योगारोहणम् – About Climbing and योगः

Some analytical thinking about योगारोहणम् – Climbing and योगः is provoked by आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते | योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते (6’3).

Before indulging in the analytical thinking, let me proceed with understanding the श्लोक itself step by step.

First पदच्छेदाः – आरुरुक्षोः मुनेः योगं कर्म कारणम् उच्यते | योग-आरूढस्य तस्य एव शमः कारणम् उच्यते

Next शब्दानां विश्लेषणानि

आरुरुक्षोः – आरोढुम् इच्छति इति आरुरुक्षुः – तस्य | आरुरुक्षु a. Wishing to ascend, mount or reach

मुनेः – मुनिः [मन्-इन् उच्च Uṇ.4.122] तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनं च |

योगम् – योगः [युज् भावादौ घञ् कुत्वम्]

  • युज् – चुरादिः उभयपदी | युजँऽ [सं॒यम॑ने] १०.३३८ (योजति, योजयति-ते) To unite, join, yoke &c.
  • युज् – दिवादिः आत्मनेपदी | यु॒जँ॒ समा॒धौ ४.७४ (युज्यते) To concentrate the mind (identical with the pass. of युज् I)
  • युज् – रुधादिः उभयपदी | यु॒जिँ॑र् योगे॑ ७.७ (युनक्ति, युङ्क्ते, युयोज, युयुजे, अयुजत्, अयौक्षीत्, अयुक्त, योक्ष्यति-ते, योक्तुम्, युक्त) 1 To join, unite, attach, connect, add 2 To yoke, harness, put to 3 To furnish or endow with 4 To use, employ, apply 5 To appoint, set (with locative) 6 To direct, turn or fix upon (as the mind &c.) 7 To concentrate one’s attention upon 8 To put, place or fix on (with locative) 9 To prepare, arrange, make ready, fit. -10 To give, bestow, confer 11 To adhere or cleave to. -12 To enjoin, charge -13 To put in, insert. -14 To think or meditate upon

कर्म – कर्मन् [कृ-मनिन् Uṇ.4.144] 1 Action, work, deed. -2 Execution, performance

कारणम् – [कृ-णिच् ल्युट्] [1] A cause, reason [2] Ground, motive, object [3] An instrument, means [4] (In Nyāya phil.) A cause, that which is invariably antecedent to some product and is not otherwise constituted; or, according to Mill, ‘the antecedent or concurrence of antecedents on which the effect is invariably and unconditionally consequent’; according to Naiyāyikas, it is of three kinds; (1) समवायि (intimate or inherent); as threads in the case of cloth; (2) असमवायि (non-intimate or non-inherent), as the conjunction of the threads in the case of cloth; (3) निमित्त (instrumental) as the weaver’s loom. [5] The generative cause, creator, father [6] An element, elementary matter

उच्यते – वच्-धातोः कर्मणि लटि प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम् | अदादिः परस्मैपदी | व॒चँ परि॒भाष॑णे २.५८ | वच् 2 P. (Ā. also in non-conjugational tenses; in conjugational tenses it is said to be defective in the third person plural by some authorities, or in the whole plural by others; वक्ति, उवाच, अवोचत्, वक्ष्यति, वक्तुम्, उक्त) 1 To say, speak

योगारूढस्य – योगम् आरूढस्य – आरुह् 1 P. 1 To ascend, mount, bestride, get upon (with acc., sometimes loc.) आरूढ p. p. 1 Mounted, ascended; seated on.

शमः – [शम्-घञ्] 1 Quiet, tranquility, calmness; धृतिं न विन्दामि शमं च विष्णो Bg.11.24. -2 Rest, calm, repose, cessation. -3 Absence or restraint of passions, mental quietness, quietism; शमरते$मरतेजसि पार्थिवे R.9.4; Ki.1.1;16.48; Śi.2.94; Bg.1.4. -4 Allayment, mitigation, alleviation, satisfaction, pacification (of grief, thirst, hunger &c.); शममुपयातु ममापि चित्तदाहः U.6.8; शम- मेष्यति मम शोकः कथं नु वत्से Ś.4.21. -5 Peace; as in अस्माकं शमकामा वै त्वं च पुत्रो ममेत्यथ Mb.12.1.27; शमोपन्यास Ve.5. -6 Final emancipation (from all worldly illusions and attachments). -7 The hand. -8 Cure of disease, convalescence. -9 Indifference, apathy.

  • शम् I. 4 P. (शाम्यति, शान्त) 1 To be calm, quiet or tranquil, be appeased or pacified (as a person)

अन्वयाः – योगम् आरुरुक्षोः मुनेः कर्म कारणम् उच्यते | तस्य एव योगारूढस्य (मुनेः) शमः कारणम् उच्यते ||

Discussion – (1) As is obvious, there are two stages mentioned – (अ) आरुरुक्षु (आ) आरूढ

Since the action is of आरोहणम् three instances of आरोहणम् come to mind – गिर्यारोहणम्, अश्वारोहणम्, निश्रेण्यारोहणम् (Note निश्रयणी /निश्रेणि/ निश्रेणी A ladder, a staircase) The questions then are –  

  • to what is योगारोहणम् closest – गिर्यारोहणम् or अश्वारोहणम् or निश्रेण्यारोहणम् ?
  • Where does attaining परं श्रेयः fit in योगारोहणम् ?

Thinking of परं श्रेयः it came to mind that some specific aspects have to devolve, viz.  

