The Characteristics of Yoga ||55||

1Suta said: On hearing these words of Babhravya, the scion of the family of Kuru became surprised. His hair stood on end. He bowed down to Narada with great devotion.
2-3After praising him for a long time, he spoke to Narada: “O sage, hearing the greatness of the Guptakshetra (‘well-guarded holy spot’) from you, I am not fully contented. It behoves you to recount it again.
4-6Narada said: I shall describe the greatness of Gautamesvara, the great Linga, O leading member of the Kurus. Listen to it with attention. Akshapada, the great Yogin, became the great sage named Gautama. The holy Lord brought Godavari (to the Deccan). He was the husband of Ahalya . On coming to know about the greatness of the Guptakshetra, he performed a great penance here practising Yoga.
7After attaining perfection (and consequent -powers) in Yoga, a Linga named Gautamesvara was installed here by the noble-souled Gautama.
8A devotee should bathe this great Linga and smear it with sandal paste. After worshipping it with various kinds of flowers, he should burn in front of it the aromatic gum-resin. He shall be liberated from all sins and he will be honoured in the world of Rudra.
9Arjuna said: I wish to know correctly an outline of the general features of Yoga, O Narada. All people praise Yoga since it is better than even the most excellent (paths to liberation).
10Narada said: I shall explain (to you) the truth about Yoga succinctly, O leading scion of the family of Kuru. One becomes free from impurities even by (merely) listening to it. What to say when it is practised!
11The essence of Yoga is proclaimed (to consist in) the restraint of the fluctuations of the mind . Yogins achieve it by the practice of eight limbs.
12-13The limbs (of Yoga) are abstention (yama), observance (niyama), restriction (regulation) of breath (pranayama) the third, withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), fixed attention (dharana), the object of meditation (dhyeya), contemplation (dhyana) the event and perfect concentration(Samadhi)—(Thus) Yoga is glorified as having eight limbs . Listen, O son of Pandu, to the characteristic features of those eight severally.
14-20By practising these in due order a man attains Yoga. Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, the vow of celibacy and non-acceptance of gifts—these five are called Yamas (‘Abstentions’) . Listen to their characteristics too. He who endeavours for the welfare of all living beings as in his own case (practises the first Yama). It is called Ahimsa (‘non-violence’) and it is enjoined in the Vedas. Giving a correct statement of what has been seen, heard, inferred and experienced by oneself, without causing pain to others , is called Satya (‘truthfulness’). Abstinence from taking possession of other people’s properties, even in cases of emergency, whether it be mental, physical or verbal, is called Asteya (‘non-stealing’). Abstinence from sexual intercourse mentally, verbally and physically in the case of ascetics is called Brahmacarya (‘vow of celibacy’). In the case of householders, having sexual intercourse during the period after the four days of menses is (not opposed to) the ‘vow of celibacy’. This (the following) is said to be Aparigraha (‘non-acceptance of gifts’): Renunciation of everything mentally, verbally and physically is Aparigraha in the case of ascetics. In the case of householder’s mental renunciation is Aparigraha. Thus, the Yamas have been recounted to you. Listen to the five Niyamas (‘observances’).
21Cleanliness, contentment, penance, japa and devotion to Guru (Preceptor )—these are the observances. Listen to the characteristics of these five separately.
22Sauca (‘cleanliness’) is said to be of two kinds—the external and the internal. Cleansing with clay and water is said to be the external one and the purification of the mind is the internal one.
23Perpetual mental satisfaction with the means of subsistence one has (adopted) legitimately, or by alms, or by agricultural and other occupations is called Tushti (‘contentment’).
24If a person engaged in reducing his diet, observes the prescribed expiatory penance like Candrayana it is called Tapas (penance).
25Svadhyaya is called Japa. It is the repeated utterance of OM etc. Devotion to Siva, to knowledge and to the preceptor is said to be Gurubhakti.
26Only after practising and mastering these observances and abstentions should the clever (devotee) endeavour to get ready for controlling the breath. The aspirant of Yogic practice should not do it otherwise.
27-28Since wind (Vayu) will get irritated (resulting in gastric disorders) in an unclean body and since one contracts leprosy(?), sluggishness etc. on account of the disorder of wind, a clever aspirant for Yogic achievement shall first make the body pure and then endeavour for the next (step, viz. breath-control). O son of Pandu, listen, I shall describe the characteristics of the control of breath.
