Monday, April 1, 2013

PATANJALI - YOGASUTRAS - CH-4.11,4.12,4.13,4.14 - KAIVALYA PAADHA - time, three gunas and nature of desire



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) desires, their root causes, how we can control and root out such desires (ii) the composition of time into past, present and future and (iii) the three gunas that comprise all universe.


hetu phala ashraya alambanaih
samgriheetatvaat eshaam abhave
tath abhaavah

Ø  hetu = cause
Ø  phala = effect
Ø  ashraya = support
Ø  alambanaih = resting upon
Ø  samgriheetatvat = held together
Ø  eshaam = of these
Ø  abhave = by the non-appearance of
Ø  tath = they or their
Ø  abhaavah = disappear

In this sutra, Patanjali is briefly making us understand the nature of our desires.

At one level, Desire is the cause and the effort we make to satisfy the same is its effect.

But, desire itself is an effect, for which, the cause is in the chitta , the vasanas of past actions  which are stored in Chitta as Subtle samskaras, which are waiting to convert into desires and seek their satisfaction.

Every action to satisfy a desire again leaves its imprint on the Chitta. This is called a vasana. It gets stored in Chitta as very subtle impressions called Samskaras. Sanskaras are like our habits. But, they are deeper imprints on the Chitta and may even be inherited from a previous birth.

They are constantly driving us into actions for desire-satisfaction. The causes are these samskaras and the effects are the efforts that we are driven into, for their satisfaction. Every desire has to rest on the support of an Indriya and an external object. The eye for instance is the support for satisfying desires relating to seeing. The nose is the support for enjoying smells and satisfying the desires relating to them.

Thus, for each desire, there is an external object, and an indriya which supports the whole action to satisfy the desire, a desire which is the effect and a samskara in the Chitta which is the cause.

We cannot remove the effects straightaway, when the causes are in tact in us. We must tackle the causes, the Samskaras and vasanas in us. We must also restrain the Indriyas from the external objects. Unless all four corners of the desire are tackled, there is no way to get rid of the cycle of desires. When we start with the causes, and look at all four pillars, and ensure their disappearance, desires automatically disappear.

This does not mean indriyas and external objects will have to disappear. Their non-contact with each other is simple enough to break the cycle.

Vs. 4.12

ateeta anaagatam
svaroopatah asti
adhva bhedaat dharmaanaam

Ø  ateeta = past
Ø  anaagatam = yet to come; future
Ø  svaroopatah = in its own form
Ø  asti = exist
Ø  adhva = of the paths
Ø  bhedaat = being a difference
Ø  dharmaanaam = characteristics

Human concept of time is not based on reality, but merely on the perception of the senses and the mind, whose capabilities are limited.
In reality, the whole of PAST exists even now, in this very moment, but, it is hidden from human perception by being placed in a different plane, which is unavailable to human eye and mind.
Likewise, the whole of future too, is available right now, in this moment. This is also hidden from eye and mind, by being placed in a different plane, unavailable to us. Past and future have different characteristics compared to his moment. The power to perceive those characteristics is not available to ORDINARY HUMAN MIND.
But, certainly, these are not beyond the Yogi’s power of perception. We live in the present. But, as we all know, our mind is constantly oscillating between the past and future. In fact, it is very difficult to keep the mind in this moment.
The Yogi’s effort is not to go into the past or into the future, but, to keep the mind in the here and now. But, Patanjali affirms that past and present are available in the present moment itself – in different planes, due to their different characteristics. It is not that past just vanishes away totally, nor that future comes into our life from nothingness.  They are always available but come into our consciousness as the present moment only and then go back into their planes.

Vs. 4.13
the vyakta sooksmaah guna atmanah

Ø  the = they
Ø  vyakta = manifest
Ø  sooksmaah = very small;subtle
Ø  guna = three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas
Ø  atmanah = composed of

The entire universe, whether gross or subtle, is composed of the three Gunas – sathva, Rajas and Tamas.

Sattva Guna represents the quality of stability, joy and peace in us.
Rajoguna represents action, restlessness, anger etc in us.
Tamoguna represents inertia, procrastination jealousy, hatred etc in us.

When the whole Universe is composed of the three Gunas, naturally, the past, present, and future also are composed of the same three gunas. There is nothing in life which is not connected with the three Gunas. In every life form, we can see all the three Gunas but in different proportions .

Satva Guna represented by Stability can be seen in the non-changeability and permanence of the past.

Rajoguna represented by action can be seen the PRESENT. All action happens only in the present. No action can take place in the past or future. But, the present is a continuity in itself and we do know it. That is why all action can and does occur in the present only.

Tamoguna represented by inertia can be seen in the future. The future never comes! It is always away. It is never experience-able directly. It is always in seed form. The Tree always belongs to the present.

In our knowledge, the present always recedes into the past, even as future drives itself into the present constantly.  Past had manifested earlier. Present is now manifest. Future remains un-manifest.

In all the three cases, all the three of them are composed of the three Gunas only.

Vs. 4.14

parinaama ekatvaat vastu tattvam

Ø  parinaama =  transformation
Ø  ekatvat = because of oneness
Ø  vastu = real objects
Ø  tattvam = characteristic essence

Each object externally appears to be a single unit to our perception. But, the object is a mix of all the three Gunas. In fact, all objects, all living beings are formed by the different combinations of the three Gunas, which mix in any number of proportions.

Among human beings also, some people are of stable temperament. Some are always action-oriented. Some are lazy by nature. The chapter Guna thraya vibhaga Yoga in Bhagavad Gita gives detailed exposition of the three Gunas and even tells us the nature of food items which give us these distinct Gunas. This Blog has covered this topic from Gita earlier.

All this means that, as human beings, we can alter our nature from tamas, to Rajas and rajas to sathva – by altering our habits and food habits to a significant extent.

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