Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

This page relates ‘Preface to the Yoga-Sutras’ of the Yoga Sutras, English translation with Commentaries. The Yogasutra of Patanjali represents a collection of aphorisms dealing with spiritual topics such as meditation, absorption, Siddhis (yogic powers) and final liberation (Moksha). The Raja-Martanda is officialy classified as a Vritti (gloss) which means its explanatory in nature, as opposed to being a discursive commentary.

Preface to the Yoga-Sutras

The doctrine of Pessimism as evolved by Schopenhauer and developed by Hartmann created quite a sensation in Europe. The novelty, the bold generalizations, the closeness and vigour of ratiocination with which it was set forth, endowed it with qualities which could not but attract attention and claim consideration. But, carefully analysed, it does not appear to have any pretension to novelty or originality to which its admirers lay claim.

The doctrine of evil as inseparable from the world is nearly as old as humanity. It was the dread of evil that drove the primitive man to seek the shelter of superhuman power, and laid the foundation of religion. There would have been no religion if there had been no dread of evil, here or hereafter. Nor would philosophy have had its birth had not the necessity arisen to discriminate between good and evil. Morality, too, presupposes a differentiation between that which is proper and that which is improper—of a consciousness, however vague and undefined, of future reward and punishment. Doubtless the doctrine assumes constant and unalloyed evil, and not a mixture of good and evil; but in so doing it only places the evil in the present condition, and transfers the good to a hereafter, in a hazy, cloudy, dubious, undefined way, but does not absolutely deny it.

The preeminence of the unconscious Will is the most important element of the doctrine; and it, too, under the names of Freewill, Māyā, Buddhi, and the like, has occupied men’s mind and played its part in philosophy from a pretty remote period of antiquity.

Then comes the repugnance to worldly attractions, love, affection and joy; and under the form of asceticism it is almost as old as civilized man.

The denial of the existence of God is an assumption of no modern date; it unquestionably preceded the formation of human ideas about Divine Providence; and the assumption about the objectification of Will forms the corner-stone of the doctrine of Patanjali.

It might be said that, if thus the leading tenets of the Pessimist doctrine be old, their association into a compact and complete system is not so, and that in this respect it may well claim the full meed of praise for its originality. This, however, cannot be conceded. Even as are its tenets, so is it in its entirety as a system. What Schopenhauer enunciated in his ‘World as Will and Idea’ (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung) in 1819, and Hartmann worked out in his ‘Philosophy of the Unconscious’ (Philosophie der Unbewussten) in 1869, is no other than the nihilist philosophy of Buddha put forth in a modern European garb, or, as an able writer puts it, a system “little more than Buddhism vulgarised.” It is the farthest from my wish to assert that the two German philosophers have surreptitiously, or deliberately, borrowed their system from the Indians: it is almost certain that Schopenhauer at the beginning of this century had no knowledge of any Buddhist Philosophy, and Hartmann, working on the model of his predecessor, had, probably, no occasion to consult the texts of the Śūnyavāda system of the Buddhists as accessible to him in meagre abstracts in European languages. The similitude may be—nay, most probably is—purely accidental, the result of human mind set to thinking in a particular line of ideas arriving at the same conclusion; but it exists, and is as clear as possible, and that is all that is here intended to be emphasized.

The system of Śākya Buddha is a modification of a more ancient and more fully developed doctrine—that of Kapila, as known under the name of Sankhya. Thoroughly logical in its scheme of ratiocination, the Sankhya enunciates that there is no proof of the existence of a Supreme Divinity, and therefore leaves it entirely out of consideration in its scheme of primal causation. Its words, as summarised in the text book of the school, but which is obviously of a much later date than Kapila, are, Īśvarāsiddheḥ: “It is not proved that there is a God.” (Sāṅkhya, Aph. I, 92.) The idea is more fully developed and argued in a subsequent part of the work (Vide infra, pp. 31/). Śākya Buddha, less logical but more bold, adopted this idea in a positive form, instead of keeping the question open by admitting only the. want of dialectic demonstration. Schopenhauer does the same without any reserve, describing theism as “a tradition of the nursery.”

The next subject is Soul or the vitalizing and conscious principle of life. Kapila’s theory recognises its existence, assuming a separate soul for each living being. Buddha did the same. These souls are uncreate and eternal, never coming to an end. Buddha acknowledged and, indeed, made them the basis of his system, but practically, though not in so many words, he denied them absolute eternity, for his theory of Nirvāṇa assigned them an ultimate and final goal after many transmigrations in śūnyatā, vacuity or nihility. It may be that his Nirvāṇa did not extend to absolute niliility, for there is nothing authentic and unquestionable in his sayings; but his immediate followers, who developed the Mahāyāna school, announce it in unmistakable terms, and for the purposes of the present comparison this is enough. The German philosopher goes a step further, and insists on the absolute negation of Soul. His words put in English are, “there is no psyche;” but unable to dispense with it altogether, he supplies its place by an “unconscious will” which plays the part of Soul. Practically this amounts to admitting Soul, but divesting it of its consciousness and eternity.

In the Sāṅkhya system, the category next after Soul is Pradhāna, or Nature, having inherent in it the threefold qualities of goodness, foulness, and darkness, or as the Sāṅkhya-pravacana-bhāṣya defines it, “the equilibrium of the three qualities,” (‘triguṇa-sāmyam’) The terminology is archaic, but it implies the sum-total of the laws and forces of nature, which regulate the course of the phenomenal world. Buddha availed himself of this category to the full, and Schopenhauer does the same, using only modem terms in conformity with the physical science of the day.

The next is Intellect. It is common to all the three systems under notice, and alike unconscious in all. The Sāṅkhyas call it Mahat, the Buddhists Buddhi, and Schopenhauer Will, “the Reality, the absolute Existence, the Ultimate Fact, the universal and fundamental essence of all activities, both of the organic and the inorganic world, the primordial thing whence we and everything proceed.” In the Yoga system, the term used is cittva, which, in the following pages, has been rendered into ‘thinking-principle;’ but would have been as well—nay more pointedly—expressed by will.

Kapila assigned real substantiality to matter. What the primitive Yogis thought about it we know not. Patanjali is silent on the subject in his Yoga aphorisms; but in his Mahābhāṣya he admits an absolute reality of it. He raises the question by saying, yadi tāvad guṇasamudāyo dravyam, “if you hold matter to be the aggregate of qualities,” (IV, 1.) and then refutes the theory, Buddha’s idea of Sunyatā necessitated the same theory in a more prominent manner.

He could not admit absolute reality to any thing, and as the inevitable nihilistic consequence of his creed, matter had to assume the character of a phantasmal play of mental phenomenality—

“——A fleeting show
For man’s illusion given.”

The Vedānta took it up after him, Berkeley worked it out in England in the early part of the last century, and Schopenhauer has done the same in our own days.

As already stated the theory of evil—constant, ever-present evil in everything mundane,—is common to all the three schools. Kapila designed his system with the express object of removing “the threefold pain” which is inherent in existence (Aph. I). Buddha’s dread of the ever-recurring pain of birth, existence, decay, and death, drove him to the shelter of nihility, and the Pessimists of our day look upon pain as constant and inherent in worldly existence. The Yogis, who represent a section of the Sāṅkhyas, sum up the fruit of worldly existence by the significant remark, “to the discriminating all are verily painful.” (Yoga, II, 15.) According to Hartmann “the world is so bad that it had better not exist, and that it is steadily becoming worse.”

Nor are the means devised for the removal of this evil different. Perfect knowledge, attainable by hard, unremitting study amidst the most rigorous asceticism and self-mortification, and total renunciation of the pleasures of the world, is the only remedy accessible to man. Neither Kapila nor Buddha would have any other, and Schopenhauer, after dwelling on the miseries of existence, and showing that even suicide was not enough to put a stop to them, asks, “Whence then is deliverance to come?” and the answer given is “In knowing that the world is radically and essentially bad. Such knowledge leaves no ground for that old affirmation of the Will to live; it leads to a negation of Will, to a renunciation of desire, which, completed by means of asceticism and mortification, must attain that perfect freedom of Will, that true Nirvāṇa in which there is no more Will, therefore no longer an ideal presentation, or a real world.”

In so far the correspondence is as close as possible in works set apart by an interval of considerably over four and twenty centuries—between Buddhism of the 6th century before Christ and the Pessimism of our own times. A learned writer describes Pessimism as the “goal of modem thought” in Europe. If so, that “goal” was reached in India over four and twenty centuries ago.

Nor should the limit be set there. It is impossible to believe that Sāṅkhyaism, like Minerva, issued forth in all its perfection at once. It is but natural to suppose that many ontological and biological questions, such as God, soul, mind, primary causation, &c., must have formed the theme of speculation and enquiry from a long anterior period, to prepare the Indian mind for the conception and reception of so recondite a system as the Sāṅkhya. Kapila could not have conceived and brought it forth, had not his predecessors discussed and made themselves familiar with such philosophical ideas. There must have existed many doctrines, many dogmas, many theories to afford him the necessary materials to work out his scheme. Even as Bacon’s Novum Organum was not the spontaneous generation of a novel thought, but the crystallization or solidification of ideas which were extant at the time in a more or less undefined, nebulous way, so was Kapila’s Sāṅkhya. Various phases of philosophic thought were well known and current in his time, and his was the master mind which put them together to create a complete system. The bricks existed, and Kapila was the architect who used them in constructing a novel edifice.

How long before the time of Kapila metaphysical dogmas had currency among the Hindus we know not for certain; but the remarkable hymn in the Rig Veda which discusses whether entity or nonentity existed before creation (X, 129) carries us to a remote period of antiquity beyond which we cannot speculate. The reference in the Sāma Veda to a Yati who condemned sacrifices, and whose wealth was transferred to Bhṛgu, is equally germane to the point. According to the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa some such Yatis were punished by being thrown before jackals. In the Āraṇyaka period of Vedic history, these rationalistic speculations and metaphysical controversies were of frequent occurrence, and the Upaniṣads have preserved for us the substance of some of the orthodox speculations on the subject. They afford us traces also of the heterodox dogmas which they were intended to combat. Kautsa was the leader of one of the rationalistic schools, and he is named by Yāska. Jābāla was an atheist, and his name occurs in the Upaniṣads. Pāṇini alludes to atheists, sceptics, fatalists, and revilers of the Vedas. It may be taken for granted without any offence to reason that these heterodox people did entertain many dogmas in opposition to the received exposition of primal causation and other recondite doctrines of the Hindu faith. They could not have been heterodox if they had not adverse theories to propound; and they must have been met by counter theories to keep up the antagonism. One may go further and assume that these disputes led to the development of adverse schools of thought which have since been overthrown by later developments. The earliest Vedic cultus was purely ritualistic. It embraced prayers and peace-off erings—prayers in set forms, and peaceofferings in the form of sacrifices accompanied by libations of spirituous liquors. Those who reviled the Vedic religion opposed it principally on the ground of the futility, cruelty and unmeaning character of the offerings. The atheists, pure and simple, denounced the whole system as false. This, however, was a purely destructive course, and not calculated to win the multitude in its favour. Mere negation suggests the idea of the doctrine of Metrodorics, the Epicurean, which had for its main object the stomach. Society needed some check to vice by holding up a threat of future retribution, and absolute negation of divine providence and future life did not provide it. Besides, a future state being admitted, a preparation for it in the present state was felt a necessity, and a large majority of the opponents, therefore, appealed to self-torture and meditation for aid.

Meditation as a means of communion with the Divinity was known long before the date of the Sāṅkhya. Indeed, in all ancient forms of religion, meditation occupies a prominent place as a religious exercise. In the Rig Veda the Gāyatrī enjoins the meditation of the divine light which vivifies the solar luminary as the most sacred act of devotion, and that meditation occurs in endless forms in the rituals of all subsequent sects and systems. This meditation is called Dhyāna, the word used in the Gāyatrī being the verb dhīmahi “may we meditate.” Now, this Dhyāna cannot be performed without fixing the mind on one particular object after abstracting it from worldly cares and enjoyments, and this fixation is called Dhāraṇā, or steadfastness. The abstraction necessarily implies some amount of asceticism and austerity, and this is called in the Vedas Tapas. A man must foreswear all worldly enjoyments before he can fix his mind on one unworldly object, and the fixation must take place before he can begin a meditation. Austerity, therefore, forms the first step in the process; fixation or steadfastness the second; and meditation the third; and all these exercises have enjoyed a halo of sanctity from a remote period of antiquity. No Rishi could live without his hermitage; none without performing Tapas; none without steadfast devotion; none without his meditation. These are the essential attributes of a Ṛṣi (Rishi). It would be a contradiction in terms to suppose a Ṛṣi (Rishi) could be so, without them. They suggest the idea of communion with something superhuman, and create a feeling of mysterious awe and veneration in the mind of the common herd. At first the object of meditation was of course the Divinity in some form or other; but atheistic philosophers soon found it practicable to dispense with that object, and they converted the objective thought to a subjective one, and thus produced the highest meditation of the Sāṅkhyas, a meditation in which the mind meditates on itself, or, as the philosophers of this class express it, on nothing. The next step was to dispense with the eternity of matter, to reduce it to a phantasmal character. The mind was all in all, and there was no necessity for an eternal co-ordinate, and this is the dogma of the Buddhists and the Vedāntists. None of these, however, dispensed with individual soul. That formed an integer in all the leading systems of early Indian philosophy. Nay, more, in order to provide for a future state of retribution, it was necessary to develop or retain the system of metempsychosis. It was seen that neither virtue nor vice always brought on its deserts in this life, and the necessity for a next life became unavoidable; and if the soul was to have a next corporeality of some kind to bear the deserts, there was nothing to hinder the transmigration many times. It may shock European ideas of the present day to be told of metempsychosis; but between worldly life, purgatory, and eternal hellfire, or heaven on the one hand and metempsychosis on the other, dispassionate and unsophisticated logic will readily yield the palm to the latter. An English lady was once shocked at the sight of a Hindu lady with her nose bored for a nose-ring. She said, “how barbarous is this custom of yours, dear sister, of boring the nose?” “I fail,” replied the Hindu, “to perceive the difference, Madam, between boring the two ears and boring the nose.” The Hindu controversialist may adopt this line of argument and ask, the matter not being susceptible of positive proof without the aid of revealed religion, “logically what is the difference between three corporealities and a dozen or more?” But, however that be, all the ancient leading schools of India accepted metempsychosis, and the grand object they had in view was to devise the means for putting a stop to the ever-lengthening and never-ending chain of transmigration. And so long that was kept prominently before the masses, most of whom keenly felt, as they do now, and will always do, what Schelling calls “that sadness which cleaves to all finite life,” the system propounded, however otherwise discordant in doctrinal points, had a fair chance of success, as a proselytising system, particularly if it were favourable to peace and welfare in this present existence.

