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Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka once again. This is my translation of the Vyāsa's commentary on the first 13 aphorisms of the Section I (On concentration) in Pātañjalayogasūtra-s.
If you do not understand what Sattvaguṇa or Sattva, Rajoguṇa or Rajas, Tamoguṇa or Tamas, tattva-s, and so on are, you may consult the Trika glossary and Tattvic Chart. Granted, these documents contain knowledge pertaining to Trika system (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir), but with the respective "adaptations", they may be really useful.
What are those adaptations?: e.g. Trika enumerates 36 tattva-s or categories, while Pātañjalayoga (the present system being studied) only enumerates 25. Well, a first fix would be that you "might" consider Trika's tattvic scheme to be an enhancement of that of Pātañjalayoga. In short, the last 25 tattva-s (from Puruṣa to Pṛthivī) out of the 36 would be the scope studied by Pātañjalayoga. Granted, the definition of Puruṣa and Prakṛti given by Trika is not exactly the same as that given by Pātañjalayoga, but the information is still useful. Besides, the three Guṇa-s or qualities forming Prakṛti are also described to a certain point. In fact, read the entire Trika section if you like, specially that portion dedicated to give an overview of the Trika system. Ah!, also read all that is related to Sāṅkhya and Yoga in First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3).
Of course, I will also insert the Patañjali's aphorisms on which Vyāsa is commenting. Even though I will not comment on either the original sūtra-s or the Vyāsa's commentary, I will write some notes to make a particular point clear when necessary. Vyāsa's commentary will be in black color while the original Patañjali's aphorisms will be shown in deep red color. Note that the very Vyāsa's commentary will have a number similar to the commented aphorism.
This is a "pure translation" document, that is, there will be no original Sanskrit, but sometimes there will be a minimal quantity of transliterated Sanskrit in the translations themselves of the stanzas. Of course, there will not be any word for word translation. Anyway, there will be very often transliterated Sanskrit in the explanatory notes. If you are a blind person using a screen reader and do not want to read the notes, or simply if you are not blind but want to skip the notes, click on the respective "Skip the notes" link to jump directly onto the next stanza.
Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.
And now begins the instruction regarding Yoga||1||
Commentary - "Átha", this (word) means (the beginning of) a topic|
It is to be understood that (this) scripture (dealing with) the instruction regarding Yoga (is) the subject (to be studied)|
Yoga is Samādhi or Perfect Concentration|
And this (Yoga is) a quality related to all conditions of the mind|
(Those) mental conditions (are the following:) Kṣipta --restless--, Mūḍha --stupefied--, Vikṣipta --distraught--, Ekāgra --one-pointed-- (and) Niruddha --arrested or suppressed--|
In that distraught mind --cetas--, Samādhi or Perfect Concentration is subordinated to (its) distraction. (This Samādhi) is not on the Yoga's side --i.e. it does not belong to Yoga--|
However that (Samādhi occurring) in an one-pointed mind --cetas-- brings enlightenment about a real entity1 and destroys the Kleśa-s or Afflictions2 , loosens the bonds of Karma (and) leads to the arrested or suppressed state of mind. That (Samādhi) is to be called Samprajñātayoga|
Besides, that (Samprajñātayoga) concerns "Vitarka, Vicāra, Ānanda (and) Asmitā"3 . We will make (this subject) known later on|
Nevertheless, when all (mental) modifications are suppressed, (that is) Asamprajñātasamādhi||1||
1 "Brings enlightenment about a real entity", this phrase means "reveals the real nature of things".
2 Traditionally, five afflictions are enumerated: ignorance (avidyā), egoism (asmitā), attachment (rāga), aversion (dveṣa) and the will-to-live or fear of death (abhiniveśa).
3 Firstly, do not worry about those kinds of Samādhi (Vitarka, etc.) as Vyāsa himself (as he says) will explain them to you later on.
