Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Bhishma said, 'I shall now, O son of Pritha, discourse to thee upon the four kinds of yoga meditation. The great Rishis, obtaining a knowledge of the same, attain to eternal success even here. Great Rishis gratified with knowledge, with hearts set upon Emancipation, and conversant with yoga, act in such a way that their yoga meditation may get on properly. These, O son of Pritha, being freed from the faults of the world, never come back (for rebirth). Liberated from liability to rebirth, they live in their original

p. 51

[paragraph continues] Soul-state. 1 Freed from the influence of all pairs of opposites (such as heat and cold, joy and sorrow, etc.), ever existing in their own (original) state, liberated (from attachments), never accepting anything (in gift), they live in places free from the companionship of wives and children, without others with whom disputes may arise, and favourable to perfect tranquillity of heart. There such a person, restraining speech, sits like a piece of wood, crushing all the senses, and with mind undividedly united by the aid of meditation (with the Supreme Soul). He has no perception of sound through the ear; no perception of touch through the skin; no perception of form through the eye; no perception of taste through the tongue. He has no perception also of scents through the organ of smell. Immersed in yoga, he would abandon all things, rapt in meditation. Possessed of great energy of mind, he has no desire for anything that excites the five senses. The wise man, withdrawing his five senses into the mind, should then fix the unstable mind with the five senses (into the Intellect). Possessed of patience, the yogin should fix his mind which always wanders (among worldly objects), so that his five gates (under the influence of training) may be made stable in respect of things that are themselves unstable. He should, in the firmament of the heart, fix his mind into the path of meditation, making it independent of the body or any other refuge. I have spoken of the path of meditation as the first, since the yogin has first to crush his senses and the mind (and direct them to that path). The mind, which constitutes the sixth, when thus restrained, seeks to flash out like the capricious and flighty lightning moving in frolic among the clouds. As a drop of water on a (lotus) leaf is unstable and moves about in all directions, even so becomes the yogin's mind when first fixed on the path of meditation. When fixed, for a while the mind stays in that path. When, however, it strays again into the path of the wind, it becomes as flighty as the wind. The person conversant with the ways of yoga-meditation, undiscouraged by this, never regarding the loss of the toil undergone, casting aside idleness and malice, should again direct his mind to meditation. Observing the vow of silence, when one begins to set his mind on yoga, then discrimination, knowledge, and power to avoid evil, are gained by him. 2 Though feeling annoyed in consequence of the flightiness of his mind, he should fix it (in meditation). The yogin should never despair, but seek his own good. As a heap of dust or ashes; or of burnt cow-dung, when drenched with water, does not seem to be soaked, indeed, as it continues dry if drenched partially, and requires incessant drenching before it becomes thoroughly soaked, even thus should the yogin gradually control all his senses. He should gradually withdraw them (from all objects). The man that acts in this way succeeds in controlling them. One, O Bharata, by oneself directing one's mind and senses to the path of meditation, succeeds in bringing them under perfect

p. 52

control by steadfast yoga. The felicity that he feels who has succeeded in controlling his mind and senses is such that its like can never be obtained through Exertion or Destiny. 1 United with such felicity, he continues to take a pleasure in the act of meditation. Even in this way yogins attain to Nirvana which is highly blessed.'"


50:1 I follow the commentator in his exposition of this verse. Anavisandhipurvakam is explained as nishkamam. Ubhayam is prachinamaihikam cha karmam. Apriyam is equivalent to vadham. The substance of priyam, etc., is thus given: Moksham prati tu karmanah karanatwam duranirastam.

50:2 Aturam is explained as pierced by lust, wrath, etc. Asuyate is equivalent to dhikkaroti. Janah is explained by the commentator as parikshakah but it would be better to take it as standing for people generally. Tasya is an instance of the genitive for the accusative. Tat refers to nindyam karma, sarvatah means sarvashu yonishu. Janayati Janena dadati. The object of the verse is to show that sinful acts produce fear both here and hereafter.

50:3 Loka is in the locative case, the final vowel indicating to the locative having been dropped for sandhi. Niravishan is an adverb, equivalent to samyak-abhinivesam kurvan. Tattadeva means "those and those" i.e., possessions, such as putradaradikam. Kusalan is sarasaravivekanipunan. Ubhayam is explained as karma-mukhin and sadyomuktim. Bhisma here points out the superiority of the latter kind of Emancipation over the former; hence Vedic acts or rites must yield to that yoga which drills the mind and the understanding and enables them to transcend all earthly influences.

51:1 The soul-state is the state of purity. One falls away from it in consequence of worldly attachments. One may recover it by yoga which aids one in liberating oneself from those attachments.

51:2 The three words used here are vichara, viveka, and vitarka. They are technical terms implying different stages of progress in yoga. The commentator explains them at length.

52:1 Everything that man has is the product of either exertion or destiny; of exertion, that is, as put forth in acts, and destiny as dependent on the acts of a past life or the will of the gods or pure chance. Yoga felicity is unattainable through either of these two means.

Next: Section CXCVI