Science of the Absolute







Bhakti (devotion or contemplation) as understood in the philosophy of the Upanishads has to comprise within its scope theological, cosmological, psychological and axiological factors to be treated together as belonging to an integrated Science of the Absolute. Devotion to God, even when he is conceived as the most high or truest Being, does not suffice to cover the total threefold essence of bhakti as found in the Upanishads.

Even in the Vedas there are elements of agnosticism and disbelief where God's omniscience is doubted. The Lord or Isvara is not always identical with the Absolute (brahman), and very often has only a secondary position.

The creator, Brahma, is not identified with the Absolute either, but is rather a member of the Hindu pantheon, having his place within the sway of relativism due to Maya. The hypostatic entity called God or Jehovah, acceptable to prophetic religions, is not the full Absolute because his ontological existence is not affirmed so as to fulfill the threefold requirements of absolute reality which are sat-cit-ananda (existence-subsistence-value). Any subject or object of devotion has to refer to this ontological reality and recognize its immanence side-by side with the transcendent qualities belonging to it as attributes. The attribute has the status of a thinking substance without any extension into space. Substance and attribute must represent together this highest contemplative value.


Indian religion is both pagan and prophetic at once. The nous and the logos here belong together without contradiction at the core of the Absolute. It is in the Self that both value and a cosmological God find a place. Without the psychological Self, given a central position in bhakti, the whole subject of devotion and contemplation will be miscarried.


The most important feature in the verses of this chapter is the persistent attempt by Narayana Guru to underscore the essential unity between ananda, atman and brahman. More than half the verses are devoted to these entities. The implications are explained in the commentary over and over again. This is done so that the central message will have a unitive and scientific status. In doing this Narayana Guru agrees not only with Sankara, but also with Ramanuja and Madhva who give much more primacy than Sankara does to the Adoration of Vishnu as a real God equal to the Absolute.


Sankara relies more on wisdom values while devotional values get a secondary position. Ramanuja´s svarupananda (bliss in one's own Self) refers to the same psychological value. Madhva also uses a similar expression. called svarupanandataratamya (gradation based on the degree of bliss in the Self). He accepts thereby the same mode of reference in keeping with Vedantic thought as do Sankara and Ramanuja. God is founded in the Self and the Self is founded in God.


The Absolute inclusively comprises God and the Self, without omitting the cosmological implications. These implications are part and parcel of the notion of God as it grew out of Vedism where sacrifices were offered to hypostatic principles representing the phenomenal aspects of nature. These principles are the deities Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc. which were later formed into one God called sarve-devah (all gods). Later a single God sprang up under the various names of Karmanaspati (Lord of all action), Aditi (the mother of the Sun God), Brihaspati (the Great Lord), Vacaspati (Lord of the Word), and Brahmanaspati (Lord of the Great Principle).


The history of Vedic thought passed through the stages of samhitas (compendiums of Vedic thought), aranyakas (philosophical forest treatises), brahmanas (literature treating of the Absolute) and, finally, the Upanishads where the psychological and cosmological fully blend in the Self. These are the stages lending their coloration to perfect the prevailing notion of the Absolute as used in the Upanishads. Even in the Upanishads the ideas of brahman, atma and ananda are often used interchangeably. It is this fusion of three distinct notions that Narayana Guru insists on bringing together more closely than ever before.


The first five verses are devoted to this apparently simple task, and the value of this chapter consists in becoming thoroughly familiarized with such a unified point of view. Moreover, it is such a view alone that makes a subject like bhakti, which has so many facets, become unified under one supreme science. Even within these five verses, it is to be noted that slight nuances are indicated for purposes of structural clarity when words such as upadisyate (is taught), as against an expression like visrutah (is well known) are used.


Some instruction has to be given because positive knowledge cannot come by itself. A teacher's authority is involved here. To know on the contrary that all belongs to love or happiness does not require proof or teaching. It is a matter of general observation.


It is profitable to discuss such indications in the text and commentary referring to nuances of meaning meant by Narayana Guru to reveal the structural aspects of devotion or contemplation treated as a whole.
The key text supporting this is the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" (IV.5.1-6) and the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi already quoted (see pages 699-77).


We have already pointed out the mistake into which the usual interpretations fall. It consists of insisting that the unilaterally conceived ego is the beneficiary of bliss. When bliss is bilaterally understood as belonging to the Self as the Absolute free from all particular couples enjoying such bliss, the true nature of the universal value involved comes into evidence The prevailing popular notions in respect of the way of devotion or bhakti-marga are not found in this chapter. Not only the way of bhakti, but the way of karma too has no regular basic texts or sutras attributed to a sage or rishi as with Yoga or Samkhya. Of course there are the famous "Bhakti Sutras" of Narada, who has a background of the Puranas (myths and legends) but not a background from the Upanishads. The "Bhakti Sutras" reflect the principle of the bipolar relation between the worshipper and the worshipped in various bhavas or attributes, such as prema (love), dasya (service) etc. These attitudes are enumerated by Narada in a certain order. Such attributes really cover only the popular and mass-devotional requirements of ordinary religion. They do not belong to a fully philosophical or scientific context, although the "Bhakti Sutras" do not violate the fundamentals of higher philosophical devotion and contemplation. They do not, however, comprise the whole of bhakti understood in a more absolutist context.

The "Gita Govinda" and other texts treat of devotion in the context of erotic mysticism so popular with a Vaishnavite religious expression. This covers the same subject-matter of devotion within its own proper limits. In this expression we find ecstasies, trances, and even collective frenzy worked up by mass emotion and dancing and singing in temple festivals, as in the famous Pandaripur temple in Maharashtra State where Vithoba is worshipped. Similar expressions are found in Bengal among the followers of Gauranga, Vallabha, and Nimbarka, all ecstatic mystics. Here group exaltation sometimes attains to a high degree of ecstasy called bhavasamadhi or complete ecstatic union with the one being adored.


Such popular religious expressions are interesting but they cannot be given any serious recognition in a Science of the Absolute. One of the reasons is that cruelty and uncleanliness are sometimes countenanced. True devotion should not be an excuse for transgression of the basic requirements of a good or spiritual life. Often too such excesses produce unhealthy reactions.



This is no regular text book dealing specifically with bhakti that can be included in the Science of the Absolute. What is available is the chapter in the Bhagavad Gita devoted to this subject. In the preliminary verses of the Gita there is no reference at all to any kind of exaggeration of mystical contemplation. Narayana Guru completely accepts the attitude of the Gita. In this commentary on the opening verse it is said that a person who is fully absorbed in the joy of Self-contemplation has nothing else to do. This Self-bliss is bhakti itself without any outward expression in behaviour at all. The contents of Chapter XIII of the Gita have to be viewed in this same light as a fully verticalized state of Self-absorption where no horizontal activity finds a place. The chapter begins with a pointed question by Arjuna asking for clarification of one important point which concerns the superiority or preferability of establishing a bipolar relation between a theistic God or a non-personalized Absolute. In the Science of the Absolute it is normal to expect one to think of the Absolute impersonally, without any anthropomorphic analogy creeping in. One of the weakness of the human mind is this tendency towards anthropomorphism.


Religions such as Buddhism have boldly attempted to establish a religious and ethical relation conceived on rational lines between the religious aspirant to wisdom and the abstract ideal to be attained, such as Buddhahood. Various degrees of personification of such an ideal are however inevitably present in some of the later Buddhist devotional expressions. In every case, however, there is an attempt to attain to absolute bliss, including in its content what is righteous and ethical. In the last verse of this chapter of the Gita (XII.20) there is reference to dharmyamritam, which covers the same requirement as in Buddhism. We read:

"But they who cherish devotedly this righteous immortal value, as stated, endowed with faith, with me for Supreme, these devotees are exceedingly dear to me" (1)

A theological or personal God becomes necessary only because of the limitations in human beings such as referred to in the Gita (VII.9):

"If you are unable to fix your thoughts steadily on Me, then by means of unitive ascent (Yoga of practice) seek to reach me, 0 Arjuna" (2)

Thus there are two limiting ideals at two different levels for the aspirant to choose from according to his ability in contemplation. In the last verse in Chapter XII it is clearly shown how the impersonal attitude is superior, but if one cannot attain the best, then the second best will have to do. Anything is better than something worse.


Anthropomorphic devotion to a personal God is permitted. The Gita does not condemn it. A fully scientific outlook in contemplation would naturally be beyond the reach of pious and religious people who seek consolation through religious devotion of a popular kind. Therefore allowances have to be made for the lack of inner strength of the contemplative. We read in XII, Verse 12, the following interesting remark:

"Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is superior, than meditation renunciation of the benefit of action - after renunciation - peace." (3)

This provides ample latitude for persons of different grades of spiritual progress or strength. It is a striking feature to be noted that in this graded series wisdom (jnanam) is not treated as the highest, but is immediately succeeded by meditation (dhyana). Meditation becomes purified and is superior when all fruits of action are also abandoned. The end when purified, purifies the means as well. Rational wisdom (jnanam) need not necessarily have this content.


When taken by itself rationalism can be nihilistic and empty of content. For this reason it is put at a lower level. Meditation belongs to a truer context of Yoga where two counterpart are treated instead of merely one. Thus contemplation and meditation have their dynamics and inner structure whether treated in anthropomorphic terms or not.


The modus operandi of such a dynamism within its full amplitude is what constitutes the subject matter of the twenty verses in the Gita on bhakti. The rest of that chapter stresses an inner attitude of mind proper to true absolutist contemplation. There is a certain neutrality and equality of outlook between inner and outer factors of life to be maintained constantly by the contemplative. All these attitudes can be described as consisting of perfectly verticalized tendencies. When this condition has been fulfilled by the contemplative, the only other one required is the establishment of a complete bipolarity between the absolute principle and the Self.


If needed, a personal God can occupy a low and easy position for purposes of popular contemplation. The choice is left to the individual. In every case the ideal has to fall on the plus side of the vertical axis to have any effect. When the ideal is put too far beyond reach it fails to influence the aspirant and thus its purpose is again defeated. Such peculiarities of the dynamism of contemplation have always to be respected and above all it is important that the bipolarity must exclude everything extraneous to the contemplative situation. This point is specially stressed by the terms sada (ever) and ananya (non-other). When these terms are put together and fulfilled by the contemplative he guarantees his own success. Such is the promise found in Verses 6 and 7 in the Gita´s Chapter XII:

"But those who worship Me, renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me supreme, meditating on Me by that Yoga exclusive of all else.
For them whose minds have entered into Me, I become ere long, 0 Arjuna, the saviour out of the ocean of death and repeated cyclic existences." (4)

The basic features of this perfect absolutist bhakti are also present in this chapter by Narayana Guru. There is no difference at all in basic content, although Narayana Guru presents his case in a plainer and non-mythological literary style.



Dharma is a most important Sanskrit word meant to cover all notions of natural righteousness. It is derived from the root dhri, to bear or support. Truth or reality must support or be consistent with any activity natural to humanity. Such is the basic idea on which dharma is to be understood.


One hears the term sanatana dharma (eternal righteousness) whose connotation in modern India has become vitiated by a certain type of orthodox attitude, thinking in terms of exclusive casteism, wherein certain groups are unjustly denied basic rights while certain privileges are taken unfairly by others. The original meaning of this term is innocent of these modern connotations.


Dharma is usually associated with ritualistic action (karma) obligatory in the life of a Vedic brahmin. The "Purva-Mimamsa Sutras" of Jaimini begin with a reference to dharma in this Vedic context but, as we have seen, Jaimini was not merely thinking only of the brute ritualism of primitive Vedism nor of the various gods who were to be propitiated by the sacrificing of animals. For him dharma meant a value elevating man and not degrading him within the hedonistic heaven of the ordinary brahmin. Thus understood, dharma could raise man though the unseen (adrishta) into the never-before-known (apurva). Such a value accepted as a goal in life borders on the full notion of absolutist axiology is what Jaimini really stands for.


Be this as it may, we are here more directly concerned only with fully absolutist dharma in keeping with the spirit of the Upanishads. In one of the santi pathas (preliminary chant repeated in Vedantic schools or sakhas) we find the term upanishatsu-dharmah (absolutist righteousness arising from the Upanishads). It is well known that the Upanishads teach pure wisdom and that mere brahminical ritualism is fully repugnant to its finalized attitude. Brahminical duties and the Upanishads had nothing in common. In fact, as Paul Deussen points out, the Upanishads belonged more correctly to the ruling class of kings and princes in India, and were only later accepted by Brahmins. The term dharma applied to the Upanishadic way of life is thus somewhat enigmatic. It is the Self that is important in Vedanta. We read the following interesting passage regarding the notion of the Self as developed in the Upanishads:

"We may therefore assume that the doctrine of the atman as the first principle of the universe, the gradual rise of which we have traced through the hymns of the "Rig Veda" and "Atharvaveda", was fostered and progressively developed by the Kshatriyas in opposition to the principles of the Brahmanical ritual" (5)


What is important to note here is that early Vedic schools have to be distinguished from later Vedantic ones. The dharma of the former was geared to its own system of hedonistic values meant for Brahmins only, while the dharma of the Upanishads was open and universal, always taking the form of nivritti (negative) rather than pravritti (positive). The Brahmin family loyal to a certain branch of the Veda in a hereditary and orthodox manner was usually cruel and exclusive and completely closed to any kind of catholic wisdom teaching. We have seen how this closed and static attitude has left its mark even on the "Brahma Sutras". The Bhagavad Gita has made full amends for this.


One has to remember all the same that ethical and aesthetic considerations naturally clung even to the later Vedantic schools who had their prototype in the anterior closed schools of early Vedism. If the ethics of the Christian world grew out of the prototype of the city-state, and that of Islam as against the tribal worship of the cow, we can also generalize here and say that absolutist ethics arose in the ancient forest schools where the sages taught the secret philosophy of the Upanishads to chosen pupils. The teaching was meant for those wishing to go beyond mere ritualism and who were ready to undertake the study of this higher wisdom in the context of Self-knowledge. They had to sit by the teacher and listen to this esoteric secret or non-public teaching first, before closed Vedism opened out dynamically into the Vedantic way.


Generally speaking, such Vedantic schools were of small size and situated in the forest completely away from society. We have to imagine a guru (spiritual teacher), sometimes married and sometimes an unmarried recluse, who kept the sacrificial fires burning mostly for the purposes of symbolic respect for the Vedic background. The disciples who were admitted presented themselves with a bundle of firewood signifying that they were prepared to tend the household fire and serve the guru for the sake of pure wisdom. These disciples were called brahmacharis whose very name meant that they were supposed to walk in the path of the Absolute. The brahmachari had to wait sometimes as long as twelve years before the guru agreed to consider him fit for higher wisdom. A period of silence and negative education was imposed on him. This was also true of Pythagoras and his methods. There was a period of preparatory silence and control where all outgoing tendencies belonging to social or political life were sublimated to higher levels of dedication to the Absolute.


The brahmachari, therefore, had a certain number of virtues characterized by negativity rather than by positive forms of social behaviour. Speaking of the origin of Vedic ethics, Deussen gives us the following interesting picture. He does not however sufficiently distinguish the closed and open forms of ethics as we have ourselves just done. He cites the following examples from certain Upanishads to develop his theme:


"In "Chandogya Upanishad" (III.17) life is regarded allegorically as A great soma festival. In this a miniature ethical system in five words is incidentally interwoven, when as the reward of the sacrifice (dakshina), which is to be offered at the great sacrificial feast of life, are named:
  1. tapas, asceticism;
  2. danam, liberality;
  3. arjavam, right dealing;
  4. ahimsa, no injury to life; and
  5. satyavacanam, truthfulness (in speech)
In the "Taittiriya Upanishad" (I.9) twelve duties are enumerated, by the side of each of which the "learning and teaching of the Veda" are constantly enjoined. These are:

"Right dealing and truthfulness; asceticism, self-restraint, and tranquility; and as duties of a householder, Maintenance of the sacred fire and the agnihotram, hospitality and courtesy, duties to children, wives and grandchildren." (6)


Deussen also quotes from the "Chandogya Upanishad" (V.11.5 and then comments:

"This is in keeping with the gentle humane tone which we see adopted in the Upanishads in the intercourse of husband and wife, father and son teacher and student, prince and subject" (7)

It is easy to see from the above how ethics and aesthetics had together to grow from the most natural and normal human soil for all later ethical and aesthetic values to take shape in human life. It was an extension of normal family life treated as a unit where as a rule a Vedic Brahmin taught his own son and other young men only as an exception. The later Upanishadic schools resemble gurukulas more properly understood as such, wherein students like Nachiketas, Jabala, Satyakama, etc, were all young men seeking higher wisdom through affiliation to a guru.


The early origins of absolutist moral instruction are reflected in a beautiful passage of the "Taittiriya Upanishad":

"Having taught the Veda, a teacher further instructs a pupil: Speak the truth, practice virtue (dharma), neglect not study (of the Vedas). Having brought an acceptable gift to the teacher, cut not off the line of progeny.
One should not be negligent of truth, virtue, welfare, prosperity, study and teaching.
One should not be negligent of duties to the gods and the fathers.
Be one to whom a mother is as a god, a father is as a god, a teacher is as a god, a guest is as a god.
Those acts which are irreproachable should be practiced, and no others. Those things which among us are good deeds should be revered by you, and no others.
Whatever Brahmins (brahmana) are superior to us, for them refreshment should be procured by you with a seat.
One should give with faith (sraddha).
One should not give without faith.
One should give with plenty (sri), modesty, fear and sympathy (samvid).
Now, if you should have doubt concerning an act, or doubt concerning conduct, if there should be there Brahmins competent to judge, apt, devoted, not harsh, lovers of virtue (dharma) as they may behave themselves in such a case, so should you behave yourself in such a case.
Now, with regard to (people) spoken against, if there should be there Brahmins competent to judge, apt, devoted, not harsh, lovers of virtue - as they may behave themselves with regard to such, so should you behave yourself with regard to such.
This is the teaching. This is the admonition. This is the mystic doctrine of the Veda (veda-upanishad). This is the instruction. Thus should one worship. Thus, indeed, should one worship." (8)


Here the brahmin or brahmana is not of the closed and static context. He is rather a man of wisdom and openness. It is easy to see how the morality of a simple and fundamental kind contained within the normal life of a brahmachari in the environment of the family like that of a guru was not the same as usual public morality. There is no reference at all to any closed social life, not to speak of political factions or closed groups.


In respect of such a pattern of ethical behaviour, it can reasonably be thought that it is too simple to suit modern times when education in most democratic countries has been reoriented to be compatible with a changing society based on recognizing some kind of democratic rights in various degrees. This must be the reason why Narayana Guru breaks through the usual conservative reserve in this matter and indirectly brings into the picture values having definite political implications. This occurs in the line respecting an administrator putting down evil. Although Narayana Guru may not be thinking of a particular state, the applicability of this principle is envisaged as a possibility to be developed on a universal and global scale.


Narayana Guru takes care in his commentary on this verse to underline the fact that such ethical implications treated item by item in a certain innate structural sequence, are not to be mixed up with the main item of loyalty directed to the Absolute. The ethics of Confucius and Lao Tzu also differ between them in the same way. The former is a traditional type based on respect for ancestors and rulers only, while the later is a completely open type of absolutist morality. The "Tirukkural" of Tiruvalluvar in the Tamil literature of South India also excels in presenting a blend of both these types of ethics in its aphoristic and pithy sayings. This is also true of the religious mystics of South India and the Maratha country. They have represented in their own way a revival of the mystical and contemplative way of religious-ethical expression. The Tamil or South Indian mystics were called Nalvars because this great mystical tradition centred around the four great mystics Tirujnanasambandar, Apparswami, Sundaramurthy and Manikkvasakar. Their type of mysticism bears the unmistakable imprint of an absolutist attitude in their philosophy based on a full recognition of Siva as the ultimate reality.


We read in the "Tirukkural" of Tiruvalluvar, who preceded the four saiva saints in the first century AD:

"All life worship with folded hands
The man who neither kills nor feeds on flesh.

(to a man of learning) every country
Is his, so also every city
Wherefore then should a man
Cease to learn until his death?" (9)

The Maratha religious mystics who correspond to the South Indian group also represent a great mystical tradition. Some of them are Jnanesvar, Muktabai, Namdeva Janabai, Ekanath, and Tukaram. Jnanesvar is more philosophical than the others, but all of them bear mystical traits of great dignity and value in the context of contemplation. The following mystical poem by Jnanesvar is entitled "The Name":

"To the dwelling of the saints take thy way;
There the Lord himself shall not Say thee nay.

Cry "Ramakrishna - 'tis the path To life's goal.
Worship Rama, - he who is Siva's soul.

Him whose name is unity who so find,
Fetters of duality cannot bind.

All the lustre and the glow Yogins gain
By their name so honey-sweet we attain.

On Prahlada's childish lips dwelt the name,
While to Uddav bringing gifts Krishna came.

Easy it is to utter it (Is it not true?)
Yet who use it anywhere Ah, how few." (10)


Muktabai has a humorous mystical poem called "The Land of Topsy Turvy". This land is really the mystic's own Self where all is One. We read the following:

"An ant has leapt up to the sky
And swallowed up the sun on high!
A marvel this what I declare, -
That barren wife a son should bear.

A scorpion plumbs the nether Pit,
And Vishnu's snake bows down to it. -
A fly an eagle brings to birth.
Mukta, beholding, laughs with mirth." (11)


While we are still at the subject of the teacher-pupil relation let us further note that the pupil seated beside the teacher had to pay full attention to his words in order to grasp the total implications of such cryptic teachings. Narayana Guru also insists here on such a rapport between teacher and pupil.


Bliss or ananda is an all-comprehensive value factor. Even animals have this experience in their own way. Happiness with a capital letter can even be identified with the highest aim of all absolutist teaching. The Science of the Absolute can also be called the Science of Happiness in this sense. The secret here is to understand the all-inclusive character of absolute Happiness.



Modern science relies on a high degree of probability for its certitude. A scrutiny of the arguments contained as proofs in this chapter reveals that a thing based on probability is not made use of by Narayana Guru. On the other hand the fullest certitude is seen to be arrived at through axiomatic and nominalistic grounds of definitions or of the impossibility of being otherwise. The most self-evident truth on which the whole of this chapter depends for its certitude is found in Verse 3 which states that all beings wish only happiness and not anything else. This is not a truth requiring argumentative proof, but rather one which most people are not very likely to recognize unless they are taught.


Happiness is the ultimate aim of every creature. We touch here an attribute of the Self in whatever grade of life-expression it might be understood. The attribute determines the substance which is itself the attribute. Just as when we say God is Love or matter is energy, there is a verticalized version of reality wherein substance and attributes are equated as interchangeable terms. This method is also recognized in pure mathematics.


Bliss (ananda), the Self (atma) and the Absolute (brahman) are three basic attributes found in this chapter. They give meaning and content to the pure Absolute. Just as a correct definition of a thing is by its very clarification convincing, so too the axiomatic clarifications of the basic relations between these three attributes give substance to the pure Absolute and sufficiently guarantee the high degree of scientific certitude in this chapter. A person's name does not require proof.