Commentary - With the desire of expressing the features of that --i.e. of Samprajñātayoga and Asamprajñātayoga--, this aphorism arose -
Yoga is the suppression of the modifications of mind||2||
On account of the absence of the word "sarva" --i.e. "all"--1 , Yoga is to be also called --i.e. Yoga should also include-- Samprajñātayoga|
Because the mind has a (triple) nature (appearing in the form of) Prakhyā --i.e. sentience, in which Sattvaguṇa is predominant--, Pravṛtti --i.e. mutability, in which Rajoguṇa is predominant-- (and) Sthiti --i.e. inertia, in which Tamoguṇa is predominant--, it (must) consist of the three Guṇa-s or qualities|
Undoubtedly, (when) the Cittasattva2 , whose nature (is) Prakhyā, (is) combined with Rajas (and) Tamas, it becomes fond of power (and) external objects|
(When) that very (Cittasattva is) mixed with Tamas, it becomes prone to unrighteousness, ignorance, lack of renunciation and detachment (and) weakness|
(When) that very (Cittasattva has its) veil of delusion and infatuation thoroughly removed (and) begins to shine, (if) mixed with a slight measure of Rajas, it becomes prone to righteousness, knowledge, renunciation and detachment, (and) power|
(When) that very (Cittasattva) is free from the sting (represented by that) small portion of Rajas, stands firmly in its true nature (and attains) the whole knowledge about the difference between Buddhisattva3 (and) Puruṣa4 , it becomes prone to the meditation (known as) Cloud of Virtue5 |
The meditators describe that (form of meditation) as the highest meditation6 |
The Power of Consciousness (is) unchangeable, untransmissible, (illuminator of) things presented or shown7 , pure and infinite. This Vivekakhyāti or Knowledge that discriminates or discerns the difference between Buddhi and Puruṣa (is) of the nature of the Sattva quality (and) therefore opposed (to Citiśakti or the Power of Consciousness)|
For this reason, (when) the mind has no interest in that (Vivekakhyāti or Discriminative Knowledge), shuts out even that knowledge. Remaining in that state (only) retains the latent impression8 . That (is) Seedless --i.e. without any object-- Samādhi or Perfect Concentration9 . It is called Asamprajñātayoga (because) there is no Samprajñāna --i.e. knowledge of the tattva-s or categories attained and retained by an one-pointed mind through the way of Samprajñātayoga-- in that (state)|
That Yoga (consisting of) suppression of the mental modifications (is) of two kinds10 ||2||
1 Vyāsa refers to the fact that Patañjali did not write: "Yoga is the suppression of all modifications of mind". If so, he should have written: "Yogaḥ sarvacittavṛttinirodhaḥ". Note that I final "ś" in "yogaś" changes to "yogaḥ" before the new word "sarva". This change is regulated by the Rules of Sandhi or combination, specially those related to Visarga Sandhi, of course.
2 This term indicates simply the mind which has evolved from Sattvaguṇa. In other words, in that mind Sattvaguṇa is predominant. That is why it is purely cognizant.
3 "Buddhisattva" is simply the sattvic or pure Buddhi (intellect). By means of this "special" intellect that results from the yogic practice, one can realize the Self.
4 "Puruṣa" is the Self or pure Consciousness. He will also be called Citiśakti or the Power of Consciousness by Vyāsa later. When someone realizes the difference between Buddhisattva (sattvic intellect) and Puruṣa, attains final Emancipation. The difference is that Buddhisattva is still "slightly" mutable, while Puruṣa is immutable. The means to attain that realization is the Eight-limbed Yoga (Aṣṭāṅgayoga), which will be studied in detail later.
5 "Dharmamegha" or "Cloud of Virtue" is the final stage in meditation, when the meditator becomes indifferent even to the powers of omniscience, omnipotence, and so on. After this kind of Samādhi, the highest state accrues to a meditator. It is so called, because someone wanting to attain final Liberation must be thoroughly virtuous. Well, during the stage of Dharmamegha, all virtues are poured into the meditator and thus he is entitled to achieve complete Emancipation or Kaivalya.
