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.
|Words of Unit 7|
वि+सि+अच् = विषयः
vi+si+ac = viṣayaḥ
वि Vi is the prefix
The root is सि – si that means बन्धनम् - Bandhanam - to bind
The suffix is अच् ac . It is used in the meaning of the doer kartṛ. The suffix is added as per the grammatical rule - नन्दिग्रहिपचादिभ्यो ल्युणिन्यचः nandigrahipacādibhyo lyuṇinyacaḥ (aṣṭādhyāyī 3. 1.134)
Based on the above etymology the derivative statement for the word is - विसिन्वन्ति इति विषयाः - visinvanti iti viṣayāḥ - those that bind (objects of the senses)
There are four references to the term Viṣaya in Amarakośa. They are as follows.
रूपं शब्दो गन्धरसस्पर्शाश्च विषया अमी 1.5.7
rūpaṃ śabdo gandharasasparśāśca viṣayā amī 1.5.7
Form, sound, smell, taste and touch are the objects (Viṣayas of the senses)
...देशविषयौ तूपवर्तनम् 2.1.8
...deśaviṣayau tūpavartanam 2.1.8
The words Upavartana, deśa and Viṣaya indicate a country.
... विषय आश्रये 3.2.11
... viṣaya āśraye 3.2.11
The words Viṣaya and Āśraya are used to indicate substratum.
विषयो यस्य यो ज्ञातस्तत्र शब्दादिकेष्वपि 3.3.153
viṣayo yasya yo jñātastatra śabdādikeṣvapi 3.3.153
Viṣaya is used to refer things that are known, objects of the senses etc (and country).
Looking into these reference based on the lexicon four possible meanings could be noticed for the term Viṣaya a) objects of the senses b) Country c) substratum d) whatever things people know
There are twelve references to this term Yogasūtras. This term is found in the first three chapters and not in the fourth. The major concentration of the usage of the term is found in the first chapter(8 occurrences). A chapter wise summary of the references is given below –
The eight references from the first chapter are as follows -
अनुभूतविषयासंप्रमोषः स्मृतिः ॥ १.११ ॥
दृष्टानुश्रविकविषयवितृष्णस्य वशीकारसंज्ञा वैराग्यम् ॥ १.१५ ॥
मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चितप्रसादनम् ॥ १.३३ ॥
विषयवती वा प्रवृत्तिरुत्पन्ना मनसः स्थितिनिबन्धनी ॥ १.३५ ॥
वीतरागविषयं वा चित्तम् ॥ १.३७ ॥
एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता ॥ १.४४ ॥
सूक्ष्मविषयत्वं चालिङ्गपर्यवसानम् ॥ १.४५ ॥
श्रुतानुमानप्रज्ञाभ्यामन्यविषया विशेषार्थत्वात् ॥ १.४९ ॥
anubhūtaviṣayāsaṃpramoṣaḥ smṛtiḥ .. 1.11 ..
dṛṣṭānuśravikaviṣayavitṛṣṇasya vaśīkārasaṃjñā vairāgyam .. 1.15 ..
maitrīkaruṇāmuditopekṣāṇāṃ sukhaduḥkhapuṇyāpuṇyaviṣayāṇāṃ bhāvanātaścitaprasādanam .. 1.33 ..
viṣayavatī vā pravṛttirutpannā manasaḥ sthitinibandhanī .. 1.35 ..
vītarāgaviṣayaṃ vā cittam .. 1.37 ..
etayaiva savicārā nirvicārā ca sūkṣmaviṣayā vyākhyātā .. 1.44 ..
sūkṣmaviṣayatvaṃ cāliṅgaparyavasānam .. 1.45 ..
śrutānumānaprajñābhyāmanyaviṣayā viśeṣārthatvāt .. 1.49 ..
