In this series, Yogic terminologies will be taken up and their -
- Etymological analysis,
- Lexical descriptions and
- Textual occurrences in Yogic literature and their commentaries, as available, will be presented. And finally observations will be made on the references.
Three texts - Yogasūtra, Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā and Bhagavad-gītā are consulted for textual occurrences portion.
Śabda-yoga is intended to help students, teachers, and professionals of Yoga to develop a sound grammatical, contextual, and thereby an authentic and immersive understanding of Yoga terminologies.
Analysis of Yogic Term
प्रतिष्ठा - pratiṣṭhā
प्रति+ष्ठा +अङ्+टाप् = प्रतिष्ठा
prati+ṣṭhā +aṅ+ṭāp = pratiṣṭhā
The prefix is प्रति prati . t is used in this context to indicate the sense स्थान – to stay (avyaya kosha)
The root is ष्ठा ṣṭhā which means गतिनिवृत्ति gatinivṛtti – cessation of movement
The suffix is अङ् aṅ which is used to indicate the meaning the act – भाव. This suffix is added as per the grammatical rule “आतश्चोपसर्गे ātaścopasarge (aṣṭādhyāyī 3.3.106).
The suffix ṭāp is added to indicate the feminine gender of this term as per the rule
Based on the above details, derivative statement of the word is - प्रतिष्ठीयते इति प्रतिष्ठा pratiṣṭhīyate iti pratiṣṭhā- the act of being established.
Lexicon - No Amarakośa entry for this word is found.
There are five references to the word pratiṣṭhā in this text. It is to be noted that four references are from the second Pāda and the just one from the fourth chapter. The first four references from the second chapter can be considered as one unit.
1. अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायां तत्सन्निधा वैरत्यागः ॥ २.३५ ॥ सत्यप्रतिष्ठायां क्रियाफलाश्रयत्वम् ॥ २.३६ ॥ अस्तेयप्रतिष्ठायां सर्वरत्नोपस्थानम् ॥ २.३७ ॥ ब्रह्मचर्यप्रतिष्ठायां वीर्यलाभः ॥ २.३८ ॥
ahiṃsāpratiṣṭhāyāṃ tatsannidhā vairatyāgaḥ .. 2.35 .. satyapratiṣṭhāyāṃ kriyāphalāśrayatvam .. 2.36 .. asteyapratiṣṭhāyāṃ sarvaratnopasthānam .. 2.37 .. brahmacaryapratiṣṭhāyāṃ vīryalābhaḥ .. 2.38 ..
It can be noted from the above references that the word pratiṣṭhā is used along with four of the five components of Yama (restrain) with the exclusion of Aparigraha. Pratiṣṭhā in this context has been explained in aptly explained by Vivaraṇa commentary as - स्थैर्यम् अवितर्कप्रादुर्भावः - sthairyam avitarkaprādurbhāvaḥ - stability (indicated by) the non-rising of opposing thoughts (to Yamas) such as violence, falsehood, coveting other’s possession etc. It is to be noted that though for the fifth yama Aparigraha the word pratiṣṭhā is not used, its synonym sthairya has been used. Hence there is no significant shift in meaning there also.
2. पुरुषार्थशून्यानां गुणानां प्रतिप्रसवः कैवल्यं स्वरूपप्रतिष्ठा वा चितिशक्तिरिति ॥ ४.३४ ॥ puruṣārthaśūnyānāṃ guṇānāṃ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṃ svarūpapratiṣṭhā vā citiśaktiriti ..4.34..
svarūpapratiṣṭhā – being established in one’s own form – is the expression found here. This very last Sūtra of the text describes the state of Kaivalya (the ultimate state reached by the consciousness) – where the consciousness is established in its own form – being not deflected or distorted by the activities of the mind as the mind itself gets dissolved (pratiprasava).