6 Another meaning of "Prasaṅkhyāna" is "Discriminative Knowledge" or "Vivekakhyāti".
7 Citiśakti makes Buddhi (intellect) conscious of the objects. In other words, Citiśakti reveals the objects through Her Light so that Buddhi may behold them.
8 Only the latent impressions of Vivekakhyāti or Discriminative Knowledge are retained, this is the meaning. The latent impressions are stored in the causal body. The aggregate of all latent impressions or saṁskāra-s constitutes ego or Ahaṅkāra.
9 "Nirvījasamādhi" or "Samādhi without any object" is that Samādhi in which there is no object to meditate on. It is not always a synonymous with Asamprajñātasamādhi... careful! Asamprajñātasamādhi is that condition attained when you renounce to all Samprajñāna or knowledge of tattva-s (categories). You obtained that Samprajñāna through Samprajñātayoga, obviously. According to Pātañjalayoga, you cannot attain the highest Liberation without firstly entering into Asamprajñātasamādhi, and you cannot attain Asamprajñātasamādhi without firstly getting Samprajñāna. However, Nirvījasamādhi is not necessarily the same thing as Asamprajñātasamādhi. All that, along with Nirvījasamādhi, will be explained by Vyāsa later on, do not worry then. Besides, the term "nirvīja" (seedless --i.e. objectless--) may also be written "nirbīja".
10 Final "iti" indicates the end of the present commentary.
Commentary - When the mind --cetas-- is in that state, due to the absence of objects, what (is) the nature of Puruṣa, the knower of Buddhi or intellect ? -
Then, there is an abiding in the essential nature of the Seer||3||
At that time, Citiśakti or the Power of Consciousness abides in Her essential nature, just as (She does) in Kaivalya --i.e. Final Liberation or the state in which the mind remains suppressed or arrested forever--. However, when the mind is in Vyutthāna --i.e. any state other than Samādhi, that is, the ordinary state of mind--, (Citiśakti abides) even thus --i.e. She also abides in Her essential nature--, (but) She does not appear to be so||3||
Commentary - How then (does that occur?) --i.e. How does Citiśakti appear not to abide in Her essential nature during Vyutthāna though She actually does?--. (It occurs so) because objects are presented (to Her) -
On other occasions, there is identity (between the Seer and) the modifications (of mind)||4||
Those mental modifications or fluctuations (arise) during Vyutthāna --i.e. in any state except Samādhi--. (In Vyuthāna,) that Puruṣa or Self does not appear to be different from (those) vṛtti-s or modifications --i.e. He appears to be identical with them--. Accordingly, a sūtra or aphorism (composed by the sage Pañcaśikha states the following:) "Consciousness (is) only one, the modification of Buddhi (is) only Consciousness"|
The mind is equal to a loadstone (and) acts solely in proximity. (Then, this mind,) due to its character of being a "dṛśya" or object (seems to) become the property of Puruṣa, the owner --svāmī--|
For that reason, the cause of knowledge or cognition of the mental modifications is the beginningless association of Puruṣa (and the mind, which is an object to Him)||4||
Commentary - Furthermore, (even though) those supressible (modifications or fluctuations) of mind are many -
The (mental) modifications, which form a group of 5, may be or may not be based upon Kleśa-s --afflictions--||5||
The Kliṣṭa-s (are those modifications) caused by the Kleśa-s or Afflictions. They --i.e. the Kliṣṭa-s-- are the sources of the multitude of latent impressions of action1 . (In turn,) the Akliṣṭa-s have Khyāti or Discriminative Enlightenment as (their) scope, (and) are opposed to the function or operation of Guṇa-s2 or qualities of Prakṛti|
The Akliṣṭa(vṛtti-s) even are in the stream or flow of Kliṣṭa(vṛtti-s). The Akliṣṭa(vṛtti-s) are even in the holes or gaps of Kliṣṭa(vṛtti-s) (and) Kliṣṭa(vṛtti-s) (arise) in the holes or gaps of Akliṣṭa(vṛtti-s)|
