Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.22, 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 4.22:

द्रष्टृदृश्योपरक्तं चित्तं सर्वार्थम् ॥ ४.२२ ॥

draṣṭṛdṛśyoparaktaṃ cittaṃ sarvārtham || 4.22 ||

22. The thinking principle, modified by the knower and the knowable, is (able to perceive) all objects.

The Rajamartanda commentary by King Bhoja:

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

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

To show that thus the self-perceptive thinking principle, being able to perceive all objects, becomes fit for all purposes, he says:

[Read Sūtra 4.22]

“The knower” (draṣṭā) is soul. To be modified by it is to seem to be of its form from its propinquity. To be modified by the knowable, is to undergo the modification of assuming the form of the (object) perceived. When this (double modification) takes place, then it becomes able to perceive all objects. Even as a transparent crystal, or a mirror, or the like is fit to receive the reflection of all images, so the quality of goodness, unstained by foulness and darkness, is able, from its purity, to receive the reflection of the soul (cit). Not so foulness and darkness, owing to their want of purity. The quality of goodness, divested of all association with foulness and darkness, from its being liable to only one modification, and being able to receive the reflection of the intelligent soul, remains like a steady lamp-flame till the attainment of emancipation (mokṣa). Even as in the vicinity of a loadstone motion is produced in iron, so in the vicinity of the intelligent soul manifestible intelligence is reflected on the quality of goodness. Accordingly, in this system of philosophy two powers of intelligence are recognized, the eternally present (nityoditā) and the manifestible (abhivyaṅgā). The eternally present power of intelligence is soul. The manifestible power of intelligence is the quality of goodness, which derives its power by its contiguity to the former. From extreme propinquity, it, as an intimate friend, effectuates the experiencership of the soul. And as that quality is the resting place of Puruṣa, the supreme soul, the Sāṅkbyas, who recognise an actionless Brahma, attribute to it the experience of pleasure, pain and delusion. (The epithets “supreme” and “Brahma” are meaningless here, for the human soul is all that is meant: God as Brahma is not indicated).

Now, though from the extreme abeyance of some one quality and of its prevalence at certain times and in some cases, all the three qualities are constantly modifying in the forms of pleasure, pain, and delusion, and the thinking principle is not pure, yet when that principle modifies its form into that pure quality of goodness, which is the essence of work, it attains its perceptibility. The pure primary quality of goodness of the thinking principle, on the one side reflected upon by intelligence or the soul, and on the other covered by the thinking principle modified into the forms of external objects, and becoming conscious from the effect of the reflection of the soul, becomes able to feel pleasure, pain and delusion, though it is devoid of intelligence. Thus the experience, from its extreme propinquity to soul and from want of due discrimination, is said to be of soul, though it is unexperiencing. To this effect has Vindhyavāsī said: “the sufferingness of the quality of goodness is the sufferingness of soul.” Elsewhere it is said. “Even as an image produced by the reflection of a reflected image on a mirror is called a reflection, so the manifestation of the shadow of intelligence, like the intelligence of soul, is implied by the word pratisaṅkrānti or contact.”

It might be argued that, though the reflection of the evermodifying may be seen in a transparent body, as a human face in a looking-glass, how can there arise the reflection of the absolutely transparent, all-pervading, unmodifying soul in the comparatively untransparent quality of goodness? To this the reply is—Not knowing the true nature of reflection you have said this. The display of the manifestable power of intelligence in the quality of goodness, by the propinquity of the soul, is called reflection. Even as is that sentient power, abiding in the soul, does its reflection appear in the quality of goodness.

Again, since it has been said that soul is absolutely pure, how can it be in contact with the (comparatively) untransparent quality of goodness? This argument is not correct, for the contact of the sun and the like (which are highly transparent) is seen in water and the like which are less transparent. If it be said that there can be no contact of that which is undefined, that too would be inconsistent, because we see the all-pervading sky (ākāśa) reflected in a looking-glass, or the like. And such being the case, there can be no objection to the effectuation of the reflection (under notice).

It may be argued that what has been said about there being an apparent or external contact by propinquity of the sentient power with the quality of goodness of the thinking principle, there should be the experience of pain and pleasure on the part of soul, is inconsistent, for how can the quality of goodness of the thinking principle be produced without a modification of Prakṛti? and for what object should there be a modification of Prakṛti? To this it is replied, that Prakṛti has to effectuate soul’s experience of the objects of mundane existence, and, its duty being to effectuate the object of soul, the modification is proper.

It may be urged that this is not proved, for the effectuation of the soul’s object is impossible. The duty of effectuating soul’s object implies the consciousness on the part of Prakṛti that “it is my duty to effectuate soul’s object;” but how can there be such a consciousness on the part of the unsentient Prakṛti? If you admit the consciousness, how will you maintain its unsentience or inertness? The reply to this is that in the two forms of progressive and regressive modification, there are the two natural powers (of progression and regression), arid they are called the duty of effectuating soul’s purpose. Those powers are natural to the unsentient Prakṛti. Its progressive modification (anuloma-pariṇāma) is the outward one, extending from the intellect to gross matter; while entering through its cause and ending with the annihilation of egoism is its regressive modification, (pratiloma, pariṇāma). Hence on the completion of soul’s experience, the two natural powers being destroyed, Prakṛti, having achieved its object, ceases to modify. In performing such duty for soul on the part of the unsentient Prakṛti, there is no inconsistency.