Buddhism was peculiarly well-adapted for this purpose. It was the most attractive in its moral and social phases. No system of human religion has propounded a more perfect course of morality, humanity, mercy, and sympathy. The universal benevolence it preached could not but exert a potent influence on the mind of the people. At a time when sacrifices of animals by hundreds were everyday practices, and those sacrifices were often effected by driving wooden spikes into the heart of writhing victims, the dogma of total abstinence from all sacrifices and uniform mercy to all creatures could not but produce a marked revulsion of feeling against the current religion, and to draw large numbers of men to the standard of the new faith. The doctrines of equality of man and of non-recognition of caste also contributed very largely to recommend it to the favour of those who had been for a long time ground down by caste rules. The result was wholesale conversions of the lower and the middle classes of the people in all parts of India—so much so as to make Buddhism the leading religion of the country. The intellectual classes, the men of leading and light, also appreciated these moral and social advantages, and were willing to accept them. They perceived, however, the worm in the flower, and were shocked by the sight. The atheism which forms the basis of Buddhist philosophy never obtruded itself on the perception of the multitude. It was unknown to them, and they cared not at all to understand its true purport. But the intelligent few felt it, and wished to avoid it. Even professed Buddhists could not always tolerate it, and many were the attempts made to gloss over it, or to supplant it in an insidious way so as to divest the system of its atheism without injuring it in its constitution. The Aiśvarika system of the Buddhists was the outcome of one of these attempts, and the Vedānta and the Yoga systems with their various Gita, Tantric and Puranic modifications represent the results of Hindu attempts at reconciling the higher philosophy of Kapila and Buddha with a theistic religion.

It is not my object here to enter into the vexed question of the chronology of these different systems. It would take more time and space than what are at my disposal now. It is necessary, however, to state that in appealing to the Sāṅkhya, I appeal to the doctrine, and not to its text-books. There is abundant evidence, both in Hindu and Buddhist works of unquestionable antiquity and authenticity, of the Sāṅkhya and the Yoga systems having been current before the time of Buddha. The most prominent part of the exercise of those systems involved the most rigorous self-mortification, and that mortification was currently practised with the utmost rigour before the time of Buddha. Buddha himself notices this.

According to the Lalita-Vistara:—

“While at Uruvilvā, Śākya called to mind all the different forma of penances which people at his time were in the habit of submitting to, and which they thought raised the mind above all carnality. ‘Here,’ he thought, ‘am I born in the Jambudvīpa, among people who have no prospect of intellectual redemption (ādhīmukti [adhimukti?]), crowded by Tīrthikas with diverse wishes, and at a time when their faculties are wriggling in the grasp of the crocodile of their carnal wants. Stupid men, who seek to purify their persons by divers modes of austerity and penance, and inculcate the same! Some of them cannot make out their mantras. Some lick their hands. Some are uncleanly. Some have no mantras. Some wander after different sources. Some abstain from fish and flesh-meat. Some mind not the annual duties. Some abstain from spirit and the water of chaff. Some beg alms from one, three, five, or seven tribes. Some indulge in tubers, fruits, mosses, kuśa grass, leaves, cow’s dejecta, frumenty, curds, clarified butter, molasses, and unbaked cakes. Some wash the body of charioteers, parrot-flyers, and news-purveyors. Some dwell in villages, or in woods for their livelihood. Some adore cows, deer, horses, hogs, monkeys, or elephants. Seated at one place in silence, with their legs bent under them, some attempt greatness. Some speak to only one person, others to seven. Some eat once in a day and night, some once on alternate days, and some at intervals of four, five, or six days; some once in a fortnight, performing a cāndrāyaṇa. Some put on themselves the feathers of vultures or owls. Some, seated on a board or a munjā mat, wear bark, kuśa grass, valvaja grass (Eleusine Indica), or blankets of camelshair, or of goat’s wool, or of hair, or hides. Some sleep more or less in wet clothes Some sleep on ashes, gravel, stones, boards, thorny grass, or pestles, with the face downwards, in a hut or the bare ground. Some wear one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven pieces of cloth; others go naked, making no distinction between fit and unfit places. Some have long hair, nails, beard, and matted hair, and wear bark. Some live upon a single meal of a mixture of sesamum and rice. Some smear themselves with ashes, cinders from altars, dust, or clay. Some carry on their persons and in their hands down, munja grass, hair, nails, rags, mud, or a cocoanut-shell alms-bowl. Some drink hot water, or rice-water, or fountain water, or water preserved in earthen jars. Some carry on them cinders, metals, astringent things, three sticks, skulls, alms-bowls, bones or swords, and by these means they hope to attain to immortality, and pride themselves on their holiness. By inhaling smoke or fire, by gazing at the sun, by performing the five fires, resting on one foot, or with an arm perpetually uplifted, or moving about on the knees, some attempt to accomplish their penance. Some seek salvation by killing themselves by entering into a mass of lighted chaff or charcoal, or by suppressing their breath, or by roasting one’s self on (hot) stones, or by entering any fire or water, or ascending in the air. The syllables “om,” “vaṣaṭ,” “svadhā,” svāhā,” as also, blessings, hymns, lighting of the sacred fire, invocations, repetitions of mystic mantras teaching of the Vedas (lit. mantras), or fancying the image of a divinity in one’s mind, afford means of purification to many. Some pride themselves on their saluting Brahmā, Indra, Rudra, Visbṇu, Devī, Kumāra, Mātrī, Kātyāyanī, Candra, Āditya, Vaiśravaṇa,Varuṇa, Vāsava, Aśvina, Nāga, Yakṣa, Gandharva, Aśura [Asura?], Garuḍa, Kinnara, Mahoraga, Rākṣasa, Preta, Bhūta, Kuṣmāṇḍa, Parṣada, Gaṇapati, Devarṣi, Brahmarṣi, or Rājarṣi. Some select some of them, others resort to the earth, the water, heat, the air or the ether. Mountains, rivers, fountains, tanks, lakes, long narrow sheets of water (taḍāgas), oceans, vats, ponds, wells, trees, lotuses, herbs, creepers, grasses, stumps, pastures, cremation grounds, courtyards, and bowers afford asylums to others. Houses, columns, stones, pestles, swords, bows, axes, arrows, spears, and tridents, are the objects of salutation to some. In curd, butter, mustard, barley, garlands, darbha grass, jewels, gold and silver, some seek their welfare. Thus do these Tīrthikas, dreading the horrors of mundane life, seek their shelter. Some seek heaven and salvation in their offspring, and resolutely apply to them. They all follow the wrong road; they fancy that to be the true support which is untrue; they hold evil to be good, and the impure to be pure. I shall then commence that kind of vow and penance by which all hostile sects shall be overpowered. To persons deluded by works and sacrifices, I shall show the destruction of all works and sacrifices. To Devas, perceivable by meditation, as also to those who become manifest in divers forms, I shall exhibit a meditation by which they may be overpowered.”—My Buddha-Gayā, pp. 24, et seq.

The meditations he practised were all in accord with the rules of the Yoga system, and even their technical names were the same. These facts demonstrate the antiquity of the Sāṅkhya and the Yoga doctrines; but this cannot be said of the text-books of those systems as we have them before us now. They are obviously of a later date than Buddha, and this may safely be predicated of all the six leading texts of Hindu Philosophy. The Sāṅkhya Sūtra quotes the Vaiśeshika by name in two places (A. I., 25 and VI, 35), and refutes the doctrine of the Vedānta Sútra. The Yoga Sūtra takes for granted the twenty-five categories of the Sāṅkhya as the basis of its doctrine, and copies some of its aphorisms almost verbatim,. The Vaiśeshika Sútra recognises the Nyāya as well as the Sāṅkhya. The Nyāya Sútra refutes the doctrines of the Vedānta, and of the Sāṅkhya. The Mīmāṃsā either directly or practically by the mode of its refutation of adverse doctrines recognises the pre-existence of all the others, not excepting Buddhism. It also quotes Badari, a teacher, and Bādarāyaṇa, probably a grandson of Badari, and author of the Vedānta Sūtras or later Mīmāṃsā, as also of a commentary on the Yoga Sútra. The Vedānta in its turn refutes adverse doctrines of all the five, and thereby admits their pre-existence. This state of facts can be reconciled only by the supposition that the different dogmas and the schools which cherished them existed for a long time before the dogmas were written down in the aphoristic form in which we have them now. Oral transmission must have been the principal means of their preservation for a long time. There might have been also text-books before, but they were set aside by the very complete systems which the new texts produced, and in the new systems the refutation of adverse opinions very naturally included all the theories which were prevalent at the time when the books were compiled, and not the theories only of the time when the original dogmas were first promulgated. This is also obvious in other ways. In the case of the Sāṅkhya Sútra, though it is usually attributed to Kapila, one of the mind-born sons of Brahmā, we find it refers to an “ancient teacher” (Ācārya, A. V, 31), and to “venerable preceptors” (A. VI, 69). Sanandana and Pañcaśikha are cited by name (V, 32, and VI, 69). Kapila is then said to have taught his doctrine to Āsurī, who is described both as a brother and a pupil of the teacher. Āsurī imparts it to Pañcaśikha, who is, according to the Puranics [Purāṇas], again a brother. This Pañcaśikha, again, according to the Mahābhārata, lived in the time of Janaka, and taught the Sāṅkhya doctrine to that king of Mithilā. Had Kapila written the Sūtra he would never have described in it his younger brother and pupil as an Ācārya.

In the Vedānta Sūtra, Bādarāyaṇa, the author, is several times named in the third person (I, 3, 26; I, 3, 33; III, 2, 41; III, 4, 1, 8, 19; IV, 3, 15, IV, 4, 7,12). This is usually explained by the statement that a pupil wrote down the teachings of the saint. Colebrooke, arguing on these facts, came to the conclusion that the text-books are much later than the saints whose names they bear. Referring to the Sāṅkhya he says “the text of the Sāṅkhya philosophy, from which the sect of Buddha seems to have borrowed its doctrines, is not the work of Kapila himself, though vulgarly ascribed to him; but it purports to be composed by Īśvarakṛṣṇa,—and he is stated to have received the doctrine mediately from Kapila, through successive teachers, after its publication by Pañcaśikha who had been himself instructed by Āsurī, the pupil of Kapila.” (Essays, I, p. 93). Professor Cowell accepts this opinion in its entirety; he says “The Sūtras, as we have them, cannot be the original form of the doctrines of the several schools. They are rather a recapitulation, at a certain period, of a series of preceding developments, which had gone on in the works of successive teachers. The Sūtras mutually refer to each other; thus, those of the Sāṅkhya school, which in itself I should consider one of the earliest, distinctly refer to Vedānta tenets. They expressly mention the Vaiśeshika in I. 25, V. 85; for the Nyaya cf. V, 27, 86, and for the Yoga I, 93.” (Colebrooke’s Essays, I, 354.) This is also the opinion at which I have arrived after a careful consideration of the bearings of the question; in short, my conviction is that the Sūtras were written, like the Institutes of Manu and many other Hindu works, long after the date of their putative authors.

As regards the Yoga, the doctrine is described to be as old as Brahmā, and the text-book to be the work of Patanjali, who, says the commentator, “compiled the rules in the form of an institute for the use of intelligent people anxious to study them” (p. 4). That such is really the case, is obvious from the fact of the Yoga which Patanjali inculcates being identically the same which the Sāṅkhya accepted as the only means of salvation. It might be argued that the Sāṅkhya adopted the theory of the 25 principles, from the Yoga of Patanjali, and did not lend it to him. But the arguments against this theory are overwhelming. In the first place had Patanjali initiated the theory of the Tattvas he would have for certain defined them, and not left them to be inferred. He is very careful in his definitions, and he would never have left so vital an element of his system to be inferred. But following the Sāṅkhya no necessity was felt by him for any definition. It cannot be said that his Tattvas were different from those of the Sāṅkhyas, for that would make the necessity for a definition even more imperative. Secondly, the author of the Mahābhāṣya cannot possibly be proved to have lived before Kapila, or his doctrine. The learned Professor M. M. Kunte, in his “Vicissitudes of Aryan Civilization,” has combated, with great tact and ability, the arguments usually put forth to fix the date of Patañjali; and it may be admitted that individually each argument as put forth by Goldstücker and others admits of refutation, and I may add that a long chain of weak arguments is not stronger than any of its links. Still the coincidence of a number of names of a given period is one which in Indian history cannot be easily set aside as purely accidental. Confining, however, one’s attention to the text-book only, no one who has read them carefully can fail to perceive that Patañjali has contented himself by tacking a theistic appendage of no direct utility to a positively atheistic model, without in any way blending the two ideas into any homogeneity or consistency. Hence it is that the Hindus call it Śeśvara Sāṅkhya, or Sāṅkhya cum deo, as opposed to the former which is Nirīśvara Sāṅkhya, or Sāṅkhya sine deo.

The cardinal difference between the two rests on their theistic and atheistic belief, but as already stated, it makes no difference in their systems. Isolation of soul from thinking principle is the end sought in either case, and meditation in Samādhi is the only means available. The believer in the existence of the Godhead assumes that divine grace facilitates the end sought, but he does not dispense with Samādhi, and his belief, therefore, is of no material importance.

“In less momentous matters,” as noticed by Colebrooke, “they differ, not upon points of doctrine, but in the degree in which the exterior exercises, or abstruse reasoning and study, are weighed upon, as requisite preparations of absorbed contemplation. Patañjali’s Yogaśāstra is occupied with devotional exercise and mental abstraction, subduing body and mind: Kapila is more engaged with investigation of principles and reasoning upon them. One is more mystic and fanatical. The other makes a nearer approach to philosophical disquisition, however mistaken in its conclusions.” (Essays I, p. 265.)

And we have enough in these facts and reasons to infer that the Yoga text-book is posterior to the Sāṅkhya text-book, and that both the text-books are later than Buddha; but that the doctrines of the two schools are very old. Any how these are the immediate ancient Hindu archetypes of the nihilist theory of Buddha, and indirectly of the Pessimism of Schopenhauer and Hartmann.

The Yoga, moreover, is the archetype of another modern doctrine, that of spiritualism with its occult appendage. In this case the relation is direct and more intimate. The eternity of soul is recognised by both; both look to a course of gradual progress which has perfection for its goal; both admit the existence of soul in higher and higher stages; both recognise the possibility of man’s commanding departed souls to come down, to become visible, and to hold converse with him; both pretend by regulation of breath and other exercises to attain occult powers of the most transcendental kind. The details and the rationale of exercise may be different in minor points, and a few of the dogmas such as the “material reality” of soul according to the spiritualists, and its pure spirituality according to the Yogis, may be apparently contradictory; but substantially the two are as closely related as two systems separated by a gap of five and twenty centuries can well be. The cardinal theory, that “the body is the prison of the soul for ordinary mortals” but it is not so in the case of the adept, is evidently the same in both. “We can see only what comes before the windows of our body, we can take cognizance of what is brought within its bars. The adept has found the key of his prison, and can emerge from it at pleasure. In other words, the adept can project his soul out of his body to any place he pleases.” The whole system in either case is based on this doctrine, and even a cursory study of the 3rd chapter of the work now presented to the public in an English dress will, I believe, fully bear out this statement.

