Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.8, 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.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Sūtra 4.8:

ततस्तद्विपाकानुगुणानामेवाभिव्यक्तिर्वासनानाम् ॥ ४.८ ॥

tatastadvipākānuguṇānāmevābhivyaktirvāsanānām || 4.8 ||

8. Thence proceeds the manifestation of the residua which are suitable to its fruition.

The Rajamartanda commentary by King Bhoja:

[English translation of the 11th century commentary by Bhoja called the Rājamārtaṇḍa]

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

Now, the residua of works produce two sorts of fruits, one sort being memory only, and the other, kind, age, and experience. Thereof, those residua which have for their fruition kind, age, and experience which are derivable in one or many births, have already been described above (p. 69). Of those the only fruit of which is memory, the manifestation proceeds from the same works. Even as work produces a body, whether as a Deva, or a human being, or a lower animal, so does it by its maturity lead to a corresponding manifestation of residua (vāsanā). The meaning is this. Should a celestial or other body once acquired by a certain work be acquired even after the interposition of a hundred other births the memorial residua of the former state will manifest themselves again. Their memory revives according to circumstances, even when residing in other regions. In the intermediate states, though existing, they remain in a latent condition. Nor do the residua produced in course of existence in hell and other places become evident then.

Notes and Extracts

[Notes and comparative extracts from other commentaries on the Yogasūtra]

[For the sake of verbal fidelity I have used memory as the equivalent of the Sanskrit term Smṛti of the commentary; but the object aimed at is not memory in its ordinary signification, but the remembrance in one life of appetites, desires, and affections of a preceding one. These results manifest themselves in, what in European philosophy is called, instinct. They are remembrances, because they arise without any conscious purpose, though they are not without consciousness. European philosophers, who do not recognise transmigration, finding Instinct to be opposed to Reason, take it to be something distinct from it—a distinct faculty. In its widest signification it extends to living beings in general—to plants as well as to animals,—but for psychological purposes it is limited by Dugald Stewart to Appetites, Desires, and Affections. Butler changes Desires into Passions, but without any material change of purport. Dr. Bain says “Instinct is untaught ability,” (Mental and Moral Science, Bk. III, c. IV), and this is amplified by Hamilton into “an agent which performs blindly and ignorantly a work of intelligence and knowledge.” (Reid’s Works, p. 761a.) Paley has “a propensity prior to experience, and independent of instruction.” Milton calls it “Reason discursive or intuitive.” These definitions have been summed up into “untaught ability,” “untaught propensity,” “unconscious purpose.” It is opposed to Habit, which is the result of tuition and exercise, and distinct from Reason, which presupposes argumentation and deliberation. The memory of our text is Instinct as defined above; but our author does not recognise spontaneity in anything, nor purpose independent of Reason. He attributes the eteology of Instinct to residua left in the thinking principle by rational action, and the said residua lie dormant till they are made vivid in a subsequent life. Habits leave their residua exactly in the same way as other actions, and they not only become manifest in the next life, but also in the progeny, as in the cases of pointers and other animals. In short, according to our author, Reason is one and the sole faculty of all knowing, the only principle of certain. ty, and it manifests itself as Reason or Instinct differently under different circumstance. Anyhow, the meaning of our author will be best understood by replacing his Memory by Instinct

The aphorism under notice explains the fruit of work as manifested by Instinct. Having already described that work leads to two kinds of fruit, Instinct and deserts, or in his language memory and kind, age and experience, he now says that Instinct does not manifest itself uniformly at every successive birth, but according to circumstances when it is needed in subsequent lives, even after many interruptions, the residua for it remaining dormant during such interruption. Thus, a man born in the next life as a dog having no occasion for his human instincts, acts as a dog, but twenty or more generations after, when he is again born as a man, his early instincts revive, and he acts according to them. This is the theory which the aphorism explains by saying that residua manifest themselves in conformity to the fruition of work. When a work entails existence as a serpent, those residua become manifest which are appropriate to such an existence, but not those which are appropriate for other forms of life. In other words, residua remain dormant or in a potential state until the necessary excitants are in operation.

The S. P. Bhāṣya, explains this by saying,

(na hi daivam karma vipacyamānam nāraka-tiryaṅ-manuṣya-vāsanābhivyakti-nimittam bhavati kintu daivānuguṇā evāsya vāsanā vyajante).

“When a celestial work is in fruition, it does not become the cause of manifestation of the residua of infernal, brutal or human states; it then enlivens only those residua which are conformable to a celestial existence.”

The purport is that each kind of existence brings to light its own appropriate residua.]

Doubt having been produced of there existing any causal relation in these residua, he establishes it by saying:

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