Although in the Upanishads and the commentaries on the "Brahma Sutras" there are many varieties of arguments, the most important arguments in respect of proof of the most fundamental aspects of the Absolute are based on ruling out the impossibility of any contrary position. The next argument is that which says it is proved because it is seen in ordinary life. When a certain truth is universally self-evident no further proof is required. When the secret word of a philosophical text also confirms the same truth from the side of the axiomatic or a priori, conviction is firmly established from both the experimental and axiomatic sides.


The scientific character of this chapter depends upon the self-evident observational verity stated in the third verse, finding its full support in many Upanishadic sayings which equate the Absolute with ananda (bliss). For this self-evident truth Narayana Guru assumes the direct responsibility as indicated by the terminating use of the expression upadisyate (is taught). In the commentary to this verse he refers to the use of the word upadesa (teaching or instruction). The truth of the Upanishads is not always a publicly evident teaching, but rather one requiring an intimate mutual adoption between a wise guru (spiritual teacher) and a devoted sishya (disciple) who is the representative questioner ready to be wholeheartedly affiliated to wisdom.


The close-knit blending of the three attributes of the pure Absolute is already acceptable to Vedanta in its purest and most finalized form which is free from ritualism and instead gives primacy to the Self equated to the cosmological Absolute. This blending is the value called bhakti (contemplation). The first six verses bring the nature of this into light. Bhakti is generally considered a form of emotion, but according to this chapter, as seen in Verse 5 by the term niscitadhi (one of sure mind) the person attaining to certitude is a true bhakta or contemplative. Science and emotional logic are not compatible. The forming of the three attributes of the Absolute into unity demands a high degree of contemplative awareness. When this awareness attains to the white heat of synthesis it is capable of yielding a fully scientific conviction, here defined as of the essence of bhakti (contemplative devotion). Contemplation is thus raised to a high status.


In our translation of the last four verses, we have been obliged to use such terms as adoration, devotion, loyalty, etc. This is in order to keep within the milder forms of bipolarity involved in the world of necessities of everyday life. These values do not fall outside the overall scope of the subject-matter of this chapter. They belong to the familiar contexts where the relations have their own proper uses and corresponding terms in common language. The content in every case remains the same as comprised under bhakti. It will be noticed that the contingent factors of bhakti are covered in the first half of the chapter, while the most necessary levels like loyalty to administrators of justice etc. are covered in the last half.


There is a perfect symmetry between the contingent and necessary poles of bhakti. Just as in the multiplication table of the number nine, one sees a mysterious symmetry between the numbers, so too in this chapter we have a certain coherence which is meant to set the seal on its total certitude.


This is also true of the other chapters. We have mentioned this here only because it is possible to see very clearly the structural unity. In the next two chapters where value factors gain further ground, conviction has to depend on similar reasons of axiomatic cogency. In this respect the structural features of the present chapter serve as a model for the two final chapters.



After having examined the coherence of elements entering into bhakti, as revealed in the structure of this chapter, it is natural to find in the Upanishads a typical example wherein the cosmological, psychological and axiological elements are made to blend together into a unitive contemplative Absolute, metaphorically referred to as "honey" in the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad".


The structural ossature and articulations of this poetic composition respecting the philosophical principles of the Science of the Absolute, are so clear, visible and transparent that we feel justified in quoting it in full. A splitting up of this piece of work would damage the unity of the vision underlying it and cut into its interest as a total confection meant to be enjoyed as a whole. These words are moreover meant to be chanted by the brahmachari in his gurukula. When heard in such a living way it has the strange effect of a mantra or mystic formula. This has the same value as contemplation when most normally expressed.


Individual mystical experiences might have one-sided slants wherein either emotion or intelligence dominates although it would be wrong to condemn the value of any mystical expression simply because of the extraneous factors that might cling to it.


A normalized and healthy version of mysticism is to be preferred. The right attitude is to forget the extraneous and only take the pure and precious content. When so treated all mystical experience is equally valuable. The humblest and most illiterate of devotees can also have the highest of mystical experiences. We have the example of Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Nayanars or mystical and contemplative saints of the Tamil country in South India. His mysticism is held in high esteem in spite of its simple outward form. Narayana Guru, in Verse 60 of the "Atmopadesa Satakam", explains how spirituality can be expressed at different levels where the two ambivalent counterparts balance each other yielding the same constant value. In judging mysticism or spirituality in general this law of equilibrium resulting from compensation has to be respected. Reciprocity, complementarity and cancellability must yield this same constant by this method.


In the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" under reference honey is the most central of values. Honey is horizontally gathered by bees from many flowers and when so gathered the value can be represented as a unitive factor on a vertical axis in cosmological, psychological, theological or even political contexts. The total range of necessary and contingent values can be comprised within its scope in a certain methodological and epistemological order. A scrutiny of the verses that follow reveals its poetic form which does not mar its fully scientific status. We read:

"This earth is honey for all creatures, and all creatures are honey for this earth. This shining, immortal Person who is in this earth, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is in the body - he, indeed, is just this Soul (atman), this, Immortal, this Brahma, this All. 
These waters are honey for all things, and all things are honey for these waters. This shining, immortal Person who is in these waters, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is made of semen - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All. 
This fire is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this fire. This shining, immortal Person who is in this fire, and with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is made of speech - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All. 
This wind is honey for all things and all things are honey for this wind. This shining, immortal Person who is in this wind, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is breath - he is just this Soul, this Immortal this Brahma, this All. 
This sun is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this sun. This shining, immortal Person who is in this sup, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is in the eye - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All. 
These quarters of heaven are honey for all things, and all things are honey for these quarters of heaven. This shining, immortal Person who is in these quarters of heaven, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is in the ear and in the echo -- he is just this Soul, this Immortal this Brahma, this All. 
This moon is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this moon. This shining, immortal Person who is in this moon, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person consisting of mind - he is just this Soul, this Immortal,, this Brahma, this All. 
This lightning is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this lightning. This shining, immortal Person who is in this lightning, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who exists as heat - he is just this Soul this Immortal, this Brahma, this All.


This thunder is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this thunder. This shining, immortal Person who is in thunder, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is in sound and in tone - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All.
This space is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this space. This shining, immortal Person who is in this space, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who is in the space in the heart - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All.
This Law (dharma) is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this Law, This shining, immortal Person who is in this law, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who edists as virtuousness - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma, this All. 
This Truth is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this Truth. This shining, immortal Person who is in this Truth, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who exists as truthfulness - he is just this Soul, this Immortal, this Brahma this All.
This mankind (manusha) is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this mankind. This shining, immortal Person who is in this mankind, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who exists as a human being - he is just this Soul this Immortal, this Brahma, this All, 
This Soul (atman) is honey for all things, and all things are honey for this Soul. This shining, immortal Person who is in this Soul, and, with reference to oneself, this shining, immortal Person who exists as Soul - he is just this Soul? this Immortal, this Brahma, This All.
Verily, this Soul is overlord of all things, the king of all things. As all the spokes are held together in the hub and felly of a wheel, just so in this Soul all things, all gods, all worlds, all breathing things, all these selves are held together." (12)



Mysticism is deeply engrained in the normal life of India. It is therefore difficult to select individual instances of representative mystics for concluding this chapter. Romain Rolland and many others were greatly impressed with the life of Sri Ramakrishna, who in many ways is a typical religious mystic of India. Rolland was also influenced by the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Society, a religious organization characteristic of the new and awakening India of his time.


Whether contact with Christianity and Western civilization had any affect on Indian mysticism is an open question into which we do not want to enter. The great Indian Mutiny of 1857 is supposed to have been a reaction against modern Western values and Christianity. Old standards and behaviour patterns of the time were yielding place to new ones, and great men who represented the best in the old way of life found it very difficult even to earn a normal livelihood.


Without being guided solely by any one single modern Indian mystic and yet not wishing to be exhaustive we have selected three mystics who are good representatives of their time.


At present Indian life is caught between Eastern and Western standards Even crude politicians speak with a double voice claiming to be yogis and mystics. Nonetheless, the mystical content of the lives of Sri Ramakrishna, Ramalingaswami and Ramana Maharshi sufficiently proves their absolutist character, genuine mystical feeling and insight. This will be sufficiently evident from the quotations to follow.


Ramalingaswami lived about 100 years ago in the Tamil country. Not only was he a genuine mystic deeply rooted in a Tamil Saivite devotionally philosophical tradition but also a practical person. He first of all opened many ashrams (religious centres) where he established open and free kitchens or dining places for hungry people of all castes and creeds. He stood for one humanity without superficial racial or other distinctions and was humanitarian and universal in outlook. It is said he induced hundreds of thousands of his followers to adopt a cleaner and healthier life. He taught ahimsa and many of his followers became vegetarians and abandoned all cruel practices of killing animals. His appeal was mostly to the simple uneducated masses of peasants. Narayana Guru in "Scriptures of Mercy" refers to Ramalingaswami describing him as one devoted to the transcendental value of the supreme lord who departed bodily ere life for him was stilled. The end of Ramalinga Swami, as known to tradition, supports this version of his passing away, whether strict empiricism could warrant such a possibility or not. The following short poem by him speaks for itself:


"In caste, in religion, in codes and creeds, in books and arguments, in tribal quarrels,fFrom the beginning attached and wavering, Oh, you of the world. 
Wandering and wandering in vain, your being destroyed is not fair. In the just and pure path be steadfast and firm.

Dancing the unique chief, the one, He himself "on the beam". The effulgence of grace, sportively playing, calling this very moment, I proclaim aloud "Uma!"" (13)

Ramalingaswami in this next poem praises his spiritual teacher Sundaramurthy, one of the Great Tamil Saivite mystics. Although hundreds of years separate teacher and disciple the relationship still exists on a purely spiritual or vertical basis. Ramalingaswami says:

"My teacher, I bow to thee in awe and reverence.
While I am daily singing your divine songs-
Songs full of honeyed sweetness,
I wholly forget myself.
Is it only the tongue that sings?
No, never, never the tongue alone.
My whole body sings. My whole mind sings.
My whole life sings.
Indeed the mystical life within me also sings!
This is what happens to me, oh my teacher.
Magnificent while I am daily singing
Your divine songs, songs full of honeyed sweetness.
I bow to you in awe and reverence, oh my spiritual teacher full of compassion all your own!"


Ramana Maharshi was also a contemplative mystic from the Tamil country. He was a muni or silent recluse, and had a large following which included Westerners who were taken by his utter simplicity and spontaneity. Narayana Guru dedicated his "Munichariya Panchakam" to him (see pages 867-868 above). Though the Maharshi´s words were few, what he did say was always of the highest mystical order. We quote first from "The Marital Garland of Letters" (Verses 38 to 43), a beautiful composition of over 100 verses:

"Sun! Thou didst sally forth and (the siege of) illusion was ended. Then didst Thou shine motionless (alone), Oh Arunachala!
(A dog can scent out its master); am I then worse than a dog?
Steadfastly will I seek Thee and regain Thee, Oh Arunachala!
Worse than a dog (for want of scent), how can I track Thee (to Thy home), Oh Arunachala?
Grant me wisdom, I beseech Thee, so that I may not pine for love of Thee in ignorance, Oh Arunachala!
Not finding the flower open, Thou didst stay, no better than a bee (trapped in the bud of my mind), Oh Arunachala!
(In sunlight the lotus blossoms), how then couldst Thou, the Sun of suns, hover before me like a flower bee, saying 'Thou art not yet in blossom', Oh Arunachala?
'Thou, hast realized the Self even without knowing that it was the Truth.
It is the Truth Itself!' Speak (thus if it be so), Oh Arunachala!
Reveal Thyself! Thou only art Reality, Oh Arunachala!" (14)

This mystical poem was composed by Ramana Maharshi while he was living in a cave on Arunachala mountain. This mountain has a long history in the religious life of South India. In the mind of almost every Tamil, there is a numinous quality attached to it because of its associations with Siva.


The next selection from Ramana Maharshi is from his "Forty Verses on Reality". Here the theme is advaita or non-duality. Verses 35 and 40 speak for themselves:

"To seek and abide in the Reality that is always attained is the only attainment. All other attainments (siddhis) are such as are acquired in dreams. Can they appear real to someone who has woken up from sleep? Can they who are established in the Reality and are free from maya, be deluded by them? 
If it is said, that Liberation is of three kinds, with form or without form or with and without form, then let me tell you that the extinction of three forms of Liberation is the only true Liberation." (15)

Our final instance for contemplative mysticism is the well-known Sri Ramakrishna. So much has been written about him both in India and abroad, that very little more can be said. There is no question that he was an absolutist mystic as the following quotation will show. The following is attributed to him in his early 20's while he was a temple priest:

"One day I was torn with intolerable anguish. My heart seemed to be wrung as a damp cloth might be wrung....I was wracked with pain. A terrible frenzy seized me at the thought that I might never be granted the blessing of this divine vision. I thought if that were so, then enough of this life! A sword was hanging in the sanctuary of Kali. My eyes fell upon it and an idea flashed through my brain like a flash of lightening. 'The sword! It will help me to end it!' I rushed up to it, and seized it like a madman .... And lo! the whole scene, doors, windows, the temple itself vanished .... It seemed as if nothing existed any more. Instead I saw an ocean of the Spirit, boundless, dazzling. They bore down upon me with a loud roar, as if to swallow me up. In an instant they were upon me. They broke over me, they engulfed me. I was suffocated. I lost consciousness and I fell .... How I passed that day and the next I know not. Round me rolled an ocean of ineffable joy. And in the depths of my being I was conscious of the presence of the Divine Mother." (16)



In the sixth chapter on instrumentalism (karma or action), it was the subjective Self that was given primacy over the objective and active side of reasoning or thought. Reasoning was further purified in the next chapter where the Self to be attained through reason was more globally circumscribed as a high value in the context of Self-realization.


In this chapter there is the equation of three elements or factors, each conceived as a global unit placed on a vertical axis of reference. The axiom that things equal to the same thing are equal to one another is the underlying argument here. This is how the three elements of existence, substance and value are equated and reduced into unitive terms and treated interchangeably.


These three items: existence (sat), subsistence (cit) and bliss or value (ananda) are equated, either in a descending or ascending manner, with the Self (atma), the Absolute (brahman) and bliss or value (ananda). The central value is the bliss of contemplation. This element of bliss or joy was not very pronounced in the previous chapters, but from this chapter onwards it gains more and more prominence because yoga and nirvana are the ultimate steps toward pure happiness or bliss. The contingent aspect of pure happiness or bliss is treated in the first half of this chapter, while in the second half the necessary aspects are dealt with. The whole of the Absolute value of bhakti is contained within the limiting brackets of the first and the closing verse.


We now refer to the verses individually:

Verse 1. The reference to atmavid (a knower of the Self) in this verse shows that it is wisdom and not mere religious emotion that is of primary importance. Moreover it is the Self itself that contemplates the Self, and not any other deity or divinity of a lower status than the Absolute.


Verse 2. Here the common reference for both ananda and brahman is the value implied in the Absolute. Both are equally made up of the stuff of essential value. The term sada (constant or always) underlines the principle of continuity that is of the essence of contemplation. Interrupted or piecemeal contemplation does not have any real or cumulative effect. It has to be constant and of a bipolar nature.


Verse 3. In this verse, as already pointed out, Narayana Guru on his own authority underlines a verity which is at once a secret of secrets as well as an overtly acceptable universal characteristic of life in general. Even when at certain times creatures seem to enjoy suffering, as when people enjoy a tragic play, the main direction of the flow of life towards happiness is not thereby reversed. Thus happiness as the goal for all living creatures gives us the key to a universal religion as Narayana Guru has stated in Verse 49 of the "Atmopadesa Satakam". This is the basis of the one religion that he always stood for.


Verse 4. The definition is further clinched and stated in the characteristic cryptic language of the Upanishads. The last line is etymological and is a final form of reasoning justified by linguistic usage. The sanction of usage in any language can certify or vouch for its basic verity. If this were not so, language used for many centuries would have been discarded. This linguistic principle is used to best advantage in the Upanishads and here Narayana Guru also takes advantage of it. The reference again to the atmavit (knower of the Self) is of primary importance. Emotion and self-knowledge have the same difference between them as do blind and true love.


Verse 5. The terms of the equation are here more intimately juxtaposed because Narayana Guru considers it very important that, unless the distinction between them is completely abolished, true devotion will not bear its fruit of full emancipation or liberation in the context of absolute wisdom. The term visrutah (is well known) shows how Narayana Guru wants to point out that all wisdom literature (sruti) justifies this point.


Verse 6. This same truth is repeated here but with insistence and with one slight difference. Here the truth is stated in the first person rather than the third. This more direct equation of the three factors involved with the Self experienced by each person as a living and conscious human being refers to an important consideration to be fulfilled by true contemplation. Such a type of contemplation means that the integral experience of the contemplative is more important than a mere academic understanding of the subject. The word bhavana (creative imagination) comes from the same root (bhu, to become) as anubhava (experience). Through intellectual sympathy one becomes what one contemplates. The man who enters into his own metaphysical knowledge is called an anubhavasali (one capable of true becoming).The term satatam (always) again underlines the need for a constant continuity in mediation.


Verse 7. Sensuous joy, which is often treated as "sin" by certain religions, is scientifically examined here by Narayana Guru. This should not be interpreted to mean that sensuousness or "sin" is condoned. Narayana Guru is more interested here in revealing the content of the Absolute for the sincere and wholehearted seeker of wisdom. The support for this is found in the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" (IV.5.I ff.) which Narayana Guru refers to for support. There are also verses in the Bhagavad Gita supporting this position. In Chapter 10, Verses 28 and 36 mention is made of the Absolute being both the god of erotics (kandarpah) and the chance-risk behind gambling. Sin is a horizontal factor and as such is outside the scope of contemplation.

Verse 8. Value appreciation is not confined to idealistic or conceptual levels. The painter's joy in mixing colours on his palette is not of a conceptual nor intellectual order. This verse is meant to underline how the same value of Self-contemplation is present at every possible level whether it be perceptual, conceptual negative or positive.
The term vidvan (a knower) is meant to underline the fact that this is a truth only evident to a person who is sufficiently instructed so as to see the common ground uniting the existent and subsistent aspects of absolute reality. At the levels of the nous and logos the well instructed man sees the same universal element of Self-bliss. This form of bliss is exalted above all other possible values.

Verses 9 & 10. The various items can be arranged here in a descending order on a vertical axis, ranging from more contingent to more practical and necessary items. The implications of this have been explained already by Narayana Guru in his own commentary on these two verses. The only point to be noted here is that the Father of the World, even if represented as a most high god, is to be treated inclusively as comprehended in that ultimate transcendental-cum-immanent contemplation mentioned in the last lines. The equation here is one between the immanent and transcendent aspects of the Self.




[1] Bhagavad Gita, p.529


[2] Bhagavad Gita, p. 519


[3] Bhagavad Gita, p. 522


[4] Bhagavad Gita, p. 518


[5] Deussen, Phil. p.20.


[6] Deussen, Phil. p.365


[7] Deussen, Phil. p.366


[8] Adapted from Hume, pp. 281-282


[9] "Tirukkural", verses 260 and 397, resp.


[10] N. Macnicol (trans.), "Psalms of the Maratha Saints", Calcutta,1919


[11] Macnicol, p.856


[12] Hume, pp. 102-104


[13] trans. from the Tamil by T.P. Sanatanakrishnan


[14] A. Osborne (ed.), "The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi", New York, ed. 1970, p.55; also "The Mountain Path", Oct. 1964, Tiruvanamallai.


[15] "The Mountain Path", Oct. 1964


[16] R. Rolland, "The Life of Ramakrishna", trans. E.M. Malcolm-Smith, Almora, 1929, pp.24-25.






YOGA, the title of this chapter, is a word belonging to its own background of Indian spirituality. It refers to the establishment of a reciprocal relationship between two aspects of the personality wherein overt activity is suppressed or repressed and a meditative bipolar relation is established. This bipolar relation is between the psychic and somatic aspects entering into a harmonious or homogeneous interplay, yielding a high spiritual value of Self-absorption or bliss. This is not unlike the osmotic exchange of essences where body and mind, as well as matter and spirit, interact on some kind of absolutist common neutral ground. The presuppositions of Yoga are therefore bound to be very subtle and to this extent also vague and elusive. The whole subject is axiological in import, where existent and active features of spiritual life treated of in earlier chapters are more or less left behind by the time we attain to the methodological and epistemological order or gradation of this chapter.


Yoga refers to a relational factor rather than to any definite spiritual practice as the term might at first suggest when understood in the popular sense used in India and elsewhere. In Western scientific thought psycho-physics laid the experimental foundation of the relationship between matter and mind. Even before this foundation was established the occasionalism of Descartes also presupposed a kind of psycho-physical interaction, but this was only philosophically understandable and even required an element of divine intervention to make it operative. (1)


In the famous law of Weber and Fechner, involving sense stimuli and the responses to them, we find, strangely, not a simple arithmetical relation between the two factors, but one which is both logical and arithmetical at the same time. This relation implied in the Weber-Fechner law is understandable only in terms of logarithms. A subtle vertico-horizontal correlation is evidently here involved.


Quantitative and qualitative aspects between matter and mind reveal the same structure where twin factors compensate each other and have a complementary or reciprocal relationship between them. When they attain full equality and mutual transparency of status, as in pure mathematics, they become cancelable against each other. The result is an absolute value factor corresponding to nirvana (absorption) found in the final chapter.


Before such a full absorption can be considered we must first of all consider a form of meditation capable of effecting a reciprocal interaction or union between the two aspects of the personality. These aspects are manas (mind) and cidatma (the reasoning Self), as used by Narayana Guru in this chapter. Quantitative aspects have a horizontal reference and correspond to the somatic side of the persona, while the reasoning Self has a vertical qualitative reference corresponding to the psychic aspect of the same absolute persona. The complementarity of contemplative life found in the previous chapter implied the same two Selfs. Here the two counterparts come together more intimately than before and it is preferable to refer to this relationship as a natural reciprocity rather than a mere complementarity.


Quantitative and qualitative factors coexist in one and the same object as, for example, in a red hot iron ball where heat inheres in the inert matter. This is also true of the flame of a lamp, the song of a bird, the perfume of a flower, and the sound of a bell, where qualitative and quantitative factors coexist without conflict or contradiction. The qualitative factor can even be called the soul of the quantitative factor. The taste of water has been referred to in the Bhagavad Gita (VII. 8) as belonging to the context of the Absolute when understood structurally as a vertico-horizontal correlation of quantitative and qualitative aspects. Time as pure duration is a qualitative factor when compared to space, although both may belong unitively and schematically to the same symbolic structural context. At the core of the notion of the Absolute there is always a vertical parameter relating all worlds or ensembles into a systematic series of sets for purposes of serving the contemplative end of human happiness.


Whether we think of a somatic Self or a psychic Self, a reciprocal interaction between them is always easy to imagine. The meditation or Yoga of this chapter is to be understood on the basis of such a possibility which can be actively or consciously cultivated by any aspirant to final liberation. The Yoga of this chapter is therefore to be understood essentially as a correlation of the psychic and somatic aspects of the personality, and not merely as a correlation of brute aspects of practice as such. The main features stressed here have already been covered more elaborately elsewhere and we need not refer to them again.