Again, it may be argued, if there be two such powers naturally possessed by Prakṛti, then why is exertion made for salvation (moksa) by those who long for it? and if salvation be no object the science of those who advise it is worthless. The answer is, the relation of soul and Prakṛti as experiencer and experience is from time without a beginning, and that being the case, when pain is felt on the part of Prakṛti in action, from the assumption of its being the agent or actor, there arises the desire—“how can there be absolute stoppage of my suffering?” and hence there is a necessity on the part of Prakṛti for the advice of the science which points out the means of stopping the pain. The substance of the advice of the science is the quality of goodness of the thinking principle as governed by work. In other works on philosophy this has been accepted to be the nature of ignorance (avidyā) That nature, exerting for salvation, relying on the help of the advice of such sciences, obtain the reward called salvation. All works influenced by the (necessary) conjunction of causes attain their own selves, and it is established by proof that of the work called mokṣa, which is acquired by regressive modification, this is the conjunction of causes, because it cannot be attained by any other method. Hence without that cause how can it be effected? It follows, therefore, that the quality of goodness of the thinking principle modified by worldly objects in contact and enlightened by the shadow of soul, conducts, through the conviction of (the reality of) those objects, all worldly affairs. Deluded people, looking at such thinking principle, imagine it and all such thinking principles to be the world. They should be enlightened.

Notes and Extracts

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

[Having met all the principal objections to the theory of the thinking principle being sensitized into intelligence by a reflection of soul which is intelligence, the author enunciates that the thinking principle, modified on the one hand by the soul and on the other by external objects, is brought into play in every case of sensation. The word used in the text for the double transformation is uparakta, which is a compound of upa ‘excess’ and rañja ‘to colour’ or ‘tinge,’ meaning that the thinking principle is doubly tinged or influenced; and this conveys the true meaning of the text. The Pātañjala Bhāṣya accordingly cites the example of the crystal vase tinged by the coloured object put in it. Inasmuch as the theory, however, is that the thinking principle assumes the shape of the object in every instance of cognition, and the same epithet is used for the double tinging, it is necessary, for the sake of consistency, to adopt the same phraseology everywhere; I have accordingly used the word modified.

Bhoja, after explaining the text, enters into a long dissertation on the various objections that may be started to the doctrine, and refutes them seriatim. The first and most obvious objection is—how can a shadow of soul produce in an object on which it falls the quality of the original? Soul may be intelligence, but its shadow cannot reasonably be said to convey that intelligence on the object on which it falls. The commentator sees no harm in this, for, says he, such action is manifest in the motion produced in iron by the propinquity of a loadstone. He describes soul’s intelligence to be two-fold; one is Nityoditā or always and eternally present, and the other Abhivyaṅgā or manifestible, and it is the latter that sensitizes the thinking principle.

The next argument is, if it be the thinking principle that is sensitized, how can soul be said to be the experiencer? The reply is—that soul is really not the experiencer, but since experience is felt by the agency of its shadow it is in an indiscriminate way called experiencer.

Then the question arises how can reflection take place of a perfectly transparent object like soul, on a comparatively untransparent object like the thinking principle with the quality of goodness prevalent in it? This is met by saying that the word reflection here simply is the technical name of the influence of soul on the thinking principle.

An argument like the last is raised with reference to the contact of the absolutely pure soul with a comparatively impure thinking principle. This, however, is held possible, as we see the sun reflected in foul water. The contact of that which is illimitable with a finite object is also possible, as in the case of the sky reflected in a mirror.

The objection next urged is that why should Prakṛti or nature change to produce effects? The answer is, it subserves the purposes of soul. This answer is, however, not enough, for Prakṛti or nature being unintelligent, cannot have such a consciousness of duty, and act up to it. The reply is that Prakṛti has two inherent powers in it, that of progression and of regression, and acting under their impulses it subserves the purposes of soul, and therefore there is no inconsistency.

The admission of the two powers aforesaid suggests the objection that, if they be natural they will run their course of their own accord, and there is no use in controlling them. The effect of the regressive action is salvation, and that must come of itself; none needs try for it, and, if so, what is the use of Yoga as a means of salvation? This is met by saying that it is Prakṛti when in action that feels pain and, wishing to put a stop to that pain, wants to know how to do so, and hence arises the desire for salvation, and the Yoga points out the means of doing so. Without such advice Prakṛti would go on working for ever.

The Pātañjala Bhāṣya has not mooted these discussions.]

Suspecting that it may be argued that if all purposes are accomplished by a thinking principle of this kind, why should we acknowledge an experiencer of which there is no proof, he gives the proofs (in support of the existence) of the spectator.

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