"vibhuti" = Attainments are super and / or subtle powers which are attained by the practice of Yoga. As per dictionary meaning it is prosperity, so by which various type of prosperities are achieved, is called attainment. There is a mention of attainments in Vedas. This word is used in 7 hymns of Rigveda, 3 hymns of Atharvaveda and 1 hymn of Samaveda.
Swami Dayanand had given the following meanings in his commentary on Rigveda —
vibhutayaH :- Various kind of wealths = prosperities (Rigveda 1.166.11);
Various worldly prosperities = glories (Rigveda 1.8.9);
vibhutim :- Eminent glories = prosperities (Rigveda 6.17.4);
vibhutiH :- Various prosperities (Rigveda 1.30.5);
So various and eminent glories = prosperities are called as attainments.
In the same way other commentators had given the following meanings —
vibhutiH :- Giving prosperity or full of prosperity (Samveda 1600);
vibhutayaH :- Prosperity (Atharvaveda 20.60.5 and 20.71.5);
vibhutiH :- Prosperity (Atharvaveda 20.45.2)
In the same way in Prashana-UpaniShada while replying to devotee Satyakaama, seer Pippalaada said — "sa somaloke vibhutim-anubhuuya punaraavarttate" (Prashana 5.4) i.e. the devotee experience various type of prosperities = glories = pleasures in Somaloka and take birth on the earth again as per his vehicle of actions.
As per seer Patanjali, devotee achieves various type of attainments = prosperities by performing Sanyama on different subjects / object, which are explained in aphorism 3.16 to 3.51 in this chapter.
So as per above testimonies attainments are clearly accepted in Vedas and upaniShadas. But "what is the form of attainments?", in this regard various type of misconception are there, due to non-study of Vedas and vedic literature and non-performance of Yoga. After Bhoja, various commentators had propagated false form of attainments on the basis of their little knowledge of Vedic scriptures. With the result the common people, due to their nescience, had accepted the wrong conceptions. Here our effort is to give the true form of various attainments in this commentary, on the basis of Vedas and vedic scriptures.
The attainments prescribed in this scripture can be divided into two categories — attainments of knowledge and attainments of action.
1. Attainment of knowledge are those attainments where devotee get specialized knowledge by performing Sanyama on a particular subject or object. The application of knowledge, so achieved, can be used in practical life after attaining that knowledge. Out of the above, knowledge of some attainment is used primarily in the practical life, and in other cases it is used as secondary knowledge.
2. Attainment of action are those attainments where attainment is related with the practical life of the devotee. Such attainments are achieved and experienced only after complying the practical part of Sanyama, as prescribed.
Most of attainments explained from aphorism 3.16 to 3.32 are the attainment of knowledge. Wherever there is dominance of action in these attainments, those are to be considered as attainment of action, such as - knowledge of previous life-states in 3.18, disappearance in 3.21, power of friendliness in 3.23, power of elephant in 3.24, and cessation of thrust and hunger in 3.30 are to be considered as attainment of action. The knowledge of Soul takes place in practice only, as explained in 3.35. After the knowledge of Soul there is attainment of pre-science in 3.36 and in this aphorism other attainments of higher hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell are attainments of action only. In the same way the practical part of the following attainments is to be known is the following way —
3.38 Entry in the another body;
3.39 Remaining contact-less in the places of water, mud, thorn etc;
3.40 Effulgence in the body;
3.41 Achievement of subtle hearing power;
3.42 Movement in sky;
3.43 Destruction of veils of knowledge;
3.44-46 Manifestation of power of attenuation etc. and perfection of body by mastery over gross elements;
3.47-48 Powers of quickness as of mind, un-instrumental perception and mastery over nature by mastery of sensations;
3.49 Becoming the lord of existing substances, and having the real knowledge of all the objects.
None of the above attainments can be said as attainment of knowledge; on the other hand there is direct and prime relation with the practical life of the yogi. Experience of attainment of actions cannot be merely explained in words, since these attainments are mainly related with some acts. With regard to experience of these attainments of actions, it not possible to interpret certainly merely on the basis of verbal testimony; and in the same way it is not possible to deny these attainment merely by argument.
Topic of attainments is started from aphorism 3.16. Seer Patanjali had explained various attainments which are attained by Sanyama over various objects / subjects, and seer Vyaasa had given detailed explanation of these attainments in his commentary. In order to understand the real form and meaning of these attainments the followings are to be kept in mind —
1. Whatever words are used for the attainment, one should remain strict to those words and their meanings only.
2. One should not use the conception of "arthaapatti" while explaining the attainment. The conception of arthaapatti is meant to know something which is not directly said. As someone said that "there will be no rain when clouds are not there". From this statement it is also known that it will rain when the clouds will be there in the sky, this is arthaapatti. But it cannot be certainly said that whenever the clouds are there in the sky, then it will rain; since it may or may not rain due to some other atmospherical reasons. The conception of arthaapatti is inferential cognition = perception, as per Philosophy of Nyaaya (aphorism 2.2.2). On the other hand attainments are the subject of direct cognition = perception, and inferential cognition is based on direct cognition. So the devotee who had not done direct cognition of a particular attainment, then use of verbal testimony or inferential cognition, by him, cannot be proper for denial of that attainment. So any commentator who wants to deny any attainment merely basing of his verbal knowledge or inference or want to establish the attainment in other meaning or form, then that type of establishment should not be acceptable as of scriptures. So while explaining the attainments the interpretation should be as per direct cognition, and if experience by direct cognition is not attained in particular subject, then the explanation should be based on the verbal testimony of Vedas and Vedic literature only.