29-30The regulation of Prana and the Apana (inhalation and exhalation while breathing) is called Pranayama . It is mentioned by Dhiras (the wise persons who have realized the soul) that Pranayama is of three types: Laghu (short), Madhya (medium) and Uttartya (or Uttama) (superior). That which has twelve Matras (measures of time) is Laghu. The time required for opening and closing the eyes once is called a Matra. The Madhya (type of pranayama) has twice that (i.e. 24 Matras) and Uttama is said to be having (measures) three times (of Laghu) (i.e. 36 Matras).
31One shall overcome defects gradually thus: By the first one (i.e. Laghu), one shall overcome sweating; by the middle one shall eliminate tremor. He shall conquer sorrow and fatigue by means of the third.
32One should sit in the lotus-postures comfortably and practise the three modes of Pranayama, viz. Recaka (exhaling), Puraka (inhaling) and Kumbhaka (suspending breathing).
33-35It is proclaimed as Pranayama because there is a restraint on the Pranas (vital airs). Just as the impurities in the minerals and metals brought from mountains are burnt when they are put in fire, so also the defect of sense-organs is burnt by means of Pranayama. Hence a knower of Yoga should always restrain the vital airs. The divine (powers) Santi etc. are gradually achieved by means of Pranayama.
36-39(Divine faculties e.g.) Santi, Prasanti, Dipti and Prasada are obtained in the due order. The first good thing (i.e. result) is the subduing of the impulse to indulge in sins, congenital or acquired. After completely dispelling the defects of greediness and delusion power of penance is obtained. Thus what is called Vasana Santi (‘cessation of impulsiveness’) comes first. The clarity of all the sense-organs (is called Praianti), that of the intellect (is called Dipti) and that of the winds (respiration) is called Prasada. Thus the four good things should be attained. A Yogin should always practise Pranayama that has such a benefit.
40On being served (regularly), lions, tigers and elephants become gentle. So also Prana when restrained, regulated by practice becomes controlled.
41-42Pranayama has been recounted; listen to Pratyahara (‘withdrawal of the senses’). The withdrawal of the mind pursuing objects of sensual pleasures is pointed out as Pratyahara. It is its complete restraint. Pratyahara has been explained- Now listen to the characteristic features of Dharana (‘retention’).
43-45Just as those who seek water drink it through leaves or hollow tubes etc. slowly, so also the Yogi takes and leads the wind which he has controlled. The wind enters through the nostrils at the outset and comes to the heart, then to the palate and then to the region between the eyebrows. By means of compression, the practitioner of Yogic exercises takes the (vital) wind up slowly to the four-petalled and six-petalled (lotuses?) as well as to the twelve-petalled and thirty-two petalled. Then he successfully retains the Prana in the Brahmarandhra (‘the aperture at the crown of the head’).
46Twelve Pranayamas make what is glorified as Dharana (‘Retention’). After establishing ten of these Dharanas the Yogin attains equality with the imperishable being.
47Listen to the characteristics of what should be the Dhyeya (‘object of meditation’) of one who maintains Dhararia, O son of Pritha. Dhyeya is of many kinds. Its end is not seen. (It is unlimited.)
48Some meditate on Siva; some on Hari; some on the Sun-god; others on Brahma; and some meditate on the Goddess, the greatest being.
49One gets merged with what one meditates upon. Hence one should always remember Lord Siva, Hara of five faces.
50-53Hara should be meditated upon as follows: He is seated in the lotus posture; He is white in complexion; He has a pomegranate in his hand; He remains in a state of meditation; He has ten hands; His face beams with spiritual delight. The object of meditation has been recounted to you. Hence one should perform Dhyana (meditation). The characteristic feature of meditation is this: He who has resorted to Dhararia does not become separate from the object of meditation even for half a moment. After coming to this stage that is very difficult to climb (attain), the devotee conversant with Yoga does not think about anything else. This is proclaimed as Samadhi (concentration). Listen even as I clearly explain the characteristics of Samadhi.
54One who has attained the supreme Purusha devoid of (objects of sense such as) sound, touch, taste, smell and colour, is glorified as one abiding in Samadhi.
55After attaining is (the Samadhi stage) a man is not at all assailed by distractions. One who adheres to Samadhi is never shaken even by a great pain.
56He will never hear any external sound even if hundreds of conchs were blown or Bheri drums were beaten near his ears.