The name of the Yoga system as we now have it is Yogānuśāsana, or ‘the Institutes of the Yoga.’ This name, however, is rarely used, the work being better known as the Yogaśāstra or ‘the science of Yoga,’ or Yogasūtra, the ‘Aphorisms of the Yoga.’ According to the commentary, commonly assigned to Vyāsa, one name of the work would appear to be Sāṅkhya-pravacana, or ‘an exposition of the Sāṅkhya.’ The words of the colophon are Pātañjala-yoga-śāstre sāṅkhya-pravacane, which may be translated into, in Patañjali’s science of the Yoga, the Sāṅkhhya pravacana.

Vyāsa, however, if he be the author of the exegesis, which I do not believe to be the case, must have used the term simply to imply that it is a text-book on the Sāṅkhya system, and not to indicate the specific name of the work, for in his remarks on the first aphorism he distinctly says, “the name of the work is Yogānuśāsana,” (Yogānuśāsanam nāma śāstram). Following this exegesis Colebrooke says: “the title of Sāṅkhya-pravacana seems a borrowed one; at least it is common to several compositions. It appertains to Patañjali’s Yogaśāstra.” (Essays I, p. 241). In short, Yogānuśāsana is the specific, and Sāṅkhya-pravacana the descriptive, name of the work. Anyhow it is obvious that the Yoga is recognised from an early period as a work on Sāṅkhya.

The Yoga text as we now have it comprises a total of 194 short, succinct aphorisms, divided into four chapters or quarters (pādas). The first contains 51 aphorisms, devoted to an exposition of the nature and character of meditation, and is entitled Samādhi-pāda. The second is called Sādhana-pāda, or the quarter on the exercise of meditation and its requirements, and contains 55 aphorisms. The third is called Vibhūti-pāda, and treats of the various occult powers which may be derived by the exercises enjoined in it. It is of the same extent as the second. The name of the fourth chapter is Kaivalya-pāda, and it gives an exposition of the nature and character of the isolation or detachment of soul from worldly ties, which is the object and aim of the exercises and meditations recommended. It is limited to 33 aphorisms.

The work opens with a definition of the term Yoga. It is derived from the rootyuj, which means both “to join” and “to meditate.” Some accept the first meaning, explaining it in the technical sense to imply the joining of the mind to the object of thought. Others prefer the second, but that makes no material difference in the purport. The technical meaning of the word as used in the text is a derivative one. Instead of giving prominence to the joining, it implies the detachment which that joining occasions. The definition is, “the suppression of the functions of the thinking principle.” This suppression, however, need not be absolute in order to make the word applicable. It is used to imply all stages of abstraction of the thinking principle from worldly cares with a view to centre it in the peculiar meditation which serves to effect that abstraction. The word is of very ancient date. It occurs several times in the Rig Veda, but not in the technical sense. In the time of Buddha, six centuries before the era of Christ, it had acquired its technical meaning to perfection, and as Buddha, according to the view of the case set forth above, borrowed it from the followers of the Sāṅkhya school, it may safely be assumed that it dates from long before the age of Buddha. In fact, the Tapas of the Vedic Ṛṣi Rishis (Ṛṣis) got the more expressive name of Yoga at a later period, and Kapila and his followers gave it prominence in their system by making it the sole means of salvation. Many other works have since used it to indicate communion with the divinity in some way or other, and the Bhagavad-gītā takes thirteen out of its eighteen chapters to be each a treatise on a separate kind of Yoga. The names are: 2, Sāṅkhya Yoga; 3, Karma Yoga; 4, Jñāna-karma Yoga; 5, Karmasaṃnyāsa Yoga; 6, Dhyāna Yoga; 8, Tārakabrahma Yoga; 9, Rājaguhya Yoga; 10, Vibhūti Yoga; 12, Bhakti Yoga; 13, Kṣetrakṣetrajña Yoga; 14, Guṇatraya Yoga; 15, Puruṣottama Yoga; 18, Sannyāsa Yoga. In fact, every phase of devotion is described as a form of Yoga. The Tantras have a great number of others, and many variations of those named above, but they need not be noticed here.

The definition of the text suggests immediately the question, what are the functions that have to be suppressed? These must first be known before they can be overcome. The author, therefore, proceeds to describe them. They are said to be fivefold, including right notion, misconception, fancy, sleep, and memory. These, directly or indirectly, comprise all the functions to which the thinking principle can possibly be directed. The means of suppressing these functions are next described. They include, (a) exercise, or “effort constantly made to keep the thinking principle in its functionless state,” (XIII,) and (b), dispassion, or “the consciousness of being their subjugator on the part of one who thirsts after neither perceptible nor scriptural objects,” (xv). The details of these are reserved for consideration in the next chapter.

The exercises and dispassion result in Yoga, of which there are two kinds, a conscious and an unconscious one. The former is that which is attended by argumentation, deliberation, joy, and egoism or self-consciousness; the latter is devoid of such attendants. As long as the thinking principle argues what is good and what is bad; as long as there is deliberation as to the nature of the object of thought; as long as a person engaged in meditation feels a sense of joy; or as long as he retains a sense of his own individuality, (self-consciousness), he is said to be in a conscious state of meditation. This is, in the technical language of the school, Savīja-samādhi or “seeded meditation,” because there is in it some nucleus on which the mind is centered. When, by arduous and long-continued exercise, this seed is lost, and the mind remains divested of all thought, a mere state of consciousness without an object, it becomes seedless, nirvīja, or perfect, and this is the summum bonum which the Yogi exerts to attain. When this is attained, the bondage of the world, of transmigration, is entirely severed, and the soul is declared to be isolated or free.

The expedients aforesaid are always and imperatively necessary—nothing can be attained without them; but their action can be expedited by another means, and that is “Devotion to God.” This devotion is absolute resignation of one’s self to the Divinity. In the language of the commentator, “it is thorough worship of God. Without wishing for the fruition of worldly enjoyments, the making over all one’s actions to him, the preëminent guide.” This devotion is the means by which the theism of the current Hinduism is reconciled with the philosophy of the school. Kapila did not care for this reconciliation, and his system, therefore, did not stand in need of a Divine Providence; but his atheism being repulsive to the thinking portion of mankind, Patañjali avails himself of it to give a theistic character to his system. It will be noticed, however, that he makes his Divinity one of several means to an end, and not the end sought. The God he invokes is defined to be “a particular soul which is untouched by affliction, works, deserts, and desires,” one who is existent, but not the avowed Creator and preserver of the universe. His name is Īśvara or “the ruler,” and that may imply providence, but nothing is said on this subject. In two successive aphorisms, He is described as one “in whom the seed of the omniscient attains infinity,” (XXV,) and “who is the instructor of even all early ones, for, He is not defined by time (XXVI).” The indicator of this Divinity is the syllable Om, called Praṇava, and it is by repeating it and reflecting on its meaning that the different states of meditation can be easily attained. The author could have scarcely put God and his name to a more subordinate position.

Turning now to the obstacles which stand in the way of the Yogi in the satisfactory accomplishment of his meditation, the author enumerates what they are, and suggests the means of overcoming them. The obstacles, or causes of distraction, are disease, langour, doubt, carelessness, idleness, worldly-mindedness, mistaken notions, unattainment of any stage of abstraction, and instability in the stage obtained (A. XXX); and these are attended by pain, distress, trembling, and oppressive inspiration and expiration (XXXI). These tend to make the thinking principle unsteady, or unfit for meditation, and have, therefore, to be sedulously overcome. The means for overcoming them are various. The habit of concentrating the mind on one particular principle is the most efficacious, (xxxii,) and it is to be supplemented by cheerfulness, benevolence, compassion, complacency, and indifference in regard to happiness, grief, virtue, and vice (XXXIII). It may be effected also by a system of regulation of breath, called Prāṇāyāma, which is supposed to exert a powerful influence in steadying the thinking principle, and warding off disease and other obstacles (cf. p. 41). Although this regulation of breath is a necessary element in all the earlier or lower forms of the Yoga, one is specially called the Yoga of breathing, and technically called Haṭha-yoga, from the letters ha and ṭha, meaning the sun and the moon, which are the mystic names of inspiration and expiration. This form is particularly esteemed for its efficacy in procuring occult powers. When the habit of meditation has considerably advanced, and the Yogi is able to realize sensuous objects in his meditation, or when the mind is thereby so illumined, it is of itself sufficient to ward off tribulations. Meditation in the passionlessness of accomplished Yogis might also effect this (xxxvii). Reliance on dreams, or on the object of one’s fancy, is, likewise, an efficacious remedy.

The author then enters into a more elaborate classification of the Yoga. The twofold division first pointed out does not suffice fully to indicate the various shades of difference which the seeded form assumes under different circumstances, and to each of these shades he assigns a different name, and defines its nature. In course of this, he points out the theory of the mind becoming the object it thinks upon (xli), in other words that intense thought creates objects, or becomes objective. This is the basis on which the occult powers described in a subsequent chapter are founded. The seedless form is one and simple, and it is the ultimatum sought by the Yoga.

The second chapter is devoted to the details of the exercises necessary for the performance of the Yoga, and is therefore called Kriyā-yoga or “practical Yoga.” In its earliest and simplest state practical Yoga is accomplished by a strict observance of asceticism, by the muttering of a mantra a great number of times at stated periods every day, and by devotion to God. The object of these observances is to weaken afflictions and give firmness to meditation. Afflictions arise from attachment to worldly affairs, and asceticism is the best antidote for them, and the practice of repeating a mantra for a long time serves to steady the mind.

The reference to afflictions suggests the question, what are they? They are ignorance, egoism, desire, aversion, and ardent attachment to life, or ‘the Will to live’ as Hartmann designates it. Some of these are subtile, others gross, (III). The former are to be counteracted by acting against their natural bent, (X) and the latter by meditation, (XI).

The afflictions are described to be the root of all evil. They give rise to works, and works leave behind their stock of residua to be worked out in a subsequent birth, and in that subsequent birth other works are performed, and they leave their residua, and so on, the chain is never brought to an end. For instance, ignorance leads to the commission of a sin; the retribution for that sin comes in the next existence; while that desert is being borne in that existence another sin is committed through ignorance; that necessitates another birth for its retribution, and the series never breaks. And what is true of ignorance is equally so of the other afflictions. Nor does the rule apply only to sins; it applies equally to virtuous deeds. For instance, if instead of a sin a virtuous work be performed, its deserts have to be enjoyed in another existence, and the course proceeds exactly as in the case of sin. In fact, every work, whether right or wrong, has its apportioned desert, and it must be borne in a corporeal existence, and the succession of birth, decay, and death must, in the ordinary course of things, recur over and over again without a limit. The fruits may be joy or suffering according as the cause is virtue or vice, but to the discriminating they are invariably painful, (XV). They are, also inevitable, and must be borne. An act once performed must bear its fruit, and in so far there is no remedy. One may, however, avoid doing those works which bear fruit, and thereby break the spell, and the maxim is therefore laid down that only those pains are avoidable which are not yet come, (XVI).

The question then arises, what should one do to abstain from works, and avoid their consequences? and the object of the Yoga is to devise the means through which the abstinence may be effected.

In order to explain the rationale of the course by which the evil is to be brought to an end, the author next enters into an explanation of the mutual relation of Intellect and Soul. Intellect is called a spectacle, and it is said “to be of the nature of illumination, action, and rule; it is of the form of the elements and the organs; it is for the purpose of experience and emancipation,” (XVIII). It exists solely for the purpose of Soul, (XXI). Soul is called the spectator; “it is absolute sentience, and, though pure, still directly beholds intellected ideas,” (XX). When these two are in conjunction through ignorance (and it is ignorance which brings them into conjunction) they produce life and its consequences, (XVII,) or as the text puts it “the apprehension of the nature of the contact, power, and the lordship of power,” (XXII) i.e., Soul thinks it is the experiencer and Intellect thinks it is the experiencer. Now, when the light of knowledge dispels the false impression the conjunction is dissolved. Intellect ceases to think that it is the experiencer, and Soul gives up the idea of its experience, and the ignorance is removed. In other words, the conjunction being removed Soul is isolated, and there is a period put to further birth and suffering. Now, ignorance being the sole cause of the conjunction, the great object is to remove that ignorance, and this is to be effected by discriminative knowledge, or that which will rightly appreciate the true character of the relation which exists between Soul and Intellect. This knowledge then is what is to be sought, and the means are now provided by which it may be attained.

The knowledge in question passes through seven stages before it becomes perfect (XXXVII). The first stage is that in which a person feels that “the knowable has been known by me.” (2) He next feels that “there is nothing remaining to be known.” (3) The conviction then arises that “my afflictions are overcome, and there is nothing for me to overcome.” (4) This is followed by the belief that “discriminative knowledge has been attained by me.” These four suffice to effect what is technically called “liberation from work,” (Kārya-vimukti), for when these have been acquired there is no more impulse or wish left to perform works. These are followed, in course of progress, by three more successive convictions. These are,—1st “my intellect has accomplished its purpose;” 2nd, “the three qualities have finished their dominion over me, and can no longer affect me;” 3rd, “my meditation has been identified with my soul,” that is the Intellect has merged into the Soul. These three are called “intellectual liberation” (Citta-vimukti). The last is called isolation (Kaivalya), on the attainment of which the Soul is believed to be perfectly liberated.

In order to bring on this consummation the Yogī should apply himself to improve his understanding so as to make it completely devoid of impurities. To effect this improvement eight means are recommended, and these are technically called 1, Restraint; 2, Obligation; 3, Posture; 4, Regulation of birth; 5, Abstraction; 6, Steadfastness; 7, Contemplation; and, 8, Meditation (XXIX). Of these the first includes five negative acts, viz., abstention from (1) slaughter, (2) falsehood, (3) theft, (4) incontinence, and (5) avarice; and the second five positive acts, namely, (1) purification, (2) contentment, (3) penance, (4) study, and (5) devotion to the Lord. These two classes of acts are called mahāvratas, or acts of primary asceticism. They are obligatory on all classes of the community, whether householders or ascetics, and none should neglect them. Slaughter is in se sinful, and none should commit it, whether he be a householder or a hermit. Falsehood and theft are sins of the same gravity, and should therefore be shunned by all. Incontinence &c., are likewise reprehensible, and none should be guilty of them. Nor can a virtuous and peaceful life be secured simply by these restraints; it is necessary that one should keep himself free from filth, both material and moral; that he should be contented with his lot and not rapine; that he should submit to penance for his sins and for curbing his passions; that he should study the Vedas, and be devoted to the service of God. No one can be a good citizen who does not practice these restraints and obligations, and therefore they are recommended to all classes of the community. And if they are good and necessary for ordinary people, they must ipso facto be so for the Yogi, who aspires to rise above the common herd. Nay, to him they are most imperative, for none can prepare himself for the Yoga who does not especially attend to them, as the first step in his career. The advantages of observing these restraints and obligations are described at some length; but they call for no remark here.