Summary: Sūtra 1.11 – Defines Smṛti (remembering) as not forgetting the Viṣaya (object) that has been experienced (through senses). Sūtra 1.15 – defines Vairāgya. Dispassion is not getting attached to Viṣayas (objects of pleasure) of this world and those that are described in scriptures (to be attained after the current life). Sūtra 1.33 discusses Maitrī and other Bhāvanas to attain Citta-prasādana (non-agītāted state of mind). There the word Viṣaya is used in the sense of object of experience. The expression sukhaduḥkhapuṇyāpuṇyaviṣaya is to be noted. This refers to people who have sukha, dukkha, puṇya and apuṇya as their Viṣaya/object of experience. Sūtra 1.35 describes Viṣayavatī Pravṛtti which refers to divine sensory experiences generated by meditating upon the places of sense organs like tip of the tonge, tip of the nose etc. Here too Viṣaya refers to the objects of sensory experience. Sūtra 1.37 again mentions focusing the citta on a Viṣaya – object to attain Citta-prasadana. The object for the citta specified here is a saintly person who has overcome passion. In Sūtra 1.44 it is clarified that savicāra and nirvicāra samāpattis happen when the Citta is focused on a sūkṣma-subtle Viṣaya-object of focus. Sūtra 1.45 Continues on Sūkṣma Viṣaya and states that the most subtle object for Samāpatti is the aliṅga or prakṛti. Sūtra 1.49 speaks about Viṣaya - object contained in the ṛtambharā prajñā. It is clarified that the object of ṛtambharā is neither derived from inference or from verbal testimony. It is experienced with direct yogic perception.
There are two occurrences of the term Viṣaya in this chapter. They are as follows -
बाह्याभ्यन्तरविषयाक्षेपी चतुर्थः ॥ २.५१ ॥
स्वविषयासंप्रयोगे चितस्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहारः ॥ २.५४ ॥
bāhyābhyantaraviṣayākṣepī caturthaḥ .. 2.51 ..
svaviṣayāsaṃprayoge citasvarūpānukāra ivendriyāṇāṃ pratyāhāraḥ .. 2.54 ..
Summary: According to Yogasiddhāntacandrikā commentary the word Viṣaya in the sūtra 2.51 refers to Deśa or place. Earlier in sahita kumbhakas the place within the body and outside the body is important to understand the length to which the breath inhaled or exhaled is felt. In Kevala kumbhaka which is described as the fourth Prāṇāyāma the breath simply exceeds the places within and without and hence is all pervasive in this state. Similar to the limitlessness of the Deśa in this Kevala kumbhaka prāṇāyāma, Tattvavaiśāradī commentary clarifies that there is no limit to this Kevala kumbhaka prāṇāyāma in terms of Kāla (time) and Saṅkhyā (counts) also.
Sūtra 2.52 defines Pratyāhāra the fifth limb of Aṣṭāṅga yoga. Here the non-association of the senses with its Viṣayas (objects of the senses) & the senses following the form that the citta takes are described as aspects of definition of Pratyāhāra.
There are two references to Viṣaya is this chapter. They are -
न च तत्सालम्बनं तस्याविषयीभूतत्वात् ॥ ३.२० ॥
तारकं सर्वविषयं सर्वथाविषयमक्रमं चेति विवेकजं ज्ञानम् ॥ ३.५४ ॥
na ca tatsālambanaṃ tasyāviṣayībhūtatvāt .. 3.20 ..
tārakaṃ sarvaviṣayaṃ sarvathāviṣayamakramaṃ ceti vivekajaṃ jñānam .. 3.54 ..
Summary: Sūtra 3.20 is a clarification about the Siddhi mentioned in the previous Sūtra. The previous sūtra mentions about the power of knowing other person’s mind (para-citta- jñāna). It is clarified in this sūtra (3.20) that the Siddhi mentioned in the previous Sūtra is limited only to knowing the state of the mind of others and the ālambana/the object that led such a state of mind of the person shall not be known by the Yogin. This is so because the object of Saṃyama (dhāraṇā-dhyāna-samādhi) to attain the siddhi did not include the ālambana (aviṣaya). Sūtra 3.20 speaks about the outcome of the practice of Saṃyama mentioned in 3.52 (saṃyama on the kṣaṇa– basic unit of time and its karma – its sequence). Viveka jñāna that encompasses all Viṣayas (objects) and all dimensions of those objects will manifest all at once because of this Saṃyama.
There are nine reference in Bhagavadgītā on the usage of the term Viṣaya. In Chapters 2,4,15,18 the expressions are found.
There are four references in this chapter. They are -
त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ॥ २.४५ ॥
विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ॥ २.५९ ॥
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते ।
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥ २.६२ ॥
रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् ।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ॥ २.६४ ॥
traiguṇyaviṣayā vedā nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna .
nirdvandvo nityasattvastho niryogakṣema ātmavān .. 2.45 ..
viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ .
rasavarjaṃ raso'pyasya paraṃ dṛṣṭvā nivartate .. 2.59 ..
dhyāyato viṣayānpuṃsaḥ saṅgasteṣūpajāyate .
saṅgātsañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmātkrodho'bhijāyate .. 2.62 ..
rāgadveṣaviyuktaistu viṣayānindriyaiścaran .