57He will never experience any external touch even if he be struck with a whip, if his body be burnt or if he be placed in a terrible place that is extremely chill.
58-60What to say of such objects of senses as colour, smell and taste in regard to such a man. Again, neither thirst nor hunger harass that person at all who sees the Atman through the Atman and obtains the state of Samadhi. It is neither in heaven nor in the nether worlds nor in the mortal world that that (supreme) happiness is seen which a man obtains after reaching the state of steady Samadhi.
61To a person who has achieved the Yogic power thus, O scion of the family of Kuru, there are five very terrible obstacles. Listen to them:
62Pratibha (intellectual), Sridvana (auditional), Daiva (divine), Bhrama (whirling) and the terrible Avarta (revolving). When his intellect has grasped all scriptural texts, the Pratibha defect occurs. It is of Sattva nature.
63-65aThereby the Yogin quickly becomes highly conceited in his mind. Sravana is the ability to hear (sounds) thousands of Yojanas away. This is the second Sattvika defect. One who is haughty on account of this, perishes. The next one, Daiva, is the ability to see eight species of Devas, viz. Vidyadharas, Apsaras (celestial damsels), Yakshas, Raksasas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Bhutas. This also is a Sattvika defect. He perishes on account of this conceit.
65b-69He will become agitated in the surging mass of people, as though in a whirlpool of water. This is the defect called Avarta. It is of Rajasa nature causing great terror. If the mind of the Yogin whirls and whirls without any basis, because all supports have been taken away, it is the defect called Bhrama. It is a quality of Tamasa nature. All the Deva species have had their Yogic power destroyed on account of these obstacles that are extremely terrible. They revolve again and again. Hence a Yogin must cover himself with the pure mental blanket and contemplate on the Supreme Brahman. He must direct his mind towards Brahman. Foodstuffs of Sattva nature should be resorted to by one who aspires for Siddhi.
70-72A Yogin will not at all achieve anything through Rajasa and Tamasa (types of food). Alms should be begged and taken by the Yogin from noble- souled learned Brahmanas who have faith and control over sense-organs. The alms should be: cooked barley, rice, buttermilk, milk, gruel, fully ripened fruits and roots, grains, oil-cake and flour. These are the items of food well-known as the causes of the achievement of Siddhis by Yogins.
73A devotee who practises Yogic exercises should know the time of death by omens. He should then take Yogic exercises with mental purity and concentration in order to elude the god of Death.
74-78I shall mention the omens whereby one conversant with Yogic knowledge knows (the impending) death . If a chaste woman wearing red or black garments and singing leads a person to the southern quarter in the course of a dream, he will not live (long). If anyone sees in dream a naked Jaina mendicant laughing and leaping, he should know that death has arrived in his form. If a person sees himself in a dream as stationed in a vehicle with bears or monkeys yoked to it, goes south singing and gets immersed in a well, marshy place or cow-dung, he will not live (long thereafter). If one sees in a dream a dry river filled with one of these, viz. hair, coal, ash or serpents, one shall not live long). If in a dream a man is hit or struck with stones by dreadful, hideous, coarse and rough men with weapons uplifted, that man shall die immediately.
79-81If at sunrise a howling vixen rushes in front of a man, or in the opposite direction or all round him, he meets death immediately. If a person does not cognise smell after the light (of the oil-lamp) has been put out, if a person spits out fire at night, if a person does not see his reflection in another man’s eyes, he will not live for long. On seeing the weapon of Indra (? rainbow) at mid-night or eclipse during day time, one shall know that one has approached the decline of one’s own life.
82-87aIf any person’s nose becomes crooked, if the ears are (partially) depressed and (partially) lifted up, if water oozes out from the left eye, his life is (as good as) extinct. When the face gets a reddish tinge, the tongue becomes black, an intelligent man should know that his own death is imminent. If a person goes to the south in a vehicle drawn by a came! or a donkey, in the course of a dream, if he does not hear any (inner) sound even after closing the ears, he does not live long. If a person sees in a dream that he foils down and the door is closed against him, that bright vision has become red, if a person in the course of a dream enters fire but does not come out again, or does not come out after entering water, his life is only thus far.
87b-92aIf at night or during day time, a person is hit or struck by wicked spirits simple or distorted, Yama and Death have approached him. If a person (ordinarily) after being devoted to them, censures or insults deities, elders, parents or others or learned persons, he does not live long. On seeing such adverse omens, the person conversant with Yoga should resort to Dharaya perfectly and remain motionless in concentration.
