Yoga-sutras (with Vyasa and Vachaspati Mishra)

by Rama Prasada | 1924 | 154,800 words | ISBN-10: 9381406863 | ISBN-13: 9789381406861

The Yoga-Sutra 1.6-7, English translation with Commentaries. The Yoga Sutras are an ancient collection of Sanskrit texts dating from 500 BCE dealing with Yoga and Meditation in four books. It deals with topics such as Samadhi (meditative absorption), Sadhana (Yoga practice), Vibhuti (powers or Siddhis), Kaivaly (isolation) and Moksha (liberation).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Sūtra 1.6-7:

प्रमाणविपर्ययविकल्पनिद्रास्मृतयः ॥ १.६ ॥
प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि ॥ १.७ ॥

pramāṇaviparyayavikalpanidrāsmṛtayaḥ || 1.6 ||
pratyakṣānumānāgamāḥ pramāṇāni || 1.7 ||

pramāṇa—real cognition, right knowledge, viparyaya—unreal cognition, indiscrimination. vikalpa—imagination, verbal delusion, nidrā—deep sleep. smṛtayaḥ—and memory.

pratyakṣa—direct perception. anumāna—inference, āgamāḥ—and verbal cognition, competent evidence, pramāṇāni—kinds of real cognition, (or proofs).

6. Real Cognition, Unreal Cognition, Imagination, Deep Sleep and Memory.

7. Perception, Verbal Cognition and Inference are real cognitions.

The Sankhya-pravachana commentary of Vyasa

[English translation of the 7th century commentary by Vyāsa called the Sāṅkhya-pravacana, Vyāsabhāṣya or Yogabhāṣya]

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

These painful and non-painful modifications are of five descriptions:—Real Cognition, Unreal Cognition, Imagination, Sleep and Memory. The Real Cognitions are Perception or sense-cognition; Inference or Sequential Cognition and Verbal Cognition.

Perception is the mental modification which cognizes chiefly the specific appearance of an object, being of the nature of both the generic and the specific qualities, and which has it for its object, by means of the impression caused therein by the external object through the passage of the senses. The result is the knowledge of the modifications of the mind by the Puruṣa, as if they were not all distinguishable from himself. We shall establish further on that the Puruṣa knows by reflex conjunction with the will-to-be.

Inference or Sequential Cognition is the mental modification which cognizes the generic nature chiefly and has for its sphere the relation which exists in objects of the same class with that which is inferred, but does not exist as such in objects of different classes. For example, the moon and the stars are moving objects, because they go from one place to another like Caitra. And the Vindhyā mountain does not move, because it is not seen going from one place to another.

An object perceived or inferred by a competent man is described by him in words with the intention of transferring his knowledge to another. The mental modification which has for its sphere the meaning of words is the Verbal Cognition to the hearer. When the speaker has neither perceived nor inferred the object, and speaks of things which cannot be believed, the authority of Verbal Cognition fails. But it does not fail in the original speaker with reference to either the object of perception or of inference.

The Gloss of Vachaspati Mishra

[English translation of the 9th century Tattvavaiśāradī by Vācaspatimiśra]

The author mentions them by their names, “Real Cognition, Unreal Cognition, Imagination, Sleep and Memory.” In enumeration the different parts are understood separately as they are spoken of; and this is a copulative composition in which each word is joined to the other in the sense of the word ‘Ca’ (and) which means the joining of the one to the other.

As in the aphorism:—

“Nescience is the taking of the non-eternal, the impure, the painful and the not-self to be the eternal, the pure, the pleasurable and the self.”—5.2.

The definition does not comprehend such confused manifestations of consciousness, as the forgetfulness of directions and the unbroken circle formed by a fast-moving point of light; so even here notwithstanding that the modifications of Real Cognition, &c., are mentioned, the doubt may arise, that there are other modifications, besides those named, in existence. For the removal of this doubt, it was necessary to say Five-fold? It is thereby shown that there are so many modifications and no more.—6.

Going to divide the modification of Real Cognition, he gives the general description of the sub-heads. “The Real Cognitions are Perception, Inference and Verbal Cognitions.”

Right Knowledge consists in the unknown truth, which becomes the cause of the soul’s setting about to act. The moans of obtaining that knowledge is the Real Cognition (the cognizing of the real). The mention of the division is for the purpose of refuting a larger or smaller number of sub-heads.

Out of these the definition of Perception is first given, because that is at the root of all other means of knowledge.

“Perception is, &c.”

By using the words, “of an object” the quality of being merely fastened upon (that Is, existing as an idea alone) is denied.

By using the words, ‘which has it for its object’ it is denied that the externality of the object is the sphere of the mental idea thereof. By using the words, ‘by means of the impression therein caused by the external object,’ the relation of the idea in the mind to the external object of knowledge is shown.

He gives the cause of the impression thereof, even though there be distance between (the knower and the thing known).

“Through the passage of the senses.”

