1. तऩ्स्वाध्यामेश्वयप्रणिधानाणन णिमामोग् ॥ १॥
Mortification, study, and surrendering fruits of work to God are called Kriya Yoga.
Commentary: The first step, the preliminary step, is called Kriya Yoga. Literally this means work, working towards Yoga. The organs are the horses, the mind is the reins, the intellect is the charioteer, the soul is the rider, and this body is the chariot. The master of the household, the King, the Self of man, is sitting in this chariot. If the horses are very strong, and do not obey the reins, if the charioteer, the intellect, does not know how to control the horses, then this chariot will come to grief. But if the organs, the horses, are well controlled, and if the reins, the mind, are well held in the hands of the charioteer, the intellect, the chariot, reaches the goal. What is meant, therefore, by mortification? Holding the reins firmly while guiding this body and mind: not letting the body do anything it likes, but keeping them both in proper control. Study. What is meant by study in this case? Not study of novels, or fiction, or story books, but study of those books which teach the liberation of the soul. Then again this study does not mean controversial studies at all. The Yogi is supposed to have finished his period of controversy. He has had enough of all that, and has become satisfied. He only studies to intensify his convictions. Vada and Siddhanta. These are the two sorts of Scriptural knowledge, Vada (the argumentative) and Siddhanta (the decisive). When a man is entirely ignorant he takes up the first part of this, the argumentative fighting, and reasoning, pro and con.; and when he has finished that he takes up the Siddhanta, the decisive, arriving at a conclusion. Simply arriving at this conclusion will not do. It must be intensified. Books are infinite in number, and time is short; thereofre this is the secret of knowledge, to take that which is essential. Take that out, and then try to live up to it. There is an old simile in India that if you place a cup of milk before a Raja Hamsa (swan) with plenty of water in it, he will take all the milk and leave the water. In that way we should take what is of value in knowledge, and leave the dross. All these intellectual gymnastics are necessary at first. We must not go blindly into anything. The Yogi has passed the argumentative stage, and has come to a conclusion, which is like the rocks, immovable. The only thing he now seeks to do is to intensify that conclusion. Do not argue, he say; if one forces arguments upon you, be silent. Do not answer any argument, but go away free, because arguments only disturb the mind. The only thing is to train the intellect, so what is the use of disturbing it any more. The intellect is but a weak instrument, and can give only knowledge limited by the senses; the Yogi wants to go beyond the senses; therefore the intellect is of no use to him. He is certain of this, and therefore is silent, and does not argue. Every argument throws his mind out of balance, creates a disturbance in the Chitta, and this disturbance is a drawback. These argumentations and searchings of the reason are only on the way. There are much higher things behind them. The whole of life is not for schoolboy fights and debating societies. By “surrendering the fruits of work to God” is to take to ourselves neither credit nor blame, but to give both up to the Lord, and be at peace.
2. सभाणधबावनाथय् िेशतनूकयिाथयि ॥ २॥
Commentary: (They are for) the practice of Samadhi and minimising the pain-bearing obstructions. Most of us make our minds like spoiled children, allowing them to do whatever they want. Therefore it is necessary that there should be constant practice of the previous mortifications, in order to gain control of the mind, and bring it into subjection. The obstructions to Yoga arise from lack of this control, and cause us pain. They can only be removed by denything the mind, and holding it in check, through these various means.
3. अणवद्याणस्मतायागिेषाणबणनवेशा् िेशा् ॥ ३॥
Commentary: The pain-bearing obstructions are – ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and clinging to life. These are the five pains, the fivefold tie that binds us down. Of course ignorance is the mother of all the rest. She is the only cause of all our misery. What else can make us miserable? The nature of the Soul is eternal bliss. What can make it sorrowful except ignorance, hallucination, delusion; all this pain of the soul is simply delusion.
4. अणवद्या ऺेत्रभ् उत्तयेषां प्रसुप्ततनु णवणच्छिोदायािाभ् ॥ ४॥
avidya kshetram uttareshan prasuptatanuvichchhinnodaranam
Ignorance is the productive field of all them that follow, whether they are dormant, attenuated, overpowered, or expanded. Impressions are the cause of these, and these impressions exist in different degrees. There are the dormant. You often hear the expression “innocent as a baby,” yet in the baby may be the state of a demon or of a god which will come out by and by. In the Yogi these impressions, the Samskaras left by past actions, are attenuated; that is, in a very fine state, and he can control them, and not allow them to become manifest. Overpowered means that sometimes one set of impressions is held down for a while by those that are stronger, but they will come out when that repressing cause is removed. The last state is the expanded, when the Samskaras, having helpful surroundings, have attained to great activity, either as good or evil.