Restraint and obligation being thus common to both householders and Yogis the third of the eight means becomes the first special act of exercise to which a Yogi has to apply himself; this is the assumption of particular postures, which are conducive to the fixation of the thinking principle to any object to which it may be directed. No one can settle himself down for meditation while walking, or running, or doing something unconnected with his main object, and some particular postures are, therefore, deemed essential. The text contents itself by saying that it should be firm and pleasant (xlvi), and entail the least effort (XLVII); but it does not describe any particular posture as the most beneficial. Commentators, however, have supplied the omission, and described a great number of them, some of them most painful and difficult of assumption, (cf. pp. 102f.).

When the Yogi has assumed one of the prescribed postures, he should begin the fourth exercise, the regulation of his breath. This consists in drawing the breath through one nostril; retaining the air for some time in the chest; and then throwing it out through another nostril. The details of this process will be found on pp. 42f.

This process of breathing should be followed by the fifth exercise, the abstraction of the organs from their ordinary natural functions. As long as they are engaged in their own works, they do not allow the thinking principle to settle down for the act of meditation, and consequently prove obstructive. To overcome them, or to draw them away from works, is an essential preliminary. When they are abstracted, they merge into their primary cause, the thinking principle, and cease to disturb it.

All these five acts of Restraint, Obligation, Posture, Regulation of breath, and Abstraction are accessories or necessary adjuncts to Yoga, for without them no Yoga can be performed; but they form no essential part of the Yoga itself. Even all the five existing together would not constitute Yoga, though without them as preliminaries no Yoga can be effectual. These are, therefore, called “practical Yoga,” or “accessories to the Yoga,” but not Yoga. The last three, on the other hand, are essential constituents of the Yoga, and are therefore called “intimates” or antaraṅgas. These three include Steadfastness (Dhāraṇā), Contemplation (Dhyāna), and Meditation (Samādhi); and the third chapter opens with a description of these. “Steadfastness is the confinement of the thinking principle to one place,” (l). As an exercise, it is of little moment to what object the thinking principle is applied: so long the thinking principle remains unswervingly attached to it, without for a moment thinking of anything else, it is Steadfastness. When the understanding is brought to bear upon this fixation and the two act in unison the result is Contemplation (II), i.e., when the thinking principle thinks intelligently and steadfastly on an object it is Contemplation. Again when this contemplation is so intense that it loses all idea of its own identity, and enlightens solely one object, it is Meditation or Samādhi. The definition given points to something much more intense than what the English word meditation ordinarily conveys; it implies a state of ecstasy or cataleptic trance when both the body and the mind are dead to all external impressions, and the thinking principle is completely drowned, in the special object of its thought, or in itself, but as the degree of intensity is not fixed and is admitted to vary considerably under different circumstances, I have used the word meditation as the most convenient and conveying the nearest idea of the mental act indicated by the Sanskrit term. When these three follow successively or are united, they have the common name of Saṃyama. How this union is to be effected, or how this Saṃyama is to be performed, is nowhere described at length; but it may be directed to diverse objects, internal and external, and, when duly and thoroughly performed, results in the most extraordinary occult powers.

A subject is the correlative of the three qualities of tranquillity, enlivening and latency, and as each quality becomes ascendant the subject varies; and these variations may be produced by the power of Saṃyama, apart from, ordinary mundane causes. Hence the efficacy of the Saṃyama in producing occult powers. Saṃyama, however, should not be applied indiscriminately to all purposes. The proper rule is to follow the stages of perfection successively attained by a Yogi, i.e., it should not be applied to a subtile object, until it has been practised and perfected with regard to gross objects. In other words, it should be practised step by step according to the different stages into which the career of a Yogī is divided. Unless this is done no fruition follows (VI).

The occult powers, called Siddhis, derivable by the practice of the Saṃyama are the most astounding possible. By it one may know the past and the future, the circumstances connected with his former existences, as well as the day and hour of his death. He may know what is in the mind of another person, or the meaning of the cries of animals. He may make himself or others invisible to bystanders, contract friendship with whomsoever he likes, or attain other superhuman powers. He may acquire a knowledge of things that are ordinarily too subtile, or too remote, for human observation, or so intercepted as not to be visible. He can observe the details of regions situated far away from the earth; of the stars and planets, their dispositions and their motions. He can have occular knowledge of spiritual phenomena. He may know what is going on inside his body; subdue his hunger and thirst; or make his body so firm as none can shake it. It is possible for him, too, to make departed spirits visible, and to converse with them.

He can attain superhuman intuition, audition, taction, vision, gustation and olfaction. He may project his own soul into another’s body, and then bring it back into his own. He can travel with the quickness of the mind through air or through water, and go wheresoever he lists.

When most of these powers have been attained and a Yogi is in a forward state for absolute perfection, the gods envy his success, and try to divert him from his onward course. They place temptations in his way in the forms of handsome women, great wealth, and other worldly objects of value, and thereby lead him astray (li). In this they play the part of Māra in the Buddhist legends, and of Satan in the Bible. Great care and determination are necessary to rise above such temptations. According to the Tantras when temptations fail, resort is had to frightful forms, tigers, lions, serpents, ogres and the like, which threaten instant destruction to the Yogi. But if they are met by firm resolve, they are always ultimately overcome.

Great as are these and such like powers, of which a great many are described in the text, they are not the objects which a Yogī should seek. They are the results of his meditations, and they indicate the success he is gradually attaining, and the progress he is making towards his goal; but they are not that goal. The highest power is, even like the lowest, a part of the “seeded” or discriminative meditation. These powers are, nevertheless, of value, as they enhance the power of the understanding, and in their perfection result in the all-saving knowledge, tārakajñāna, which makes manifest the relation between the thinking principle and Soul, and brings on the “seedless meditation.” They are thus of use in consummating the isolation of Soul—the summum bonum which the Yoga promises to its votaries.

The fourth chapter is devoted to a consideration of such metaphysical topics as bear on the nature and character of Isolation. It opens by saying that special faculties may result from five different causes, (I). Some of them are described to be due to birth; such as the power of flying, or living in water, or with suspended animation for protracted periods. These are specific peculiarities of particular genera of animals which may be acquired by being born in such genera, and are not common to all living beings. Others are due to herbs, such as the effect of drugs in arresting sleep, hunger, or the like, or making the flesh proof against heat, or poison, or cold. Others, again, are due to certain incantations or mantras which are universally believed by the Hindus to have very extraordinary powers. Austerity or asceticism in the same way is credited with the power of enabling people to acquire special faculties. Of course, the tangible faculties in this case are not faculties strictly so called, but the effect of habit. And lastly, Samādhi is believed to produce the same results, and these are what have been described in the preceding chapter. The first four causes do not concern the author, and, therefore, no further notice is taken of them. The last is intimately connected with the question at issue, and great pains are taken to meet such objec-

tions as might be started against the theory of Samādhi being the cause of special faculties. The objections are assumed to proceed from opponents, and the Sūtras supply the replies. In the second and the third aphorisms, an opponent is made to deny causality to Samādhi, inasmuch as it has no influence on the body, and bodily changes are known to have been produced in this life. The explanation given is that the materials of the body undergo change of their own accord, and merit resulting from Samādhi subserves only to remove all obstructions from their way. This is illustrated by the example of the husbandman, who removes the inequalities on the surface of a field in order to lead water to where it is wanted, and the water then flows of its own accord, or in obedience to the laws of gravitation. This satisfies the opponent, who thereupon, shifts his ground, and, admitting the possibility of the materials changing by themselves, raises the question as to how thinking principles, which are immaterial, can be so produced. Yogis pretend that they can, each of them, animate a number of bodies at the same time, and it is necessary that, for such a purpose, each body should have a separate thinking principle, and the questions raised are how is it provided? and how is the unity of the creating one preserved? The theory of spontaneous change in materials cannot explain this, and the reply given is that such thinking principles are emanations or scintillations from the creating one, and are therefore subordinate to it, acting in accord with the will of the creator, even as the different organs of the body act in accordance with the will of the mind, (III—V).

The possibility of Samādhi producing occult powers being thus settled, the question next comes as to the nature of those powers—are they of the same character as those produced by other causes? or are they different? The reply is that they are different, (VI). The faculties produced by the other causes are intimately connected with former births; the residua of former births are the active principles which animate them; whereas the faculties produced by Samādhi have no such background. They are Spontaneous, and do not produce those after-consequences which the others do.

This leads to the classification of works leading to residua into four groups. Some are described to be white or meritorious; some are black or vicious; some are partly black and partly white; while others are neither black nor white. The first three groups belong to ordinary life, and leave behind residua; the last pertains to Yogis, and are not calculated to leave any remnant behind, (VII).

The after-consequences of ordinary works are two-fold, instinct, and kind, age and experience. The theory is that every work, every sensation, every form of experience leaves on the thinking principle an impress of its own, and such impressions, accumulating in course of a lifetime, become the stock of residua which, though for the time being latent, are susceptible of revival by proper stimulants in subsequent existences, (cf. p. 26—174). This revival is Instinct, i.e., instead of believing Instinct to be spontaneous, self-evolved, intuitive reason, as European philosophers describe it, (cf. p. 175,) Yogis take it to be the fruit of the remembrance of former experience, revived by particular circumstances. These residua are also the causes of rewards and punishments in subsequent lives, and the rewards and punishments are represented by kind, age and experience; kind implying birth into higher or lower grades according to merit or demerit; age the span of life in such existences, which is prolonged or reduced according to one’s deserts; and experience sensations of pleasure or pain. Confining his attention here to Instinct, the author describes that the residua producing Instinct do not revive invariably but according to circumstances, even after breaks caused by dissimilar births, (VIII). Nor do such breaks, produced by dissimilar births, localities, or times lead to any breach in the relation of cause and effect existing between residua and instinctive manifestations, (IX), inasmuch as the result manifests itself invariably at the first favourable moment.

The theory of residua as above propounded is open to the grave objection that it does not provide for the manifestation of instinctive action at the first birth when no residua can be predicated; but the author obviates it by assuming eternity of desires and consequently of the universe. That which is eternal can have no beginning, and consequently there is no room left for a first birth, (X). This involves a regressus in infinitum, but, assuming matter and the universe to be eternal, it is not objectionable, or illogical. More-over, the necessity of keeping God apart from creation, renders the theory of eternity of the universe unavoidable. Admit God to he the creator, the necessity arises of making Him engage in work and derive its fruit; deny it, the universe must he accepted as self-evolved, and the theory of nothing comes from nothing not allowing of such an assumption, the author is driven to the only alternative left, that of eternity.

The opponent who raised the first objection now turns round and argues that if eternity be predicated of desires, how can they be removed? and if they are not removed the chain of transmigration will ever lengthen and never come to an end, and no redemption is possible, so that the performance of the Yoga for the sake of liberation from the fetters of repeated existence would be futile. To this the author replies by saying that the cause of desire is ignorance of the true nature of things; its effect is the body and its longings and their consequences; its asylum is the thinking principle; and its object is worldly enjoyment, and if these can be made inert or functionless, they would cease to produce their fruits; and if they ceased there would be no root left in re the individual in which they are made functionless to produce new residua, and consequently he would be free, (XI).

But, says the opponent, the thinking principle is ever changing under diverse influences, it cannot be in one existence what it was before, and consequently there is no unity, and therefore the theory of oneness, of omne ens est unum, is lost. This argument is met by the theory of archetypes. Every category is eternal, all things are eternal, nothing is really created, or absolutely destroyed, and what we call creation or destruction is simply change of attributes, and in the case of the thinking principle it is nothing more. When it changes its present condition, it reverts to its former condition, or assumes a new one, but its unity is never lost, (XII). This is the theory of the moderate nominalists or conceptionalists, with their universalia ad rem, universalia in re, and universalia post rem. Change having been admitted above, the author proceeds to account for it. It is produced by the three qualities acting either on the subject, or on the object, or on both, (XIII). The action, however, is not simultaneous, only one of the qualities is predominant at a time, and therefore there is no diversity in the two, (XIV). This leads to the question are sensibles the causes of sensation? or sensations the causes of sensibles? The first idea is in accord with every-day experience. Sensation usually takes place when there is a sensible present to produce it. The relation of the two as cause and effect is, however, not constant, and under different circumstances the same sensible produces simultaneously very different sensations, and the simultaneous production of different effects by one cause is illogical and impossible. The commentator illustrates this by appealing to the different effects produced by a single handsome woman on amorous males, her rivals, and ascetics. He might have gone further, and adverted to representative sensations as distinct from presentative

ones. In fact, as Professor Müller, in his ‘Elements of Physiology’ (Baly’s Translation, p. 1059), has observed, “external agencies can give rise to no kind of sensation which cannot also be produced by internal causes, exciting changes in the condition of our nerves.” Sensations, too, remain on the sensorium after the sensibles producing them have been removed. Nor can sensation be the cause of sensible, or, in the language of the commentator, “if a thing were an effect of the thinking principle, then there would be nothing besides, when that thinking principle -would be occupied with one particular thing.” It cannot be said that the ideal presentation of things would be created and maintained by other thinking principles while one thinking principle is occupied with a particular thing, for in that case many diverse causes would be made to produce one effect. Applied to the world the inference would be that one world is the effect of many diverse causes, and, that not being possible, the alternative would be that the world is causeless. The solution afforded is that there is no relation of cause and effect between the two; they are eternal and move in different paths (XV); and their action upon each other is regulated by the triad of qualities, one or other of which predominates for the time and produce its effects. Patañjali is exceedingly brief and enigmatical, but his object is the refutation of the theory of ideal presentation as opposed to real substantiality of matter, i.e., of the Vivartavāda, doctrine of the Vedānta.

The preception above produced is still incomplete. The thinking principle may undergo modification and assume the shape of the object presented to it, but it cannot, being unconscious, intelligently perceive what it sees, (XVII). The intelligent principle has still to be infused into it, and this is done by Soul. The reflection of the Soul acting on it makes it perceive directly what is presented to it. It is accordingly said that a thing is known or unknown according as there is a reflection of the Soul, or the absence of it, in the thinking principle, (XVI).

An objection is now raised to the effect that under the circumstances above stated, there being no stability in the thinking principle, knowledge derived by perception could not be constant. The reply given is that since the real perceiver, the Soul, is immutable, knowledge which depends on it must necessarily be constant. Inasmuch, however, as the thinking principle can undergo only one modification at a time, and the Soul perceives only that modification, and not the outside world, there can be only one perception at a time: two diverse ideas cannot arise simultaneously, (XIX).

