Chapter” 14, Praise, Prayer and Worship of God

The subject of divine praise was touched upon in the verses beginning with ‘Yobhutam eha’, We revert to it here also. Now we take up the subject of prayer.

The following verses ‘Tejosi’, etc. treat of praise, prayer of God.

“O Supreme Lord! Thou shines forth with Thy attributes of infinite knowledge, etc., fill me with the light of knowledge unlimited! Thou art of infinite prowess, O Lord! Endow me with firm vigor and activity of body and mind (intellect) through Thy grace; O Lord of Supreme might! Thy power is infinite, be pleased to grant unto me excellent power; O Lord! Thou art of moral force (ojas) do vouchsafe unto me the strength (born of) truth and knowledge; O Lord! In Thee resides righteous indignation towards the evil-doers, impart by Thy will that indignation to me also! O suffering Lord! Thou art sufferance; enable me to bear pleasure and pain with equanimity. Be graciously pleased to endow me with these

  • good qualities.” Yajur XIX 9.

“O most glorious Lord! Make my senses, e.g., the sense of hearing, etc., and the mind strong and healthy. May it be Thy pleasure to protect us and make us the possessors of all the good things of the world. In Thee, O Lord! Are the treasures of the highest wisdom, etc. So will that the best riches, such as the glories of empire, be for our benefit and enable us to attain them.”

[God commands men to acquire and aspire for these good qualities.]

“O Lord! May our wishes become always fruitful through Thy grace. May our aspiration to participate in the administration of world-wide empire be never frustrated.” Yajur II 10.

  • ‘O God Agni do Thou always endow us with that excellent and steady understanding which is constantly sought after by the learned and the wise. Svaha” Yajur XXXII, 14

[The author of the Nirukta in VIII, 20 makes the following observations on the world Svaha.]

“Svaha means that all men should always employ and mild speech devoted to the good of all creatures. They should utter with their tongue what they feel in their own consciousness. they should call what belongs to them their own and should never claim as theirs what belong to others. They should offer oblations into the fire after purifying and dressing them properly and carefully.”

  • The next verse contains God’s blessing to men: “Ye Men! May you arms and weapons, such as firearms, guns and cannon, bows and arrows and swords, etc., be very firm and strong and praiseworthy through My grace; may they bring about the defeat of your enemies and lead you on to victory and may they check the onslaughts of the enemy’s forces and defeat and rout them.

May your armies be highly efficient (well equipped and well trained) and strong, so that your world-wide empire may remain intact and secure, and may your foes, perpetrators of foul deeds, who oppose you, be worsted (in battle). But this blessing of Mine descends on those only who do righteous deeds and never on those who are guilty of treachery and injustice.” The meaning is that God never blesses those who act unrighteously.” Rig I.3.18.2.

“O Lord! Render us happy, strong and free

  • that we may entertain high and noble aspirations and obtain most nourishing food. Fill us always with untiring and unflagging zeal to put forth our utmost efforts for attaining the rank of a Brahmana with a view to acquire the knowledge of the Vedas. Make us bravest of the brave and endow us with the instincts of a Kashatriya that we may become partners of a worldwide empire and wielders of sovereign power.

Enable us to make utmost endeavors to acquire scientific proficiency and mechanical skill in the use and management of machines and vehicles that we may do good to all mankind like the sun, the fire, etc., which are serving the universe by supplying it with light and contributing to its welfare.

O Lord of righteousness! Thou art just, make us also lovers of law and justice; O Universal Benefactor! Thou art free from ill-will, make us also friendly and devoid of feelings of enmity towards all. So will, O Lord! That the benefits of good government, good laws and precious things be for us, may we become good Brahmanas and learned in the Vedas lore, good Kshatriyas and rulers, and good Vaishyas and

  • citizens. We pray and beseech Thee to endow us with all excellent qualities and enable us to realize all our desires and aspirations.” Yajur XXXVIII, 14.

“The mind of a man in his wakeful state presides over and exercises masterly control over all his senses and possesses the bright (divya) qualities of knowledge, etc. In his sleepy state also it becomes cognizant of bright (divya) objects and in the state of sound and dreamless sleep it experiences pure and unalloyed (divya) happiness.

By its nature it is far reaching in its grasp and is the light of the senses and brings into the light of consciousness all objects, the sun, etc. It is unaided and alone. “O Lord! May this mind of mine – the instrument of thought, always love to dwell on beneficent, desirable and righteous acts and

  • noble qualities.” Yajuh XXXIV, 1.

The verses of the 18th chapter of the Yajur Veda Vajashcha me, etc., enjoin that we should surrender all things to God.

We should, therefore, ask from God all good objects beginning with emancipation and ending with foods and drinks.