Some say an object is the generic quality alone. Others say, an object is the specific quality alone. Other thinkers again say that an object is possessed of both descriptions of qualities, the generic and the specific. For their refutation, he says:—

“Being of the nature of both the generic and the specific qualities.” An object is not possessed of the generic and the specific qualities; it is of the very nature thereof. This will be shown when the question of simultaneous non-cognition is discussed.

Now he distinguishes the domain of sequential and verbal cognitions from that of perception:—‘Which cognizes chiefly the specific appearance of an object.’ The meaning is that although in perception, the generic quality also shines out, still it is subordinate to the specific quality. This is only suggestive of direct knowledge—Discriminative knowledge also is suggested, therefore.

He refutes the contradiction of the result of perceptive cognition.

‘The result is the knowledge by the Puruṣa of the modifications of the mind.’

The question is, How can knowledge by the Puruṣa be the result of a modification of the mind? If an axe operate upon a Khadira tree, it is not a Plakṣa tree that is cut thereby.

For this reason he says, ‘as if they were not at all distinguishable from himself.’ It is not the cognitive modification of the mind that takes its place in the Puruṣa; it is on the contrary consciousness reflected in the mirror of the will-to-know, that appears in the form of the modification of the object, because the modification of the will-to-know takes the form of the object. This is the result of the act of perception. This consciousness thus reflected in the will-to-know is not separate from the will-to-know (Buddhi). It is of its very nature, and the modification thereof in the shape of an object is also of the nature of the will-to-know. They co-exist in the same place. It is, therefore, proper that this should be the result of the perceptive cognition. This we shall show.

For this reason the author says:—“The puruṣa knows by reflex conjunction with the will-to-know.”

Because Verbal Cognition has its origin in the recognition of the relations established by the inferences of the intellect of the hearer, on account of the appearance therein of the signs of co-existence, etc., in sequence of perceptive knowledge, it is by inference that verbal knowledge becomes possible. For this reason and also because inferred knowledge is imparted thereafter by means of verbal cognition, the commentator gives the definition of inference before that of verbal cognition.

“Inference or Sequential Cognition, &c.”

The inferred object is the object possessed of the characteristic desired to be known. Objects of the same class therewith are those similar objects which are placed into the same species on account of the possession of the same generic quality, which is the characteristic to be proved. By saying that it exists in objects of the same class with that which is inferred, the author does away with the presence of contrary and uncommon qualities in the antecedent. Objects of different classes are those which fall not within the same species. These are others than those which fall into the same class, are their contraries and mean their non-existence. By saying that they do not exist as such in objects of different classes, the author emphasizes the neceesity of the possession of the generic qualities. Relation is that which furnishes the common bond. This is called the liṅga, the sign which is the common bond, the generic quality. By this he shows the characteristic nature Of the thing to be proved (pakṣa, sādhya) and thus does away with non-probability.

‘Has for its object,’ (tadviṣaya) means that to which it is bound, as the word viṣaya (object) is derived from the root √ṣi, to bind.

The author speaks of cognizing the generic nature, with the object of distinguishing it from the perceptive cognition. The sphere of inference is limited to the generic quality because it is dependent for its birth upon the cognition of relation, and in specific objects there can be no cognition of relationship; and for this reason the common quality alone admits of the recognition of relationship. He gives an example:—“For example.” The word ‘and’ (ca) denotes a cause. Because the Vindhya is not a moving object, it does not change its location. Therefore when motion is removed, change of place disappears. Hence there being change of place, the moon and the stars are moving bodies; as is Caitra. This is proved.

He gives the definition of the mental modification of Verbal Cognition:—“An object perceived or inferred by a competent person, &c.”

A competent person is an Āpta. Competence (Āpti) which radically means “reach,” means an all-round comprehension, or the constant presence along with each other of the knowledge of the realities, mercifulness and the skilfulness in their acts of the instruments of knowledge. An Āpta or a competent or an authoritative person is one who is possessed of this. An object seen or inferred by him is the object of verbal cognition. The knowledge obtained by an authoritative person such as above described, by hearing is not mentioned here, because knowledge obtained through words has inferential and perceptive knowledge for its root, and therefore must be considered as having been mentioned by the mention of the two only.

“Transferring of his knowledge” consists in the production of knowledge in the mind of the hearer similar to the knowledge which exists in the mind of the authoritative person. For that object it is uttered in words, i.e., is made known for causing gain to, and removing the disadvantages of the hearer. The rest is easy.

When the speaker speaks of things which cannot be believed such as, ‘it is the ten pomegranates themselves which will become the six cakes.’

‘Has neither perceived nor inferred’:—Such as one who says, ‘Let him who desires heaven, worship the village tree (Caitya might mean the Buddha, the temple, &c., besides). Such an authority fails.

The question arises that if it be so, the teaching of Manu, &c., also fails because they too speak of things not seen or inferred.

Inasmuch as they say, ‘whatever of the dharma of whomsoever is disclosed by Manu, all that is laid down in the Veda,’ he was certainly possessed of all knowledge.

For this reason he says:—“When it has been perceived by the original speaker, &c.” The original speaker is in such teachings, of course, Īśvara.

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