Dharma - Merit - Meditation - Nectar - Liberation - Emptiness - Process - Awakening

 
 

Studies
in Buddhadharma


The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali

a Buddhist Commentary

by Wim van den Dungen


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"The wise, by means of an inner concentration on the "âtman" ("adhyâtmayoga"), thinking him who is placed in the cavity (in the heart), whose abode is impervious, who exists from times of old, leaves both grief and joy."
Katha-Upanisad, II.12.

"Verily, there is no merit higher than Yoga, no good higher than Yoga, no subtlety higher than Yoga ; there is nothing that is higher than Yoga !"
Yogashikhâ-Upanisad, I.67.

"With mindfulness of the body established, controlled over contact's sixfold base, a bhikkhu who is always concentrated can know Nirvâna for himself."
The Udâna, 3:5.

 


Homage to Buddha Shâkyamuni, the Supreme Victor !

Homage to the Scholar & Yogi Patañjali !

Homage to the Yogis of the Vajrayâna Lineages !


Introduction

Book I

Fundamental Principles
Five Fluctuations & Kriyâ-Yoga
Union : Seedless & Seeded
Theist Presuppositions
Counteracting Hindrances
Alternative Paths to Union
From Seeded to Seedless Union

Book II

The Causes of Sorrow & their Mechanics
The Seer & the Seen
The Morality of the Yogic Path
The Outer Limbs Completed

Book III

Constraint
Transformations
The Powers
The Vision of Discernment

Book IV

Interpolated ?
Nature's Will & Conscious Action
Karma and the Yogi
Real Objectivity

Epilogue
Translations
Bibliography


Introduction

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali, probably written ca. third century CE, consists of 195 Sanskrit aphorisms, forming the basic structure of a system codifying the royal or best ("râja") yoga practices. Classical, Royal or Râja Yoga became one of the six schools ("darshana") of orthodox Hindu philosophy. These schools all try to liberate the soul ("âtman") from cyclic existence ("samsâra") or wheel of becoming ("bhava-cakra") and unite it with the Absolute ("Brahman"). This unification requires the yogi to turn away from Nature, deemed the cause of ignorance and therefore suffering. Hindu Yoga is definitely defined by this quest of the Absolute viewed as a self-existent Supreme Being. This distinguishes it from Buddhist Yoga, intended to awaken the mind to its ultimate potential : irreversibly cease suffering.

Nothing of any degree of historical certainty is known about the author of the Yoga-Sûtra. Whether he is identical with Patañjali who wrote the Mahâbhâshya, a commentary on the grammar of Pânini composed mid-second century BCE, is not established with certainty. Most Western scholars do not think this is the case, nor do I. Estimates of the date of composition of the Yoga-Sûtra range between 400 BCE to the third century CE.

Many legends circulate. According to the most prominent one, Patañjali was the incarnation of the serpent-king Ananta, a serpent race associated with guarding esoteric lore (the "nâgâ"-theme also reappears in Buddhist lore). It is said he was the initiator of a school, while others claim he was a solitary yogi. "Patañjali" would be the name given to a string of authors, etc. Finally, more than one contemporary "svâmî" claims to belong to a line of succession ("paramparâ") going back to Patañjali, said to have established a line of Yoga gurus ... about all of this no historical proof is available.

The Yoga-Sûtra is divided in four books :

Samâdhi-Pâda : the path of enlightenment (51)
Sâdhana-Pâda : the path of the yogi (55)
Vibhûti-Pâda : the path of the powers (55)
Kaivalya-Pâda : the path of aloneness (34)

No historical commentary on this authoritative aphoristic digest by a member of the school of Classical Yoga has yet been found. The two traditional commentators (Vyâsa in the 5th & Vâcaspati Mishra in the 9th century) were outsiders. Vyâsa ("collator") belonged to the school of Sâmkhya. His commentary, the Yoga-Bhâsya, provides the key to all other exegetes (in the period before 1000 CE, many Sanskrit authors claimed Vyâsa & Patañjali to be the same person !). In the 11th century CE, Al-Bîrunî translated the Yoga-Sûtra into Arab. Via this way, it entered Sufism.

