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.
List of Words
In the previous unit words from the Sūtra 1.10, 11 and 12 were taken up. In this Unit we will take up important Yogic terms from Sūtras 1.12 & 13.
The terms that will be analyzed in this Unit are -
|Words of Unit 8|
Though, terms such as Tatra, dīrghakāla, nairantarya, āsevitaḥ are part of the Sūtras, still they are not take up as they are simple terms used in their general sense and also not prevalently used in Yoga context.
ष्ठा + क्तिन् = स्थितिः
ṣṭhā + ktin = sthitiḥ
- ष्ठा ṣṭhā is the root which means गतिनिवृत्ति gatinivṛtti – absence of movement
- क्तिन् ktin is the suffix that indicates भाव Bhavā – the act. This is based on the Pāṇiniyan rule स्त्रियां क्तिन् striyāṃ ktin (aṣṭādhyāyī 3.3.94)
Based on the etymology, the derivative statement would be - स्थीयते इति स्थितिः – sthīyate iti sthitiḥ - the act of non-movement
There are two entries in Amarakośa. They are as follows -
मर्यादा धारणा स्थितिः 2.8.26.
maryādā dhāraṇā sthitiḥ
maryādā dhāraṇā sthiti are used to indicate limit.
स्यादास्यात्वासना स्थितिः 3.2.21.
āsyā, āsanā, sthiti are the words that mean - being seated.
Though lexicon gives two interesting meanings limit and being seated, these meanings are not seen to be applicable in the context of Yogasūtra 1.13.
There are three occurrences of the term Sthiti in this text. They are as follows -
1) तत्र स्थितौ यत्नाऽभ्यासः ॥ १.१३ ॥
tatra sthitau yatnā'bhyāsaḥ .. 1.13 - This Sūtra defines abhyāsa, one among the twin tools to attain Citta-vritti-nirodha (cessation/restraint of activities of the mind). The effort to attain sthiti is defined as abhyāsa by Sage Patañjali.
The following table gives the details about the various views of traditional commentators on this very crucial term.
|S.No||Commentary||View on Sthiti|
vivaraṇa,Yoga-sudhākara , Yoga-vallī
|Absolute absence of Vṛttis is sthiti, stillness in the mind and by that peaceful flow of the mind (praśānta-vāhitā)|
|Sthiti is a state where the citta is bereft of Vṛttis. This state involves the mind attaining modification towards being established in the nature of the self (svarūpa)|
|3||Tattva-vaiśāradī , Maṇi-prabhā ,
|State of Ekāgratā is sthiti. It is characterized by Sattvik flow of the activities of the mind being bereft of Rājasic and Tāmasic activities and a state of where unintended Vṛttis are not present.|
|4||Pradīpikā||steadiness of the mind (citta-sthairya) till the attainment of discriminative knowledge (viveka-paryanta)|
|5||Bhāsvatī||There are two sthitis. i) Mukhya-sthiti - primary state – absolute absence of all vṛttis ii) Tadanukūla sthiti (conducive state)- Ekāgratā - a (lower) state conducive to the attainment of primary state.|
Source: Mahadevan J. Sthiti and Yatna in the abhyāsa of Yoga: A textual study based on 15 Saṃskṛta commentaries of Yogasūtra. Yoga Mimamsa 2021;53:122-8
2) विषयवती वा प्रवृत्तिरुत्पन्ना मनसः स्थितिनिबन्धनी ॥ १.३५ ॥
viṣayavatī vā pravṛttirutpannā manasaḥ sthitinibandhanī .. 1.35 .. – This Sūtra describes a Yogic method called viṣayavatī pravṛtti by which the sthiti – or stability of the mind shall be ensured in the object of focus. Here the word Sthiti refers to non-distracted, stable, steady state of mind. This is agreed by most commentators.
3) प्रकाशक्रियास्थितिशीलं भूतेन्द्रियात्मकं भोगापवर्गार्थं दृश्यम् ॥ २.१८ ॥
prakāśakriyāsthitiśīlaṃ bhūtendriyātmakaṃ bhogāpavargārthaṃ dṛśyam .. 2.18 .. – This Sūtra describes the dṛśya – the object seen by the consciousness. This kind of seen object exhibits three qualities – prakāśa – light/knowledge, kriyā - action and sthiti-absence of movement/inertia. The commentators note that these three attributes are expression of the three Guṇas namely Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
There are five occurrences of the term sthiti and its close derivatives in Bhagavadgītā.
1) एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति ।
स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति ॥ २.७२ ॥
eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ pārtha naināṃ prāpya vimuhyati .
sthitvāsyāmantakāle'pi brahmanirvāṇamṛcchati .. 2.72 .. – This is the last verse in the second chapter. The word sthiti – is used to denote state and it has an adjective – brāhmī – associate to Brahman.
Ācārya Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda describes brāhmī sthitiḥ as ब्रह्मरूपेणैव अवस्थानम् brahmarūpeṇaiva avasthānam - to be established in the form of Brahman itself- which is attained by control of the senses and by becoming sthita-prajña.
2) योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन ।
एतस्याहं न पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिं स्थिराम् ॥ ६.३३ ॥
yo'yaṃ yogastvayā proktaḥ sāmyena madhusūdana .
etasyāhaṃ na paśyāmi cañcalatvāt sthitiṃ sthirām .. 6.33 .. – These are the words of Arjuna in the sixth chapter. Here he doubts that whether the teachings of Kṛṣṇa on meditation can be followed at all. He feels that the Yoga taught by Kṛṣṇa is difficult to follow because – he says “as I do not see the stable state (sthitiṃ sthirām) because it is fickle”.
3) अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः ।
दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ॥ १६. १ ॥
abhayaṃ sattvasaṃśuddhirjñānayogavyavasthitiḥ .
dānaṃ damaśca yajñaśca svādhyāyastapa ārjavam .. 16. 1 .. – this is the first verse of the 16th Chapter on divine and demonic qualities. Here, the first verse describes the divine qualities. Among them the expression jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ is also found. Vyavasthiti – is an associated term of sthiti, which is now being explored. Ācārya Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda while commenting upon the this expression states that - ज्ञानं शास्त्रतः आचार्यतश्च आत्मादिपदार्थानाम् अवगमः, अवगतानाम् इन्द्रियाद्युपसंहारेण एकाग्रतया स्वात्मसंवेद्यतापादनं योगः, तयोः ज्ञानयोगयोः व्यवस्थितिः व्यवस्थानं तन्निष्ठता -jñānaṃ śāstrataḥ ācāryataśca ātmādipadārthānām avagamaḥ, avagatānām indriyādyupasaṃhāreṇa ekāgratayā svātmasaṃvedyatāpādanaṃ yogaḥ, tayoḥ jñānayogayoḥ vyavasthitiḥ vyavasthānaṃ tanniṣṭhatā
Knowledge – Jñāna - refers to the knowledge about Ātman and associated principles attained from the śāstratas and the Ācārya. Yoga refers to making those principles self-evident by single pointed focus. Vyavasthiti – refers to being committed and dedicated to such cause of Jñāna and Yoga. It very interesting to note that by addition of the prefixes vi and ava – the meaning expression sthiti – becomes being dedicated.
4) तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि ॥ १६.२४ ॥
tasmācchāstraṃ pramāṇaṃ te kāryākāryavyavasthitau .
jñātvā śāstravidhānoktaṃ karma kartumihārhasi .. 16.24 .. – As earlier, the word Vyavasthiti is used. Interestingly the word Vyavasthiti means discernment. From the context of the verse it could be seen that - Vyavasthiti – refers to discernment of what has to be done and what to be avoided. Ācārya Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda comments upon the word Vyavasthiti as vyavasthā – just a synonym of the same expression.
5) यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सदिति चोच्यते ।
कर्म चैव तदर्थीयं सदित्येवाभिधीयते ॥ १७. २७ ॥
yajñe tapasi dāne ca sthitiḥ saditi cocyate .
karma caiva tadarthīyaṃ sadityevābhidhīyate .. 17. 27 .. – Here the word Sthiti indicates being rooted. Being root in the practice of Yajña, tapas and dāna are term as Sat – noble. Though Ācārya Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda does not comment upon the word Sthiti here, this meaning emerges contextually.
There is just one occurrence of sthiti in this text. It is as follows -
राजयोगस्य माहात्म्यं को वा जानाति तत्त्वतः ।
ज्ञानं मुक्तिः स्थितिः सिद्धिः गुरुवाक्येन लभ्यते ॥ ४.८ ॥
rājayogasya māhātmyaṃ ko vā jānāti tattvataḥ .
jñānaṃ muktiḥ sthitiḥ siddhiḥ guruvākyena labhyate .. 4.8 .. - This verse from the fourth chapter and it states about the greatness of Rājayoga. Jñāna, mukti and sthiti which are all part of Rājayoga are attained by the words of the Guru.
In this context the word sthiti has been explained by the Jyotsnā commentary as - स्थितिः निर्विकारस्वरूपावस्थितिरूपा- sthitiḥ nirvikārasvarūpāvasthitirūpā – the unchanging establishment (of the mind) in the true nature of consciousness.
Tabulation of Textual References 8.1
|Chapter 1 Sūtras 13, 35
Chapter 2 Sūtra 18
|Chapter 2 Verse 72
Chapter 6 Verse 33
Chapter 16 Verse 1
Chapter 16 Verse 24
Chapter 17 Verse 27
|Chapter 4 Verse 8|
The etymological meaning conveys absence of movement or change. In the Yogic context this word assumes various connotations
1) Sthiti - depending upon the context of usage may point to - non flickering, non-fluctuating nature of the mind which can either be single pointed focus or establishment in the true nature of the consciousness. Especially the word sthiti with the adjective Brahmī, in the Bhagavadgītā, indicates being established in the nature of Brahman itself. Haṭhayogapradīpikā also agrees with the meaning of unchanging establishment of the mind in the form of the consciousness.
2) sthiti – lack of movement in the senses and the elements –points to expression of Tamas in them.
3) Sthiti, contextually, also points to be meaning being rooted (in practice of Yajña, Dāna & Tapas).
4) The word sthiti with prefixes vi and ava again gains two meanings contextually – dedication and discernment
Thus these various shades of meanings of the mere word sthiti, with adjectives and prefixes points the significance of the term and also underlines the care that needs to be taken in interpreting and imparting it in the context of Yoga. This activity of śabdayoga has been useful in bringing out these various shades of meanings.
Archive of previous Śabdayoga Entries - https://yoga-words-demystified.blogspot.com/2022/01/sabda-yoga-language-of-yoga-demystified.html
Video Explanation of Śabdayoga (Playlist) - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHwsf77PLjWvmryW-f0z2hLAHmzaRbKnX
- 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/