[b]I, 42 tatra sabda artha jana vikalpih sankirna savitarka samapattih
I, 43 smrti parisuddhan svarupa sunya iva artha matra nihbasa nivitarka
There is another
state of absorption
in which an object?s qualities ?
name, meaning, our knowledge of it,
an our assumptions about it
become blended together,
so that thoughtful distinctions
cannot be made.
storehouses of memories and impressions
is completely purified
empty of vacillations
and only the object?s
shines forth in
These and the next few sutras that follow revisit the four types of samadhi previously discussed in sutra 17. Sarvitarka samadhi is an inquiry into the gross form of the object whereas in nivitarka samadhi, the mind ?no longer holds its idea of what the name, form and knowledge of the object? (Sw. Shyam, p. 13).
Swami Satchidananda give the following example to illustrate sarvitarka samadhi: ?If you hear the word ?dog?, the sound goes into the brain and then tries to find a similar groove there. If it finds such a groove, made by hearing ?dog? before, you understand: ?Yes, the word dog which I near now is the same that I heard before.? And then you know what ?dog? means. So the word, the object and the knowledge, or sabda, artha, and jnana, happen simultaneously. But in this samadhi (or sampatti), we can separate them one after the other; we can arrest the process wherever we want.?
In comparison, in nivitarka samadi, this groove of past memory is gone. Iyengar explains that in the ordinary person, memory is ?a past mind? of old experiences and thoughts that influences intelligence and is usually used to recollect pleasurable memories. For the sadhaka, it is a progression in which ?awareness, with discrimination and memory breaks down bad habits, which are repeated actions based on wrong perception, and replaces them with the opposite. In this process, the brain must be creative not mechanical. The mechanical brain questions only the external phenomena, bringing in objective knowledge. The creative brain calls into question the inner and outer, bringing subjective and spiritual knowledge.? (p90) Then for the enlightened one, memory is a ?present mind?; one that is ?free from the memories of the past? and contains the ?first, direct and subjective? new experiences?. This present, pure memory merges with consciousness to bring clarity to intelligence. ?At this point, memory which has originally dug for us so many pits, has transformed itself into our true guru.? (p.90)
Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993
Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004
Swami Shyam, Patanjali Yog Darshan, India: International Meditation Institute, 2001, 3rd. edition.