Markandeya Puranam

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Dattatreya said: – The separation of a Yogin from ignorance by knowledge is emancipation, and disunion with the essential ingredients of Prakriti (nature) is union with Brahman. (1) Emancipation springs from Yoga and Yoga from consummate knowledge; O king, knowledge springs from pain which belongs to those whose minds are attached to the consciousness of self. (2) Therefore a man, who is desirous of securing emancipation, should cast off attachment; from the absence of attachment proceeds the destruction of the consciousness of self. (3) The absence of attachment leads to happiness; from the distaste for the world, the defects, thereof, are perceived; as distaste for the world originates from knowledge, so knowledge also springs from the distaste for the world. (4) That is a house wherein a man lives; that is food by which one sustains himself; that is called knowledge which leads to emancipation – any thing else is called ignorance. (5) By reaping the fruits of virtue and vice, by performing the daily obligatory rites without any desire, by the dissipation of the acts formerly performed and by not doing new acts, a body is not repeatedly fettered. (6-7) Know

1 The subtle elements that make up the subtle body. 2 The intellectual faculties. 3 According to Sankhya teachers Prakriti is called Pradhana or principle of greatness. 4 The word in the text is Kshetrajna – lit. that which known the body. This is the soul in the Sankhya system. 5 Gunas cannot be properly rendered by quality, or attribute. According to the Sankhya system they enter into the composition of a material object. They are equally as essential ingredients in the formation of material objects as the trees for that of a forest. In Sankhya philosophy this Purusha or the soul is quite different from the body. There are again two bodies. One is called Sthula or gross which is made of elements and the other Linga or subtle which is made of Tanmatras or the subtle immaterial forms. 6 As this chapter and the succeeding three or four chapters give a description of the Yoga, we think it better to give a brief outline of this system of Hindu philosophy to enable our readers to understand it fully. The Yoga system of philosophy was propounded by Patanjali; its object is to teach the means by which the human soul may attain complete union with the supreme soul, may be freed from the fetters of Nature and escape re-birth. Yoga literally means concentration of mind upon the Divine soul. This concentration can be effected by preventing the modifications of Chitta or thinking principle; by the constant habit of keeping the mind in unmodified state and by the practice of Vairagya or the complete suppression of passions or the distate for the world. This Vairagya can be acquired by the contemplation of the Supreme Being, who is unaffected by works, applications &c. The knowledge of the Supreme Being may be obtained by repeating the monosyllable Om accompanied by mental concentration. This Om is composed of three letters a. u. m. significant of the Supreme Being as developing himself in the Triad of god, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The eight means of mental concentration are:

1. Yama, forbearance or self-restraint; 2. Niyama, religions observances; 3. Asana, postures; 4. Pranayama, suppression of the breath; 5. Pratyahara, restraint of senses; 6. Dharana, steadying of mind; 7. Dhyana, contemplation; 8. Samadhi, a state of religious trance, the outcome of profound meditation.

this, O king, as Yoga, which I have described to you. By acquiring this Yoga a man does not seek refuge with any one else except the eternal Brahman. (8) The Yogins should first conquer their selves (by the knowledge of) soul for it is difficult of being conquered by them. You should endeavour to conquer this (self). Hear, I shall describe the means. (9) By Pranayama he should consume the short-comings, by Dharana the sins, by Pratyahara the objects of sense, and by Dhyana the Gunas of the mind which is not controlled. (10) As all the impurities of mountain metals are removed by burning, so by the suppression of vital breaths, the impurities of senses are consumed. (11) One versed in yoga should first undertake the suppression of vital breaths. The suppression of two vital breaths Prana and Apana is called Pranayama. (12) Pranayama is of three kinds, namely Laghu, Maddhya, and Uttarya. Hear, O Alarka, I shall explain to you the measure of all these. (13) Laghu, has twelve Matras, Madhyama has twice the number and Uttama has been described to have thrice the number.

(14) The time occupied in opening and shutting the eyelids is the measure of a Matra. For giving the measure of Pranayama, the division called Laghu has been described to consist of twelve Matras. (15) By the first, perspiration should be conquered – by the second, trembling and by the third, the (various) defects such as cheerlessness etc. should be duly conquered.

