Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes yoga which is Chapter 10 of the English translation of the Parama Samhita, representing a manual of the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism philosophy. These pages summarize ritualistic worship, initiation and other topics, as contained in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school

Chapter 10 - Yoga


1. O, Janārdana!, expound, to me, in due elaboration, the path of the Yoga (concentrated effort); as also all the essential parts constituting it, as I am very anxious to know.


2. Among all kinds of knowledge, the knowledge of the Yoga is greater; because it is by Yoga-knowledge that one gains the supreme happiness of emancipation.

3. A mere performance of a rite by one, without a correct knowledge of the application of the mind in its performance, will not do the great good derivable from it; therefore practise the Yoga.

4-6A. That Yoga, as determined in the Śāstras, is of two kinds, viz., Jñāna-Yoga and Kriyā-Yoga by the proper classification of Karma on the one hand and by the varying attitude of the mind on the other. That is called which keeps the mind steady and composed in regard to any particular matter.

6B-9. If a man fixes his mind and keeps it firm in doing any particular act or rite, that is Karm-Yoga which destroys all sin. If one in the pursuit of knowledge binds his mind to it without suffering in the effort, that is to be understood as Jñāna-Yoga, which is auspicious and brings to one all success. He whose mind experiences no pain in the practice of either of these, attains to the place which is well-famed as the abode of Viṣṇu. For both of these Yogas, God alone is the object.

10. Propitiation of him (worship) can be done by knowledge, as well as by service. Control of body and discipline of mind (penance, etc.), it is laid down, constitute Karma-Yoga.

11-13. Absence of desire and composure of mind are regarded as the features of Jñāna-Yoga. Protect the organ of speech from harshness; the hand from doing what should not be done; the feet from going where it ought not to, and from false step in dancing; one’s sexual organs from connection with blameable women; the secret organ from passing wind as desired; the mind from resolving upon evil.

14-16. The control exercised in this manner according to dharma is reputed Yama (self-control). Vows, fasts, and the giving of alms, these when used for controlling the senses (indriyas), are called Niyama (discipline) and become aids to Karma-Yoga. Whatever work is done on the principle of Karma-Yoga (with due concentration upon what is being done), having done it to completion, make it over to the Supreme Soul, setting it at His feet as you do water for washing, even if the work happens to be one done with a view to securing benefit for oneself.

17-20 One who understands Yoga must have regard only to service rendered to God, being in great doubt which work is in accordance with true knowledge and which goes against it, as the interval between the two is great. This indeed is the teaching of the tantra (Śāstra). The ears which are desired for hearing sweet sounds, the eyes desired to see beautiful objects, the skin desired for touching soft things, the nose desired for smelling fragrant things, the tongue desired for tasting food and the mind desired for noting what takes place in the world about, the knowledge by means of which one controls these organs—is what is called Vairāgya (non-desire).

21. The placing of one’s mind in the Supreme Soul and its retention there without a break is to be understood as Samādhi (absorption of the mind in the Supreme). Knowledge (jñāna) is the best means to the attainment of Yoga.

22. One who is certain of the one only end, should first of all control the organs of sense by non-desire (Vairāgya), then must concentrate his mind: and fix it upon the Lord of Gods, as the only end wished for.

23-24 He must contemplate Him, as if he sees Him near, doing obeisance to Him as if he were in touch with Him, as if he heard Him speaking being seated before him; he must thus contemplate without the slightest fear. In this way practise the Yoga; God will then be pleased by this means.


25. Men’s minds (Citta) have long been infused with the association of worldly life. How can these be controlled by the instantaneous access of Jñāna-Yoga?

26. Even when the mind is made free of all evil by this Yoga, at the end of the absorption of Samādhi, it will find it impossible to get over its own nature.

27. At one time when under control, man regards his mind free of all evil. That mind gets out of control, when the opposite stimulus appears.


28. It is just so, as you have said. It is indeed difficult to keep the mind under control. By long practice however, the mind must attain to the condition of uprooting desire.

29. Therefore these impressions of worldly life get scattered all round. When these impressions of life show relaxation, make firm the composure of your own mind by effort.

30. By the achievement of this composure of mind and by the giving up of all associations, your own action, having gained for you the Vaikuṇṭha mansion, protects you.

31. By effort repeated many times, bring your mind by slow steps to concentration on one aim (ekānta). Never attempt to do this rapidly.

32. He who attempts to bring his mind under control too quickly, brings down upon him obstructions to gaining his object, or becomes liable to diseases of various kinds.

33. As one brings the irrepressible cupid (in man) under control, by slow beginnings, and by long protracted effort, the great minded-ones bring their minds, in the same manner, under discipline.

34-37 A. In a place unfrequented by human beings, free from molestation, pleasing to the mind, without undue trouble inregard to food and free movement, without being exposed to winds too cold or too hot, or to dews, holy and with a plentiful supply of water, calling up your strength, unmoved, having well practised the Yoga, and bearing it habitually, one should investigate it with great care; and from time to time calmly and without injuring his body he should then contemplate upon his own births, existence, destruction, etc.

37B-38. In one contemplating in this manner and wishing for the protection of God, both interest and devotion in the practice of the path of the Yoga arises. Being of undisturbed mind, let him then lead his mind into it.

39. Let him note what it is that is attractive to his mind, and, having investigated carefully, let him remove the cause of that attraction.

