[Advaita-l] SaptabhUmika - seven stages of Yoga

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue May 4 01:46:27 CDT 2010


Reproduced below is an excerpt from the book 'SrIdakshinamurti stotram'
Vol.I p.702:

6.16.13 SaptabhUmika, seven stages of Yoga:

All this is to be traced to the lingering aspect of the peculiarities in the
vikshepashakti which comes in the way, as it were, of the full enjoyment of
the Bliss of liberation, inspite of its direct realization.  Hence it is
that Sri Vidyaranyacharana instructs the pracice of the four stages of
samadhi of the knowers of Brahman namely, Brahmavid, etc., which are the
last four of the seven stages of yoga enumerated by sage Vasistha -

1. ardour, 2. the spirit of enquiry, 3. attenuation, 4. attainment of
sattva, 5. indifference, 6. obliviion and 7. transcendence (of the previous

'Why do I stand thus steeped in ignorance? Let me call to aid Shastra and
the wise' - such a desire, arising from a deep sense of dispassion, is
called 'ardour' by the wise.  The 'spirit of enquiry' consists of the
constant application of the mind in search of Brahman, the Existent,
resulting from the study of Shastra, the company of the wise and practice of
dispassion.  The wearing away to almost imperceptible thinness, of the
attachment to sense objects, resulting from 'ardour' and 'spirit of enquiry'
is called 'attenuation.'  With constant application to these three stages,
the mind attains purity and turns away from sense objects and rests in pure
sattva in the fourth plane called, therefore, as the 'attainment of
sattva'.  As a result of the virtues practiced in these four stages, comes
the fifth called 'indifference' in which detachment and the glorious gift of
confirmed sattva are predominant.  On the perfection of these five stages,
results the sixth called 'padArthAbhaavini' - 'oblivion' in which there is
total absence of the consciousness of all objects, external and internal,
because of deep absorption in the Bliss of Atman, when, owing to the
persistent efforts of others, arousal from samadhi is occasioned.  As a
result of long practice of these six stages, he perceives no duality and
abides in Self alone and is said to have reached the seventh stage called

...(A jñànin involved in worldly activities is referred to as a brahmavid.
If a jñànin has the practice of going into
nirvikalpa-samàdhi and coming out of it on his own, he is a brahmavidvara.
If he can be awakened from nirvikalpasamàdhi only by the efforts of others,
he is a brahmavidvaräyàn. A brahmavidvariShTha is one who never emerges from
nirvikalpa-samàdhi.) Of these, the first three are comparable to the waking
state since the objective world is then believed to be real.  The one in the
fourth stage looks upon the world as a dream since the world has been
sublated by jnana and has only an illusory appearance because of past
impressions, as in a dream.  The fifth is like dreamless sleep.  The sixth
is like very profound sleep, there being then the awareness of neither
duality nor identity...Some are of the opinion that disembodied liberation,
videhakaivalya, is itself the seventh.

साधनचतुटयसंपत्तिः प्रथमा । सन्न्यासपूर्वकश्रवणसिद्धिर्द्वितीया ।
मनननिदिध्याससंपत् तृतीया । साक्षत्कारश्चतुर्थी । निर्विकल्पकसमाधेः स्वत एव
नियतकालमुत्थाने पञ्चमी । पार्श्वस्थबोधनेन युत्थाने षष्ठी । स्वतः परतोऽपि
चिरमनुत्थाते सप्तमीति निष्कर्षः ।  ......चतुर्थी तु
*ज्ञानबाधितप्रपञ्चस्य *स्वप्न
इव *संस्कारमात्रेण *मिथ्याभूतस्य भानात् स्वप्न इति ।  पञ्चमी सुषुप्तिरिति ।
षष्ठी गाढसुषुप्तिरिति ....(YV 3.118.8 to 15 in the svAraajyasiddhi 3.11

These seven stages are again referred to in chapter 120 of the Yogavasishtha
pUrvArdha of NirvANaprakaraNa.

This sentence above:

......चतुर्थी तु *ज्ञानबाधितप्रपञ्चस्य* स्वप्न इव *संस्कारमात्रेण*
*भानात् स्वप्न इति  is so reminiscent of the bhashyavaakya in the BSB

*बाधिमपि तु मिथ्याज्ञानं* कञ्चित्कालं *संस्कारवशात् *द्विचन्द्रज्ञानवत्
अनुवर्तते ।

Om Tat Sat

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