Yajna means Vishnu – the pervader. Shatapatha I, 2. 13, God is called Vishnu because He pervades the whole universe. All men should surrender their life to Him. May we; in order to express our gratitude, surrender to God all we have, e.g., our breath (vitality), sight, speech (the senses), mind, i.e., thoughts and knowledge, soul, the qualifications of Brahmana – the performer of Yajnas, who knows the four Vedas – the light of the sun, law, justice, happiness, the earth which is the abode, subsistence and support of all,

  • Yajna, the Ashvamedha, etc., or arts and sciences, collection of praises, the study of the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and (the study of) the Atharvaveda which is indicated by the conjunction ‘cha’ (and), the enjoyment of the fruits of great undertakings and the results of scientific and mechanical activities.

The most merciful Lord will then give us the best and the highest bliss, we shall be illumined the light of happiness and shall attain the highest bliss of emancipation. May we be the subjects of His Divine Majesty, i.e., may we never acknowledge any man except God as the king par excellence. May we always speak the truth and endeavor with the greatest zeal to do the evil of the Lord. May we never transgress His will, but serve Him always with filial love. Yajuh XVIII, 29


The following verses lay down that God alone is to be worshipped.

I.”The wise yogins – the worshippers of God, concentrate their mind on and seek union with the Omniscient Lord, who has made this world and is a witness to the good and evil thoughts of all the jives and knows all the creatures. He is one without a second, all-pervading and knowledge itself. There is no one superior to Him. To Him the illuminer and maker of the universe should all men, under all circumstances, offer highest praise. In this way will the jiva be able to attain to Him.” Rig IV 4. 24.

II. “God is graciously pleased to direct to Himself the intellect of those, who, with a view obtain an insight into the secrets of divine

  • knowledge; concentrate their mind upon Him with the help of Yoga exercises. The distinguishing feature of a yogi worshipper of God in this world is that he realizes the self-effulgent God, Agni and installs Him in his soul.”

III. Let all men cultivate such desires as the following:-

“May we, with our inner senses rendered pure by yoga and by developing our Yogi powers, seek to dwell in the infinite glory of the self-luminous Lord, the giver of happiness, and the indwelling ruler of all that we may attain the bliss of emancipation.”

IV. “The in-dwelling ruler of all, the Lord Supreme, graciously illumines the souls of yogi worshippers, who, with the help of yoga exercises, worship Him with pure thoughts and love. The most merciful Lord in His mercy reveals His infinitely bright form to His loving worshippers and renders them happy by bestowing on them the gift of emacipation.”

V. God promises to the teacher and the learner of worship:-

  • “My blessings descend upon you when you worship Me, the eternal Brahma, with firm resolve and earnestness of soul. may your fame spread far and wide like that of the learned in the paths of righteousness.

Those worshippers alone who obey My will and serve Me – the blissful and eternal Lord are able to perform glorious deeds of knowledge and worship and to make happy regions or births their abode. May you the teachers and the learners of worship listen to this carefully. I become accessible to you only when you worship Me in this manner.” Yajuh, 1, 2.3.4.


  • The purpose of worshipping God with the help of yoga exercises, i.e., they practice to realize the presence of the Lord in them and perform acts which are consonant with the science of yoga. Such men easily obtain rank among the learned yogins and attain the state of the highest bliss.”

VII. “O Yogins! always enjoy freely the bliss of communion with God with the help of yoga and the bliss of emancipation and perform acts of worship by meditating upon God in the arteries, etc., which are the seat of Prana (Vital air).

Having thus purified your internal senses sow the seed of yogic worship, viz., pure an perfect knowledge (vijnana) in your causal body, the seat of the highest bliss, by performing the acts of worship and make yourselves proficient in Vedic learning.

You will thus soon have the full fruition of yoga, viz., pure and unalloyed bliss within your immediate reach through the grace of God. Attain union with God with the help of yogic activities (or faculties) directed towards worship. Verily, these activities are destructive of all pain and full of peace and tranquility, etc.”

  • According to the Nirukta VI.12. the word ‘shrushti’ in the verse means ‘soon’ and XIII.5 ibid. says that srini’ is a destructive and also a constructive faculty.

VIII. “O Supreme Lord! May the twenty eight substances, viz., the ten organs of sensation and action, the ten vital airs, the mind, and the intellect, the faculty of thought, and self-consciousness (Ahamkara), knowledge, instinct, and bodily strength, be productive of good and happiness through Thy grace.

May my days and nights be spent in the act of Thy worship. By Thy grace enable me to advance from yoga to kshema and from kshema to yoga (i.e. may I retain what I have already got and get what I do not possess). I always beseech Thee O Lord! To help and succor me.”