The latent impressions of that kind are brought about by the vṛtti-s or (mental) modifications --both Kliṣṭa(s) and Akliṣṭa(s)--, and (new mental) modifications or vṛtti-s (are produced) by (these) latent impressions. Thus, the wheel of (mental) modifications (and) latent impressions turns round and round incessantly. Therefore, a mind of that kind --i.e. with that wheel revolving and revolving within it-- abides in itself or becomes reabsorbed (in its matrix or Prakṛti, where the three Guṇa-s are in equilibrium, when) the function or operation (of those Guṇa-s) has been terminated or ended||5||
1 There is another type of latent impression which is based on "sentiments". It is known as Vāsanā. Vāsanā acts as a kind of recipient which is filled up by Karmāśaya or latent impression of action. Every time you perform actions, good or bad ones, you experience a sentiment or feeling. Also, when you reap the fruits of your own actions, you experience a particular sort of sentiment according to the quality of the fruit. In turn, the term "saṁskāra" is a usual term for designating "latent impressions" in general. Thus, do not mistake Vāsanā for Karmāśaya, as they are not the same thing.
2 In other words, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Commentary - Those (mental) fluctuations, (both) Kliṣṭa-s --i.e. afflictive or born of the Kleśa-s or Afflictions-- and Akliṣṭa-s --i.e. non-afflictive-- are of five kinds -
Correct knowledge, false knowledge, verbal knowledge about something that is nonexistent, (deep) sleep and recollection --smṛti-- (are the five modifications of mind)||6||
Commentary - Of those -
Direct perception, inference and testimony --āgama-- are the Pramāṇa-s||7||
The Pramāṇa (known as) direct perception is the mental modification (which is caused) by the influence of the external object (on the mind) through the channel of the Indriya-s --i.e. five Jñānendriya(s) and Manas, in this context1 --, (and) whose scope is mainly the accurate determination of the special (features) of the object, which is characterized by (both) special (and) general (features)|
The fruit or result (of Pratyakṣa or direct perception is) the awareness of (this) mental modification as undistinguished from Puruṣa or Self|
"Puruṣa or Self is the one who is conscious of Buddhi or intellect", we will examine (this subject) later on|
The (mental) modification (known as) Anumāna or inference is mainly the accurate determination of the general (features of an object,) whose scope (is) that --i.e. the entity or mark--. (The entity or mark is) that relationship which is present in the stages where the thing to be inferred occurs (and) which is absent in the stages where that very thing does not occur|
For instance, the moon (and) the stars (are) possessed of motion as Caitra --i.e. John Doe-- because both of them change (their) position. On the other hand, the Vindhya range does not arrive (at any new position, and therefore) it is not possessed of motion|
A thing --i.e. something, anything-- which has been directly perceived or inferred by a trustworthy (person) is taught (by him) through words elsewhere for the sake of conveying his own knowledge (to other people). (Well,) Āgama or testimony (is) the (mental) modification arising in the hearer, (and) whose scope (is) that (very) thing verbally (described by the aforesaid reliable person)|
(When) the speaker or exponent of those things (is) untrustworthy, (or) is one who has neither directly perceived nor inferred what he wants to convey, (then) that Āgama or testimony gets lots --i.e. it is not valid--. However, (as far as) that thing directly perceived (or) inferred by the original exponent (is concerned,) it is not lost --i.e. it is valid-- (when transferred to other people)||7||
1 The term "indriya" generally comprehends "Jñānendriya-s" (Powers of perception) and "Karmendriya-s" (Powers of action), but in this particular situation, Vyāsa is referring only to Jñānendriya-s plus Manas (mind as controller of the senses and creator of thoughts). Jñānendriya-s arise from Manas, while Karmendriya-s emerge from Ahaṅkāra or ego. Thus, Vyāsa is here mentioning only the five Jñānendriya-s along with their source or Manas.
