its cause is the conjunction of pradhāna and Puruṣa, arising from Ignorance; liberation from saṃsāra so caused is the purpose of a work on right vision (such as this one); and there is right vision itself. With these four, this too is a system of four parts. Again it is four-fold because its subjects are divided in the four ways.

In this (liberation) it is not that the true nature of the one who escapes has to be acquired or escaped from; that would mean that release would entail his destruction.

In this, it is not that the true nature of the one who escapes (has to be acquired or escaped from).

(Opponent) Here should have come the definition of the one who escapes, namely the sūtra ‘The Seer is sight alone’ (II.20).

(Answer) Not so. In order to explain the purpose of undertaking the work, saṃsāra has been described, with its taints and so on, all ending up in pain. The work is directed to that traveller-in-saṃsāra (saṃsārin) who by reason of the pain of saṃsāra has become a man of clear sight (vivekin). For such a man of clear sight the work is undertaken, and this was indicated in the first sūtra. Right vision alone is the goal of the work thus begun. This is therefore the right place, immediately following on the description of the pain of saṃsāra, to teach that the true nature of the one who escapes, namely Puruṣa, is not to be acquired or escaped from.

(Opponent) Why should it not be? Unless it is either acquirable or avoidable, it turns out to be nothing at all. In the world, happiness and what causes happiness are to be acquired, and pain and what causes it are to be avoided. So this Puruṣa too – being a thing – should have qualities on one side or the other.

(Answer) What would follow in that case? release would entail his destruction. If this had the character of something to be avoided, then it should be destroyed. And what would happen upon release? It would entail destruction of the self.

(Opponent) What is wrong with that?

(Answer) We shall explain what is wrong, in the Fourth Part, on Transcendental Aloneness (kaivalya). Moreover, since there is no other to be released, release would never come about.

(Opponent) Let it be that self alone is itself released from self.

(Answer) No. The action would be self-contradictory, and there cannot be a split in the very self. If self is to be what escapes from self which is to be escaped from, there will be yet another (escape), and so to an infinite regress. Each self which escapes would itself be escaped from. Nor can there be simultaneous existence of the two sides of the escape; and if they are to exist at different times, then they will not be self which is escaped from and self which escapes from it.

If it is accepted that the escaper is himself to be escaped from, there can never be the relation of escape, because there would be an infinite regress. In the infinite chain of escapers, it becomes meaningless for any escaper to strive for liberation at all, since he accepts that what he seeks to escape from is himself alone. There can be no resulting liberation, for the result sought by a man in bondage is not his own destruction, but release. Never does a man wish his own destruction, even when he sees that he is on the point of death. If this kind of escaper in the infinite chain did attain his purpose by destruction, he would not in fact be desiring true liberation, in the sense of attaining what liberation aims at.

As for the position that the one who escapes is eternal, this is what we are going to teach in the sūtra on the Seer in the Fourth Part on Transcendental Aloneness. Therefore what is to be escaped from is never Puruṣa but it is saṃsāra, the manifestation of the Great Principle and the rest, and full of pain. The point is, that Puruṣa has no such characteristics (as acquirability or avoidability); if it had such characteristics, it would imply a doctrine of its own perishability.

The doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused. The teaching that it is eternal, denying both the other views (as acquirable or avoidable) – that is right vision.

(Opponent) Well, let it be something to be acquired, as a material object which causes happiness is acquired in order to get happiness.

(Answer) Not so.

(Opponent) Why not?

(Answer) The doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused. If the relation is like that for acquiring material objects, and he is himself what is acquired, then the acquisition would be meaningless, because there is no other to acquire. A cloth is not acquired by the cloth itself; a thing has to be acquired by something else. And if another acquirer (of self by self) is supposed, there will be infinite regress, for he too will be acquired by another, and that one too by yet another.

Furthermore it would imply dependence on another. For a thing is acquired from something else which is its cause. Puruṣa will be taken as the cause of pradhāna consisting of sattva and the other guṇa-s, as the potter is the cause of acquiring the clay lump for a pot. But along with being the cause of acquiring pradhāna, this Puruṣa would (himelf) be acquired like pradhāna, and there would be the qualities like sattva in him also, because he would be something acquired like a lump of clay. So his acquisition of pradhāna would have nothing to give it any purpose.

(Opponent) Let it be acquired for the purpose of the Lord, or for mutual purposes among the Puruṣa-s.

(Answer) That would entail a whole mass of defects like being experienced, being unconscious, and being changeable. And therefore Puruṣa cannot have the qualities of pradhāna. And so he says, that the doctrine that self is to be acquired would make it something caused.

He is going to say that the cause is not of Puruṣa. If acquisition of it were causeless, the operations of pradhāna would be causeless. And nothing can be found that is for itself alone, for we do not find that lamps, etc., are for themselves alone.