The objector is still unsatisfied. To obviate the necessity of calling in the agency of Soul, he suggests a multiplicity of thinking principles, saying let one perception or thinking principle be perceived by another. This, however, says the author, cannot be, for the second perception would require a third, and so on, and that would lead to a regressus in infinitum. There would, moreover, be no certainty, for in calling one idea to mind a host would arise, and there would be nothing to show which is the particular idea that has been invoked, or is necessary to the elucidation of the perception at hand.

There is yet another objection to urge. Accepting that perception cannot be helped by one cognition cognizing another, the opponent suggests that in life persons always express the opinion of their knowing things, and how can this take place unless the thinking principle possessed self-illuminative powers? This is met by saying that the thinking principle, assuming the form of the immutable soul, attains the light of intelligence, and is then able to understand its own cognitions, (XXI); and the conclusion arrived at is that when the thinking principle is modified on the one hand by soul and on the other by objects of cognition, it is sufficient for all purposes of understanding, (XXII). The commentator here anticipates a number of other objections, and disposes of them according to the theory of the Yoga. (Cf. p. 197).

These explanations, however, are not enough. There is yet a lingering suspicion that the thinking principle has a will of its own, and this suspicion is developed in the form of a question as to what motive the thinking principle can have in engaging itself in its various functions? Naturally inert, it can have no object of its own, and in performing its functions it must be acting without a motive, and as nothing is done without a motive, the inference would be that it has a will of its own, and it gratifies that will by acting as it does. This suspicion is set at rest by the remark that since it acts in conjunction with others, its object must be to subserve another’s purpose, and that another is soul, (XXIII). The commentator explains that such conjunct action for another’s purpose without any consciousness on the part of the actors is possible, as we see it in the organs of sense, which act for the purposes of the mind without knowing that they are doing so. The Sāṅkhya-kārikā adduces the example of milk, an unintelligent substance, secreting for the nourishment of the calf. (Cf. V.’s LVII to LX). The example of the cart carrying saffron for the use of man is also generally appealed to.

Soul is described as the witness, spectator and experiencer of the actions of nature. Conscious and always present in the body, it cannot but witness what takes place in it. This is the idea which Fichte assigns to mind, when he says, it is, “as it were an intelligent eye, placed in the central point of our inward consciousness, surveying all that takes place there,” (Morell, II, p. 95). But since soul has no action or desire of any kind, and as it is, moreover, eternal and immutable, how can it be said to have a purpose of its own, which the thinking principle has to subserve? This is a crucial question, and the answer given is practically an evasion. The premises are admitted, but it is said that, inasmuch as it is a shadow of the soul that sensitizes the thinking principle, and that shadow feels and observes, by indiscriminate use of language we call the soul to be the experiencer and witness, (cf. p. 191). The service done is, in the same way, service done to the shadow and not to the reality, and the benefit derived goes to nature or Prakriti, which is entertained and ultimately relieved of all sense of pain, and not to soul, which is painless and ever free.

Patañjali now turns to the effect of the theory and practice propounded. When a person has duly gone through the course of practice enjoined and acquired the knowledge promised, all false notions that he before had on the subject of life subside, (XXIV), and his thinking principle is bowed down by the weight of knowledge and commencing isolation, (XXV). Worldly thoughts, however, still break out occasionally, (XXVI), and these should be carefully repressed in the same way in which afflictions and obstructions were originally overcome, (cf. II, XXVIII). When this repression is effected, perfect knowledge rises in the thinking principle, and entirely sweeps away all remnants of afflictions and residua of former works, (XXVIII—XXX). All obscurations are removed; the triad of qualities in regard to the individual concerned ceases from undergoing further change, (XXXI); and the moment at last arrives when the qualities, having retired to rest, become defunct, and the soul abides solely in its own essence. This is isolation or salvation which is the aim and object of the Yoga doctrine, (xxxiii). This isolation is absolute and eternal, and the soul in regard to which it has been attained remains free for evermore.

Following the order of the text, the above summary does not afford a consecutive statement of the leading points of the Yoga system of theology and metaphysics, and inasmuch as the dissertations on the Yoga now available in the English language are brief, obscure, and not unoften misleading and incorrect, it would not be amiss to attempt here a categorical resumé. The cardinal dogmas are, as already above stated, taken from the Sāṅkhya system, but there are differences, and the importance attached to some of them, in their mutual cooporation is markedly distinctive.

The leading tenets of the Yogīs are:

1st. That there is a Supreme Godhead who is purely spiritual, or all soul, perfectly free from afflictions, works, deserts, and desires. His symbol is Om, and He rewards those who are ardently devoted to Him by facilitating their attainment of liberation; but He does not directly grant it. Nor is He the father, creator, or protector of the universe, with which He is absolutely unconnected.

2nd. That there are countless individual souls which animate living beings, and are eternal. They are pure and immutable; but by their association with the universe they become indirectly the experiences of joys and sorrows, and assume innumerable embodied forms in course of ever recurring metempsychoses.

3rd. That the universe is uncreate and eternal. It undergoes phenomenal changes, but, as a noumenon, it is always the same. In its noumenal state it is called Prakṛti or nature; it is always associated with the three qualities or active forces called goodness, foulness, and darkness. Matter as an integral part of the universe is, likewise, eternal, though subject to modifications like the world. Strictly speaking the modifications of matter produce the phenomenal world which is composed of it.

4th. That next to soul there is a noumenon called Citta, or the thinking principle, or mind in its most comprehensive sense. It is subject to the three qualities aforesaid, and undergoes various modifications according to the prevalence of one or other of those qualities. It is essentially unconscious or unintelligent, but it becomes conscious or intelligent by the reflection of, or association with, soul, which abides close by it. It also receives through the organs of sense shadows of external objects, and thereupon modifies itself into the shapes of those objects. The consciousness reflected on it makes it think that it is the experiencer of all worldly joys and sorrows. In reality, however, it is merely the spectacle of which soul is by proxy (its shadow) the spectator. It is closely allied to Buddhi or intellect of the Sāṅkhya system, but it plays a much more important part in the system, than what Buddhi does, partaking as it does the parts of both Prakṛti and Buddhi in a prominent degree, and also of self-consciousness. It occupies the position of Will of the modern Pessimist system.

5th. That the functions of the thinking principle are five-fold, including right notion, misconception, fancy, sleep, and memory, and that these functions are produced by the prevalence of one or other of the three qualities.

6th. That, like the universe, all sensible objects have their eternal archetypes or noumena, which undergo phenomenal changes, but are never absolutely destroyed. When one object changes into another, it is merely a modification of its form, and the form assumed, when destroyed, passes on to some other form, but it ultimately reverts to its noumenal or primary state.

7th. That phenomena, as results of modifications of noumena, are real and not phantasmal.

8th. That sensibles are not the direct causes of sensations, nor sensations the causes of sensibles; but that the thinking principle receives impressions of sensibles under the influence of one or other of the three qualities, and the result is regulated by that influence. The influence extends both to sensations and to sensibles.

9th. That the thinking principle being changeable, constancy of knowledge is due to the immutability of the soul, and that no perception can take place until the thinking principle is made conscious by the soul.

10th. That impressions produced on the thinking principle leave on it certain residua (αναμνεσις of Aristotle) which are causes of intuitions, desires, new births, and further experiences.

11th. That desires are the origin of pain in this world.

12th. That the universe being eternal, desires are likewise eternal, and it is needless therefore to enquire when residua first arose to create desires.

13th. That mundane existence is thus associated with pain, and it is the duty of every one to rise above that pain.

14th. That the pain may he finally overcome or removed only by withdrawing the thinking principle from its natural functions.

15th. That the withdrawal in question can be effected by constant and sedulous observance of certain prescribed restraints, obligations and steadfast meditation.

16th. That in the course of the exercises above referred to, the adept attains extraordinary occult powers.

17th. That when that withdrawal is complete and absolute, the soul is completely isolated from the world, and that when that isolation is attained, it is liberated from all liability to future transmigration. And this is the isolation, liberation, emancipation, or final beatitude which should be the great object and aim of human existence.

The general impression regarding the nature of the Yoga doctrine, has been hitherto exceedingly unfavourable among Anglo-oriental scholars. It is mystical, it is fanatical, it is dreadfully absurd, are among the mildest charges brought against it. Mr. Fitz-Edward Hall is so disgusted with its tenets that in a fit of virtuous indignation he says, “As few of the twenty-eight Yoga works which have fallen under my inspection are at present read, so, one may hope, few will ever again be read, either in this country or by curious enquirers in Europe. If we exclude the immundities of the Tantras and of the Kāmaśāstra, Hindu thought was never more unworthily engaged than in digesting into an economy the fanatical vagaries of theocracy. Not less, it is observable, have the Yogins of India transcended than they have anticipated the quietistic delirations of Bonaventura, de Sales, Saint Theresa, and Molinos,” (Contributions, p. xi). Other writers, if not equally denunciative, are still very severe in the tone of their criticisms. I believe this is due principally to the subject not having been carefully studied. The subject is dry—exceedingly so—and the enigmatical form in which it is presented in the text-books is not conducive to any interest being created in its favour. Generally speaking Indian scholars do not study it, and the few ascetics and hermits who do seldom associate with the world. Pandits, when called upon to explain, frequently, if not invariably, mix up the tenets of Patañjali’s Yoga with those of the Tantras, the Purāṇas, the Tantric Sañhitās, the Pañcarātras, and the Bhagavadgītā—works which have very dissimilar and discordant tenets to inculcate. Some of the later avowedly Yoga works are, moreover, exceedingly allegorical and mystical in their descriptions, and in them the purport of the instruction is buried in a mass of absurdity. Practices, too, have been inculcated in them which are certainly repulsive. (Cf.. pp. 103, 117). In judging, however, of the nature of Patañjali’s doctrine it is unfair to associate it with the vagaries of fanatical, deluded mendicants, or with the modifications and adaptations which it has undergone in the hands of the Tāntrics and the Purāṇics.

The tenets of Patañjali are all that concern the critic, and the summary of them given above will show to the unbiassed enquirer that they are closely similar to those enunciated by some of the greatest metaphysicians of ancient Greece. The similitude is in some cases so close that I would not be surprised to see some enterprising dialectician, intent upon proving everything good in India to be of European origin, demonstrate that the whole system has been nefariously copied from Greek philosophers. The tenets may not be the best of their kind—some of them are unquestionably futile,—but they are certainly, not such philosophic desperadoes as to commit outrages on the chastity of our thoughts, or so vile as to make us join in the hope so fervently expressed by Mr. Hall that the works which treat of them may not again be read by the curious enquirer. If the history of the human mind be a fit subject for study, if it be desirable to compare the progress of metaphysical knowledge among different nationalities at different times in different places, if the civilization of the Hindus be an object of enquiry, we should rather earnestly desire that the works should be thoroughly examined, and not neglected, and that without in any way pledging ourselves as their defenders. There is no reason to doubt that such enquiry will not only be useful to history, but reflect credit on the grasp of the intellect of the ancient Indian sages who matured the doctrine.

It would take more space than what I have at my disposal to go through all the tenets seriatim, and show their relation to European theories, but it may be generally observed that even the most faulty dogmas do not, on sufficient examination, appear to be so bad as they are represented to be by hasty and adverse critics. The theory of isolation is certainly very startling, but it was the logical outcome of the conception of the absolute perfection of the Godhead reacting on the Upaniṣad doctrine of resolution into the Divine essence.[1]

The Bhagavadgita thus sums up the Upaniṣad idea:

‘He who all paths stops up, and in the heart
‘Confines the mind, shuts up the breath within
‘The head, adopts a firm devotion, utters
‘The single syllable “Om”—the Soul Supreme,
‘And thinks of me, and goes, abandoning
‘The body thus, reaches the goal supreme.’
  (Telang’s Translation, p. 52.)

This idea, however, involves the necessity of additions to, and abstractions from, Divine perfection. The theory is that the human soul is specifically distinct from, though generically the same with, the Divine one, and as the two dissimilars cannot melt into one, they must always remain separate, and as joy, felicity, bliss and the like imply activity and enjoyment,—a concrete heaven inconsistent with the theory of final rest,—the Yogis obviate all philosophic and logical difficulties by contenting themselves with isolation, without predicating it with joy or bliss.

The threefold division of the intellectual man into puruṣa, citta and ahaṅkāra is the counterpart of νους, φυχὴ and σομα of Plato and other ancient European authors. (Plato, Timaeus, Aristotle, Politics.)

The theory of Prakṛti, a noumenal absolute of the phenomenal world, or nature in the abstract, has been a stumbling-block to many Europeans, and the allegorical way in which it is frequently described, is certainly often misleading. Even among Hindus it has given rise to many frivolous and absurd stories. In the main, however, it seems to accord very closely with some of the latest European speculations on the subject. It is no other than φυοις or plastic nature of Cudworth, which has been designed to avoid fortuitousness on the one hand and God’s constant interposition on the other.

Morell, in his ‘History of modern Philosophy’ (I, p. 208) commenting on one of the latest German systems, that of Herbarts, says:

‘The process by which the necessity of philosophy comes to be felt is the following:—When we look round us upon, the world in which we live, our knowledge commences by a perception of the various objects that present themselves on every hand to our view. What we immediately perceive, however, is not actual essence, but phenomena; and after a short time, we discover that many of those phenomena are unreal; that they do not pourtray, to us the actual truth of things as they are; and that if we followed them implicitly, we should soon ba landed in the midst of error and contradiction. For example, what we are immediately conscious of in coming into contact with the external world, are such appearances as green, blue, bitter, sour, extension, resistance, &c. These phenomena, upon reflection, we discover not to to be so many real independent existences, but properties inhering in certain substances, which we term things. Again, when we examine further into these substances, we discover that they are not real ultimate essences, but that they consist of certain elements, by the combination of which they are produced. What we term, the reality, therefore, is not the thing as a whole, but the elements of which it is composed. Thus, the further we analyze, the further does the idea of reality recede backwards; but still it must always be somewhere, otherwise we should be perceiving a nonentity. The last result of the analysis is the conception of an absolutely simple element, which lies at the basis of all phenomena in the material world, and which we view as the essence that assumes the different properties which come before us in sensation.’

Dr. Kay, in his remarks on this passage, observes—

‘This “essence that assumes the different properties which come before us in sensation”—this which the European analyst arrives at as “the last result of the analysis”—is what the Śaṅkhya expositor, proceeding, “more Indico,” synthetically, lays down as his first position. This is Kapila’s mūlaprakṛti—the “root of all”—“the radical producer”—that which, variously modified, constitutes all that the ‘soul’ takes cognizance of. This primordial essence—among the synonyms for which, given in our text-book, are the ‘undiscrete’ avyakta, the ‘indestructible’ akṣara, that ‘in which all generated effect is comprehended’ pradhānaka, &c., is the ‘absolute’ of German speculation. The development of this principle, according to one of Shelling’s views (noticed by Mr. Morell at p. 147, Vol. II) is ‘not the free and designed operation of intelligence, but rather a blind impulse working, first unconsciously in the mind.” So, according to Kapila, “From Nature issues Mind, and thence self-consciousness.”’ (Benares Magazine, Vol. III, pp. 284f.)

