We were studying sutra 1/15 regarding asceticism. Here Patanjali Rishi says that “Anushravik Vishya” are pertaining to those, which took place in the past in respect of life of ancient Rishis/Munis. The merriments of next birth mentioned in Vedas, the next top class birth, full with every assets and enjoyment, over lasting pleasure of final liberation and the perfection of Yoga’s achievement. Vyas Muni says about this Vishyaya (subject) matters) becomes undesirous then this stage is called fully controlled asceticism of an aspirant. Let us learn about ‘Anushravik Vishaya’.

Our ancient Munis like Vyas, Agastya, Atri, Shringi, etc. attained the stage of ‘Asampragyat Samadhi’. Those Rishis were worshipped by the then kings, queens, their daughters, sons and even by the public. Rishis like Gargi, Yagyavalka, Shatananda and Vamdev, etc. used to live in the palace also. Yagyavalka Rishi had two wives and so many Rishis had even more. So the knowledge being given in the sutra is that if the aspirant or a saint of the present time starts quoting the said reference of the Rishis, Munis with the intention that they should also get the merriment in the same manner of the ancient Rishis then this thinking comes under ‘Anushravik Vishya’ and so-called saints/aspirants of the present time are wasting their lives and life of the public, being arrogant. We should also know here that in addition a present saint or aspirant are comparing them with the ancient Rishis who were having the complete knowledge of four Vedas and yoga philosophy in experience whereas the present saints/aspirants are very few who are so. In this asceticism, the materialistic merriment is also included. So, according this sutra, no saints or aspirants must collect the materialistic articles to become a true yogi. The next sutra tells about the supernatural asceticism:

Tata Parmam Purushkhya Ter Gun Vaitrishnayam (1/16)

(Tata) that (Param) is the highest asceticism which comes (Purushkhyatehe) after realizing the knowledge of God and the aspirant (Gunvaitrishnayam) becomes undesirous from the qualities of Prakriti.

Meaning = when the aspirant becomes ascetic, mentioned in the sutra 1/15 and he is even going to practise Ashtang Yoga, study of holy books like Veda, shastras, does auspicious deeds with full faith and without disturbances and break, then he gets the full knowledge about the Almighty God. Due to this effect of realizing Almighty God, he is detached with the qualities of Prakriti (i.e. Rajo, Tamo, Sato qualities). In the Yoga Shastra, this is called Parvairagya i.e. the highest stage of asceticism. Here a story of Mahabharata is remembered –

There was a king named Nahush. Once he prayed Rishi Chayvan to pay his visit to his palace. The king served the Rishi at his level best. But still the king could not make the Rishi happy. Even once the Rishi Chayvan left the palace without telling anybody else, for his Ashram. In the morning when the king and the queen came to know about the Rishi, they both followed the path to the Rishi’s Ashram. After a long distance they saw a very beautiful palace, full with all assets and all materialistic merriment, including sensuality, etc. For a second, king and queen were astonished but after looking every article of the palace and leaving it, they reached to Rishi Chayvan’s Ashram. They got down on the feet of Rishi and prayed to become happy with them and to shower blessings. When the Rishi pleased and showered blessings on them, then in a pleasant mood, the queen requested with folded hands to Rishi to tell about the enchanted palace in the jungle. Chayvan Rishi smiled and told that the enchanted palace was made by him with Yogic illusion for the king and his queen. Chayvan Rishi further added that he (Chavyan Rishi) thought that both, the king and his queen, will become entangled in the illusion of materialistic attractive articles and thus king and queen will be ruined. But Chayvan Rishi was surprised that neither king nor queen were entangled with the enchanted palace. After all, Rishi had too blessed king and the queen both. King requested the Rishi to make his family a Brahmin one. But in return the Rishi blessed that the king and his son will not be Brahmins, but his son’s son will first become Rajrishi and thereafter he will be turned as a Brahmin. And everybody knows that Rishi Vishwamitra was born in Kshatriya family and was a king. After sometime, he left for jungle, did the highest Ashtang Yoga practice, studied Vedas and became a Rishi. So this all was possible only de to asceticism of Rishi Vishwamitra’s forefathers. Here Vyas Muni comments on this sutra that whatever we see or hear, if we feel the faults/sins/damage about listening and hearing then we will be an ascetic. Actually what happens that the scene we see and the talk we listen gives us enjoyment of materialistic world and we always are indulged through eye, ear, skin, nose and tongue to see, listen, feel, smell and taste about the worldly affairs. Due to lack of Vedic preach or practice of Yoga philosophy, we do not realize the bad effects of all these listening and hearing and that is why we do not leave it. Instead we are indulged more and more in worldly affairs.

We must concentrate on the said great point of Vyas Muni that he is an ascetic who seeks fault/sins in listening and hearing on the materialistic subjects. Nowadays, cinema, TV, backbiting, etc. are the most dangerous activities, which are mostly based in worldly attraction. So one should carefully listen and hear on the matter of faith, truth, Vedas, shastras, Holy Books and even one should seek good or bad from the same. Even until and unless we do not continue practicing Ashtang Yoga and authenticated worship of God including listening of Vedas, Holy Books, etc. then it will be very difficult to determine that what is wrong and what is good. Even to realize the effect of shastra’s preach, it is very difficult to understand. In this sutra also an ascetic has been warned not to plan for pleasure even of the final liberation and enjoyment, whatever our ancient Rishis/Munis had gained and what to talk about materialistic merriment. So will have to realize that even listening the cassette of religious songs or stories to define religion will not meet with success in the matter of truth/worship/control of organs/to continue Ashtang Yoga etc. It will give us only timely pleasure of listening by ears. So the matter of faith/religion/yoga philosophy is deep and vast and requires study of Vedas/shastras and continue practice of Vedas/shastras and continue practice of Yoga philosophy under the supervision of an experienced Yogi who knows all the said system. When the aspiratnt becomes able to realize the fault about listening and hearing, as mentioned above, then he becomes a real ascetic and this is the stage of a Purified Chitta. Thus the practice of realizing Almighty God makes the acetic able to detach him from the effect of qualities of Prakriti (Rajo, Tamo & Sato Gun) and thus the soul attains Par-vairaagya (the highest stage of asceticism). The only soul who has attained the said highest stage of asceticism is only capable to attain the final liberation.