Yoga-sutras (with Vyasa and Vachaspati Mishra)

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

The Yoga-Sutra 4.10, 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 4.10:

तासाम् अनादित्वं चाशिषो नित्यत्वात् ॥ ४.१० ॥

tāsām anāditvaṃ cāśiṣo nityatvāt || 4.10 ||

tāsām—for them. anāditvam—no beginning, ca—and. āśiṣaḥ—of the desire to live. nityatvāt—owing to the eternity.

10. And there is no-beginning for them, the desire-to-live being eternal.—170.

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]

There is no beginning for them, the residua, inasmuch as the desire are ever present. The desire, ‘Would that I may not cease to be,’ ‘Would that I may live on,’ is found in everybody. This self-benediction is not inherent. Why not? How could there be fear of death and desire to avoid pain, in any being who has only been born, if he has had no experience of liability to death, it being understood that desire to avoid anything is only caused by remembrance suffered in consequence thereof; and that nothing which is inherent in anything stands in need of a cause. The mind, therefore, possessed as it is of residua from eternity, brings into activity by the operation of exciting causes, certain residua only, for the purpose of giving experience to the Puruṣa.

Some philosophers say that the mind has only a form which is commensurate with the body with which it may, for the time, be connected; it contracts or expands like light placed in a jar or a house as the case might be. And thus they say that non-interruption and repeated are proper. The author holds that it is the manifestation alone of the self-existing mind that expands or contracts, and that it is this which has the necessity of the operation of the exciting causes of virtue, &c.

These exciting causes are two-fold, external and internal. The external are those that stand in need of body, &c., as instrument, such as praising, giving of charity, and the performance of obeisances. The internal are those that stand in need of the mind alone, such as faith, &c. And so it has been said:—‘These acts of friendliness, &c., are the sports of the thinkers; they do not from their very nature depend upon external causes, and cause the expression of the highest virtue.’

Of these two means the mental, ones are more powerful. How? What can excel knowledge and desirelessness? Who can without the power of the mind render the Daṇḍaka forest empty, or drink the ocean like Agastya, by the mere action of the mind alone?—170.

The Gloss of Vachaspati Mishra

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

It may be so. The residua laid by in a former and yet again in a former life may manifest th evolves, if there be authority for the existence of previous and further previous lives. But there is no authority for such a proposition. Merely the pleasure and pain felt by a creature just born cannot be accepted as authority, because that can explained by taking it to be natural, like the budding and opening of a lotus flower.

For this reason he says:—‘And there is no beginning for them, the desire to live being eternal.’

The meaning of ‘and’ is that the residua are not only un-interrupted in their fruition, but they are eternal as well, because self-benediction, the desire to live is ever-present. Self-benediction does not fall short of eternity, on account of the residua being eternal.

But inasmuch as this is established by taking them to be inherent, the eternity of self-benediction is not established.

For this reason he says:—‘The self-benediction, &c.’

The unbeliever asks:—‘Why?’ The answer is:—‘Of the creature who is just born, &c.’ For this very reason, how should it be that a child who has not experienced his liability to death in the present life, who does not know, that is to say, from the experience of the present life that death also is a characteristic of his, should, as he may be falling away from the mother’s lap, begin to tremble and hold with his hands tightly the necklace hanging on her breast, marked with the suspicious discus, &c? And how is it that such a child should experience the fear of death, which can Only be caused by the memory of the pain consequent upon aversion to death, whose existence is inferred by the trembling of the child.

Well, has it not been said that this is inherent and natural?

For this reason he says:—‘Anything that is inherent, does not stand in need of an operating cause for its birth.’ This is the meaning. Such a trembling as becomes visible in the child must be due to fear, just like our own trembling of the same description. The fear of the child must be taken to have been caused by the memory of aversion and

pain, for the reason that it is fear just like our own, and the fear due to expected losses that might be coining, is not brought about by the mere memory of pain. Further, from whatever one is afraid, he infers to be the cause of some loss, and then expects that loss would even now cause pain. For this reason pain is caused by the aversion brought about by the memory of pain. Remembering that he infers the cause of pain, which is of the same class which is being felt at the time. The child, however, has not in the present life experienced the pain of falling in any other place. Nor has that sort of pain been felt. Thence the experience of a former life only remains as the explanation, by the canon of residues.

And this is thus applied. The memory of the child just born is due to the experience of former lives, because otherwise it would not be memory. It acts just like our own memory. Even the budding and opening of a lotus is not inherent, because what is inherent in anything, does not stand in need of any other cause for its manifestation. Even fire stands in need of other causes for the manifestation of its heat. In the same way, the cause of the opening of a lotus flower is the contact from outside of the rays of the rising sun: and the cause of the shutting up of the petals is the residual potency, which maintains the inactivity. Similarly the happiness of a baby which is inferred from smiles, etc., should also be considered a proof of a previous life.

An ‘exciting cause’ is action just in point at the time of fruition. ‘Bringing into operation,’ means manifestation.

