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April - June 2024

Works Of Yogi Sadāśiva Brahmendra by Dr. V. Ramakalyani

Sadāśiva Brahmendra is supposed to have written several works but only a few of them are available at present. Brahmasūtravṛtti, titled, Brahmatatva – prakāśa, Yogasūtravṛtti, titled Yogasudhākara and Ātma Vidyā Vilāsa are his most important works. Apart from these, Dīpikās for about a dozen Upaniṣads are believed to be the works of Sadāśiva Brahmendra. He has also composed a number of devotional songs. Sadāśiva’s commentary on Pātañjala Yogasūtras is unique because in the exposition of these terse aphorisms, there is simplicity of style, lucidity of expression and dexterity of reasoning, all with economy of words confined to the very point. ĀtmaVidyā Vilāsa (ĀVV) appears to be a faithful description of Sadāśiva himself. This consists of 62 verses in Āryā meter on the glory of self-realisation. There are popular accounts of the supernatural powers exhibited by Sadāśiva, who was, by no account, practicing Madhupratikā or Viśokā siddhis. His high spiritual attainments can be seen through his poems and vṛttis. Some sample verses are given here (ĀVV.42) :

सन्त्यज्य शास्त्रजालं संव्यवहारं च सर्वतस्त्यक्त्वा ।
आश्रित्य पूर्णपदवीमास्ते निष्कम्पदीपवद्योगी ॥ ४२॥

‘By abandoning the allurement of scriptural injunctions, as well as all occupations of business fully abandoned, by resorting to be on the straight road wholeheartedly, a Yogi becomes as motionless as does a steady lamp.’

Note: Siddhis are attained after mastering the ability to simultaneously sustain concentration, meditation etc.

siddhi marks the fullest mastery of the elements of the senses, a mastery which affords control over the forces of five elements Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Sound, touch, colour, moisture and smell are manifestations of the generic senses. Every substance in this world is a combination of these generic and specific qualities. All these can be controlled by a Yogī and he possesses great psychic powers. He can physically enter into a block of solid stone, he can live under water, fire cannot burn him, wind cannot move him and he can remain invisible. The control of the senses in all these five states leads to super normal powers technically known as Madhupratikā siddhis. A yogī with his senses held in control attains to the power of transporting himself physically to any distance within an instant.

Viśokā is a state of life free from pain, fear and sorrow. It is filled with joy and peace. The ancient yogis called this state as Viśokā siddhi and insisted that with steadfast and highly focused meditation one can achieve it. Patañjali, the author of Yoga śāstra, elaborated on this system of Viśokā, as a state of consciousness where sorrow, fear, anger and doubt do not exist and describes it as a blissful internal Supreme light.

During his time, the majority of the people in Tiruvisalur followed the Vedic injunctions contained in the Pūrva Mīmāmsā. They were performing number of yajñas and they were not prepared to admit the easy way of attaining salvation through the efficacy of B h a gava n n ā m a , w h i c h wa s b e i n g propagated by Bodhendra Sarasvati and Śrīdhara Ayyāvāl. So he says, ‘ by abandoning the allurement of scriptural injunctions’.

तृणपङ्कचर्चिताङ्गस्तृणमिव विश्वं विलोकयन्योगी ।
विहरति रहसि वनान्ते विजरामरभूम्नि विश्रान्तः ॥ (ĀVV.43)

‘Taking rest in the outskirts of the forest and regarding the entire universe as a mere blade of grass, the Yogin, his body smeared with mud and straw, enjoys secret Bliss in regions beyond death and old age’

पश्यति किमपि न रूपं न वदति न श‍ृणोति किञ्चिदपि वचनम् ।
तिष्ठति निरुपमभूमनि निष्ठामवलम्ब्य काष्ठवद्योगी ॥ (ĀVV.44)

‘The Yogin sees nothing; nor does he speak; he does not hear any word that is spoken. He remains steadfast in the incomparable region of bliss, immovable like a log of wood.’

वैराग्यविपुलमार्गं विज्ञानोद्दामदीपिकोद्दीप्तम् ।
आरुह्य तत्त्वहर्म्यं मुक्त्या सह मोदते यतिराट् ॥ (ĀVV.48)

‘The wide road of asceticism kindles internally unbounded knowledge; mounted on the mansion of reality, the ascetic delights with freedom.’

आशावसनो मौनी नैराश्यालङ्कृतः शान्तः ।
करतलभिक्षापात्रस्तरुतलनिलयो मुनिर्जयति ॥ (ĀVV.35)

‘ With hope dispirited but silence maintained, decorated by desirelessness but peace maintained, begging only handful of food, stationed at the foot of a tree, a sage wins. (attains emancipation).’

