Thursday, April 4, 2013

PATANJALI - YOGA SUTRAS - CH.4.15,4.16,4.17, 4.18 - (i) How do minds perceive same objects differently (ii) Purusha, the lord and witness of the Mind



KAIVALYA PAADHA essentially deals with how the state of Samadhi transforms us.  It is a pointer to its essential characteristics. The following sutras deal with (i) the mind function in respect of external objects (ii) the independence of objects from the mind (iii) the coloured mind and perception of objects and (iv) the witnessing Purusha who the lord of the mind


vastu saamye chitta bhedaat

tayoh vibhaktah panthaah

Ø  vastu = a real, existing object
Ø  saamye = sameness
Ø  chitta bhedaat =  diversity of minds
Ø  tayoh = their
Ø  vibhaktah = separation
Ø  panthaah = levels or ways perception

Objects are existing independent of the minds that perceive them. But, our perception of these objects depends entirely on our different mindsets.

Each person perceiving the same object, perceives it differently  because their mindsets have grown in different circumstances with differing perceptional abilities.

What this means is – individuals differ in their perceptions of any external object. But, the object being perceived by the different minds is the same. This means, minds and objects have different qualities. A doctor, an artist and a lover do not see the same person in the same way. Doctor sees the physical health and ill-health aspects, artist sees the beauty of the person from his view-point and the lover’s eyes can’t see anything ugly in the person.

We often wonder why we have so many views on the same incident. A murder has happened. Someone tries to justify it as an accident. Someone sympathizes with the murderer. Someone looks at the murdered person’s body with mere curiosity. Someone turns his face away from the dead body.  But, the murdered person’s wife and kith and kin fall on the body and weep profusely and demand justice. The brother of the murdered person’s wife may pick up a knife himself and go after the murderers. Perceptions and responses differ from mindset to mindset – due to the division of the ways of perception. We are all different in our MINDSETS. We all differ in our perceptions. But, external objects, happenings are same. Patanjali is offering us a psychological explanation of why the turmoil and diffwerences in the world.

Vs. 4.16

na cha eka chitta tantram ched

vastu tat pramaanakam tadaa kim syaat

Ø  na = not
Ø  cha = and
Ø  eka = single
Ø  chitta = mind
Ø  tantram = dependent
Ø  ched = if
Ø  vastu = a real object
Ø  thath = that
Ø  apramanakam = not cognized
Ø  tadaa = then
Ø  kim = what
Ø  syat = exists, becomes

The objects themselves are independent of the perceiving minds. Whether any mindset perceives it or not is immaterial for the object.

The trees grow. The flowers bloom. The fruits ripen. The stone lies still. The rains fall. Nothing that exists or happens depends on the human mind’s perception.

There is a section of people that whatever is not perceived by human mind does not exist. Patanjali is hitting out at this argument.

What will happen, if only our perceptions are creating the external reality. Then, nothing exists when we sleep. Even our parents come to exist only when open our eyes in the morning. The Sun, the moon, the earth we slept on – all become reality only when we perceive them after awakening.

This does not stand the test of reality. REALITY exists independent of our perception. And, as we saw in previous sutra, our perceptions of reality are hugely different from reality and are based on our limited, differing perceptual capabilities.

Vs. 4.17

tat uparaaga apeksitvaat

chittasya vastu jnaata ajnaatam

Ø  tat = these
Ø  uparaaga = coloring
Ø  apeksitvaat = due to the need
Ø  chittasya = of the mind
Ø  vastu = a real object
Ø  jnaata = known
Ø  ajnaatam = unknown

As earlier seen by us, objects exist independent of the mind. But, whether we will know them or not depends upon whether we perceive them or not – and when we perceive them, how we perceive them.

Our perceptions are coloured. They are conditioned by many, many factors connected with our upbringing and professions. Our minds never remain uncoloured.

When a vegetarian sees a cock, he looks at its majestic walk and its handsome gait. A non-vegetarian may only think of its weight in terms of its meat.  A wood cutter looks at a tree for its wood content. An environmentalist will think of how much oxygen it is giving us, the human beings.

A yogi looks at every woman as a mother. A sexist may look at every woman as a sex object. Every human being’s perceptions are coloured and conditioned by their background.

Whether we will know the object itself, and how much of it’s reality we will know,  depends on these factors.

Vs. 4.18

Sadaa jnaathaaschitta vruttayastath

prabhoh purushasyaa pasrinaamitvaath

Ø  sada = always
Ø  jnatah = known
Ø  chitta = of the mind-field
Ø  vrittayah = activities, modifications of mind-field
Ø  thath = their
Ø  prabhu = master
Ø  purushasya = pure consciousness
Ø  aparinaamitvat = un-changing nature

The mind is never constant. It is ever-changing.  Our thoughts, ideas, perceptions are always changing. These are the modifications of our mind.

But, behind these modifications, there is an unchanging PURUSHA, the pure consciousness, who is the watcher of all these modifications. The Purusha is the constant witness of the mind and its modifications. The Purusha is superior to and is the master of the Chitta.

In other words, always two things are happening simultaneously in us. At one level, within the mind is a constant stream of ever-changing thoughts, emotions, ideas, desires and so on. Behind all this changes in the mind – there is a witnessing soul – the Purusha, who is changeless  and permanent. It is only against this unchanging background of the Purusha, that all changes can occur in the mind.

This unchanging Purusha is the lord, the pure consciousness, the real ruler of the mind-stuff. And, he does it merely by witnessing and not participating.

*  *  *  E  N  D  *  *  *

No comments:

Post a Comment