The foregoing and the following verses are from the Atharva Veda.

IX. “O Lord! Thou art the Lord and Master of creatures or of speech or of action,

  • and by Thy omnipotence and excellence thou surpassest all immeasurably. Thou art the destroyer of harmful speech and action. Thou art the pervader, and capable of accomplishing all things. May we always worship Thee alone in the aforesaid manner.”

[The word ‘shachi’ means speech’ see Nighantu I, II; ‘action’ ibid II. 1; and ‘creatures’ ibid III. 9]

X. God says to men: “Ye men! Know me properly by means of worship and conduct yourelves as befits those who know Me. Let a worshipper know this (truth) and say, ‘O Lord of infinite knowledge! May I always humble myself before Thee.”

XI. “Graciously watch over us O Lord! We adore Thee always. May we always be rich in food and the glories of empire. May the true renown born of the performance

  • of righteous, noble and excellent acts be ours. May we never be weak and dependent but be always strong and powerful and may our learning and knowledge be full and complete.”

XII. “Thou art, O Lord! All-pervading tranquil as (deep) water, the life of life, knowledge itself, the adorable, the greatest of all, tolerant. Knowing that Thou art such we offer worship to Thee.”

[The word ‘ambhah’ is derived from the root ‘Aptri’ by adding the suffix ‘asun’ to it.]

XIII. “Thou art, O Lord! Ambhah (all-pervading), tranquil as deep water, the life of life), self-refulgent, lovable, all-bliss, possessed of all the glories of the whole universe and giver of the power of toleration. We offer worship to Thee O Lord! May we never forsake Thee and never worship any one else.”

[The word ‘Ambhah’ which has been already explained is repeated here as a mark of veneration.]

XIV. “Thour art O Lord! Almighty, omnipresent, infinitely immense, penetrating all objects through and through and vast as space.

  • Knowing, that thou art such we offer worship to Thee.”

{‘Uru’ in the sense of ‘immense,’ and ‘many’ is well known. See Nighantu III.1.XV. “Thou art, O Lord! The architect (the spreader) of the universe and the noblest of all; Thou knowest the universe in all its multifariousness, thou seest all and enablest all to see and all men try to obtain a vision of Thee. We offer worship O omniscient Lord! To Thee who art of such a form.”

XVI. (This verse is capable of several interpretations. Tr.)

Ist. “The learned yogins, unite their soul with the omniscient Lord who knows all things or men and the universe fully, who inures none and is merciful, and bliss. They shine with the light of the highest bliss and becoming refulgent themselves dwell in Him Who is the light of all.”

[‘Arusham‘ comes from the root ‘rush’ to injure].

  • verse 5, calls, ‘prana‘ by the name of ‘aditya‘.

2nd. “All the worlds and all the objects are subject to the force of attraction of the sun, who is a ball of fire and moves himself and imparts motion to others. All are beautified and shine with his light in the bright sky.”

3rd. “The worshippers, who unite, with the self-refulgent Lord, their breath according to the methods of yoga for controlling it, shine in God with the light of the bliss of emancipation. The breath has access to all things, has its seat in the vital parts of the body and is the cause of the growth and development of all bodily organs.”

[The word ‘tashthushah‘ means ‘man’. Nighantu II.3, and ‘bradhna‘ means ‘great’. Nighantu III. 3. The Shatapatha takes the words ‘bradhnamarusham‘ in the sense of the ‘sun’. XIII. 2. The Prashnopanishat Question 1.

  • There is not one greater than God. Hence, ‘bradhna‘ has been taken to mean great in the first interpretation; it has been taken in the second as the name of the sun according to the Shatapatha and in the third interpretation it has been rendered as breadth according to the Prashnopanishat. ‘Bradhna‘ and ‘arusham‘ occur as the names of horse also in the Nighantu but that meaning is not applicable in this Mantra since it would be opposed to the sense assigned to it in the Shatapatha and to the root sense and also because one word would have many significations at one and the same place
  • Prof. Max Muller interprets ‘bradhna‘ as horse in his English translation of the Rigveda. It is grounded in error. Sanyanacaharya in his commentary on this verse takes this word to mean the sun and so is correct in one respect. But we do not know where Prof. Max Muller got his interpretations, in the sky or in the antipodes. It appears that it is a creation of his own imagination and consequently of no authority.

Now we shall write as to how we should perform worship. One should select a place clean, neat, pleasant and solitary and purging

  • the mind of al impurities, making oneself calm and composed, collecting and concentrating and senses and the mind and contemplating the Supreme Soul, who is all-existence, all-consciousness, all-bliss, the indwelling ruler of all and just, by focusing one’s soul thereon and duly offering praise and prayer unto Him, should again and again fix one’s soul in Him.

