Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.16, 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 4.16:

तदुपरागापेक्षित्वाच्चित्तस्य वस्तु ज्ञाताज्ञातम् ॥ ४.१६ ॥

taduparāgāpekṣitvāccittasya vastu jñātājñātam || 4.16 ||

16. A thing is known or unknown from its dependence on its change of form in 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]

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:

[Read Sūtra 4.16]

“Its” of the object. “From its change of form” (uparāgāt). From its producing forms in the thinking principle, an external object becomes known or unknown. The meaning is this: in the attainment of their production all things depend on the conjunction of their causes. The production of the cognition of a blue or other colour depends on the accessory cause of the form being brought forward as an object through the passage of the organs of sensation; perception being impossible without the object, since there is no correlation. Hence, by whatever object is the form of cognition modified, that object is brought into cognition, i.e., that object becomes known. That which does not give its shape (to the thinking principle) is held to be unknown. Similarly, recollection is produced of that object which, having been known before, has left residua in the mind, and which residua, excited by a similar object, acting as the accessory cause, brings it to our knowledge. Hence, neither cognition, nor memory is constant everywhere, nor is there any inconsistency.

Notes and Extracts

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

[The argument mooted in the last aphorism is further developed by saying that the effect of the qualities is transmitted to the thinking principle through the object seen, and the thinking principle is thereby modified differently under different circumstances. The qualities act from two different directions, first in the thinking principle apart from the object, and next in the object, and through it in the thinking principle. A man in a passion has the quality of foulness prevalent in him, and then that foulness affects everything he sees, though it is not foul; and when all the qualities are calm in him, he sees a foul action, and the foulness of that action enters within him and tinges his thinking principle from without.]

To remove the doubt that since the perceiving soul does not perceive a yellow colour when it perceives a blue, there is liability of its assuming, like the thinking principle, different shapes, or being modified from its being at times the perceiver, he says:

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