Saturday, January 19, 2013

PATANJALI - YOGASUTRAS - CHAPTER-3 -Vs.48,49 - victory over sense perception




Samyama is the process of seeing your multi faceted self, from different angles – and ultimately realizing all of them. In Samyama, we start with Dharana on a particular Goal – and therefore, all wisdom pertaining to that Goal and it extensions -  comes to the Sadhaka in Samyama. We have seen that process in earlier sutras upto 3.47 – and we are continuing with the same further here.


grahana svaroopa asmita anvaya

arthavattva samyamaath indriya jayah

Ø  grahana = receiving or perception
Ø  svaroopa =  one’s own form
Ø  asmita = the ‘I’ ness,I-feeling
Ø  anvaya = connection
Ø  arthavattva = purposefulness
Ø  samyamaath = By dharana + dhyana + samadhi
Ø  indriya = sense organs (jnanendriyas) and organs of action (Karmendriyas)
Ø  jayah = mastery over

In this sutra, Patanjali is talking of  Indriya Jaya or victory over the sense organs, mainly, and organs of action as well. i.e., jnaanendriyas and Karmendriyas. The sadhaka must perform samyama on all aspects of the Indriyas, like – their real nature, the location of the feeling of their “am-ness”, their pervasive nature, their power of perception, their functions and so on.

What does Patanjali mean by this?

Taking the example of the eye – the physical organ of the eye that is visible outside is the first receiver of all visual stimuli from outside and it can focus on any object outside. How much of external space can the eye focus on? Very vast. Any amount of space is within the power of our small eye to survey with its power of seeing. This is same with all other sense organs. 

The power of perception extends to great vastness, almost infinity. But, at the same time, when they need to focus on tiny objects, their focusing power or cognition increases tremendously, while dispersed focus reduces their power of cognition. But, the physical eye is only a receiver of the impressions from outside. It transmits to the mind centre inside, which finally perceives the image of the external object. All perception takes place in the mind.

It is the mind only which perceives the object and not the external organ. The mind itself does not feel that it is the one who is seeing. That location is called asmita, to location where the “am”ness resides, where the feeling that I am seeing – resides. some call it the ‘I’ness, but some would call it the ‘am’ness, which does not have the ego but still has the  feeling of existence as the seer, listener, taster and so on.

All these physical level organs whether gross or subtle, ultimately receive their power from the consciousness which is all pervading. The whole process of seeing however happens in a moment, without lapse of time.

So, what is the swaroopa or the form of the self which is cognizing this sense perception, how the perception is happening, who is the real perceiver – if Sadhaka performs samyama on this whole process – he achieves victory on the organs of perception (sense organs and organs of action).

Patanjali has indicated this in respect of every samyama. Whatever be the focus of dharana, dhyana and Samadhi, on that, the sadhaka achieves control. This is true of an idea, object or organ. But, if it is a process like the process of seeing, hearing, touch, smell, taste or an action done by Karmendriyas – then, the Sadhaka needs to perform Samyama on the organ receiving the external stimuli, the process of transmission to the brain, the way the mind functions in perceiving, the way, it acts again through the jnanendirya or karmendriya as the case be – in fact, the entire operation – including the changes in the physical level perceiver and the location of the centre where “I am seeing” exists.

In other words, by performing samyama on the entire process of perception or action, its nature, the location of the feeling of am-ness, the entire connectedness (beginning to end), the purposefulness of senses and their range of functions, mastery over the senses and their actions (indriyas) is attained.  Not only the senses, but, this process of samyama applies equally to organs of action or karmendriyas.

Vs. 49

tatah mano-javitvam

vikarana-bhaavah pradhaana jayah cha

Ø  tatah = by that
Ø  manas = of the mind
Ø  javitvam = quickness
Ø  vikarana-bhaavah = the process and instruments of perception
Ø  pradhaana = Important, foremost (cause)
Ø  jayah = mastery
Ø  cha = and

Once mastery over the indriyaas is achieved through the Samyama, the Sadhaka can achieve perception without using the physical organs at all. He would have mastered the power of perception in the universe as such , from which the power of perception of his own organs has been received in a small measure. In other words, apart from the  power that resides in his bodily organs of perception,  the universal power of perception that is everywhere also is now at his disposal and he need not necessarily use his body organs for perceiving anything.

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