This Prakṛti is believed to be unintelligent, and yet it is described to be acting for another’s purpose, and this has often been stigmatized as a specimen of Indian absurdity. This theory, however, is exactly what Cudworth entertains in regard to his plastic nature, which, he says ‘doth never consult nor deliberate;’ ‘it goes on in one constant unrepeating tenor from generation to generation; it acts artificially and for sake of ends, but itself understands not the ends which it acts for.’ ‘It acts neither by knowledge nor by animal fancy, neither electively nor blindly, but must be concluded to act fatally, magically, and sympathetically.’ (‘True Intellectual System of the Universe,’ B. I., Cap. III, 37.)

Again, Prakṛti and necessarily matter are eternal, says the Yogi, and in the sense in which he predicates eternity, i.e., to noumena as distinct from phenomena, we have nothing more preposterous than the “eternal verities” of the European philosophers of even our own times—verities which even the Godhead cannot undo, such as the conception of a triangle invariably including two right angles. To such archetypical eternities few can object from a pure philosophic standpoint, apart from revealed systems of religion.

The two most repellent dogmas of the system are its faith in metempsychosis and its theory about occult powers, and even these have found defenders in quarters where they were least expected; and, carefully considered, they do not seem to be so absurd as one would at first glance suppose.

Extravagant as are the ideas regarding the occult powers, and purely imaginary as, at least, some of them doubtless are, it is worthy of note that belief in such powers was almost universal in the ancient world, and well-authenticated reports are not wanting to show that some of them were attainable. Mental prescience has manifested itself on many occasions. Mesmeric and other electric conditions of the body are now objects of scientific research; and they are well-known to produce extraordinary phenomena. Many facts have been brought to light which show that physical causes may be, particularly in unsophisticated states of society, easily mistaken for occult powers. Sir David Brewster’s theory of the objective projection upon visual organs of a subjectively concieved image may account for a good many occurrences which strike the mind of the masses with wonder, and appear as the result of superhuman agency. Many psychological conditions, which are known to arise and produce startling results, but the true nature of which has not yet been fully and scientifically examined and ascertained. Would account for some so-called occult occurrences. But in the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to separate the wheat from the tares—to discriminate between what powers were really attained or attainable by Yogis and what they fancied they would attain by persevering in their practices. Doubtless the pretensions of the European psychics of the day are to a considerable extent false and fraudulent; still there are among them some good men and true, and their researches carried on on catholic, honest and scientific principles will hereafter bear some good fruit, and the time will then come to enquire how far the Yogīs had anticipated them. In the meanwhile all that need be said is that the extravagance of some of their pretensions should not make us spurn the Yogīs as all knaves and charlatans, and their psychical system wholly false and fatuous. Such a principle of action, however necessary and prudent in shifting the merits of a lawsuit, and even then under certain restrictions, would be intolerable in history. If some obviously false, or improbable, or improvable, statements in any author would justify our rejecting the whole of his testimony there would be no ancient author left whose testimony could be accepted, and I know not how few of our modern authors would escape the condemnation. No Yogi myself, nor anywise interested in the doctrine, all I feel in the cause of truth is, that there should, for the present, be a suspension of judgment, and the materials afforded by the Yogis should be subjected to examination and analysis.

As regards metempsychosis something has already been said, (ante, p. xiii.) It is a doctrine which even Plato thought fit to adopt, and much might be said in favour of it which cannot be readily disproved; but I shall content myself here with a quotation.

Perhaps the ablest metaphysician who ever came to India from England was the late Rev. Dr. Kay, principal of the late Bishop’s College. His strong Christian convictions did not by any means make him an indulgent critic of adverse faiths, but in commenting on the doctrine of metempsychosis as affording a solution of the question of the origin of evil, he says:

‘The doctrine of the Metempsychosis is, in fact, the Bindu theory on the great question of the “origin of evil.” The theory may be thus stated. Evil exists, and it is not to be supposed that evil befalls any one undeservedly. When, therefore, for example, a new-born child, who has had no opportunity of acting either rightly or wrongly, is found suffering evil, it is inferred that the evil is the fruit of evil deeds done in a former state of existence. If you ask how the person became disposed to do evil in that former state of existence, the answer is ready—it was the consequence of evil deeds done in a state of existence still anterior, and so on. You have only now to apply the Newtonian principle—that what is true at every assignable point short of the limit, must be true at the limit—and then there is no assignable point in the existence of evil in past time at which point its existence cannot be accounted for by the hypothesis of antecedent evil-doing; it follows (argue the Hindus) that the existence of evil is accounted for on this hypothesis; and further, they contend, it is accountable on no other.

‘If one will take the pains thoroughly to grasp the conception, and to view the matter, as a German would say, from the same stand-punkt as the Hindu, who, holding the past eternity of soul, denies that the regressus in infinitum here involves any absurdity, he will probably acknowledge that the doctrine of the metempsychosis, however false, is not to be treated as a fiction of the poets, when we are arguing with a Hindu. We try to make the Hindu give up the tenet—and we do well:—but we shall also do well to bear in mind that we are calling upon him to give up, without an equivalent, what he has been accustomed to regard as a complete solution of the greatest mystery in the universe—short of the primal mystery of “Being” itself. The Hindu’s explanation we regard as a delusion, and we must tell him so—

but we must beware how we allow it to appear as if we were provided with a substitute. The “origin of evil” has not been revealed. The requirement that we shall maintain our entire reliance on the goodness of God, in the absence of such revelation, is one of the trials—rather it furnishes the substance of all the trials—of our faith. This we have to teach—but we have no equivalent solution of the mystery to offer. On this point the words of Whately should be treasured by every Missionary among the Hindus.

We quote from the Preface (p. 12) of his ‘Essays on some of the peculiarities of the Christian religion.’

‘The origin of evil, again, not a few are apt to speak of, as explained and accounted for, at least in great part, by the Scripture-accounts of ‘sin entering the world, and death by sin;’ whereas the Scriptures leave us, with respect to the difficulty in question, just where they find us, and are manifestly not designed to remove it. He who professes to account for the existence of evil, by merely tracing it up to the first evil recorded as occurring, would have no reason to deride the absurdity of an atheist, who should profess to account for the origin of the human race, without having recourse to a creator, by tracing them up to the first pair.’” (Benares Magazine, III, pp. 286f.)

Elsewhere the same writer, speaking generally, observes, ‘it may somewhat tend to check the mischievous consequences attendant on bluntly regarding any current and influential Hindu doctrine, that happens not to accord with our accustomed notions, as being self-evidently frivolous and effete, if it can be shown that the conceptions involved in the doctrine are still influential in directing the current of speculation in Europe, in quarters where that current runs (or is supposed to run) deepest.’ (Opus cit., pp. 283f.)

To turn now to the life of Patañjali. The brief notices to be met with of him in Sanskrit works are so legendary and contradictory that little can be made of them to subserve the cause of history. He was a great scholar and unrivalled philologist of his time, and the life of every great man was, in ancient times, so encrusted with the supernatural that it is difficult to remove the covering, and come to the truthful core. Rev. J. Ward, citing the Rudrayāmala Tantra, the Vṛhannandikeśvara [Bṛhannandikeśvara] Purāṇa, and the Padma Purāṇa, describes him to ‘have been born in the Ilāvrata Varsha, where his father Aṅgirā and his mother Satī resided, and that, immediately on his birth, he made known things past, present, and future. He married Lolupā, whom he found on the north of Sumeru, in the hollow of a “Vaṭatree, and is said to have lived as a mendicant to a great age. Being insulted by the inhabitants of Bhoṭa-bhaṇḍāra, while engaged in religious austerities, he reduced them to ashes by fire from his mouth.’ (Hindus, II.)

There occurs in the Saṅkṣepa-śaṅkara-jaya of Mādhava Ācārya a story, according to which the Devas, on one occasion, repaired to Mahādeva, and besought his aid in saving the world from the baneful doctrines which Bauddhas and other heretics had widely disseminated among men. The god vouchsafed to them a kind reply, and it was arranged that certain chief divinities would from time to time appear on earth as Jaimini, Vyāsa, Patañjali, and Śankara, and, uprooting all heresies, preserve the true religion from pollution. It fell to the lot of Viṣṇu and Śaṅkarṣaṇa [Saṅkarṣaṇa?] alias Ananta to depute a portion of themselves to be born as Patañjali,[2] and Mahādeva himself appeared as Śaṅkara.[3] The only value of this story for historical purposes is the admission that Patañjali appeared on the earth long after it had been overrun by the Buddhists. Madhava Ācārya of the 14th century is no authority for what happened sixteen hundred years before him, but the tradition in his time was that Patañjali was born long after Buddha in order to inculcate theism, and this supports the opinion expressed on page XXIII to the effect that the Yoga doctrine as we have it in Patañjali’s work is of post Buddhist origin. It is in favour, too, of the deductions made by Goldstücker and others regarding the age of Patañjali from casual historical allusions in his great work, the Mahābhāṣya, entirely undermining, as it does, the arguments of Professor Kunte as given in his ‘Vicissitudes of Aryan civilization.’ It is true that the Yoga-sūtra does not anywhere refer to Buddhism, and it is not easy to accept the theory of Professor Cowell that the relegation of benevolence (maitri), which occupies a prominent place in the Buddhist system, to an ancillary or subordinate position in the Yoga is a direct allusion to Buddhism, (Sarvadarśana-saṅgraha, p. 273,) for benevolence as an element of religious observance is common to all systems of religion, and reference to it cannot be taken as an unmistakable test; but apart from them, I believe, I have produced sufficient evidence to show that Patañjali cannot reasonably be believed to have lived before Buddha. Ananta is represented in the form of a many-hooded serpent, and, as an emanation of that serpent, Patañjali is frequently indicated by the homonym phaṇi or ‘serpent,’ (c/. p. 1).

The references given of Patañjali in his Mahā-bhāṣya entirely upsets the statements made in Mr. Ward’s notice. The sage describes himself as the son of one Goṇikā, not Satī, and his place of birth was the eastern country, whereas Ilāvrata is said in the Purāṇas to lie to the north of the Himālaya.

These facts are thus given by Goldstücker in his essay on Pāṇini:

‘Of the lineage of Patañjali all the knowledge I possess is, that the name of his mother was Goṇikā. It occurs in the last words of Patañjali on a Kārikā to Pāṇini. Of more importance, however, is the information he gives us of having resided temporarily in Kāśmīr [Kashmir], for this circumstance throws some light on the interest which certain kings of this country took in the preservation of the great commentary.

‘His birthplace must have been situated in the east of India, for he calls himself Gonardiya; and this word is given by the Kāśikā in order to exemplify names of places in the East. Patañjali’s birthplace had therefore the name of Gonarda. But that he is one of the eastern grammarians is borne out also by other evidence. Kaiyyaṭa calls him on several occasions Ācāryadeśiya [Ācāryadeśīya?]. If we interpreted this word according to Pāṇini’s rules V, 3, 67 and 68, it would mean “an unaccomplished teacher but as there is not the slightest reason for assuming that Kaiyyaṭa intended any irony or blame when be applied this epithet to Patañjali, it is necessary to render the word by the teacher “who belongs to the country of the Ācārya.” Now, since Kaiyyaṭa also distinctly contrasts ācārya as the author of the Vārttikas, with Ācāryadeśīya, the latter epithet can only imply that Patañjali was a countryman of Kātyāyana. Kātyāyana, however, as Professor Weber has shown by very good arguments, is one of the eastern school; Kaiyyaṭa, therefore, must have looked upon Patañjali also as belonging to it.

‘Another proof is afforded by a passage in the comment of Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita on the Phiṭ-sūtras which I have quoted above. For when this grammarian tells us that the eastern grammarians attribute the accent in question of saha to Pāṇini’s rule VI, 3, 78, we find that it is Patañjali himself who gives us this information, and without any intimation of his having obtained it from other authorities.’ (Goldstücker’s Pāṇini, p. 237.)

Meagre as these notes on the life of Patañjali are, they are of unquestionable authority, and we must rest content with them. In the ‘Indian Antiquary’ (IX, p. 308), Professor Max Müller has a note on the travels of I-tsing, a Chinese pilgrim, who visited India at the close of the 7th century, and therein mention is made of a Sanskrit grammatical work under the name of Juni or Chuni. The learned professor shows on very good arguments that the work could be no other than the Mahābhāṣya, and then very pertinently asks, “Is this (Juni) possibly a name connected with Goṇikā, the mother of Patañjali, who calls himself Goṇikāputra, or with Gonarda, his supposed birthplace, from which he takes the name of Gonardīya?” Few who have studied the subject would hesitate to respond in the affirmative to the first question.

