Defending the identity of yoga, Kumarila style( with homage to Ganganath Jha )

Edit(22/5/2021):The author does not believe in this thing anymore,the statement is to be taken as its face value and it is to be learned from someone who is actually a sAdhaka of that mArga.

iti dattātreyayogaśāstre –

brāhmaṇaḥ śramaṇo’ vapy bauddho vāpy ārhato’thavā|kapāliko vā cārvākaḥ śraddhayā sahitaḥ sudhiḥ||yogābhyāsarato nityaṃ sarvasiddhimavāpnuyāt|

(Whether a Brahmin,an ascetic,a Jain or a Buddhist or a Kapālika or a Cārvāka materialist,the wise man who is endowed with faith and constantly devoted to the practice of yoga will obtain complete success)

“The statement that a brāhmaṇa, kapālika, bauddha and jaina can achieve success by yoga is to be understood thus. Surely, we cannot interpret kapālika, bauddhādi terms as referring to those who practice the tenets of that school in that entirety. For yoga emphasizes self-restraint and bhūtadayā in one’s acts and the kapālika, if he continues to practice the kapālika dharma fully, he will contravene these precepts of yoga and will not achieve success. Hence, it refers only to practices which are not in contradiction with the precepts of yoga and the dharma of the veda since the sūtrakāra of the yoga siddhānta (pātañjali) accepts veda as pramāṇa. Or, some understand that verse in this manner too, which is not really different from the previous meaning. The śramana and jaina; what they seek to achieve by torturing their bodies, the freedom from karma, they can achieve by practicing yoga. The kapālika, without resorting to any of the fierce acts prescribed for him, can attain union with rudra by practice of this yoga. The brāhmaṇa, unable to exhaust the repository of the vedas, by means of yoga with hiraṇyagarbha, attains the fruit of realizing the whole veda without doing all the karma in the Veda. This is what is meant by success. To each, his desired fruit is granted. In this way, there will be no contradiction. If it be argued that a kristu-panthin can practice yoga as he too wishes to attain Union with that deva, we reject it. A kristu-vādin cannot practice yoga as the devata he worships does not tolerate his pronouncing the names of other devas,let alone revering them. His mata is fundamentally a mata of dveṣa not kṛpā, let alone prema(even if it masquerades and sells itself as one such mata), as demonstrated by the vaiśya-cūḍāmaṇi and his beloved disciple, and the warnings of hypocrisy in the next verses apply to them in the context of our times most appropriately.The acceptance of pātañjali as ācārya, shraddhā in om(praṇava) as sacred sound, faith in the śruti and hiraṇyagarbha are all precluded for him. Hence, for him, there is no success in this path. If it be argued that the bauddha too rejects the veda, we reply that the bauddhas either have to accept that the Veda has limited application (they already do that to some extent in the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa in their vulgar Sanskrit “eṣa mantro mahābrahmā bodhisattvena … ābhicārukeṣu sarveṣu athavo* ceda paṭhyate ।”),and the pāñcarātrins and śaivas do not reject the Veda but merely state that their own śāstras are viśeṣa, or they have to renounce bauddham and accept the veda wholeheartedly. Thus, this argument too is rejected. Our original interpretation stands. What we said for the kristu-panthin, the same for the mahāmāda-panthin.”

If it be the second alternative, it is to be understood that the terms, ‘brāhmaṇa, bauddha, kapālika, etc’ in the shloka merely point to the status of the person at the time he is about to take up yoga. In the cases of bauddhakapālikādi, there is a renunciation of their formerly held beliefs. The bauddha, if he previously rejected the pramāṇatvam of the veda or ascribed sinful motives to the Veda, stops doing that when he takes up yoga. The kapālika gives up the idea that union with rudra is achieved by doing censureable acts. Hence, the śloka, of the second alternative is adopted, would mean that all persons, regardless of what doctrine they previously followed, would attain success when they take up yoga and act in accordance with the rules therein.

(Slightly modified with credits to @Ghorangirasa.)