In recent times, a flood of translations saw the light, but often they are nothing more than subjective paraphrases. In his The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali (1979), the Indologist & Yogi Georg Feuerstein (1947 - 2012) presents an excellent & authentic English translation of the text. In his Light on the Yoga Sûtras of Patañjali (1993), Iyengar, deemed "the world's  most respected yoga teacher", translates II.22 as : "The relationship with nature ceases for emancipated beings, its purpose having been fulfilled, but its processes continue to affect others. (p.131). Compare this with Feuerstein's version : "Although (the seen) has ceased (to exist) for (the yogin whose) purpose has been accomplished, it has nevertheless not ceased (to exist altogether), since it is common-experience (with respect to all) other (beings)." (p.74). Feuerstein painstakingly follows the Sanskrit text. In an other book, Core of the Yoga Sûtras (2012), Iyengar merely presents his own personal view based on his long yogic practice.

Feuerstein influenced my own translations of the Sûtra (in English, French & Dutch). The version given here follows these earlier translations, except for some minor changes introduced to further clarify the text. His work also deeply contributed to my understanding & practice. Feuerstein situates Patañjali in the third century CE, places him outside the Sâmkhya and identifies his system as Kriyâ-Yoga instead of the traditional "asta-anga" Yoga.

In this commentary, the Yoga-Sûtra is confronted with the Buddhadharma. Among many other issues, the relationships between some of these succinct aphorisms and the Buddhist Jhânas (as presented in the Pâli Canon) are scrutinized. Patañjali's important contribution to the understanding of concentration ("dhâranâ"), contemplation ("dhyâna") and union ("samâdhi"), together "constraint" ("samyama"), is highlighted as his most original contribution to be integrated in the Buddhist view on meditation.

The pivotal difference between the ontology advanced by Patañjali and the teachings of Lord Buddha
(ca. 563 - 483 BCE) is the difference between substance ("svabhâva") and its absence ("nirsvabhâva"). Consistently thinking unsubstantiality leads to process ontology (cf. Critique of a Metaphysics of Process, 2012). In the Buddhadharma, especially in the highest conceptual tenet system of Buddhist philosophy (the Prasangika-Mâdhyamaka founded by Nâgârjuna, 2th/3th century), this principle of relativity ("svabhâva-shûnyatâ") is carried through and so even applies to Buddhahood and absolute truth. This Middle Way school rejects both eternalism (substances, i.e. permanent essences, exist) and nihilism (existence has no foundation whatsoever). Unsubstantiality does not imply non-existence is the case. When substance is negated, something remains. This is the dependent interconnectivity between all possible things. So when we see emptiness, we see dependent-arising and vice versa. Some Yogâcârins (Mind-Only school) claim the Prasangika denies the existence of conventional reality. This is not the case. The latter is valid, but mistaken. It has validity in the realm of conventions, but its objects appear differently as they are (namely as substances while they are processes). The Prasangika merely denies, and this in all cases, the existence of inherent existing objects.

Indeed, in this highest tenet system of Buddhism, absolute truth ("nirvâna", "Dharmakâya", "tathâgatagarbha", "sugatagarbha") exists conventionally, and is therefore not ontologically different or transcendent. It is a distinct property of each and every object. There is no Platonic separation or gap ("chôrismós") between two ontological planes, one relative (becoming) and one absolute (being). Relative & absolute truth are both impermanent and therefore other-powered dependent-arisings, not existing from their own side. The difference is merely one of substantiation. Relative, conventional reality reifies its objects and is therefore a contaminated dependent-arising. Absolute,  ultimate reality thoroughly negates reification (substantiation, essentialisation) and is an uncontaminated dependent-arising. In ultimate logic, not a single substance is found. In other words, independent ("svatantra") and substantial ("svabhâva") objects, be they sensate or mental, are not established and so truly non-existent. If objects nevertheless appear as such, then they are illusionary or dream-like. Ultimate logic analytically shows the hypothesis positing substances to lead to invalid consequences. All of existence, both relative & absolute, lacks substantiality (fixed essences, also called "self") and so is called "empty" ("shûnyatâ") or "self-empty". This emptiness is not nothingness or voidness, but merely the absence of substantial existence, nothing else. When this selflessness is viewed, dependent origination is attended.

