Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Publisher's Note

Something About Late Shri V.R. Gandhi
I - The Sankhya Philosophy
  II - The Yoga Philosophy
  III - The Naya Philosophy
  IV - Mimamsa
  V - The Vedanta Philosophy
  VI - Buddhism
  VII - Jainism
  Sanskrit Terms

II - The Yoga Philosophy






1.   Much has been written and said on the mystic philosophy of ancient nations of the Egyptians, Greeks and Hindus. But I doubt whether it has been rightly understood. The advocates of modern science, some of them base the science of ethics on expediency, others on utility, while there are many to whom moral code is a commandment from a superior to an inferior. Thou shalt commit no murder. Why? The theologian would say‑Because that is the commandment of God. The materialists will say‑ because that is the command of the ruling authority of the state. But why should God and the sovereign issue commands? There is no rational reply. A system of ethics not based on the rational demonstration of the universe is of no practical value. It is only a system of the ethics of individual opinions and individual convenience. It has no solidity and therefore no strength. The aim of human existence is happiness, progress; and all ethics teach how to attain one and achieve the other. The question however remains‑What is happiness and what is progress? Those are issues not yet solved in any satisfactory manner in the West by the known systems of ethics. The reason is not far to seek. The modern tendency is to separate ethics from physics or rational demonstration of the universe and thus make it a science resting on nothing but the irregular whims and caprices of individuals and nations.


In India ethics has ever been associated with religion. Religion has ever been an attempt to solve the mystery of nature. Every religion has its philosophical as well as ethical aspect and the latter without the former has in India at least no meaning. If every religion has its physical and ethical side, it has its psychological side as well. There is no possibility of establishing a relation between physics and ethics but through psychology. Psychology enlarges the conclusions of physics and confirms the idea of morality.


The Yoga philosophy then is based on the idea that if man wants at all to understand his place in nature and to be happy and progressing he must aim at that physical, psychological and moral development which can enable him to pry into the depths of nature. He must observe, think and act, he must live, love and progress. His development must be simultaneous on all the three planes. The law of correspondence, according to this philosophy, rules supreme in nature and the physical corresponds as much to the mental as both in their turn correspond to the moral. Unless man arrives at this stage of corresponding and simultaneous development on the three planes he is not able to understand the meaning of his existence or existence in general, nor even to grasp the idea of happiness or progress. To that man of high aim whose body, mind and soul act in correspondence the higher, nay, even all, secrets of nature become revealed. He feels within himself as everywhere that Universal Life wherein there is no distinction, no sense of separateness, but therefore all bliss, unity and peace.


Lest I may be misunderstood as subscribing to the doctrine of Yoga philosophy except Jainism, I should tell you beforehand that what I am saying here is merely the doctrine of the Yoga Philosophy. In my theory in the highest spiritual plane, physical form is not a necessity for the realization of the highest truth. Form is only required in the infant state of development.


The peace of Universal Life then is according to the Yoga philosophy the peace of spiritual bliss Moksh. The course of nature never ceases, action always compels even the peaceful to act; but the individual being already lost in the All there is nothing unpleasant to disturb. The peace of spiritual development is indescribable and so are its powers indescribably vast. As you go on forgetting yourself, just in the same proportion do spiritual peace and spiritual powers flow towards you. When one consciously suppresses individuality by proper physical, mental moral and spiritual development he becomes part and parcel of the immutable course of nature and never suffers. This fourfold development and spiritual peace have been considered the end of philosophy. In India there have been six such schools of thought. Each starts with a more or less rational demonstration of the universe and ends with a sublime code of ethics. There are first the atomic Vaisheshika and the dialectic Naya schools seeking mental peace in devotion to the ruler of the universe. Then there are the materialist Sankhya and the practical Yoga schools teaching mental peace by proper analysis and practical training. Lastly there are the orthodox Mimamsa and the Unitarian Advaita schools, placing spiritual bliss in strict observance of Vedic injunction and in realizing the unity of the Cosmos. It will thus be seen that Yoga is a complement of the Sankhya.     


