Sanskrit & Trika Shaivism (English-Home)

JavaScript is disabled! Check this link!

 Vyāsa comments on Yoga: Section I (aphorisms 14 to 26 - pure)

Pure translation


Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka once again. This is my translation of the Vyāsa's commentary on the aphorisms 14 to 26 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.


 Aphorism 14

And that (practice), when endowed with a uninterrupted and true devotional attitude for a long time, (has) certainly firm foundations||14||

Commentary - (When) continued for a long time (and) assiduously practiced in a uninterrupted manner together with austerity, continence --brahmacarya--, knowledge --vidyā-- and faith --śraddhā--, (that practice is said to have been) accomplished with care. (Therefore,) it is firmly established. Thus, the object or goal (of the practice) --i.e. mental tranquility-- is not quickly overcome by the latent impression(s) of Vyutthāna --i.e. "any state but Samādhi or Perfect Concentration", that is, the ordinary fluctuating state of mind--. This is the sense||14||


 Aphorism 15

Vairāgya or Renunciation is known as the act of subjugating the desire for objects seen or repeatedly heard from the scriptures||15||

Commentary - Vaśīkārasañjñā (is a mental state) devoid of "abandoned" (and) "taken"1 . Its nature (is) free from sensual enjoyment by virtue of the discriminative knowledge (acquired) by a mind which is completely free from (such) perceivable things (as) "women, food and drink, (as well as) power". (This very mind) is (also) completely free from things repeatedly heard from the scriptures, (such as) the attainment --prāpti-- of heaven --i.e. going to heaven--, Vaidehya --i.e. a discarnate state on which Vyāsa will comment in the aphorism I, 19-- (or) the dissolution in Prakṛti or Primordial Matter. Even in the (actual) presence of (those) things, (whether) divine (or) not divine, (that mind becomes free from them) by perceiving their defects. (This is, undoubtedly,) renunciation||15||

Skip the notes

1  Vyāsa refers to a condition of complete detachment, in which one experiences neither attachment ("taken") nor aversion ("abandoned"). Note that detachment is not the same thing as "vulgar indifference". Vulgar indifference is a terrible flaw in a person, something that everybody should avoid to feel. At the most, detachment might be defined as "spiritually-oriented indifference", or a condition in which one person ceases experiencing attachment or aversion toward the external objects.Return 


 Aphorism 16

Indifference to the Guṇa-s, (the qualities of nature), because of a knowledge of Puruṣa is called the highest (Vairāgya or Renunciation)||16||

Commentary -Through the practice of perceiving Puruṣa or the Self, (a yogī,) having seen the defects in things visible (or) described in the scriptures, (becomes) indifferent. (He, owning) an intellect improved and increased by the discriminative knowledge (resulting) from that clarification or purity --i.e. resulting from that state of indifference--, (becomes) "indifferent" to the manifest (and) unmanifested conditions of the Guṇa-s or qualities of Prakṛti --i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas--. Therefore, renunciation (is) two-fold. Of those (two kinds of Vairāgya or Renunciation), the latter (is) a mere clarification or clearness of that knowledge|

When there is emergence of that (last type of Vairāgya or Renunciation, the yogī, full of that) emerged knowledge, thinks thus: "(I have) gotten what is to be gotten; Kleśa-s or Afflictions, which have to be diminished, have been diminished; the succession of existences --i.e. Saṁsāra or succession of birth-death-rebirth--, (which is like a chain) consisting of members --i.e. the links-- being joined together, (and) from whose continuity, having been born (man) dies and having died he is born (again), has been cut"|

Renunciation is the culminating point of knowledge indeed, because Kaivalya or Final Liberation is not different from this --i.e. from Vairāgya or Renunciation--||16||


 Aphorism 17

Commentary - Now "how (is) Samprajñātasamādhi described (in the case of) a mind whose modifications have been arrested or stopped through the (aforesaid) couple of methods or means?" -

Samprajñātasamādhi (is achieved) by means of Vitarka, Vicāra, Ānanda and Asmitā||17||

(When) the gross enjoyment --i.e. the delight in gross objects-- (acts) as a support of a (concentrated) mind, it is (called) Vitarka. (When that enjoyment is) a subtle one --i.e. delight in subtle objects--, (it is known as) Vicāra. (In turn, if there is) delight or happiness, (it is named) Ānanda. (Again, when there is) awareness of individual personality, (it is called) Asmitā. Under those circumstances, the first (kind of) Samādhi (or Perfect Concentration called) Savitarka, --i.e. with or endowed with Vitarka-- contains the set of four --i.e. Vitarka, Vicāra, Ānanda and Asmitā--. The second (kind of Samādhi, called) Savicāra --i.e. with or endowed with Vicāra--, is deprived of Vitarka. The third (kind of Samādhi, known as) Sānanda --i.e. with or endowed Ānanda--, is devoid of Vicāra. The fourth (is) "only I-sense". (This last kind of Samādhi is even) without that --i.e. it is without Ānanda--. All these Samādhi-s are endowed with support1 ||17||

Skip the notes

1  In other words, they need some type of support for concentration, whether it is gross objects (Savitarkasamādhi), subtle objects (Savicārasamādhi), I-sense (Sānandasamādhi) or pure I-sense (Sāsmitāsamādhi).Return 


