Yoga-sutras (with Vyasa and Vachaspati Mishra)

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

The Yoga-Sutra 4.31, 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 4.31:

तदा सर्वावरणमलापेतस्य ज्ञानस्यानन्त्याज् ज्ञेयम् अल्पम् ॥ ४.३१ ॥

tadā sarvāvaraṇamalāpetasya jñānasyānantyāj jñeyam alpam || 4.31 ||

tadā—then. Sarva-āvaraṇa, mala, apetasya—from which is removed (apeta) all (sarva) obscuring impurities (mala). jñānasya—of knowledge. ānantyāt—because of the infinity of. jñeyam—the knowable. alpam—but little.

31. The knowable is but little then, because of knowledge having-become-infinite, on account of the removal of all obscuring impurities.—191.

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]

Knowledge when rid of all the impurities of affliction and action, becomes infinite. The essence of knowledge covered by the veil of Tamas, is but seldom shown forth and becomes capable of recognition by the activity of Rajas. Here, when all the impurities have been removed, then knowledge becomes infinite. When knowledge becomes infinite, but little remains to know, like the shining insect in space. On this it has been said:—‘The blind man pierced the pearl; the fingerless put a thread into it; the neckless wore it and the tongueless praised it.’—191.

The Gloss of Vachaspati Mishra

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

Now describes the state of the mind at the time when the Cloud of Virtue has been reached:—‘The knowable is but little then because of knowledge having become infinite on account of their removal of obscuring impurities. The impurities which cover up the essence of the mind, are spoken of as the obscuring impurities. These are the afflictions and actions. When the mental essence is freed from alloy these obscuring impurities, knowledge, i.e., the power of knowing becomes infinite, i.e., immeasurable, and therefore the knowable remains but little. As in the season after the rains, the sun being freed of the clouds shines brightly all round and his light becomes infinitely strong, and for this reason, the jar and other such things that are to be lighted remain but little, so also the light of the essence of the mind, when freed from the Rajas and Tamas, becomes infinite, and but little remains to be lighted up. Says the same When that becomes freed from all the impurities &c. Renders the same plainer by means of the canon of difference:—‘When overpowered, &c.’ The meaning is that the Tamas is put into motion by the active Rajas and is for this very reason carried away from the place. For this very reason it is called the Cloud of Virtue, inasmuch as it pours forth showers of light upon all the virtues of things to be known.

Well, this trance, the Cloud of Virtue, may be the cause of the calming down of the vehicle of actions along with the afflictions and the residua; but then how is it that when the Cloud of Virtue makes its appearance, the man is not born again? For this reason says:—‘As has been said on the subject.’

If an effect can be brought into existence even when the cause no longer exists, then the acts of piercing the pearl, &c., may well be performed by blind people, &c. Or, it may well be that whatever nonsense an ignorant world may talk about improper things, may be considered as very proper.—31.

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