Study & reflection lead to understanding emptiness. This initiates Buddhist philosophy. Only meditation leads to realizing emptiness. The difference is central. In the former case, conceptual reason is still at work, in the latter case, it can be completely stopped. The goal of Buddhist meditation is to actually exist with what appears, whatever that is. The "dharmadhâtu" or suchness of anything is the totality of dependent-arisings logically & functionally defining it (its "mahâmudrâ"), of which the awakened mind ("dharmakâya") is the subjective prehension. So Buddhist philosophy (logic & ontology of how things actually exist) always walks hand in hand with Buddhist meditation (direct, non-conceptual experience of universal interconnectedness).

In a general way, "to realize" refers to something made concrete, or clearly & distinctly understood. In a more specific way though, four mental processes have to be present to denote this important word clearly :

1. to fathom : applying the correct procedures to grasp an object ;
2. to understand : gathering all necessary, valid knowledge about it ;
3. to eliminate uncertainty : sustaining a clear, certain view concerning it ;
4. to intensely experience : living it directly, in a sharp & saturated way.


When the negation of these characteristics is thoroughly overcome, one has truly realized something. Lack of a proper grasp, misunderstanding, abiding uncertainty & fleeting observation are the marks of not realizing an object. Not fathom the object can be due to faulty senses & wrong views. The latter may be due to lack of information, incorrect thinking or attachment. Misunderstanding the object is the result of persistently & consistently applying wrong views. Remaining uncertain is due to not enough study of & reflection on the object. Lacking experience may be due to not enough exposure to or lack of repetitive encounters with the object.

The realization of emptiness sharpens philosophical debate, making it more precise & on target. Realizing universal interconnectedness opens up to constant movement and its positive, constructive, creative change. But impermanence is not amorph, merely chaotic, random. It is "dharma" itself unfolding ...

Suppose, the substantialist objects, the absence of substance to be the case. Then how can anything absolute stand ? If the absolute exists conventionally, how can it escape the transient nature of the latter ? How can the ever-changing nature of becoming be combined with the notion of something being complete & true in all situations, for all possible things ? How can the everlasting be found in the transitory ? At first sight this seems impossible, much like finding silence in a lot of noise. Buddha nevertheless consistently clarified this.

One way to "explain" the absolute, without having recourse to the substantial definition of something being an ever-fixed measure or principle in itself, is by saying it cannot be explained conceptually, the absolute being ineffable. Although this is certainly true, and part of Buddha's view, such an answer, avoiding the question, is philosophically (rationally) unsatisfactory. Another, logically more apt solution, is to say the Buddhist absolute is not permanent (in the enduring, immobile, fixed, substantial, inherently existing sense), but continuous. This means that while Buddhahood is a dependent-arising, and so impermanent, it has two characteristics relative truth totally lacks, for (a) absolute truth is an uncontaminated dependent-arising and (b) continuous.

Uncontaminated means it is not defiled by the delusion of permanent own-form existing from its own side. This is the same as saying it is empty (lacking essential nature) or "pure". Being unsubstantial, ultimate truth is not non-existing, but a interconnected, unbounded whole. The absolute is a dependent-arising, i.e. a process or state of becoming, but one without any trace of self-power, wholly other-powered. It differs from contaminated, samsaric dependent-arisings because the latter appear as fixed, independent & separate while they are not really so. They are illusions and so truth-concealing, while uncontaminated dependent-arisings are absolutely real and truth-revealing. Due to this illusion, these appearances cause suffering, while the absolute reality of the nirvanic property of each and every object, be it sensate or mental, is salvic, ceasing all possible woe. So in Buddha's view, Nature is not the cause of suffering, but our wrong conceptualization of it. Where the Brahminical tradition presents an ontological view on ignorance, the Buddhadharma is epistemic.

Furthermore, while thus being uncontaminated, i.e. impermanent & "pure" (unmixed with ignorance), these extraordinary, nirvanic dependent-arisings are continuous, meaning they exhibit a well-defined & perfect movement featuring a special & unique kinetography, one remaining constant over time & space. This continuous "holomovement" (Guenther) is like a perfectly executed dance, bringing to bare the sublime, dynamic continuum of a constant change depending on factors outside itself. This holomovement is a perfect symmetry transformation, everlasting & enduring in terms of the style of its specific dynamical flow. This style is like a differential equation, covering all possible movements of the (nirvanic) system at hand, while remaining formally identical with itself (not changing insofar as the components of the equation are concerned).

