Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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Yoga Sutras 3.53-3.56: 
Higher Discrimination
Through Samyama
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Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.The subtlest discrimination: Knowledge of the distinction between the purest aspect of mind (sattvic buddhi) and consciousness itself (purusha) brings supremacy over all forms or states of existence, as well as over all forms of knowing, as was previously described (3.50).

It also brings absolute liberation: However, that discrimination between that purest aspect of mind (sattvic buddhi) and consciousness itself (purusha) will bring them to a point of equality. This brings absolute liberation, independence, or freedom (kaivalya) (3.56).

Samyama on moments and succession: Experience comes like a movie, with individual frames coming in a succession, which creates the appearance of reality. By samyama on that inner process of mental construction, there comes higher knowledge (3.53).

This applies to all types of objects: This process of moments and succession occurs with all types of mental objects, regardless of how gross or subtle. Samyama is practiced with all of these types or levels, bringing discrimination between objects only appearing to be similar (3.54).

Transcendent knowledge and liberation: This process of subtle discrimination brings the higher, intuitive, transcendent knowledge (3.55) and leads to final liberation or kaivalya (3.56).

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3.53 By samyama over the moments and their succession, there comes the higher knowledge that is born from discrimination.
(ksana tat kramayoh samyamat viveka-jam jnanam)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.51 or 3.52]

  • ksana = moment, instant, infinitesimal time (3.9)
  • tat = its
  • krama = sequence, succession
  • samyama = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together (3.4)
  • viveka = discrimination, discernment
  • ja = born of
  • jnana = knowledge, gnosis

Moments and succession: Experience usually comes like a movie. It only appears to be an unfolding process, whereas it is actually independent events. It is like the movie film being many independent frames, all of which coexist on the same reel. However, when you look at those frames sequentially, there is the appearance of a uniform and unfolding event or process.

Beyond moments and succession: When samyama (3.4-3.6) is done on the moments and the process of succession, the higher knowledge of what is really going on is revealed. One comes to see the nature of movie production of the mind and virtually the whole of the creation process. This opens the door to the realization of the Truth (1.3).

This applies to all types of objects: Throughout the Yoga Sutras, particularly Chapter 3, there are many different objects mentioned for exploration and setting aside so as to go past ignorance (2.5) and false identities (1.4) to the true Self (1.3). However, every one of those objects, regardless of its type or subtlety is constructed in the same way, being moments of experience coming together in succession. Thus, this process of applying samyama (3.4-3.6) to moments and succession is an extremely subtle and far reaching practice, effecting all possible sequences of experience or thought.

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3.54 From that discriminative knowledge (3.53) comes awareness of the difference or distinction between two similar objects, which are not normally distinguishable by category, characteristics, or position in space.
(jati laksana desha anyata anavachchhedat tulyayoh tatah pratipattih)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.52 or 3.53]

  • jati = genus, species, category, type
  • laksana = time characteristics, appearance, distinctive mark
  • desha = place, position in space
  • anyata = distinction, separateness, difference
  • anavachchhedat = undefined, not separated, indistinguishable
  • tulyayoh = of two similar objects, the same category or class, equal
  • tatah = thereby, from that
  • pratipattih = knowledge distinction, distinguishable knowledge

Discrimination between similar objects: Coming with the ability to discriminate between moments and succession (3.53) is an increasing ability to discriminate between similar objects, which might usually be perceived as one and the same. Gradually, this subtler discrimination leads one to see past the mere appearances, and go to the subtler, underlying reality. Recall that this process was described earlier in relation to separating a word or name going with the object, the meaning or identity of that object, and the knowledge associated with that object (1.42).

Seeing past appearances: Through this process of seeing past appearances of the nature of objects, all objects are gradually and systematically seen to be mere constructs, and are set aside. Eventually the eternal consciousness is revealed (1.3).

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3.55 That higher knowledge is intuitive and transcendent, and is born of discrimination; it includes all objects within its field, all conditions related to those objects, and is beyond any succession.
(tarakam sarva visayam sarvatha visayam akramam cha iti viveka jam jnanam)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.53 or 3.54]

  • tarakam = transcendent, intuitional, 
  • sarva = all
  • visayam = objects, conditions, pursuits
  • sarvatha = in all ways, by all means
  • visayam = objects, conditions, pursuits
  • akramam = beyond succession, non-sequential
  • cha = and
  • iti = this
  • viveka = discrimination, discernment
  • ja = born
  • jnana = knowledge, gnosis

Higher knowledge comes from within: The higher knowledge is intuitive, transcendent, or coming from within. It is revealed by discrimination between objects (3.54), which rests on the ability to discriminate between moments and succession (3.53). Saying that the higher knowledge is intuitive means that it is self-existent rather than being constructed knowledge. Much of our worldly sense of knowledge comes from combining different pieces of information, much like we might combine different cooking skills and ingredients in a kitchen to construct a meal. However, the higher knowledge is not constructed, but revealed by stepping beyond the mere appearance of the moments and succession.

It is born of discrimination: Through the repeated process of discrimination, the higher truth is born or revealed. Here again, birth is beyond used as a means of expressing the coming out or coming forth process, rather than the process of construction of parts.

Higher knowledge includes all the objects: As the meditator experiences this truth beyond the objects, moments, and sequences, it becomes clear in direct experience that the higher knowledge contains, or oversees all of the many objects, their conditions, and sequences. It is seen that it is not a case where consciousness not only permeates the objects, conditions, and sequences, but actually is the supporting reality of their existence.

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3.56 With the attainment of equality between the purest aspect of sattvic buddhi and the pure consciousness of purusha, there comes absolute liberation, and that is the end.
(sattva purusayoh suddhi samye kaivalyam iti)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.54 or 3.55]

  • sattva = purity aspect of mind field or chitta, subtlest individuation, purest aspect of buddhi
  • purusayoh = pure consciousness
  • suddhi = purity
  • samye = equality
  • kaivalyam = absolute liberation, independence, freedom
  • iti = this, end, finish

Levels of discrimination: Discrimination is the finer tool for attaining enlightenment (2.26-2.29), and is applied to the ever subtler levels of experience (3.4-3.6).

The subtlest discrimination: Knowledge of the distinction between the purest aspect of mind (sattvic buddhi) and consciousness itself (purusha) brings supremacy over all forms or states of existence, as well as over all forms of knowing, as was previously described (3.50).

It also brings absolute liberation: However, that discrimination between that purest aspect of mind (sattvic buddhi) and consciousness itself (purusha) will bring them to a point of equality. This brings absolute liberation, independence, or freedom (kaivalya).

This is the end: This absolute liberation or kaivalya is the end, the final state of the Self in itself. Thus, the word iti is the last word of the sutra and of this chapter.

 

The next sutra is 4.1 

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This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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