The great devotee Patanjali in his aphorisms on Yoga and Vyasa in his commentary thereon have laid down the following method of worship. ‘Yoga is the restrain mental activities. Yoga I.1.2. The mental activities should always be restrained from other subjects than God and from unrighteousness at the time of worship and at the time of worship and at the time of taking part in secular affairs.

The reply to the question: ‘Where do they rest when restrained’ is: “They rest in the form of the Seer (God). I.1.3. When the mind of the devotee is turned away from all mundane affairs it finds rest in the form of Omniscient God. As to whether the conduct of devotee when he, leaving the act of devotion, engages in the affairs of the world is similar to or is in any way different from

  • that of an ordinary man of the world it is said in I,.1.4. ‘Elsewhere (also) the activities remain identical.’ The activities of a devotee even when he mixes with the affairs of the world remain calm, firmly fixed in the righteousness, shinning with the light of knowledge and wisdom, attached to truth, extremely sharp and swift, extraordinary and different from those of an ordinary man. Never can the activities of a non-devotee and of a non-yogi be of this nature.

Q. -How many activities are there and how are they to be restrained?

A. ~ ‘The activities are five, painful and painless.’ ‘They are proof (true knowledge), perversion (false knowledge), imagination, sleep and memory.’ ‘The proofs are direct perception, inference and the Vedas.’ ‘Perversion is false knowledge, having a form which is not its own.’ ‘Imagination is that which follows verbal expression and has no objective reality corresponding to the word.’ ‘Sleep is that mental activity which has for its objective substratum the cause of non-existence.’ ‘Memory is the not-stealing of what has been

  • the subject of experience.’ They (activities) are restrained by practice and non-attachment.’ I.1. 5-12.

Q. – What is the most helpful means in devotion?

A. ~ ‘Or my means of the contemplation of God.’ I.1.23. ‘When special devotion is exhibited towards God He showers His grace on the devotee through mere contemplation. By the help of meditation the yogi acquires soon the state and the fruit of absorption (samadhi).’

  • But who this Ishvara (God> who is distinct from Purusha (Jiva) and Prakriti (primeval matter)? ‘Ishvara is a special purusha who is not touched by pain, action, the result of action and impression’ (Yoga I. 1. 24). ‘The pains such as nescience, good and bad actions, their fruits and the impressions reside in the mind and are referred to the purusha (Jiva), he being the enjoyer of their fruits, in the same way as victory and defeat are referred to the commander although they exist in the warriors.

That special purusha who is not touched by the enjoyment (of fruits) is Ishvara. There are many who have reached the state of emancipation by breaking asunder the three bonds. God never had, nor will ever have this relation [i.e., bondage and freedom there from]. No previous bondage can be inferred in the case of God as is done in that of a soul which has been emancipated. Similarly, subsequent bondage is possible only for a soul which is now bound by prakriti; but not for God. He was not in bondage in the past, nor will He be in bondage in the future. He is eternally free and eternally the Lord. Is the excellence of the transcendental

  • power of God manifested eternally caused or is it uncaused? Shastra [the Veda] is its cause and the cause of the Shastra is His transcendental power. The Shastra and the excellence are eternally related with each other because, both of them reside in the nature of God. He is, therefore, eternally free and eternally the Lord. His glory can neither be equaled nor surpassed. It cannot be surpassed by another glory. For, if it were the case, that other glory would be God.

God is, therefore, He in whom glory reaches its highest limit. Nor is there any glory which can equal His. If we think of two qualities, equal to each other in all respects, as coming into being at one and the same time we shall have to think of the one as new and of the other as old. Also, because the existence of the one will imply the destruction of the self-sufficient glory of the other. It cannot be proved that there is complete identity between two beings possessing equal qualities because, there shall be some difference or other between them. God is therefore, that special purusha whose glory is neither equaled nor surpassed. ‘In Him the seed of the

  • Omniscient is not surpassed.’ I.1.25. Thought knowledge of the past, the present and the future in its totality is beyond the grasp of the senses it can be spoken of in quantitative terms as being smaller or larger. It is the seed of omniscient for, we can go on augmenting it in thought and it must have its farthest limits. He is omniscient in whom knowledge reaches its farthest limits.

Now there is a limit of the seed of the omniscient, for, it is capable of being increased like a measure of weight etc., that special purusha is such an omniscient being. This is the most rudimentary idea of God which we can reach by the help of inference. It is impossible to acquire a complete knowledge of Him. One desiring to know His names, i.e., qualities should study the Vedas.

