Yoga Sutra 1.16 from knowledge of Purusa there is no thirst for the gunas

Sūtra I.16

It is the higher detachment when from knowledge of Puruṣa there is no thirst for (even) the guṇa-s

One who is aware of the defects in objects visible or heard about is detached from objects, but one who from practising the vision of Puruṣa has his mind pure like it and clear-seeing, is detached from even the guṇa-s, with their qualities manifest or unmanifest. Thus detachment is of two kinds.

The second, higher one is nothing but pure Knowledge. When it rises, the yogin in whom this Knowledge has dawned thinks, ‘Attained is what was to be attained, destroyed are the taints which were to be destroyed; broken is the continuous chain of the cycle of being, bound by which men born will die, and having died will be born.’ Detachment is the highest peak of Knowledge: it borders on Transcendental Aloneness.

Detachment is of two kinds, higher or lower according to what it refers to. The lower has been described, now the higher is stated: It is the higher detachment when from knowledge of Puruṣa there is no thirst for even the guṇa-s. It refers to detachment. higher means that it comes at a later time than the first-mentioned one, or again that its object and cause are higher than the cause and object of the first one, or again that it is highest and supreme because it is nearest to release.

What is its cause? Its cause is Knowledge of Puruṣa. What is its object? There is no thirst for even the guṇa-s, sattva and the other two. One who is aware of the defects in objects visible or heard about is detached from objects: with this sentence he reminds us of the previous detachment with its cause and object, in order to make clear the different object and cause of the higher one. From practising the vision of Puruṣa as cause, one has his mind pure like it and clear-seeing; here it refers back to the vision of Puruṣa, which is pure because it is free from the impurity of the taints. Or it may refer to the purity of Puruṣa itself which makes clear-sighted the vision which rests on it as an object of meditation. The mind of that yogin is made clear-sighted.

detached from even the guṇa-s: this means that the higher detachment is from the guṇa-s, whereas the previous one was detachment from actual objects seen or heard about. This one is from even the guṇa-s, which are the cause of those objects, with their qualities manifest or unmanifest: in the state of the Great principle for example, they have manifest qualities, and in the state of pradhāna, they are unmanifest in qualities. He is detached from them.

Detachment, then, is of the two kinds, the previous one and this one, and the latter, being caused by the vision of Puruṣa and being detached from even the guṇa-s, is nothing but pure Knowledge, inasmuch as it is supreme clarity of the vision of Puruṣa alone.

The seer of Puruṣa becomes one who is free from rejecting or accepting anything, as it says (sūtra IV.29), For one who is through and through a man of discriminative knowledge, but is not grasping over his meditation practice, there comes about the samādhi called Raincloud of Dharma.

When it rises when detachment rises (the yogin) in whom this Knowledge has dawned the vision has appeared, ‘Attained is what was to be attained’ and so on. For it borders on Transcendental Aloneness because that does not need any other means.

Detachment being nothing but pure Knowledge, there is no difference between detachment (vairāgya) and knowledge (jñāna), and there can therefore be no difference at all between their two opposites, passion (rāga) and Ignorance (a-jñāna). It is right that passion should be a particular state of Ignorance, for it will be said (II.8) that Ignorance (a-vidyā) is five-fold (including passion).

(Opponent) That contradicts the classical division of buddhi-states into eight. (Note: the eight-fold classification is into pairs: Knowledge-Ignorance; detachment-passion; dharma-a-dharma; power-helplessness. Tr.)

(Answer) No, because we accept a distinction within Knowledge (and Ignorance) which brings the six-fold up to eight. We are saying that detachment is extreme clearness of Knowledge (jñāna). In the same way, passion is a special particular state of Ignorance.

(Opponent) But there are several other different states of Knowledge and Ignorance, so the number will still not come out as eight.

(Answer) It will, because they are defined by their fruitfulness or the reverse. The members of the quartet of Knowledge-states are defined according to the differences of their results, and the quartet of Ignorance-states are defined by the fact of being their adversaries, namely a quartet of a-dharma and so on. So a total of eight is reached. It is the pairs of opposites like dharma and a-dharma which are being defined as the qualities; it is not simply a question of divisions of Ignorance (a-jñāna).

How is the samādhi defined which is called cognitive and which follows when the mental process has been inhibited by these two means?

It has been said by the commentator (sūtra 1.1) that cognitive samādhi, accompanied with verbal associations and so on, will be spoken of later. The occasion has now come, when the mental process has been inhibited by these two means’, by detachment, higher and lower, and by practice, which is also to be understood to have two forms. What are the two forms of practice? The other remaining form, namely the practice for ultra-cognitive samādhi, will be given in sūtra I.18: It follows from the practice of the idea of stopping. From the wording, it is clear that there must have been a previous practice on an object of meditation. Furthermore he will say later (I.32), To prevent (the obstacles), practice on one principle.

The commentator has also said, (I.12), By detachment the current towards objects is dammed and by practice of discriminative vision the auspicious current of discrimination is made to flow. He has not said that cognitive samādhi is putting down the mental process entirely. The power to inhibit the whole mental process comes only after the withdrawal of its functioning first in regard to undesired objects; cognitive samādhi is still accompanied by certain mental objects. That is why in the second sūtra, inhibition was not given as the definition of cognitive samādhi.


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