The word Yoga means union. In the present context, this must necessarily imply the union of two counterparts. One of them must refer to the mind or spirit and the other to the body or matter. If there is any real union to be established between any such a pair of counterparts they must be referred to in the various contexts of possible psycho-physical interaction or parallelism. Furthermore we have to think of the two counterparts as having an epistemological equality of status, so that participation between them may even be thinkable.


The insertion of mind into matter or matter into mind is also an articulation of one with reference to the other. There can also be a full participation between them whether on the basis of parallelism or interaction through Cartesian occasionalism.

This must necessarily presuppose a complementarity, reciprocity or an equality or parity between the Self and the non-Self aspects of the two ambivalent counterparts involved. This would be true in the context of whatever school of psycho-physics, psycho-somatics or psychoanalysis these counterparts might belong to. In other words, the union between them has to take place on some neutral ground where matter and mind belong together with a homogeneity whether of a material or a mental order. Consubstantialism is a doctrine which stresses the same necessity.


As we cannot weld two pieces of iron without a common neutral principle, the relation between mind and matter becomes altogether unthinkable unless it too has a common neutral basis. Pragmatic philosophers like William James recognize in their speculations the need for such a neutral ground, and even logical positivists like Russell resort to a notion of "neutral monism" for explaining the relation between body and mind. What we have to add here is that this neutral ground cannot be anything other than the normative Absolute which acts as a reference in every one of the chapters of the present Science of the Absolute. Such a norm is independent of the central stimulus-notion around which each chapter happens to be built.


Merely thinking of the union of counterparts in this normalized, central, neutral and fully absolutist sense does not help us to develop the subject of the dynamism or modus operandi of this yogic union. We have therefore to think of yoga here as a principle of correlation between counterparts having their fourfold structural symmetries and peculiarities. One and the same certitude results from the structural self-consistency running through all the chapters, linking all of them through a common parameter having both a positive and negative status at once. The literature on Yoga in India presents as many varieties of schools as is the case in the Western context with disciplines such as psychoanalysis, psycho-physics, psycho-somatics, etc. Some of these schools, whether in India or the West, tend to stress the physical aspects of Yoga at the expense of the mental. They also tend to treat the two counterparts dualistically and at other times bring them together more intimately, so as to make a complementarity, reciprocity or an equality between them possible in various degrees. Perhaps in modern psychosomatic medicine the intimate relation between body and mind is beginning to be recognized in a more scientific manner than hitherto. The protoplasmic material making up the living body and also its mental and psychic counterpart, are beginning to be treated as belonging together to a total situation where pathological states affecting the mind or body could be studied together as abnormal or with a normal reference. Likewise, there are many different schools of Yoga, some more unitively conceived than others. The duality between prakriti (Nature) and purusha (Spirit) is fully recognized in the original Patanjali Yoga Sutras, whose aphorisms have formed the classical basis of discussion. It is the Vyasa bhashya (commentary) and the gloss by Bhojaraja that have later made amends for this disparity in the light of a purer Vedanta. If we consider other well known works on Yoga such as the "Kheranda Samhita" and the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika", we find that the duality referred to above is left still less revalued in unitive terms.


In the second named work the term hatha yoga suggests an accentuation of wilful practices of bodily disciplines. This by itself makes for a kind of Yoga vitiated by the primacy it gives to the body at the expense of the mind. As a result of the same one-sidedness of accent, the ends and means of Yoga tend to be separated, while in proper Yoga they have always to be kept together without any heterogeneity or epistemological disparity between counterparts.


It is with a view to correcting these asymmetrical assumptions of earlier yoga schools that it was found necessary to restate and revalue the position of Patanjali Yoga. This was done by an unknown author called Vyasa, whose commentary is known as the "Vyasa Bhashya". Studied together they give a restated version of Yoga more compatible with the spirit of Vedanta philosophy. The one-sided structuralism of Patanjali Yoga is amended and balanced by Vyasa with a subtler and more penetrating analysis of the implications suggested in the original aphorisms. A careful scrutiny of Vyasa´s restatements and elaborations reveals the fact that he is guided by a more complete and normalized structural reference. He divides certain categories into sub-categories or classes often respecting the antinomies or ambivalences implied in each case. To examine such items of revaluation would involve a minute scrutiny of the texts and of the special terms employed by each of the authors. Although Vyasa has not openly contradicted him, his commentary often reveals a point of view which is radically different from Patanjali´s in its epistemology. To bring them to light would require a separate work of its own. Space does not permit us to enter into such a detailed scrutiny. Suffice it to say that the quaternion structural principle has been more scrupulously kept in mind by Vyasa than by Patanjali.


There is a further commentary on the "Yoga Sutras" by Bhoja Raja. This commentary follows the same broad lines of revaluation suggested by Vyasa, as a scrutiny of Bhoja Raja's contribution would most probably reveal. This is, however, a task that we have not set ourselves and can only suggest it as a fruitful line of future study. What we have to underline here is merely that the two counterparts brought into the union called Yoga, as the correlating principle of this chapter, have necessarily to belong together to the same context as interchangeable counterparts. This could be possible only in the context of an absolute notion of the Self acting as a normative reference, from whichever of the fourfold structural positions we might consider its implications or correlations, as representing the Self or the non-Self-taken as vertical or horizontal counterparts. The four possibilities have, at least for purposes of communication or discussion, to be treated as belonging together to the same epistemological or structural context. Whether schematically or symbolically conceived, they have to belong homogeneously to the same absolute notion or ground.



Yoga is something to be known theoretically and to be practiced technically as an act. It is the Self of the aspirant to absolute wisdom that is primarily involved as a central absolutist factor linking yogic theory and practice. The Self has its own double aspect, one being the knower and the other being what is to be known. The total situation belonging to the meditation called Yoga consists of three aspects, which are: union, restraint and peace or happiness. Restraint is the means for peace through union of the Self with the non-Self. When thinking of Yoga as belonging to the Science of the Absolute, as is intended in this chapter, we should take care not to separate ends from means, nor the final result as a thing to be known as separate from the instrumental aspects of the same knowledge. The knower and the known have to belong together as intimately as possible in order to reveal the central notion of meditative joy which is of the very essence of the content of Yoga when thought of as a correlative principle. Treatises on Yoga, like the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali, enumerate the component categories that have to come into interplay to result in the central happiness referred to by Yoga. These categories have to belong together as a structurally understood global whole if yoga is not to be lost in. the theoretical ramifications of possible categories and sub-categories. The primary set of categories of Patanjali are further elaborated into sub-categories by Vyasa. The delicate nuances of distinction between these enumerated items might elude the understanding of even penetrating critics of Yoga. That is why we have throughout this work, tried in our discussions to rely on the structural, protolinguistic and conceptual or symbolic implications of this subject, brought together unitively. Difficulties of such subjects as yogic mediation or final absorption increase as we approach the final stages of the subject of the Science of the Absolute. It is here, more than anywhere else, that the structural approach for the analytic clarifications of' categories and sub-categories belonging to the subject, becomes most helpful for purposes of easy communicability.


Of the three component aspects of Yoga treated by the meditating contemplative as a science as well as an act, we have to indicate here that restraint consists of verticalizing those tendencies which might lose themselves horizontally in activities of vain pleasure. Verticalization in this manner implies a negation of the negative pole within the same axis, which is the seat of all inertia and heaviness of spirit.


This negative pole has always to be kept purified by a constant process of double negation wherein restraint exercises its power in order to sublimate the negative in terms of positive tendencies. Restraint therefore has these two implications only, but does not apply to the establishment of the vertical positive adjustment of the tendencies unless such tendencies become too exaggerated and tend to split the personality. When this happens the condition necessary for the ultimate union between the Self and the non-Self is violated. This is equally important to remember in connection with Yoga, whether as a science or a technique. It is the union of the Self and the non-Self that brings happiness. Such a union can take place between counterparts placed structurally at points in the vertical axis which are low down in the scale of values. When the union is between such points of the lower levels of the vertical scale of values the resulting happiness of the yogi is distinguished in textbooks as samprajnata samadhi (absolute peace or happiness, falling within the range of' conscious experience).


When the counterparts of the Self and the non-Self are conceived as being united at a positive level and treated as belonging to a pure region beyond the reach of vitality and the mind, then Yoga takes place between the points on the vertical axis most removed from each other with the maximum disparity between counterparts. This results in asamprajnata samadhi. (Cf). Here the familiar example, found in textbooks of Yoga (Cf. "Patanjali Sutra", Adyar, 1961, p.42.) is that of a burnt seed that cannot sprout anymore as the existent Self and its life tendencies are fully absorbed and abolished. This burnt-seed Self located at the bottom of the vertical parameter has its positive counterpart on the plus side where concepts become mathematically pure and thin. The happiness produced by the union of such extreme counterparts is not a conscious form of bliss or happiness, but rather happiness of a more truly absolutist order. This is called asamprajnata samadhi (absolute peace or happiness not expressing itself in the form of conscious experience). Any number of intermediate grades of samadhis can be imagined between these two varieties of happiness. In fact both the "Yoga Upanishads" and the "Yoga Sutras", taken together with their commentaries, offer an abundance of ramified divisions and sub-divisions where one might even find oneself in the predicament of not seeing the forest because of the trees. Yoga has often become a branch of sterile speculation because the items are not easily referable to their corresponding experienced counterparts.


On the side of Yoga practice we have also detailed indications found in the texts referred to above. There are also variations between text and text. In the performance of pranayama (control of the breath) different indications are found. Some stress the necessity for respecting all the rigidly laid down details of injunctions referring to give or more pranas or vital tendencies, while others treat this matter in a more summary fashion; sometimes referring only to the sacrifice of prana (the upward vital tendency) into apana (the downward vital tendency), thus trying to equalize them. This is the case in the Bhagavad Gita (IV-29) and also in the "Brahma Sutra Commentary" of Sankara, who favours the same simplified attitude.


There is also reference to the restraint of the vayus or subtle and specific functional or vital tendencies, such as those regulating sneezing or vomiting. These are found in some texts on Yoga but omitted by others. The breathing processes, physiologically understood, are respiratory activities of an outer order which are only indirectly related to the more deeply seated pranas or vayus, Thus ordinary breathing exercises are not the same as pranayama which lie at deeper functional levels in the third or fourth dimensions.


Before going into further details in respect of such matters, let us first try to make the three aspects already alluded by us clearer.
They are:

  1. Restraint, which is a form of verticalization
  2. Union, which is a form of reciprocal relationship and osmotic exchange of essences between the Self and the non-Self;
  3. The resulting happiness, which is a value referring directly to the content of Yoga and which in itself consciously produces joy, happiness, bliss, beatitudes or other experiences.




Yoga is spoken of as something to be attained by long years of practice under the strict personal guidance of one who fully knows its theory and practice. It is therefore full of instructions about regimens to follow and attitudes to cultivate. The instincts that lie deep-rooted in the human personality are called vasanas, and are known both in Yoga and Vedanta, where the vasanas assert their claims even on persons fully conscious of absolute truth understood in a more intellectual manner. Just by saying that the world is untrue and the Absolute alone is true will not stop at one stroke the operation of the instinctive dispositions that make the mind follow certain courses of natural interest. Truth has to act on the mind from above and the instinctive dispositions have to be gradually sublimated stage by-stage from below. Correct Yoga takes place when there is a union between these two processes within the meditative or contemplative mind.. In modern psychoanalysis we are familiar with the notion of sublimation. The Freudian term libido refers to the personality at a level where sex instincts are strong and might remain as repressed material in the region of the subconscious. Integrated units of associate factors called complexes cling together and exert their influence on the mind of the person. When these complexes are raised to higher levels from those where they lie as repressed material, sometimes causing pathological conditions of the mind, they are said to attain to degrees of purification or sublimated expression.


When this occurs they become more compatible with standards of public life and acceptable patterns of social behaviour. Sublimation is thus a kind of purging, catharsis or purification which is meant to avoid conflicts between rival patterns of conduct We have referred to this psychoanalytic way of thinking because it offers us perhaps the only point of contact that we can establish between the workings of Yoga, as known in India, and similar operations in the subconscious mind according to Adler, Freud, Jung and others. What we have to remember here is that Yoga does not confine itself to the domain of sublimation of instincts whether understood in a purely sexual context as with Freud or even in the broadened and revised form as with Jung who speaks in terms of archetypal patterns of behaviour and atavisms having a more deeply seated origin in the collective unconscious of humanity.


It is true that there is much material now available dealing with the mechanistic and dynamic tendencies working within the instinctive limits of the human mind. The interpretation of dreams and the analysis of the psyche through its natural associations have revealed some of the broad outlines of the workings of the mind when the higher intelligence does not control or correct it. The information thus gathered is valuable to us for throwing some sidelights on the subject of Yoga as it properly belongs in the context of Indian spirituality.


Some of the leading thinkers of psychoanalysis have shown a great deal of interest in Yoga. Christian mysticism by itself does not cover the whole ground that Yoga covers although we have seen references to such notions as the "Dark Night of the Soul," "the Cloud of Unknowing." and "the Mystical Marriage." Even when psychoanalytic findings are put together with their suggestions to be found in the mystical literature of the West, there is still much theory and practice that remains to be clarified for any one desiring to practise mysticism as a definite discipline which could be treated by us in the same way as a proper Yoga discipline. This lacuna now present in the life of Western spirituality makes many modern minds turn to the East.


A general interest in Yoga is seen to be prevailing among many intellectuals in the West. Yoga is being introduced into universities and colleges as an optional subject in many places. Even in India there seems to be a revival of interest in yogic disciplines, although most of it is in a spirit of mere revivalism and not on fully informed lines. The implications of Yoga, whether of the "Yoga Sutras" or Vyasa's commentary on them, or even those found in the Bhagavad Gita, "Yoga Vasishta" and "Yoga Upanishads", have not been fully worked out. These together form a body of knowledge which could be given a definitely scientific form, when scrutinized and arranged correctly in the light of their proper epistemology, methodology, and axiology.


Zen Buddhism, which is attracting much attention at present in the West, is a discipline stemming from the ancient body of knowledge belonging to the Upanishadic context. The word zen is derived from the Chinese chan which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana. The satori that it offers is none other than the bliss of samadhi. Philosophical attitudes proper to Yoga are also found in Chinese Taoism. What we wish to say here is merely that Yoga as understood in India can be treated as a special form of a more general philosophical urge sufficient unto itself in any context. It is to be looked upon as a globally conceived discipline wherein the absolutist attitude of mind and the discipline proper to it go hand in hand without disparity, disjunctness or duality in bringing together the two counterparts of the Self and the non-Self.


Whereas the implications of Yoga are many and varied in the Upanishads, it has been possible for Narayana Guru in this chapter to present it in a revalued and revised form, clipping off the extraneous and exaggerated aspects that have clung to it for genetic and historical reasons. Vedism has a language of its own, developed through millennia, and even yogic literature when it wants to be fully philosophical or scientific cannot rid itself completely of its linguistic peculiarities.


In Narayana Guru's vision of Yoga reference to any practical aspects such as pranayama or breathing exercises have not been made. The three nadis (channels of vitality), six chakras (plexes or seats of synergisms) and the eight angas (ascending stages) are also not mentioned in this chapter.


The three bandhas referring to the higher and lower poles by which the verticalization of bodily functions could take place are not referred to either, nor is there any reference to purna (filling in by respiration), kumbhaka (retaining the air within) and recaka (throwing out the air) as they are only related to the pranas (vital tendencies) and more deep-seated functional elements such as the vayus. These elements help the circulation of energies within the two nadis which are ida (left) and pingala (right), tending to make the spiritual essences or energies rise through the pure hair-like channel of the sushumna which passes from the muladhara (the lowest plexus) at the bottom of the vertebral column) to the sahasrara (the highest plexus at the centre of the eyebrows). All these psycho-physical functional units figuring prominently in yogic literature are passed over without remark by Narayana Guru.


The reason for this must be that Narayana Guru wishes to give a simple exoteric form to Yoga so as to make it fully compatible with a Science of the Absolute, treating it on a par with all the other visions of the Absolute in the rest of the work. He does this in order to respect the unity of the treatise as a whole. Nonetheless he has also made full amends for his omissions by prominently mentioning one of the crowning disciplinary mudras (yogic attitudes) called the khecari-mudra, (an attitude enabling one to gain the freedom of pure space). This mudra or attitude is one of the treasured secrets of yogic discipline and requires to be cultivated with great caution, as Narayana Guru warns in his commentary on the text.


The bodily disciplines generally preceding yogic practices beginning with niyama (sustained control and regulation) asana (posture), pranayama (control of the breath), etc. are moreover physical, ontological or existential in their bias, and such considerations have already been left behind by Narayana Guru after the first half of this work. In the second half of the work the equation points its arrow to the metaphysical Self attainable through a study of the shastras (texts). Khecari mudra is the only yogic discipline that properly falls within the purview of the present chapter. This attitude establishes a direct bipolar link between the Self of the most ethereal status and its own extreme negative counterpart which is the Self forming the essence of the physical Self as a universal concrete entity. In the name of the of plain matter-of-fact attitude maintained by him throughout his work, Narayana Guru even omits any reference to the transcendental results of the practice of this particular mudra. He therefore applauds this attitude by merely referring to its value in abolishing nidra (the heaviness of sleep) and its more positive opposite which is fatigue due to overstraining. This mudra properly understood helps to abolish these two forms of exaggeration, one negative and the other positive. This gives a balanced attitude which is of the essence of Yoga. We shall be examining the implications of khechari mudra in the Epilogue to this chapter.



Yoga literature often refers to a power linking the lower source of energy in the muladhara with the sahasrara. The sahasrara is the highest imaginable culminating point on the vertical axis within the amplitude of yogic meditation and is supposed to exercise its force or power in its function or operation. This linking element is often figuratively referred to as a coiled serpent residing in the psycho-physical extremity of the lowest point of the vertical axis whose outward reference is the vertebral column. This serpent power is known as the kundalini-shakti mentioned in the "Yoga Upanishads". One kundalini is referred to as a goddess seated at the psycho-physical level, most often near the negative pole. The same or a similar goddess is sometimes referred to as a red-coloured form sitting at the tip of the nose, or as a more terrible white form at the positive levels. (See "Varaha Upanishad", Chapter 5).


Kundalini, as the word suggests, is a knot or a circle made by a serpent when its head and tail meet. More often it is supposed to have an eight-fold spiral form lying dormant within a triangular space at the bottom of the vertebral column. When roused it raises its hood and attains different levels, making terrible and mysterious hissing noises. The spirals that lie coiled like a spring are sometimes stretched out to lie in a more central position on the vertical axis or sometimes even in the neck region. (2) The serpent (or goddess as the case might be) is a form of ascending energy coming out of the source of all psychological forces.


It tries to attain higher and higher regions in order to finally find a hair-sized capillary hole called brahmarandhra through which all life tendencies or urges are supposed finally to pass when Yoga fully succeeds. At this positive pole is situated the sahasrara padma (the thousand-petalled lotus) whose radiant centre the snake touches for the ultimate beatitude to take place. There are many degrees of adasas or pure spaces piled one over the other until the most absolute of them all is reached by the Yogi of correct meditation.


Sir John Woodroffe's book, "The Serpent Power" goes into this subject and the esoterics connected with it. There is also V.G. Rele's "The Mysterious Kundalini". These books, however, still retain an esoteric or pseudo-scientific form, but nonetheless help to give us an idea of the notion as it prevails in the spiritual literature of India.


It is in the "Yoga Upanishads", however, that we find the clearest indications in respect of this power or tendency although, as we have already said, there is much variation between the different versions even within the Upanishadic texts. What we can gather for our purposes, in spite of the differences of figurative language, is that in Yoga it is important to link the lower source of energy with its own higher counterpart to which context the psycho-physical attitude of the khecari-mudra belongs.


The kundalini-shakti can be treated as belonging to the background of the more positive aspect of the khecari-mudra. One forms the complementary aspect of the other, Kundalini, being an ontological factor does not strictly come within the scope of this chapter.


The mind has many levels and the term vasana (incipient memory factors) refers to its lowest or most negative memory aspect. We have seen already that in the first three chapters of this work there is reference to this memory factor together with other aspects of mental life such as caitanya (vital consciousness), manas (mind) and samkalpa (willing). Vasana, caitanya, manas and samkalpa mark the various positive degrees that a mind can accommodate within its scope, ranging from the negative to the positive. In the present chapter we again find that the mind, as in Chapter 3, is directly under reference. This mind is supposed here to enter into relation with something higher than itself which is referred to as the cidatma (reasoning Self). The ontologic Self and the negative factors of the mind such as incipient memory (vasanas) have been considered in the first three chapters and now left behind.


The kundalini-shakti or serpent power in its negative aspects belongs thus to the three opening chapters. In this chapter we are only concerned, if at all, with the positive aspect of the same shakti (power). The khecari-mudra (attitude enabling one to attain the freedom of pure space) marks the limiting positive level of the same kundalini-shakti. The mind in its purest possible form enters into a perfectly reciprocal relationship on homogeneous ground with its own rational counterpart. When so united it is called the cidatma or reasoning Self, having thus a revised status proper to this chapter.


Khecari-mudra is the psycho-physical attitude glorified in texts on Yoga and is meant to establish the link between the higher and lower poles of energy. Narayana Guru's composition called "Kundalini Pattu" ("Song of the Kundalini Snake") (3) also refers to this same serpent as trying to raise itself from its lower coils by a dancing movement of joy so as to be able to attain the hole of the brahmarandhra which is supposed to lead the yogic consciousness to the highest of wisdom in respect of the Absolute. There are also other references in Narayana Guru's writings to the same power which is referred to as a knot to be cut revealing the way to liberation. Whatever the figurative imagery used, the mystery of the kundalini serpent is not difficult to understand when interpreted in the light of the structuralism developed in these pages.


In order to establish any kind of similarity between this mysterious snake and prevailing kindred notions in the West we cannot do better than to go to the same source of inspiration that has nourished modern psychoanalytical schools themselves. Terms like "Oedipus complex" employed by psychoanalysts unmistakably reveal in which direction their own inspiration in such matters lies. It is in the Orphic mysteries and Dionysian rites which gave rise to the early Greek tragedies that notions linking lower and higher psychic factors similar to the kundalini snake are to be discovered. Notions such as catharsis and nemesis have their legitimate place in the context of Greek tragedy and carry with them an atmosphere of mystery upon which the chorus and its refrains work to great advantage. A bound Prometheus caught between the worlds of Zeus and Pluto is represented as having the chorus weaving its mystery round the total situation linking the two worlds.


The serpent power belongs to the same context in the technique of Yoga practice, although here it is more psycho-physically conceived and represented through another kind of figurative imagery. The linking between the two spiritual poles is the common subject matter of both, whether it is the chorus of Greek tragedy singing mysterious songs or the goddesses and snakes of Indian Yoga. Both are meant to touch the different levels in the total psycho-physical situation in terms of Self-realization. It is the same linking factor or Yoga that is under reference whether in the East or West.