Notes on pedagogy of śāstra(something written by a friend)

To add, as śāstra unfolds, things become quite simple and clear. The only issue is getting the pedagogy of śāstra. For instance, pratyakṣa and anumāna are listed ahead of śabda pramāṇa, and deducing from the visible natural phenomena is the primary learning underlying SAstra, with only subtler phenomena and lessons explicated by śāstra. As mentioned here, nature is the mother, teacher and trustee and what Rshis learn about organizing human societies is entirely from nature. The lessons from clans, prides, coalitions of animal world results in an optimal design of human family at micro level. Just the way legs obey the commands of brain and the way a weak body in turn compels brain into commands that suit the body’s condition, just the way the mano-vāk-kāya “hierarchy” works, the social being’s mano-vāk-kāya is understood. This is rather pratyakṣa than śabda as a pramANa (though we can find upon searching pramāṇa like “vAngme manasi pratishThita” or purusha sUkta could be found). śāstra comes into picture only to make a proper correlation to human society, such as Raja being divine representative who commands and sets the society in the right path – references about prajāpati in atharva are useful, but none better than mahābhārata and manusmṛti. The higher aspects of dharma that are not sāmānya are to be found in śruti, which form the substratum for the manifest layer of dharma (such as moral facts). It helps to recall Viswanatha’s taunt in this context – “you call it sāmānya because these things are commonly known through observation, why do you need to teach them formally and call it a subject”. But the sāmānya is not missed at any stage, it is visible in the implicit expectation of its awareness as a requirement. The head and central being two types of powers that hold the family, and a further distribution of these into the natures of power in society (will, knowledge and action in hierarchy, then into knowledge-power-wealth-action in distribution) is quite visible not just in organization but in śruti itself. The head-center nature of Indra-Agni, which later become visible as Siva-Sakti, as the ruling forces of the world-family are the prototypes for this. Similarly the cyclic day-night, month (aligned with moon), year (aligned with sun), astronomical cycles and human life cycle are pratyaksha pramāṇa for cyclic nature of time. śāstra pramāṇa only gives the conceptualizing of how the alignment of social cycle is to be done with the known cycles. One of the reasons upamāna is extensively visible all through in SAstra and kAvya is that it is not just an alaṃkāra but an integral part of the pedagogic nature of our texts. Second aspect is which śāstra throws light on which aspect of life. While the śruti-smṛti-śiṣṭācāra hierarchy is well known for prāmāṇya, śruti is not a reference for understanding the social aspects that evolve from time to time. śruti is a reference for sanātana or immutable yet non-obvious knowledge of the world from which the ever morphing aspects are to be derived and defined, which are liable to change, in the derivative texts. The layers of smṛti texts, be it MBH or dharma śāstra-s, ensure that they reproduce and record the unchanging principles from śruti, then specify the changing ones (the yuga and deśa-kāla layers) so that for a subsequent version of smṛti that evolves, the seeds of permanent principles are taken and continued. Third aspect is the untold – what a text covers is based on the scope of authority it assumes in the knowledge system. What is not covered, if covered elsewhere, indicates the relative authority and if is not, indicates the nature of untold to be self-explanatory or naturally known or not as a necessary factor. For instance the sampradāya-s that are substantially important in the society and are honored even by kings, find next to zero mention in the smṛti texts as influential or authorized or holding stake in social dynamic or organization notwithstanding their real influence, dharma nirṇaya is made the accountability of king no matter who he consults (and there is a different and a specific subject taught to king who he should consult and who he should not).


PS: It is an axiomatic change and a change in worldview for the west to look at things this way (their organizations are driven by ideals more than by nature of things), but they ARE actively working to plagiarize these concepts at various levels in sciences, and at a slower pace in social sciences. The papers on Artificial Intelligence I linked in a previous post indicate how they are getting natural biological phenomena into AI by consciously learning from nature, trying to make repeatable processes that are only cognitively decipherable.

(This was from a note by @SkandaVeera which I preserved)