Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Vyasa said, 'O excellent son, asked by thee, I have told thee truly what the answer to thy question should be according to the doctrine of knowledge as expounded in the Sankhya system. Listen now to me as I expound to thee all that should be done (for the same end) according to the Yoga doctrine. The uniting together of Intellect and Mind, and all the Senses, and the all-pervading Soul is said to be Knowledge of the foremost kind. That Knowledge should be acquired (through the preceptor's aid) by one that is of a tranquil disposition, that has mastered his senses, that is capable (by meditation) of turning his gaze on the Soul, that takes a pleasure in (such) meditation, that is endued with intelligence and pure in acts. One should seek to acquire this Knowledge by abandoning those five impediments of Yoga which are known to the wise, viz., desire, wrath, cupidity, fear, and sleep. Wrath is conquered by tranquillity of disposition. Desire is conquered by giving up all purposes. By reflecting with the aid of the understanding upon topics worthy of reflection, 1 one endued with patience succeeds in abandoning sleep. By steady endurance one should restrain one's organs of generation and the stomach (from unworthy or sinful indulgence). One should protect one's hands and feet by (using) one's eyes. One should protect one's eyes and ears by the aid of one's mind, one's mind and speech by one's acts. One should avoid fear by heedfulness, and pride by waiting upon the wise. Subduing procrastination, one should, by these means, subdue these impediments of Yoga. One should pay one's adorations to fire and the Brahmanas, and one should bow one's head to the deities. One should avoid all kinds of inauspicious discourse, and speech that is fraught with malice, and words that are painful to other minds. Brahma is the effulgent seed (of everything). It is, again, the essence of that seed whence is all this. 2 Brahma became the eye, in the form of this mobile and immobile universe, of all entities that took birth. 3 Meditation, study, gift, truth, modesty, simplicity, forgiveness, purity of body, purity of conduct, subjugation of the senses, these enhance one's energy, which (when enhanced) destroys one's sins. By behaving equally towards all creatures and by living in contentment upon what is acquired easily and without effort, one attains to the fruition of all one's objects and succeeds in obtaining knowledge. Cleansed of all sins, endued with energy, abstemious in diet, with senses under complete control, one should, after having subdued both desire and wrath, seek to attain to Brahma, 4 Firmly

p. 183

uniting the senses and the mind (having drawn them away from all external objects) with gaze fixed inwards, one should, in the still hours of evening or in those before dawn, place one's mind upon the knowledge. If even one of the five senses of a human being be kept unrestrained, all his wisdom may be seen to escape through it like water through an unstopped hole at the bottom of a leathern bag. The mind in the first instance should be sought to be restrained by the Yogin after the manner of a fisherman seeking at the outset to render that one among the fish powerless from which there is the greatest danger to his nets. Having first subdued the mind, the Yogin should then proceed to subdue his ears, then his eyes, then his tongue, and then his nose. Having restrained these, he should fix them on the mind. Then withdrawing the mind from all purposes, he should fix it on the knowledge. Indeed, having restrained the five senses, the Yati should fix them on the mind. When these the mind for their sixth become concentrated in the knowledge, and thus concentrated remain steady and untroubled, then Brahma becomes perceptible like a smokeless fire of blazing flames or the Sun of effulgent radiance. Indeed, one then beholds in oneself one's soul like lightning fire in the skies. Everything then appears in it and it appears in everything in consequence of its infinitude. Those high-souled Brahmanas that are possessed of wisdom, that are endued with fortitude, that are possessed of high knowledge, and that are engaged in the good of all creatures, succeed in beholding it. Engaged in the observance of austere vows, the Yogin who conducts himself thus for six months, seated by himself on an isolated spot, succeeds in attaining to an equality with the Indestructible. 1 Annihilation, extension, power to present varied aspects in the same person or body, celestial scents, and sounds, and sights, the most agreeable sensations of taste and touch, pleasurable sensations of coolness and warmth, equality with the wind, capability of understanding (by inward light) the meaning of scriptures and every work of genius, companionship of celestial damsels,--acquiring all these by Yoga the Yogin should disregard them and merge them all in the knowledge. 2 Restraining speech and the senses one should practise Yoga during the hours after dusk, the hours before dawn, and at dawn of day, seated on a mountain summit, or at the foot of a goodly tree, or with a tree before him. 3 Restraining all the senses within the heart, one should, with