Denying both the other views: rejecting both – that self is to be escaped from or that it is to be acquired – there follows the teaching that it is eternal, the doctrine of eternality of self. Even though pradhāna, which is something to be acquired, also has eternality, still as inherently changing, that (eternality) is not eternal. Pradhāna has defects like inherent plurality, impurity, Ignorance and dependence on another. If the Puruṣa-s were like that, there would be no release. Since bondage and release and their causes, Knowledge and Ignorance, must refer to the self, it would mean that bondage and release would be indistinguishable. So the doctrine of eternality is reached by rejecting both other views – that self is to be escaped from or that it is to be acquired – and that is right vision.

The four parts of this work are now explained:

Yoga Sutra 2.16

What is to be escaped is the pain not yet come

Pain which has passed, which has been exhausted by being lived through, is not in the category of the escapable, and present pain has attained its moment of experience and is not to be escaped in some other moment. So it is only pain not yet come, which afflicts the yogin sensitive as an eyeball, that is to be escaped.

Unless the patient too is included in the four-fold classification of disease, etc., the medical classic with its goal of health will not be complete in its four parts; here too, unless the one who escapes is included in the four-fold classification beginning with what is to be escaped, the work on right vision, whose fruit is release, will not be complete. Beginning with what is to be escaped, therefore, The four parts of the work are now explained, in what follows.

What is to be escaped is the pain not yet come. Pain which has passed which is gone, which belonged to a birth before the present one, which has been exhausted by being lived through and has passed away is not in the category of the escapable. It has died away simply of itself. and present pain in whatever life has attained its moment of experience, it has attained the state of being experienced in the course of the present moment; thatpain is not to be escaped in some other moment. It goes of itself by being experienced, and there is no hope of escaping it in some other moment. So it is only pain not yet come pain in lives to come immediately after deathwhich afflicts the yogin sensitive as an eyeball, that is to be escaped.

It is said to be escapable by right vision. The effort is to be made only that there should be no future births, not to inhibit present pain.

He identifies once again the cause of what can thus be escaped now:

Yoga Sutra 2.17

The Seer-Seen conjunction is the cause of what is to be escaped

The Seer is Puruṣa, witness of the mind (buddhi). The Seen is all objects (dharma) presented by mind-sattva.

It has been said that the work is set out in four parts. One part out of the four has been explained: what is to be escaped is the pain which has not yet come. Now the second part, which is the cause, the reason, of the pain is again identified.

(Opponent) But the cause of pain has already been pointed out, at the end of the summing up (in II.15) when it was said that Ignorance is the seed which produces that great mass of pain.

(Answer) True, but what was indicated there was only the bare nature of pain and the bare nature of its cause. In the statement of the bare nature of these, the causality has not been made clear, (as it now is in the words) The Seer-Seen conjunction is the cause of what is to be escaped.

The two-element compound Seer-Seen means the Seer and the Seen. The conjunction is of the Seer and the Seen. It could have been a three-element compound – the single word Seer-Seen-conjunction; the fact that the division is made into the separate elements (Seer-Seen, conjunction) is to confirm that the two are of a different class. The sūtra might have said: (conjunction of) experiencer and experienced (bhoktṛ-bhogya), or of thing and its owner, or of pradhāna and Puruṣa. But by the expression of Seer-Seen he wishes to show the conjunction as of those two elements and in no other way.

The Seer is Puruṣa, witness of the mind (buddhi) as is going to be explained. One who habitually witnesses is called a witness. He witnesses the mind (buddhi) which is the Seen, the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) in the form of ideas.

(Opponent) The Seen is simply objects like sound.

(Answer) It is to meet this objection that he adds, The Seen is all objects (dharma) presented by mind-sattva.Objects like sound are perceived not independently but only as presented by mind-sattva, being forms of ideas in the mind. If they were seen independently, it would mean that there would be some objects known to Puruṣa and some unknown, but reason (nyāya) establishes that objects are always known to Puruṣa. So it is that all objects are seen only as presented by mind (buddhi).

The seen object is like a magnet, which serves by mere proximity; by the fact of being seen, it belongs to Puruṣa its lord, whose nature is seeing, inasmuch as the seen object takes on the nature of an object of experience. Taking on as its own a different nature, though independent it is dependent on another, because it serves the purpose of another. The conjunction of the two powers, Seer and Sight, is beginningless and purposive. As the cause of pain, it is the cause of what is to be escaped.

The seen object is like a magnet: it is like a magnet which serves by its action to create movement in the iron also. Because that (object) helps, as if it were a magnet, the two-fold purpose of Puruṣa, namely experience and release, by the fact of being seen, it belongs to Puruṣa, its lord, whose nature is pure consciousness (citi-svarūpa-mātra).