Viparyaya is illusory knowledge based on mistaking a particular form for something completely different||8||
Commentary - Why (is) it --i.e. Viparyaya or false knowledge-- not Pramāṇa or valid means of acquiring knowledge? Because it is annulled by Pramāṇa, since the object of Pramāṇa really exists. Therefore, the annulment of false knowledge by Pramāṇa is (often or commonly) seen, namely, (e.g.) the act of viewing two moons (is) annulled by the real or true object, (that is,) by the direct perception of only one moon|
This very ignorance --i.e. false knowledge-- is five-limbed, (viz.) nescience, egoism, attachment, aversion (and) will to live or fear of death --abhiniveśa--, i.e. (the five) "Kleśa-s or Afflictions". They (are also known) by their own technical names, (namely,) "Tamas, Moha, Mahāmoha, Tāmisra (and) Andhatāmiśra". These will be explained in connection with the mental impurities||8||
Vikalpa proceeds from a verbal cognition about something which is devoid of reality||9||
Commentary - It --i.e. Vikalpa-- does not reach (the category of) Pramāṇa, (and) does not reach (the category of) Viparyaya either. Although it is devoid of reality, the use (of Vikalpa) is seen to be related to the power of verbal knowledge. For instance, "Caitanya or Consciousness (is) the essential nature of Puruṣa --the Self--". When Consciousness Itself (is) Puruṣa, then what (is) here indicated (and) by what? (Vikalpa)vṛtti is in the statement --i.e. the statement creates the vṛtti or mental modification called Vikalpa in the mind of the hearer--, as (in the phrase) "The cow of Caitra --i.e. John Doe--"|
Similarly, "Puruṣa or Self (is) inactive (and) devoid of material characteristics", "The arrow stands, will stand (and has) stood"; (in these examples,) in the absence of movement, only the verb is (being) moved|
Likewise, "Puruṣa has the characteristic of not being created or produced"; (here,) no (positive) characteristic or feature related to Puruṣa is considered (but) only the absence of the characteristic of being created or produced. For that reason, that characteristic is considered to be Vikalpa, and it has its use through that (process of indicating an idea about something which is nonexistent)||9||
The modification (known as) Nidrā (or deep sleep) is based upon the mental state of nonexistence||10||
Commentary - That (Nidrā or deep sleep) is characterized by pratyaya or mental cognitions, --i.e. Nidrā is a vṛtti or mental modification--, since there is recollection when one wakes up|
How (is that made evident)?... (in this way:) "I slept well, my mind (is) clear; (that sleep) has cleared1 my understanding"; (or else,) "I slept poorly, my mind has become sluggish (and) wanders unsteadily", (or) "I slept heavily as fallen into a profound stupor, my limbs (feel) heavy, my mind (is) exhausted (and) languid, (and) remains as if stolen (by somebody else)"|
Certainly, this very recollection of what has been known (during deep sleep) would not exist if there was no experience of pratyaya or mental cognition. Also, the memories concerning that --i.e. deep sleep--, (and) whose sphere of influence is that (state itself), would not exist|
For that reason, deep sleep (is) characterized by pratyaya or mental cognition, --in short, Nidrā is a vṛtti or mental modification--|
During Samādhi or Perfect Concentration, that (Nidrā or deep sleep) is to be suppressed just as (in the case of) other mental cognitions||10||
Smṛti (or recollection) is the reproduction, without taking anything from any other sources, of the thing that was (previously) experienced||11||
Commentary - "Does the mind remember the mental cognition or the object?"|
The mental cognition influenced --i.e. produced-- by an object reveals the form or nature of both object (and) the process of knowing, (and) produces latent impressions of similar kind|
The latent impression (is) indeed that form which is colored or pigmented by what causes its own manifestation --i.e. by the external cause that formed the latent impression--. (In turn, saṁskāra or latent impression) generates recollection consisting of both the object (and) the process of knowing|