These show the mind set-up of Sadāśiva Brahmendra and reflect the way in which he led the life of an ascetic. He spent his last days in Nerur in Trichy district. After a long life of silent meditation, he told one day to the people of Nerur that he intended to attain Beatific Union with the Supreme Being on Jyeṣṭa Śuddha Daśamī day in the month of Mithuna and on that day a brahmana would bring a Bāṇaliṅga from Benaras, which would be consecrated in a temple by the side of his samādhi. Everything happened as this jīvanmukta said and the people assembled there, performed the necessary ceremonies when he entered in to the pit dug for his samādhi. Tonḍamāns of Pudukota have made extensive grants for the performance of religious services in the shrine and this continues even today. A perfect control of the mind leads to intellective vision, with potential prospects of the attainment of the highest non-attachment towards worldly things and that paves the way for self- realization and emancipation. Sadāśiva Brahmendra was a perfect Yogī in this respect and his life was exemplary for the philosophy of non-attachment leading to self-realisation and emancipation.

Sadāśiva’s Yoga Sudhākara

Sadāśiva’s commentary and exposition of the science of Yoga conforms strictly to the orthodox lines of exegesis. He says that his is the cream of what was elaborately taught to him by his preceptor. The knowledge of Yoga was traditionally imparted to him and his commentary is based on the experiences of countless mystics and sages of yore, including himself. The first chapter Samādhipāda would serve the purpose of all that is necessary and essential to know about emancipation and strive after it. This would meet the requirements of those who have collected their thoughts in abstract meditation, with devout steadfastness, to accomplish the highest spiritual absorption. He commences with the meaning of atha as ‘ begins . ‘अत्र अथ शब्दः आरrभाथ(‘ः , अथा(‘rमंगलाथ ।’ (Here the word atha means ‘begins’ , also it means ‘auspiciousness’)

Giving the commentary for the Yogasūtra (I.36), ‘ िवशोका वा ‘3योित मती (Free from grief and in luminous state)’, Sadāśiva says ,’अ दल द बुजं रेचके नो व(‘मुखं …’ ( ‘When the mind, having guided the opening upwards of the eight-petal lotus of the heart by means of the practice of recaka (emptying the breath)…’). According to Yogic and Tantric tradition, the anāhata cakra in the heart contains twelve petals. But the view expressed by Sadāśiva is based on the Saiva āgamic texts. This view is supported by the Yoga yājñavālkya which says ‘हृदयपद्मष्टदलोपते…’ (IX.12) and Siddhāntasārāvalī, a wellknown text on Saiva-āgama by Trilocanācārya, expresses the same idea as ,’हृदष्टदलयुक् ‘ (v.119).

The second chapter Sādhanapāda (YS. II.1 – II.27 ) explains the external practice of the expedients of Yoga, in order to show how to motivate and counter the mind that is not fully developed and is still clinging to worldly objects. As he says in the beginning of the second chapter-

The next part (YS.II.28 – III.4 ) gives what is to be practiced by the third category of people who have directionless bent and novice to the science of yoga. The rest of chapter III, Vibhūtipāda, recounts the various accomplishments incidental to spiritual absorption and chapter IV namely Kaivalyapāda, defines emancipation.

Two extra sutras are given in the Vibhūtipāda of Yogasudhākara, making the total number of sūtras as 197, whereas the number of sūtras in other standard texts is 195. In Yogasudhākara, the sūtra (III.22) is एतेन श दा rतधा(‘नमु म्। ‘By this, the disappearance of sound etc., is explained.’

Note : This is not treated as a separate sūtra in Yogasūtram editions of Chaukhambha, Anandashrama Sanskrit Series etc.

In Yogasūtram, the sūtra (III.22) is given as

In Yogasudhākara, this is split in to two as

‘Action is quickly fruit-giving and slowly fruit-giving, from saṃyama whereupon the knowledge of death (is perceived)’ and ‘Or from unfavourable symptoms of approaching death.’

Yoga according to Sadāśiva

Sadāśiva wrote what he practiced what he preached. He says, ‘योगः समाधि:’ (Yoga is spiritual absorption ) and ‘तत्र समाधिर्ि�िवधः सं �Wातोऽसं �WातWेित’ (There the spiritual absorption is of two kinds, cognitive spiritual absorption and anti-cognitive spiritual absorption); ‘सं व�सरैर्ज::rfभर्वा दTर्घकालं योग आसेतoयः’ (For a long time, through years of life time, Yoga should be practiced);  ‘अथ वैरा यं  ि�िवधमपरं  परं  चेित ।

अपरं च यतमानoयितरेकै के यवशीकारभेदेन चतरिवधम’ (Non-attachment is of two kinds: the Lower and the Higher. The Lower is four in kind, differing from each other: subdual of mind, exclusion, confining perception but to one sense organ and controlling)। ‘िवतृ1णfवं वशीकारः'(Freedom from desire is controlling); ‘ममायं  योग एव परपु षार् थसाधनfमित   � यः  ा                        ।          साचोfकर्ष वणेनोपजायत।’ (Faith is the conviction that, for me, Yoga i . e. contemplation, alone is the expedient for accomplishing the highest object of human life, i.e. eternal emancipation. Also faith is born out of hearing the eminence of Yoga.).  The life that was led by Sadāśiva reflects these practices leading to emancipation.