In what sense is it the property of Puruṣa? It takes on the nature of an object of experience (karma-viṣaya). In this compound karma-viṣaya, the element ‘karma’ has its sense of the grammatical object. The object is what becomes perceptible to that which is awareness (dṛṣi) by nature. To explain just how it is that it becomes objective, he says, It takes on as its own a different nature.

It takes itself to be of the nature of its own or another Puruṣa, and of the nature of objects like sound. It takes on itself the characteristics of their nature, taking the assumed characteristics of Puruṣa, or of objects like sound, to be its own being. When it takes on itself the nature of Puruṣa, then it assumes objectivity by the fact of being seen, and becomes a possession for the purpose of release. When it takes on itself the nature of objects like sound, it assumes objectivity by the fact of being seen, and becomes a possession for the purpose of experiencing in the world.

(Opponent) How can what is independent belong to another? What is independent does not look to anything else for its functioning. Even if that functioning does conform to a purpose of Puruṣa (by coincidence), it is a purely spontaneous functioning and nothing to do with serving Puruṣa. It is not reasonable that an independent and spontaneously acting thing should belong to another.

(Answer) Though independent, it is dependent on another because it serves the purpose of another, as carrying out the two purposes of Puruṣa. Therefore it belongs to that other. The conjunction of the two powers, Seer and Sight, is beginningless. He began with the pair Seer and Seen; now in summing up he speaks of the two powers as Seer and Sight. Since the conjunction of mind (buddhi) and Puruṣa comes into existence immediately on the rise of mind, it might be supposed that it had a beginning. It is to show how it has no beginning that he states that the conjunction is beginningless. Possessors of qualities (dharmin) being permanent, a relation between them would be permanent. Now the relation of the two powers of Seer and Seen is without a beginning, and purposive,since it is impelled by the purpose or goal of Puruṣa.

It follows that though the conjunction is thus beginningless, it will cease when the purpose ceases. A conjunction which is of the nature of possessors of qualities (dharmin), since it is from their very being, is not purposeful and so can only be eternal. But a conjunction which is only of passing qualities (dharma) will be passing. This conjunction of mind and Puruṣa is the cause of what is to be escaped, the cause of pain.

So it is said: by avoiding the cause that brings them together, there will be absolute prevention of pain. How so? Because we see that removing the cause of pain prevents pain. Just as there is vulnerability of the sole and sharpness of the thorn, and the prevention is either not treading with the foot on the thorn, or treading on it with sole protected. He who knows these two, adopts in practice a method of prevention, and adopting that method, does not experience the pain of being pierced.

Why is he not pierced? By virtue of his knowledge of the three elements.

Here rajas causes the hurt, and sattva it is which is hurt. Why so? Because sattva is in the position of object to the hurtful action.

So it is said in the teaching By avoiding the cause that makes them join; the conjunction being of mind and Puruṣa, and its cause being Ignorance. How is it to be avoided? By making it disappear through its opponent, Knowledge, right vision the adversary of Ignorance. Therefore by avoiding the cause of their conjunction there will be absolute perfect prevention of pain. What is this (avoiding)? It is seeing rightly.

How is it so? A well-known example is cited: just as there is vulnerability of the sole because of its tendernessand the sharpness of the thorn from its nature as a hard point. The fact is well known that this particular conjunction is a cause of pain. Prevention of the pain of being pierced by a thorn is either not treading not stepping with the foot on the thorn, or if there is some reason for stepping there, treading with the sole protected. He who knows these two the vulnerability and the sharpness, or the two methods of avoidance, he adopts in his life a method of prevention, one of the two; adopting that method, he does not experience the pain of being pierced by a thorn.

In the present case, there are Puruṣa and pradhāna, which in its relation to sattva is compared to the thorn; the particular conjunction between these two, caused by Ignorance, is the cause of pain. The preventive measure is this: either disregard of seen objects, guṇa-s and their combinations which are particularizations of pradhāna alone, realizing through right knowledge that there is no good to be pursued, because Puruṣa is immutable, or else, experience by the mind-sattva, like one treading on a thorn, but shielded by right knowledge, of the objects such as sound which come uninvited, realizing that the karma of taking on a body must be known assuredly to bring about its fruits. Thus knowing the method of prevention, like the prevention of the pain of being pierced by a thorn, he does not incur the pain of saṃsāra.

How is it so? By virtue of his awareness of the three elements. It is awareness of pradhāna, Puruṣa, and their conjunction, these three, that shows the effectiveness of knowledge, for we see that one who is not aware of his sole and the thorn and their coming together is caused pain by his unawareness.

