The Markandeya Purana

by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237

This page relates “the yogi’s bliss” which forms the 40th chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 40 is included the section known as “conversation between Sumati (Jada) and his father”.

Canto XL - The Yogi’s bliss

Dattātreya explains to Alarka the ailments that beset a yogis soul and mentions their five varieties. He describes the yogi’s duties, the stages by which final emancipation is attained, the eight premonitory marks of final emancipation, and the results of union with the Supreme Spirit.

Dattātreya spoke:

I will succinctly declare to thee the ailments[1] that prevail in the soul of a yogi when it is viewed: hearken to me.

He longs for rites performed with a view to future fruition, and the objects of human desire, for women, the fruits of alms-giving, for science, for supernatural power, for the baser metals and riches, for heaven, god-head, and supreme godhead, for actions that yield copious supplies of elixir vitæ,[2] for flying on the storm-winds, for sacrifice, and the power of inhabiting water and fire, for the fruits of śrāddhas that contain every gift, and religious mortifications. Thus he longs when mentally ailing by reason of fasting, meritorious acts, and worship of the gods, and by reason of those several actions.

A yogi should strenuously restrain his mind when beset with such thoughts. By making his mind cling to Brahma he is liberated from ailments. When these ailments are overcome other ailments still beset a yogi, arising out of goodness, passion and ignorance.

Ailments arising from illusive vision,[3] from hearing, and. from the deity,[4] and mental aberration,[5] and enthusiasm[6]—these five are roots of bitterness which tend to embarass the religious meditations of yogis. The ailment arising from illusive vision is such to a yogi because in it appear Vedic matters, poetic matters, science and the mechanical arts without end. The ailment connected with hearing is so-called because he perceives the meanings of sounds in all their completeness, and he receives sound from thousands of yojanas. The wise call that ailment one from the deity, as in the case of a madman, when like a god he sees all around and in the eight directions. When the yogi’s mind wanders without support through his own fault by reason of his fall from all the rules of good custom[7]—that is well known as mental aberration. When the seething whirl-pool[8] of knowledge like a whirl-pool of water engulphs the mind—that ailment is called enthusiasm. All beings of divine origin, when their religions meditation is destroyed by these great and terrible ailments, revolve again and again.

Therefore the yogi, having clad himself with a mental white blanket, should cast his mind prone on supreme Brahma, and meditate on him. A yogi should always be intent on religious meditation, he should eat sparingly, he should subdue his senses. The yogi should contemplate in his head the subtle conditions of the seven objects, viz., earth &c.; he should contemplate the subtle earth, until he comprehends its subtlety.[9] He deems the earth to be his soul, and he quits its bonds. Moreover he quits the subtle taste in water,[10] and also the form in the fire; and he likewise quits touch in the wind, as he bears the subtle form in mind; and he quits the subtle activity of the sky, and likewise its sound. When he enters with his mind into the mind of all created things, his mind bearing a mental subtle condition of them becomes subtle also. Likewise the man, conversant with religious devotion, on attaining to the intellect of all creatures, gains and relinquishes the most perfect subtlety of intellect. For the man conversant with religious devotion, who relinquishes these seven subtle things after having thoroughly comprehended them, there is no retrogression, O Alarka! The soul-cognisant man, after fully seeing the subtlety of these subtle conditions of the seven objects, then utterly abandoning it may proceed to supreme bliss. And towards whatever created thing he evinces feeling, O king! to that very thing he becomes attached, and he perishes. Therefore the corporeal being, who after perceiving the mutually-associated subtle things abandons them, may gain supreme bliss. Having conjoined these very seven subtle things, O king! passionlessness towards created and other things tends to the final emancipation from existence of the man cognisant of the entities.[11] When he becomes attached to perfumes and other delights, he perishes; he again reverts to human nature apart from Brahma. Whatever subtle created thing- the yogi desires, after transcending the subtle conditions of these seven objects, in that very thing he meets his extinction, O king! He meets his extinction in the bodies of gods or Asuras, or of Gandarvas, Nāgas, or Rākṣasas; nowhere does he gain any attachment.

Where minuteness, and lightness,[12] greatness and the power of obtaining every thing, freedom of will,[13] and lordship, and magical domination and again self-mortification are—one finds these eight sovereign-like qualities fully indicate union with the Supreme Spirit,[14] O king. The quality of minuteness is far subtler than the subtle; lightness means swiftness; greatness consists in being universally reverenced; the power of obtaining everything, inasmuch as nothing is impossible of obtainment by him; freedom of will consists in his power of pervading all things; and lordship inasmuch as he is lord; magical domination indeed, the yogi’s seventh quality consists in his subjugating things; where the wishes are said to remain stationary,[15] there[16] is self-mortification. By these causes of sovereignty I have declared O king! in eight points the indicatory marks[17] of the yogi’s final emancipation from existence, and of his sublime union with the Supreme Spirit.

Thenceforth for him there is no birth, nor growth, nor death; he neither decays nor does he alter; neither from Bhūr and the other worlds, nor from the family of created beings, does he experience severance, or moisture, or burning or dryness; nor is he captivated by sounds or other sensual impressions; nor do sounds and other impressions exist for him; one who experiences them is not united with them. For as an impure lump of gold, when its impurities are purged away by fire, unites with another lump into one, and undergoes no difference; even so the ascetic, when his faults are burnt out by the fire of religious devotion, unites with Brahma. As fire when thrown into fire may attain sameness; and, bearing the same name and having the same substance may not be perceived by any distinction; even so the yogi, when his stains are burnt away, attains to union with supreme Brahma, and never acquires a separate existence, O king! As water when thrown into water unites, so the yogi’s soul attains to sameness in the Supreme Soul.

Footnotes and references:




Read rasāyana-cayāḥ for rasāyana-cayaḥ?


Prātibha. Prof. Monier-Williams gives the meaning “relating to divinanation,” but in this place it seems to relate to vision, as the context shows.






Āvarta. Deliberation, revolving (in the mind), so Prof. Monier-Williams; but it seems a much stronger word.






For tat-saukhyam read tat-saukṣmam; so a MS. in the Sanskrit College.


For atsu read apsu?










But better, for apyuktam read santyaktam? “Where the objects of the wishes are renounced.”


For yatra read tatra?


Saṃsūcaka: a word not in the dictionary.

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