Although He does not desire His own benefit, He does desire the good of all creatures. He desires: I shall do good to the jives during creation, the disjunction of soul and body and the great dissolution by preaching to them wisdom and righteousness. It is said “the first among the learned, the great sage, the Lord, having decided upon the revelation of the Veda, mercifully

  • revealed it to the Jivas who were yearning to know it.

‘He is the teacher even of the ancients, because He is not circumscribed by time,’ I.1.26. Even the most ancient teachers were subject to the limit of time; but this limiting action of time cannot affect Him; hence, He is the teacher of the ancients.

As He was untrammeled in His action in the beginning of creation, even so will He remain when this creation shall have passed away. ‘Prana‘ (the sacred syllable Om) is His appellation.’ I.1.27. Pranava signifies God. But, is this relation of the signifier and the signified symbolic or is it fixed like the relation between the lamp and its light? It is fixed and constant.

The symbol only brings to light the constant relation of God with Pranava in the same way as the symbol, ‘this is his father, this is his son’ brings to light the fixed relation of father and son. In other creations also the relation between the signified and signifier is brought to light by means of words and a symbol is used in accordance with it. The philologists know that the relation between a word and its meaning is eternal because they

  • are always existent. The relation of the signified and the signifier the yogis believe it to be eternal. ‘to repeat it and to ponder over its meaning.’ I.1.28, i.e., the repetition of Pranava and meditation on God – whose name is Pranava.

When a yogi repeats Pranava and meditates on its sense his mind becomes concentrated. It ha been said also: One should practice yoga with the help of the repetition of Om and should repeat the Pranava in the state of Yoga. In virtue of the strength born of the repetition of Pranava and the practice ofyoga. one obtains the vision of the Supreme Self.

What does the yogi gain thereby? ‘Thence be acquires the power of turning his thoughts

  • on his soul and the obstacles disappear.’ I.1.29. The obstacles are diseases, etc. These are warded off by meditation on God and he obtains a vision of his own form. He realizes that God is pure and holy, calm and blissful, one, without a second, absolute, unborn and increate purusha and that knowledge of the soul can be acquired with the intellect only.

Now what are the obstacles which distract the mind (chitta). They are disease, lassitude, indecision (doubt), carelessness, laziness, sensuality, delusion, non-attainment of the substratum and unsteadiness.’ I.1.30. These are the nine obstacles which distract the mind. They come into existence with the activities of the mind and disappear when the latter cease to exist.

The activities of the mind have been mentioned above. Disease is the disturbance of the equilibrium of the substances, juices and organs (of the body); lassitude is that in which the mind desires to get rid of action; indecision (doubt) is that state in which knowledge touches both extremes, e.g., it may be so, it may not be so; carelessness is the not-caring for the means of Samadhi (absorption), laziness is aversion to act on account of the

  • heaviness of the body or the mind; sensuality is the hankering of the mind after the gratification of the senses; delusion is false knowledge; non-attainment of the substratum is the failure to reach the region of absorption and unsteadiness is the inability to fix the mind on the region of absorption.

The mind, becomes steady only when the state of absorption is reached. These are the nine distracting elements of the mind, the defilers and the enemies of yoga. ‘Pain’ despondency, quivering of limbs, in-breathing and out-breathing are the concomitants of these distractions’ I.1.31. Pain either arises within the body itself or is caused either by other beings or by the physical forces of the world. The living beings when smitten with it try to destroy it.

Despondency is that disturbance of the mind which results from the frustration of desire. Quivering of limbs is that which makes the limbs quiver. In-breathing is that in which external air is inhaled into the body. Out-breathing is that in which the air within the body is exhaled. These are the concomitants of distractions because they befall a man whose mind is distracted and not him whose mind is collected. These distractions are

  • the enemy of absorption. Hey can be checked by the said exercise and non-attachment. The author now gives a brief description of the subject of exercise as follows:- ‘for their prevention constant practice of one tatva (truth)’ I.1.32. In order to remove these distractions one should practice to concentrate the mind on one tatva.

The man whose mind wanders from object to object getting momentary perception only cannot be said to have a concentrated mind. His whole mind is distracted. When it is withdrawn from all other objects and is focused on one subject only then alone it becomes concentrated. There is, therefore, one mind for every object.

He who believes that the mind remains concentrated because there is a flow of similar perceptions (and the mind flows from one perception to another similar perception may be asked as to whether this concentration is the attribute of the flowing mind. If it is, then the mind cannot be said to be one because the flowing mind lasts for a moment only. If it be said that concentration is the attribute of the perceptions which are parts of the flow then the question will arise as to whether the flow is the flow of similar

  • perceptions or of dissimilar perceptions. If it be held that the mind is concentrated because for the time being it is focused on one object then there will be no distracted mind. Therefore, the mind is one, although it is applied to different objects. If it be said that perceptions are inherently different from each other and they are produced without any relation to the mind which is one then the things seen by one perception will be remembered by another perception and the fruits of actions gathered by one perception will be enjoyed by another.

