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 4.18-4.21: 
Illumination of the Mind
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Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Consciousness is aware of the mind: The activities of the mind are always known by the pure consciousness (purusha), because that pure consciousness is superior to, support of, and master over the mind. (4.18)

Mind is not self-illuminating: That mind is not self-illuminating, as it is the object of knowledge and perception by the pure consciousness (4.19). Nor can both the mind and the illuminating process be cognized simultaneously (4.20). If one mind were illuminated by another, as its master, then there would be an endless and absurd progression of cognitions, as well as confusion (4.21).

Seeking consciousness alone: The well known phrase mind over matter is true because, in a sense, mind is matter, in that all of its activities are composed of the primal elements (the gunas of prakriti) (4.13-4.14). Mind appears to have its own life solely because of the pure consciousness (purusha), which permeates it. Since the mind is not self-illuminating, the Yogi seeks only to have the direct experience of the pure consciousness. The very foundation of Yoga explains that Yoga is the mastery of the modifications of the mind field (1.2), and that once this has occurred, the Seer or Self rests in its true nature (1.3).

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4.18 The activities of the mind are always known by the pure consciousness, because that pure consciousness is superior to, support of, and master over the mind.
(sada jnatah chitta vrittayah tat prabhu purusasya aparinamitvat)

  • sada = always
  • jnatah = are known
  • chitta = of the mind, of the consciousness of the mind-field
  • vrittayah = operations, activities, fluctuations, modifications, changes, or various forms of the mind-field
  • tat = their, that
  • prabhu = master, superior, support of
  • purusasya = pure consciousness
  • aparinamitvat = changelessness, immutable

Consciousness is witness of the mind: The activities of the mind are always known by the pure consciousness, because that pure consciousness is superior to, support of, and master over the mind.

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4.19 That mind is not self-illuminating, as it is the object of knowledge and perception by the pure consciousness.
(na tat svabhasam drishyatvat)

  • na = is not
  • tat = it
  • svabhasam = self illuminating (sva = own; abhasa = illumination)
  • drishyatvat = knowability

Mind is not self-illuminating: Mind is not self illuming because it is made of stuff (the three gunas), just like the photos are made of ink (of three kinds). Mind is made of the three gunas (4.13), and is not, in itself, consciousness. Rather, consciousness (purusha) operates through the mind.

Mind is witnessed by consciousness: When the consciousness (purusha) operates through the mind, it is also witness of the mind.

Mind is the object being witnessed: When consciousness (purusha) is witnessing the mind, the mind is the object being witnessed. This is a key point here, so that this is not mere philosophy, but a practical part of the subtlest meditation processes. At some point, the mind itself is seen as an object of observation to be set aside with non-attachment, just like the many surface level thought patterns of daily life are set aside in the earlier or grosser stages of meditation. Now, the instrument of thinking itself is being seen and transcended in the pursuit of the direct experience of pure consciousness.

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4.20 Nor can both the mind and the illuminating process be cognized simultaneously.
(eka-samaye cha ubhaye anavadharanam)

  • eka-samaye = at the same time, simultaneously (eka = one; samaye = time, condition)
  • cha = and, nor
  • ubhaye = both
  • anavadharanam = cannot be cognized

Awareness of mind and witness don't coexist: It is not possible to be aware of an object in the mind field at the same time there is awareness of one's true nature as the illuminator of the mind.

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4.21 If one mind were illumined by another, as its master, then there would be an endless and absurd progression of cognitions, as well as confusion.
(chitta antara drishye buddhi-buddheh atiprasangah smriti sankarah cha)

  • chitta = of the mind, of the consciousness of the mind-field
  • antara = another
  • drishye = seen, perceived
  • buddhi-buddheh = knower of knowledge, perceiver of perception
  • atiprasangah = endless, abundance, ad infinitum
  • smriti = memory, remembering
  • sankarah = confusion
  • cha = and

There is no endless chain of minds: If one mind were illumined by another, as its master, then there would be an endless and absurd progression of cognitions, as well as confusion.

The Yogi seeks only pure consciousness: Since the mind is not self-illuminating, and there is not endless chain of minds, the Yogi seeks only to have the direct experience of the pure consciousness or purusha (1.3). 

 

The next sutra is 4.22 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Yoga Nidra Meditation CD by Swami Jnaneshvara
Yoga Nidra CD
Swami Jnaneshvara