40. One who knows it, even if he be earnest in the pursuit of the Yoga, must know that this is subversive to his practising of the Yoga firmly.

41-42. His mind thus awakened, let him go, even by effort, to an unoccupied place, where, by absence of stimulating cause, by want of contact, by fear, by knowing the evil consequences arising from it, and by the passing of the years of his life, non-desire in things desired, arises.


43. By the means expounded above enjoyment for man ceases. How can the desire for enjoyment cease in the mind of man by the means expounded?

44. It remains in the mind deeply rooted in the wish “let this be mine”, “let this be mine”. How can the uprooting of that desire, firmly rooted in thought, be brought about?

45. For things enjoyed, desire ceases by the acquiring of knowledge. How can the desire for things unenjoyed be prevented from attracting the mind?


46. One should enjoy things enjoyable which are not opposed to dharma; but, when they are not obtainable for enjoyment, understand their enjoyment by seeing, hearing etc.

47. Having well understood its nature, the sorrow resulting therefrom, the evils arising therefrom and the fear, make an effort, unperturbed to bear these in mind.

48. You would find many Yogins who had failed in this effort of conquering desire. “I shall not thus fail in my effort”; bear this resolve in mind, by every effort of yours.

49. Observe those who, having practised for long the Yoga by means of concentration resulting from the knowledge of its true nature, fall a pray to ignorance by means of those causes of desire which are indeed trifling.

50. In a man of cultivated mind who has understood things and thus investigates this matter, real faith in the path of Yoga springs in very truth.

51. In a man who sees enjoyments as yet un-tasted, just exactly as those already enjoyed by him, the interest and devotion in the worship of God grows from day to day.

52. Therefore, with your senses under control, worship the God of Gods with enthusiasm by means of mental worship (Dhyāna-Yajña) without relaxation.

53. In this manner worship the Supreme God in a holy place, in the faith that He is before you, with all desirable things acceptable to Him.

54. Worship thus done by him will not, by His Grace, suffer destruction in the least. Nor will any obstruction divine or human come in his way.

55. Even-though one is an accomplished Yogin and has brought his mind under control, he must take it that his mind is not his own, and he should not take it as being under his control.

56. One should not show one's achievement of non-desire to the common people; if one is capable of it, his accomplishment is for demonstration before God,

57. Having practised non-desire adequately, and well disciplined your sense by intense concentration, bear in your heart always and without relaxation the Supreme God.

58. Whenever one’s mind feels drawn to a gem or gold (hiraṇya), let him, without hesitation, bring about God’s entry into it.

59. Having thus disciplined the mind and being ever in the practise of the Yoga, one attains, by the grace of the God of Gods, to God Himself.


60. What is the Yoga which is achieved by works, and what is the Yoga of knowledge; what is the sort of man to whom each is in an eminent degree suitable?


61. To a man of uncultivated mind, but put into the path of the righteous, Karma Yoga is the path to be prescribed as knowledge is unattainable by Him.

62. To one who is disciplined by education and has become cultured in consequence, the Yoga of knowledge is the better, as he would find the course of works difficult of achievement.

63. One whose mind is disciplined by adopting either of these courses, to him Viṣṇu shows His grace in a short period of time.

64. No other doctrine or teaching is of the slightest use for men for destroying sin; nor for attaining the grace of Viṣṇu, if only ones mind finds pleasure in Yoga.

65. Half verse; not translated owing to lapses.

66. If the mind is after the attainment of Supreme Bliss no obstructions will come in the way, nor will the mind be darkened by ignorance.

67. O, Pitāmaha! this course of Yoga has been expounded to you briefly as above.

68-69. Man can learn by the practice of the Yoga his own nature; also the nature of the sense-organs (indriyas) and the good and the evil propensities, of the mind (citta); (he can also know) the coining of evil and the significance of dreams etc. He can also gain knowledge of the nature of the minor deities (devatās) and the results of works (karma).

70. A pursuer of the path of Yoga shall not abbreviate anything that has to be done, nor by effort increase it. He should not be confounded by sorrow, nor accept as permanent, happiness that may come.

71. Be firmly seated, with your mind concentrated, with all your organs under control to the extent possible, resting your body on pillars, etc., and holding your breath under control.

72. Contemplating, think over what has to be done and the means needed for doing it; the highest act of worship of God and His supreme qualities without any notion of attaining benefits.

73. In this manner, make clear the mind, made inactive by wordly thoughts. Remove the long established association of mind with wordly things by main effort.

74. By effort practise Prāṇāyāma (holding of the breath) to the measure of your strength. By the practice of this, one gains the power of concentration for certain.

75. The length of time during which a man could hold his breath in his lungs (Koṣṭa), that control of the breath during the time is called Prāṇāyāma.

76. That control of the breath is regarded as of three kinds by Yogins by the holding (sthambana) he filling (pūraṇa) or the emptying (recana), of the breath.

77. By these three means the prāṇāyāma (control of breath) has to be practised. By the practice of this prāṇāyāma, the subtle elements (tanmātras) increase or improve.

78. By the improvement of the tanmātras, the ability to contro breath increases for the practitioners of the Yoga. When this improves the sins diminish in proportion.

79. Controlling the breath by the effort of Prāṇāyāma one gets control over the activities of his mind; a devotee attains to the Supreme Abode of Bliss of Viṣṇu for ever by this means.

In the Parama Saṃhitā of the Pāñcarātra, the Tenth Chapter, entitled Yoga.