Even if it be possible for such a mind to become concentrated the objection contained in the maxim of ‘cow-dung and milk rice’ will apply.* The position that there are different
The maxim of “the cow-dung and milk rice.” The story which has given rise to this maxim is that a person when rice cooked in mil was served to him asked as to how it was prepared and he was told that it was prepared by cooking rice in a produce of cow. Next time thinking that cow-dung also was a produce of cow began to cook rice with cow-dung. This maxim is applied when a man distrusts his own experience and acts in opposition to it.

  • minds involves the falsification of one’s own experience. In that case how will one be able to say: ‘I am touching that which I saw and I am seeing that which I touched.’ How will the perception of the I (I am) existing in minds altogether different from one another be referable to one perceiver. One’s won experience teaches one that the perception ‘i am’ denotes one single self.

Now the strength of direct perception cannot be overcome by any other proof; for, other proofs depend for their utility on the strength of direct perception. Therefore the mind is one although it is applied to many objects and this treatise (Yoga Shastra) sets forth the means of purifying that mind.

‘The peace of mind is secured by thoughts

  • of friendliness towards happiness, of compassion towards misery, of joy towards righteousness and of indifference towards sin. I.1. 33. Let one have thoughts of friendliness towards all beings endowed with happiness, of compassion towards those who are miserable, of joy towards those of sinful proclivities.

By entertaining such thoughts white (pure) characteristics (dharma) are engendered in one and then the mind becomes peaceful it acquires concentration or steadiness. ‘Optionally (it becomes concentrated) by forcible ejection and stoppage of breathing I.1.34.

Or, one may acquire steadiness of mind by forcible ejection, i.e., vomiting of the air within the body (stomach) through the two nostrils and then stopping it outside. Steadiness of mind should be acquired by throwing out the air from within the body with effort just as one throws out (vomits) the food which one has eaten and then by keeping it (the air) outside as long as one is able to do so. ‘On the destruction of impurity by means of the practice of the limbs (accessories) of

  • yoga, the light of wisdom up to discriminative knowledge (is acquired) I.2.28. By the practice of these limbs of yogic devotion impurity, i.e., ignorance goes on decreasing everyday and knowledge goes on increasing until the attainment of emancipation. ‘Restraint, observance, posture, regulation of breath, abstraction, concentration, meditation and absorption are the eight limbs I.2.29.

‘Non-injury, truthfulness, abstinence from stealing, continence and non-covetousness are the restraints (yamas). I.2.30. Non-injury means the complete absence of enmity towards all beings at all times. The other restraints (yamas) and observances (niyamas) have their ‘root’ in non-injury. They depend on its success and are practiced for the purpose of acquiring it.

They are observed simply for steadying and purifying it. It is said: ‘As a Brahmana (a yogi who desires to know Brahma) goes on desiring to adopt many vows he goes on turning away from the sins, committed through carelessness, which spring from the root of injury and goes on practicing the steady and pure kind of non-injury. Truthfulness is that in which there is complete

  • agreement between speech and mind. The speech and the mind should be in accord with what has been seen, inferred and heard. The use of speech is to convey to another one’s own knowledge. It is truthfulness if it is free from guile, does not cause misapprehension and is not meaningless and is employed for the good, but not for the injury, of all beings.

If the speech that is uttered is for injury of living beings it is not truthful but sinful. Such a speech is only seemingly virtuous and wears the outward form of virtue. It will surely lead to the direst misery. One should, therefore, speak that truth which is beneficial for all beings after one has tested it.

Theft is to take objects belonging to others by unlawful means. Non-stealing is abstinence from theft. Theft may even consist in mere desire (to obtain another’s property). Continence (Brahmacharya) is the control of the generative organs. Non-covetousness is to renounce the objects of pleasure with the consciousness that their collection, preservation and destruction involve injury

  • These are yamas.

The following aphorisms (dealing with the niyamas -observances) will be explained in the vernacular.

‘Cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study and contemplation of God are the observances (niyamas).’ I.232. Cleanliness is either external or internal. External cleanliness should be accomplished by means of water, etc. and internal by renouncing attachment, hatred, untruth, etc. One should acquire contentment, tranquility, by the practice of virtue (Dharma). Austerity is to always act in accordance with the dictates of duty (Dharma). Self-study is

  • the reading and the teaching of the rue Shastras, the Vedas and others, or to repeat the Pranava (Om) as a means of contemplation of God and surrender all things to the Great Teacher, the Supreme Lord. These five niyamas are the secondary limbs of worship. The fruit if non-injury is that ‘when one is established in (the habit of) non-injury enmity is given up in one’s presence.’ I.2.35.

