The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Jnana-Yoga Explained which is chapter 262 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the two hundred sixty-second chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 262 - Jñāna-Yoga Explained

Note: This chapter explains the mystic significance of every letter of the Mantra OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VĀSUDEVĀYA (vv. 2-16).—vv. 4-16 State the colour (complexion), the seer or sage, the deity and the chandas or meter of each of the latters of the Mantra OM NAMO BHAGVATE VĀSUDEVĀYA.—For the Nyāsa of the Mantra on one’s own body see (vv 17-20). The whole chapter is full of Yogic occultism.

Pārvatī said:

1. Let me know Jñāna-yoga after knowing Dhyāna-yoga. O Lord of Devas, see to it that I become immortal.

Īśvara said:

2. This king of Mantras called “the twelve-syllabled one” that has been already enunciated, should be practised for Japa, O lady of tender limbs. It is the essence of the Vedas and it is eternal.

3. Praṇava is at the beginning of all Vedic passages. It is that which initiates all the Yajñas in the Cosmic Egg (universe). It is at the beginning in all the rites. It bestows all the Siddhis.

4. It is white in colour. Madhucchandas is (its) sage (Seer). Brahmā is the deity. Gāyatrī identical with the greatest Ātman (is the metre). Its employment is in all holy rites.

5. This is the Bīja (ritualistic seed) identical with Brahman. The entire universe converges here. It is called the Tattva (essence) of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas. It is of the form of Sat and Asat. It is immutable.

6. The syllable NA is yellow in colour. It is eternal and has Jala as its Bīja. Pṛthvī (too) is Bīja. Manas is the Chandas (metre). By due practical application it dispels poison.

7. The syllable MO has Pṛthivī (Earth) as its Bīja along with Viśvāmitra (as the sage). Its colour is red. It is highly refulgent. It gives wealth when duly employed.

8. The syllable BHA has five colours. It is eternal with Jala as the Bīja. It is associated with Marīci (as the sage). When worshipped it gives all worldly pleasures.

9. The syllable GA has red colour and the lustre of gold. It is accompanied by Bharadvāja (as sage). Vāyu is the Bīja. It gives Ādibhoga (the primordial pleasure) to those who duly practise it.

10. The syllable VA is as white as Kunda flower (Jasmine). Vyoman (Sky) is the Bīja and the syllable is highly powerful. Employed with due utterance of the sage and Mantrī (? the metre) it bestows salvation.

11. The syllable TE is a modification of Vidyut (lightning). Soma (Moon) is remembered as the great Bīja. Aṅgiras (is the sage). Ardhamūla (half of the original) is to be avoided. It is to be desired in all the rites.

12. The syllable is smoke-coloured. Sūrya (Sun) is the Bīja. It has the speed of mind. It is associated with Pulastya as the sage. When employed it grants all happiness.

13. The syllable SU is imperishable and is always refulgent like a Japā flower. Manas is the Bīja. It is very difficult to endure. It is based on Pulaha (as the sage). It gives things to the suppliant.

14. The syllable DE is imperishable. Its Bīja is in the form of Haṃsa (swan). It has Karbura (variegated) colour. Siddhi is the Bīja of great inherent strength in Kratu (Yajña). It has to be employed in Kratu (sacrifices).

15. The syllable is devoid of impurities. Yajamāna (the householder performing the Yajña) holds the Bīja always. Pracetar (is the sage). Śrī is to be resorted to for salvation and it grants salvation.

16. The principle of Mahat is the Bīja for the syllable YA. It is tawny-coloured. Khecarī (is the Mudrā). Bhūcarī is the great Siddhi. It is necessary to think about Bhū (Earth) always.

17. The ultimate rest is in Bhṛguyantra (the mystic diagram of Bhṛgu). It carries out all rites on being employed. The metre is Gāyatrī. The order of Dehanyāsa (ritualistic touch of the limbs) of these syllables is as follows:

18. One shall perform the Nyāsa of the syllable OM always (? everywhere) and that of NA on the two feet. The syllable MO is at the region of the privy and the syllable BHA is in the navel lotus.

19. The Nyāsa of syllable GA is in the heart and the syllable VA is in the middle of the throat. The syllable TE is in the right hand and the syllable is to go to the left hand.

20. One should perform the Nyāsa of syllable SU in the mouth and tongue, of the syllable DE in both the ears, of the syllable in both the eyes and of the syllable YA on the forehead.

21-22. The devotee then shows the Mudrās (hand gestures), viz. Liṅga Mudrā, Yoni Mudrā and Dhenu Mudrā one after the other and then all together simultaneously. After all these have been performed, O goddess, the devotee joins the Bījākṣara in the form of the Mantra everyday. He is not affected by sins. This group of the twelve syllables is the group of the twelve Liṅgas and syllables (?) resting on Kūrma (Divine Tortoise).