If he does not want death, he does not meet it. If he desires salvation, he should let off the vital airs through Brahmarandhra at the crown of the head. There are obstacles assailing the Yogin even when the body is being liberated . Listen to them also, O son of Pandu.
92b-96In the city of Hana, in that of Rakshasas, in the region of Yakshas, of Gandharvas, of Indra, of Soma, of Prajapati and of Brahma—in these eight regions, there are eight Siddhis each. Listen to them. They may be those belonging to the Earth, to Tejas, to Vayu, to Ether, mind, or the intellect born of the ego. Each of them is of eight types, having each double of the previous one(?) and in due order. At the outset there are eight and in the end there are sixty-four. Listen how it is so. There are eight Siddhis pertaining to the Earth, viz. stoutness, shortness, childhood, old age, youth , the forms of the different castes and ability to assume bodies with the help of four (elements) excluding the part of the Earth.
97-99When the principle of Earth is conquered, these eight Siddhis occur in Aisanya (north-east, the city of Tana). There are sixteen Siddhis known in the city of Rakshasas, eight mentioned before and further eight as follows: ability to stay in water as on the ground; not being sick; he will be able to drink up the ocean; ability to get water everywhere—even dry (things) become liquid; the ability to assume body by means of the three (elements); he will be able to place rivers in his hand; absence of wounds and the splendour of the body. These are the eight (Siddhis) mentioned.
100-102aIn the abode of Yakshas, there are twenty-four Siddhis, the sixteen mentioned before and the eight Siddhis of Tejas, viz. ability to create fire from the body; elimination of the fear of being scorched by it; ability to offer power to the worlds (people); ability to make fire burn in the middle of water; picking fire by hand; sanctifying by means of mere recollection; recreating what is reduced to ash and ability to assume body of two (elements).
102b-105Speed and velocity of the mind; ability to penetrate other living beings; ability to bear heavy weights sportingly even of mountains etc.; lightness; weightiness; prevention (stopping) of the wind with the pair of hands; making all parts of the earth quake by touching down with the tip of fingers and ability to assume a body of a single element—these are the special Siddhis in the world of Gandharvas. There are altogether thirty two Siddhis in the world of Gandharvas, the twenty-four mentioned before and these eight. Listen further.
1O6-1O8aIn the world of Indra (eastern quarter) there are forty Siddhis, thirty-two mentioned before and eight Siddhis of the nature of wind, viz. production without shadow; non-perception (invisibility ?) of the sense organs; ability to go through the sky; perpetual subdual of the senses etc.; perception of sound from afar; ability to understand all sounds; understanding Tanmatra symbolism; and insight into all living beings—these are the eight Siddhis.
1081b-110aAbility to acquire (everything) as desired; ability to go to any desired place; predominance everywhere; viewing of all hidden things; seeing all the world—these are the eight(?) mental Siddhis. (These are in addition to) the forty Siddhis mentioned before. These are known (as the Siddhis) in the world of Soma.
110b-111Ability to cut; ability to heat; ability to bind; (ability of) changing the world; delighting all living beings and the victory over Death and over Time—these are the eight Siddhis(?) originating from Ahamkara (Ego) in the world of Prajapati. The Siddhis mentioned before (should also be included).
112-114Ability to create the universe by one’s facial expression; (ability of) blessing it; power of annihilating it; the variegated functioning of the world; the explicit dissimilarity(?); extinction one by one of what is other than auspicious and the state of being the maker—these are the eight (Siddhis) originating from Buddhi (‘Intellect’). Along with the previous fifty-six Siddhis there are altogether sixty-four Gupas (Siddhis). These function in the region of Brahma. It is a secret that has been spoken to you.
115These Siddhis can be achieved by Yogins even when they are alive or when the bodies change. He should not have any contact (i.e. attachment to them) because of the possibility of downfall.
116In the case of a Yogin who practises Yogic feats after dispelling these qualities (i.e. powers mentioned above), all the eight Siddhis that bring about Yogic achievement function.