A common structural pattern is discernable as pre-existing in the mind, whether of the Greek tragedians or the rishis (sages) who were knowers of the Yoga technique. Even a structural model such as that of a colour-solid is not altogether outside the scope of this same structuralism as seen by some authorities on Yoga or by certain Upanishadic sages. When compared to the structuralism that is emerging to view at present as found in the writings of Descartes, Kant and Eddington, this strange agreement between ancient and modern thinkers is of great value to us here in our task of presenting an integrated Science of the Absolute.


The "Yoga Sutras" with Vyasa´s commentary contain direct references to such a colour solid. We shall just quote them here and examine the same in greater detail only in the Epilogue to this chapter. In the Yoga Sutras 1-41, we read:

"The transformation of the mind whose (exhibitive) operations have been destroyed, assumes like a high class crystal, the colour of that on which it rests in relation to the receiver, the receiving instrument and the receivable object." (4)


We now read Vyasa's full commentary on this Sutra:

"What is the character and what is the sphere of the operative transformation of the mind which has obtained rest? That is now being described. The transformation of the mind whose operations have been destroyed, assumes like a high class crystal the colour of that on which it rests in relation to the receiver, the receiving instrument and the receivable objects. "The mind, whose operations have been destroyed"means the mind whose (exhibitive) cognitions have been subjugated: 'like a high class crystal' is the acceptation of an example. As a high class crystal, due to its contiguity to various objects, being coloured by that respective hue, shines in the form of that proximate support; so also the mind coloured by the receivable support, being transformed into that, shines with the form of the manifestation of the receivable objects. Similarly coloured by the subtle element, it being transformed into that, gets manifested in the form of a manifestation of the subtle element.


Similarly coloured by the gross element, it being transformed into that, gets manifested in the form of the manifestation of the gross elements. Similarly coloured by the universal difference, it being transformed into that, gets manifested into the manifestation of the universal form.


Similarly it should be observed in the case of the receiving instrument, i.e., the senses; coloured by the receiving support, it being transformed into that, shines in the form of manifestation of the receiving senses. Similarly coloured by the support of the Receiver Purusha, it being transformed into that shines in the form of the manifestation of the Receiver Purusha. Similarly coloured by the support of the Free Purusha, it being transformed into that, shines in the form of the manifestation of the Free Purusha. Thus that transformation, which is the colouring of the mind similar to a high class crystal, by that support on which it rests and becomes established is that in relation to the receiving instrument and the receivable object, i.e. the Purusha, the senses and the elements - is called the operative transformation of the mind" (5)

Freely paraphrased, this means "when the afferent and efferent nervous tendencies are neutralized the resulting reality resembles a pure crystal coloured by its own basic ground, participating both ways in its subjective, objective and real conditioning"



Due to the writings of Swami Vivekananda, the main subdivisions of Yoga have in recent years been marked as four in number. They are popularly known as Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. It is seen that Narayana Guru in Verse 10 of this chapter divides Yoga only into two main categories referred to as jnana (wisdom) and karma (action). In his commentary on this verse, he says that even this distinction is not important and there is in reality only one basic vision of Yoga as a high value where the element of wisdom or understanding has to play a very prominent part. A Yoga devoid of wisdom is therefore according to him unthinkable.


Others like Sankara, as we have seen in his "Vivekachudamani" condemn outright practices like pranayama as not conducive to the attainment of the Absolute. He stands for pure wisdom-understanding as the only means for the attainment of the ends of spirituality and gives his favourite example of how cooking would be impossible without fire. Superior and contemplative texts such as the "Ashtavakra Gita", said to be held in high esteem by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the Guru of Swami Vivekananda, tend to dismiss the duality between ends and means in spirituality and say that no kind of intense or austere regime or practice is necessary.


When we come to Yoga as understood in the Bhagavad Gita we find that each chapter is called an independent Yoga and thus we have eighteen different Yogas comprised within seven hundred verses. The first chapter, called Arjuna-Vishada-Yoga includes vishada (sorrow) as capable of constituting the basis of a certain preliminary type of yoga based on spiritual agony, doubt or conflict. This is treated as the negative counterpart to which true Yoga is said to succeed. In the Bhagavad Gita there are three or four distinct definitions of Yoga. The simplest definition is found in VI.20:

"That state where the (relational) mind attains tranquility, restrained through continued cultivation of a yogic attitude, and where also the Self by the Self enjoys happiness." (6)

In another context in II. 50, Yoga is defined as "reason in action". Elsewhere, in VI.23, Yoga is defined more negatively as "disaffiliation from the context of suffering". Another way of defining Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita is implied in the statement . in XVIII.11:

"Nor indeed is it possible for an embodied one to completely relinquish action; he who relinquishes the benefit of action is verily called a relinquisher (tyagi)".


Yoga as a central value given to the vision of an absolutist contemplative is capable of being viewed from different angles or points of view. Even the most traditionally recognized definition of' Yoga, found in the second verse of the Yoga Sutras which are considered to be the basic book for the elaboration of all ideas on Yoga, states that Yoga "consists of restraint of the activities of the mind". This is only a partial definition. We see that when this is taken literally it suggests a complete inertness or inactivity. It is with a view to amend and modify such a possible initial interpretation of this definition that Vyasa's commentary indicates which of the two sets of items are to be subjected to complete restraint and which are still to be given some kind of free play.


Vertical activity is not so objectionable as horizontal activities based on sensuous interests in ordinary life. Vertical activities should not be restrained but must be allowed to rise progressively to higher and higher levels of attainment of the Absolute. In other words, restraint should not be mechanistically conceived but instead fitted in a more living and organic fashion into the alternating process taking place within the fourfold structural possibilities where the life of a yogi has necessarily to live and move. Yoga as a contemplative discipline is oriented towards the goal of a general happiness for the Self, but when the Self is oriented to wrong horizontal values it gets caught in suffering instead of progressing on the line of ultimate happiness.


The reciprocity, complementarity, compensation and cancellability of counterparts have to be kept in mind before their dynamism as a whole can be visualized correctly as intended by this way of life which always implies a high and perfect vision of the Absolute. This is always to be kept in view at every stage of the discipline, whether referring to particular items of continued practice as in pranayama (breath control), or in the contemplation of Isvara (the Lord). Brute processes as a denominator must always have a numerator consisting of a high aim of intense contemplation of the Absolute recommended. This is centred in the pranava (the mystic syllable AUM) which is the target in the middle of the eyebrows to be reached by an arrow shot from a bow imagined to be situated at a lower level of the mind. Thus there are two ambivalent disciplines, one referring to the level of instinctive dispositions which have to be progressively purified by long practice, and the other depending upon the cultivation of correct and higher contemplative attitudes referring to the highest value called the Absolute and named by the syllable AUM.


As long as the vasanas (incipient memory factors) persist in the case of any individual yogi, his efforts to purify them have to be incessantly and wilfully maintained. When, by a double negation, the yogi has risen higher, he always correctly keeps his verticalized orientation leading to the higher goal. The importance of discipline then recedes into the background. It is only when the vasanas (incipient memory factors) have been sufficiently purified that any kind of respectable Yoga may be imagined as taking place between such a purified mind and its own reasoning Self (cidatma) as its positive counterpart. Any respectable Yoga has to treat these two counterparts as having a homogeneity of epistemological status between them without which true Yoga cannot take place at all.


It is therefore in a purified epistemological ground, schematically or symbolically thought of as a generalized universal concrete, that the whole subject matter of Yoga can be imagined as a contemplative vision belonging to the Science of the Absolute. This is the position taken by Narayana Guru in his treatment of Yoga. Even when he refers to the khecari-mudra (attitude enabling one to attain the freedom of pure space) as the crowning aspect of Yoga, he takes care not to refer to it as a means to be cultivated but is satisfied with the indication that when it does happen to any yogi he gets the benefit of conquering sleep and fatigue. Even this, he cautions in his commentary, is to be practiced, if at all, under the guidance of an expert knower of Yoga. The errors and dangers of wrong Yoga are many and this caution is therefore quite important. The real purification of the mind takes place by the avoidance of those errors which have been covered in the two or three preliminary chapters of this work.

All Yoga methods of action (i.e. Karma Yoga), except those requiring the immediate guidance of a personal Guru have been covered, at least in principle, by the earlier chapters. Thus in the present chapter the ends and means of Yoga are brought together and related on a unified and epistemological ground consistent with the method followed in all the other chapters.


In the last verse of this chapter Narayana Guru makes a concession to the popular division of Yoga into jnana (wisdom) and karma (action). Although he refers to these two divisions as prevailing in the popular mind, he takes care in his commentary on the verse to say that on final analysis even this distinction is not important.
Narayana Guru's position is also consistent with Sankara's in his commentary on the "Brahma Sutras" where we find Badarayana only lukewarm in his attitude to Yoga as a whole, evidently because the philosophy underlying the discipline of Patanjali refers to the Samkhya philosophy of rationalism, giving primacy to effects rather than to causes, as Vedanta correctly does. Narayana Guru however, when he includes such aspects of its discipline as khechari-mudra, respects Yoga to the extent that it is compatible with a more unified vision. He refers to this mudra, at least in principle, and intends it to cover all other lesser disciplines of the same kind, beginning with the most basic ones such as actual control and physical attitudes that form the first steps of the usual ashtanga (eightfold path) of Patanjali Yoga. These steps form a series of synergisms in the psychosomatic system where the highest element of the series covers the lower ones. In principle therefore khecari-mudra covers all other disciplines. Thus, a unified treatment of Yoga is represented in the present chapter.




We have to visualize a neutral entity or factor as both the subject matter and object matter of these last two chapters referring to high spiritual values, when treated together. This high spiritual value implies stillness, peace, joy, bliss or final beatitude. The intimacy of the counterparts and the purity of the joy are the factors determining the differences under reference in the items or functional features referred to in these two chapters.

Operations and functions of the mind are more evident in this chapter, while in the next one the unity is presupposed as already established. There, the counterparts are better cancelled out in the unity of the central notion of the Absolute. These are some of the many distinct features to be kept in mind as held globally together and referring to an inner factor which is neither body nor mind. This inner factor we have to keep in mind in trying to grasp the precise import of all the verses of these last two chapters.
The anima, persona, libido, and the psycho-physical or psycho-somatic Self all refer to the same cidatma (reasoning Self), conditioned and coloured in various degrees by the vasanas (incipient memory factors) or by active horizontal interests, The Yoga Sutras and Vyasa's commentary, as we have just seen, have even suggested the analogy of a colour-crystal or colour-solid as representing this basis of meditation or absorption in the Absolute. This colour-solid is not a mere factual version of Reality, but one wherein spiritual value-factors enter into a form of verticalized coherent unity resulting from an osmotic interchange of values or essences between the counterparts. These counterparts tend to be cancelled out in favour of the unit factor wherein they exist and are only distinguishable as being two poles of the same crystalline structure. The more intimate the fusion, the more perfect the resulting joy or bliss. When they cancel themselves out completely on a basis of identity and perfect transparency between the Self and the non-Self, final beatitude is attained. These are some of the presuppositions of these last two chapters. Unless they are kept in mind it is difficult to appreciate the full implications of the practical or theoretical indications found in the various verses.


The most practical of such limits within the scope of the present chapter is when reference is made to a wandering mind having to be brought back from wherever it has gone so as to fall within the amplitude of life and its functioning within the Self. Here we have to remember that the interest making the mind wander must necessarily be on the horizontal plane which can have any number of successive verticalized levels. The interest may be far or near, or placed high or low. In each case such luring attractions have to be brought back to the vertical axis were purified life interests can absorb them by abolishing their plurality or rivalry.


The meditative yogi can repeat this process of constant verticalization of interests and this constitutes the practice or abhyasa, a term inseparably associated with Patanjali Yoga. In the Bhagavad Gita (VI.35) it is represented as going hand in hand with vairagya or dispassionateness. Besides this definite form of practice the more general restraint of the mind implies a wholesale attitude of verticalization of tendencies by virtue of which triputi (tribasic prejudice) is also consciously abolished by the yogi. This threefold function treats as disjunct or discrete the knowing subject, the known object and the neutral knowledge linking them horizontally. When verticalized and understood meditatively, the distinction between these three factors tends to be abolished or absorbed in terms of the same Self in transparent mutual participation. The meditation of the yogi abolishes the tribasic prejudicial character of ordinary thought by such a contemplative attitude. This can also be consciously or actively cultivated by him when fully motivated by a dose of dispassion coming as it were from the opposite pole.


The third feature of Yoga practice under reference in this chapter is found in the analogy of the bee lost in the joy of drinking honey at the core of the lotus flower and forgetting to move its wings. The verticalized mind placed at the unitive axis at the centre of varied life-interests of a lesser order is not only quietened by the progressive joy of Self-absorption in the vertical axis, where all true joy is found, but it also finds the peace that passeth all understanding. Such a peace is no other than the joy resulting from the perfect contemplation represented by the high value of the Absolute. The bee is also referred to as being carried forward along the axis of master-interests by some sort of favourable wind referred to in Verse 8 as yoga-vayu (the wind of Yoga).


These suggestive analogies have to be translated into terms with mathematically valid structural implications so that their language can be universally and publicly or scientifically understood by anyone, independent of vernacular usages or traditions that might cause a confusion of tongues.


The practice implied in Yoga need not always be overtly operational in character. It can have purer functional implications in which the activity is a philosophical or mathematical one, taking the form of pure reasoning. An example of such a purely meditative practice is referred to in Verse 3 where reference is made to nama-rupa (name and form). Form refers to the visible and name refers to the intelligible. Within these two categories the whole of the phenomenal world is comprised. The Vedantic philosopher is capable of such an epistemological generalization. When meditation enables such a generalization to become an inner experience of the yogi, he will be able to withdraw all names and forms from having any horizontalized reference in the world of multiple or rival values. He will merge or melt all such distinct monadic units into the general verticalized stream of consciousness where all multiple entities with distinct names and forms become united in the same absolute consciousness called brahman or the Absolute. This Absolute is also the Monad of all monads. When all these varieties of operations or functions are envisaged together under Yoga practice it is easily seen how the distinction between Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga vanishes altogether.


We have already pointed out another of the important revaluations of the definitions of Yoga by Narayana Guru found in the first verse of this chapter. We find him taking care to say that Yoga is not merely an upward effort to unite the mind with the higher reasoning Self, but implies equally a reciprocal possibility of the higher Self descending without effort to fuse and blend its essence with the lower Self. Unlike the Yoga of Patanjali, based on an ascending eightfold scale, Yoga here is rather a two-way traffic in keeping with the reciprocity between the Self and the non-Self in the context of the Absolute. In the Epilogue of this chapter we shall be examining such features in relation to the Upanishads.



We have already said that as far as this chapter is concerned there is no corresponding discipline found in Western thought, except perhaps some hesitant trial and error approaches to the subject covered more thoroughly by the Yoga of the East. Introspection is more normal to Eastern life, where the climate permits a yogi to meditate sitting under a fig or banyan tree. The scientist or scholar of the West naturally belongs to the context of the library and the laboratory. Introspection that thrives in Western surroundings must differ from the more simple and direct introspection carried out in the forest by the simple hermits of the East.


It is no wonder therefore that any penetrating and complete analysis of the mind is not yet fully available in the West. Some modern leaders of thought on such subjects are however looking towards the East. In this connection it will be interesting to read the following extracts which will help to appraise the position of modern Western thought in relation to Yoga. In psychology and psychoanalysis, C.G. Jung was one of the first to openly admit the importance of Eastern meditative schools, particularly Zen Buddhism, Yoga and Taoism. We read the following from "Yoga and the West", where he compares his method with Freud's, and openly speaks about the "rich symbolism" of various schools of Eastern Yoga:

"My method like Freud's, is built up on the practice of confession. Like him, I pay close attention to dreams, but when it comes to the unconscious our views part company. For Freud it is essentially an appendage of consciousness, in which all the individual's incompatibilities are heaped up. For me the unconscious is a collective psychic disposition creative in character.
This fundamental difference of viewpoint naturally produces an entirely different evaluation of the symbolism and method of interpreting it. Freud's procedure is in the main, analytical and reductive. To this I add a synthesis which emphasizes, the purposiveness of unconscious tendencies with respect to personality development. In this line of research important parallels with yoga have come to light, especially with Kundalini yoga and the symbolism of Tantric Yoga, Lamaism, and Yoga in China. These forms of Yoga with their rich symbolism afford me invaluable comparative material for interpreting the collective unconscious. However, I do not apply yoga methods in principle, because, in the West, nothing ought to be forced on the unconscious." (7)


When he was asked to write a psychological commentary on a translation by the German scholar Richard Wilhelm of "The Secret of the Golden Flower", a classic Taoist text, Jung remarked:

"When I began my life-work in the practice of psychiatry and psychology, I was completely ignorant of Chinese philosophy and it is only later that my professional experiences have shown me that in my technique I had been unconsciously led along the secret way which for centuries has been the preoccupation of the best minds of the East." (8)

Gardner Murphy, a psychoanalyst, also sees the value of Eastern thought in applying it to Western psychology and psychiatry writing about experiences that go beyond mere individuation or what he calls "selfhood", we read:

"If moreover, we are serious about understanding all we can of personality, its integration and disintegration, we must understand the meaning of depersonalization, those experiences in which individual self-awareness is abrogated and the individual melts into an awareness which is no longer anchored upon selfhood. Such experiences are described by Hinduism in terms of the ultimate unification of the individual with the atman, the super-individual cosmic entity which transcends both selfhood and materiality." (9)


Rollo May, an existentialist psychoanalyst, also sees much worth in Eastern thought. He writes the following about the similarity between Existentialist analysis and Taoism and Zen. This similarity, he writes, goes:

"…much deeper than the chance similarity of words. Both are concerned with ontology, the study of being. Both seek a relation to reality which cuts below the cleavage between subject and object. Both would insist that the Western absorption in conquering and gaining power over nature has resulted not only in the estrangement of man from nature, but also indirectly in estrangement of man from himself. The basic reason for these similarities is that Eastern thought never suffered the radical split between subject and object that has characterized Western thought, and this dichotomy is exactly what existentialism seeks to overcome." (10)


Nietzsche, while never expressing an opinion about Yoga (although he did think highly of Buddhism), seems to be outlining his own form of mental discipline which has many similarities with that of yoga, as seen from the following quotation from "Beyond Good and Evil" (Part 41):

"One must subject oneself to one's own tests that one is destined for independence and command, and do so at the right time. One must not avoid one's tests, although they constitute perhaps the most dangerous game one can play, and are in the end tests made only before ourselves and before no other judge. Not to cleave to any person, be it even the dearest - Every person is a prison and also a recess. Not to cleave to a fatherland, be it even the most suffering and necessitous - it is even less difficult to detach one's heart from a victorious fatherland. Not to cleave to a sympathy, be it even for higher men, into whose peculiar torture and helplessness chance has given us an. insight. Not to cleave to a science, though it tempt one with the most valuable discoveries, apparently specially reserved for us. Not to cleave to one's own liberation, to the voluptuous distance and remoteness of the bird, which always flies further aloft in order always to see more under it - the danger of the flier. Not to cleave to our own virtues, nor become as a whole a victim to any of our specialties, to our "hospitality" for instance, which is the danger of dangers for highly developed and wealthy souls, who deal prodigally, almost indifferently with themselves, and push the virtue of liberality so far that it becomes a vice. One must know how to conserve oneself - the best test of independence." (11)

We close with this quotation from Alexis Carrel:

"There are now, as in former times, men ready for the supreme renunciation. If the multitudes inhabiting the defenseless cities of the seacoast were menaced by shells and gases, no army aviator would hesitate to thrust himself, his plane, and his bombs against the invaders. Why should not some individuals sacrifice their lives to acquire the science indispensable to the making of man and his environment? In fact the task is extremely difficult. But minds capable of undertaking it can be discovered. The weakness of many of the scientists whom we meet in universities and laboratories is due to the mediocrity of their goal and to the narrowness of their life. Men grow when inspired by a high purpose, when contemplating vast horizons. The sacrifice of oneself is not very difficult for one burning with the passion for a great adventure. And there is no more beautiful and dangerous adventure than the renovation of modern man." (12)

The culminating stages of Yoga are reflected in the above striking extracts.



[1] The verses of Narayana Guru to which reference is made will be found on pp.1138-1153-.


[2] Monier - Williams, p.235, defines Kundalini as: "having ear- rings or decorated with ear-rings; circular, annular, spiral, winding, coiling; a snake…"


[3] Nataraja Guru, "The Word of the Guru", p.321 ff.


[4] "Patanjali Yoga Sutra with Vyasa Commentary", Baba, Poona, 1949, p.33.trans. Bengali


[5] "Patanjali Yoga Sutra", pp.33-34.


[6] Bhagavad Gita, p.297


[7] C.G.Jung, "Yoga and the West", London, 1956.


[8] R.Wilhelm, (trans.), "The Secret of the Golden Flower", London,


[9] G. Murphy, Personality, a Biosocial Approach to Origins and Structure, New York, 1947, p.21.


[10] R. May, "Existence", New York, 1958, pp,94-96.


[11] 10 F. Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil" trans, H. Zimmern  (from) "The Philosophy of Nietzsche", Modern Library ed., New York, 1954, pp.426-427.


[12] A.Carrel, "Man the Unknown", London, 1956, p.267







1. satatam yojayati yadyunakti ca cidatmani mano nirodharupo'yam sa yoga iti samsitah

That which always unites the mind
With the reasoning Self, and also gets united with it,
And which is in the form of restraint,
That is praised as Yoga.
YAD, that which,
CIDATMANI, in the reasoning self (i.e. in the Absolute which is in the nature of wisdom)
MANAH, the mind,
SATATAM, always,
YOJAYATI, unites,
YUNAKTI CA, and gets united,
NIRODHA-RUPAH SAH AYAM, that which is of the form of restraint (of the mind),
YOGAH, Yoga,
ITI SAMSITAH, is praised to be.
The correct meaning of the word Yoga is the union of the mind, when rid of all gross of nescience, with the (reasoning) Self. This is Yoga or union. The mind has in it many activities which come under nescience etc. When all such activities have been countered by the means that have been indicated in the wisdom texts, and when the mind is thus made to unite with the pure Ultimate Self, such a branch of knowledge is called Yoga. The radical yuj is used in texts as meaning samadhi in the expression yuj-samadhau (union in samadhi) by Panini, the great ancient grammarian and linguistic authority, and we are therefore justified in treating Yoga and samadhi as pertaining to the same subject.


The saying of Patanjali in one of his opening sutras that Yoga is the restraint of the mind, as well as the definition of Valmiki in the Yoga Vasishta which says that Yoga consists of the act or means of tranquilizing the mind, all indicate the same meaning of Yoga. Because Yoga mainly consists of restraint of the mind, it is referred to as consisting of this restraint in general terms. It is not enough however that the activities of the mind should be merely mechanistically restrained (in a unilateral sense), but it is also to be understood that the mind when restrained should be constantly joined to the reasoning Self (cidatma). What is more, such a union should also take place so as to justify the name of Yoga properly understood.

