Patanjali Yoga Sutras: Sutra 15-19

Published: 26.10.2015

15. दृष्टानुश्रविकविषयवितृष्णस्य वशीकारसंज्णा वैराग्यम् ॥१५॥

dṛṣṭa-anuśravika-viṣaya-vitṛṣṇasya vaśīkāra-saṁjṇā vairāgyam ||15||

That effort, which comes to those who have given up their thirst after objects either seen or heard, and which wills to control the objects, is non-attachment.

Two motives of our actions are (1) What we see ourselves; (2) The experience of others. These two forces are throwing the mind, the lake, into various waves. Renunciation is the power of battling against these, and holding the mind in check. Renunciation of these two motives is what we want. I am passing through a street, and a man comes and takes my watch. That is my own experience. I see it myself, and it immediately throws my Chitta into a wave, taking the form of anger. Allow that not to come. If you cannot prevent that, you are nothing; if you can, you have Vairagyam. Similarly, the experience of the worldly-minded teaches us that sense enjoyments are the highest ideal. These are tremendous temptations. To deny them, and not allow the mind to come into a wave form with regard to them is renunciation; to control the twofold motive powers arising from my own experience, and from the experience of others, and thus prevent the Chitta from being governed by them, is Vairagyam. These should be controlled by me, and not I by them. This sort of mental strength is called renunciation. This Vairagyam is the only way to freedom.

16. तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेः गुणवैतृष्ण्यम् ॥१६॥

tatparaṁ puruṣa-khyāteḥ guṇa-vaitṛṣṇyam ||16||

That extreme non-attachment, giving up even the qualities, shows (the real nature of) the Purusa.

It is the highest manifestation of power when it takes away even our attraction towards the qualities. We have first to understand what the Purusa, the Self, is, and what are the qualities. According to Yoga philosophy the whole of nature consists of three qualities; one is called Tamas, another Rajas and the third Sattva. These three qualities manifest themselves in the physical world as attraction, repulsion, and control. Everything that is in nature, all these manifestations, are combinations and recombinations of these three forces. This nature has been divided into various categories by the Sankhyas; the Self of man is beyond all these, beyond nature, is effulgent by Its very nature. It is pure and perfect. Whatever of intelligence we see in nature is but the reflection from this Self upon nature. Nature itself is insentient. You must remember that the word nature also includes the mind; mind is in nature; thought is in nature; from thought, down to the grossest form of matter, everything is in nature, the manifestation of nature. This nature has covered the Self of man, and when nature takes away the covering the Self becomes unveiled, and appears in Its own glory. This non-attachment, as it is described in Aphorism 15 (as being control of nature) is the greatest help towards manifesting the Self. The next aphorism defines Samadhi, perfect concentration, which is the goal of the Yogi.

17. वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारुपानुगमात्संप्रज्ञातः ॥१७॥

vitarka-vicāra-ānanda-asmitā-rupa-anugamāt-saṁprajñātaḥ ||17||

The concentration called right know-ledge is that which is followed by reasoning, discrimination, bliss, unqualified ego.

This Samadhi is divided into two varieties. One is called the Samprajnata, and the other the Asamprajnata. The Samprajnata is of four varieites. In this Samadhi come all the powers of controlling nature. The first variety is called the Savitarka, when the mind meditates upon an object again and again, by isolating it from other objects. There are two sorts of objects for meditation, the categories of nature, and the Purusa. Again, the categories are of two varieties; the twenty-four categories are insentient, and the one sentient is the Purusa. When the mind thinks of the elements of nature by thinking of their beginning and their end, this is one sort of Savitarka. The words require explanation. This part of Yoga is based entirely on Sankhya Philosophy, about which I have already told you. As you will remember, egoism and will, and mind, have a common basis, and that common basis is called the Chitta, the mind-stuff, out of which they are all manufactured. This mind-stuff takes in the forces of nature, and projects them as thought. There must be something, again, where both force and matter are one. This is called Avyaktam, the unmanifested state of nature, before creation, and two which, after the end of a cycle, the whole of nature returns, to again come out after another period. Beyond that is the Purusa, the essence of intelligence. There is no liberation in getting powers. It is a worldly search after enjoyment in this life; all search for enjoyment is vain; this is the old, old lesson which man finds it so hard to learn. When he does learn it, he gets out of the universe and becomes free. The possession of what are called occult powers is only intensifying the world, and in the end intensifying suffering. Though, as a scientist, Patanjali is bound to point out the possibilities of this science, he never misses an opportunity to warn us against these powers. Knowledge is power, and as soon as we begin to know a thing we get power over it; so also, when the mind begins to meditate on the different elements it gains power over them. That sort of meditation where the external gross elements are the objects is called Savitarka. Tarka means question, Savitarka with-question. Questioning the elements, as it were, that they may give up their truths and their powers to the man who meditates upon them. Again, in the very same meditation, when one struggles to take the elements out of time and space, and think of them as they are, it is called Nirvitarka, without-question. When the meditation goes a step higher, and takes the Tanmatras as its object, and thinks of them as in time and space, it is called Savichara, with-discrimination, and when the same meditation gets beyond time and space, and thinks of the fine elements as they are, it is called Nirvichara, without-discrimination. The next step is when the elements are given up, either as gross or as fine, and the object of meditation is the interior organ, the thinking organ, and when the thinking organ is thought of as bereft of the qualities of activity, and of dullness, it is then called Sanandam, the blissful Samadhi. In that Samadhi, when we are thinking of the mind as the object of meditation, before we have reached the state which takes us beyond the mind even, when it has become very ripe and concentrated, when all ideas of the gross materials, or fine materials, have been given up, and the only object is the mind as it is, when the Sattva state only of the Ego remains, but differentiated from all other objects, this is called Asmita Samadhi, and the man who has attained to this has attained to what is called in the Vedas “bereft of body.” He can think of himself as without his gross body; but he will have to think of himself as with a fine body. Those that in this state get merged in nature without attaining the goal are called Prakrtilayas, but those who do not even stop at any enjoyments, reach the goal, which is freedom.

18. विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषोऽन्यः ॥१८॥

virāma-pratyaya-abhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṁskāra-śeṣo-'nyaḥ ||18||

There is another Samadhi which is attained by the constant practice of cessation of all mental activity, in which the Chitta retains only the unmanifested impressions.

This is the perfect superconscious Asamprajnata Samadhi, the state which gives us freedom. The first state does not give us freedom, does not liberate the soul. A man may attain to all powers, and yet fall again. There is no safeguard until the soul goes beyond nature, and beyond conscious concentration. It is very difficult to attain, although its method seems very easy. Its method is to hold the mind as the object, and whenever through comes, to strike it down, allowing no thought to come into the mind, thus making it an entire vacuum. When we can really do this, in that moment we shall attain liberation. When persons without training and preparation try to make their minds vacant they are likely to succeed only in covering themselves with Tamas, material of ignorance, which makes the mind dull and stupid, and leads them to think that they are making a vacuum of the mind. To be able to really do that is a manifestation of the greatest strength, of the highest control. When this state, Asamprajnata, super-consciousness, is reached, the Samadhi becomes seedless. What is meant by that? In that sort of concentration when there is consciousness, where the mind has succeeded only in quelling the waves in the Chitta and holding them down, they are still there in the form of tendencies, and these tendencies (or seeds) will become waves again, when the time comes. But when you have destroyed all these tendencies, almost destroyed the mind, then it has become seedless, there are no more seeds in the mind out of which to manufacture again and again this plant of life, this ceaseless round of birth and death. You may ask, what state would that be, in which we should have no knowledge? What we call knowledge is a lower state than the one beyond knowledge. You must always bear in mind that the extremes look very much the same. The low vibration of light is darkness, and the very high vibration of light is darkness also, but one is real darkness, and the other is really intense light; yet their appearance is the same. So, ignorance is the lowest state, knowledge is the middle state, and beyond knowledge is a still higher state. Knowledge itself is a manufactured something, a combination; it is not reality. What will be the result of constant practice of this higher concentration? All old tendencies of restlessness, and dullness, will be destroyed, as well as the tendencies of goodness too. It is just the same as with the metals that are used with gold to take off the dirt and alloy. When the ore is smelted down, the dross is burnt along with the alloy. So this constant controlling power will stop the previous bad tendencies and, eventually, the good ones also. Those good and evil tendencies will suppress each other, and there will remain the Soul, in all its glorious splendour, untrammelled by either good or bad, and that Soul is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. By giving up all powers it has become omnipotent, by giving up all life it is beyond mortality; it has become life itself. Then the Soul will know It neither had birth nor death, neither want of heaven nor of earth. It will know that It neither came nor went; it was nature which was moving, and that movement was reflected upon the Soul. The form of the light is moving, it is reflected and cast by the camera upon the wall, and the wall foolishly thinks it is moving. So with all of us: it is the Chitta constantly moving, manipulating itself into various forms, and we think that we are these various forms. All these delusions will vanish. When that free Soul will command—not pray or beg, but command—then whatever It desires will be immediately fulfilled; whatever It wants It will be able to do. According to the Sankhya Philosophy there is no God. It says that there cannot be any God of this universe, because if there were He must be a Soul, and a Soul must be one of two things, either bound or free. How can the soul that is bound by nature, or controlled by nature, create? It is itself a slave. On the other hand, what business has the soul that is free to create and manipulate all these things? It has no desires, so cannot have any need to create. Secondly, it says the theory of God is an unnecessary one; nature explains all. What is the use of any God? But Kapila teaches that there are many souls, who, through nearly attaining perfection, fall short because they cannot perfectly renounce all powers. Their minds for a time merge in nature, to re-emerge as its masters. We shall all become such gods, and, according to the Sankhyas, the God spoken of in the Vedas really means one of these free souls. Beyond them there is not an eternally free and blessed Creator of the universe. On the other hand the Yogis say, “Not so, there is a God; there is one Soul separate from all other souls, and He is the eternal Master of all creation, the Ever Free, the Teacher of all teachers.” The Yogis admit that those the

Sankhyas called “merged in nature” also exist. They are Yogis who have fallen short of perfection, and though, for a time debarred from attaining the goal, remain as rulers of parts of the universe.

19. भवप्रत्ययो विदेहप्रकृतिलयानम् ॥१९॥

bhava-pratyayo videha-prakṛti-layānam ||19||

(This Samadhi, when not followed by extreme non-attachment) becomes the cause of the re-manifestation of the gods and of those that become merged in nature.

The gods in the Indian systems represent certain high offices which are being filled successively by various souls. But none of them is perfect.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras Edition: 1896

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Chitta
  4. Concentration
  5. Consciousness
  6. Meditation
  7. Omniscient
  8. Patanjali
  9. Purusa
  10. Rajas
  11. Samadhi
  12. Sankhya
  13. Sattva
  14. Science
  15. Soul
  16. Space
  17. Tamas
  18. Tarka
  19. Vedas
  20. Yoga
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