117-120They are Anima, Laghima, Mahima, Prapti, Prakamya, Isitva, Vasitva and Kamavasayita. These Siddhis are stationed (expressed) in the world of Mahesvara. Anima (‘atomatization’) is minuteness of all minute things. Laghima (‘lightness’) is remembered because of its quickness; Mahima (‘great-ness’) because of the state of being venerable to the remaining (people); Prapti (‘ability to get’) because there is nothing inaccessible to him; Prakamya (‘pervading’) because he can pervade (everything); Isitva (masterliness) because he is a master of everything; Vasitva (‘ability to win over’) because he is able to conquer and win others. It is the excellent seventh Siddhi. Kamavasayita is the ability to stay wherever one wishes to remain .
121These Siddhis occur in one who attains the status of Isvara (Lord). Thereafter, he is not reborn nor does he grow or perish.
122-123He who attains salvation in this manner is said to be liberated. Just as water poured into water gets merged with it, so also the soul of the Yogin becomes identified with the Supreme Soul. After realizing the benefit thus, the Yogin should always practise Yoga.
124-131aIn this context of Yogic merging, Yogins free from impurities cite this simile. The solar stone, when in contact with the rays of the moon, does not become one with it, nor does it emit sparks of fire. Kapinjala bird, mouse and mongoose stay in a house like its masters. When it is destroyed, they go elsewhere. They have no sorrow (for its destruction). This is an example for the ascetic (to emulate). With its very small mouth, the earthworm gathers heaps of clay. This is instructive unto the Yogin. Realizing that a tree equipped with leaves, flowers and fruits can be destroyed by animals, birds, human beings etc. Yogins achieve Siddhi(?) If a Yogi observing the tip of the horn in the body of the Ruru deer of the shape of the religious mark on the forehead, should grow along with it, he attains Siddhi. A person walks up a lofty gradient with a vessel full of (liquid) materials. Do not the Yogins understand the deep concentration required on seeing this? That is his abode where he stays. That is his food whereby he lives. That is his wealth whereby his Yogic achievement is realized.
131b-134aThe Yogin should take up only that knowledge which is conducive to his work on hand (i.e. Yoga). The multiplicity of knowledge (i.e. objects that should be known) causes obstacles in the achievement of Yogic power. If a person were to run after things thirsting for knowledge like “This is to be known; this is to be known”, he will never realize his object of knowledge even if he were to live for a thousand Kalpas. He shall abandon all attachment. He shall conquer anger. He shall take in only small quantity of food (light food). He shall subdue all sense organs. After closing all doors (sources of perception) by means of the intellect, he should engage his mind in meditation.
134b-137He shall resort to a diet of Sattva nature. He shall never take in that whereby he will become senseless. Consuming that, he shall become a favourite guest of the Raurava hell. The ascetic is proclaimed Tridandi (‘having three staffs’) because he has Vagdayda (i. e. control over speech), Karmadanda (‘control of physical action’) and Manodayda (‘control of mind’). The general public loves him. Even in his absence his qualities are glorified- Even the animals are not afraid of him. The characteristic feature of Siddhi is told here:
138Absence of lustfulness, good health, non-harshness, auspicious smell of faeces and urine, splendour, vividness and gentleness in tone—this is the first indication of the Yogic functioning.
139One who has concentration and mental purity, one who is devoted to Brahman, one who does not err, one who is pure, one who takes interest in solitude and who has conquered
the sense-organs is the lofty-minded one who attains the Yogic power. Thereafter, by means of Yogic practice, he attains salvation.
140On account of him, the family becomes sanctified. The mother becomes blessed and contented and the Earth fortunate. His mind is immersed in the ocean of happiness and engaged in the great Brahman of no external path(?).
141The ascetic whose intellect is pure, who considers a lump of clay and a block of gold as equal, who views all living beings alike, goes to the eternal region that never perishes. He is not born again.
142Thus the secret of Yoga has been explained by me. Gautama attained Yoga of this type. It was by him, O son of Pritha, that this Linga was installed. It destroys sins on being visited and worshipped.
143-144A devotee should worship this Linga on the night of the fourteenth day in the dark half of the month of Asvina after taking bath in the most important lake Ahalyasaras. He should perform all the rites with sincerity, faith and devotion. On account of this great rite, he shall be freed from all sins. He goes to the place where Gautama the sage dwells.
145-146Thus the greatness of the Guptaksetra has been succinctly recounted by me. He who listens to this completely becomes pure. What more shall I say? He who devoutly listens to this excellent narrative of Gautama obtains sons, grandsons and everything desired. He goes to the everlasting region.