3. As we have already said in the preface to this book, that we have to understand the philosophy of Yoga, by ignoring the references given in the 18 Puranas which are said to be written by seer Vyaasa, otherwise we will remain in ignorance by accepting the wrong and impossible conceptions in the name of attainments. By giving the meaning basing on the conceptions which are against the principle of Vedas, we will remain away from the real form of attainments. In this regard we believe that the writers of 18 Puranas had imagined impossible history on the various concepts and historical references given by Vyaasa in his commentary, and with the result these references and subjects became popular in that way only. So we have to remain away from the conceptions given in 18 Puranas in this regard. Similarly the commentaries which are based on these scriptures should also be avoided just like the food mixed up with poison.
4. The knowledge cognized in case of some attainments is not in prospective of this earth, but is in the wider prospective of universe. That should be understood in the same way. Details of such attainments will be given in the respective aphorism.
5. As per "yogaH chittavritti nirodhaH" 1.2; "tadaa draShTuH svaruupe-avasthaanam" 1.3; and "puruShaarthashuunyaanaam guNaanaam pratiprasavaH kaivalyam svaruupa-pratiShThaa vaa chitishaktiH-iti" 4.34; Yoga is restraint of modifications of mind; thereby the devotee exists in his own form; and position of such achievement is explained in last aphorism 4.34. For attaining the above target there is no importance of any attainment which is achieved by Sanyama on a particular subject / object. Seer Vyaasa had clearly said in aphorism 3.55 that for achieving salvation, it is not necessary to have the attainments of Yoga. Seer Patanjali also said in aphorism 3.37 that the attainments are obstacles to trance. Without bringing the afflictions in the burnt-up seeds state, Soul can exist in his own form. So attainments are not necessary for achieving the ultimate target of salvation. In fact many of the attainments are obstacles to achieve the higher states of Cognitive Trance, and other in Ultra-cognitive Trance.
6. Swami Dayanand Saraswati had not accepted any type of post-age scripture mixing in the philosophy of Yoga. In this regard the following reference, from his life-story, is to be seen—
Question :- Whether the chapter on attainments of Yoga is correct ?
Answer :- Your doubt without any reason. Philosophy of Yoga is totally correct. It is not an imagination of Puranas, but this philosophy is based on action and experience. (Ref page 343 of Shrimad-dayanand-prakaash)
So it is not correct to give the reference of books of Swami Dayanand Saraswati in order to prove any attainment as impossible, under check, or otherwise. By giving the reference of books of Swami Dayanand, we are simply denying the principle of Seer Patanjali and Seer Vyaasa. On the other hand Swami Dayanand accepts authority of seers from Brahma to Jaimini, and he accepted Seer Patanjali (author of Yoga Philosophy) and Seer Vyaasa (Commentator of Yoga aphorisms) as totally authentic on the subject. So whether by taking the conceptions of Swami Dayanand, are we not proving the Seer Patanjali and Seer Vyaasa as anti-principle and anti-vedic-philosopher? Are we not indirectly denying the principle of Swami Dayanand that philosophy of Yoga and Vyaasa commentary are totally correct? So this type of conception of commentators is not correct. We are not in a position to understand the principles of our ancient seers. This is our defect, not of those seers who had explained the principles of Yoga on the basis of Vedic knowledge and experience. So in this regard we have to continuously practice the Yoga with faith, energy, memory, trance and discernment and in this way we will also be able to understand and cognize those principles, there is no other way.
7. There is description of some attainments in Vedas and vedic scriptures; we shall try to give the testimony of these in respective aphorisms.
8. It is not proper to accept the achievement of attainments in the physical body only, the achievement of these are mainly concerned with the Soul and more primarily with subtle body. So some attainments are not possible in the physical body at all i.e. power of attenuation, enlargement etc. In prashnopaniShada there is a mention of experience of attainments in the next world (Chandraloka). If this is not accepted, then the attainments by birth, as explained in aphorism 4.1 by seer Patanjali, will not be possibile.
In this regard Swami Dayanand Saraswati very clearly said in Hugali Debate — "sarvaH shthuula iti-anena-ityaadi dehaantaragatasya praapti-tvaat-iti divyayoga deha praapti-tvaat-yogino na tu praakritadehasya maahaatmyam-idam-iti-arthasya jaagaruukatvaat dehaantara." i.e. whatever is achieved by subtle attainment of Yoga, that is possible with that body. It is not possible in normal body of a person who do not perform yoga. In this debate he further said that - " .... the yogi who had attained the power of attenuation etc., he achieves that place (loka) wherever he wishes to go. So when he wants to go to pitriloka, he enjoys there by being existing in that state. Since it is said - "tena pitrilokena maheeyate." Similarly he enjoys by roaming in Brahmaloka etc. as per his wish."
