The Mahabharata Home
"Yajnavalkya said, I have already spoken to thee of the science of the Sankhyas. Listen now to me as I truly discourse on the science of the Yogins as heard and seen by me, O best of kings! There is no knowledge that can compare with that of the Sankhyas. There is no puissance that compares with that of Yoga. These two ordain the same practices, and both are regarded as capable of leading to Emancipation. Those men that are not blest with intelligence regard the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be different from each other. We, however, O king, look upon them as one and the same, according to the conclusion to which we have arrived (after study and reflection). That which the Yogins have in view is the very same which the Sankhyas also have in view. He who sees both the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be one and the same is to be regarded as truly conversant with the topics or principles that ordain the universe. Know, O king, that the vital breaths and the senses are the chief means for practising Yoga. By only regulating those breaths and
the senses, Yogins wander everywhere at their will. 1 When the gross body is destroyed, Yogins endued with subtile bodies possessed of the eight Yoga attributes of Anima, Laghima, Prapti, etc., wander over the universe, enjoying (in that body) all kinds of felicities, O sinless one. The wise have, in the scriptures, spoken of Yoga as conferring eight kinds of puissance. They have spoken of Yoga as possessed of eight limbs. 2 Indeed, O king, they have not spoken of any other kind of Yoga. It has been said that the practices of Yogins excellent as these are (for their results), are of two kinds. Those two kinds, according to the indications occurring in the scriptures, are practices endued with attributes and those freed from attributes. The concentration of the mind on the sixteen objects named, with simultaneous regulation of the breath, O king, is one kind. The concentration of the mind in such a way as to destroy all difference between the contemplator, the object contemplated, and the act of contemplation along with subjugation of the senses, is of another kind. The first kind of Yoga is said to be that possessed of attributes; the second kind is said to be that freed from attributes. 3 Then, again, Regulation of the breath is Yoga with attributes. In Yoga without attributes, the mind, freed from its functions, should be fixed. Only the regulation of the breath which is said to be endued with attributes should, in the first instance, be practised, for, O ruler of Mithila, if the breath (that is inhaled and suspended) be exhaled without mentally reflecting the while upon a definite image (furnished by a limited mantra), the wind in the neophyte's system will increase to his great injury. 4 In the first Yama of the night, twelve ways of holding the breath are recommended. Alter sleep, in the last Yama of the night, other twelve ways of doing the same have been laid down. Without doubt, one endued with tranquillity, of
subdued senses, living in retirement, rejoicing in one's own self, and fully conversant with the import of the scriptures, should (regulating one's breath in these four and twenty ways) fix one's Soul (on the Supreme Soul). 1 Dispelling the five faults of the five senses, viz., (withdrawing them from their objects of) sound, form, touch, taste, and scent, and dispelling those conditions called Pratibha and Apavarga, O ruler of the Mithilas, all the senses should be fixed upon the mind. The mind should then be fixed on Consciousness, O king, Consciousness should next be fixed on intelligence or Buddhi, and Buddhi, should then be fixed on Prakriti. Thus merging these one after another, Yogins contemplate the Supreme Soul which is One, which is freed from Rajas, which is stainless, which is Immutable and Infinite and Pure and without defect, who is Eternal Purusha, who is unchangeable, who is Indivisible, who is without decay and death, who is everlasting, who transcends diminution, and which is Immutable Brahma. Listen now, O monarch, to the indications of one that is in Yoga. All the indications of cheerful contentment that are his who is slumbering in contentment are seen in the person, that is in Samadhi. The person in Samadhi, the wise say, looks like the fixed and upward flame of a lamp that is full of oil and that burns in a breezeless spot. He is like a rock which is incapable of being moved in the slightest degree by ever a heavy downpour from the clouds. He is incapable of being moved by the din of conches and drums, or by songs or the sound of hundreds of musical instruments beat or blown together. Even this is the indication of one in Samadhi. As a man of cool courage and determination, while ascending a flight of steps with a vessel full of oil in his hands, does not spill even a drop of the liquid if frightened and threatened by persons armed with weapons even so the Yogin, when his mind has been concentrated and when he beholds the Supreme Soul in Samadhi, does not, in consequence of the entire stoppage of the functions of his senses at such a time, move in the slightest degree. Even these should be known to be the indication of the Yogin while he is in Samadhi. While in Samadhi, the Yogin beholds Brahma which is Supreme and Immutable, and which is situated like a blazing Effulgence in the midst of thick Darkness. It is by this means that he attains, after many years, to Emancipation after casting off this inanimate body. Even this is what the eternal Sruti declares. This is called the Yoga of the Yogins. What else is it? Knowing it, they that are endued with wisdom regard themselves as crowned with success,--
44:1 By the word Rudra is meant Prana and the other breaths. The commentator explains that the etymology is utkramana kale dehinam rodayanti iti Rudrah Pranah. By regulating the vital breaths and the senses, Yogins attain to Yoga puissance and succeed in roving wherever they please in their linga-sarira or subtile bodies.
44:2 The eight limbs of Yoga are Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, Dharana, Tarka, Samadhi, with the two additional ones of Yama and Niyama.
44:3 In the first line of 9 the word Pranayama is used to mean regulation of the vital breaths. In the second line, the same word implies the ayamah or nigraha of the senses with the mind. By Dharana is meant the fixing of the mind, one after another, on the sixteen things named in treatises on Yoga. By ekagrata of the mind is meant that concentration in which there is no longer any consciousness of difference between, Dhyatri, Dhyeya, and Dhyana.
44:4 It is difficult for those who do not practise Pranayama to understand this fully. The fact is, Saguna Pranayama, when the breath is inhaled, the inhalation is measured by the time taken up in mentally reciting a well-known mantra. So when inhaled breath is suspended, the suspension is measured by the time taken in mentally reciting a particular mantra. When therefore, the suspended breath should be exhaled, it should be done by similarly measuring the time of exhaling. For beginners, this Saguna Pranayama is recommended. Of course only exhalation has been spoken of but it applies equally to inhalation and suspension. These three processes, in Yoga language, are Puraka, Kumbhaka, and Rechaka.
45:1 Ekantasilin means a Sannyasin, Atmarama is one who takes pleasure in one's soul instead of in spouses and children.
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