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Yoga Sutras: 1.3 The Seer abiding in Itself

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.3: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.3 (Useful graphics are shown at this link along with text) YOGA SUTRA 1.3: Then the Seer
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2005
      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.3:
      (Useful graphics are shown at this link along with text)

      YOGA SUTRA 1.3: Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own
      True Nature, which is called Self-realization.
      (tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam)

      TADA = then, at that time; at the time of concentration and meditation

      DRASHTUH = the seer's, of the soul, witness, Atman, Self; from the
      root drsh, which means to see (It is significant to note that
      Patanjali is not trying to define who is the seer, or the nature of
      that seer. This is left to be answered or resolved in direct

      SVARUPE = in its own nature, own form or essence; (sva = own; rupa =

      AVASTHANAM = stability, settling, remaining, being in a state,
      resting, standing, lying, abiding; the root stha means to stand

      THEN THE SELF STANDS ALONE: As a result of having done the process of
      nirodhah, described in the last sutra, the true Self stands alone,
      unencumbered by our many false identities (described in the next
      sutra). This standing alone process is why the phrase Self-
      realization uses the word realization, rather than a word like
      attainment. The process is not one of attaining something we do not
      have, but rather is one of removing the clouds, so as to see the
      light that is already there.

      The wave forgets the truth that it is ocean,
      thinking itself to be the grand shape,
      which it has temporarily taken.

      For a while, it takes on the rupa (form) of wave.
      Finally, it remembers its true rupa (form) of ocean.

      The two coexist, though one is true, and the
      other, though beautiful, is only relatively true.

      So too, we humans forget our true nature,
      but, through yoga, can remember.

      AWARENESS REMAINS UNCHANGED: In deep meditation, you come to see that
      while the thought patterns shift here and there, ever changing their
      shape, the way that the waves on the ocean keep shifting, the
      awareness itself never changes. There is a constant, ever flowing,
      ever being awareness that simply is, that observes or witnesses. In
      meditation, this same truth is realized over and over, as layer after
      layer, level after level of mental process is revealed and seen to be
      like the deeper shifting of the ocean waves. The awareness itself
      remains unchanged, and will become clearer and clearer as the center
      of consciousness that stands alone, though part of all the levels it

      THE SEER: The word drastuh means seer or witness. The word seer does
      not give you a theological or metaphysical description or definition
      of who you are. This is one of the beautiful qualities of Yoga and
      the Yoga Sutras. There is nothing in the word seer to believe or not
      believe. By saying that the seer rests in its true nature after
      transcending the many forms of thought patterns in the mind field
      (1.3), one can simply do the purifying practices and personally
      experience the results. In English translations, the word drashtuh is
      often given meanings such as Self, Soul, or Atman (such as in the
      translations above). This provides some clarity or speculation of the
      nature of this seer, but it is useful to remember that Patanjali is
      not actually telling you what is the nature of your true self, but
      that the seer will be experienced in itself, in its true nature,
      whatever or however that is ultimately experienced and described by
      each person.

      EXPERIENCING THE SEER IN ITS OWN NATURE: Similarly, the word svarupe
      means in its own nature. Here also, Patanjali is not giving a
      definition of your true nature. Once again, there is nothing to
      believe or not believe. Through practice and non-attachment (1.12-
      1.16) and transcending the many mistaken identities (1.4, 2.5), you
      come to the direct experience of your own nature. Yet, most of us are
      curious and want to hear or read about the descriptions of this true
      nature, leading us to speak of, and to describe Self, Soul, or Atman,
      etc.. While we use, describe, and discuss these terms it is, again,
      most useful to keep in mind that Yoga actually refers to it simply as
      the seer, which is resting in its true nature, allowing direct
      experience to reveal what this is.

      PURUSHA AND PRAKRITI: The process of realization through Yoga rests
      on the discovery of pure consciousness (purusha) as separate from all
      the many false identities, which are considered to be evolutes of
      primal matter (prakriti). These principles of purusha and prakriti
      are part of the philosophical system known as Sankhya. Yoga and
      Sankhya are two of the six systems of Indian philosophy.


      Six Schools of Indian Philosophy

      Prakriti and Its Evolutes: Returning to Self-Realization

      Yoga rests on discriminating between Purusha and the false identities
      of Prakriti. While this process of discrimination permeates the whole
      of the Yoga Sutras, the following three clusters of sutras will
      clarify the way discrimination relates to practices and realization:

      The 8 rungs and discrimination (2.26-2.29)

      Higher discrimination (3.53-2.56)

      Buddhi and liberation (4.22-4.26)
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