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Yoga Sutras 1.16: Non-attachment to the subtlest elements

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.16: Yoga Sutras 1.16: Non-attachment to the subtlest elements http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm#1.16 See also the article on
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2005
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      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.16:
      Yoga Sutras 1.16: Non-attachment to the subtlest elements
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm#1.16

      See also the article on Sankhya, Yoga, and Prakriti:
      http://www.swamij.com/prakriti-purusha-sankhya.htm

      YOGA SUTRA 1.16: Indifference to the subtlest elements, constituent
      principles, or qualities themselves (gunas), achieved through a
      knowledge of the nature of pure consciousness (purusha), is called
      supreme non-attachment (paravairagya).
      (tat param purusha khyateh guna vaitrshnyam)

      TAT = that

      PARAM = is higher, superior, supreme, transcendent

      PURUSHA = pure consciousness, Self

      KHYATEH = through knowledge, vision, discernment

      GUNA = elements, prime qualities, constituents, attributes; (three
      gunas of sattvas, rajas, tamas)

      VAITRSHNYAM = state of freedom from desire or craving (for the gunas)

      NON-ATTACHMENT TO THE BUILDING BLOCKS: Sutra 1.15 describes non-
      attachment; it is a process that evolves progressively as practice
      deepens. Eventually it leads to a supreme non-attachment, which is
      described here. Paravairagya means there is non-attachment even in
      relation to the most fundamental building blocks of all
      manifestation. This level of non-attachment comes through the direct
      experience of pure consciousness or purusha (3.56).

      THREE LEVELS OF NON-ATTACHMENT: We can think of this as a systematic
      process of developing non-attachment (vairagya) at three levels:

      1) GROSS WORLD: There are many objects of our daily lives for which
      our mental impressions are colored with various degrees of attraction
      or aversion. This is the first level of developing freedom from those
      bondages and experiencing of greater inner peace.

      2) EVERYTHING BETWEEN: There are many types of objects between the
      levels of the gross world and the subtlest building blocks. After the
      mind is stabilized (1.33-1.39), these subtler levels are explored and
      set aside with non-attachment and discrimination. This includes, for
      example, meditation and non-attachment to pranic energy (3.40), the
      five elements (3.45), the senses (3.49), and the subtler aspects of
      mind (3.50).

      3) SUBTLEST BUILDING BLOCKS: These are the three primal elements
      (gunas) that are addressed in this current sutra. The idea is that
      the yogi becomes non-attached even to the subtlest building blocks
      (paravairagya).

      ANALAGOUS TO FREEDOM FROM ATOMIC PARTICLES: This concept of levels
      may seem foreign, but we are all accustomed to this in our world. If
      we compare this to only the physical universe, it would be somewhat
      like becoming non-attached to protons, electrons, and neutrons, which
      are the particles that form atoms. Notice how the physical universe
      is also constructed in levels or layers:

      -Particles (protons, electrons, neutrons)
      -Atoms
      -Molecules
      -Compounds
      -Objects

      Imagine that you were free from attachment and aversion to the
      particles (protons, electrons, and neutrons). Then (in our metaphor)
      you would be free from attachment and aversion to all of its evolutes
      as well, including, molecules, compounds, and all of the physical
      objects of the world.

      SUPREME NON-ATTACHMENT: Similarly, this is the suggestion of supreme
      non-attachment (paravairagya) to the gunas, the three primal elements
      that the yogis speak of as the prime constituents of the manifest and
      unmanifest matter (prakriti). Non-attachment to the gunas includes
      non-attachment in relation to not only the gross world, but also the
      entire subtle, psychic, astral plane, as well as the causal out of
      which they arise.

      PARAVAIRAGYA COMES AFTER SELF-REALIZATION: On a practical level, this
      is not to say that we must attain the paravairagya level to attain
      direct experience of the center of consciousness (purusha). Rather,
      it is describing where non-attachment ultimately leads once you have
      the tool of samadhi and direct experience.
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