Patanjali Yoga Sutra — पुरुषार्थशून्यानां गुणानां प्रतिप्रसवः कैवल्यं स्वरूपप्रतिष्ठा वा चित्तिशक्तिरिति ॥4.34॥
Puruṣārthaśūnyānāṁ guṇānāṁ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpapratiṣṭhā vā citiśaktiriti॥
Once the ‘ātman’ has accomplished the purpose through guṇas, He is said to have satisfied all the endeavours of life namely dharma, artha, kāma, and he attains kaivalya (mokṣa, liberation) i.e., getting established in pure Consciousness. Now Guṇas have nothing to do for the ‘ātman’ and hence dissolve into prakṛti as they are just the evolutes of prakṛti.
Patañjali uses the word ‘puruṣārthas’ which needs some explanation before we understand this final aphorism. Though here in this sūtra, ‘puruṣārthas’ means, the very purpose for which one is made or born, some explanation can be given as under from a generic viewpoint. The ‘puruṣārthas’ are four righteous endeavors of life according to scriptures and hence, they are also called Caturvidha puruṣārthas:
- dharma: It is nothing but one’s societal/natural obligations. But it is one of the most difficult terms to understand and most misinterpreted also. dharma, on being wrongly understood, allowed the game of dice in mahābhārata between pāṇḍavas and kauravās; Dharma on being interpreted incorrectly, Bhīṣma and Droṇa forgot their true duties during disrobing of Droupadi; Dharma on being interpreted incorrectly, led to pledging and disrobing of Droupadi in Kurusabha, which culminated in Kurukṣetra war and Kuru dynasty was completed destroyed.
- artha: Wealth earned in a righteous way (obligatory) as a means to lead a life, instead of being a parasite on his own family or society. Further, a man should have sufficient means and be able to return something to society to become ṛṇamukta (one who is free from all kinds of liabilities).
- kāma: Gratification of pleasure in virtuous ways and in accordance with the accepted standards imposed by family legacy/society/nation at large.
- Mokṣa: Liberation from the mundane affairs and realizing one’s own real nature — i.e., identity or oneness with the Supreme Soul.
We have understood that Guṇas are the evolutes of prakṛti and exist for the sake of Puruṣa to enable Him to enjoy or to understand His true nature and that of prakṛti. That means, being in prakṛti, by using prakṛti, Puruṣa liberates Himself from all kinds of bondages of prakṛti. Once such an aim is realized, Guṇas have achieved their objectives and hence get absorbed into prakṛti (prakṛtilayānām or pratiprasava) like actors on the stage, after finishing the play, resign from their roles. Puruṣa, who was also duty-bound earlier (Caturvidha puruṣārthas), is free and liberated now. This complete freedom from all kinds of bondage is Kaivalya.
Bhagavān uses the word ‘Mokṣa’ for such an ultimate liberation:
जरामरणमोक्षाय मामाश्रित्य यतन्ति ये।
ते ब्रह्म तद्विदुः कृत्स्नमध्यात्मं कर्म चाखिलम्॥गीता ७. २९॥
jarāmaraṇamokṣāya māmāśritya yatanti ye।
te brahma tadviduḥ kr̥tsnamadhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam ॥Gītā 7.29॥
Yogasādhakas taking refuge in Me and aspiring to be free from the clutches of old age and death would attain Brahman and fully understand the secrets of spiritualism and karmasiddhānta.
समसक्तं यथा चित्तं जन्तोर्विषयगोचरम्। यद्येवं ब्रह्मणिस्यात्तत्को समुच्येत बन्धनात्॥मैत्रेयोपनिषद् १.११॥
In whichever way the human mind is getting entangled with worldly pleasures, liberation is possible if entangled with Parabrahman. Surely emancipation is achieved.
Bhagāvan is ever effulgent, eternal and ready to reveal to us. But we should be ready to receive Him. We should have the capacity and eligibility to get Him. Once we get such eligibility, no power in this universe can stop us from getting Him, when He is the ultimate power.
वेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु चैव दानेषु यत्पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टम्।
अत्येति तत्सर्वमिदं विदित्वा योगी परं स्थानमुपैति चाद्यम्॥८.२८॥
vedeṣu yajñeṣu tapaḥsu caiva dāneṣu yatpuṇyaphalaṁ pradiṣṭam.
atyeti tatsarvamidaṁ viditvā yogī paraṁ sthānamupaiti cādyam ॥Gītā 8.28॥
Having understood all these mysteries, yogi transcends all the commendable, praiseworthy recompense that would have accrued to him through Vedādhyayana, Tapas and charities and reaches the unparallel summit and attains to Me.
The phrase ‘Attains to Me’ is a misnomer here. The Supreme Brahman is all-pervasive, all-pervading, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscience, the inner Self of all — both animate and inanimate. The word ‘Attainment’ is appropriate only if the ‘attainer’ and the ‘attained’ are different. That means, ‘Attainer (being different from attained) attains the attained’. The realization of Supreme Paramātma (Brahman) is nothing but elimination of the very ignorance that ‘I am different from Brahman’. The very eradication of such ignorance helps the Sādhaka to realize that he is nothing less than ‘BRAHMAN’. Thus, Cāndogya upaniṣad (8.3.4) rightly says, ‘………having reached the highest light, Jīva realizes His own true form’. As Brahman is all-pervading, Jīva is also all-pervading and therefore identical with Brahman.