There are three references to the word pratiṣṭhā in chapters 6,14 & 15 in this text. They are as follows -
1. शुचौ देशे प्रतिष्ठाप्य स्थिरमासनमात्मनः ।
नात्युच्छ्रितं नातिनीचं चैलाजिनकुशोत्तरम् ॥ ६.११ ॥
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiramāsanamātmanaḥ .
nātyucchritaṃ nātinīcaṃ cailājinakuśottaram .. 6.11 ..
pratiṣṭhāpya – after having established – is the expression found here. Though the word pratiṣṭhā itself is not found, this is very closely associated expression. This expression occurs in the context of Dhyāna Yoga. It has been stated here that - “After establishing” a seat in a clean and stable place (for meditation)… etc.
2. ब्रह्मणो हि प्रतिष्ठाहममृतस्याव्ययस्य च ।
शाश्वतस्य च धर्मस्य सुखस्यैकान्तिकस्य च ॥ १४.२७ ॥
brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāhamamṛtasyāvyayasya ca .
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya ca .. 14.27 ..
The expression pratiṣṭhā as such is found in this context. It has been stated here that “I am the pratiṣṭhā of the Brahman”. Two fold interpretation has been accorded to the word pratiṣṭhā used by śrīśaṅkarabhagavatpāda
- ब्रह्मणः परमात्मनः… प्रतितिष्ठति अस्मिन् इति प्रतिष्ठा अहं प्रत्यगात्मा brahmaṇaḥ paramātmanaḥ …pratitiṣṭhati asmin iti pratiṣṭhā ahaṃ pratyagātmā - That in which the Brahman is established is pratiṣṭhā. It is further clarified - यया च ईश्वरशक्त्या भक्तानुग्रहादिप्रयोजनाय ब्रह्म प्रतिष्ठते प्रवर्तते, सा शक्तिः yayā ca īśvaraśaktyā bhaktānugrahādiprayojanāya brahma pratiṣṭhate pravartate, sā śaktiḥ - The governing nature/potential/power by which the (eternal, unchanging) Brahman operates for blessing its devotees etc.
- There is an alternative interpretation provided by śrīśaṅkarabhagavatpāda - अथवा, ब्रह्मशब्दवाच्यत्वात् सविकल्पकं ब्रह्म । तस्य ब्रह्मणो निर्विकल्पकः अहमेव नान्यः प्रतिष्ठा आश्रयः athavā, brahmaśabdavācyatvāt savikalpakaṃ brahma . tasya brahmaṇo nirvikalpakaḥ ahameva nānyaḥ pratiṣṭhā āśrayaḥ - Brahman here refers to the Brahman with a vikalpa (with imagined distinctions) – the Lord Almighty. For such Brahman I (the pure consciousness) am the substratum - pratiṣṭhā
Thus it can be seen here that pratiṣṭhā has been interpreted to mean – the power/potential and also the substratum – in this context.
3. न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा ।
अश्वत्थमेनं सुविरूढमूलमसङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा ॥ १५. ३॥
na rūpamasyeha tathopalabhyate nānto na cādirna ca sampratiṣṭhā .
aśvatthamenaṃ suvirūḍhamūlamasaṅgaśastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā .. 15. 3..
sampratiṣṭhā is the expression found here. The context and meaning as per the commentary of śrīśaṅkarabhagavatpāda is as follows –
सम्प्रतिष्ठा स्थितिः मध्यम् - sampratiṣṭhā sthitiḥ madhyam - sampratiṣṭhā refers to sthiti – stability, the middle portion.
The unstable tree i.e the manifest world is described in this verse. Here it has been stated that neither the beginning, the end or the middle (sampratiṣṭhā) is perceived (clearly). Indeed the middle portion or the trunk is the one that gives stability to a tree. Hence sthiti and middle portion is connected in this context of tree.
Haṭhayogapradīpikā - No entry in this text.
It is very interesting to observe from the above references that there are three distinct meanings given to the word Pratiṣṭhā depending upon the context –
- sthairya – steadiness, establishment
- pravartana – commencing action
- āśraya – substratum
These meanings emerge only on close scrutiny. This indicates the care and context-consciousness and that is required understand and interpret the term.
 https://archive.org/details/avyaya-kosa-srivatsankacharya/page/264/mode/2up?view=theater. It is to be noted that this suffix attains the connotation because of its association with the root word ṣṭhā which means cessation of movement.
Unit 6 To be Continued…