Introduction to Yoga Sutras 2.12-2.25
BREAKING THE ALLIANCE OF KARMA
DISCONNECTING THE SEER AND SEEN:
The key to breaking the cycle of karma is that the connection
between "seer" and that which is "seen" is set aside (2.17). This
allows one to avoid even the future karmas that have not yet
manifested (2.16). Ignorance, or avidya (2.5), is the cause of this
alliance (2.24), and eliminating this ignorance is the means of
ending the alliance (2.25). This, in turn, breaks the cycle of karma.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE COLORINGS:
The colorings (1.5, 2.3)(klishta/aklishta) lead to birth, span of
life, and experiences (2.13). These are painful or not painful
(2.14), though the yogi comes to see them all as painful (2.15), and
thus wants to avoid these (2.16).
See also this article on klishta/aklishta
THE SUBTLER PROCESS OF BREAKING THE ALLIANCE:
Descriptions of the nature of the objects are given (2.18), along
with the subtle states of the elements (2.19), and explanation of how
the seer cognizes them (2.20). It is explained that the objects exist
for the benefit of the seer (2.21), and that they cease to exist when
one knows their true nature (2.22), though continuing to be
experienced by others. Even so, it is explained, the relationship
between seer and seen had to be there, so that the seer could
eventually experience the subtler truth (2.23).
The ability to break the alliance with karma as described in sutras
2.12-2.25 is built on a foundation of prerequisites, including
stabilizing the mind (1.33-1.39) and minimizing the gross colorings
(kleshas) of the mind (2.1-2.9).
KEY IS DISCRIMINATIVE KNOWLEDGE:
The eight rungs of Yoga and discriminative knowledge are the key
tools in this process, and are described in the next section (2.26-
SUMMARY OF YOGA SUTRAS 2.12-2.25 ON BREAKING THE ALLIANCE OF KARMA:
Latent impressions that are colored (karmashaya) result from other
actions (karmas) that were brought about by colorings (kleshas), and
become active and experienced in a current life or a future life. As
long as those colorings (kleshas) remains at the root, three
consequences are produced: 1) birth, 2) span of life, and 3)
experiences in that life. Because of having the nature of merits or
demerits (virtue or vice), these three (birth, span of life, and
experiences) may be experienced as either pleasure or pain.
A wise, discriminating person sees all worldly experiences as
painful, because of reasoning that all these experiences lead to more
consequences, anxiety, and deep habits (samskaras), as well as acting
in opposition to the natural qualities. Because the worldly
experiences are seen as painful, it is the pain, which is yet to come
that is to be avoided and discarded.
The uniting of the seer (the subject, or experiencer) with the seen
(the object, or that which is experienced) is the cause or connection
to be avoided.
The objects (or knowables) are by their nature of: 1) illumination or
sentience, 2) activity or mutability, or 3) inertia or stasis; they
consist of the elements and the powers of the senses, and exist for
the purpose of experiencing the world and for liberation or
enlightenment. There are four states of the elements (gunas), and
these are: 1) diversified, specialized, or particularized (vishesha),
2) undiversified, unspecialized, or unparticularized (avishesha), 3)
indicator-only, undifferentiated phenomenal, or marked only (linga-
matra), and 4) without indicator, noumenal, or without mark
The Seer is but the force of seeing itself, appearing to see or
experience that which is presented as a cognitive principle. The
essence or nature of the knowable objects exists only to serve as the
objective field for pure consciousness. Although knowable objects
cease to exist in relation to one who has experienced their
fundamental, formless true nature, the appearance of the knowable
objects is not destroyed, for their existence continues to be shared
by others who are still observing them in their grosser forms.
Having an alliance, or relationship between objects and the Self is
the necessary means by which there can subsequently be realization of
the true nature of those objects by that very Self. Avidya or
ignorance (2.3-2.5), the condition of ignoring, is the underlying
cause that allows this alliance to appear to exist.
By causing a lack of avidya, or ignorance there is then an absence of
the alliance, and this leads to a freedom known as a state of
liberation or enlightenment for the Seer.
SEE ALSO THESE ARTICLES:
Karma and the Sources of Action, Speech, and Thought
Archery and the Art of Reducing Karma
Coordinating the Four Functions of Mind
Uncoloring your Colored Thoughts