In a note on a Pali inscription from Bhārhat, published in the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for March 1880, I have quoted a great number of instances to show that in India metronymics were used to indicate illegitimacy, or the forsaking of a child by its father. If this theory of mine be tenable, the use of Goṇikāputra in the case of Patañjali would suggest a bar sinister in his scutcheon. Under that supposition it would be futile to enquire about his genealogy. If Napoleon said, ‘my genealogy begins with the battle of Austerlitz,’ Patañjali might well appeal to his Mahābhāṣya as the root of his family tree.[4] Professor Weber, however, has been at some pains to find a genealogical tree for him. In his ‘History of Indian Literature’ he has several remarks with reference to Patañjali in connection with the Vedic Kapya Patamchala [Kāpya Patañcala]. He says, on page 137, ‘Again, though only in the Yājñavalkīya-kāṇḍa, we have mention of a Kāpya Patañcala of the country of the Madras as particularly distinguished by his exertions in the cause of Brahmanical theology; and in his name we cannot but see a reference to Kapila and Patañjali, the traditional founders of the Sāṅkhya, and Yoga systems.’ This is modified in a subsequent remark, (p. 223,) in which it is said, ‘The name of Patañjali (we should expect Pāt.[5]) is certainly somehow Connected with that of the Patañcala Kāpya of the land of the Madras, who appears in the Yājñavalkīya-kāṇḍa of the Satap. Br. It occurs again (see below p. 737) as the name of the author of the Yoga-sūtras.’ On page 236, we are told that, ‘Kapila, again, can hardly be unconnected with the Kāpya Patañcala whom we find mentioned in the Yājñavalkya-kāṇḍa of the Bṛhad Āraṇyaka as a zealous representative of the Brahmanical learning.’ This is repeated on page 284,—‘Kāpya Patañcala, with whom Kapila ought probably to be connected.’ It is difficult to make out from these extracts a consistent account of what the real or actual theory is. In the first extract a single individual, Kāpya Patañcala [Patamchala], is split into two persons, Kapila and Patañjali, and that as certainly as the phrase ‘we cannot but see’ can imply. In the second extract the Vedic personage is said to be ‘certainly’ connected with Patañjali only, and in the third we are told that the same individual can ‘hardly be unconnected’ with Kapila. In the fourth the phrase ‘can hardly be unconnected’ is replaced by ‘ought probably to be connected.’ No reason is assigned for the first two conjectures, but for the 3rd and the 4th the reason assigned is that Kāpya Patañcala was ‘a zealous representative of the Brāhmaṇical learning.’ It happens, however, that Kapila was an atheist, who repudiated the existence of the Godhead, saying ‘there is no proof that such a being existed,’ and it is difficult to conceive how the relationship should be established on the ground of Kāpya having been ‘a zealous representative of the Hindu learn-ing,’ unless we admit that Hindu learning consisted in atheism. It is obvious that the learned professor has been led away entirely by phonetic resemblance, unless he should urge, which is not at all likely, that it is an ex cathedra opinion, without any reason to back it. Kāpya has the letters k and p and so has Kapila, and Patañcala sounds very like Patañjali, and therefore he evidently concludes they are the same. This is a line of argument, however, which I cannot help thinking, is, to use the language of the learned Professor, ‘of a very curious kind.’ It reminds me, I must frankly confess, the ratiocination of Fluellen by which that jovial Welsh Captain proved the identity of Macedon and Monmouth. Had that flighty logician been reminded in the present case of the absence in Kāpya of the letter l of Kapila, and of j of Patañjali in Patañcala, I can easily conceive how he would have completely dumb-foundered his antagonist with the pithy remark: ‘Why, I pray you, is not pig great? the pig, or the great, or the mighty, or the huge, or the magnanimous, are all one reckonings, save the phrase is a little variations.’ I have nothing to show that Patañjali was not connected with Kāpya by the father’s or the mother’s or some other side, in family or race, but I firmly hold that we have at present no proof worth the name in support of the conjecture.

The son of a Brahman priest, and devoted to literary studies and ascetic practices from early life, Patañjali had little to do which could afford incidents fit for historical record, and it is not remarkable, therefore, that we have no account left of his career. He was doubtless married and probably the father of a family, hut we know nothing about those points. The only memorials of his life are his literary works,—his great commentary on the grammar of Pāṇini and the Yogasūtra. It is impossible to speak in too high terms of the first. It is the noblest monument of profound erudition, of keen critical acumen, of unrivalled philological perception, which has been left to us by any ancient scholar in any part of the world, and well may the Hindus be proud of the heritage that has been bequeathed to them by their renowned ancestor. The second forms the theme of this essay. There is an Āryyāpañcāsāti [Āryapañcaśatī?] on the Vaiṣṇava theory of the relation between soul and nature which is also ascribed to him. The work has been published in the Benares ‘Pandit,’ No. 50. He wrote also a work on medicine, but it is no longer extant. It would seem that he was, likewise, the author of a treatise on grammatical desiderata under the title of Iṣṭis, and also certain supplementary notes on the rules of Sanskrit grammar (Vārtikas), but these exist now only in the form of quotations in the Mahābhāṣya. The manner in which they are cited in the ‘great commentary’ suggests the idea that at one time they had separate existences, but they are not met with now as a separate work.

To turn now to the Bibliography of the Yoga doctrine. The leading text is, as already stated, the Yogānuśāsana, but its different topics have been elaborated and expounded in a great number of subsequent treatises, and its literature is now represented by a large mass of writings. In 1859, Mr. Hall, in his ‘Contributions towards an Index to the Bibliography of the Indian Philosophical Systems,’ collected the names of 28 separate works. But recent researches carried on under the auspices of the Government of India enable me now to put in the Appendix a list including no less than 150 names. It is probable that further researches will bring to light the texts of several other works. It must be admitted, however, that while Mr. Hall’s list was compiled by a single individual after himself examining all the Mss. named, thereby obviating all risks of error, mine is a compilation from meagre reports, and it is likely, therefore, that there will be found in it. mistakes of diverse kinds. Sanskrit works have many aliases, and it is possible that in some cases—probably very few—of works unknown to, and unseen by, me I have recorded the same work under two or three names. I have included, too, a few works which treat of varieties of the Yoga, the Tantric and Purāṇic forms of it, and not confined myself solely to the doctrine of Patañjali. The differences in some cases are so slight, that it was not possible for me, without carefully reading the works, to mark the distinctions. On the whole, however, I believe the new list will be found useful.

In preparing my list I have followed an alphabetical arrangement, a chronological one with anything like accuracy not being practicable in the present state of our information on the subject. If the Yogaśāstra-sūtrapāṭha, attributed to Yājñavalkya, be really his, it is the oldest treatise known on the Yoga doctrine. Yājñavalkya lived long before Patañjali, and the Bhāṣya especially cites his name to prove that the Yoga doctrine was current from a much anterior period than the Yogasūtra, which was compiled for the benefit of novices; but as I have not yet seen it, I can say nothing on the subject. Adverting to the work, Mr. Hall says, ‘It is alleged that they (the aphorisms of Yājñavalkya) were noted down by Baudhāyana, as they were orally delivered by Śukra to Yājñavalkya. Hence they are ascribed to Śukra, who here has the epithet of Mahākavi. This work possibly deserves a closer examination than I can at present give it: but, it is, I suspect, of comparatively recent origin, and of little worth in any point of view.’ (Contributions, p. 18.)

Passing it over for the present I come to the work of Patañjali, the Yoga-sūtra alias the Yogānuśāsana or the Sāṅkhya-pravacana. It has the benefit of a host of commentaries, explaining its tenets from different standpoints. The most ancient of these commentaries is generally believed to be the one which is known under the different names of Yogabhāṣya, Pātañjalabhāṣya, and Sāṅkhyapravacana-bhāṣya. It is held in high estimation by the Pandits of this country. It has the advantage, too, of two exegeses by eminent scholiasts, one by Vācaspati Miśra, and the other by Vijñāna Bhikṣu. It labours, however, under the disadvantage of being of doubtful authenticity as regards the name of its author. It has been twice printed, once at Benares, edited by Bhairavadatta Dvivedī, and once at Calcutta, along with the gloss of Vācaspati Misra, edited by Pandit Jīvānanda Vidyāsāgara, in 1874 (Samvat 1929.) I have also seen upwards of a dozen Mss. of it of different dates; but in the colophon of none of these have I met with the author’s name. This is a remarkable omission, inasmuch as it is rarely that the author’s name, where known, is dropped out from the colophon of a Sanskrit MS. The tradition is pretty common and old that Vyāsa, the digester of the Vedas and the author of the Mahābhārata, is the author of it. This tradition has been generally accepted by European writers, and it has the support of the two well-known and respectable exegesists named above. Vācaspati Miśra in his gloss (ṭīkā) on the commentary (bhāṣya) says, “Saluting the saint Patañjali, I attempt a short, clear exposition (vyākhyā), pregnant with meaning, on the commentary expounded by Veda-vyāsa.”[6] The authority, however, of this writer is not, in matters connected with historical facts of olden times, of much weight. There were two writers of this name. One of them was a legist, and, according to the colophon of his Śudrācāra-cintāmaṇi, court Pandit of Mahārājā Harinārāyaṇa, of Mithilā, and Harinārāyaṇa lived in the middle of the 16th century. The other lived between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and commented both on the Yoga and the Śaṅkhya [Sāṅkhya?] texts, as well as on the Vedānta-sūtras. Adverting to him Mr. Hall says, ‘Vācaspati’s exact age has not yet been discovered. But he is mentioned, as are Udayana and Praśastapāda, in the Nyāyasāra-vicāra of Bhaṭṭa Rāghava, which was written in the Śaka year 1174 or A.D. 1252; and he quotes from Bhoja, who was reigning in A.D. 1042.’[7] (Sāṅkhyasāra, p. 40.)

Vijñāna Bhikṣu dates from a much later time. According to Mr. Hall, ‘in all probability, Vijñāna lived in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. There is some slight ground, however, for carrying him back still further. His nationality is unknown; and so is his civil appellation even; for Vijñāna Bhikṣu is, without question, the style of a devotee.’ khyasāra, pp. 37/.)

He continues, ‘In the Prayogaratna, a work on the sixteen sacraments, by Nārāyaṇa Bhaṭṭa, son of Rāmeśvara Bhaṭṭa, its author says, that he was assisted, in preparing it, by Ananta Dīkṣita, son of Viśvanātha Dīkṣita. The father of one of Vijñāna’s disciples, Bhāvāgaṇeśa Dīkṣita, was Bhāvāviśvanātha Dīkṣita; and, if the latter was one with Viśvanātha Dīkṣita, and if Bhāvāgaṇeśa Dīkṣita was brother of Ananta Dīkṣita, we are enabled to form a pretty correct estimate as to the time of Vijñāna Bhikṣu. For Nārāyaṇa Bhaṭṭa’s youngest brother’s second son, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa, dates his Kālatattva-vivecana in Samvat 1677 or A. D. 1620: Vijñāna may be placed fifty or sixty years earlier.’ But whatever the times of Vijñāna Bhikṣu and Vācaspati Miśra, it is futile to expect from such authors any precision as to the identity of a person who lived many centuries before them.

The name Vyāsa may be right enough, but there is nothing whatever to show that this Vyāsa was the same with the digester of the Vedas and the author of the Mahābhārata. In the Mahābhārata every epigraph gives the name of Vyāsa, and there is no reason why it should be omitted in the commentary. Then Vyāsa lived at a remote period of antiquity, in the beginning of the Kali Yuga according to Indian belief, and his classification and division of the Vedas existed long before the time of Patañjali, for we have unmistakable proofs of the existence of the classification in Pāṇini, Yāska, the Prātiśākhyas, and other works of a much earlier date than that of the Yoga aphorisms, and it is impossible to reconcile the idea that he should be the author of an exegesis which could not have had a raison d’étre before the Yoga-sūtra was composed in the 2nd or 3rd century before the Christian era. That exegesis quotes, too, authorities which are of a more recent date than that of Vyāsa. The evidence of style is often a suspicious one, but no one who has any knowledge of the Sanskrit language will for a moment think it possible that he who wrote the Mahābhārata could be the author of the Bhāṣya under notice. Compared with the works of leading scholiasts, the Bhāṣya appears to be the production of a third class writer. It certainly cannot be compared with the ‘great commentary’ of Patañjali, or with the equally renowned exegesis of Śankara on the Vedānta aphorisms, or with the commentary of Śabara Svāmī on the Mīmāṃsā; and, whatever his age, Vyāsa was by the unanimous testimony of the Hindus a far superior author and scholar to Patañjali, or Śabara, or Śaṅkara. Fairly good though it be, there is a looseness, an indecision, a want of logical precision, in the Bhāṣya which are incompatible with the universal estimate of Vyāsa’s learning and scholarship. Bhojadeva treats it with withering sarcasm. Without naming it, but obviously aiming at it, he says, ‘all commentators are perverters of the meaning of their authors; they avoid those parts which are most difficult to understand, by saying that the meaning there is obvious; they dilate upon those parts with useless compound terms where the meaning is plain; they confound their hearers by misplaced and inappropriate dissertations without number,’ (p. 2). It may be that Bhoja had to justify his attempt at a new commentary by throwing discredit on his predecessors, but his remarks are not altogether unauthorised. The invocation at the beginning of the Bhāṣya is also against its authenticity. No work of the leading Ṛṣis (Rishis) which has come down to us contains any such invocation, and Vyāsa would be the last to pray to Mahādeva in the way in which that divinity has been invoked in the Bhāṣya. The tone of the Bhāṣya is that of a third class mediaeval scholium, and I am clearly of opinion, therefore, that it is not the work of the digester of the Vedas. Its author may have home the name of Vyāsa, a common family name even to this day, but he was not the digester of the Vedas nor older than the latest ancient times, or, more probably, the early middle ages.

The next commentary I have to notice is the Rājamārtaṇḍa, of which a complete English translation is now offered to the public. It is not so ambitious as the last. It styles itself a vṛtti or gloss, whereas the other is a Bhāṣya or commentary. It is mainly explanatory, when the other is discursive. It is modest in tone, when the other is dictatorial. Its author sets forth his object in writing the work by saying, ‘Avoiding voluminousness, keeping clear of all mystifying and obviously worthless network of words, and abstracting the inmost meaning, I publish this exposition of the sage Patañjali for the edification of intelligent persons,’ (p. 2). And he has faithfully carried out his resolution. He has interpreted all the leading words of his text, and given a very fair explanation of the meaning of his author, and the purport and bearing of his doctrine. It is, perhaps, not always quite so full in philosophical matter as its predecessor, but it certainly omits nothing of importance for a correct understanding of the text.

It is generally taken for granted by Indian writers that Bhoja, king of Dhārā, who flourished in the middle of the 11th century, was the author of the exegesis; but the opinion is not tenable. Doubtless the colophon of the exegesis names Maharājādhirāja Bhojadeva as its author, but there have been many Bhojas in India, (cf. my ‘Indo-Aryans,’ II, pp. 385f,) and it does not show which is the sovereign meant: it certainly does not announce that this Bhoja was the hero of the Bhojaprabandha and a sovereign of Dhārā in the century named. The title assigned him in the introduction to the work is Raṇaraṅgamalla, and this, as far as we know, was not borne by the Bhoja of the 11th century. The former is, moreover, described in the introduction to have written three works, a grammatical treatise on the government of words, a medical memoir under the title of Rājamṛgāṅka, and the gloss under notice, and none of these is attributed by the Bhojaprabandha to its hero. On the other hand, that hero is known to have written or published in his name a work on judicial astrology as bearing on Smṛti rites, under the name of Rājamārtaṇḍa, and it is impossible to imagine that he assigned the same name to his exegesis on the Yoga aphorisms. Two such dissimilar works could not have been published under one common name. And even if one believed such a nomenclature to be possible or probable, the question would arise, how is it that in the introduction to the Yoga, the astrological work is altogether left out of record? The astrological work is several times the size of the Yoga exegesis, and otherwise of considerable importance; it has been very largely quoted by subsequent writers, and it is not at all probable that an author, or his encomiast, who was particular in noticing the meagre and poor medical treatise should overlook it. It might be said that it was composed after the composition of, and therefore could not be included in, the Yoga gloss, but that would be a simple assumption without any proof, a mere begging of the question. That the Rājamārtaṇḍa, is not a generic, but a specific, name is evident from the fact of an exegesis on the Śāṅkhya [Sāṅkhya?] bearing the name of Rājāvārtika, which is believed to have been dedicated to Raṇaraṅgamalla. It is probable, therefore, that our author is the Bhoja of the 10th century, who was also a king of Dhārā. Adverting to him, Mr. Hall says, “That two Bhojas have ruled over part of Central India, and that the earlier, whatever were the case with the later, was interested in literature, I have elsewhere shown conclusively. The Bhoja who reigned in the middle of the eleventh century very likely entertained learned men at his court, and the astrological compilation known as the Rājamārtaṇḍa and thus called in honour of him may have been indebted, for its name, to the suggestion of the Yoga work so entitled, written in the time of his homonymous antecessor. At any rate, he came long after the date of the Sarasvatī-kaṇṭhābharaṇa; and we are nowhere told that the Bhoja to whom it is attributed bore the epithet, Raṇaraṅgamalla.’ (Contributions, p. viii.)

