Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.9, 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 4.9:

जातिदेशकालव्यवहितानामप्यानन्तर्यं स्मृतिसंस्कारयोरेकरूपत्वात् ॥ ४.९ ॥

jātideśakālavyavahitānāmapyānantaryaṃ smṛtisaṃskārayorekarūpatvāt || 4.9 ||

9. From the uniformity of memory and residua there is uninterruptibility of relation, even after breaks by caste, locality and time.

The Rajamartanda commentary by King Bhoja:

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

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

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

[Read Sūtra 4.9]

Of worldly beings transmigrating in diverse forms, when one, after experiencing one form, attains that form again after an interruption of a thousand other births, the residua of impressions appropriate to that state, which had been formed at the first birth and had become latent from want of the necessary conditions, become manifest on the attainment of that suitable state. Thus, there is, notwithstanding breaks caused by caste, locality and time, an “uninterruptibility” (ānantarya) or continuity in producing their own necessary fruit of memory. How so? “From the uniformity of memory and residua.” Thus, on the performance of a work there is produced a deposit of residuum on the quality of goodness of the thinking principle, and that is the germ of the fruits of heaven, hell, &c.; or it is the residua of works such as sacrifices &c. It exists as a latent power, or as a power of the actor in relation to experience and experiencer. From these residua proceeds memory, from memory the experiencing of pleasure and pain, and from that experience again come residua, memory, &c. It is true that where memory and residua are different there is, from want of uninterruptibility, a difficulty in producing a relation of cause and effect; but in our case here, where impressions become residua, and residua merge into memory, and they reside in concord in one thinking principle, the relation of cause and effect is not difficult or hard of effectuation.

Notes and Extracts

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

[According to the preceding aphorism the residua of former births are the causes of manifestation of certain effects; but, since concomitancy is necessary between cause and effect while the intervention of many dissimilar births between two similars causes an interruption, it may be argued that residua are not the causes of memory, as alleged. This objection is met by saying that the memory remains, and therefore sequence is obviously not broken. The memory of sucking the teats on the part of an infant returns after many births, whenever that infant is again born as a human being, though it does not manifest itself when the same infant is born as a bird or a serpent, and it shows that the memory is not lost. Hence the relation of cause and effect is not broken.]

Admitting the uninterruptibility of residua, and their relation as cause and effect, it may be asked when an impression first takes place is it caused by residua, or without a cause? To solve this doubt, he says:

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