Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Publisher's Note

Something About Late Shri V.R. Gandhi
I - The Sankhya Philosophy
  II - The Yoga Philosophy
  III - The Naya Philosophy
  IV - Mimamsa
  V - The Vedanta Philosophy
  VI - Buddhism
  VII - Jainism
  Sanskrit Terms

II - The Yoga Philosophy



 The thinking principal is a comprehensive expression equal to the Sanskrit word Antakaran., which is divided into four parts‑(I Manas or mind, the principal which cognizes generally; (ii) Chit or individualizing, the idea which fixes itself upon a point and makes the object its own by making it an individual; (iii) Ahamkar or egoism, the persuasion which connects the individual with the self; and (iv) Buddhi or reasons, the light that determines one way or another.7 Knowledge or perception is a kind of transformation Parin.am of the thinking principal into anything which is the subject of external or internal presentation, through one or other of these four. All knowledge is of the kind of the transformation of the thinking principal. Even the will, which is the very first essential of Yoga, is a kind of such transformation. Yoga is a complete suppression of the tendency of the thinking principal to transform itself into objects, thoughts etc. It is possible that there should be degrees among these transformations and the higher ones may assist to check the lower ones, but Yoga is acquired only when there is complete cessation of the one or the other. It should distinctly be borne in mind that the thinking principal in this philosophy is not the soul who is the source of all consciousness and knowledge. The suppression of the transformations of the thinking principal does not therefore mean that the yogi‑ the practitioner of the Yoga‑is enjoined to become all, which is certainly impossible. The thinking principal has three-property passivity, activity and grossness. When the action of the last two is checked the mind stands steady like the jet of a lamp in a place protected from the least breeze. When all the transformation of the thinking principal are suppressed there remains only the never changing eternal soul‑the Purush‑in the perfect Sata passivity. Otherwise when the thinking principal transforms itself into objective and subjective phenomena the Purush is for the time obscured by it or which is the same thing assimilated into it. It is only when the state of Yoga is reached that the consciousness becomes quite pure and ready to receive all knowledge and all impressions from any source whatever. If this state is to be acquired by suppressing the transformations of the thinking principal, let us see what these transformations are.


7.   In Yoga philosophy the thinking principal is modified in five ways. First when there comes to it the right knowledge, second when there comes to it false knowledge, third when it is simply put into complex imagination or fancy, fourth when we are sleeping and fifth when we are exercising the faculty of memory.10 Let us examine each condition. The theory as to how the external world is cognized is a complicated one, but in order to explain it in the simplest way it will do to say [the following]. When organs of sense are put in contact with external objects they are put in to a state of vibration and cause a similar vibration on he mind‑substance. This charge in the mind‑substance is called direct cognition. It is only one kind of right knowledge. The mind is also transformed when it infers or draws conclusions and also when it receives knowledge from words of authority‑trust worthy authority. These three kinds of knowledge are collectively known as right knowledge. When the mind cognizes in any of the three ways there is a corresponding motion or change produced in it.  That is one way in which mind becomes subject to transformation. The second way in which it is modified is false knowledge. This is when a false conception is entertained of a thing whose real form does not correspond to that conception, for instance, when a mother of pearl is mistaken for silver or a post mistaken for a man. The third way in which the mind is modified is by having fancied notions, i.e. notions called into being by mere words having nothing to answer to them in reality. The fourth way in which the mind is transformed is sleep and the fifth way is the exercise of memory, i.e. by recollection impressions of past experience. It may be remarked that of these five kinds of transformations of the mind, right knowledge, false knowledge and fancy belong to the waking state. When any of these becomes perceptible in sleep it is dream. Sleep itself has no cognition. Memory may be (may depend on?) any of them. 


8.   Now the suppression of these transformations is the Yoga, which leads to the realization of the Self. What are the means of suppressing them? The author of the Yoga Sutras says that complete suppression of the transformation of the mind is secured only by sustained application and non‑attachment.11 Application is of course steady sustained effort to reach that state and non‑attachment is the consciousness of having mastered every desire for any object. And further rules are given for the purpose of rising to that high state of self‑knowledge.


