Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lecture (Chapter) 6: Of the Exercise of Soul.

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses.)


He is both a Yōgēē and a Sănnyāsēē who performeth that which he hath to do independent of the fruit thereof; not he who liveth without the sacrificial fire and without action. Learn, O son of Pāndŏŏ, that what they call Sănnyās, or a forsaking of the world, is the same with Yōg or the practice of devotion. He cannot be a Yōgēē, who, in his actions, hath not abandoned all intentions. Works are said to be the means by which a man who wisheth, may attain devotion; so rest is called the means for him who hath attained devotion. When the all-contemplative Sănnyāsēē is not engaged in the objects of the senses, nor in works, then he is called one who hath attained devotion. He should raise himself by himself: he should not suffer his soul to be depressed. Self is the friend of self; and, in like manner, self is its own enemy. Self is the friend of him by whom the spirit is subdued with the spirit; so self, like a foe, delighteth in the enmity of him who hath no soul. The soul of the placid conquered spirit is the same collected in heat and cold, in pain and pleasure, in honor and disgrace. The man whose mind is replete with divine wisdom and learning, who standeth upon the pinnacle, and hath subdued his passions, is said to be devout. To the Yōgēē, gold, iron, and stones, are the same. The man is distinguished whose resolutions, whether amongst his companions and friends; in the midst of enemies, or those who stand aloof or go between; with those who love and those who hate; in the company of saints or sinners, is the same.

The Yōgēē constantly exerciseth the spirit in private. He is recluse, of a subdued mind and spirit; free from hope, and free from perception. He planteth his own seat firmly on a spot that is undefiled, neither too high nor too low, and sitteth upon the sacred grass which is called Kǒǒs, covered with a skin and a cloth. There he, whose business is the restraining of his passions, should sit, with his mind fixed on one object alone, in the exercise of his devotion for the purification of his soul, keeping his head, his neck, and body, steady without motion, his eyes fixed on the point of his nose, looking at no other place around. The peaceful soul, released from fear, who would keep in the path of one who followeth God, should restrain the mind, and, fixing it on me, depend on me alone. The Yōgēē of an humbled mind, who thus constantly exerciseth his soul, obtaineth happiness incorporeal and supreme in me.

This divine discipline, Ărjŏŏn, is not to be attained by him who eateth more than enough, or less than enough; neither by him who hath a habit of sleeping much, nor by him who sleepeth not at all. The discipline which destroyeth pain belongeth to him who is moderate in eating and in recreation, whose inclinations are moderate in action, and who is moderate in sleep. A man is called devout when his mind remaineth thus regulated within himself, and he is exempt from every lust and inordinate desire. The Yōgēē of a subdued mind, thus employed in the exercise of his devotion, is compared to a lamp, standing in a place without wind, which waveth not. He delighteth in his own soul, where the mind, regulated by the service of devotion, is pleased to dwell, and where, by the assistance of the spirit, he beholdeth the soul. He becometh acquainted with that boundless pleasure which is far more worthy of the understanding than that which ariseth from the senses; depending upon which, the mind moveth not from its principles; which having obtained, he respecteth no other acquisition so great as it; in which depending, he is not moved by the severest pain. This disunion from the conjunction of pain may be distinguished by the appellation Yōg, spiritual union or devotion. It is to be attained by resolution, by the man who knoweth his own mind. When he hath abandoned every desire that ariseth from the imagination, and subdued with his mind every inclination of the senses, he may, by degree, find rest; and having, by a steady resolution, fixed his mind within himself, he should think of nothing else. Wheresoever the unsteady mind roameth, he should subdue it, bring it back, and place it in his own breast. Supreme happiness attendeth the man whose mind is thus at peace; whose carnal affections and passions are thus subdued; who is thus in God, and free from sin. The man who is thus constantly in the exercise of the soul, and free from sin, enjoyeth eternal happiness, united with Brăhm the Supreme. The man whose mind is endued with this devotion, and looketh on all things alike, beholdeth the supreme soul in all things, and all things in the supreme soul. He who beholdeth me in all things, and beholdeth all things in me, I forsake not him, and he forsaketh not me. The Yōgēē who believeth in unity, and worshippeth me present in all things, dwelleth in me in all respects, even whilst he liveth. The man, O Ărjŏŏn, who, from what passeth in his own breast, whether it be pain or pleasure, beholdeth the same in others, is esteemed a supreme Yōgēē.


From the restlessness of our natures, I conceive not the permanent duration of this doctrine of equality which thou hast told me. The mind, O Krĕĕshnă, is naturally unsteady, turbulent, strong, and stubborn. I esteem it as difficult to restrain as the wind.


The mind, O valiant youth, is undoubtedly unsteady, and difficult to be confined; yet, I think it may be restrained by practice and temperance. In my opinion, this divine discipline which is called Yōg is hard to be attained by him who hath not his soul in subjection; but it may be acquired by him who taketh pains, and hath his soul in his own power.


Whither, O Krĕĕshnă, doth the man go after death, who, although he be endued with faith, hath not obtained perfection in his devotion, because his unsubdued mind wandered from the discipline? Doth not the fool who is found not standing in the path of Brăhm, and is thus, as it were, fallen between good and evil, like a broken cloud, come to nothing? Thou, Krĕĕshnă, canst entirely clear up these my doubts; and there is no other person to be found able to remove these difficulties.


His destruction is found neither here nor in the world above. No man who hath done good goeth unto an evil place. A man whose devotions have been broken off by death, having enjoyed for an immensity of years the rewards of his virtues in the regions above, at length is born again in some holy and respectable family; or perhaps in the house of some learned Yōgēē. But such a regeneration into this life is the most difficult to attain. Being thus born again, he is endued with the same degree of application and advancement of his understanding that he held in his former body; and here he begins again to labour for perfection in devotion. The man (28) who is desirous of learning this devotion, this spiritual application of the soul, exceedeth even the word of Brăhm.

(28 The man, etc.—i.e. That the desire of becoming a devout man is equal to the study of the Vēds.)

The Yōgēē who, labouring with all his might, is purified of his offences, and, after many births, made perfect, at length goeth to the supreme abode. The Yōgēē is more exalted than Tăpăswĕĕs, those zealots who harrass themselves in performing penances, respected above the learned in science, and superior to those who are attached to moral works; wherefore, O Ărjŏŏn, resolve thou to become a Yōgēē. Of all Yōgēēs, I respect him as the most devout, who hath faith in me, and who serveth me with a soul possessed of my spirit.

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