  1. Our mind and character be washed clean of vices. One should become निर्धूतकल्मष (5’17)
  2. Our mind and character be adorned with virtues. One should become दैवीसम्पदमभिजातः (16’3)
  3. Our mind and character should rather transcend virtuosity. One should become गुणातीतः (14’25)
  4. Our faith should become firm. One should become श्रद्धया परयोपेतः (12’2)
  5. Our devotion should be our all-time platform. One should become भक्तिमान्यः (12’17)
  6. Asceticism should become our nature. त्रिविधं तपः तप्तम् (17’17)
  7. Our senses should become free of distractions. इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः इन्द्रियाणि सर्वशः निगृहीतानि (2’68)
  8. Our intellect should become steadfast at all times, at all instances. दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीः (2’56)
  9. We should experience oneness with all creation. सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा (5’7)

Though I have made a numbered list of nine devolutions, we need not consider that these would devolve sequentially. For example, character being cleansed of vices and it being adorned with virtues can be simultaneous. Of course transcending virtuosity will mature in course of time, but that also may become a corollary of cleansing of vices and adornment with virtues. Firmness of faith and devotion becoming all time can also be simultaneous.

By this consideration, I would think that योगारोहणम् is akin to अश्वारोहणम्. Riding a horse has two distinct phases – (1) getting astride the horse (2) staying put. In the first phase, there is not much significance for the reins. In the second phase it is all reins. This matches with योगम् आरुरुक्षोः मुनेः कर्म कारणम् उच्यते and तस्य एव योगारूढस्य (मुनेः) शमः कारणम् उच्यते. Getting astride the horse is all action कर्म कारणम् उच्यते. Staying put is all शमः.

योगारोहणम् is not at all like निश्रेण्यारोहणम् climbing a ladder, because the devolutions need not be taken to be sequential. Anyway, a ladder निश्रेणी does not take one to any high elevation.

Now let us consider how योगारोहणम् compares with गिर्यारोहणम्. By गिर्यारोहणम् I would not consider climbing a hillock. I would rather consider mountaineering, say, scaling the Everest. It is well-known that गिर्यारोहणम् becomes more and more challenging, higher one goes. Frankly, I do not know, whether योगारोहणम् also becomes more challenging as one progresses upwards on the spiritual path. But in गिर्यारोहणम् one does not stay put at the mountain top. In योगारोहणम् one has to stay put.

At least for myself I would like to think that योगारोहणम् is like अश्वारोहणम्.

Discussion (2) – Having listed 9 devolutions, it comes to mind that अष्टाङ्गयोग speaks of eight devolutions to be imbibed through यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम, प्रत्त्याहार, ध्यान, धारणा, समाधि.

Let me check whether one can see some correspondence between them. Before that I should check whether I understand the devolutions of अष्टाङ्गयोग.

  1. यम – The yamas are usually said to be ten, but, their names are given differently by different writers; e. g. ब्रह्मचर्यं दया क्षान्तिर्दानं सत्यमकल्कता । अहिंसा$स्तेयमाधुर्ये दमश्चेति यमाः स्मृताः ॥ Y.3.312; or आनृशंस्यं दया सत्यमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् । प्रीतिः प्रसादो माधुर्यं मार्दवं च यमा दश ॥ sometimes only five yamas are mentioned:– अहिंसा सत्यवचनं ब्रह्मचर्यमकल्कता । अस्तेयमिति पञ्चैते यमाख्यानि व्रतानि च ॥
  2. नियम – शौचमिज्या तपो दानं स्वाध्यायोपस्थनिग्रहः । व्रतमौनोपवासं च स्नानं च नियमा दश ॥
  3. आसनम् – अनायासेन येन स्यादजस्रं ब्रह्मचिन्तनम् । आसनं तद् विजानीयाद् योगिनां सुखदायकम् ॥
  4. प्राणायामः – restraining or suspending the breath during the mental recitation of the names or attributes of a deity.
  5. प्रत्याहारः –  Restraining the organs; स्वविषया$संप्रयोगे चित्तस्य स्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्या- हारः Pātañjala.
  6. ध्यानम् – Meditation, reflection, thought; contemplation; ज्ञानाद् ध्यानं विशिष्यते Bg.12.12
  7. धारणा – Keeping the mind collected, holding the breath suspended, steady abstraction of mind; धारणेत्युच्यते चेयं धार्यते यन्मनो तया ।
  8. समाधिः – Intentness, concentration (in general), fixing of thoughts; यथा भानुगतं तेजो मणिः शुद्धः समाधिना । आदत्ते राजशार्दूल तथा योगः प्रवर्तते ॥ Mb.12.298.12 सम्यगाधीयते यत्र स समाधिः स्मृतो यथा ।
Sr. No. Nine devolutions to imbibe अष्टाङ्गयोग
1 Be free of vices यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम and प्रत्याहार all these together help the devolutions 1, 2 and 3
2 Cultivate virtues
3 Transcend virtuosity
4 Faith should be firm धारणा
5 Be devout all the time ध्यान
6 Asceticism as nature प्रत्याहार
7 Control on senses यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम and प्रत्याहार all these together help the devolution 7 and 8.
8 Steadfast intellect
9 Oneness with all creation समाधिः

I think, the nine devolutions are easier to understand, practise and gradually imbibe. अष्टाङ्गयोग does not seem to be as easy to understand. Practising and imbibing can happen only when understanding is clear.

May we all succeed in योगारोहणम् !

शुभमस्तु !