The fruit if truthful conduct is that ‘when one is established in non-stealing all jewels approach one.’ I.2.37. As to what is obtained by the practice of the life of Brahmacharya it is said that ‘ when one is established in Brahmacharya one acquires power.’ I.2.38.

The fruit of non-covetousness is said to be that ‘when one is established in non-covetousness one know the cause (the how and the why) of one’s birth.’I.2.39. The fruit of the practice of cleanliness is that ‘by cleanliness one acquires a dislike for one’s own body and absence of contact with others.’ I.2.40. (By cleanliness are also

  • acquired) purity of intellect, calmness of mind, concentration, victory over the senses and fitness for knowledge of the self.’ I.2.41.’By contentment one obtains results destruction of impurity and then one obtains the highest happiness.’I.2.42. ‘By austerity results destruction of impurity and the one obtains the siddhis (accomplishments) of the body and the senses.’ I.2.43. ‘By self-study is obtained the communion with the beloved devas.’ I.2.44. ‘By contemplation of God the state of absorption is reached.’ I.2.45.
  • “Posture is that in which one is steady and at ease.’ I.2.46. The postures are Padmasana, Virasana, Bhardrasana, Svastika, Dandasana, Sopashraya, Paryanka, Hastinishadana, Ushtranishadana, Krounchanishadana, Samasansthana, sthirasukha, Yathasukha, etc. One may adopt the postures Padmasana, etc., or any other according to one’s choice. ‘By that (posture) there results absence of the blows of the pairs of opposites.I.2.48.

By controlling the posture one is not overpowered by the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, etc. ‘On being acquired the breath is regulated, i.e., the movements of the in-breathing and the out-breathing are checked I.2.49. In-breathing is the taking of the external air into the body. Out-breathing is the throwing out of the air from within the body.

Regulation of breath is the absence of the movements of both these. This follows the control of posture. When posture has been fully brought under control one is able to regulate the breath, i.e., to get the mastery over the air that goes into, and comes out of the body by skilful and gradual exercise, (in other words)

  • to bring about the cessation of the movements of air by making it motionless and still. ‘And that, (control of breath) being external, internal or totally restrained, is regulated by place, time and number and is long and short.’ I.2.50.

External Pranayama is that in which the cessation of movement follows in-breathing and he third, the totally restrained, is that in which both movements are checked. That is acquired by exercise. As a drop of water thrown on a heated stone shrinks from all sides simultaneously so in this (Pranayama) there is cessation of both movements at one and the same time.

They are men of childlike (immature) intellect who practice regulation of breath by stopping their nostrils with the finger and the thumb. This should be avoided by the wise. At the time of performing Pranayama one should keep one’s internal and external parts of the body unagitated and relaxed. When all the limbs are as they ought to be one should perform the first or the external Pranayama by keeping

  • the air that has been breathed out outside the body as long as one can; the second or the internal Pranayama by retaining in the body the air that has been taken in as long as one can and the third or the ‘totally restrained’ by restraining both movements simultaneously with the help of the performance of the two – the internal and the external.

‘The fourth follows when the domains of the external and the internal have been crossed over. I.2.51. – That Pranayama which crosses both (the internal and the external) is called the fourth. It is as follows. When the air within the stomach tries to go out into the outer space at the first moment one should fix one’s attention on it and should eject the breath into the outer space and stop it there.

Similarly, when the air from the outer space tries toe enter the body at the first moment one should receive it into the body as gradually as one can and should stop it there. This is the second Pranayama. When the movements of both are stopped gradually and by constant practice we have the fourthPranayama.The third Pranayama, however, does not depend upon the

  • practice of the internal and the external Pranayama. In it the breath is stopped in whatever region it happens to be at the moment. In it one should act like a person who is startled at the sight of a wonderful object.

‘Thence is destroyed the veil over light’ I.1.52. In this way by the practice of Pranayama is destroyed the veil of ignorance over true discrimination concealing the light of the indwelling ruler God. ‘And the ability of the mind in concentration’ I.2.53. The mind of the worshipper acquires complete ability to fix itself in the contemplation of God by the performance of Pranayama.

What is abstraction? ‘Abstraction is that in which the senses become detached from their objects and follow the nature of the thinking principle, as it were.’ I.2.54. When the thinking principle is brought under control it does not wander form the contemplation and protection of God to other objects. This is the restraint of the senses. It is to be understood that as the thinking principle becomes fixed in the essence of God so the senses also

  • are brought under restraint, i.e., the senses and all other objects are brought under control when the thinking principle is controlled.

