Srimad Bhagavat Geetha – Chapter 6 – ध्यान योगा – Yoga of Meditation (part 2)

यं संन्यासमिति प्राहुर्योगं तं विद्धि पाण्डव ।
न ह्यसंन्यस्तसङ्कल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन ॥ २ ॥

That which they call Sanyasa, know that to be Yoga, O Pandava. For nobody who has not given up desires can be a yogi.

O Pandava, यं, that, the renunciation of all actions, and their fruits; इति प्राहु: call as; संन्यासम्, monasticism; विद्धि, know; तं, that संन्यास; to be योगं, Yoga the performance of enjoined duties by fully renouncing the hankering for results and the idea of agentship.

When you call someone who is not Brahmadatta as ‘Brahmadatta’, then we understand that to mean “This person is like Brahmadatta”.

So when a word denoting something is used with regard to something else, it expresses similarity either through a figure of speech or by attributing the former’s characteristics.

But what is the similarity in the present case?

Krishna states that: न ह्यसंन्यस्तसङ्कल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन

हि, for; न कश्चन , nobody, none whosoever; अ-सन्यस्तसङ्कल्प: who has not given up desires, who has not renounced the desire for results; भवति, can be a yogi.

On the contrary, all yogis, verily, become renouncers of the desire for results.

Thus a man of actions himself comes to be called a sanyasi and a yogi through a figure of speech, by virtue of similarity with regard to giving up of the fruits of actions and complete restraint of the mental modifications in the form of desires. This is the idea.

Thus it is said in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥ (1.2) ‘Yoga is restraining the mind from undergoing various modifications’.

The modifications of the mind are of five kinds, viz. प्रमाण, विपर्यय, विकल्प, निद्रा and स्मृति.
As to that, according to the followers of the Vedanta the प्रमाण are six, called प्रत्यक्ष (direct perception), अनुमान (inference), शास्त्र, आगम (sriptures), उपमान (analogy), अर्थापत्ति (implication), अभाव (nonexistence).

प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि ॥ (Yoga Sutra 1.7)

According to the followers of Yoga the प्रमाण are only three, viz. प्रत्यक्ष (direct perception), अनुमान (inference), and आगम (sriptures).

The larger and smaller numbers of the प्रमाण are in accordance with their inclusion or exclusion from the other प्रमाण.

Hence indeed is the difference in the views of the नैयायिक (logicians) and others.

विपर्यय, misapprehension, means false knowledge.

अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशः क्लेशाः ॥ (Yoga Sutra 2.3)

Its five divisions are अविद्या (ignorance), अस्मिता (ego), राग (attachment), द्वेष (aversion) and अभिनिवेश (clinging to life) which are क्लेश (afflictions).

शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः ॥ (Y.S. 1.9)

विकल्प (verbal delusion) follows from the knowledge arising from words having no corresponding reality;

and it is distinct from right knowledge (प्रमा) and false cognition (भ्रम);

it consists in speaking of nonexistant objects, as for instance, ‘the horns of a hare’, which do not exist, ‘the consciousness of the Purusha (आत्मन् ) etc. (Since Purusha is itself Consciousness, the expression consciousness of Purusha is a nonexistant duality.)

अभावप्रत्ययालम्बना तमोवृत्तिर्निद्र ॥ (Yoga Sutra 1.10)

निद्रा (sleep) is a modification of the mind that is based on the cause of their (i.e. the other four modifications’) absence.

The cause (प्रत्यय) of the absence (अभाव) of the four other modifications is the quality of तमस्.

Sleep is verily the modification of the mind that is dependent on that, but it is not a mere absence of knowledge etc. This is the meaning. (Since a person on waking up from sleep remembers his experience of sleep, it is not a state of total absence of knowledge.)

Memory (स्मृति) is a kind of knowledge in the form of not forgetting objects that have been experienced.

That is, it is knowledge arising from संस्कार (mental impression) created by the past experiences.

It is mentioned last because it originates from all the other modifications of the mind.

It is to be noted that the modifications such as shamefulness are included in the five modifications themselves.

The full restraint (निरोध) of all the modifications that are such is spoken of as Yoga and also as समाधि.

The desire for results, however, called attachment, राग, is the third division of of विपर्यय (misapprehension).

Even the restraint of this alone is also spoken of figuratively as Yoga and Sanyasa. Hence there is no contradiction.

If this be so, then should Karma-yoga be practiced throughout life since it is commendable? The answer comes next

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