[b]II, 20 drasta drsi-matrah suddhah api prtyaya anupasyah
II, 21 tadarthah eva drysyasya atma
II, 22 krtartham prati nastam api anastam tat anya sadharanavat
II, 23 sva svami saktyaoh svarupa upalabdhi hetuh samyogah
The Seer is
pure consciousness only.
it appears to see
by directing thoughts and concepts
it remains unchanged
by the mind?s operation.
For the sake
of that alone
does the seen world exist.
Those who know the True Self
have fulfilled life?s purpose.
For them, the seen world
ceases to exist,
although, to others
who share the common mind,
it does exist.
of the Owner
with its possessions
is for the purpose of obtaining
the power of both
and, through discrimination, realizing one?s
essential nature. [/b]
[i]What/who is the Seer ?[/i]
Iyengar explains that the Seer or soul is obscured by intelligence (buddhi) which ?clouds consciousness in such a way that it comes to identify itself as the true seer and forgets the soul.? However, ?..if intelligence can keep its power of discernment, consciousness too will remain uncolored.? And ?if consciousness is clear, the seer is unobscured. (p. 122)
Swami Satchidananda has a similar explanation ? he likens the Seer or Purusha to light which although is ?..pure and never changing, it appears to change because of the medium of nature (Prakriti). The sun?s rays appear to bend when they pass through a section of water, although they do not actually bend. A filament gives pure light but appears to be red because of the red glass that surrounds it.? (p.110-111). It is the same with us…we identify ourselves with the thoughts in our minds. Since each of us have different thoughts and emotions, we perceive that each of us our different.
[i]What is the relationship between the Seer (Purusha) and Nature (Prakriti) ?[/i]
Swami Satchidananda explains that while the experience of the world is different for each of us, the experience does not matter to the Self because the Self is only the witness. Our stumbling block is that it is difficult for us to understand that the Self is separate from the experience.
He continues with the following analogy to describe the essential role of Prakriti in one?s realization of Self (Purusha): ?The world is our factory. As we pass through we are shaped every minute by our different experiences. We become refined as our knowledge develops. Eventually, we understand the world completely and have not business being in the factory. Then we can say, ?Once I thought all this was real: money, name, position, beauty. But now I understand that none of this is permanent. I have watched millionaires become paupers, famous beauties become wrinkled.? When that understanding comes, we no longer trust the worldly pleasures nor run after them… But we can?t shape ourselves without the factory?s help… Know nature well. Don?t try to runa away from it… Escapism never helps us. If we try to leave something now, we will have to face it in a more difficult form later… Once we are master?s, we are no longer bound by nature. It becomes our slave.? (p.113-114)
To quote Swami Shyam: ?Without the association with prakriti, or mind, Purush could never realize itself.? (p. 72)
Iyengar states that the mingling of Prakriti and Purusha has always existed and that is part of the process. Ignorance will lead to further entanglement but discrimination will lead to vairagya and to liberation.
Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993
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.
Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002