Yoga-sutras (with Vyasa and Vachaspati Mishra)

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

The Yoga-Sutra 3.44, 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 3.44:

ततोऽणिमादिप्रादुर्भावः कायसंपत् तद्धर्मानभिघातश् च ॥ ३.४४ ॥

tato'ṇimādiprādurbhāvaḥ kāyasaṃpat taddharmānabhighātaś ca || 3.44 ||

tataḥ—thence, aṇimā-ādi—of attenuation and the other powers. prādurbhāvaḥ—the manifestation of. kāya—of the body. sampad—perfection. tad—their. dharma—characteristics, anabhighātaḥ—non-resistance by. ca—and.

44. Thence the manifestation of attenuation (aṇimā) and the other (powers); as also the perfection of the body and non-resistance by their characteristics.—150.

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]

Of these, attenuation (aṇimā): becomes atomical. Buoyancy becomes light. Enlargement: becomes large. Approach (prāpti): touches even the moon by the tip of his finger. Unrestrained will (prākāmya): absence of restraint to bis will: merges into earth just as he plunges into water.

Control (vaśītva):—Obtains power over the elements and objects made thereof, and controls others.

Creative Power (īśitrittva [īśitritva/īśitṛtva?]):—Controls appearance and disappearance and aggregations.

Fulfilment of desires is the objective reality of one’s determination, i.e., the natures of the elements assume such appearances as he thinks of.

Although he possesses the power, he does not interfere to set the objects of the world topsy-turvy. Why not? Because his desire with reference to them is the same always which another Siddha of the same power has formerly willed. These are the eight attainments. The perfection of the body will be described. ‘Non-resistance by their characteristics’:—The Pṛthvī does not by cohesion interfere with the action of a Yogī’s body. He might even enter a stone in virtue of the use of his powers. The waters with their viscidity do not wet him. The fire does not burn him by its heat. The air moves him not by its motion. Even in Ākāśa, which naturally offers no obstruction, his body might become obstructed to sight. Even the Siddhas may fail to see him.—150.

The Gloss of Vachaspati Mishra

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

Now the author describes what powers the Yogī attains, when the elements begin to follow his thoughts:—‘Thence the manifestation of Attenuation (aṇimā) as also the perfection of the body, and non-resistance by their characteristics.

The Commentator says that by Saṃyama over the gross states of the elements and thereby mastering them come four attainments. Of these, attenuation is the power of the body’s becoming small even though it is large. Buoyancy means the power of its becoming light, even though it is heavy. Having become light it moves in space like a straw or a piece of cotton wool. Enlargement is the power of its becoming large like a mountain or the sky, even though it is small. Approach is the power by which all existences come within the reach of the Yogī; thus he can touch the moon with the tip of his finger, though standing on the earth.

He describes the attainments obtained by the performance of Saṃyama over substantive appearance (svarūpa). Unrestrained will is the absence of restraint to his will. His form is not resisted by the substantive qualities of form, &c. He merges into and emerges out of earth, as if it, were water.

He describes the attainment to be obtained by Saṃyama and consequent mastery over the subtile form:—‘Control:—The elements are Pṛthvī &c.’ Objects made thereof are such as a cow and a jar. ‘Obtains power over them’: acts with reference to them just as he wishes.

As to the objects made of the elements, it is necessary that when their causes, the tanmātras, and the atoms of Pṛthvī, &c., are controlled, their effects also should come under control, because they remain in whatever condition or arrangement he places them.

Now he describes the attainments to be obtained by Saṃyama over and mastery of the conjunction (anvaya):—Creative Power:—Having mastered the Mūlaprakṛti he can control the birth, destruction, and present existence, as it is for the time being of the elements and things made of them.

He describes the attainments due to the performance of Saṃyama over purposefulness. ‘Fulfilment of desires' means the objective reality of one’s desires. The Yogī who has become the master of the purpose of the qualities, makes everything according to the purpose he thinks they should fulfil. Even if he conceives that poison should act upon the body as Amṛta, it would act so, and having taken poison he would still live.

Well, let that be, but if he possessed these powers he would interfere with the order of nature in the world, but why does he not do so? He may transform the moon into the sun: or he may make the day from which the moon is totally absent, one from which she is not at all absent. For this reason he says:—Although he possesses the power, etc., these worshipful ones who have obtained the power of ordering as they desire, do not like to act against the will of Īśvara. As to the powers of objects they are changeable according to the difference of class, space, time and condition, and their natures are not for that reason permanent. It is, therefore, proper that they should act in accordance with their desire. These are the eight attainments.

‘Non-resistance by their characteristics:’—The mention of non-resistance of these elements after the attainment of attenuation, &c., even though this is the result of the attainments themselves, is similar to the mention of the perfection of the body even though this is achieved by this very attainment. The reason is that the object of Saṃyama mentioned in this aphorism may be easily understood together with the fruit to be -obtained by the performance of the Saṃyamas mentioned in the aphorism. The rest is easy.—44.

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