Of those, Buddhi or intellect (is) the form of the previous or original process of knowing --i.e. cognitive process--, (while) recollection (is the reappearance of) the form of the previously (experienced) object. Again, that (recollection) is of two kinds: (1) Recollection of an imagined (thing) --i.e. a unreal thing--, and, (2) Recollection of (a thing) not imagined --i.e. a real thing--. During sleep, (there is) recollection of imagined (things), but at the time of wakefulness (there is only) recollection of (things) not imagined|
All recollections appear from the experience(s) of Pramāṇa --correct knowledge--, Viparyaya --false knowledge--, Vikalpa --verbal knowledge about something that is nonexistent--, Nidrā --deep sleep-- (and) Smṛti --recollection--|
Besides, all these mental modifications or vṛtti-s are of the nature of pleasure, pain (and) delusion or stupefaction. Pleasure, pain and delusion or stupefaction --moha-- will be explained in connection with Kleśa-s or Afflictions|
Attachment is the consequence of pleasure; aversion is the consequence of pain; and1 delusion or stupefaction (is) ignorance|
All these mental modifications are to be suppressed|
When there is suppression of these (mental fluctuations), Samprajñātasamādhi or Asamprajñātasamādhi occurs2 ||11||
1 As a matter of fact, the word "punar" would mean here "besides, moreover", but it was translated as "and" for the sake of easy reading.
2 Samprajñātasamādhi literally means "Perfect Concentration or Samādhi pertaining to Samprajñātayoga". Samprajñātayoga is a sort of Yoga in which you look to attain Samprajñāna or a profound knowledge of the tattva-s or categories of Creation which is gained and retained through concentration. In other words, you attempt to grasp the core of the mystery behind this universal Manifestation. Samprajñātasamādhi is the culminating stage in Samprajñātayoga. Anyway, this will be explained by Vyāsa in detail in I, 17. On the other hand, Asamprajñātasamādhi literally means "Perfect Concentration or Samādhi pertaining to Asamprajñātayoga". Asamprajñātayoga is a type of Yoga which lies even beyond Samprajñātayoga. This will be explained by Vyāsa in I, 18.
Commentary - Now, what (is) the means for suppressing these (mental modifications)? -
There is suppression of that (i.e. "of the previous five mental modifications") by means of Abhyāsa --practice-- and Vairāgya --renunciation--||12||
That which is known as the river of mind flows in both directions. It flows toward good and also flows toward evil or sin|
Certainly, that which (is) inclined toward the sphere of Viveka --i.e. Vivekakhyāti or discriminative knowledge which allows a person to perceive the difference between Buddhi or intellect and Puruṣa or Self-- leading to Kaivalya or Final Liberation, flows toward the good|
(On the other hand, that which is) inclined toward the sphere of Aviveka --i.e. non-discrimination of the difference existing between Buddhi and Puruṣa-- leading to Saṁsāra or Transmigration, flows toward the evil|
Of those, the flow toward (external) objects is made powerless through renunciation. (In turn,) through the practice of contemplating Viveka --i.e. discriminative knowledge-- is unlocked the flow of (that very) Viveka|
Thus, the suppression of mental modifications is depending on both (means) --i.e. renunciation and practice of discriminating--||12||
Abhyāsa or practice is the effort to attain to that Sthiti or mental peace||13||
Commentary - Sthiti (is) a continuity of calmness and tranquility in a mind devoid of vṛtti-s or fluctuations. For obtaining that (state of mental serenity), the effort, the energy (and) the strength of resolution along with a desire to accomplish that (goal, that is,) the practice or repeated effort leading straight to that (Sthiti is) Abhyāsa or practice||13||
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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