ātmavaśyairvidheyātmā prasādamadhigacchati .. 2.64 ..
Summary: The expression traiguṇya-viṣayā is found in verse 2.45 where it is stated that the viṣayās - objects discussed in the Karmakāṇḍa portion of the Vedas are all focused on the three Guṇas – Sattva Rajas and Tamas and one should transcend these. In the context of verse 2.59 it has been stated that viṣayās – the objects of the senses/ the attraction towards them will wade away when the senses are starved – by not allowing the connection that they want to make with their respective objects (as part of practice of sense control). Verse 2.62 mentions the consequences of Viṣaya-dhyana – thinking about the objects of the senses. Verse 2.64 advises - experiencing the objects of the senses without Rāga and Dveṣa for attainment of pleasant and stable state of mind.
The solitary reference to viṣaya in this chapter is as follows -
श्रोत्रादीनीन्द्रियाण्यन्ये संयमाग्निषु जुह्वति ।
शब्दादीन्विषयानन्य इन्द्रियाग्निषु जुह्वति ॥ ४.२६ ॥
śrotrādīnīndriyāṇyanye saṃyamāgniṣu juhvati .
śabdādīnviṣayānanya indriyāgniṣu juhvati .. 4.26 .. –
Summary: Various kinds of Yajñas are being described in this chapter. This verse mentions about yajñas connected with the senses and their Viṣayas –objects. The objects of the senses like sound etc (śabdādī-viṣaya) are the offerings and the fire into which they are offered are the senses themselves. śrī-śaṅkara-bhagavatpāda in his commentary to the verse clarifies that the experiencing of those Viṣayas (objects of the senses) that are non-distracting (in connection to the Samyagdarśana) also is considered by a few as Yajña.
This chapter has two references. They are as follows -
अधश्चोर्ध्वं प्रसृतास्तस्य शाखा गुणप्रवृद्धा विषयप्रवालाः ।
अधश्च मूलान्यनुसन्ततानि कर्मानुबन्धीनि मनुष्यलोके ॥ १५.२ ॥
श्रोत्रं चक्षुः स्पर्शनं च रसनं घ्राणमेव च ।
अधिष्ठाय मनश्चायं विषयानुपसेवते ॥ १५.९ ॥
adhaścordhvaṃ prasṛtāstasya śākhā guṇapravṛddhā viṣayapravālāḥ .
adhaśca mūlānyanusantatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣyaloke .. 15.2 ..
śrotraṃ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṃ ca rasanaṃ ghrāṇameva ca .
adhiṣṭhāya manaścāyaṃ viṣayānupasevate .. 15.9 ..
Summary: Verse 15.2 is part of description of the entire creation as a tree. Here the Viṣayas /objects of the senses are described as young leaves/shoots. Verse 15.9 the individual soul being established in the manas and the senses experiences the respective Viṣayas-objects of the senses.
There are a couple of references in this chapter to the word Viṣaya. They are as follows –
परिणामे विषमिव तत्सुखं राजसं स्मृतम् ॥ १८.३८ ॥
बुद्ध्या विशुद्धया युक्तो धृत्यात्मानं नियम्य च ।
शब्दादीन्विषयांस्त्यक्त्वा रागद्वेषौ व्युदस्य च ॥ १८.५१ ॥
pariṇāme viṣamiva tatsukhaṃ rājasaṃ smṛtam .. 18.38 ..
buddhyā viśuddhayā yukto dhṛtyātmānaṃ niyamya ca .
śabdādīnviṣayāṃstyaktvā rāgadveṣau vyudasya ca .. 18.51 ..
Summary: In the both verses 18.38 & 18.51 Viṣaya refers to the objects of the senses. In the former reference rājasika sukha is described as that where initially due to sense object contact pleasure is experienced and later as consequence of that contact one suffers. In the second reference the way to attain highest knowledge (realization of consciousness) is described. Among the methods to attain highest knowledge (jñānasya parākāṣṭhā - śrīśāṅkarabhāṣyam), the need to renounce the Viṣaya – objects of the sense such as sound etc is advised.
