Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.15, 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 4.15:

वस्तुसाम्ये चित्तभेदात्तयोर्विविक्तः पन्थाः ॥ ४.१५ ॥

vastusāmye cittabhedāttayorviviktaḥ panthāḥ || 4.15 ||

15. Even in the sameness of object, the course of the two are distinct, from diversity of the thinking principle.

The Rajamartanda commentary by King Bhoja:

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

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

Had objects existed distinct from cognition it would be proper to talk of the unity or multiplicity of objects, but when cognition itself from the influence of residua existing in the relation of cause and effect, appears in different shapes, how can you say so? In reply to this question, he says:

[Read Sūtra 4.15]

“Of the two,” of the cognition and the cognizable, the course is distinct, follow different or separate roads. How so? From diversity of thinking principles even in the sameness of object.

Even in similar things, as the attainment of women and the like, differences of thinking are noticeable in different observers from the resulting sensations of pleasure, pain and delusion. Thus, on beholding a beautiful and attractive woman, pleasure is felt by an amorous person, enmity by her rival, and disgust by an ascetic. And since these different kinds of feeling arise from one object there can be no agency in the thing itself. If it be said that object is the effect of our thinking principle only, the object would appear in one form only. Also, if a thing were an effect of the thinking principle then there would be no other thing extant when that thinking principle would be occupied with one thing. (If it be said) be it so, we deny it. For how could that thing then be beheld by many others? And since it is so beheld, it cannot be an effect of the thinking principle. If it be said that it is created by many at the same time, the reply would be that there would be a difference between a work produced by many, and a work produced by one. And if the difference be not admitted, then there being difference of cause without a difference of effect, the universe would be either causeless, or uniform. What is said is this: should there be no difference of effect when the causes are different, then the whole universe resulting from many causes would either be of one form, or not following the different causes, be causeless from its independence (of the causes). And if it is so (it may be asked) why does it not, being made of the three qualities, produce in the same percipient the sensations (simultaneously) of pleasure, pain and delusion? The case is not so. Even as the object consists of three qualities, so is the thinking principle made up of three qualities, and in its perception of objects, merits and demerits are accessory causes, and from their prevalence or depression results the manifestation of the thinking principle in such and such (varying) forms. Thus in the presence of a woman near an amorous person, his thinking principle, disposed towards merit through the influence of the quality of goodness, becomes full of pleasure. From the co-operation of the quality of foulness, which is auxiliary to vice, for all rival wives, it becomes painful. Similarly from the co-operation of the quality of darkness, which is attended by ardent vice, it becomes to angry rival wives the cause of delusion. Hence the cognizable object is independent of cognition, and consequently cognizable and cognition, being contradictory in their natures, cannot bear the relation of cause and effect. Thus it being possible without any difference in the cause for the existence of a difference in effect from their relation, the independence of cognition from the object is established.

Notes and Extracts

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

[The question discussed in the preceding aphorism raises a doubt as to whether perception is due to objects or to the cognitive power. It cannot be said that objects produce perception, for in that case a given object would always and everywhere produce the same sensation, as a given cause cannot produce dissimilar effects. A handsome woman should be a handsome woman to all beholders, without a distinction. In the world this is, however, not the case. A woman produces very dissimilar feelings in different beholders, and she, as the object, cannot therefore be said to be the cause of perception. On the other hand, the thinking principle cannot be the cause, for if you accept it to be one in all persons, it, as a cause, cannot produce different effects; and if you accept it to be different in different individuals, dissimilar causes would lead to one uniform result, which is impossible. The solution offered is that thinking principle and object are different, but inasmuch as both are governed by the three qualities, the prevalence of a particular quality at a particular time in the thinking principle produces a difference in the perception of an object. The “diversity of the thinking principle” in the text implies a diversity in its condition as regards the state of the qualities working within it. The argument here is the same which European philosophers discuss with reference to sensations and sensibles; and the optional use of jñāna and vijñāna by our author shows that he means cognition or sensation and perception, and not the higher knowledge elsewhere indicated by the word jñāna. I have used for it cognition after Mr. Jardine, who defines it as “a general name which we may apply to all those mental states in which there is made known in consciousness either some affection or activity of the mind itself, or some external quality or object.” (‘The Elements of the Psychology of Cognition,’ p. 1). The object to which this jñāna or cognition is applied is jñeya or cognizable, which is just the same with idea as used by Locke, who says, “it is the term which, I think, serves best to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks; I have used it to express whatever is meant by phenomena) notion, species, or whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking.” Idea, however, has been used in so many varying senses by European metaphysicians that I have thought it safe to confine myself to cognizable or object, as least likely to cause misconceptions. The theory of eternity of matter is here made the basis of the argument.]

Since a cognition, being an illuminator, is by nature perceptive, and the object, being susceptible of illumination, is by nature perceivable, why should cognition not perceive and recollect all things simultaneously? With a view to remove such doubt, he says:

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