2. na drashta darsanam drisyam vidyate yatra tatra hrit yojayedvasana yavadyogo´yamiti yogavit
Where the seer, the sight and the seen
Are not present, there the heart
Should be joined as long as incipient memory factors (are present);
Such is Yoga, (says) the knower of Yoga.
YATRA, where,
DRASHTA DARSANAM DRISYAM CA, the seer, the sight and the seen;
NA VIDYATE, are not present,
TATRA, there (i.e., in the ultimate Self);
HRIT, the heart (or mind);
YAVAT VASANA (VIDYATE), as long as incipient memory factors (are present);
YOJAYET, should be joined;
AYAM YOGA, such is Yoga;
ITI YOGAVIT (VADATI), (says) the knower of Yoga.


The seer, the seen and the sight, or, in other words, the knower, knowledge and what is known are called in Vedanta triputi (tribasic prejudice). In the true form proper to the Self there is no triputi. When the outgoing activities of the mind have been restrained and the attitude of samadhi (peace) is reached, there is no room for the operation of triputi. In that state of peace, the form of the Self free from triputi becomes revealed without any hindrance. Patanjali has also described this stage as, "then takes place the attainment of the proper form of the seer". This form is free from triputi and is of the status of sat-cit-ananda (existence-subsistence-value or bliss). As soon as one comes out of the state of samadhi the tribasic prejudice (triputi) asserts itself and the many activities of the mind produce attachment and aversion and the consequent sensations of pleasure and pain. The incipient memory factors (vasanas) which remain in the inner faculty of the mind are the subtle and potential source causing all the varied activities of the mind. Therefore until such time as these vasanas are weakened and completely destroyed it is necessary to unite the mind with the Ultimate Self which is free from tribasic prejudice (triputi), and thus to practice (the art of) samadhi (i.e. the wisdom of supreme peace which is that of Yoga). It is such a kind of Yoga that has been stated by qualified persons who have experienced this type of peace as consisting of true Yoga.


3. namarupamidam sarvam brahmaiveti viliyate yadbrahmani mano nityam sa yoga iti niscitah
All this consisting of name-form (knowing)
As Verily the Absolute, the mind ever merges
In the Absolute, what constitutes such
As Yoga is ascertained.
IDAM NAMA-RUPAM SARVAM, all this of name-form;
BRAHMA EVA ITI, as verily the Absolute,
MANAH, the mind,
NITYANI, always,
BRAHMANI, in the Absolute,
VILIYATE, gets merged,
(ITI)YAT, (such) what is,
SAH, that,
YOGAH ITI NISCITAH, as Yoga is ascertained.
As stated in the previous verse, it is not easy to restrain mental activity and to remain in the unconditioned and calm contemplation of the Absolute, fully free from tribasic prejudice (triputi) and the operation of the three nature modalities (triguna). It is difficult to remain always in a kind of peace which is without any mental activity at all. Even if we should repeat the word brahman (the Absolute) any number of times, the world of name-form made manifest by attributes does not disappear from being operative within consciousness. When the reasoning mind is distracted by interests of ordinary life consisting of worldly thoughts, the attainment of samadhi (peace) is not possible. Then how is it possible to accomplish such a Yoga?
This verse intends to give the answer to such a question for the aspirant who wishes spiritual progress through Yoga, and puts the question with an intense desire to know an alternative way. Instead of trying to see this visible world as consisting of name-form and thus as entirely false, it is recommended here as easier on the basis of the mahavakyas (great sayings) such as "Everything here is the Absolute," to look upon the whole phenomenal universe as consisting of the Absolute. It is not easy to turn from the long mental habit, enduring through many births, telling us the world is real. Even though to a discriminating mind the world is philosophically false, the appearance of the world as real still continues to be operative.
Narayana Guru now makes reference to a verse in his "Advaita Dipika" (Lamp of Non-Duality), which states that even when discrimination has abolished the reality of the World, it continues to be given to the senses just as to a man who has lost his sense of direction, the error could persist for some time even after the orientation has been intellectually corrected. A mistake might continue to persist for some time even after its recognition as a mistake merely by force of habit. There is also reference to another verse in the "Atmopadesa Satakam" where Narayana-Guru states the converse possibility and says that all things are real enough but that the man of philosophical disposition could comprehend the unity underlying all things.
This alternative case can be easily practiced and is here recommended in view of an aspirant, who, by practising this kind of Yoga for a long time until the incipient memory factors are eliminated, will accomplish the same purpose of Yoga otherwise more difficult. It is to underline the continued practice that the word nityam (always) has been used. Patanjali also underlines this same verity when he says that by long practice without interruption in a reverent spirit of service, one is capable of stabilizing certitude. Such an unceasing practice is itself Yoga.


4. cittasya nirantaram tailadharavadvrittya'vicchannaya'tmani ramyate yatsayogo yogibhih smritah
That unbroken functioning of reason
Which in the Self, like a streak of oil
Finds incessant joy, such as Yoga
Is by yogis recognized.
TAILA-DHARAVAT, like the streak of flowing oil,
CITTASYA VRITTYA, by the functioning of the reason,
ATMANI, in the Self,
NIRANTARAM, incessantly,
RAMYATE (ITI) YAT, (in that) it finds joy,
SAH YOGAH (ITI), that (as) Yoga
YOGIBHIH SMRITAH, is recognized by yogis.
The kind of Yoga practiced under conditions where no definite rules are observed, and where the mind still remains distracted, does not yield the results of the high state of samadhi (peace). It is not conducive to Self-realization, because of the many hindrances. Like the incessant flow of the streak of oil when poured from one vessel into another, there must be an unbroken continuity of the relation of a stilled mind, which has to be turned wholeheartedly towards its proper object of meditation with continuity And without any interruption, before Self-realization can be accomplished. In this way the practice must be continued until the goal is attained. Occasional meditation will not produce the desired result. It has been pointed out that the attainment of the goal of Yoga is accomplished only after many lifetimes of practice Thus there is the need for incessant practice. It is only when such a high state of attainment is reached that one can say that such a state as found in the texts is firmly established and one is not perturbed even by disasters.


5. yato yato mano yati sada'tmani tatastatah niyamya yojayedetatyogo'yam yujyatarniha
To which or which other (interest) the mind goes
From that or that others into the Self
Ever restraining it, it should be joined
In such Yoga here let it be united.
MANAH, the mind,
YATAH YATAH, from which or which other (interest),
YATI, goes,
TATAH TATAH, from that or that other,
ETAT, this (the mind),
NIYANIYA, having restrained,
SADA, always,
ATMANI, in the Self,
YOJAYET, should be joined,
AYAM YOGAH, this is Yoga,
IHA, in this here (Yoga),
YUJYATAM, let it be united (i.e. let it be joined, let samadhi be practiced).
As stated in the Bhagavad Gita (VI.26):
"Whatever causes the changeful unsteady mind to go out (again and again), from each such, restraining (it again and again) it should ever be led to the side of the Self."
As it is difficult to keep the mind in a form of unbroken meditation on the Self, after the manner of the streak of oil that is unbroken and continuous, this alternative method of meditation is suggested in order to lighten such a difficulty. One should watch out carefully and incessantly for any change that might take place in the mind in its goings and comings. Without one being aware of it, the mind by its incipient memory disposition tends to follow one or other extraneous interest. In every such case one has to discover the straying of the mind and bring it back by force so as to establish it again in the Self. This Yoga is none other than the constant effort to bring back the mind and establish it in the Self. Such a Yoga has always to be practiced. As again stated in the Bhagavad Gita (VI.28):
"Ever uniting thus the Self, that yogi, rid of dross, having contact with the Absolute, enjoys easily happiness that is ultimate."


6. sarvanarthakarah pumsam sankalpah kalpitaih saha unmulya vasanajalairyenatmani nirudhyate
7. drisyasya na drisostitvam ato drisyam drigatmakam iti yunjita drigrupe yah sa yogavidam varah
Uprooting those incipient memory factors of willing
The source of all human disasters, who
Together with their various willed objects
Restrains in the form of Self (saying):
What is seen has no existence as such
Thus what is seen is the Seer's self
He among knowers of Yoga
Is the most superior.


PUMSAM, for man,
SARVA-ANARTHA-KARAH, which is the source of all disasters,
SANKALPAH, willing,
KALPITAIH, with the objects of wilful desire,
VASAN-JALAIH-SAHA, together with the various incipient memory factors belonging to the will,
UNMULYA, uprooted,
YENA, by whom,
ATMANI, in the Self,
NIRUDHYATE, is restrained.


DRISYASYA, in visible objects,
NA ASTITVAM, there is no existence,
DRISAH (ASTITVAM ASTI), it is the seer (that has existence),
ATAH, thus,
DRISYAM DRIGATMAKAM (BHAVATI), the seen is the form of the Seer,
ITI, thus,
YAH, who,
DRIGRUPE, in the form of the Self,
YUNJITA, joins,
SAH YOGAVIDHIM VARAH, he is the knower of Yoga.
The act of the will is the source of all suffering. Every wilful act arises in accordance with the incipient memory factors corresponding to it. The act of willing arises in accordance with some deep seated incipient memory factor, having there lain rooted for a long time. Therefore the yogi or the man of meditation who is interested in avoiding suffering should find out by minute introspection those deep seated incipient memory factors and abolish them so as to become established in the unity of Yoga.
Yoga is not any form of self-torture. It is the union of the seer and the seen that is here referred to as Yoga. All that is visible is, in reality, unreal and what really exists is only the basis for such visible entities in the Self as has already been indicated in the second and third chapters. Therefore having first brought into union the visible with the seer, that is to say, seeing everything in the form of the seeing subject alone, he should remain in the form of that inner witness. It is a man who understands Yoga in this manner who is to be considered a superior kind of Yoga-knower.


8. yada piban manobhringah svanandamadhumadhurim na spandati vasikritya yojito yogavayuna
When the mind-bee drinking
Of the nectar-sweetness of Self-
Is drawn into union with Yoga breeze
And does not flutter (Yoga takes place).
YADA, when,
YOGAVAYUNA, by the breeze of Yoga,
VASIKRITYA, being drawn to its side,
YOJITAH, having attained to Yoga Union,
MANOBHRINGAH, the bee that is the mind,
SVANANDA-MADHU-MADHURIM, the nectar sweetness of Self-bliss,
PIBAN, while enjoying,
NA SPANDATI does not flutter,
(TADA YOGAH SYAT, then Yoga takes place).
The mind has been compared to the bee which keeps fluttering its wings and wanders from flower to flower attracted by any flower that it sees. The mind is also full of unsettled alternating motions and because of its random attractions to whatever interests are presented to it, has been compared to the bee for the reasons mentioned. When the bee is engaged in drinking the nectar from the flower, it attains to stillness; likewise the mind when it has attained to Self-bliss also becomes stilled. Just as the bee is carried along by the breeze, by the continued practice of Yoga the mind is also carried along to its goal of happiness. Just as the bee becomes still by the enjoyment of the honey, so the mind becomes still by the sweetness of the honey of happiness found in the Self. When such a stillness is firmly established, such a state is to be understood as Yoga.


As for the term vasikritya (being attracted to its side), we have to remember that the natural tendency of the mind is to be dissipated by outward interests, and so this term applies to the withdrawal and canalizing of such dissipation. The mind is always restless and it is necessary that the yogi should insist with a determination to make it enter into union with itself. By the use of the term vayuna (by the breeze or wind), the reference is to be understood as recommending such practices as pranayama (restraint of the breath), etc. The term madhu-madhuri is to be understood as the highest bliss afforded by the Self.

9. dhyanamantarbhruvordristirjihvagram lambikordhvatah yada syadkhecarimudra nidralasyadinasini
When meditation with gaze fixed between eyebrows,
And the tongue-tip touching beyond the uvula (take place),
Then happens (khecari mudra) that space-freedom attitude
Of drowsiness add fatigue-dispelling capacity.
YADA, when,
BHRUVAH, of the two eyebrows,
ANTAH, in the middle,
DHYANAM DRISTIH (CA), meditation and gaze
LAMBIKA URDHVATAH, placed beyond the uvula,
JIHVAGRAM (CA), the tip of the tongue (also),
(SYAD) take place,
(YADA) then,
NIDRA ALASYA ADI NASINI, of sleep, fatigue etc., dispelling potency,
SYAD, happens,
KHECARI MUDRA, an attitude enabling one to attain the freedom of space.


What is known as khecari-mudra is a variety of meditation referring to the centre of the eyebrows. If refers to a special kind of yogic practice whereby the tongue is bent inwards as far as the roof or palate of the mouth while the tip of the tongue enters into the cavity that continues upwards from the roof part of the mouth, the insertion of the tongue being fixed above the point where the uvula starts. At the same time the centre of the eyebrows is its culminating target, and the vision and meditation are fixed together at such a centre. This practice however is to be undertaken only in the actual presence of a Guru who himself is a man who has practiced it and can actually demonstrate it to the would-be yogi. The practice of this kind of attitude called khecari-mudra is to destroy the basic tendencies which express themselves in active (rajasik) and insert (tamasik) tendencies constituting the main items such as fatigue and sleep which are hindrances to the attainment of Yoga perfection or peace (samadhi). The use of the word adi (and so on, etc.) in the above verse, is intended to cover the nine kinds of dissipations or distractions such as illness, doubt, confusion, etc., and the consequent indispositions or debilities which are five in number: depression, lassitude etc. This makes for fourteen subdivisions of hindrances. Because the centre of the eyebrows is the seat of consciousness it is very laudable to meditate with reference to that point.
Patanjali also says that all attainments or ends of Yoga are derivable from consciousness. It is also well known that discrimination is the guiding star for the unstable and alternating stages of phenomenal existence. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that all the attainments derivable from other yogic practices are also inclusively covered by the cultivation of this supreme form of meditative practice which helps to magnify the power of positive consciousness, making it stronger, subtler, purer and of clearer penetration. It goes without saying that the attainment of wisdom is superior to any other form of spiritual attainment. The practice that leads to this attitude surely yields the benefits of all other secondary practices. Even by the conquest of sleep and fatigue the yogi becomes qualified in principle for all other spiritual attainments.


10. jnanam karmeti loke'smin dvidha yogah samasatah anayoryogavistarah, sarvah parisamapyate
As of wisdom or action, yoga in this world
Is of two kinds, and within these summarily
The whole of the further elaboration of Yoga
Is comprised conclusively.
ASMIN LOKE, in this world,
YOGAH, Yoga,
JNANAM KARMAITI, as of wisdom and of action,
SAMASATAH, in summary fashion,
DVIDHA, in two kinds,
YOGAVISTARAH SARVAH, the whole of any further elaboration of Yoga,
ANAYOH, within these,
PARISAMAPYATE, is comprised conclusively.
The two divisions of Yoga are wisdom (jnana) and action (karma) characterized in the following way:

The Yoga of wisdom is concerned with the reality underlying the principles of the Self - which are based on existence, subsistence and value or bliss. These principles have to be brought within the scope of one's experience in the form of Self-realization. This requires a discrimination between lasting and transient values in life belonging to the four prerequisites of the same kind mentioned in Vedantic texts. Such realization can take place only under conditions of detachment.
As for the Yoga of action (karma) it has the following characteristics: The carrying out of such necessary duties or actions which have the wisdom of the Self as the end in view and are done without any thought of enjoying the fruit and gain therefrom, as well as having no sense of bondage but rather keeping within the limit of righteousness as an offering to the Lord (isvara), such is the Yoga of action.


The division made in the Bhagavad Gita (III.3) refers to this kind of principle of classification of the two kinds of Yoga and conforms and justifies the same when it says that the Yoga of wisdom of the Samkhyas and the Yoga of action of the Patanjali Yogins, are the two main disciplines found in this world since ancient times. The Yoga of wisdom has also other descriptive titles applied to it, such as jnana-yajna (the wisdom-sacrifice), samkhya-yoga (meditation based on. reason), thyaga (renunciation), sannyasa (more mature renunciation), buddhi (discrimination), buddhi yoga (meditation based on discrimination), akarma, (non-ritualism), naishkarmya (non-activity), and kevala-jnana (plain and simple wisdom).
In the same way the Yoga of action has other descriptive titles applied to it, such as yoga-yajna (the meditation-sacrifice) yajna (sacrifice), nishkamakarmayoga (the way of meditation which aims at no advantageous fruits thereof), and kevala-yoga (plain and simple yoga) as well as kevala-karma (plain and simple action). There is also the term dharma (righteous way of life) applied to both the Yoga of wisdom and the Yoga of action.


In reality both are the same. The Bhagavad Gita (V. 4 & 5) makes it clear that Samkhya and Yoga are to be looked upon as the same, and he who sees this alone truly sees. It also underlines that only children treat them as distinct and not well informed pandits. Even if one of these disciplines is properly accomplished the result of both of them accrues. These passages in the Bhagavad Gita treat wisdom and action as forming one discipline only. It is necessary however to have the guidance of wisdom as a primary condition. One has to recognize that all actions depend upon wisdom or intelligence. Thereafter when action is performed it has to be done with intelligence, detachment and the sense of non-active understanding. That is, one should be able to see action in inaction, and inaction in action.
The one who is able to see these two disciplines as not being different is both a jnana-yogi and a karma-yogi. The Bhagavad Gita (IV.18) also says that the man who is able to see in action inaction; and in inaction action is a true yogi while still engaged in every kind of action. The gist of this statement and all the elaborations to which it is capable of being subjected, confirm the unity of these two disciplines.
All the further ramifications of the discipline of Yoga are comprised within the scope of jnana-karma-yoga (the Yoga of combined wisdom and action). Even this distinction in reality is not of much consequence. In spite of this however, in order to distinguish the way of life proper to those who adhere to philosophy and call themselves sannyasins (mature renouncers) and those who combine philosophy with their own activities correctly belonging to their own situation in life, can be more properly called karma-yogis. This distinction in nomenclature is commonly adopted in order to distinguish the two patterns of behaviour in ordinary life. On closer examination both are the same. As the Bhagavad Gita (V.5) puts it, the same point of attainment is reached by the Samkhya philosophers and the Patanjali Yogins.


Although the Bhagavad Gita initially accepts the outward duality between the two disciplines, it stresses the inner unity based on the common end of both. In short, whatever action one might perform and whatever Yoga one might practise it has to be done under the auspices or guidance of intelligence. It is only for action done under such guidance that the name of karma-yoga or the Yoga of action can be applied. It is only when Yoga is accompanied by wisdom that it can be considered to be the supreme goal of human existence which is moksha (liberation) or nirvana (absorption).







Yoga refers to the subject of a positively adjusted or oriented spirit or global mind of a special kind of spiritual aspirant of India, generally called a yogi, who constantly practices contemplative discipline with a view to peace or joy. It is his mind he controls and it is this same controlled and vertically adjusted state of mind that is referred to in this chapter. As we have already explained, Yoga is a relational attitude in which psycho-physical factors enter from both sides to establish some kind of enjoyable harmony or equilibrium between the two poles of the Self and the non-Self. The mind is thus the central subject or object of meditation.


In order to follow correctly the implications of the Yoga of this chapter we have first of all to think schematically of the mind so that its structural form and its counterpart in more conceptual terms can refer to each other. This is to enable the workings of Yoga, where an osmotic interchange of positive and negative essences takes place, to be visualized. In the second and third chapters we have already seen how mental life was treated from a slightly different epistemological angle. Again, in the sixth chapter the same mind, as an organ of thought or mental activity in general, was considered as an aspect of the Self in interaction with its non-Self counterpart as the basis of the expressions of an active type in both the dream state and mystical life. It is the same mind that is involved in the present chapter. When the mind is vertically oriented and brought into reciprocal relationship with its counterpart called here the cidatma (the reasoning Self) it is revealed as a self-luminous and crystalline entity having both structural and a symbolic status.


The popular version of Yoga often presupposes that within some months or years of cultivating the body through breathing exercises or postures one is brought nearer to some kind of high and culminating value resembling samadhi (peace), satori (the Zen Buddhist version of samadhi) or nirvana (final absorption or emancipation). Freedom in the correct sense is a goal to be reached by periods of practice conceived as units of successive lives, sometimes almost implying a beginningless eternity in time. Quickly obtainable results which are meant only to apply to transient and very practical values are mentioned in Yoga literature But the true Yoga is the pure verticalized version of practical and quickly accomplished Yoga. The values involved cling together into a fourfold scheme which has been referred to by Vyasa in his commentary on the "Yoga Sutras" (11.15): "Hence this science is said to possess four departments." Patanjali's Yoga Sutras fully respect this same structuralism openly referred to by Vyasa in every part of his analysis of the inner workings of the meditative mind. This structuralism is not however an original discovery of Patanjali. It owes much of its inspiration to the Samkhya philosophy of Kapila. Both Samkhya and Patanjali Yoga taken together owe their inspiration in turn to the older Upanishadic literature.

The Upanishads in general use the same structural language. In the "Svetasvatara Upanishad" (IV.6), for instance, we find the image of the two birds sitting on the same tree, one eating fruit and the other watching.


The structuralism which particularly pertains to Yoga is implicitly or explicitly mentioned in the "Yoga Upanishads". In the "Hamsa Upanishad", one of the "Yoga Upanishads", we read the following reference to a pure crystal with its many structural implications:

"In the filament (of the lotus), there arises the waking state; in the pericarp, there arises the svapna (dreaming state); in the bija (seed of the pericarp) there arises the sushupti (dreamless sleeping state); when leaving the lotus, there is turiya (fourth state). When hamsa is absorbed in nada (spiritual sound), the state beyond the fourth is reached. Nada (which is at the end of sound and beyond speech and mind) is like a pure crystal extending from muladhara to brahmarandhra. It is that which is spoken of as Brahma and Paramatma". (1)

Other structural details are found in the "Dhyanabindu Upanishad" which is a variation on the "Hamsa Upanishad", having many points in common. We read:

"Akara (A) is of (pita) yellow colour and is said to be of rajoguna; ukara (U), is of white colour and of sattvaguna; makara (M) is of dark colour and of tamoguna. He who does not know omkara as having eight angas (parts), four padas (feet), three sthanas (seats) and five devatas (presiding deities), is not a Brahmana. Pranava is the bow. Atma is the arrow and Brahman is said to be the aim." (2)


This mystical language in which the secrets of Yoga are mentioned in the original inspiring texts just quoted have later been revised in clearly conceived schematic terms by Patanjali. However, the main features of this protolinguistic structural way of expression are fully retained by Patanjali. If the Samkhya philosophy began to be considered somewhat heterodox by more orthodox schools, the Commentary of Vyasa on the "Yoga Sutras" must be looked upon as an attempt to bring both Samkhya and Yoga more into line with the religious than philosophical way of treating the subject, tending to be more orthodox than heterodox.


The same spirit of the "Brahma Sutras" is seen to be respected by Vyasa in his Commentary on Patanjali, whoever this Vyasa might be. In the Bhagavad Gita (Chapters IV and V) we find the final dialectical revaluation of both Samkhya and Patanjali Yoga brought into perfect line with the Science of the Absolute (brahma-vidya). The whole of the Bhagavad Gita may be said to present Yoga in this dialectical and revalued form as a Science of the Absolute.