On this point, Patañjali, the Vedic tradition and the Brahminic schools, steeped in substantialism (essentialism), clearly disagree. They never relinquish substance, quite on the contrary. "Purusa" ("self"), "drastri" ("seer"), "citi-shakti" ("power of awareness"), "svâmin" ("owner") and "Îshvara" ("Lord") all refer to the ontologically transcendent root-consciousness (called "âtman" in the Upanisads). In the Buddhadharma, in particular in the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, the root of consciousness is called Buddha-nature ("tathâgatagarbha") or "womb of Buddhahood" (i.e. not a "nature", but a mere awakening-potentiality). This concept was not used by Lord Buddha. But in the Pali Canon we find its equivalent, called "luminous mind". Later texts refer to "brightly shining mind" ("prakriti-prabhâsvara-citta") or "radiant light" ("prabhâsvara"). These concepts point to the intrinsic purity of the mindstream (Tib. "sems-rgyud") at its most fundamental level.

"Luminous, bhikkhus, is this mind, but it is defiled by adventitious defilements." - Anguttara Nikâya, I.10 (49/9).

In the Fourth Turning (or Tantrayâna), this nirvanic mind is called "very subtle mind", or mind of "Clear Light" (Tib. "'od gsal"). This mind is the luminous, spontaneous, aware (Tib. "rig pa") aspect of the mind, always fresh, vast and beyond conceptualization. This mind is ultimate and so distinct from the rest of consciousness (the coarse & subtle minds still belong to "samsâra"). In this, Lord Buddha and Patañjali agree.

But whereas the luminous mind, in the final rational interpretation of the Middle Way, is not defined in a substantial way, "purusa" clearly is. As a result, for Patañjali, root-consciousness implies "aloneness" ("kaivalya"), whereas Buddha-nature is an uncontaminated & continuous dependent-arising, one fundamentally interconnected with all other dependent-arisings, be they uncontaminated (Buddhas) or not (sentient beings). Here lies the pivotal difference.

Despite the crucial divide between substance-base (self) and process (other), this commentary tries to bring to bare the relevance of Patañjali's work. Notwithstanding "aloneness" (the salvic consequence of Patañjali's adherence to substance-ontology), the yogic methodology found in his text can also be of interest to yogis practicing in the Buddhist tradition. In fact, if we reinterpret "purusa" in terms of the luminous mind (and theist "Îshvara" as the non-theist or transtheist "Adi-Buddha"), then we may notice the differences qua yogic technology are rather slim. This has made some commentators conjecture Patañjali was inspired by the Buddhadharma while remaining loyal to the Vedic fold and so sticking to the notion of the "substance of substance", "Lord of Lords", "Îshvara". The latter is the "Creator of the Universe" ("sristikartâ") and given many names : Âdi Purusa, Âdi Daiva, Paramâtman, Parama Purusa, Purusa Vishesa, Vishvacetana, Antaryâmin, etc. For Lord Buddha, such a being is also suffering because of ignorance ...

Agreeing with Feuerstein's textual analysis, Kriyâ Yoga is seen as Patañjali's teaching proper, whereas the so-called "Eightfold Yoga" ("asta-anga yoga") is probably a later interpolation or a lengthy quotation introduced by Patañjali for reasons of definitory convenience.

Together with morality & insight into reality (wisdom), the Buddha viewed meditation, or the practice of yoga, as a training no Buddhist could do without. Much later, Tsongkhapa (1357 - 1419) defined the discipline of the Buddhist by way of three modalities : study (listening & reading), reflection & meditation. The latter anchors the teaching & one's personal conceptual insights, leading to realizations or prehensions (non-conceptual wisdom, intuition). Without meditation, only superficial knowledge is gained. It may be scholarly, subtle, refined & highly intellectual, but without direct yogic experience & integration this remains quite useless for the set purpose of ceasing suffering irreversibly. And this is both the aim of Lord Buddha & Patañjali.