To explain: Here rajas causes the pain; pradhāna was compared to the thorn, as inflicting pain, but it is only through rajas, inherently painful as that is. As the object of rajas, sattva alone is pained. Like an axe chopping, any hurtful action has to have an object to operate on. It is in the position of object to the pain caused by rajas.Puruṣa the witness is not the object pained by rajas, for the painful effect is an object witnessed by Puruṣa. An axe does not operate on the woodman himelf, nor is the result mere cutting, but actual splitting some object like a piece of wood. Thus the apparent suffering of Puruṣa is the production of an effect in sattva the object; rajas is like the axe on wood, and sattva simply functions as something seen by Puruṣa.

Sattva being an object to it, the pain does not belong to the immutable, actionless knower-of the-field (kṣetrajña), because the object is something shown to him. But sattva being pained, Puruṣa conforming to that form, is pained likewise. He now goes on to explain the nature of the Seen.

So the pain does not affect Puruṣa because Puruṣa is immutable, being the Seer. Pain is modification of some object; for instance, the result of chopping is a change in the thing chopped, namely that it is divided into two. It does not affect the immutable, actionless, knower-of-the-field (kṣetrajña) whose immutability is to be established by the fact that it is always the witness of objects.

(Opponent) If Puruṣa is thus not pained, then it means that pradhāna will not be working for the purpose of Puruṣa, for it has just been said that there is (experience, namely) conformity to the mental process.

(Answer) To this he says: because the object is something shown to him. Objects are shown to him, who is unchanging and actionless. So conforming to that form, imitating that form of sattva the object of sight; the conforming to that form is when the mental idea (bauddha pratyaya) is in proximity to sight, and there is an appearance in the form of sight. Just as in proximity to lac, a crystal appears in the form of lac, so Puruṣa too is pained- figuratively.

He now goes on to explain the nature of the Seen. In the previous sūtra the order was Seer and Seen, so it might seem that the nature of the Seer should be explained first. But to understand what the Seer is, there must first be knowledge of what the Seen is. He is the Seer of what is seen distinct from himself, and it is as distinct from it that he is established as the Seer in himself. In order of importance, true, the Seer comes first as in the previous sūtra, but the present order is adopted for the definition.


Here is Trevor leggett’s original specification using links

(1) Read the Introduction for the General Reader: at this stage pass over the Technical Introduction.

Then read the following passages of the sūtra and commentaries from part 1 only:-

(2) 1.02– 1.06 then jump to

1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 back

(3) 1.12 – 1.22

1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17
1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 back

(4) 1.23 – 26, God. Sūtra-s only – pass over the elaborate proofs. Take it as a working hypothesis to be confirmed by experiment.

1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 back

(5) 1.27 -32

1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 back

(6) 1.33 – 40

1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 back

(7) 1.41 – 49. Note the conditions for inspiration given in 1.43 and 1.47. Not all Samādhi-s are Truth-bearing.

1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 back

(8) 1.50 and 1.51, and refer back to 1.18.

1.50 1.51 1.18 back

Re-read these passages till you have a good idea of the basic pattern of the Yoga.

PRACTICE

(1) If you are cut off (say in solitary confinement) and the need is great, devote several hours a day to the basic practice of disentangling Seer from Seen (eg 2.35). When this is established and comes of its own accord sometimes, practise giving up thoughts (1.18) in meditation. The yoga then takes over (1.50).

(2) If you are relatively free from obligations, with basic needs at hand, practise at least three hours a day. Patañjali hardly mentions a guru, but without some senior adviser few can keep going without changing the rules to suit themselves. This causes many failures. Capacity for devotion to God arises naturally in anyone who meditates with serious enquiry. When developed it gives direct vision (2.44) and perfection in Samādhi (2.45).

(3) If you have commitments, you must establish a do-or-die resolution to practise Yoga of Action (2.12). It requires some heroism. Evenness of mind in all concerns of daily life is the main tapas. Then there must be determination to set aside at least an hour-and-a-half every single day to the two other elements; self-study includes holy reading. The Gītā is a summary of the Upaniṣad-s in verse ( Sir Edwin Arnold’s Song Celestial is also in easily memorable verse.) Teachers today give meditations on avatars such as Rama and Jesus; they culminate in a vision which changes the whole life. It is essential to practise hard at the Yogic action, which must be energetic but free from a claim on results; it is given in detail in the early chapters of the Gītā.

Nearly all Yogis support themselves with the OM (1.28) and Maitri (1.33) practices. These also bring out hidden natural potentialities from the mind (1.29; 3.33). But the so- called Glories are the delusive manipulations of the world-illusion and are mires of attachment.

When enthusiasm flags, read 2.15 – 17; look around you and see how anxiety, pain and death are rushing towards us like an express train. Yoga is a way to escape them.

2.15 2.16 2.17 back
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