The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee to explain to me, O sire, what the difference is between the Sankhya and the Yoga system of philosophy. O foremost one of Kuru's race, everything is known to thee, O thou that art conversant with all duties!'
"Bhishma said, 'The followers of Sankhya praise the Sankhya system and those regenerate persons that are Yogins praise the Yoga system. For establishing the superiority of their respective systems, each calls his own system to be the better. Men of wisdom devoted to Yoga assign proper and very good reasons, O crusher of foes, for showing that one that does not believe in the existence of God cannot attain to Emancipation. Those regenerate
persons, again, that are believers in the Sankhya doctrines advance good reasons for showing that one, by acquiring true knowledge of all ends, becomes dissociated from all worldly objects, and, after departing from this body, it is plain, becomes emancipated and that it cannot be otherwise. Men of great wisdom have thus expounded the Sankhya philosophy of Emancipation. When reasons are thus balanced on both sides, those that are assigned on that side which one is otherwise inclined to adopt as one's own, should be accepted. Indeed, those words that are said on that side should be regarded as beneficial. Good men may be found on both sides. Persons like thee may adopt either opinion. The evidences of Yoga are addressed to the direct ken of the senses; those of Sankhya are based on the scriptures. Both systems of philosophy are approved by me, O Yudhishthira. Both those systems of science, O king, have my concurrence and are concurred in by those that are good and wise. If practised duly according to the instructions laid down, both would, O king, cause a person to attain to the highest end. In both systems purity is equally recommended as also compassion towards all creatures, O sinless one. In both, again, the observance of vows has been equally laid down. Only the scriptures that point out their paths are different.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'If the vows, the purity, the compassion, and the fruits thereof recommended in both systems be the same, tell me, O grandsire, for what reason then are not their scriptures (in respect of the paths recommended) the same?'
"Bhishma said, 'By casting off, through the aid of Yoga, these five faults, viz., attachment, heedlessness, affection, lust, and wrath, one attains to Emancipation. As large fishes, breaking through the pet, pass into their own element (for ranging in felicity), after the same manner, Yogins (breaking through lust and wrath, etc.) become cleansed of all sins and attain to the felicity of Emancipation. As powerful animals, breaking through the nets in which hunters enmesh them, escape into the felicity of freedom, after the same manner, Yogins, freed from all bonds, attain to the sinless path that leads to Emancipation. Truly, O king, breaking through the bonds born of cupidity, Yogins, endued with strength, attain to the sinless and auspicious and high path of Emancipation. Feeble animals, O monarch, entangled in nets, are without doubt, destroyed. Even such is the case with persons destitute of the puissance of Yoga. As weak fishes, O son of Kunti, fallen into the net, become entangled in it, even so, O monarch, men destitute of the puissance of Yoga, encounter destruction (amid the bonds of the world). As birds, O chastiser of foes, when entangled in the fine nets of fowlers (if weak) meet with their ruin but if endued with strength effect their escape, after the same manner does it happen with Yogins, O chastiser of foes. Bound by the bonds of action, they that are weak meet with destruction, while they that are possessed of strength break through them. A small and weak fire, O king, becomes extinguished when large logs of timber are placed upon it. Even so the Yogin that is weak, O king, meets with ruin (when brought in contact with the world and its attachments). The same fire, however, O monarch, when it becomes strong, would (without being extinguished) burn with the aid of the
wind, the whole Earth. After the same manner, the Yogin, when grown in strength, burning with energy, and possessed of might, is capable of scorching the entire Universe like the Sun that rises at the time of 'the universal dissolution. As a weak man, O king, is swept away by a current, even so is a weak Yogin helplessly carried away by objects of the senses. An elephant withstands a mighty current. After the same manner, a Yogin, having acquired Yoga-puissance, withstands all objects of the senses. Independent of all things, Yogins, endued with Yoga-puissance and invested with lordship, enter into (the hearts of) the very lords of creation, the Rishis, the deities, and the great Beings in the universe. Neither Yama, nor the Destroyer, nor Death himself of terrible prowess, when angry, ever succeeds in prevailing over the Yogin, O king, who is possessed of immeasurable energy. The Yogin, acquiring Yoga-puissance, can create thousands of bodies and with them wander over the earth. Some amongst them enjoy objects of the senses and then once more set themselves to the practice of the austerest penances, and once again, like the Sun (withdrawing his rays), withdraw themselves from such penances. 1 The Yogin, who is possessed of strength and whom bonds bind not, certainly succeeds in attaining to Emancipation. I have now discoursed to thee, O monarch, on all these powers of Yoga. I shall once more tell thee what the subtile powers of Yoga are with their indications. Rear, O chief of Bharata's race, the subtile indications of the Dharana and the Samadhi of the Soul (such as Yoga brings about). 