p. 184

faculties concentrated, think on the Eternal and Indestructible like a man of the world thinking of wealth and other valuable possessions. One should never, while practising Yoga, withdraw one's mind from it. One should with devotion betake oneself to those means by which one may succeed in restraining the mind that is very restless. One should never permit oneself to fall away from it. With the senses and the mind withdrawn from everything else, the Yogin (for practice) should betake himself to empty caves of mountains, to temples consecrated to the deities, and to empty houses or apartments, for living there. One should not associate with another in either speech, act, or thought. Disregarding all things, and eating very abstemiously, the Yogin should look with an equal eye upon objects acquired or lost. He should behave after the same manner towards one that praises and one that censures him. He should not seek the good or the evil of one or the other. He should not rejoice at an acquisition or suffer anxiety when he meets with failure or loss. Of uniform behaviour towards all beings, he should imitate the wind. 1 Unto one whose mind is thus turned to itself, who leads a life of purity, and who casts an equal eye upon all things,--indeed, unto one who is ever engaged in Yoga thus for even six months,--Brahma as represented by sound appears very vividly. 2 Beholding all men afflicted with anxiety (on account of earning wealth and comfort), the Yogin should view a clod of earth, a piece of stone, and a lump of gold with an equal eye. Indeed, he should withdraw himself from this path (of earning wealth), cherishing an aversion for it, and never suffer himself to be stupefied. Even if a person happens to belong to the inferior order, even if one happens to be a woman, both of them, by following in the track indicated above, will surely attain to the highest end. 3 He that has subdued his mind beholds in his own self, by the aid of his own knowledge the Uncreate, Ancient, Undeteriorating, and Eternal Brahma,--That, viz., which can not be attained to except by fixed senses,--That which is subtiler than the most subtile, and grosser than the most gross, and which is Emancipation's self.' 4

"Bhishma continued, 'By ascertaining from the mouths of preceptors and by themselves reflecting with their minds upon these words of the great and

p. 185

high-souled Rishi spoken so properly, persons possessed of wisdom attain to that equality (about which the scriptures say) with Brahman himself, till, indeed, the time when the universal dissolution comes that swallows up all existent beings.'" 1


182 :1 Sattwena is explained as 'by intelligence or the knowledge.'

182 :2 The construction, as explained by the commentator, is Brahma tejomayam sukram; yasya sukrasya sarvam idam tasyapi Brahma rasah. The last word means sarah.

182 :3 Both the Vernacular translators have skipped over this line. The meaning is this: Brahma opened his eyes for becoming many, as the Srutis declare, and thereupon he became many. This, as the commentator explains, Ikshana-kartritvena sarvatmakatwam gatam, or by a glance Brahma became the Soul of all things mobile and immobile.

182 :4 The commentator explains that Brahmanah padam means prakritim. He thinks, therefore, p. 183that the last clause of the second line means 'should seek to subdue prakriti which is the layasthanam of mahattattwa.' I prefer the obvious sense of the words.

183:1 Parimitam Kalam is explained by the commentator as equivalent to six months as the srutis declare.

183:2 These two verses set forth the Yoga ideal. By the practice of Yoga all these are capable of being acquired or attained. But then the Yogin who suffers himself to be led away by those valuable possessions is said to fall in hell, for the enjoyment of this kind is nothing but hell compared to the high object for which Yogins should strive. Pramoha, Brahma, and Avarta, are technical terms. Equality with the wind means speed of motion, power to disappear at will, and capacity to move through the skies.

183:3 A chaitya is a sacred or a large tree which stands firm on its roots and about which all round a platform of earth is raised. Vrikshagra means 'in the front of a tree,' probably implying 'under the shade of its spreading branches.'

184:1 The commentator explains that he should imitate the wind by becoming asangah, i.e., unattached to all things. Aniketah means without a house or fixed abode.

184:2 It is difficult to understand what is meant by Savda-Brahmativartate. I follow the commentator. 'Brahma as represented by sound, is, of course, Pranavah or Om, the mystic monosyllable standing for the trinity.' K.P. Singha, taking Savda-Brahma for an accusative, regards it as implying,--'such a man transcends all Vedic rites.' This is precisely the meaning attached to it by the commentator where it occurs in verse 7 of section 236 ante.

184:3 The inferior order here referred to is, of course, the Sudra order. The commentator points out that whereas only the three superior orders axe regarded to be eligible for the study of Sankhya and for inculcation of such Srutis as Tattwamasi (That thou art), here Vyasa lays down that as regards the Yoga path, all are eligible to betake themselves to it.

184:4 'Fixed senses,' i.e., when the senses are fixed on the mind and the mind on the understanding. Ajaram is immutable or unchanging, or that in which there is no change for the worse (or for the better). By subtility is indicated the incapacity of being apprehended, and by mahattaram is meant infinity.

185:1 The anu anudrisya is explained as Guruvachanamanu. Thus seems to be the true meaning, otherwise avekshya would be pleonastic, abhutagatim is bhutasamplavaparyantam, i.e., till the destruction of all beings. Imam is sastraprasiddham.

Next: Section CCXLI