Science of the Absolute Chapter 9 - Verses
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Created on Monday, 20 October 2008 18:53
Last Updated on Friday, 23 May 2014 14:16
Published on Monday, 20 October 2008 18:53
Written by Patrick Misson
A GARLAND OF VISIONS OF THE ABSOLUTE
IX. YOGA-DARSANAM (VISION OF MEDITATION)
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,
YUNAKTI CA, and gets united,
NIRODHA-RUPAH SAH AYAM, that which is of the form of restraint (of the mind),
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.
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,
BRAHMANI, in the Absolute,
VILIYATE, gets merged,
(ITI)YAT, (such) what is,
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,
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),
TATAH TATAH, from that or that other,
ETAT, this (the mind),
NIYANIYA, having restrained,
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,
KALPITAIH, with the objects of wilful desire,
VASAN-JALAIH-SAHA, together with the various incipient memory factors belonging to the will,
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),
DRISYAM DRIGATMAKAM (BHAVATI), the seen is the form of the Seer,
DRIGRUPE, in the form of the Self,
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).
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.
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,
NIDRA ALASYA ADI NASINI, of sleep, fatigue etc., dispelling potency,
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,
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).