This text has five occurrences of the term Viṣaya. It is interesting to note that all the references are from the last chapter of the text. The references are as follows -
दुर्लभो विषयत्यागो दुर्लभं तत्त्वदर्शनम् ।
दुर्लभा सहजावस्था सद्गुरोः करुणां विना ॥ ४.९ ॥
प्रणष्टश्वासनिश्वासः प्रध्वस्तविषयग्रहः ।
निष्चेष्टो निर्विकारश्च लयो जयति योगिनाम् ॥ ४.३१ ॥
लयो लय इति प्राहुः कीदृशं लयलक्षणम् ।
अपुनर्वासनोत्थानात् लयो विषयविस्मृतिः ॥ ४.३४ ॥
मकरन्दं पिबन् भृङ्गो गन्धं नापेक्षते यथा ।
नादासक्तं तथा चित्तं विषयान् न हि काङ्क्षते ॥ ४.९० ॥
मनो मत्तगजेन्द्रस्य विषयोद्यानचारिणः ।
समर्थोऽयं नियमने निनादनिशिताङ्कुश ॥ ४.९१ ॥
durlabho viṣayatyāgo durlabhaṃ tattvadarśanam .
durlabhā sahajāvasthā sadguroḥ karuṇāṃ vinā .. 4.9 ..
praṇaṣṭaśvāsaniśvāsaḥ pradhvastaviṣayagrahaḥ .
niṣceṣṭo nirvikāraśca layo jayati yoginām .. 4.31 ..
layo laya iti prāhuḥ kīdṛśaṃ layalakṣaṇam .
apunarvāsanotthānāt layo viṣayavismṛtiḥ .. 4.34 ..
makarandaṃ piban bhṛṅgo gandhaṃ nāpekṣate yathā .
nādāsaktaṃ tathā cittaṃ viṣayān na hi kāṅkṣate .. 4.90 ..
mano mattagajendrasya viṣayodyānacāriṇaḥ .
samartho'yaṃ niyamane ninādaniśitāṅkuśa .. 4.91 ..
Summary: Viṣayatyāga – renouncing the objects of the senses is described in 4.9. Towards this, it is mentioned here that grace of the Guru is required. In verse 4.31 the greatness of the state of Laya (absorption of the mind) is described where there will be no desire to connect with the Viṣayas - object of the senses (hence there will be no distraction or suffering due to that). The same idea as that of 4.31 is described in 4.34 where in the state of Laya - due to non-arousal of the vāsanas, the Viṣayas- objects of the senses are forgotten. Both verses 4.90 and 4.91 - describe the greatness of Nādānusandhāna that attracts the mind more than the attractions of the Viṣayas - objects of the senses.
Tabulation of Textual References
|Chapter 1 Sūtras 11, 15, 33,35, 37,44, 45, 49
Chapter 2 Sūtra 51, 54
Chapter 3 Sūtra 20, 54
|Chapter 2 Verses 45, 59, 62, 64
Chapter 4 Verse 26
Chapter 15 Verses 2, 9
Chapter 18 Verses 38, 51
|Chapter 4 verses 9, 31, 34, 90, 91|
1) From the numerous references from the three Yoga works on the word Viṣaya, its importance can be understood in the yogic context.
2) As could be observed, most of the references are focused on the objects of the senses. It becomes evident that - the control of the senses with regard to experiencing the respective Viṣaya is of paramount importance in all the three streams of Yoga represented by the three texts.
3) Even the very high aspects like Nādānusandhāna in hathayoga, Yajña in the Gītā, are all concerned with the control of the senses.
4) It is interesting to note the two fold classification the sthūla and sūkṣma Viṣaya is presented in in the context of discussing the object for Samādhi is described in Yogasūtras.
5) Rarely in the Yogasūtra the word Viṣaya is used to indicate the meaning Deśa – place.
These are the observations on the usage of the term Viṣaya in the context of Yoga.
- Advaitaśāradā - https://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/
- Amarakoṣasampat - http://amara.aupasana.com/
- Aṣṭādhyāyī - https://ashtadhyayi.com/
- Aksharamukha - https://aksharamukha.appspot.com/
- Avyayakośaḥ, śrīśrīvatsāṅkācāryaḥ, saṃskṛtavidyāsamitiḥ, chennai, 2004
- Gītā Supersite - https://www.Gītāsupersite.iitk.ac.in/
- Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana alias amarakoṣa of amarasiṃha with the commentary vyākhyāsudhā or rāmāśramī by bhānuji dīkṣita, Edited with notes by M.M.Pandit Shivadatta Dadimatha, Chaukhamba Saṃskṛta Prathisthan, Delhi, Reprint 2002
- śabdārthakaustubha, cakravartī śrīnivāsagopālācārya, Vol 4, Bappco Publication, Bengaluru, Reprint 2009
- Yoga-vaiśāradī - https://kymyogavaisharadi.org/
Unit 7 To be Continued…