Yoga is therefore not in the first place a philosophy, but a way of life, a salvic technology transforming the mind of the practitioner. Yoga is a direct non-conceptual experience of the Divine, be it theist, non-theist or transtheist. Its aim is to understand & realize the "self". For Buddha, self-realization means to recognize, know & fully rest in one's luminous, radiating, very subtle, original (primordial) mind or "mind-as-such" (Tib. "sems nyid"). For Patañjali, enlightenment is the irreversibly ending the fluctuations of consciousness covering its root, "purusa", the seer. For Shâkyamuni, this root of consciousness is a pure & perfect continuous movement interconnected with all possible things, for Patañjali it is the substantial aloneness ("kaivalya") realized with the mind is totally calm and so able to recognize the Divine power of awareness itself, and this totally devoid of any outer object, absolutely divided (divorced) from Nature, absolutely turned inward and only aware of objectless consciousness. For Buddha, duality itself poses no problem (only its reification does). For Patañjali, in this commentary at times reverently called "our teacher", duality ends with final liberation ("Dharma-megha-samâdhi").


BOOK I

Samâdhi-Pâda (Path to Union)


Fundamental Principles


1.1.

Now (begins) an exposition of Yoga.

Ici commence un exposé sur le Yoga.

Het nu is een uiteenzetting over Yoga.


This text, like all things, has to begin somewhere. And a new start is always fragile. Conventionally speaking, the Yoga Sûtra arises out of the determinations & conditions preceding it. It is the outcome of the work of the yogi Patañjali, initiating this "royal" lineage of the direct experience of the absolute, ultimate reality on the basis of the technology given in the text. To begin is to arise. Now the sûtra on joining ("yoga") begins.

Looked at in another way, the initiating word "atha" or "now" invites one to start seeking union "on the spot". Indeed, the ultimate spiritual experience aimed at, namely "samâdhi" or "union", is always already the case in the here and now of pure awareness, viewed by Buddha as merely attending to what is presently at hand and nothing more, and by our teacher as objectless consciousness. There is no past, no future, but only this present. The now is an exposition of or instruction on this joining facilitated by the discipline of the "Royal Path". The actualizing quality of the opening word "now" is indeed more than a literary clearing of the throat. It is an appeal or command to order and to an acute awareness of what is immediately at hand.

What is the opportune moment to "just sitting" ("shikantaza") down to practice yoga ? The first sûtra is clear : this moment is now.
Maintaining a single, focused awareness of the moment, never lost in the sequential flow from moment to moment, consciousness is not defined by the constraints of time (past, future) & space (somewhere else than here). If the yogi, abiding in this here & now, does not become involve in this movement of moments, staying in the moment at hand, then clear knowledge of the seer or root-consciousness is possible. In III.10, Patañjali points out a "calm flow" ("prashânta-vâhitâ") can be brought about. This happens when the yogi inhibits the activator ("samskâra") of emergence. When one-pointedness is achieved (or meditative equipoise, the highest stage of Buddhist Calm Abiding or "shamata" or concentration practice), the moment of silence is experienced, and this is nothing less than the everlasting, perennial flow of tranquillity.

In its samsaric, deluded & unsatisfactory state, consciousness is always either remembering (past), expecting (future), imagining to be somewhere else or simulating the contents of the mind of others. Then the mind is "outside itself", unaware of itself, lacking mindfulness & introspection (the guard enabling us to maintain mindfulness). This scattered, dispersed, distracted state of mind needs to be tackled and transformed into a mind "inside itself", aware of what is happening on the surface of its mirror. This is the fundamental intent of yoga. So the first word of these sûtras ("atha", "now") and the last word (IV.34 - "iti", "here" or "end"), like "alpha" and "omega", connect. If consciousness settles in the "here & now", all suffering ends, and the nirvanic mind, as a continuous, uninterrupted symmetry transformation, breaks through. For Patañjali, this is the shining forth of the seer ("purusa"), for Lord Buddha the recognition of & resting in the ever-present & radiant luminous mind or very subtle mind. Both always happen "now", and the moment to seek this is therefore always already happening and this unendingly.

Stopping common activity to sit down and practice is not easy. The samsaric mind is constantly flooded with past & future activities. It recalls and expects and so suffers. This dissatisfaction throws it out of the natural balance necessary to "just sit", be tranquil and open up to the ever-present spacious awareness of root-consciousness. Introducing the habit of daily spiritual practice generates merited activators ("punya samskâras"), helping the "sâdhaka" to practice with intensity & keenness, turning his or her "sâdhanâ" into a joyous effort. These are fluctuations causing no suffering and not resulting from reification (cf. I.5).