As the context demands, he mentions the opposite theory of the mind having a measure, with the object of refuting it:—‘The mind contracts and expands like light in a jar or a place, etc.’

Seeing that action takes place only where the body is found to be, there is no authority for the existence of the mind at any place outside the body. The mind further is not atomic in size, because in that case it would mean the simultaneous non-production of the five sorts of sensation when the large cake is devoured. Further there is no justification for adopting the theory that there is a succession in the case of these sensations, and that they are not being felt simultaneously. No such thing is seen. One atomic mind cannot be competent to come into relationship with the sensations located in more places than one. Hence the only theory that remains is that, the mind is of the dimensions of the body it inhabits, like the light of lamp which is confined either to a jar or a palace. Contraction and expansion of the mind in the bodies of an ant and an elephant manifest themselves therein. The opposite theorists thus say that the form, i.e., the dimensions of the mind are the same as those of the body.

The question arises that if it be so, how can it come into contact with the seed and the field? It does not certainly go out of the dead body without any support, to come into, contact with the germ and sperm cells in the bodies of the parents, being dependent as it is for its actions upon others. The shadow of a pillar and such other things does not move if the things themselves do not move. Nor do the pictures disappear, when the picture cloth comes in. This being so, there would not be evolution of souls through births and deaths (saṃsāra).

For this reason he says:—‘For this reason the absence of interruption and for that reason Saṃsāra is proper.’

And further, if there were a measure for it like that of the body, then the leaving of the former body and the taking up of the other body would be secured for it, by taking in the interval another body which would serve for it as a vehicle for the intermediate space. It is of course along with this vehicle that it moves in the other body. 80 also says the Purāṇa:—‘The Yama drew out of the body with force the Puruṣa of the size of the thumb.’ This then is the meaning of the absence of interval (Antara). And for this reason evolution by repeated birth is proper.

Not agreeing with this view, the author states his own theory:—‘It is the manifestation alone of the self-existing mind that contracts and expands.’ The Ācārya (author) here is the Svayambhu.

The doubt here is that if the mind cannot move into another body without some vehicle to support it on its way, how is it that it enters the intermediate vehicle itself? If another body is posited for that purpose also, then there would be no stopping anywhere. Nor is it possible that the mind should go out of the body along with the intermediary vehicle, because it is understood to take up the intermediary vehicle after it has left the previous body.

In that case let us posit a subtle body, existing permanently from the beginning of creation up to the Great Latency. It would then be that this subtle body would remain in the physical body, and it is along with this that the mind would enter the bodies appropriate to the different regions from the Satyaloka down to the Avīci. It would further be proper to speak of this body as being drawn out, because that being permanent, the difficulty of providing for an interval would also disappear.

But then there is no authority for such a proposition, that a subtle body of this description exists. It is certainly not visible to the senses. Nor can it be inferred as a necessity of evolution by passing from one body to another, because that cán be explained even on the theory of the author. As to the verbal authority cited, the texts speak of the being drawn out of the Puruṣa, not of the mind, nor of a subtle body, but of the self. The self, however, the power of consciousness is non-transferable from one place to another. This drawing out, therefore, is to be described as being spoken of in a metaphorical sense. And thus the drawing out of the mind or of consciousness means wherever it may be, the absence of manifestation. It does not mean anything else.

We allow what has been said in the Purāṇas, the Itihāsas and the Smṛtis about the mind coming after death possess the body of a Preta (departed spirit) and also the release from that Preta body by the performance of the ceremonies of Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, etc. But we do not submit to that body being the intermediary vehicle. There is no authority in the Vedas for the existence of such an intermediary vehicle. What happens is that the mind takes up the body of a Preta, and is therein taken away by the men of Yama; not that this body serves as the intermediary vehicle. For this reason, the mind being of the nature of the principle of individuality, and that principle like Ākāśa in all the three worlds, the mental principle is all-pervading.

If this be so, then its functioning also must be all-pervading, and this would mean that the mind is omniscient. For this reason, has it been said, that the manifestation alone of this all-pervading principle is liable to contract or expand.

Let us grant that, but then how is it that the contraction and expansion of the manifestation of the mind take place only now and then. For this reason be says:—‘And the mind has need of virtue and vice.’

Divides the cause of the manifestation:—‘And the cause is two-fold.’

By the, ‘&c.,’ in body, &c., the senses and wealth, &c., are meant.

‘Faith, &c.’:—Here too energy, memory, &c., are to be understood.

Mentions the consensus of opinion of the Ācāryas, on the question of intermediation:—‘As has been said.’

Vihāra means activity (vyāpāra).

The ‘highest virtue’ means the white Karma.

‘Of the two’:—Out of the internal and external.

Knowledge and desirelessness:—The Dharma born of these is understood here.

By what? This means by what Dharma brought about by external means. It is knowledge and desirelessness alone that overpower these, i.e., destroy their seed-power. This is the meaning.

He mentions in this case the well-known illustration.—‘The Daṇḍaka forest empty.’—10.

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