2.   I told you last time when we met that the Sankhya philosophy starts with the proposition that the world is full of miseries of three kinds physical, supernatural and corporeal and that these are the results of the properties of matter and not of its correlate intelligence of consciousness, that out of the primordial essence Prakriti comes out the whole universe, by reason of the predominance of one or other of the three qualities of Sativa, Rajas and Tams passivity, activity, all grossness, darkness, ignorance of Tams, all pleasure, passivity, knowledge, peace of Sativa. The mind is a result of Rajas _ and it is Sativa alone which by its light illumines it and enables it at times to catch glimpses of the blissful Purush ever near to the Sativa 2. As mind or the thinking principal plays an important part in the Sankhya and more so in the Yoga philosophy, for its chief article is 'Stop the transformation of the thinking principal and you will realize the Self', we will come to a consideration of the mind.


3.   With the philosophers of the West, mind and soul are synonyms. The popular definition is‑ mind is the intellectual power in man. In the East there is a difference of opinion on this subject among the several philosophers. The followers of the Naya philosophy hold that all bodies having a form are impermanent but the mind being formless is permanent; it has special attributes and is likewise subtle; hence it is unable to grasp two objects at the same time. The Sankhya philosophy however of which Yoga is the complement considers the mind to be a derivative product. Till the Purush‑soul‑is emancipated from Prakriti the mind continues in a state of integrity. Its span of duration is limited to a Mahapralaya ‑ the great Deluges when it disintegrates to be taken up by Prakriti. The seat of the mind has been the subject of an able discussion amongst the ancient philosophers. The followers of the Puranas and the Tantrums fix it in the forehead near the junction of the two eye‑ brows. The anatomical description would incline us to look upon the optic thalamus as the center of the mind. The Vedanta's hold the mind to be situated in the heart, for they say when an individual thinks of a subject he keeps it next to his heart as in the act of worshipping. There are some philosophers who identify the mind with the soul but Kapila refutes their views. He says: If mind and soul were one and the same, one would say 'I am the mind' instead of 'my mind, my hands'. According to him all experience consists of mental representation, the Satva being clouded, obscured or entirely covered over by the nature or property of representation.  This is the root of evil. The act of the mind cognizing objects or, technically, taking the shape of objects presented to it is called Verity or transformation. It is the Verity which being colored by the presentation imparts the same color by representation to Satva and causes evil, misery, ignorance and the like.  All objects are made of three Gun. or qualities and when the Verity or the transformation of the thinking principal sees everywhere nothing but the Sativa to the  exclusion of the other two, presentation and representation become purely Satvik passive and the internal Sativa of the cognize realizes itself everywhere and in everything. In the clear mirror of the Sativa is reflected the bright and blissful image of the ever present Purush who is beyond change, and supreme bliss follows. This state is called Sativapati or Moksa or Kevalya4. For every Purush who has thus realized itself Prakriti has ceased to exist, in other words, has ceased to cause disturbance and misery. The course of nature never ceases but one who receives knowledge remains happy throughout by understanding the truth. The Sankhya tries to arrive at this result by a strict mode of life accompanied with analysis and contemplation.


This state of peace besides being conducive to eternal calm and happiness is most favorable to the apprehension of the truths of nature. That intuitive knowledge, which is called Tarka, puts the students in possession of almost every kind of knowledge he applies himself to. It is indeed this fact on which the so‑called powers of Yoga are based.


4.   The Yoga philosophy subscribes to this Sankhya theory in toto. It however appears to hold that Purush‑ Soul‑by himself cannot easily acquire that Satvik development which leads to knowledge and bliss. A particular kind of Eashwar or Supreme God is therefore added for the purposes of contemplation etc. to the twenty‑five categories of the Sankhya. This circumstance has obtained for Yoga the name of Saishvar Sankhya or theistic Sankhya as the Sankhya proper is called nireashwar Sankhya or atheistic Sankhya.


5.   The second and really important improvement on the Sankhya consists in the highly practical character of the rules laid down for acquiring eternal bliss and knowledge. The end proposed by the Yoga philosophy is Samadhi leading to kaivalya. Yoga and Samadhi are convertible terms, either meaning Vritinirodh or suspension of the transformations of the thinking principal.5


6.    With this introduction we will enter into the details of this philosophy.  We have defined Yoga to be the suppression of the transformation of the thinking principal. What is the thinking principal and what are its transformations and what results are achieved by the practice of Yoga?  As to its power it teaches that the powers of electricity and magnetism are but a drop in the ocean compared with those of the soul, when they are fully developed by the practice of Yoga. But this is no part of true Yoga, although the lower form of Yoga does teach, how to develop these powers.6 The scope of true Yoga lies in the realization of the immortal part of man and the keynote of this self‑realization lies in the suppression of the transformation of the thinking principal.