The Commentary of Vyasa on Patanjali with which we are more concerned with here, has its own contribution to make to the task of revaluing and restating more unitively the dualistic structuralism of Patanjali and Kapila, as we see from the quotation from Vyasa already given (see pp. 1120-1121 above).


The content of this chapter on Yoga becomes clear to the reader only when this schematic reference to the structure of a colour solid is kept in mind so as to visualize the reciprocity of the counterparts and the verticalization and union producing joy and stillness in the mind or spirit. As envisaged by Narayana Guru in this chapter, Yoga is not a passing way of practising certain attitudes or disciplines lightheartedly or artificially as a hobby or pet regime, but is instead an integrated whole-hearted and lasting way of meditative life to be treated with seriousness throughout one's lifetime. As a discipline leading to nirvana, found in the next chapter, it also marks the culmination of the devotion or contemplation found in the previous chapter.


It must be remembered that all the chapters are meant to throw light on the notion of the Absolute, whether as an existent, subsistent or value factor. Yoga can refer directly to the personality of the yogi or to his meditative mind or the joy resulting from a particular kind of verticalized restraint. This is how Yoga is understood when considered in both its normalized positive or negative aspects at once.



There is a paradoxical element hiding at the core of the problem of uniting with restraint the mind with reason. We have already reviewed some of the definitions of Yoga given by Patanjali, Vyasa, Valmiki and the author of the Bhagavad Gita, which has its own version implicitly or explicitly given throughout all its chapters. As we have said, the Bhagavad Gita is the one text capable of revaluing and restating Yoga in all its varied practical and theoretical implications. To appreciate the subtle and secret nature of the occasional possibility or probability of establishing a perfect union between the counterparts that properly belong to the context of Yoga, let us look at one intriguing verse found in the Bhagavad Gita (XV.15) where the knower of absolute wisdom is paradoxically referred to as a Vedanta-krit (a doer of Vedanta) side by side with "Veda-vit" (knower of Veda):

"And I am seated at the heart of all, from Me are memory and (positive) wisdom and its negative process; I am that which is to be known by all the Vedas; I am indeed that Vedanta-maker and the Veda-knower too."


It is usually known that Veda refers to action and Vedanta to wisdom without action, but the epithets are seen purposely to be put in what seems to be the wrong way about by the author. This is an example of a subtle revaluation of both action and wisdom, as seen in a more unitive perspective of the non-dual Absolute instead of in the dualistic perspective of purusha (Spirit) and prakriti (Nature) of the original Samkhya Yoga.


When this subtle problem comes forward, the various ways in which the great authorities on Yoga try to bridge the original and inherent duality are seen to be different, and it is by way of concession to all of them that Narayana Guru terminates each of his verses on Yoga here in a different way, saying at one time that the man intent on practising Yoga should engage in it instead of speaking about it, and at other times applauding the knower rather than the practitioner. When a theoretically-minded teacher of Yoga is kept in mind, Narayana Guru terminates the verse with the phrase yogavit (knower of Yoga). When a traditionally-minded yogi is in mind, he uses the phrase yogo yogibhih smritah ("that as Yoga is (traditionally) recognized by yogis"). These variations have to be noted in order to extract the global and integrated import of the verses of this chapter.


The fact of the matter is that the subtle participation between the mind and reason within the same Self of the yogi can be imagined to have degrees of reciprocity, some more intimate than others. The khecari-mudra (attitude enabling one to gain the freedom of pure space), as we have pointed out, is the culmination of a series of synergisms in the psychosomatic hierarchy ranging from the most negative or instinctive of dispositions to the crowning attitude known to expert Yoga teachers. Practical Yoga or kriya-yoga, or even karma-yoga (the Yoga of action), all belong to the necessary or negative aspect of the situation involved in the perfect yogic union. The positive side of the same Yoga has to be the reasoning Self (cidatma) whose implications are philosophical rather than active. The horizontal participation between these counterparts, if possible at all, is called samyoga (contiguity). But proper Yoga can only take place by a more intimate form of verticalized non-contradictory participation known as samanvaya (mutual inherence). The fourfold factors involved; two of them horizontal and two vertical, constitute between them the paradoxical situation offered to the yogi wherein he has two alternative approaches for establishing the basic union between the mind and reason.


It is by the verticalized version attained by the attitude of restraint and consciously cultivated by the yogi that any participation is at all possible. A flower fertilized by pollen can be taken as an example to explain the two-sided reciprocity necessary for the fecundation of the flower. Vyasa's Commentary on the "Yoga Sutras" (II.24) refers to the story of an impotent husband:

"The impotent husband is thus addressed by his stupid wife, "My Lord! My sister has got a child; why indeed have I none?' He replies to her thus, "I shall produce in you a child when I am dead" (3)

This story, though somewhat banal, puts in graphic form the two alternative sets of possibilities of union between counterparts. An "either-or" or a "neither-nor" situation has to be ruled out if perfect reciprocity and consequent union are to result. In other words, in yogic participation both the mind and reason have to come together from both sides of the axis of reference and enter into reciprocal fusion, mutual transparency or union. At the rich centre of the core of the Self, together with the structural implications and the crystalline globality of the Self we have to think of this mutual transparency. If we call the necessary mental aspect the denominator; the contingent aspect of pure reason will be the numerator. These two factors must cancel out into unity because of their equal epistemological status.


Such are some of the subtle implications of Yoga. Unless these are respected Yoga will easily degenerate into a form of hobby or pastime as it becomes when treated lightheartedly. Sometimes it is even used as a form of substitute for physical culture. In the name of Indian culture Yoga is sometimes presented for purposes of exhibitive public display. True Yoga belongs to a more serious and fully spiritual philosophical context.


The place that yogic postures and exercises play have been greatly exaggerated so as to popularize it. Any comfortable asana (posture) will normally satisfy the requirements of Yoga, even according to the best yogic texts. When one sees that the whole series of possible postures are taught in Yogic Institutes one thinks of a man who goes to a furniture store and insists on buying all the different styles of chairs available so that he can sit comfortably on any one of them. The lady who chooses a hat need not look at all the hats that do not fit her. The mutual compatibility of counterparts is therefore most important, whether in the technique or wisdom of Yoga.



Narayana Guru's attitude towards Yoga has been made clear in the verses of the text and by his comments, where we find valuable elements of revaluation, whereby a parity and reciprocity within the counterparts of action or wisdom are established. We have also added in our preliminary remarks some schematic clarification of the same fundamental version of Yoga. Both the position of Narayana Guru and the schematic features and normalization of various aspects of Yoga outlined by us seem to find much confirmation in some of the Upanishads. In order to show that neither the position of Narayana Guru nor our own approach are altogether original it will be profitable for us once again to scrutinize some of the implications of certain passages relating to such items as khecari-mudra (an attitude enabling one to gain the freedom of pure space) and the kundalini-sakti (serpent power).


These original versions are presented in a clearer and more absolutist perspective in the Upanishads than in the later and more elaborated treatises on Yoga. The methodology and epistemology of Yoga are respected more in these early texts than in later ones. Yoga as it concerns itself with the totality of spiritual life is both complete and capable of being viewed as a simple global synthetic whole. Over-analysis would defeat its vision as much as over-synthesis. Without pretending to present the following extracts in any definitely conceived order, we are merely trying to direct the attention of the reader to some of the original sources of Yoga that have evidently inspired later writers. The reader must put the features together so as to make them cohere as aspects of a global mental life to be visualized on the basis of the colour-solid referred to in the "Hamsa", "Svetasvatara", and other Upanishads on the one side, and the same colour solid gaining acceptance with modern thinkers of the West on the other side.

The first quotation is from the "Svetasvatara Upanishad" where a crystal is once again brought into the picture:

"Fog, smoke, sun, fire, wind,
Fire-flies, lightning, a crystal, a moon -
These are the preliminary appearances,
Which produce the manifestation of Brahma in Yoga.

When the fivefold quality of Yoga has been produced,
Arising from earth, water, fire, air, and space,
No sickness, no old age, no death has he
Who has obtained a body made out of the fire of Yoga

Lightness, healthiness, steadiness,
Clearness of countenance and pleasantness of voice,
Sweetness of odor, and scanty excretions-
These, they say, are the first stage in the progress of Yoga.

Even as a mirror stained by dust
Shines brilliantly when it has been cleansed,
So the embodied one, on seeing the nature of the Soul (Atman),
Becomes unitary, his end attained, from sorrow freed.

When with the nature of the self, as with a lamp,
A practitioner or Yoga beholds here the nature of Brahma,
Unborn, steadfast, from every nature free-
By knowing God (deva) one is released from all fetters" (4)



In the "Maitri Upanishad" (VI, 19) the fourth state (turiya) is mentioned and how to attain it. We read the following:

"Now it has been elsewhere said: "Verily, when a knower has restrained his mind from the external, and the breathing spirit (prana) has put to rest objects of sense, thereupon let him continue void of conceptions. Since the living individual (jiva) who is named "breathing spirit" has arisen here from what is not breathing spirit, therefore, verily, let the breathing spirit restrain his breathing spirit in what is called the fourth condition (turiya)."
For thus is has been said:

"That which is non-thought,
(yet) which stands in the midst of thought,
The unthinkable, supreme mystery!
Thereon let one concentrate his thought
And the subtle body (linga), too, without support. "" (5)


A very fine description of khecari-mudra is given in the "Sandilya Upanishad" (Ch.I) where the guru is describing this state to the disciple (sishya) Sandilya:

"With this mind and breath absorbed in an internal object, the yogin, though he does not really see the objects outside the under him, still (appears to) see them with eyes in which the pupils are motionless. This is called khechari mudra. It has as its sphere of extension one object and is very beneficial. (Then) the real seat of Vishnu, which is void and non-void, dawns on him. With eyes half closed and with a firm mind, fixing his eyes on the tip of his nose and becoming absorbed in the sun and moon, he, after remaining thus unshaken (becomes conscious of) the thing which is of the form of light, which is free from all externals, which is resplendent, which is the supreme truth and which is beyond. 0 Sandilya, know this to be tat. (That)." (6)


In Chapter I of the "Yogakundalini Upanishad" we have a description given of khechari as a science (vidya), As the translator rightly points out in a footnote, melana (union) is the key to the science of khechari. We read as follows:

"I shall hereafter describe the science called khechari which is such that one who knows it is freed from old age and death in this world. One who is subject to the pains of death, disease and old age should, 0 sage, on knowing this science, make his mind firm and practise khechari. One should regard that person as his guru on earth who knows khechari, the destroyer of old age and death, both from knowing the meaning of books and practice, and should perform it with all his heart. The science of khechari is not easily attainable, as also its practice. Its practice and melana (i.e. joining or union) are not accomplished simultaneously. Those that are bent upon practice do not get melana. Only some get the practice, 0 Brahman, after several births, but melana is not obtained even after a hundred births. Having undergone the practice after several births, some (solitary) yogin gets the melana in some future birth as the result of his practice. When a yogin gets this melana from the mouth of his guru, then he obtains the siddhis mentioned in the several books. When a man gets this melana through books and the significance, then he attains the state of Siva (i.e. the Absolute) freed from all rebirth. Even gurus may not be able to know this without books." (7)

In the "Sandilya Upanishad" (Ch.I) we get an excellent description of the kundalini:

"Having by contraction. opened the door of kundalini, one should force open the door of moksha. Closing with her mouth the door through which one ought to go, the kundalini sleeps spiral in form and coiled up like a serpent. He who causes this kundalini to move - he is an emancipated person. If this kundalini were to sleep in the upper part of the neck of any yogin, it goes towards his emancipation." (8)


The study of the original yogic texts together with a close examination of the classical work of Patanjali reveal the interesting possibility of making a fresh appraisal of the position of Yoga from two sides. When the two approaches are put together into a whole, the rational and structural aspects of Yoga cling together to one and the same scientific certitude.


We have already noted that the "Yoga Sutras" are based on the Samkhya philosophy which gives primacy to the notion of the pradhana (absolute substance) round which the system is built. Furthermore, more than half the literature that has grown around the Brahma Sutras is directed against the rival claims of the pradhana as against the brahman (Absolute) of the Vedanta philosophy of Badarayana. This single fact is sufficient to indicate that there is a serious disparity or divergence between the Yoga fully compatible with Vedanta and what is presented by Patanjali in the form of precisely analyzed categories and sub-categories. The Samkhya duality between Nature (prakriti) and Spirit (purusha), around which the system of Patanjali is built, necessarily implies the central notion of the pradhana at its core. This is fully repugnant to the author of the Brahma Sutras.


Vyasa's Commentary on the "Yoga Sutras" represents an effort to remedy the philosophical difference between the two positions. This we have already pointed out. Bhoja Raja's further commentary is also meant to help in the same correction. The very existence of these two commentaries indicates that there is need for some serious dialectical revaluation.


It is exactly this kind of revaluation that the Bhagavad Gita has undertaken. In Verses 4 and 5 of the Bhagavad Gita (already quoted) there is striking evidence of this sort of revaluation which is also found all over the eighteen chapters. It is not easy to select a few of them to serve as examples, but we can readily place our finger on the title of Chapter XV, called purushottama-yoga (The Yoga of the Paramount Person). Here we find Spirit (purusha) and Nature (prakriti) postulated in the first instance and then revised and given an equal status. There is no duality between them as they have been put together and fused masterfully into the Paramount Person (purushottama) who, devoid of all duality, represents the Supreme Spirit as nearly as possible.


Besides this chapter there is also more pointed reference in the Bhagavad Gita where the same desire to revalue and restate the Samkhya categories is fully in evidence. We can cite the example found in Chapter XIII, 19 and 20, where Spirit and Nature are intended to be put together into one and the same scheme belonging to the core of the Absolute. We read:

"Know you that nature and spirit are both beginningless; and know you also that modifications and their intrinsic modalities are born of nature. In what concerns agency for cause and effect the motivating factor is said to be nature; in the matter of experience of pleasure and pain, the motivating factor is spirit" (9)


The enjoyer (bhokta) can only be the Absolute conceived as the Self of man. The actor (karta) can only be an actual individual in a less richly universal but more concrete sense. The actor, (karta) can also be considered as belonging to a fully universalized, concrete and schematized context. The enjoyer (bhokta) and the actor (karta), the former fully verticalized while the latter is treated as a universal concrete with a horizontal reference, belong together to the same normalized Absolute. The verses under reference here are meant to accomplish such a double-sided correction or revaluation. When we add to this the more thorough-going revaluation found in IV, 18 where the whole of the paradox between action and inaction is abolished, the revaluation is fully accomplished.


It might naturally be asked why we should adhere to Patanjali's categories at all, instead of building up a new set of categories which are not vitiated by his duality. The answer to this is simple. The categories of Patanjali presuppose a protolinguistic schematism which has been consciously or unconsciously inherited from the older Upanishads. We have reviewed notions like kundalini-shakti (serpent power), khechari-mudra (the attitude enabling one to gain the freedom of pure space), the three nadis centres of vitality), the sushumna (the hair-like channel), the mulabandha (the lower), and the sahasrara (the higher poles). The "Yoga Upanishads" refer to a bird tied to a string, which, in its limited flight represents the elements of vitality moving between the three nadis and the mulabandhas. The ambivalent factors having a horizontal amplitude are the respiratory processes and inhibitions when inhaling and exhaling breaths along with the deep-seated vital tendencies (vayus) which together conform to the same structural pattern examined by us. The disparity between the more minute structural details mentioned in the texts can be conveniently neglected by us so as to extract for our purposes the main structural pattern in the mind of the ancient sages in broad outline only.


When we do this in a proper scientific spirit we believe that it will be possible to find full compatibility with the pattern emerging from these ancient texts and our own outlines found in the Preliminaries. Logic and even cybernetics, as we have pointed out, imply the same fundamental double-sided structure of the colour solid. We find reference made to these features in no unmistakable terms in both Vyasa´s Commentary to the "Yoga Sutras" and in some of the "Yoga Upanishads".


A most promising and interesting possibility now suggests itself. Philosophically speaking, the pradhana (absolute substance) of the Samkhyas can be treated as a rival notion to that of the brahman (Absolute) of Vedanta as far as categories are concerned. But both brahma-vidya (the Science of the Absolute) and Samkhya can share the same underlying schematic language for purposes of communicability, methodology and epistemology. As we have already pointed out the structure constitutes the basis for protolinguistics which has been respected as a schematized lingua-mystica of the ancient wisdom texts of the world. Such a protolinguism at the same time will answer all the requirements of a universal language for a future Science of the Absolute.


Just as the Pythagorean theorem gets its certitude both from the side of geometric figures and of algebraic equations, so the duality of Samkhya can be understood to belong to a central normalized notion in the context of the Absolute. Instead of rejecting the categories or structural implications of the subject of Yoga, we can combine both of them as a teacher can combine the two methods of proving the Pythagorean theorem. It is exactly this position that is underlined in the Bhagavad Gita (Verses 4-5).


When duality is treated both schematically and symbolically at once, we have in our hands a readymade instrument of scientific research of a rare and lasting value. 
An integrated Science of the Absolute would then become a theoretical and practical possibility. As an example of the correction which Patanjali and Vyasa apply to pure categories we refer to the comments on the "Yoga Sutras" (11.22):

" 22. Although destroyed in relation to him whose interest has been fulfilled, it is not destroyed on account of its commonness to others" (10)

We now give Vyasa´s fully comment on this sutra:

"Why? Although destroyed for him whose interest has been fulfilled, it is not destroyed on account of its commonness to others. Although the Perceivable is destroyed, i.e., gets destruction with reference to one Purusha whose interest has been fulfilled, it is not destroyed on account of its commonness to other Purushas. Though it gets destroyed for the skilful Purusha (who has obtained perfection in Yoga), yet it has not fulfilled its duties in relation to the unskillful Purushas. So it gets fallen into the nature of the sphere of action on behalf of their Perceptivity. Thus it gets its own form from that of the other. Hence, on account of the eternity of the powers of both the Pure Perceptivity and the Perceiving Instrument, the beginningless conjunction has been described. So also it has been said: 'By reason of the beginningless conjunction of the characterized substances there is also the beginningless conjunction of each of the characteristics." (11)


This quotation, along with Vyasa´s comment on II, 41 already quoted (see pages 1120-1122 above) should be read together so that one lends certitude to the other. In doing so, Yoga is given a scientific status approached analytically through categories and synthetically through the colour solid. When this is done a normalized certitude results.


Thus there is a promising future from the science of Yoga, which, by more clearly revealing the "unknown man" of Alexis Carrel, will lay the foundation of a new discipline along lines that he dreamt of for Western civilization, as indicated in his words quoted at the end of the prologue to this chapter (see pp. 1136-37 above) .



We have passed successively, in the various chapters of the second half of this work, from being an instrument obeying the wish of God and understanding the implications of absolutism more intimately and intensely, through pure reason, to a form of devotion or contemplation in Chapter 7. There the same two counterparts of the Self and the non-Self have been involved in a more intimate and complementary relationship always referring from the existent ontological to the high value implied in the general notion of the non-Self placed on the plus side of the vertical axis. Furthermore, devotion or contemplation has the element of joy or bliss (ananda) as an axiological factor, resulting from a verticalized participation of counterparts of the Self.

In the present chapter, which we have called Meditation, the same counterparts have attained to a degree of reciprocity, implying a mutual transparency or parity of status, by which the mind characterizing the Self, together with its more positive counterpart, the reasoning Self (cidatma) have become ready to be fused together by a mutual osmotic interchange of spiritual essences. In the next chapter this intimacy between the two counterparts becomes further accentuated. This is because one and the same whole is implied here, involving fusion of the highest of personal factors giving value to man and approximating him to God as nearly as possible. The present chapter has to be viewed in such a perspective if it is to yield the proper vision of the Absolute.


Let us now scrutinize each verse in the light of this perspective and try to relate it to the structural unit of a colour solid. This will serve as a very advantageous reference to see how the elements and functions referred to in this chapter hang together and operate.


Verse 1. Here the intention is to give a revised definition of Yoga in terms of the restraint (nirodha) found in the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali. There is, however a slight revaluation to be noticed. Instead of referring to restraint of all the functions of the mind there is a special kind of control exercised over horizontal tendencies. This is so that the mind will gain a vertical and positive orientation enabling it to meet on equal terms with its more positive counterpart, the reasoning Self (cidatma), with which it is ready to unite, to descend into its arms, as it were. The two-sided reciprocity implied between the two poles of the total structural situation, globally understood, constitutes the delicate evaluation and restatement that we have to note in this revised definition of Yoga.


By the final use of the term samsitah (is praised), Narayana Guru wants to say that such a definition. is already implied and accepted by the well-known classical scholars of Yoga such as Panini, Patanjali, Valmiki, Vyasa, Bhoja Raja and others. Patanjali's definition is retained as an overall factor of global restraint involved in the totality of the situation, rather than restraint of the mind in a limited and misleading dualistic sense as proper in the context of Samkhya Philosophy.


Verse 2. It is the Philosophical interpretation of the way of yogic orientation of the Self which is referred to here as the heart (hrit) that is implied in the purpose of this verse. The yogi is first of all required to abolish through intense philosophical reasoning the tri-basic prejudice consisting of the three discrete elements of knowledge, knower and known or seer, seen and sight. When treated horizontally they still remain disjunct from each other but when contemplation establishes a verticalized orientation at the heart of the Self, they absorb each other. This absorption is an interchange of essences melted and mixed by the purer, more liquid and transparent mind which can relate the heart or the lower Self when it is fully transparent with its own higher counterpart.


The lower Self is necessarily coloured or conditioned by the vasanas (incipient memory factors) however faint or feeble. This keeps the two counterparts apart without their being able to enter into more perfect unity. An effort is here recommended on the part of the yogi, but this effort is to last only so long as the vasanas are still operative. When no such effort is needed the province that is properly reserved for the next chapter is attained.


This reference to effort is reminiscent of the dualism of Patanjali, but nonetheless it is retained even in this revised version for the purposes of structural consistency and communicability. The use of the term vit (knower) at the end of the verse is to indicate that there are in this world persons who are experts on the subject and know the most important aspects of Yoga according to their own correct philosophical views.


Verse 3. After describing Yoga and its implications in fully philosophical terms, Narayana Guru now enters into the domain of Yoga as something to be practiced by a spiritual aspirant. He takes care, however, not to enter into the overt, gross or brute physical aspects of the practice, and prefers to begin by inserting the thin end of the wedge. He refers to the most subtle of epistemological factors called nama-rupa (name and form). These factors represent the relations and relata constituting the complex conglomeration called the Universe as the total reality inwardly confronting the contemplative yogi. When these monadic entities made up of name and form are mentally brought together and verticalized through meditation, the resulting knowledge will abolish all pluralistic items of interest, however numerous they might be. They all become merged into one vertical axis and finally become absorbed in the crystalline unity of the Absolute.


What is recommended here as the proper objective for the yogi is to constantly link his negative subjective mind to such a positive notion of the Absolute. This kind of discipline implies intellectual certitude about the nature of the Absolute. The word nisccitah (is fixed as certain) is expressly underlined by Narayana Guru to show how conviction is also a condition of Yoga, not mere practice.