2 As a bowman who is heedful and attentive succeeds in striking the aim, even so the Yogin. with absorbed soul, without doubt, attains to Emancipation. As a man fixing his mind on a vessel full of some liquid (placed on his head) heedfully ascends a flight of steps, even so the Yogin, fixed and absorbed in his soul, cleanses it and makes it as effulgent as the Sun. As a boat, O son of Kunti, that is tossed on the bosom of the sea is very soon taken by a heedful boatman to the other shore, even so the man of knowledge by fixing his soul in Samadhi, attains to Emancipation, which is so difficult to acquire, after casting off his body, O monarch. As a heedful charioteer, O king, having yoked good steeds (unto his car) takes the car-warrior to the spot he wishes, even so the Yogin, O monarch, heedful in Dharana, soon attains to the highest spot (viz., Emancipation) like a shaft let off from the bow reaching the object aimed at. The Yogin who stays immovably after having entered his self into the soul, destroys his sins and obtains that indestructible spot which is the possession of those that are righteous. That Yogin who, heedfully observant of high vows, properly unites O king, his Jiva-soul with the subtile Soul in the navel, the throat, the head, the heart, the chest, the sides, the eye, the ear, and the nose, burns all his acts good and bad of even mountain-like proportions, and having recourse to excellent Yoga, attains to Emancipation.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee to tell me, O grandsire, what the kinds
of diet are by taking which, and what the things are by conquering which, the Yogin, O Bharata, acquires Yoga-puissance.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Engaged, O Bharata, in subsisting upon broken grains of rice and sodden cakes of sesame, and abstaining from oil and butter, the Yogin acquires Yoga-puissance. By subsisting for a long time on powdered barley unmixed with any liquid substance, and by confining himself to only one meal a day, the Yogin, of cleansed soul, acquires Yoga-puissance. By drinking only water mixed with milk, first only once during the day, then once during a fortnight, then once during a month, then once during three months, and then once during a whole year, the Yogin acquires Yoga-puissance. By abstaining entirely from meat, O king, the Yogin of cleansed soul acquires puissance. 1 By subjugating lust, and wrath, and heat, and cold and rain, and fear, and grief, and the breath, and all sounds that are agreeable to men, and objects of the senses, and the uneasiness, so difficult to conquer, that is born of abstention from sexual congress, and thirst that is so terrible, O king, and the pleasures of touch, and sleep, and procrastination that is almost unconquerable, O best of kings, high-souled Yogins, divested of attachments, and possessed of great wisdom, aided by their understandings, and equipped with wealth of contemplation and study, cause the subtile soul to stand confessed in all its glory. This high (Yoga) path of learned Brahmanas is exceedingly difficult to tread. No one can walk along this path with ease. That path is like a terrible forest which abounds with innumerable snakes and crawling vermin, with (concealed) pits occurring every where, without water for slaking one's thirst, and full of thorns, and inaccessible on that account. Indeed, the path of Yoga is like a road along which no edibles occur, which runs through a desert having all its trees burnt down in a conflagration, and which has been rendered unsafe by being infested with bands of robbers. Very few young men can pass safely through it (for reaching the goal). Like unto a path of this nature, few Brahmanas can tread alone the Yoga-path with ease and comfort. That man who, having betaken himself to this path, ceases to go forward (but turns back after having made some progress), is regarded as guilty of many faults. Men of cleansed souls, O lord of Earth, can stay with ease upon Yoga-contemplation which is like the sharp edge of a razor. Persons of uncleansed souls, however, cannot stay on it. When Yoga-contemplation becomes disturbed or otherwise obstructed, it can never lead the Yogin to an auspicious end even as a vessel that is without a captain cannot take the passengers to the other shore. That man, O son of Kunti, who practises Yoga-contemplation according to due rites, succeeds in casting off both birth and death, and happiness and sorrow. All this that I have told thee has been stated in the diverse treatises bearing upon Yoga. The highest fruits of Yoga are seen in persons of the regenerate order. That highest fruit
is identification with Brahma. The high-souled Yogin, possessed of greatness, can enter into and come out of, at his will, Brahma himself who is the lord of all deities, and the boon-giving Vishnu, and Bhava, and Dharma, and the six-faced Kartikeya, and the (spiritual) sons of Brahmana, the quality of Darkness that is productive of much pain, and that of Passion, and that of Sattwa which is pure, and Prakriti which is the highest, and the goddess Siddhi who is the spouse of Varuna, and all kinds of energy, and all enduring patience, and the bright lord of stars in the firmament with the stars twinkling all around, and the Viswas. and the (great) snakes, and the Pitris, and all the mountains and hills, and the great and terrible oceans, and all the rivers, and the rain-charged clouds, and serpents, and trees, and Yakshas, and the cardinal and subsidiary points of the compass, and the Gandharvas, and all male persons and all female ones also. This discourse, O king, that is connected with the Supreme Being of mighty energy should be regarded as auspicious. The Yogin has Narayana for his soul. Prevailing over all things (through his contemplation of the Supreme deity), the high-souled Yogin is capable of creating all things.'"
The end of the Santi Parva , Part two of three.
375:1 The examples of. Viswamitra and others may be cited in this instance.
375:2 Dharana is holding the soul in self-reflection, preventing it the while from wandering. Samadhi is complete abstraction.
376:1 Akhandam is Sarvakalam; uposhya is tyaktwa. K.P. Singha wrongly translates this verse. He takes mansam for masam; but no difference of reading occurs between the Bengal and Bombay texts.