23-25. Twelve Śāligrāma pebbles alone are adored. Along with them these syllable also are to be meditated upon in accordance, with the colours, sages and Bījākṣaras. The utterance in the assembly of the mode of application (Viniyoga) and the names of the metres shall adorn the Dhyāna, Japa and Pūjā. O excellent sage, that results in the salvation of the devotees from the bondages arising from Karmas. There is no doubt about it.

26. Indeed, this Yoga named after Dhyāna and Karma is very difficult to attain. I shall expatiate on Dhyānayoga once more. Listen with mental concentration.

27. The destruction of sins is brought about by Dhyāna Yoga ānd not otherwise. Karmayoga is undoubtedly a Yoga consisting of Japa and Dhyāna.

28. The twelve-syllabled Mantra originates from Śabdabrahman through the Vedic text. One gets everything through Dhyāna. One attains purity through Dhyāna.

29. The exalted Brahman is attained through Dhyāna. Union with Mūrti (image of the deity) takes place through meditation. The vision of Nārāyaṇa is Sāvalaṃba Dhyānayoga (Dhyāna Yoga with dependence (Dependent Dhyāna Yoga)).

30. A second (Dhyānayoga) with the entirety as the basis is glorified by Jñānayoga. Brahman is formless. It cannot be comprehended. It is always an omni-formed refulgence incarnate.

31. It has the brilliance resembling that of ten million lightning streaks. It is unmutilated and ever risen (never sets).

It is either attributeless or endowed with attributes (It is both). It is (like) the expanse of clear (unsullied) firmament.

32. There is another aspect in the form of worldly pleasures. The personified one is one with agitated sense-organs and means of action. The permanent one is in the normal (quiescent) state. It is beyond the Tūryā and incomparable.

33. The Vairāja (offshoot of Virāṭ) is unborn. It is manifest cum-unmanifest. It is brilliant for ever. The manifold one arising from everything is conducive to the spread of virtue (Dharma). That which is Nirvikalpa (the incomprehensible? not admitting an alternative) has none superior to it.

34. The excellent one is Agotra (having no lineage). It is the cause of hundreds of Cosmic Eggs. It is devoid of desires and sense of possession. It is devoid of impurities. It is the form without even the intellect.

35. With your (spiritual) (refulgence comprehend the incorporeal Īśa,who is free from opposing pairs. It is mere witness. It resembles the pure crystal. It is (existence) devoid of the distinction between meditator and meditated-upon. It is incomparable and unfathomable.

Pārvatī said:

36. How is that perfect knowledge obtained? How can one attain Nārāyaṇa in the form of a Yogin? O Lord, tell me about Amūrta (incorporeal) Nārāyaṇa and his region.

Īśvara said:

37. The head is the most important of all limbs. The great (physical form) is held up by the head.

38. The Lord is adored with the head. (Then) the entire universe is adored. Yoga practice is held (done) through the head. One’s power is held by means of the head.

39. The refulgence is held through the head. Life is stationed in the head. The sun is the head both of the Amūrta (incorporeal) and Mūrta (corporal).

40. Chest is the world (called) the Earth. Leg is Rasātala (Nether-world). This is the characteristic feature in the Cosmic Egg in regard to the form of Mūrta and Amūrta.

41. Viṣṇu alone is the form of Brahman. He is himself the basis of Jñāna Yoga. He creates all living beings. He protects everything too.

42. Indeed, he destroys everything. He is identical with all the Devas. The Lordship of Viṣṇu over all the months is eternal.

43. Hence, one remembering Hari in all the days, in all the months, in all the Yāmas, becomes liberated.

44. Especially during Cāturmāsya, one becomes liberated through Dhyāna alone. Resorting to the Amūrta is extremely greater than Gaṅgā Tīrtha and the meditation upon it.

45. Undoubtedly, all Dānas during Cāturmāsya are esteemed. Sins committed during all the months are dispelled by the auspicious rites performed during Cāturmāsya.

46. Everything mentioned before shall be of everlasting benefit, O goddess. No doubt need linger in this matter. Therefore, by all means, Jṅāna Yoga is excessively excellent.

47. The Lord, served in the form of Viṣṇu gives Brahman and salvation. O auspicious lady, listen attentively to the state of being stationed in Mūrta as well as Amūrta.

48. This should not be divulged to anyone and everyone, to one’s own son or another’s son, to one who has no self-control, to the wicked, to. the fickle-minded one, to a hypocrite.

49-50. One should not discuss the subject of Yoga with one worthy of being censured, one who has dropped down from his own utterance (i.e. does not keep his promise). It should be offered to one of steadfast devotion, to one of self-control, to one possessing the quality of quiescence. It should be given to a devotee of Viṣṇu even if he is a Śūdra. The region (position) of Brahman is not (to be) narrated to an impure non-devotee even if he is a twice-born.

51. O lady ascetic, accept immediately, as a result of your devotion to me, the Yogic Siddhi. Understand that the great Nārāyaṇa is to be understood only through Jñāna (spiritual knowledge). He is Abhūta (free from elemental substances).