Spiritual practice initiates a special "interval" ("bardo"), namely the "bardo of meditation". In the Buddhadharma, this starts with taking refuge (in the Three Jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma & the Sangha) and ends with dedication of merits (to the benefit of all sentient beings). Cultivating this bardo facilitates awakening in this life or at the end of the "bardo of death". Thanks to meditation practice, the latter interval is followed by the "samâdhi days" in the "bardo of absolute reality". Without stopping to meditate, we miss out on the most rewarding opportunity of our life. Then we die, like the large majority of human beings, with nearly nothing on our "spiritual account". What else to do then but to adhere to some being with excessive accumulations ?

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal ; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew, 6:19-21.


1.2.

Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.

Le Yoga est la restriction des fluctuations de (dans) la conscience.

Yoga is the beperking van de fluctuaties van (in) het bewustzijn.


The joining implied in this "yoga" is not a fusion of two things (the yogi with the absolute, or "citta" with "âtman", ontologically one with "paramâtman", or, more prosaic, the soul with God), but the thorough & irreversible restriction of the flux of consciousness. For Patañjali, the fluctuations ("vritti") of consciousness ("citta") cause the ignorant state of mind, and while they exist from the side of the yogi only, but are triggered by this incessant involvement with Nature ("prakriti"). The yogi defaults, nothing more. Take this away, and the seer is seen. In Dharmic terms, when the adventitious factors (the clouds) are removed, radiant Buddha-mind shines through. Patañjali and the Buddhist yogis, in particular those practicing Ati-Yoga (Dzogchen & Mahâmudrâ), agree. It is the flux of thought which prevents awakening, nothing more. The solution is to be found on the side of the yogi, for Buddha-mind (the seer or root-consciousness) is ever radiant & present from beginningless time. We are responsible for our own suffering, and the outer circumstances merely reflect our past actions.

But what is the cause of this flux ? For
Patañjali, the culprit is Nature or matter ("prakriti") and mind's association with it. For Lord Buddha, matter itself is not the problem, the substantialization of matter is. This is the crucial difference. Fluctuations appear because the samsaric mind constantly superimposes ("samâropa") something which is not there, thereby misrepresenting the object as it truly is. This overlay causes objects to manifest in a way concealing their true, absolute nature. Because of this false ideation, flux is the case and "samsâra" a fact. Buddha does not condemn matter at all, but merely our approach of it. His position is epistemic, not ontological. The division is therefore  not between salvic and non-salvic states of being, but between nirvanic & samsaric states of mind.

By ending what should not be present, namely fluctuations of consciousness caused by the false ideation called "substantialization", union (of the mind with its own root) is spontaneously the case.  So in Buddhism, contrary to Classical Yoga, this "concealing" resulting from flux is caused by overlaying objects with the idea of them being fixed (permanent), independent & isolated. Stop this thoroughly, and awakening spontaneously happens. Hence, consciousness has two fundamental states : one fluctuating (samsaric) and another non-fluctuating (nirvanic). The former is afflictive and in
Patañjali's system at hand because of the mind's wrong association with matter, the latter is absolute, bornless, without beginning and escaping "samsâra". In the Buddhadharma, the illusionary is in league with reification. This alone is the root-cause of all ignorance and its subsequent mental & affective afflictions. Take away this false overlay and all fluctuations of consciousness ends. Then and only then the root of consciousness is recognized and awakening a fact. In Classical Yoga, the root-cause is our outward-mindedness, sustaining our ongoing interaction with the activities of Nature (of which our afflicted mind is part).

Restriction ("nirodha") has four levels : mere restriction of fluctuations ("vritti-nirodha"), restriction of objects of concentration ("pratyaya-nirodha"), restriction of reactors or subliminal seeds ("samskâra-nirodha") and complete restriction ("sarva-nirodha"), coinciding with the realization of the seer (the full recognition of the root of consciousness). These define four degrees of restriction. The first degree is achieved by contemplation ("dhyâna" - II.1.1), the second by union-with-seed ("samprajñâta-samâdhi" - I.17), the third by union-without-seed ("asamprajñâta-samâdhi" - I.18) and the last by "Dharma-megha-samâdhi", the "cloud of Dharma union" (IV.29).