Of the other commentaries on the Yoga-Sūtra, the works of Bhavadeva, Nāgojī Bhaṭṭa, Bhāvā-gaṇeśa, Udayankara, Nageśa Bhaṭṭa, Nārāyaṇa Bhikṣu, Sadāśiva, Rāmānanda Tīrtha, Mahādeva, Ananta, Śaṅkara, Umāpati Tripāṭhī, and Kṣemānanda, may be cited as samples. They are all inferior in importance to the work of Bhoja, and call for no special remark here.

The same may be said of the other works named in my list. Some of them treat of the various practices which Yogis resort to to acquire occult powers; while others describe modified forms of the doctrine of Patañjali, suited to Vaiṣṇava, Saiva, and Śākta forms of worship, so as to lead the individual soul, in its longing for salvation, to subsidiance in, or union with, the Divinity.

Among the works of the first group the most popular and noted is the Haṭha-pradīpikā or Haṭha-dīpikā. It comprises 395 stanzas, divided into 4 chapters or lessons, (Upadeśa), the first treating of postures, the second of regulation of breath, the third of gesticulation or mudrās, and the fourth of Samādhi. Its author is one Cintāmani, son of Sahajānanda, but this name of his was what he got when living as a householder. On his becoming a hermit he took the name of Svātmārāma, and received the title of Yogīndra, and is now generally known by the name of Svātmārama Yogīndra. He makes a great mystery of the theme of his work. He says, “By Yogis wishing for perfection, this science should be carefully kept in secret, for it is most efficient when

kept secret, and worthless when disclosed.”[8] Like the alchemists of old, he indicates simple things by roundabout metaphorical names, and enjoins that none but adepts should know anything of his subject. This book is named Haṭha-vidyā, or the science of the letters ha and ṭha, ha meaning the sun and ṭha the moon. This sun again stands for the breath inspired, and the moon for the breath expired, and the ultimate meaning of Haṭha-vidyā is thus the science of inspiration and expiration. Although by profession and habit a recluse who had thoroughly abandoned the world and its attractions, Svātmārāma, indulges at times in language of a grossly carnal type. Thus in one place he says, “let beef be eaten and the immortal arrack (vāruṇī) be drunk every day. I reckon him who does so, to be a kulīna (a noble householder); the rest are destroyers of their nobility.”[9] Here beef gomāṃsa stands for the tongue, which should be reverted and made to touch the palate, and vāruṇī means the breath which passes over this reverted tongue. Again; “Let the youthful chaste widow be ravished on the land between the rivers Ganges and Yamunā; it is the highest glory of Viṣṇu.”[10] Here the two rivers are the two nostrils, and the widow is the breath which is to be forcibly suppressed for a time. This style of allegory and mystery is adopted by a great many mediaeval writers on the Yoga. At the beginning of the work, the author has given a list of thirty renowned Yogis who had practised the science in question. At the head of these appear Ādinātha, who is generally identified with Śiva, who is believed to-be the first and most renowned of Yogis. The work has been made the subject of comment by several writers, among whom Brahmānanda, the author of the Jyotsnā, is reckoned to be the ablest.

It would seem that the Yoga doctrine was, at a very early period, translated to Persia, and disseminated in some form or other among different sects. The Sapasiyans [Sapāsiyāns] obtained it in its entirety. They believed on efficacy of discipline and austerity; they assiduously practised the regulation of breath enjoined in the Yoga; they divided the stages of their progress in meditation in the same way as the Yogīs did; they held the highest meditation to be a state of trance identically the same as the Samādhi; they claimed occult powers[11] of the same nature and character as did the Yogis; they were familiar with the idea of the possibility of the soul at will passing from one body into another; they believed in metempsychosis; and, if they looked upon union with the Supreme Divinity as the summum bonum of their faith, they but accepted one of the several forms of the Yoga, different doubtless from the Isolation of Patañjali, but not independent of it. (Cf. Dabistan I, pp. 5f.) It is, however, not known whether the system of Sapāsiyāns was founded upon any translation of a Sanskrit Yoga work, or on oral communication. Some of the Sapasiyans [Sapāsiyāns] admitted their obligation to Hindustan [Hindustān], but their text-books, the few and imperfect ones that are still accessible, have not yet been sufficiently examined to throw light on the question. The close relationship existing between the two systems, even in the use of technical terms, preclude the idea of spontaneous growth, and the avowed posteriority of the Persian doctrine leaves no doubt of its Indian origin; but as at present advised, we are not in a position to spot the exact text from which it was derived.

Of interpretations of the Yoga system in foreign languages the earliest appears to be an Arabic version of the text of Patañjali. The work is no longer extant, but the testimony in favour of its having once existed is unquestionable. Abu Rehan al Nirani, in his Tarikh-ul Hind, which formed a part of his famous Kanun-i-Masudi (A. D. 1025-36), says, ‘I have translated into Arabic two Indian works, one discusses the origin and quality of things which exist and is entitled Sāṅkhya, the other is known under the title of Patañjali, which treats of the deliverance of the soul from the trammels of the body. These two works contain the chief principles of the Indian creed.’ (Elliot’s Historians, I, p. 99; Journal Asiatique, IV serie, tom. IV, p. 121; Reinaud’s Fragments Arabs el Persons.) It does not appear that any Persian version of Patañjali was ever taken in hand in the time of Akbar and his successor, when so many Sanskrit works were rendered into that language. There is, however, an abstract of the Yoga doctrine in the Dabistan-i-Muzahab of Mahsin-i Fani. That author flourished in the middle of the 17th century, and, during a long residence at Allahabad as the Chief Judge (Sudder), collected a great deal of information on the subject. Depending evidently on oral information, he could not avoid gross mistakes in his account of the philosophy, but in regard to the details of Yoga exercises and the occult powers he has compiled as reliable an exposition as could be expected from such a source. He notices Gorakha-nātha and several other celebrated saints, and states that he had seen some Yogis possessed of wonderful occult powers, but he does not name Patañjali, (cf., Shea and Troyer's Translation, II, pp. 123f.)

In English the first attempt to give an account of the Yoga doctrine was made by Ward in his account of the Hindus, but it did not produce any satisfactory result. Colebrooke’s resumé in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, is much more philosophic in spirit and faithful in details, but Colebrooke took it up only casually in connexion with his essay on the Sāṅkhya, and did not notice much more than the first chapter of the work. Taylor, in the Introduction to his translation of the Bhagavadgītā, supplies the Kriyā-yoga with considerable fulness, and Windischmann’s account, though brief, is tolerably good. In 1853 Dr. Ballantyne published a translation of the first two chapters of the Yoga-sūtra with extracts from the commentary of Bhojadeva, and from it abstracts of the Yoga system have been compiled by Dr. K. M. Banerjea, and Rev. Mr. Mullins. The translation of Ballantyne was completed, in a disjointed way, by Pandit Govindaram Sastri [Paṇḍit Govindaram Sāstrī] in the pages of a Benares magazine called the “Pandit.” The two fragments have lately been printed together by the Theosophical Society of Bombay. The text with an original commentary together with an English translation is now being printed in the Ṣaḍdarśana-cintanikā of Bombay, and an abstract of the text occurs in Cowell and Gough’s Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha. An account of Yoga practices may also be seen in a pamphlet by Nabinchandra Pal, published at Benares.

Little need be said in praise of Dr. Ballantyne’s work. The profound learning and thorough conservancy with Hindu philosophy which that learned scholar brought to bear on his undertaking, enabled him to produce a very accurate reproduction of the original. In his anxiety, however, to be accurate he had occasion to resort too frequently to parenthetical clauses, and they resulted in confused sentences, involving much trouble in understanding them. His extracts from the commentary are particularly amenable to this objection. The extracts, moreover, are somewhat disjointed.

When the Asiatic Society of Bengal first proposed to publish an edition of the Yoga-sūtra with the commentary of Bhojadeva, I undertook to reprint Dr. Ballantyne’s translation with such additions as would complete the work. I soon found, however, that my work placed beside his produced a very patchy appearance, and his parenthetical style was not desirable for a proper and easy understanding of the text. I preferred, therefore, to translate the whole in my own way. The aphorisms will be found to be as closely literal as the idiom of the English language would admit of, and the commentary a fair reproduction of the spirit, sense and wording of the original, without being a verbatim reproduction.

Much difficulty has been felt in the treatment of the technical terms. Philosophical terms in the English language have not yet arrived at that fixity and firmness which would preclude possible variations. Different writers assign different values to even well-established terms, and their latitude is frequently varying; and such as they are, they are not exact equivalents of Sanskrit words, which in their turn vary in meaning under different circumstances and in the hands of different writers. There are instances, too, of Sanskrit terms whose literal significations are very different from the philosophical ideas they are intended to convey, and in dealing with them, the translator has either to sacrifice precision of rendering for the sake of intelligibility, or intelligibility for the sake of precision. In the following pages I have borrowed the terms mostly from Colebrooke’s translation of the Sāṅkhya-kārikā, translating a few myself, and transliterating the Sanskrit terms in some cases. My reasons I have explained as far as I could in my notes.

When I undertook the task I had hopes of reading the work with the assistance of a professional Yogī; but I have been disappointed. I could find no Paṇḍit [Pandit] in Bengal who had made Yoga the special subject of his study, and the only person I met at Benares who could help me was most exorbitant in his demands. He cared not for the world and its wealth, and the only condition under which he would teach me was strict pupillage under Hindu rules—living in his hut and ever following his footsteps—to which I could not submit. I had, therefore, to depend on my own knowledge of the Sanskrit language to arrive at the meaning of Patañjali, availing myself frequently of the aid of my learned friend Professor Maheśacandra Nyāyaratna [Mahesa Chandra Nyayaratna], of the Calcutta Sanskrit College, for the solution of difficulties. I had the assistance, too, of Professor Kāmākhyānātha Tarkaratna, of that College, both in revising the text and in translating it. Both the Professors are distinguished

Nyāya scholars, and Pandit Mahesachandra [Paṇḍit Maheśacandra] commands a deep knowledge of the Sāṅkhya, and with their aid, I believe, I have been able to avoid gross misinterpretations of the text, though I cannot flatter myself with the idea that I have been able always satisfactorily to expound the meaning of Patañjali.

Manuscripts of the Yoga-sūtra are common enough in Bengal, but I have not met with any particularly old, or exceptionally correct text. In carrying the text and commentary through the press, I had the use of the following codices:

A. From the Asiatic Society’s Library, yellow paper 13 x 11 inches, bound in a 4to. volume. Bengali character. Lines, 27 on a page; Incorrect.

B. From the Sanskrit College of Calcutta, yellow paper, 17 x 4 inches, puthi form. Folia, 36. Character, Bengali. Generally correct.

C. From ditto, Kashmiri paper, 10 X 4½ inches. Folia, 69. Character, well-written Nagari [Nāgarī]. Date, Samvat, 1850. Generally correct.

D. From the Benares College, Kashmiri paper, 11 x 5 inches. Folia, 30. Character, Nāgari. Incorrect and incomplete.

E. From Professor Maheśachandra Nyāyaratna, Calcutta, yellow paper, 15 x 4 inches. Folia, 55. Character, Bengali. Generally correct. First chapter revised.

G. Ballantyne’s reprint annexed to his translation.

H. From Bombay, copied for me from a MS. belonging to the Government collection preserved in the office of the Director of Public Instruction. Generally correct.

I. From my family Library, a quarto volume in Bengali. Corrupt and little used.

In the text of Patañjali, no variation of any note has been met with in the above codices. The work appears to have been preserved with every care, as may be presumed from the circumstance of its having enjoyed the benefit of a host of commentaries and glosses. The commentary of Bhoja has not been so correctly preserved. There are many differences of reading in the different codices. But on the whole the differences are not so material as would justify the assumption of different recensions, or produce any marked changes in the meaning of the author.

8 Maniktollah,

January 28, 1883.

Footnotes and references:


Dr. Weber probably refers to this Upaniṣad theory, and not to the Purāṇas as stated on page 208.






Professor Weber refers to a tradition which, he says, ‘identifies Piṅgala with Patañjali, the author of Mahābhāṣya and the Yogasūtra,’ but he justly adds, it ‘should answer for itself; for us there exists no cogent reason for accepting it.’ (‘Hist. Indian Literature,’ p. 231.)


This grammatical correction has been suggested apparently with a view to make Patañjali a derivative of Patañcala to prop the theory of relationship.




This date is incorrect. It refers to the last Bhoja, whereas the Bhoja quoted must be the elder one, and elsewhere constructively admitted to be so by Mr. Hall himself. In the Preface to his ‘Contributions towards an Index to the Bibliography of the Indian Philosophical Systems,’ he observes, ‘that two Bhojas have ruled over part of Central India, and that the earlier, whatever was the case with the later, was interested in literature, I have elsewhere shown conclusively. The Bhoja who reigned in the middle of the eleventh century very likely entertained learned men at his court; and the astrological compilation known as the Rājamārtaṇḍa, and thus called in honour of him, may have been indebted, for its name, to the suggestion of the Yoga work, so entitled, written in the time of his homonymous antecessor. At any rate he came long after the date of the Sarasvatīkaṇṭhābharaṇa; and we are nowhere told that the Bhoja to whom it is attributed bore the epithet of Raṇaraṅga-malla.’ (Contributions, p. viii.)








‘Of there illustrious personages they have many miraculous and mysterious deeds; such as, in the upper world, hiding the sun’s disk; causing him to appear at night; making the stars visible in the day-time: and in this lower world, walking on the surface of water; making trees productive out of season; restoring verdure to dried up wood; causing trees to bow down their heads; also showing themselves between heaven and earth in the form of lightning; and such like: and, in the animated world metamorphosing animals; rendering themselves invisible to men; appearing under various shapes and forms: some of which wonders have been recorded in the Barmgah-i-durveshu-khushi. They relate that these great personages were to such a degree enabled to divest themselves of corporeal elements that they quitted the body at pleasure; also that they had acquired from the court of heaven the knowledge of all sciences, whether known or occult, and consequently had the power of exhibiting such wonderful works; having rendered, by the efficacy of their austerities, elementary matters subject to themselves?” (Troyer and Shea’s Dabistan i Muzahib, II, pp. 107f.)

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