Verse 4. The purpose of this verse is to bring in the value factor of joy or bliss (ananda) when the constant union through effort, as recommended in the previous verse, becomes more fully established and natural. The analogy of a streak of oil flowing when it is transferred alternately from one vessel to another is well known in texts on Yoga.

When meditation is interrupted the cumulative effect of the intimacy of the union of the counterparts involved is disrupted and made to suffer damage. The participation has to be unbroken although at certain stages of meditation, due to such actors as the alternation of respiration etc., the streak of oil representing the interchange of essences between counterparts might be thinner than at other stages. 


The continuity principle in the process of meditation is therefore very important as known in the esoteric texts on Yoga. It is to indicate the importance of such secret indications that the word smritah (traditionally recognized) is employed here.

Verse 5. This verse, being in a central position, has its own realistic approach which is neither too philosophical nor too practical. It is when we recognize such detailed consistency in the arrangement of the verses, as also in every detail of the terms employed, that the fine workmanship of Narayana Guru becomes evident in each of the visions (darsanas) that constitute his Garland of Visions. 
It is well known that the mind, by its associative processes, keeps wandering from interest to interest. Each item of interest has its incipient memory factor (vasana) determining the interest operating from a lower level. The yogi practising meditation has the task of constantly keeping his mind from other interests. 
This is the form of restraint that he has to practise at all times The word iha (in this here) used at the end of the verse correctly refers to the "here and now" aspect of the situation as something the practising yogi has to attend to immediately whether or not mentioned in the yogic texts and known to experts.


Verses 6 - 7. A superior knower of Yoga is here under reference as the terminating epithet, sah yogavidam varah (he is a superior knower of Yoga) expressly states. He is evidently one whose knowledge of both the practical and theoretical peculiarities of Yoga are understood in a more expert manner than usual. 
Sankalpa (willing) has its corresponding incipient memory factors (vasanas) at a lower level of the mind. Such couples consisting of willing and incipient memory factors have to be looked upon as independent psycho-physical entities, functioning outside the stream of Self-consciousness referred to here as the atma (Self). Such multiple entities or extraneous spheres of interest require to be uprooted by a more conscious effort than in the previous operations which were less physical in their importance. 
The word nirudhyate (is restrained) implies the act of wilful inhibition rather than merely a form of passive unconscious mental restraint. Rising out of the seventh verse we have to notice an equation taking place between the seen and the seer. This is recommended as a mental operation to be practiced by the yogi. The seer and the seen may be cancelled out either way into the neutrality of the highest union of Yoga. Such wilful practice implies a conscious agent well-informed about the technical implications of Yoga.


Verse 8. Here the restless mind is compared to a bee whose fluttering wings attain to stillness in proportion to the joy or bliss it feels when enjoying the nectar at the core of the flower. This is to mark a kind of homeostasis or state of equilibrium between opposing tendencies. Value factors exist on the plus side and quickly alternating activities exist at the other pole, while the reciprocity of relationship between them, both active and retroactive, silences both and immerses the mind in the joy of the Absolute as a supreme though neutral value factor. The structure and mode of operation of Yoga when it succeeds is here indicated. This striking analogy is found mentioned in one of the "Yoga Upanishads" where there is also the reference to the breeze of yoga (yoga-vayuna) referring to tendencies that have become contemplative in the mind of the yogi.


Verse 9. Here the famous khecari-mudra (attitude enabling one to attain the freedom-of pure space) marks the crowning attitude of an expert in correct Yoga practice. Psychosomatic adjustments involving a hierarchy of lesser syndromes or synergisms are in principle covered by the attitude of khechari-mudra. Pure space is not to be mixed up with actual physical space. Various kinds of spaces are known even in modern physics. The "Mandalabrahmana Upanishad" (IV) refers to five kinds of space. Thus there is a hierarchy of spaces as well as a hierarchy of syndromes. In each case Yoga consists of matching the lower syndrome with its higher corresponding intellectual factor like the sky or space. This rule of matching the numerator with the denominator is respected throughout the "Yoga Upanishads" as an overall rule of yogic union. 
It is further to be noted that in. the commentary on this verse, Narayana Guru states that the good effect or end result of practising khechari-mudra results in the abolition of sleepiness and fatigue. Sleepiness touches the negative structural pole of the mind and fatigue comes within its positive pole. The khechari-mudraversa, there is a middle state attained which, although understood in physical terms, contains the same essence of absolute freedom or bliss, because it has a high degree of spiritual attainment implied in it as union or harmony or a more intellectual level. 
Here the reference is not to any expert knower or man of practices but to the event taking place as an occasional possibility. This is how an expert guides a disciple in such a rare attainment. Narayana Guru here cautions that this practice involving the cutting of the ligament joining the bottom of the tongue with the lower soft palate has to be performed carefully and in stages, and the practice has to be wilfully cultivated through long periods, sometimes with the help of a silk thread passed through the nose.


This is also referred to in the "Yoga Upanishads". Expert guidance is important in conforming to such detailed requirements. Contact of the punctured tongue with the region of the pituitary body or the pineal eye, where, even according to Descartes the soul or consciousness has its main locus, is supposed by knowers of khechari-mudra to produce a form of cosmic consciousness of a rare kind. By choosing to mention this mudra (attitude) and omitting all lesser ones, Narayana Guru gives his indirect recognition in principle to all the stages of the eightfold way of Yoga, which are inclusively covered by this crowning yogic attitude.


Verse 10. This final verse takes a summary and retrospective review of the whole position involved in Yoga. As Narayana Guru points out in his commentary, the distinction between Jnana Yoga (the Yoga of wisdom) and Karma Yoga (the Yoga of action) is not of much consequence. When viewed in the proto-unitive perspective of the Absolute both these disciplines meet within the same transparent crystal of the mind, tending to abolish even the last vestiges of duality between bright intelligence and dark action. The crystal may then be said to attain a uniformly grey brilliance of its own. The dualistic prejudice is fully abolished in the context of Yoga as a vision of the Absolute.


Patanjali in the "Yoga Sutras" (IV.7) thus describes the full-fledged yogi:

"Action is not bright nor dark to the man of unitive ways (i.e. the yogi); for others it is threefold."  

Chuang Tzu, the Chinese mystic of Taoism has this interesting remark to make about the man without passions, who is very similar in outlook to the absolutist yogi of India:

"By a man without passions I mean one who does not permit good and evil to disturb his inward economy, but rather, falls in with what happens and does not add to the sum of his mortality." (12)




[1] K.N. Aiyar (trans.), "Thirty Minor Upanishads", Madras, 1914, p.213.


[2] Aiyar, p.203.


[3] Patanjali, "Yoga Sutras", p.79


[4] Hume, pp. 398-399


[5] Hume, p.436


[6] Aiyar, p.183


[7] Aiyar, pp.266-267.


[8] Aiyar, p.185


[9] Bhagavad Gita, pp.556-567.


[10] Patanjali, "Yoga Sutras",p.75.


[11] Patanjali, "Yoga Sutras", pp. 75-76


[12] J.Legge (trans.) "The Texts of Taoism, Vol.I: The Writings of Chuang Tzu", Dover ed; New York, 1962.






A person can hope to attain the perfection represented by God in the same way as God is the Creator of Nature and Humanity. In the first chapter we were concerned with the latter possibility. In this chapter we are concerned with the converse position. Nietzsche's Superman can be related to the cosmos as its dialectical counterpart. Both the good and evil of the world refer to the spirit of such a Superman, aspiring or attaining to degrees of probable or possible perfection or self-absorption belonging to God. Such a Superman can also be merely a strong, heroic or even a tragic and generous human individual. His spirit or soul can be thought of as linking human existence here with its own proper hopes and aspirations in the hereafter.


Whether the Superman be looked upon as God or as man there is an interchangeable normative notion of the Absolute in him as a high value. This value is conferred on him by a superior understanding whereby he is able to identify himself with the totality of fact, truth or value represented by the Absolute. His innermost Self in this sense can be equated to the central normative absolute Self. When this notion is accepted as a reference for the discussion of the various possible grades of perfection that are within the reach of man to attain, tainted as they necessarily must be with degrees of egoism, we get a graded series of negative or positive possibilities of human perfection or Self-Absorption. When the generalizations and abstractions together with their perceptual or conceptual contents are correctly kept in mind, so as to conform to the overall structuralism, we shall be able to visualize the unity, the context and the content of the present chapter in relation to this work as a whole.


Furthermore, we have to look upon this chapter as a final limiting case for the whole of the Science of the Absolute. In the same way, the first chapter is the starting limiting point of view. Instead of creation or cosmology we are now concerned with some absolutist versions of eschatology, apocalyptic or prophetic generalizations and revelations, understood without mythological or theological prejudices and stated in a sober matter-of-fact and scientific form. While eschatology pertains, strictly speaking, to a theological context concerning death and kindred notions such as that of the Last Judgment, we are using the term here in the plainer context of spiritual freedom, liberation, happiness or perfection, whether before or after death.


If God is considered as a vertical and pure principle who is the material cause or original source of the horizontally manifested and mechanistic world, man, in this final chapter, may be thought of as emerging from this same mechanistic world, raising himself through negative ontological or Dionysiac stages to the heights of possible positive stages of pure Godhood in terms of Self-absorption into the Absolute. Such are some of the presuppositions of this chapter to be kept in mind before considering it in greater detail.


If the Yogi of that previous chapter belongs to the context of meditation involving a reciprocity between the Self and the non- Self, here we attain to a more intimate and real synthesis or fusion between the two counterparts involved. The good and evil that might still persist in the man of perfection or Self-absorption, portrayed in this chapter, are both cancelled out and transcended by the fully verticalized intensity and transparent purity in one and the same crystalline Self. This Self can resemble a clear crystalline structure tainted, if at all, only with a faint smokiness at the lower of its poles. Evil becomes excusable only on the ground of its being inevitable and natural to ordinary human life. As a scorpion with its sting removed cannot be considered a perfect specimen of its kind, so to, human perfection will only suffer by being presented as a mere conceptual abstraction.

The Science of the Absolute has to make room for the full play of reality under the division of a universal concrete notion comprised within the Absolute. Thus it is correct to think of real men and women when we consider the perfection or Self-absorption reviewed in orderly fashion in the verses of this chapter. Their human defects, if any, only enhance their value as real representatives of humanity and not as mere abstractions. Since there is inevitably a Dionysiac touch even in the most perfected person, this factor as a denominator is capable of being countered or cancelled out by what Nietzsche calls the Apollonian. This positive counterpart tends to fuse with the Dionysiac in order to abolish both and ends beyond the reach of good and evil.

We shall p
resently examine the implications of this in greater detail.



This chapter is named by Narayana Guru nirvana which we have translated as "absorption". The original Sanskrit term is directly related more to Buddhism than to Vedism or Vedanta. An oil lamp that goes out when there is no oil in it is the nearest popular analogy one can use to give a graphic or real meaning to this word. (1)


Being extinguished or becoming extinct is the direct prima facie word used by early Buddhists who did not give importance to the soul of Self as Vedism did. Buddhism stresses the rational and philosophic aspect, rather than the Self treated as a distinct atma or spirit animating the body. It does not accept a spirit animating the body as a kind of sariraka (agent in the body) in the way the Brahma Sutras do. Buddhism discountenances the supposition of an atma and stresses its own anatmavada (principle of the non-Self). This is because, for a rational philosophy like Buddhism, any concept of the soul treated as a mysterious entity would be a kind of blanket expression tending to dampen its more analytic and critical approach. Later Buddhism, howeve,r made amends for this one-sidedness in its own way.


The question for us then is whether it is a static soul absorbed in the state of supreme bliss or peace (samadhi) or even Nirvana that Narayana Guru refers to in this chapter. The term absorption suggests no non-entity or vacuity. Into what does the soul or personality get absorbed? And if it gets absorbed is it a unilateral or a bilateral process? Is it a form of neutralization or normalization? Furthermore, how is this chapter related to the previous chapter on Yoga where we found the same counterparts entering into a reciprocal relationship? Above all, the question arises whether the living or the dead person, or both, is to be thought of when examining this chapter?  And why does Narayana Guru speak about an "impure" absorption (asuddha-nirvana) which might include some persons of questionable morality? Does not full absorption amount to morbid death? Such are some of the questions we have to clarify before entering into the more detailed indications of this chapter.


There is no easy way to answer these questions. As the title of this culminating chapter suggests, it is legitimate to consider the subject-matter as consisting of final questions about life and death as brought under the global perspective of the Absolute. Furthermore, as indicated by Narayana Guru, this refers to a form of spiritual discipline in the sense that it is a further continuation in a more intense form of the same discipline implied in the chapter on Yoga. A person who naturally belongs to such a discipline is visualized in order to give unity and coherence to what is being enumerated and arranged into personal types answering to the various descriptions found in the verses.


This chapter can be considered as having a non-theological eschatological character, or at least one corresponding to something of an apocalyptic nature. The movement under reference is from the here and now to the beyond. What is suggested by the ancient Tamil word tandava (strong or vigorous absolutist dancing), as applied to Siva, the Dionysius of Indian spirituality, is the absolutist dance reaching from the actual world to the world beyond or above. The verticalized movement implied in the dance is meant to suggest the transcendence which is of the very essence of the situation. The Self of Man is ever in a state of transcendence, like a leaping flame that is linked through the wick to the earthy aspects of life from where it draws its energies. Life is a flow always having the tendency to reach from the here to the hereafter. The thoughts of a dying person, as the Bhagavad Gita (VIII.6) puts it, are already transcendentally oriented to the unknown values beyond the actualities of life on earth.


The Nirvana (absorption) of this chapter is a personal orientation of the spirit resembling a discipline or disposition linking life's tendencies from what they are here to what they will be hereafter, whether within the limits of life or beyond it. Here, Nirvana is concerned with a fully verticalized version of the human personality with an orientation more permanently fixed therein towards the attainment of the supreme goal of human existence of life, often referred to as salvation, freedom, emancipation, supreme felicity, absorption, ultimate extinction or cessation of all activities and functions.

In whatever perspective it is viewed, Nirvana is something taking place with reference to a contemplative man. On the background of reality represented by the purest notion of the Absolute, it is the Absolute alone that continues to remain after this supreme event takes place in the consciousness of the Self. Since life is a process, it is not wrong, in. principle, to examine different aspects or degrees of intensity of the process.

Thus, in fixing the scope of the word nirvana as used by Narayana Guru, in a way consistent with its context and content, we are justified in still thinking of the two aspects of a process of absolute becoming. As with a river, we can distinguish in cross-section different degrees of positive and negative processes treated as a structural unit. These cross-sections can be referred to as "a moving image of eternity," found in Plato's "Timaeus", as explained by us on pages 268-269 above. Every cross-section would correspond to a type of contemplative discipline properly belonging to a person capable of transcending good and evil. When this is done such a person resembles Siva or Dionysius, who is counteracted by the serene principle of Apollo. Nietzsche sees Apollo "as (an) ethical deity, (who) exacts measure of his disciples, and, that to this end, he requires self-knowledge." (2)


While Nietzsche seemed to favour the Dionysiac, he also gives them both an equal status:
"The titanic and the barbaric were in the last analysis as necessary as the Apollonian. "(3)

Nietzsche's Superman represents the "Will to Power" as a high state of spiritual evolution or exaltation, He represents aspirations that are beyond good and evil, culminating in an absolutist joy in the tragic:

"We are pierced by the maddened sting of these pains just when we have become, as it were, one with the infinite primordial joy in existence, and when we anticipate, in Dionysiac ecstasy, the indestructibility and eternity of this joy. In spite of fear and pity, we are the happy living beings, not as individuals, but as the one living being, with whose creative joy we are united." (4)

The scope of this chapter has to be characterized by all these considerations at once. When synthetically treated they form a global reality giving unity to the whole chapter.




An explicit definition of Nirvana is not as easy as was defining Yoga in the last chapter. We may think of Nirvana as a further maturation and stabilization of the same union or fusion between the two aspects of the personality implied in Yoga. If the fusion in Yoga takes place between the semi-fluid transparent counterparts of a globally conceived crystalline Self, in this chapter the fusion is between more fluid and transparent liquids.


We say this is because Nirvana refers to a process of transcendent becoming in the very essence of the Absolute, reaching from life here to whatever it may become hereafter. As Heraclitus said, "One cannot enter the same stream twice". Such is the flux within which Nirvana takes place.


A definition of Nirvana only becomes conceivable in terms of a cross-section that we might choose to take at any part of the course of the fluid situation. Like Plato's, "moving image of eternity," it is the neutralization of the vertical process with the horizontal moment in the becoming of pure time, where we can conceive of not necessarily one typical event or one specific Nirvana answering to the requirements of a definition but of a series of types of Nirvana. Each possible cross-section implies a definition by itself at different levels of becoming, in the ambivalent process where positive and negative antinomian principles are found together.


The present chapter, therefore, contains many possible implicit and explicit definitions of varying degrees of Nirvana. It is also to be remembered that the most typical of them for our purposes is to be selected from the most central of the verses. This is because it conforms structurally to the normative requirements of the subject. The definition in its essence has to be conceived in terms of the certitude that a person might have about the truth of the great dictum (mahavakya) of the Upanishads, aham brahmasmi (I am the Absolute). Such a man is referred to in the fifth verse as a brahmavit (a knower of the Absolute). Many Upanishads put this in bold, hopeful and consoling terms, when they asserts, brahmavit brahmaiva bhavati ("The knower of the Absolute becomes the Absolute.").


The degree of scientific certitude about the Absolute is the only prerequisite for liberation, salvation, peace or supreme happiness as implied in Nirvana. The Upanishads repeat this very theme in other forms whereby the knower of the Absolute is stated to attain the Ultimate. No theological Lord (Isvara) is to be presupposed, here. Thus, when this is fully and scientifically understood without any mythological or theological prejudices, any kind of mediator between man and his ultimate goal is out of the question. Such absolute certainty implies the verity behind such phrases as "knowledge is power," and "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make ye free." Such a knowledge or certitude has also been praised as "the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump", and the possession of even a little of this way of life will save one from great fear, as the Bhagavad Gita (11.40) says:

"In such (a path) there is no forfeiture of any merit nor is there involved any demerit by transgression. Even a little of such a way of life saves one from great apprehension." (5)

As the Bhagavad Gita further states, the knower of the Absolute does not stand in fear even of death, which is a sufficiently serious disaster that normally faces ordinary mankind. The double reference to life and death makes the person belonging to the context of Nirvana, a special kind of strong and wise person rising beyond mere conventional respectability. Even a daredevil, profligate, gambler or publican could sometimes have this trait of "superman-hood". The Bhagavad Gita (X.36) openly states this verity, when Krishna says, "I am the chance-risk of gamblers" and in (X.28) we read, "of progenitors I am the god of erotics." Conventional standards do not thus limit the character of an absolutist.


Even the greatest of sinners is not outside the scope of Nirvana. The Bhagavad Gita (IV.36) points out that a man, however great his sin, will never perish if he is directly affiliated in any way to the high value represented by the Absolute. He is supposed to become very quickly a man of righteousness, more and more fully absorbed in the Absolute. Thus literature referring to Nirvana permits us to think of actual persons who might appear good, bad or indifferent, all to be inclusively comprised within the scope of this chapter when properly treated as belonging to the Science of the Absolute.


The highway robber might be so only because of some deep-seated Dionysiac element in his character. This element is only waiting for a touch of a higher and more Apollonian and serene level of expression. These two ambivalent characteristics, named after the two rival Greek Gods, represent two levels in the workings of the human spirit. The fusion of these factors could produce either frenzied ecstatic or serene personalities. The conflict between frenzy and serenity results in different types of personalities belonging to the same context of Nirvana. This justifies Narayana Guru's inclusion among those who pertain to Nirvana even persons who are doubly impure, and thus classified under asuddhasuddha. Although they fall into this category they are still capable of being included as qualified for Nirvana, because they transcend both good and evil in the name of the Absolute value.


As a very poisonous snake cannot be called a bad snake, nor a scorpion with a mild sting a superior scorpion; so too, it is that intense quality of being mature for the two-sided absorption implied or intended in Nirvana that determines whether a good, bad or indifferent person can be included in the scope of this chapter. Each chapter, moreover, has its own inner structural consistency, which has to be respected in regard to the immediate topic under discussion.


This is why good and evil are here transcended and treated as of no consequence. The definition that we have to look for is implied, as we have said, in the central verse where the plain knower of the Absolute is referred to. It goes without saying, however, that in knowing the Absolute there is a wholehearted and direct affiliation implying a high degree of certitude which gives that quality for the type of absolutist involved here a normative status of his own. It is by understanding this central type that we can get the implication of a definition of Nirvana sufficiently clear for our purposes.



In one sense it is wrong to refer to perfection or purity in pluralistic terms. This would be a violation of linguistic and logical norms. It is like asking somebody at a bus terminal which bus goes before the first one or which bus starts after the last one. We find however in this chapter that Narayana Guru takes the trouble of calling certain kinds of Nirvana superior, purer or more perfect than others. The price of diamonds displayed in a jeweler´s showcase will be different, although all the diamonds have the same quality of being a diamond or the element carbon. Even in practical life when choosing from a bundle of walking sticks, one could select and grade some as more perfect than others on a scale ranging between strong or more refined ones of the same value.


All that glitters is not gold. Tinsel and pure gold have to be graded according to utility or value. Although a globe of the earth is a reality sufficient and complete in itself, one puts arbitrarily conceived lines such as the Equator and Tropic of Cancer, etc. for purposes of communication in analytically referring to its aspects.


The absolute content of Nirvana is something totally independent of the gradations or degrees of superiority or inferiority that may be attributed to the Absolute. They are useful, nonetheless, for purposes of intelligent communication. A science has to use a precise language so that the kind of certitude resulting from the compatibility of observables and intelligibles becomes precisely understandable. Even when setting a watch each morning there is a faint time-siren or half-audible signal that one relies upon to be sure the time of the watch tallies with standard time. Science is meant to be readily applied to life situations and is not merely for keeping in the cold storage of wisdom found in musty and dusty libraries. Thus we are justified in comparing and contrasting grades and degrees of perfection. The purity of our wholehearted affiliation or degree of certitude or correctness in understanding our relation with the Absolute is important. It is also all-important to know if we belong to the positive or negative side of spiritual progress. We once again revert to our favourite example of a quartz crystal with the structural shape of a colour-solid having iridescent lines playing on its surface showing the saturation and tint of all the chromatic and achromatic colours. We can also think of a number of such crystals ground into a similar shape and size lying on the table of a grinder of precious stones. His task is to find a method of stringing them together on a golden thread. The content of the quartz crystals and the price of each one might be the same because the stone-grinder might not give any importance to fixing separate prices for each individual crystal. But the jeweler who proposes to make a garland out of them might still have to be guided by some factors, however schematic or based on mere categories of nominal importance only.


The Garland of Visions (Darsana Mala) is also based on the principle of sorting and grading, even if it be only for the purpose of scientific taxonomy or nomenclature. It is in this spirit that Narayana Guru undertakes to sort out and grade Nirvana according to its possible value, extrinsic or intrinsic as the case may be, when treated together unitively. Such a proposed garland is meant to heighten the dignity of a real human being of impartial, complete or perfect wisdom. The whole question is to be considered as belonging to the context of what is independent of good or evil. No duality should taint the vision of the Absolute.