‘Thence the complete control over the senses’ I. 2. 55. After this the senses are completely brought under control, i.e., they are restrained from their objects so that whenever the devotee proceeds to worship God he is able to restrain his thinking principle and his senses.

‘Concentration of the thinking principle is the fixing of it on a particular point.’ I.3.1. Concentration is the fixing of the activity of the thinking principle on the navel plexus, the lotus of the heart, the aperture in the crown of the head, the tip of the nose, the tip of the tongue, etc. or on some external object.

  • “Meditation is the uniformity of knowledge in concentration I.3.2. Meditation is that in which there is a similar (uniform) flow of the ‘knowledge of that which has been adopted as the support of the object of meditation in that locality (desha) and which is not touched by dissimilar knowledge. ‘The same (meditation) when shining with the light of the object alone and devoid, as it were, of its own form is absorption (Samadhi).’ I.3.3.

The distinction between meditation and absorption is this that in meditation activity of the mind is present in the shape of the mediator, the act of meditation and the object of meditation but in absorption the mind becomes devoid, as it were, of is own form and becomes absorbed in the Divine essence and its beatitude. ‘The three (concentration), meditation and absorption) together are called SamyanaI.3.4. The

  • three, concentration, meditation and absorption brought together are called Samyama. These three are the means towards the same end are jointly called Samyama, which is the technical term of all the three. It is the ninth limb of worship.

Upanishad texts on Worship

A man cannot attain to Him by knowledge if he has not detached himself from evil deeds, is not calm and his mind is not collected and tranquil.’ Kathavalli II.24. ‘Those who possess faith and practice austerities in forests, living on alms and are calm and learned and free from impurities go, through the gate of the sun (Pranayama), there where dwells the immortal Purusha whose nature is immutable.’ Mund, II. 1-2-11. ‘There in this city of Brahman is a cavity in which is a lotus-like space. In it ther is subtle ether. Now that is to be sought for and known which exists in that subtle ether. If it be asked: ‘Well, there is the city of Brahman (the human body) and in it there is a cavity in which there is a lotus like space and in it there is subtle ether, but what is

  • there in that subtle ether which is to be sought for the known.’ To this one may reply: ‘The ether within the heart is as large as this ether. In it are placed both the heavens and the earth, both fire and air, both the sun and the moon, lightning and the constellations and whatever else there is here (in this world) besides these, and also whatever is not here.’

And if asked: ‘If in the city of Brahman are placed the whole world and all creatures and all desirable objects what subsists there when this body becomes old and dies.’ This one may reply: ‘That (Brahman within the body) does not become old when the body becomes old, that does not die when the body dies.

It is everlasting city of Brahman. In it are contained the desirable objects. It is the self free from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger and thirst, of true desires and of true resolves. As here, in this world, people act as they are commanded and depend on the objects to which they are attached, be it a country or a piece of field, (so the devotees attain what they desire). Chhandogya VIII. 1-2-3-4-5. The purport of the above texts

  • shall be explained in the vernacular.
  • Worship of God is of two kinds, viz., Saguna (with qualities) and Nirguna (without qualities). In the verse Saparyagachchhukramakayam (Yajur Veda XI. 8. the words Shukra (Almighty) Shuddham (pure) denote worship of God as possessor of qualities and the words Akayam (without body) Avranam(without muscles, arteries, etc.) etc., denote worship of God, as devoid of qualities.

Similarly in the verse: ‘God is one, He is hidden in all creatures, is all-pervading and is the inmost self of all creatures. He is the ruler of all, the support and abode of all. He is the witness (of all). He is the Absolute and devoid of qualities.’ The words ‘God is one, etc., denote worship with qualities and the words ‘devoid of qualities.’ Denote worship without qualities.

God possesses qualities because He has the attributes of omniscience, etc. He is devoid of qualities because He is free from pain such as ignorance, etc., from quantity, such as measurements, numbers, two, etc., and from such qualities as sound, touch, color, taste and smell. When God is thought of as all-pervading, the ruler of all, the master of all, consciousness itself we worship Him as the possessor of qualities.

  • When we say God is unborn, without holes, without form, and without body, and He does not possess the attributes of color, taste, smell, touch, number, measure we worship Him as devoid of qualities. The opinion that when God assumes a body He becomes the possessor of qualities and that when He leaves the body He becomes devoid of qualities is a false assumption of the ignorant. It is opposed to the scriptures of the Vedas, etc., to the proofs and to the experience of the learned. Good men should, therefore, always reject it as a futile assumption.

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