(16) As the lion, the tiger and the elephant are quieted down by training, so the Prana of yogis is brought down to subjection (by these processes). (17) As an elephant trainer brings an infuriated elephant to subjection according to his will (by training it), so the Yogin brings to his subjection the Prana. (18) As when a lion is trained, it kills only the deer and not men, so when the vital breaths are properly suppressed they destroy the impurities and not the body. Therefore a Yogin should always assiduously practise Pranayama. (19) Hear now, of the fourfold stages of Pranayama which are the fruits of liberation; O king, they are Dhvasti, Prapti, Samvit and Prasada; do you listen in order to their characteristics as I describe them. (20-21) The state, in which the fruits of acts, good and bad, are destroyed and along with it the impurities of mind are destroyed is called Dhvasti. (22) That state extending over all time, in which a Yogin, controls all desires, both of this world and the next, begotten by covetousness and stupefaction, is called Prapti. (23) That state of Pranayama, in which the Yogin, by virtue of his consummate knowledge, acquiring the same power with the sun, moon, stars and planets, comes to know of the past and future and things not visible and greatly distant, is called Samvit. (24-25) That state of a Yogin, in which the mental faculties, the five vital breaths, the organs of sense and the objects of sense are purified is called Prasada. (20) Hear now, O king, I shall describe the characteristics of Pranayama and the postures that are laid down for those who also carry on Yoga practices. (27) Placing himself in various postures (such as) Padmasana, Ardhasana and Swastikasana and reciting in his mind the mystic syllable ‘Om’ one should engage in Yoga. (28) Seated straight in an even posture contracting his two legs, with the mouth closed and the thighs firmly placed in the front, he should, controlling his mind, so sit that his heels may not touch the organ of generation and testes. He should so raise up his head that one row of teeth may not touch the other. (29-30) Fixing his look on the tip of his nose and not diverting it in any other direction, and then obstructing darkness by passion and passion by goodness, and being stationed only in the pure principle of goodness, the Yogin should practice Yoga. Simultaneously withdrawing the senses from their objects, controlling the mental faculties and vital breaths, one should engage in practising Pratyahara. Like a tortoise withdrawing its limbs he, who, restraining his desires, lives with his mind centered in the soul, sees the Divine soul in the human soul. The same wise man, should, after first purifying his external and internal limbs, from the throat to the navel downwards, and filling the body with breath, begin practising pratyahara. These twelve forms of Pranayama are called Dharana. (31-35) And the two Dharanas are called Yoga by the Yogins acquainted with Tattwas or principles. When a Yogin, ever restraining his self, is engaged in Yoga, all his impurities are destroyed and he attains to a peaceful state; and he sees the great Brahman different from the essential ingredients of Nature; (36-37) as also the atoms, ether etc., and the pure soul. Thus with restricted diet a Yogin should engage in Pranayama. (38) He should slowly restrain himself like one ascending a house. Thus when a man cannot conquer the soil (i.e., restrain the bodily faculties) all the passions, diseases and

ignorance always multiply. One should not set his foot on a soil which is not conquered1. (39) In consequence of restraining the vital breaths it is called Pranayama. (40) It is also called Dharana for by it the mind is held or restrained. It is also called Pratyahara, for by Yoga, persons who have restrained their self, withdraw the senses from their objects such as sound etc. (41) The expedients have also been pointed out by the great Yogins – the great Rishis, by which, obstacles, such as diseases and others, may not come in their way. (42) As a thirsty man drinks slowly water through a vessel or a tube so the Yogin, without any exertion, should inhale air. Dharana or concentration should be first made on the navel, then on the heart, then on the chest, then on the throat, the mouth, the tip of the nose, the eye, the space between the eye-bows, the head and the last of all on the supreme spirit. This concentration is called the best. These are the ten forms of Dharana or concentration acquiring which one attains to unification with the Eternal Soul. (43-45) If a Yogin, O king, wants to accomplish his purpose he should never engage in practising Yoga when he is hungry, fatigued or unsettled in mind. (46) Nor should he, in extreme cold or hot seasons or in other extremes or at a time when the high winds blow, engage in Yoga or meditation. (47) In places filled with noise near fire or water, dilapidated cow-sheds, in the crossings of the four roads, on withered leaves, in a river, in cremation grounds filled with reptiles, in dangerous places, on the bank of a well, on tombstones, on ant-hills – in all these places should a wise man renounce the practice of Yoga. (48-49) So long as the quality, of goodness is not properly developed, (bad) times and places should be avoided. The sight of an impious man does not lead to Yoga and so he should be avoided. (50) Those, that through foolishness practise Yoga disregarding the distinctions of time and place, are assailed by shortcomings that impede their Yoga; hear, I shall describe there. (51) Such an ignorant man is afflicted by deafness, decrepitude, dumbness, the loss of memory and blindness and fever. (52) If the Yogins, through their carelessness, are visited by these evils, hear, I shall describe the remedial ‘measures’ they should adopt for counteracting (their actions). (53) For the cure of Gulmas, caused by (some disorder in the wind) one should eat highly heated Yavagu when cooled down and apply it to the afflicted part, to the navel and the stomach. (54) Yavagu and air counteract all the ills caused by the disorder of the wind. In a similar treatment he should conceive in his mind a huge and motionless mountain. (55) On the organ of speech being afflicted by deafness he should think of the organ of hearing, as one, stricken with thirst, thinks that a mangoe fruit is on the organ of taste. (56) Then whatever part of the body is diseased the remedy should be applied there – heat for cold and cold for heat. (57) Placing a wooden peg on the head strike it with another piece of wood – and the Yogin will immediately regain his lost memory. (58) Let him also conceive that the immense space between the earth and heavens is filled with tempest and fire. These are the remedial measures laid down for superhuman impediments.

(59) If any superhuman creature enters into the Yogin’s mind he should consume, it living in his body, by the conception of fire and hurricane. (60) Thus O king, by all means should a Yogin protect his body since it is the root of the accomplishment of virtue, worldly profit, desire and emancipation. (61) From the description of the characteristics of propensities and wonderment arises the loss to the Yogin of his knowledge; therefore these should be kept secret. (62) The absence of the agitation of the mind, the freedom from diseases and cruelty, fragrant odour, passing occasionally urine and excreta, grace, delight of mind and melody of voice – these are the primary characteristics of the tendency for Yoga. (63) The most prominent characteristic of this accomplished state is that people always with love sing his praises in his absence and no creatures fear him. (64) He only has attained to perfection who meets with no impediments from extremes of cold and heat and does not fear any thing. (65)