1.3.

Then the seer stands in his own form.

Dans ce cas, le voyant s'établit dans sa forme propre.

In dat geval staat de ziener in zijn/haar eigen vorm.


By complete restriction, the absolute nature of all possible phenomena is unveiled. Then, when the work of yoga has been accomplished and the end of all fluctuations of consciousness is a fact, all deluded mental activity is thoroughly suspended. This refers to the culminating "cloud of Dharma union", immediately followed by the realization of the power of awareness, the "own form" of the "seer". Then (and only then) does the "seer", the root-consciousness of the yogi, abide in what he or she truly is. What is this ? The nondual, non-conceptual, sheer power of pure awareness of the always already, of suchness, called "purusa". Introducing the seer, the text points to the direct & experiential nature of the Royal Path to this ultimate root of all states of consciousness. This highest state, as in Brahminic spirituality at large, implies physical death. Apparently all ontological traditions introducing a Platonic rift between "this world" and the "other side", as is also the case in Western monotheism, cannot conceptualize a this-life salvation. To empower the terminus of their spiritual itinerary, they need to devaluate this life and mummify (Nietzsche) it ...

Lord Buddha seeks nothing less but immediate awakening. The fact he deems this possible pays tribute to his trust in the effectiveness of our own efforts. We are not crippled by a "scattered creation" (as Abrahamic faiths claim), but able to stand up on our own (Marcus Aurelius), and this right here & now !

In the Buddhadharma, matter ("prakriti") is not targeted, but reification, the ignorance-bearing tendency of the samsaric mind to superimpose substantial solidity or fixation on sensate & mental objects. This is the cause of fluctuations. We think we see a coiled snake, whereas there is merely a rope. The samsaric mind does this with everything experienced by the senses, with all objects of mind and with the mind itself. Even root-consciousness
is reified (and here Patañjali agrees) and hence not truly recognized for what is ultimately is. Doing so leads to fundamental errors. For the Buddhist yogi, Patañjali's notion of "isolation" ("kaivalya") is clearly an illusion superimposed on the absolute on the basis of an uncritical trust in Vedic substance-ontology. The absolute is not isolated, but highly & continuously interconnected with all other uncontaminated & contaminated dependent-arisings. It is not Olympic and "up there", but amongst us, "right here & now". Were it not, then how could it interact with the world ? How, accepting a Divine Creator for the sake of argument, could such a Supreme Being, One & Alone, create the world at all ?


1.4.

At other times, there is conformity with this flux.

Sinon, il existe conformité entre le voyant et ces fluctuations.

Anders zijn ziener en zijn/haar fluctuaties conform.


When consciousness fluctuates, its own form cannot be realized, and the yogi does not know the root of consciousness. Then the mind conforms with this flux. This is the root-cause of ignorance.

As long as consciousness projects non-existing substance on objects, it cannot recognize the ultimate nature of the mind (its root) and so continues to suffer in conformity with the extend of its substantialization. Ignorance (reification) leads to substantializing attraction & repulsion, triggering passion & hatred. These constitute the roots of the subtle mind and its mental afflictions. When they are nurtured, they bring about the afflictive emotions of the coarse mind, like anger, hatred, cruelty, avarice, poverty-mentality, stupidity, exaggerated desires, jealousy, violence, pride & feelings of superiority. They cause more suffering and plunge consciousness is deeper & deeper forms of woe. The sufferer suffers, but also all those having the misfortune to interact with such a wreck.


Commentary on I.1 - I.4 :
Fundamental Principles


These first four sûtra's represent the heart of the text and summarize it. Do yoga now ! Yoga ends the flux of consciousness. Then the root of consciousness is directly experienced. If flux remains, consciousness identifies with it. It is that simple.

Sit down and practice yoga by ending the fluctuations of consciousness.
Patañjali thinks this will happen by disengaging from matter (Nature). The Buddhadharma identifies the cause as a false ideation turning fundamentally impermanent objects into permanent states existing from their own side. Without flux, consciousness is one with its root. If flux remains, consciousness conforms with it and thus suffers.


Five Fluctuations & Kriyâ-Yoga


1.5.

This flux is fivefold ; afflicted or non-afflicted.

