Yoga Sutras 3.17-3.37 Experiences from Samyama
- Yoga Sutras 3.17-3.37 Experiences from Samyama
Setting aside the subtler experiences: There are numerous subtle realm experiences that come to the yogi after the finer tool called samyama (3.4-3.6) becomes available. Each of these, in their own way, is experienced so as to uncover the truth (1.3) behind the false identities (1.4).
The suggestion is to set aside (1.2) as not-self all of the levels of our being and all the levels of discovery, seeing through the avidya or ignorance (2.5) by a process of discrimination (2.26-2.29) and non-attachment (1.15).
Powers or impediments: While some people see the coming of these experiences as powers (siddhis, psychic, or occult abilities) to be sought for furtherance of the ego identity, the true yogi sees these as nothing but the subtler clouds of attraction that are impediments to the realization of the Self. They are encountered, experienced, understood, and set aside (1.2, 3.38).
Reading these sutras on experiences: When reading these sutras, it is important to not feel that you must attain all of these experiences to progress on the path to Self-realization. Remember, these experiences and practices are done with the tool of samadhi, once that skill level is attained.
Seek the highest: There is a myth circulating that to experience the truth you must first be completely, 100% purified, and that is simply not true. First seek the direct experience of the top of the spiritual mountain, and then learn to purify the subtler aspects.
The later housecleaning: Surely there is stabilizing and purifying needed to attain that direct experience, but the final house cleaning is pursued after that realization. For some comfort in this, note that sutra 4.27-4.28 gives instructions on dealing with breaches in enlightenment. It means that one is not expected to have completed the process of purifying karma before realization of the highest, and that is good news for aspirants.
3.17 The name associated with an object, the object itself implied by that name, and the conceptual existence of the object, all three usually interpenetrate or commingle with one another. By samyama on the distinction between these three, the meaning of the sounds made by all beings becomes available.
3.18 Through the direct perception of the latent impressions (samskaras) comes the knowledge of previous incarnations.
3.19 By samyama on the notions or presented ideas comes knowledge of another's mind.
3.20 But the underlying support of that knowledge (of the other persons mind, in 3.19) remains unperceived or out of reach.
3.21 When samyama is done on the form of one's own physical body, the illumination or visual characteristic of the body is suspended, and is thus invisible to other people.
3.22 In the same way as described in relation to sight (3.21), one is able to suspend the ability of the body to be heard, touched, tasted, or smelled.
3.23 Karma is of two kinds, either fast or slow to manifest; by samyama on these karmas comes foreknowledge of the time of death.
3.24 By samyama on friendliness (and the other attitudes of 1.33), there comes great strength of that attitude.
3.25 By samyama on the strength of elephants comes a similar strength.
3.26 By directing the flash of inner light of higher sensory activity, knowledge of subtle objects, those hidden from view, and those very distant can be attained.
3.27 By samyama on the inner sun, knowledge of the many subtle realms can be known.
3.28 By samyama on the moon, knowledge of the arrangement of the inner stars can be known.
3.29 By samyama on the pole-star, knowledge of the movement of those stars can be known.
3.30 By samyama on the navel center, knowledge of the arrangement of the systems of the body can be known.
3.31 By samyama on the pit of the throat, hunger and thirst leave.
3.32 By samyama on the tortoise channel, below the throat, steadiness is attained.
3.33 By samyama on the coronal light of the head, visions of the siddhas, the masters can come.
3.34 Or, through the intuitive light of higher knowledge, anything might become known.
3.35 By practicing samyama on the heart, knowledge of the mind is attained.
3.36 The having of experiences comes from a presented idea only when there is a commingling of the subtlest aspect of mind (sattva) and pure consciousness (purusha), which are really quite different. Samyama on the pure consciousness, which is distinct from the subtlest aspect of mind, reveals knowledge of that pure consciousness.
3.37 From the light of the higher knowledge of that pure consciousness or purusha (3.36) arises higher, transcendental, or divine hearing, touch, vision, taste, and smell.