5. अणनत्याशुणचदु्खानात्मसु णनत्यशुणचसुखात्मख्याणतयणवद्या ॥ ५॥
Ignorance is taking that which is non-eternal, impure, painful, and non-Self, for the eternal, pure, happy, Atman (Self). All these various sorts of impression have one source: ignorance. We have first to learn what ignorance is. All of us think that “I am the body,” and not the Self, the pure, the effulgent, the ever blissful, and that is ignorance. We think of man, and see man as body. This is the great delusion.
6. दृग्दशयनशक्त्योयेकात्मतेवाणस्मता ॥ ६॥
Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrument of seeing. The seer is really the Self, the pure one, the ever holy, the infinite, the immortal. That is the Self of man. And what are the instruments? The Chitta, or mind-stuff, the Buddhi, determinative faculty, the Manas, or mind, and the Indriyani, or sense organs. These are the instruments for him to see the external world, and the identification of the Self with the instruments is what is called the ignorance of egoism. We say “I am the mind, I am thought; I am angry, or I am happy.” How can we be angry, and how can we hate? We should identify ourselves with the Self; that cannot change. If it is unchangeable, how can it be one moment happy, and one moment unhappy? It is formless, infinite, omnipresent. What can change it? Beyond all law. What can affect it? Nothing in the universe can produce an effect on it, yet, through ignorance, we identify ourselves with the mind-stuff, and think we feel pleasure or pain.
7. सुखानुशमी याग् ॥ ७॥
Attachment is that which dwells on pleasure. We find pleasure in certain things, and the mind, like a current, flows towards them, and that, following the pleasure centre, as it were, is attachment. We are never attached to anyone in whom we do not find pleasure. We find pleasure in very queer things sometimes, but the definition is just the same; wherever we find pleasure, there we are attached.
8. दु्खानुशमी िेष् ॥ ८॥
Aversion is that which dwells on pain. That, which gives us pain we immediately seek to get away from.
9. स्वयसवाही णवदुषोऽणऩ तथारूढोऽणबणनवेश् ॥ ९॥
svarasavahi vidushopi tatharoodho bhiniveshah
Flowing through its own nature, and established even in the learned, is the clinging to life. This clinging to life you see manifested in every animal, and upon it many attempts have been made to build the theory of a future life, because men like their lives so much that they desire a future life also. Of course it goes without saying that this argument is without much value, but the most curious part of it is that, in Western Countries, the idea that this clinging to life indicates a possibility of a future life applies only to men, but does not include animals. In India this clinging to life has been one of the arguments to prove past experience and existence. For instance, if it be true that all our knowledge has come from experience, then it is sure that that which we never experienced we cannot imagine, or understand. In the language of the Yogi, instinct is involved reason. Discrimination becomes involved, and gets to be automatic Samskaras. Therefore it is perfectly logical to think that all we call instinct in this world is simply involved reason. As reason cannot come without experience, all instinct is, therefore, the result of past experience. Chickens fear the hawk, and ducklings love the water, and these are both the result of past experience, and these are both the result of past experience.
The recurring experiences of various fears, in course of time, produce this clinging to life. That is why the child is instinctively afraid, because the past experience of pain is there. Even in the most learned men, who know that this body will go, and who say “never mind: we have hundreds of bodies; the soul cannot die”—even in them, with all their intellectual conviction, we still find this clinging to life. What is this clinging to life? We have seen that it has become instinctive. In the psychological language of Yoga if has become Samskaras. The Samskaras, fine and hidden, are sleeping in the Chitta. All these past experiences of death, all that which we call instinct, is experience become sub-conscious. It lives in the Chitta, and is not inactive, but is working underneath.
10. ते प्रणतप्रसवहेमा् सूक्ष्मा् ॥ १०॥
te pratiprasavaheyah sookshmah
They, the samskaras to-be-rejected-by-opposite-modifications.
11. ध्यानहेमास्तिृत्तम् ॥ ११॥
By meditation, their modifications are to be rejected. Meditation is one of the great means of controlling the rising of these big waves. By meditation you can make the mind subdue these waves, and, if you go on practising meditation for days, and months, and years, until it has become a habit, until it will come in spite of yourself, anger and hatred will be controlled and checked.