Yoga Sutra 3.26 from samyama on the sun knowledge of the worlds

Sūtra III.26

From saṃyama on the sun, knowledge of the worlds

The worlds are listed as seven:

(1)The terrestrial world, from the point called Avīci to the summit of Mount Meru;

(2)From the summit of Meru up to the Pole Star, being the world of stars called Antarīkṣa or intermediate region;

(3)Beyond that, the world of heaven, consisting of five planes beginning with the world of great Indra; then

(4)the Great world of Prajāpati, and then the three-fold world of Brahmā, namely:

(5)The Jana world (of divine beings),

(6)The Tapas world (of power),

(7)The Satya world (of truth).

They are summarized in the verse.

The world of Brahmā three-fold,

Below it the Great world of Prajāpati,

Then that of great Indra –
all this is called heaven.

In the sky (intermediate region) are the stars,

And on earth, the creatures.

From Avīci one after another are six great hells constituted of earth, water, fire, wind, space, and darkness, and called respectively Mahākāla, Ambarīṣa, Raurava, Mahāraurava, Kālasūtra and Andhatāmisra; in these are born beings who are to suffer long lives of misery as a result of their karma. Then there are the seven nether words called Mahātala, Rasātala, Atala, Sutala, Vitala, Talātala, and Pātāla. Eighth is the region corresponding to this earth called Vasumatī, with its seven island continents, and in the middle the golden king of mountains called Sumeru. Its peaks on the four sides are of silver, lapis, crystal, gold. From the brilliant reflection of the lapis-lazuli, the sky to the south is the deep blue of a blue lotus leaf; the eastern is white, the western shining, and the northern yellow. To the south is the Jambu tree, whence that land is called Jambu-dvīpa. As the sun advances, day and night follow him exactly. To the north are three mountains, blue, white, and sharp-peaked, covering 2,000 leagues. Between them are three regions, each 9,000 leagues, called Ramaṇaka, Hiraṇmaya, and the Northern Kurus. To the south are the mountains regions called Niṣadha, Goldhorn, and the Snow-crags, each 2,000 leagues. Between them are three regions of 9,000 leagues each, called Harivarṣa, Kiṃpuruṣa, and Bhārata.

To the east of Sumeru is Bhadrāsava, bounded by the Mālyavat mountains; on the west, Ketumāla, bounded by the Gandhamādana range. In the middle is the zone of Ilāvṛta. Jambudvīpa is 100,000 leagues across, stretching out from Sumeru for 50,000 leagues in each direction. It is girdled by a salt sea double its extent. Then come the lands of Śāka, Kuśa, Kraunca, Śālmala, Magadha, and Puṣkara, each double the preceding, fringed with wonderful hills, and the seven seas of undulating surface like a mass of mustard seeds, with their waters of sugar-cane juice, of spirits, of butter, of curds, of cream, of milk, and of syrup. These lands encompassed by the seven seas and engirdled by the Lokāloka mountains are some 500,000,000 leagues across.

This whole configuration is contained within the cosmic Egg, and the Egg itself is a minute fragment of pradhāna, as it were a firefly in space.

In the lower worlds, in the sea, in the mountains, gods have their group abodes: Asuras, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Kimpuruṣas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśacas, Apasmārakas, Apsarases, Brahmarākṣasas, Kuṣmāṇḍas, Vināyakas. In all the lands there are righteous gods and humans. Sumeru is a pleasure-ground of the Thirty (gods), and in it are particular paradises: Miśravana, Nandana, Caitraratha, and Sumānasa. Sudharmā is the gods’ assembly hall, Sudarṣana their castle, Vaijayanta their palace. The planets and constellations and stars move round the Pole Star like the sails of a windmill, and they revolve in circles above Sumeru. Six groups of gods dwell in the world of great Indra: the Thirty-three, the Agniṣvattas, the Yāmyas, the Tuṣitas, the Aparinirmita-vaśa-vartins, and the Parinirmita-vaṣa-vartins. All these have their desires fulfilled, and have the eight powers such as becoming minute. They live for an aeon, and delight in making love, in bodies assumed for the purpose, with the incomparable and compliant nymphs who form their train. In the Great world of Prajāpati there is a five-fold group of gods: Kumudas, Ṛbhus, Pratardanas, Añjanābhas, and Pracitābhas. These have mastery of the elements; their food is meditation (dhyāna); their lives are for a thousand aeons. In the Jana world, first of the Brahmā-worlds, there is a four-fold group of gods: Brahma-purohitas, Brahmakāyikas, Brahma-mahākāyikas, and the Amaras.

These have mastery over the elements and the senses. Each lives twice as long as those of the previous group. In the Tapas world, the second, there is a three-fold group of gods: Ābhāsvaras, Mahābhāsvaras, and Satya-mahābhāsvaras. These have mastery over the elements and the senses and prakṛti; each lives twice as long as the group before, their food is meditation, and their lives are chaste (ūrdhva-retas). Upwards there is no obstacle to their thought, and below there is no object obscure to them. In the third world of Brahmā, the Satya-world, there are four groups of gods: Acyutas, Śuddhanivāsas, Satyābhas, and Saṃjñāsaṃjñins. They build no dwellings but are grounded in themselves and maintain their order; they have mastery over pradhāna and live as long as there are creations. Of these, the Acyutas delight in savitarka dhyāna (meditation on the physical); Śuddhanivāsas in savicāra dhyāna (meditation on the subtle); Satyābhas in meditation on joy alone (ānanda-mātra); and the last group in meditation on I-am-ness alone.

All the seven worlds are in fact worlds of Brahmā. But the bodiless and those resolved into prakṛti, being in a state of release, are not classed as in the worlds. This all becomes capable of being directly perceived by the yogin who has made saṃyama on the sun-gate, and further on the other objects till all has been seen.

(The Vivaraṇa makes only a final comment:)

Making saṃyama on the sun, he directly surveys the whole extent of the worlds. But the commentator has explained what this would be on the accepted authority of the Purāṇa-s.

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