9.   But in the meantime I will draw your attention to the fact that some scholars like Monier Williams and others have thought that this system of Yoga is nothing but a mere contrivance of getting rid of all thought and that it is a strange compound of mental and bodily exercises, consisting in unnatural restraint, forced and painful postures, twisting and contortions of the limbs, suppression of the breath and utter absence of mind. In the opinion of such scholars it is not possible that a man should actually know any thing transcending his sensual perception unless it is told to him by some supposed authority. In their opinion the power of intuition cannot be developed to such an extent as to become actual knowledge without any possibility of error and we shall always be doomed to depend upon hearsay and opinions. To them extra‑ordinary powers of the soul are mere dreams. The author of the 'Modern Science and Modern Thought' says: "Almost the entire world of the supernatural fades away of itself with an extension of our knowledge of the laws of nature, as surely as the mists melt from the valley before the rays of the morning sun. We have seen how throughout the wide domains of space, time and matter, law uniform, universal and inexorable reigns supreme, and there is absolutely no room for the interference of any outside personal agency to suspend its agency (Hindus have never said so). The last remnant of supernaturalism therefore, apart from Christian Miracles which we shall presently consider, has sunk into that doubtful and shady borderland of ghosts, spiritualism and mesmerism, where vision and fact and partly real partly imaginary effects of abnormal nervous conditions are mixed up in a nebulous haze with a large dose of imposture and credulity." These are the words of a famous English writer. Let us hear then what the neighbor of the John Bull says in regard to the claim of the modern scientist. Dr. Heinrich Hensoldt of Germany says: "Apart from the material progress or mere outward development which the Hindoos had already attained in times which we are apt to call pre‑historic as evinced by the splendor of their buildings and the luxuries and refinements of their civilization in general, it would seem as if this greatest and most subtle of Aryan races had developed an inner life even more strange and wonderful. Let those who are imbued with the prevalent modern conceit that we Westerners have reached the highest pinnacle of intellectual culture, go to India. Let them go to the land of mystery, which was ancient, when the Great Alexander crossed the Indus with his warriors, ancient, when Abraham roamed the plains of Chaldea with his cattle, ancient when the first pyramid was built, and if after a careful study of Hindoo life, religion and philosophy, the inquirer is still of opinion that the palm of intellectual advancement belongs to the Western world‑let him lose no time in having his own cranium examined by a competent physician." These are the words of Dr. Hensoldt.


10.   Without caring much what the foreigners have to say in reference to the religions and philosophies of India we will come to our own subject. We have said before that Yoga is the suppression of the manifestations of the mind. The source of the positive power therefore lies in the soul. In the very wording of the definition of Yoga is involved the supposition of the existence of a power which can control and suppress the manifestations of the mind. This power is the power of the soul‑otherwise familiar to us as freedom of the will. So long as the soul is subject to the mind it is tossed this way or that in obedience to the mental changes. Instead of the soul being tossed by the mental changes, the mind should vibrate in obedience to the soul‑vibrations. When once the soul becomes the master of the mind, it can produce any manifestations it likes. The ancient Chaldeons and the modern monks of India, Japan and China teach the same doctrine. It was by the aid of this Yoga science that the ancients made many discoveries in chemistry and medicine.


11.   We will now come to our point. The suppression of all mental modification produces the state called Yoga or Samadhi. This Samadhi is of two kinds Svikalp and nirvikalpa. The first is that in which the mind is at rest only for the time, the other is that in which through supreme universal non‑attachment it is centered in (passivity) Satva and realizes Satva everywhere for all time. The mind being as it were annihilated Purush‑the soul‑alone shines in native bliss.12 This is called Kaivalya. This is the end view. This is the summum onum, the end and aim of philosophy. Between this end and the first stage of mental suppression there are several stage. The author of the Yoga aphorisms mentions eight stage; they are Yam, Niyam, Aasan, Pran.am, Pratyahar, Dharn.a, Dhyan, Smaddhi This leads us to the practical part of Yoga.


12.   (a)The first stage is Yam. What a student of Yoga is required to do in the first stage is forbearance or control over mind, body and speech and it consists in abstaining from killing, falsehood, theft, incontinence and greediness.14 (i) The first of these is killing‑Hinsa in Sanskrit. It is difficult to give the full meaning of this word Hinsa. It means wishing evil to any being by word, act or thought and abstinence of this kind of killing is the first requirement of a student of Yoga. It obviously implies abstinence from animal food in as much as it is never procurable without direct or indirect Hinsa of some kind. Not with standing the sanction given by the Vedas to the system of sacrificing animals to gods, the Hindu scriptures are very strong on this point when they treat of the practical part of the Yoga philosophy. Manu, the great law‑ maker of the Hindus, says:


Anuyanta vishsita nihanta kryavikryee

Sanskatee chopharta cha khadkshchaitee  ghatak


 [One who indirectly gives permission to kill animals, one who separates the several parts of an animal after it is killed, one who actually kills the animal, one who sells meat, one who cooks meat, one who serves meat at the table and one who eats it are all considered killers of the animal.]