 Aphorism 18

Commentary - Now, "what (is) the means (of attaining) Asamprajñātasamādhi and1  what (is its) nature? -

(Asamprajñātasamādhi is the) other (type of Samādhi) that is preceded by the practice of stopping the mental fluctuations (which is the natural fruit of the highest Vairāgya or Renunciation, but that) it (still) contains a residue of latent impressions||18||

(When) all mental modifications are thrown down, the arrested state of mind together with the rest of latent impressions (is known as) Asamprajñātasamādhi. The supreme renunciation (is) the means of attaining it|

"(Any) practice endowed with support --i.e. with an object of concentration, whatever it may be-- (is) doubtless not favorable in order to attain that". When (all) mental fluctuations are stopped, an objectless state becomes the support and that (condition) is devoid of things. "A mind accompanied by that practice2  is without support (and) attains a condition of nonexistence, as it were". This objectless Samādhi or Perfect Concentration (is) Asamprajñāta||18||

Skip the notes

1  Even though "vā" generally means "or", it is sometimes interchangeable with "ca" (and). This is what occurs here in the present text. Should it be translated as usual (i.e. as "or"), the sentence would make no sense, except the one asking is addict to give absurd options in his questions.Return 
2  In other words, a mind which practices that supreme renunciation or Vairāgya and attains a state or condition devoid of all objects.Return 


 Aphorism 19

Commentary - This very (Nirbījasamādhi or objectless Samādhi is) certainly of two kinds: [(1) Upāyapratyaya or] a mental state attained through a upāya or means --e.g. knowledge, devotion and so on--; and [(2) Bhavapratyaya or] a mental state attained through a bhava or latent impression of ignorance -

(There are two types of causes for Nirvījasamādhi --a Samādhi without an object to meditate on--: "upāyapratyaya" --the mental condition that is the outcome of a conscious effort by using a method-- and "bhavapratyaya" --the mental condition that is the outcome of latent impressions of ignorance--. The first type produces "Asamprajñātasamādhi", while the second one brings about a similar but not identical state).

(Thus, Nirvījasamādhi is caused by) the mental condition (that is the outcome) of latent impressions of ignorance in the case of both the Videha-s or (discarnate) Deva-s and the Prakṛtilaya-s or those who have dissolved themselves in the primeval constituent principle||19||

Bhavapratyaya pertains to the discarnate gods1  because they, experiencing a state like that of Kaivalya --i.e. Final Liberation-- by means of a mind which uses only its own latencies, get through that sort of karmic result or consequence, (which also derives) from their own latent impressions. Likewise, the Prakṛtilaya-s --i.e. those who have dissolved themselves in the primeval constituent principle, that is, in Prakṛti or Pradhāna--2  experience a state like that of Kaivalya or Final Liberation when (their) mind(s) dissolve in Prakṛti or Pradhāna. (That state lasts for) so long as (their) mind(s) do not turn round and round again by force of (that very) substratum --i.e. latencies--||19||

Skip the notes

1  This is a technical term used to call those yogī-s who have realized the true nature of Mahābhūta-s (ether, air, fire, water and earth) and thus developed the respective latent impressions associated with that realization. Consequently, some of them renounce to run after external objects while others remain glad by beholding those Mahābhūta-s in all around them. This state brings about a type of bliss in them, and they consider the attainment of that bliss to be the highest Liberation. When they abandon their physical bodies the former enter into a kind of objectless Samādhi (Nirbījasamādhi) which is similar to that of Final Emancipation while the latter go to various divine worlds. Of course, such a condition lasts for a limited period of time, according to how strong their corresponding latent impressions are.Return 
2  Prakṛtilaya-s are those yogī-s who simply have dissolved themselves in Prakṛti or Pradhāna (the primeval constituent principle) since they have not realized the true nature of all tattva-s or categories. From Prakṛti all tattva-s from Buddhi through earth emerge. It is the origin of all that is material. Thus, this type of yogī-s do not attain to the state of Puruṣa or Self, but something similar to it, which lasts for a limited period of time.Return 


 Aphorism 20

(However,) in the case of those who tread the path of the conscious effort by using a method --upāya--, (Nirvījasamādhi --which is now "real Asamprajñātasamādhi"--) is preceded by faith, vigor, recollection, full concentration (and) true knowledge||20||

Commentary - Upāyapratyaya pertains to yogī-s|

Faith (is) serenity of mind. That (faith) certainly protects the yogī like a virtuous mother. Undoubtedly, vigor appears in that person who has faith (and) looks for discriminative knowledge. Recollection is present in a person in whom (that) vigor has emerged. And in the presence of recollection, the mind, (by becoming) calm and unperplexed, is perfectly absorbed in concentration. (In turn,) Prajñāviveka or discernment pertaining to true knowledge approaches a person whose mind is perfectly concentrated. By means of that (Prajñāviveka, such a person) knows the thing(s) properly --i.e. as they really are--. From the practice of that --i.e. faith, vigor, etc.-- and from renunciation in respect of knowable(s)1 , Asamprajñātasamādhi ensues||20||

Skip the notes

1  Another possible translation would be "from having that for its object", i.e. "from having Asamprajñātasamādhi for its object".Return 

to be continued


 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

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.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.