There are four kinds of Pralaya:
1. Naimittika Pralaya:
Duration of Kaliyuga: 4,32,000 Solar years
Duration of Dvāparayuga: 8,64,000 Solar years (i.e., 4,32,000 x 2)
Duration of Tretāyuga: 12,96,000 Solar years (i.e., 4,32,000 x 3)
Duration of Kr̥tayuga: 17,28,000 Solar years (i.e., 4,32,000 x 4)
Duration of 1 Mahāyuga: 43,20,000 Solar years (i.e., 4,32,000 x 10)
Time equivalent to one thousand mahāyugas is one day of Brahma (i.e., 43,20,000 x 1000 solar years). This day of Brahma is also called Kalpa. In one Kalpa fourteen Manus would be there, one after the other. At the end of Kalpa, there will be Pralaya for an equal length of time. This Pralaya is the night of Brahma and is called Naimittika Pralaya. During this Pralaya all the Trilokas would be wrapped up and absorbed in Pralaya and the entire creation would be merged into Brahma.
2. Prākṛtika Pralaya: One day of Brahma is equal to one Kalpa (one thousand mahāyugas) and one Naimittika Pralaya (Night of Braham, that is also equal to one thousand mahāyugas). Thus, one year of Brahma = 365 Kalpas and 365 Naimittika Prlayas. At the end of one hundred years of Brahma (4,32,000 x 10 x 1000 x 2 x 365 x 100 solar years), the seven Prakṛtis namely, Mahatattva, Ahaṅkāra and Pañca Tanmātras merge into their mūla prakṛti. This is called Prākṛtika Pralaya.
3. ātyantika Pralaya: When jīvātma slashes the delusive bondage of Ahaṅkāra with the sword of wisdom, He gets firmly established into ātman and that ‘Delusion-free natural state’ (Brahmajñāna) is ātyantika Pralaya (thus, in a sense, terms mokṣa and pralaya are interchangeable). Ahaṅkāra is of three kinds according to Mahopaniṣad (5.16)
I. Aham Brahmāsmi — I am Brahman. There is nothing except me in this universe. This kind of ahaṅkāra is supreme and can get mokṣa (nirvāṇa, kaivalya) to the jīvātma.
II. I am different from the universe and the Brahman. I am subtler than the keśāgra (tip of a hair). This kind of jñānasaṅkalpa is the second kind. This is also propitious and auspicious and can get us mokṣa.
III. I am this body, senses, organs of actions. I am the assembly of pañcaprāṇas, pañcabhūtas, pañcakarmendriyas, pañcajñānendriyas, pañcakośas, antaḥkaraṇas. This kind of ahaṅkāra is binding and degrading.
4. Nitya Pralaya: Apart from these, right from Brahma to lowly grass, in its nityarūpa everything keeps changing, every moment. Nothing is enduring except change. Every moment, they keep forming and disappearing. This can be called Nitya Pralaya. According to some scholars, the deep sleep (suṣupti) experienced by Jīva is nityapralaya, where all experiences get merged into blankness.
Look at 1,2, and 4 above; there is only a temporary cessation. Once the creation starts after pralaya, there is continuity of jīva’s cycle of birth and death as the saṁskāras still exist. But in the case of 3 above (jñānayoga), there is the complete annihilation of saṁskāras and the pralaya is synonymous with mukti or mokṣa or kaivalya or nirvāṇa. That is the power of jñānayoga!
A realized Soul has no return on attaining Brahman (Br.Sūtras 4.4.21). They reach immortality on attaining Brahman (Cāndogya 8.6.6). Jīvātma in such a state of complete freedom exists only as an inseparable entity from Brahman (Brahmasūtras 4.4.4). The liberated soul exists as Pure Intelligence, that is, in fact, Its real nature (Brahmasūtras 4.4.6). Thus the liberated Soul is said to be the Lord of himself and can experience and enjoy complete freedom in all worlds (Cāndogya 8.1.6). There is no more return to this loka (bṛhadāraṇyaka 6.2.15) for a realized Soul.
All the yoga texts say ‘Yoga means unity of Individual Soul with Universal Soul’. That is śruti or āgama jñāna. When Individual Soul and Universal Soul are never separate at any point in time, where is the question of ‘unity’ once again? That is ātma jñāna (Read sūtra 1.49). Thus, it needs a small modification — ‘Yoga is realization of inseparability of the Individual Soul and the Supreme Soul’. Being in water how can a fish go in search of water? There is ātman within me and I am in ātman and I remain always inseparable from ātman; I am ātman (Ahaṁ Brahmāsmi). The moment the Sun rises, darkness disappears; because the sun can see anything but not the darkness! So does a yogi; he cannot see anything other than Brahman in this universe.
A man leaves the mortal body and goes to Bhagavān. Bhagavān wanted to test his knowledge:
Bhagavān: Who are you?
Man: I am Rāma.
Bhagavān: I did not ask you what your name is. I want to know who you are.
Man: I am son of Kr̥ṣṇa.
Bhagavān: I did not ask you who your father is. I want to know who you are.
Man: I am a Doctorate.
Bhagavān: I did not ask you what your profession is. I want to know who you are.
Man: I am a PhD(Yoga).
Bhagavān: I did not ask you what your qualification is. I want to know who you are.
Man: I am father of Madhava.
Bhagavān: I did not ask you who your son is. I want to know who you are.
This inquiry went on by a series of questions, but none of the answers could satisfy God. Finally, the man says, ‘Bhagavān, I don’t have any individual identity at all. I am a part of you’. Bhagavān is now satisfied and takes him to His fold.