It is to be understood that such type of roaming is possible by mind, not by physical body. Yogi enjoys the same state in Ultra-cognitive Trance.
9. Swami Dayanand said, with reference to aphorism 1.35, in Hugali Debate —
"Nowhere it is written to concentrate on external gross objects, since steadiness of mind cannot take place in the objects with parts. And, if it can take place, the minds of people are involved in the spouse, children, property and other affairs of world, but none of the mind is steady and calm."
Hence external objects cannot be the subject of concentration as accepted by the commentators of present age. In this regard the real meaning of popular external objects i.e. Sun, Moon and Dhruva will be explained in the respective aphorisms.
10. There is a conception with regard to attainments of Yoga, that Yogi can achieve these attainments merely on the basis of concentration, meditation and trance of mind, there is no need of any other type of physical activities. This conception is acceptable with regard to attainments of knowledge, but it not proper to accept this with regard to attainments of action. While writing the gist of hymn of Yajurveda 11.2, Swami Dayanand said — "If a man adopts the Yoga and material-science by being tranced in this universe of GOD, and practice the Yoga and material-science with the Illumination of Soul, then how can he not achieve the attainments of Yoga." It is clear from the above that the practice of accessories of Yoga and material science are necessary for achieving the attainments of action. The material science is working knowledge of properties, actions and form of gross objects and its products. It means that if Yogi cognizes the material science by Sanyama in trance, and follows that knowledge in action, then he can achieve the attainments of action, not otherwise. In this regard attainments of powers of attenuation etc. (explained in aphorism 3.45) which are achieved by mastery over gross objects are to be referred. So if the Yogi is not having the capabilities of material science, then he will not be able to achieve such type of attainments.
In this regard life of Lord Krishna is to be seen. He was having attainments of Yoga, and was a Yogi of highest stage, on the other hand he was perfect in the military science = art of war. He was having the weapons of high proficiency with the power of devastating destruction (named as Brahmaastra) which was based on material science and he was having the knowledge of using it and calling it back also. If everything would have been possible by the attainments of Yoga, then what was need to attain the material science and military science?
Somebody had questioned Swami Dayanand Saraswati, during his stay at Ajmer, about the truthfulness of attainments of Yoga. Swami Dayanand first given him testimony and logics for the correctness of attainments of Yoga, then in the end he said - "Do you understand that I am doing such big work without the attainments of Yoga."
In this regard there are some incidents in the life-history of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, which proves some of the attainments. While studying the life-history of Swami Dayanand, we can certainly say that he had achieved the following attainments:-
1. Attainments by practice of Restraints = non-violence, truthfulness, non-theft, continence, and non-avariciousness. (Yoga aphorism 2.35-2.39)
2. Attainments by practice of Observances = cleanliness, contentment, purificatory action, study and surrender to GOD. (Yoga aphorism 2.40-2.45)
3. Attainments with regard to practice of accessories of Posture to Abstraction —
Attainment of Posture (2.47);
Attainment of Regulation of Breath (2.52-53);
Attainment of Abstraction (2.55)
Attainments by performance of Sanyama = concentration, meditation and trance —
4. Knowledge of past and future by three-fold changes of an object (3.16);
5. Knowledge of other's mind by modification of other's mind (3.19);
6. Knowledge of death by the acts of fast-in-fruition and slow-in-fruition (3.22);
7. Power of friendliness etc. (3.23);
8. Power of elephants etc. (3.24);
9. Subtle, imperceptible and expanded knowledge of mind and objects by light of lucid stage of mind (3.25);
10. Knowledge of system of organs by Sanyama over mind (3.27);
11. Knowledge of movement of organs by Sanyama over stable mind (3.28);
12. Knowledge of system of body by Sanyama over plexus of navel (3.29);
13. Absence of hunger and thrust by Sanyama over the pit of throat (3.30);
14. Steadiness by Sanyama on the tortoise tube = nerve (3.31);
15. Ability to get the knowledge of intellectual attainers (3.32);
16. Knowledge of all knowable attainments by pre-science (3.33);
17. Knowledge of mind by Sanyama over heart (3.34);
18. Knowledge of Soul by Sanyama on the notion of own object (3.35);
19. Attainments of higher hearing, touch etc. (3.36);
20. Contact-less-ness in the places of water, mud etc. and ascension at the time of death by mastery over the Udaana (3.39);
21. Attainment of effulgence by mastery over Samaana (3.40);
22. Attainment of posture above the earth level (3.42);
23. Great excorporeal power (3.43);
24. Perfection of body by mastery over gross elements (3.46);
25. Attainments of mastery over senses (3.48);
26. Cognition of distinction between Soul and Mind (3.49); and
27. Knowledge of born-of-discrimination by Sanyama over moments and their succession (3.52).