52. He is stationed in the head of all the embodied ones in the form of Nāda (Eternal Sound). He alone resides on the head of the individual soul like the solar disc.

53. The supreme Almighty, the Soul, is ever risen and subtle in form. But in a personified form he is led into (represented as) the Mūrti (idol). O goddess, he is attained through regular Yogic practice.

54. Indeed, all the Devas reside in the body of a Yogin. In the right ear the great rivers reside.

55. The Supreme Lord Śaṃbhu is stationed in the heart. The eternal Brahmā is in the navel. Pṛthvī (Earth element) is at the tip of the sole. The water element is present everywhere.

56. Tejas (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Ākāśa (Ether) reside at the centre of the forehead. The five Tīrthas reside in the right hand. There is no doubt about it.

57. The Sun constitutes the right eye. The Moon is cited as the left eye. Bhauma (Mars) and Budha (Mercury) are cited as the two nostrils.

58. Guru (Jupiter) is in the right ear. So Bhṛgu (Venus) is in the left ear. Śanaiścara (Saturn) is said to be in the mouth (face). Rāhu is proclaimed to be in the anus.

59-60. Ketu is mentioned as occupying the sense-organs. All the Planets (thus) occupy the body of a Yogin. (In fact) the fourteen worlds occupy the body of a Yogin and function always, O fair lady. Hence one should always practise Yoga, particularly in Cāṭurmāsya. (So) a Yogin dispels sin.

61. If a Yogin closes both the ears and performs Dhāraṇā (fixation) of the mind on the head, he undoubtedly is rid of all the sins.

62a. I do not see any difference between Viṣṇu and one who practises Yoga.

62b-6Sa. If in the house of anyone, at least one Yogin eats even a morsel of food, he certainly redeems three generations along with him.

63b~64a. If a Brāhmaṇa becomes a Yogin, O fair lady, he certainly destroys heaps of sins of all living beings through the mere vision.

64b-65a. If a Sacchūdra regularly performs holy rites and is engrossed in (the realization of) Brahman and also practises Yoga with devotion to a good preceptor, he also attains the benefit of Amūrta. worship.

65b-66a A Yogin with strictly restricted diet practising meditation on the supreme Brahman especially during Cāturmāsya, will attain merger in Hart.

66b-67a. Just as iron turns into gold on being touched by the hand of a Siddha, so also the Mūrta. By the pleasure of Hari, a man attains dissolution (in Hari).

67b-68a. Just as the water of highway falling into Gaṅgā is resorted to even by the Devas and also yields all benefits, so also the Yogin becomes the bestower of salvation.

68b-69. Just as fire blazed always through mere dried cowdung and then is glorified by Yājñikas (persons performing Yajñas) as the mouth of Devas, so also the Yogin becomes entitled to the attainment of salvation by means of continuous practice.

70. O goddess, this Yoga is always resorted to by the preceptors such as Sanaka and others who are masters and desirous of salvation. It bestows Jñānasiddhi (perfection of knowledge).

71. At the outset, Yogins attain the perfect knowledge. O Pārvatī, the moment it is acquired, a Yogin becomes (well-equipped).

72. Thereupon, the Siddhis beginning with Aṇimā (minuteness) present themselves to him directly. But the most excellent one among Yogins should not let his mind tilt to it.

73. Through Yoga, the merit accruing from performing all the Kratus and donating everything is acquired. All the cherished desires are attained through Yoga. Is there anything not obtained through Yoga on the earth?

74. Hṛdayagranthi (knot of perversion in the heart) is of course not created through Yoga. Mamatā (sense of possession) which is our enemy is not generated through Yoga. The mind of a Yoga-siddha cannot be carried off by anyone.

75. Only he is a Yogin without impurities, whose mind is firmly stationed within the head with all the pains rendered steady forever in the casket in the form of tenth door[1] (Brahmarandhra).

76. If a man closes his ears and attentively listens, he will hear the sound vibration. That is the tip of Praṇava. That alone is the eternal Brahman.

77. That alone is termed Ananta (unending one); that alone is the excellent Amṛta (nectar) this sound vibration in the breath at the nostrils, the great spot of the gastric fire.

78. This Pada (place) in the form of Jñana has five elements for its adoḍe. After attaining the Pada there shall be the liberation from the bondage of birth and worldly existence.

79. But its acquisition is very rare in the world, which gives perfection of Yogic power.

80. Thus the whole of the universe, mobile and immobile, appears identical with Brahman. This is the Pada called Vijñāna. That is Lord Viṣṇu himself who is the all-pervader. After realizing him as stationed in the head and as the greatest of the leading Yogins, like a serpent that sheds its slough, a creature (individual soul) sheds its slough of Māyā originating from the physical world.

Footnotes and references:


Probably the metaphor is based on the body being called Navadvārapura.

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