If one is asked to sort and grade absurdity there is as much, if not more, difficulty in doing so scientifically. This is also true of subjects such as fame, love, sportsmanship, heroism and chivalry. Each of these subjects has its own closed or self-consistent system of reference and relational factors, all of which are subject to such first principles in the matter of their gradations and classifications. To take an example from the Bible, John the Baptist says he is not fit to undo the sandals of Jesus, although he is his spiritual ancestor in historical terms. Two basic considerations are to be understood here. The historical background gives a value that is quite different from what is non-generically and intrinsically understood. Thus there are inner and outer norms and standards to be kept in mind even when we rely on the same Absolute.

In the present chapter it is not easy to visualize clearly the types of persons correctly answering to the grades and degrees of Nirvana referred to in each of the verses. For this requirement of giving representative examples Narayana Guru in his commentary relies on the well-known descriptions of absolutist contemplative types found in the Bhagavad Gita (II. 55-72, XII. 13-19).


The "Yoga Vasishta" can perhaps give other examples, but this latter and more recent work on Yoga is written in the style of a purana (epic) and examples cited from such a work have a lesser scientific validity of certitude than the Bhagavad Gita which is a text on the Science of the Absolute (brahmavidya).


For our own purposes, especially when we are thinking of clarifying the grades of Superman involved in this chapter, we can allow ourselves the latitude of relying on well-known examples of the heroes or striking characters of the world's literature.


The characters of Greek tragedy could provide the best examples we require. A bound Prometheus or a Hercules descending into Hades to bring back to life the dead spirit of Alcestis, are two examples of absolutism that come to mind readily. There is also the pre-Christian counterpart of the resurrected Christ of the Passion Plays. Dionysos is also known as Bacchus or Iachus. Between these we have a sufficient range of characters to meet our requirements.

We need not, however, limit ourselves to Greek tragedy. Although it is the best available source from the West, it is more theoretically and idealistically conceived than say, perhaps, Shakespearean tragedy. Othello actually kills Desdemona; Hugo's "Hernani" is a kind of Robin Hood who has clear absolutist traits and, in Hugo's "Les Misérables", Jean Valjean, although considered a criminal, reveals himself to be a full absolutist through his own intentions as stated in his eloquent confessions with the constant refrain, "I am an honest man." In Hugo's "Toilers of the Sea", the hero conquers both the inner world of love and the outer world of impersonal adventure. Goethe's Werther and Wilhelm Meister are also absolutists of a special kind.


The same is true of Cervantes' Don Quixote, Dostoevsky's tragic Prince Mishkin in "The Idiot", and Turgenev's simple peasant in his touching short story "Mumu"-  all of whom are absolutists, each of his own kind or type.


Among female characters, there are Electra and Antigone, who have definite and complementary absolutist traits of their own. Medea, who killed her children to spite her non-absolutist commonplace husband, is another example of the Greek genius in representing aspects of absolutism.. The double suicide pact on which the curtain falls in Hugo's "Hernani", although belonging more to romance than tragedy, has the same touch of absolutism implied in it, though in a much watered-down form. The favourite example of Hamlet need not be forgotten here. Lorca's "Yerma", Strindberg's Miss Julie, and some of the female characters in Buchi's plays are also examples in modern drama where female absolutism is found, although in feebler terms compared to the Greeks.


In all these instances the main feature to note is the absolutism implied in the tragic heroes and heroines, and how they transcend the question of good and evil. Even when Narayana Guru refers to impure types of Nirvana the references still have their compatibility with the overall topic of this chapter.



Human nature is necessarily a mixture of good and evil. As the Bible recognizes, human nature refuses to be divided strictly into the categories of sheep and goats. The Bhagavad Gita also recognizes the differences between devas (gods) and asuras (demons) in Chapter XVI where the same parities and antinomies of the double frenzy resulting in different types of mysticism are involved.


In Chapters 7 to 9 of the Darsana Mala, intellect and emotion are treated as interacting or participating with greater or lesser degrees of intimacy between them. We have seen also how Narayana Guru has taken care to dismiss the implied duality between wisdom and works at the end of the last Chapter IX on Yoga. Reconciliation of duality is thus a feature of every chapter here.


Now the same principle holds good in a more thorough sense in the present chapter. When human nature is under the sway of instincts it resembles a crystalline quartz structure having a slight smokiness, however delicate, at the bottom tip or half of the crystal. The bright tip at the top might be specially pronounced in certain very intelligent philosophers and the two tips when neutralized would cancel out into perfect normality represented by the brahmavit (knower of the Absolute) of Verse 5.


Such a rare balance is, however, not commonly met in actual life. We are more likely to find types of personalities tending to be tilted in favour of one or another of the rival antinomian characteristics. Whatever side might be accentuated at the expense of the other, it must still represents a unitive and global Self. We wish to point out here that there is necessarily implied in this living reciprocity the law of compensation to which we have already alluded. Whatever a man might have lost on one side of this qualification belonging to the context of Nirvana he gains on the other, so that, as with two examination papers having a 50/50 maximum each, the passing marks depend on both, bilaterally and not unilaterally. Every man, even the plainest, might qualify for passing the test here. Rare men might show special excellence in one direction or another. The same principle of compensation, when fully operative, makes any man equal to any other and support the dictum that man is made in the image of God.


I am reminded here of a simple sailor in a passenger ship, travelling over the shark-infested waters of the Indian Ocean. A melancholy missionary from the Far East who was on board the ship tried to commit suicide by jumping overboard to save himself from some personal shame. The alarm was rung and passengers rushed to the deck to see what had happened A French sailor jumped into the sea. This fellow human being who was the simplest of men felt without a minute´s delay the fully absolutist human urge to save his brown-skinned brother. Most of the crowd that had gathered stood bewildered and confused. The present writer who was also on board, thought on his part that "discretion was the better part of valour" and kept himself serene with this consolation. The suicide attempt was successful as later events showed and the sailor who broke the rules laid down by the Captain about jumping into that part of the ocean, was congratulated by the admiring crowd who were surprised that he was willing to lay down his life so readily on the basis of a feeling of human fellowship. On this occasion, this feeling attained an absolutist status within him. I soon began to realise his superiority as a human being, although my own justification for not being as spontaneous as he was still seemed convincing enough according to my own more serene and composed Apollonian spirit of calm understanding. What he had gained on one side was lost to the absolutism on the other, but both could equally be justified theoretically by an impartial Science of the Absolute.


Here we have a direct example of the operation of the principle of compensation. In the context of Nirvana everyone can be considered fundamentally as a human being having the same norm for purposes of reference only. As in the case of a precious stone, the superiority depends on the principle of uniqueness or rarity. By referring to extreme positive and negative instances it should not be thought that a normal type endowed for one kind of expression of absolutism should imitate another.


Rather it is to be understood that each person should conform to the type of behaviour proper to himself. Whether considered pure or valuable depending upon actual circumstances of purer principles of absolutism, the implied norm is always a constant. Thus, all become equal in the eyes of God. The absolutist himself who looks at anyone from the same godly perspective can only see equality reflected in all things whether considered sacred or profane. This truth is also strikingly expressed in the Bhagavad Gita (V.18) where we read:

"In regard to a Brahmin endowed with learning or humility, a cow, an elephant and even a dog, as also one who cooks dog (for food), the well-informed ones (panditah) see the same differenceless reality." (6)

Every person is made in the image of God and has the kingdom of God within them. God is a reference to man and man is his dialectical counterpart, giving the same status to the Son of man as to the Son of God, i.e., the same Jesus of Nazareth. It is in such a perspective that the content of this chapter which seems to include good and bad people under the scope of the same value of Nirvana, is to be viewed. As Nietzsche points out in "Ecce Homo", his Superman, represented by Zarathustra, is " the very essence of Dionysos. (7)


Dionysos represent the tragic and ecstatic and his counterpart is Apollo. We can say here that when both these elements are fused together we get the Superman of this chapter.


In this virile absolutist vision Nietzsche condemns all that is merely goody-goody and namby-pamby as implied in Pauline Christian morality. Such a morality is left behind and fully transcended by something reaching beyond the duality of both good and evil. Wholeheartedness and what Nietzsche calls strength are the inevitable prerequisites of his Superman who might be at least fitted into the content of any one of the types described in the present chapter as rajasik (having active horizontal dispositions) and tamasik (having negative Herculean attitudes that are of earth earthy). In Nietzsche's Superman these traits dominate the purer dispositions of an Apollo. Thus viewed, a pagan might sometimes qualify better in spirituality than a good or conventional Christian.


The asymmetry however can be pronounced in favour of the serene and the intelligent. Such serene types of Supermen are not, however, easily or naturally appreciated in the spiritual climate of the modern West. The smiling or meditating Buddha whose statue is found all over the Far East, represents a serene type of Superman. Ancient Europe has its Cernunnos figure belonging to the Celts which in essence is of the same spiritual grade as the Buddha. The polarity need not be pronounced in all cases and it would be better for us to think of personalities who combine both traits in a more symmetrically balanced or harmonized fashion. We need not necessarily keep exaggerated examples in our mind, but only those features distinguished by the clear definitions given in each typical instance in the classification of types of spiritual absorption in the verses of Narayana Guru. In fact when the polarity is least pronounced, the unity of the personality or self involved is best served for the purposes of clarifying the content of this chapter. In this sense the majority of men may claim also to be Superman.


If someone prefers to live in the colder climates of Europe and North America, such a preference need not be binding on a person who prefers the climate of the equator. Both persons will be able to communicate their preferences between themselves only when the implications of the latitudes and longitudes of the cold regions and the equator are understood as belonging to the same Science. Each man thus conforms to his own svadharma (the type of behaviour compatible with one's inner nature), while trying to understand the same attitude in others who might be different from him. No question of superiority or inferiority should arise and a scientific vision in this matter will help humans to live together in better harmony which is not a negligible factor in human life. The perfection of the Superman and the perfection of God thus become interchangeable terms in the proper light of this chapter. Both are sacred and profane when viewed in the neutral light of the Absolute which is beyond good and evil.



In order to understand the various levels of values implied between the lowest Inferno and the highest Heaven we can cite more instances from classical or speculative literature as well as from literature combining both, as for example, Goethe's "Faust" and Dante's "Divine Comedy". As a pilgrim in these higher regions, the soul is confronted with favourable or unfavourable factors obstructing or facilitating man's true Destiny. Leopards, lions, snakes, and wolves confront the soul's pilgrimage at different levels in Dante, but the favourable divine spirit of Beatrice comes down from above when the pilgrim has transcended certain levels such as limbo or purgatory. The world of apes and witches along with the world of scientists and students mark such levels in Goethe´s "Faust".


These attempts are not scientific in any modern and precisely understandable sense, but one is able to discover in Dante and Goethe the same structural implications of graded generalization and abstraction of horizontal and vertical value factors that enter into mutual reciprocity of relationship so as to accomplish the highest good; that is to say to attain the Absolute.


If the precise implications of Nirvana are to be finally explained we can use terms borrowed from the world of machines, electromagnetics and thermodynamics. We have terms like homeostasis, equilibrium and normalization of factors. These have already been elaborated in the Preliminaries (see pages 97 to 106). The scientific idioms and terms developed in recent times presuppose a revised epistemology and methodology to which we have already given sufficient space in the first part of this work. We have even devoted a whole chapter to methodology, particularly that of Bergson, who has succeeded in reducing the notion of relativistic and pluralistic time into a unique and universal absolute time. What he has done can be extrapolated and applied to the whole situation involved in a Science of the Absolute, when globally and precisely understood, with a degree of certitude made fully scientific rather than merely speculative.


It is here that mathematics can replace less positive mythological or theological language which is usually resorted to in eschatological and apocalyptic revelations through proverbs and parables. Bergson has alluded to a four-fold correction involved in the reduction of relative time to absolute time. It is such a correction that we have in mind here.


For purposes of clarifying further the implications of the kind of salvation, Nirvana, or attainment of the Absolute which might still be ambiguous or vague in the mind of the intelligent modern reader, we are now more ready to take up again certain questions in the light of what we have already explained in this Prologue.

There is a double and twofold correction to be applied to the finalized notion of the Absolute before we can give to Nirvana a degree of scientific certitude. The indications are contained in the last two verses of Narayana Guru and we shall now examine them more closely. In the Epilogue we shall also attempt to relate them to the context of the non-dual Vedanta of India.

For the present we shall merely refer to an implicit correction or cancellation of counterparts of one pair, having a schematic reference, while the other pair has a vertical parity between them to be abolished by mutual absorption. Thus there is a twofold and double correction to be made for attaining full certitude about the Absolute. The part corresponding to Nirvana also corresponds by extrapolation, interpolation or both, to the overall certitude to be attained from the declaration of all the visions covered in serial fashion in this work. The final definition of the Absolute (brahman) belongs to the larger context of Nirvana. As we see in the penultimate verse it is the result of a neutralization or normalization rather than the result of an ascending or descending effort on the part of the contemplative.


As the verse clearly states the Absolute is self-luminous and sufficient unto itself. It emerges when it is left fully alone as the Taoist philosophers say. Our efforts, in whatever direction they are made, will only spoil the case for the certitude proper to the normalized notion of the Absolute. When normalization is accomplished the Self-luminous nature of the Absolute becomes evident to the contemplative of its own accord. There is an identity between subject and object marking the term of the wisdom implied in the Science of the Absolute.

The final verse puts this normalization in the form of the familiar doctrine of Advaita Vedanta when it refers to the absence of any individual or external duality or contradiction in the fourfold structure. The further implications are explained by Narayana Guru in the commentary on the last verse.

All we wish to underline here is the bilateral nature of the correction to be applied before final certitude about the Absolute results. No multilateral certitude is intended. Salvation refers to the normalized, neutralized spirit of man in tune with the Absolute. Man then attains to the supreme absorption, peace or stillness without any question or possibility of returning to dualistic or horizontal activities that might give him unrest or unhappiness any more. Such a certitude is the essence of the Nirvana of the Science of the Absolute, by whatever name it might be described in various contexts.



Our attempt in the Prologue of each chapter has been to look at the subject matter from the modern Western point of view so that the strangeness of the Eastern or Vedantic approach to the same problems might be minimized. We have not been strict in this and many times we have brought in quotations from Eastern sources when we felt it was justified. The same is also true conversely of the Epilogue.

The subject of salvation can be approached philosophically as well as religiously. When treated religiously in the Western context we have to equate values belonging to infernos and heavens so as to cancel both out into the central value of the Absolute. These matters have been covered already. It will be of interest, however, to close this section by referring to the affinities between Western thought and Vedanta in respect of the principles common to both. This will enable us to think of the same salvation or Nirvana in the light of philosophical doctrines with a scientific status. Here we find the contribution's of the indologist Paul Deussen, who has suggested a correct way of relating the best of the idealistic context in the West with its corresponding thought in the East.

We do not agree that Vedanta is idealistic in the sense that idealism implies a lack of recognition of all concrete and universal aspects of reality. Many Indian authorities on Vedanta fall into this one-sided view. Even Radhakrishnan takes this erroneous view as implied in the title of one of his books, "An Idealist View of Life", which is his own interpretation of Vedanta.


The aspects of this question are so highly interesting and informative that we feel justified in devoting some space to their examination. We are especially interested in the points of contact between Plato, Kant and Schopenhauer in the West and Vedanta in the East from the standpoint of Sankara, who is perhaps its best representative. Both points of contact unmistakably put the accentuation for reality in the innate a priori synthetic of the Self, where all things-in-themselves must reside in the form of the possibility of all intelligible entities having a true reality. Intelligible entities alone, in Plato at least, have their reality in a positive world of ideas on the vertical plus side. This is where all general ideas have to be placed according to the language of structuralism. In spite of these slight epistemological discrepancies, the very fact that both Western thought and Advaita Vedanta deal with the empirical world as appearance, is, by itself, a sufficiently important common. feature to be kept in mind. This common feature justifies Deussen when he says that in two widely differing parts of the world the same fundamental philosophical truth has been expounded.


Deussen also claims that it was Kant who gave precise scientific status to the analysis of the manifest world when he postulated his three main categories of space, time and causation as a priori principles. Deussen summarizes the precise proofs found in Kant's writings about the a priori status given to these categories, but does not refer to their schematization which was also outlined by Kant as we have explained elsewhere (see pages 957-965 above). According to us, the schematic a priori and its logical counterpart will form two distinct sets belonging to the same notion of the Absolute, one being of a high and pure symbolic or nominalistic order and the other of a geometrical or lower order.


These two aspects of the same Absolute have been often referred to in Vedanta as the transcendental (para) and the immanent (apara). these When all vestiges of duality between these two versions of the Absolute are finally abolished and completely cancelled out, the final result in this chapter is called perfection or Nirvana. The cancellation of the numerator with the denominator results in not giving primacy either to empiricism or to any kind of idealism. Instead they are treated equally. This is the final Upanishadic dictum vaguely understood by commentators like Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. Their vague understanding has been the cause of much instability in finalizing Vedanta doctrine as ought to have been done.


We have examined some of these vibrations and disturbances taking place in the instrument of thought and expressing itself in the form of a throbbing mysticism caught in a situation of either-or, rather than of both-together. Finalized Vedanta equates the world of ideas with the given empirical aspect of the same Absolute into one non-dual fact, truth or value. Paul Deussen´s summary of the proofs derived from Kant's philosophy attain to a scientific or at least mathematical finality, as far as such a finality can be claimed in Western thought. While we are engaged in examining Western affinities to the Vedanta of this chapter it is not out of place here to quote from Deussen:

"The clothing of the doctrine of emancipation in empirical forms involved as a consequence the conceiving of emancipation, as though it were an event in an empirical sense, from the point of view of causality, as an effect which might be brought about or accelerated by appropriate means. Now emancipation consisted on its external phenomenal side:

1. In the removal of the consciousness of plurality.

2. In the removal of all desire, the necessary consequence and accompaniment of that consciousness.

To produce these two states artificially was the aim of two characteristic manifestations of Indian culture.


1) Of the Yoga, which by withdrawing the organs from the objects of sense and concentrating them on the inner self, endeavoured to shake itself free from the world of plurality and to secure union with the atman.

2) Of the Samnyasa, which by the "casting off from oneself" of home, possessions, family and all that stimulates desire, seeks laboriously to realise that freedom from all the ties of earth, in which a deeper conception of life in other ages and countries also has recognized the supreme task of earthly existence, and will probably continue to recognize throughout all future time" (8)

Thus Yoga (union by self discipline) and Samnyasa (renunciation are explained and understood in a manner that does not show disparity between Vedanta and Western Thought at its best in the contexts common to Plato, Kant and Schopenhauer. The only aspect of Vedanta that tends to be forgotten is that an ontology based on the notion of a universal concrete existence is not outside the Absolute Self in Vedanta while it may be so in Plato's idealism. In V.7 of the Chapter IV on Maya (Negativity) we can see how the absolute Self gives recognition to the Universal Concrete Self.



The idea of a Superman is relevant to this chapter only insofar as it affords reference to an accepted notion in Western philosophy, wherein, by transcending good and evil, an absolutist touch is recognizable in an actual living person. The eschatological implications of the absolutist life possible to man are only weakly implied therein. For the purposes of the present chapter it is necessary to keep in mind not only the actual living personality characterized by traits of possible Superman-hood, but also the more Dionysiac feature of transcending life in a fully eschatological sense. Eschatology, moreover, can be viewed from a scientific or a theological context.


Vedantic eschatology does not contradict or violate the spirit of a scientific or even a mathematical eschatology, understood in the sense outlined in Paul Deussen's writings cited above.. In fact he has the intention of putting together Vedantic eschatology and his own summarized view of eschatology derived from the writings of Kant and Schopenhauer, It is permissible for us to think that the a priori innate world of time, space, causality, conceptually and synthetically understood, can be equated to its own categorical schematic counterpart which is the analytic hierophantic world of empirical appearances. This latter world is the natural counterpart of the former hypostatic one when conceived in terms of intelligible and conceptual categories, rather than in the geometrically visible form of Kant's schematismus.


The a priori and the a posteriori can thus cancel themselves out into the perfect neutrality of the Absolute. Although Deussen does not push his views to such justifiable eschatological conclusions as we do, nothing in what he states is against such an interpretation. The methodology proper to such an equation of the a priori Absolute, with its own a posteriori counterpart brings us to the main conclusions of the methodology outlined in the second chapter of this work.


In that chapter we did not rely on the German idealists such as Schlegel, Schelling, Schleiermacher and Fichte who were evidently influenced by Upanishadic thought as well as by the mystical tradition established by Eckhart, Tauler and others. Nor did we refer to later German philosophers like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, but instead we referred to Bergson's finalized reduction of multiple relative time into one unique absolute time.


The gist of what Bergson has proved can be stated in one sentence if we say that the metaphysician and the physical scientist are equally qualified to be philosophers in a unified and integrated sense, wherein perceptual and conceptual factors cancel out as numerator and denominator having an epistemological equality between them. Such is the scientific presupposition of the possibility of a final union of the Self with the non-Self in the absorption of both into the Absolute which is the same as the pure Nirvana of this chapter.


We can rely on Paul Deussen's analysis and summary of the Vedantic position in this matter. This will enable us to see how the main Vedantic presuppositions on the subject of eschatology do not in any way violate the broad lines in which the attainment of the Absolute has itself been imagined by modern thinkers of the West. We reproduced in some detail the summary of the Vedantic version of salvation which is called mukti, but which has its two main sub-divisions which are jivanmukti (liberation while yet alive) and videhamukti (disembodied liberation, or liberation properly applicable to spirit). The ambivalence or polarity to which the spirit of man must be considered as subject, and where the union between counterparts is fully finalized, justifies the view of a series of types of superior men who might express the underlying ambivalence in a more or less pronounced manner. The parity, reciprocity, cancellability or complementarity between the counterparts of the Self involved in the emergence of a superior man might have different degrees of duality implied between them.


When the fusion is most perfect and complete there is no throbbing of the engine or instrument of action. The unmoved mover and the pure act meet in the complete silence such as that of the flywheel of a great smooth-running engine.


Emancipation in Vedanta has been referred to as a kind of suddhibhrit (the gaining of purity). In other contexts it has been referred to as sattvasuddhi (purity in the truth of the substance) and as satta samanya (equality of status between the substantial existence of the Self and the non-Self). We have also seen in the previous chapter that some of the Yoga Upanishads refer to these counterparts in the same cancelable manner. Thus cancellability of counterparts is of the very essence of the finalized eschatological doctrine, both as found in Vedanta and in modern scientific or philosophical thought.



[1] The verses of Narayana Guru to which reference is made will be found on pp.1213-1228


[2] Nietzsche, "The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music" trans. C. Fadiman, (from) "The Philosophy of Nietzsche", p.966.


[3] Nietzsche,p.967


[4] ibid. p.980


[5] Bhagavad Gita, p.147


[6] Bhagavad Gita,p. 272


[7] "Ecce Homo", from the Philosophy of Nietzsche, p. 902.


[8] Deussen, Phil. Up., pp. 411-412