Les fluctuations sont de cinq sortes, ayant les caractéristiques d'affliction ou de non-affliction.

Er zijn vijf soorten van fluctuaties ; pijnlijk of pijnloos.


Afflicted, troublesome ("klista") fluctuations cause suffering and are caused by a wrong approach of matter by mind (Patañjali) or by reification by the samsaric mind (Buddha). Non-afflicted ("aklista") fluctuations facilitate the process of yoga. In this more comprehensive viewpoint, we are told all fluctuations are of five kinds. And each of these may be afflictive & non-afflictive. The former result in bondage ("bandha-phala"), the latter accommodate the yogic process of interiorization.

By introducing non-afflictive fluctuations,
Patañjali suggests not all flux causes obscurations. To understand this properly, we need to connect the afflicted/non-afflicted with the concept of "kleshas", the causes of sorrow. Indeed, all human activity, even spiritual work, are underpinned by these "kleshas", the basic motivational forces prompting one to act, feel, speak, think & be conscious. Even consciousness serves the purpose of seeing the self (IV.24). These causes of sorrow, as will become clear, are intimately linked with the subliminal reactors ("samskâra"). But by introducing the category of "aklista", Patañjali attributes a positive function to the five kinds of fluctuations.

In terms of the Buddhadharma, this means not all fluctuations are caused by reification. Even when all reification has stopped, the yogi still experiences fluctuations, but these do not hinder the recognition of the seer, the root of consciousness. On the contrary, they become the compassionate, enlightened activity of a Buddha. Only afflictive fluctuations result from false conceptual overlay. To the awakened mind, no longer fooled by ignorance, and therefore no longer misrepresenting things, these five are merited, while to the ignorant mind, they are unmerited.

Indeed, the difference between "samsâra" and "nirvâna" is based on how we cognize the properties of objects. If we only apprehend their conventional side, we fool ourselves into believing they exist from their own side. Then we suffer. If we prehend their emptiness, we realize all objects are dependent-arisings and so they help us accumulate merit ("punya"). The awakened mind prehends both sides simultaneously. For a Buddha all objects are empty of substantiality, but full of relationships (full-empty). In a single moment, a Buddha prehends this emptiness as well as this totality of relationships, some of which cause suffering due to their reification (from the side of sentient beings).


1.6.

They are : valid cognition, misconception, conceptualization, sleep & memory.

Les fluctuations sont : la cognition valable, l'opinion erronée, la conceptualisation, le sommeil et la mémoire.

Deze zijn : geldig kennen, onjuiste mening, conceptualisatie, slaap en geheugen.


Ongoing changes ("vritti") and transformations ("parinâma") define Nature or matter ("prakriti"). Consciousness ("citta") is but a special instance of this overall dynamism. This incessant motility is a fact one cannot escape. The only thing a yogi may try to do is to acquire mastery over the fluctuations part of that spatiotemporal section of Nature which is his or her psycho-physical organism. Each of the five categories of fluctuations listed may be troublesome or facilitating.

For the Buddha, this difference is defined by the degree of reification consciousness adheres to. Three such degrees are defined : self-cherishing, the crude, coarse glorification of oneself at the expense of others, the cult of "number one". This egology is the cause of tremendous suffering and foremost brings about afflictive emotionality. Then the subtle level of intellectual self-grasping happens : the human mind educated to conceptualize substances, subjective (the "I") and objective (the "others"). Thus mental obscurations follow, causing the fixation of emotional & mental afflictions in cultural forms and other vestiges of human folly based on wrong views. Finally, the very subtle level of innate self-grasping we share with animals ensues, the non-conceptual feeling of personhood with its specific needs of survival & belongingness (co-relative with ante-rationality, i.e. the mythical, pre-rational & proto-rational mode of cognitive process). This last level can only be tackled by very advanced meditators, in casu, superior Bodhisattvas training on the Ten Bodhisattva Grounds ("bhûmis").


1.7.

Valid cognition is based on perception, inference and testimony.

Une cognition valable est basée sur la perception, l'inférence et le témoignage.

Geldig kennis is gebassed op perceptie, inferentie en getuigenis.


Cognition as conventional knowledge is based on a cognizing subject ("pramâtri"), a cognised object ("prameya"), an actual cognition ("pramâ"), and an instrument of cognition ("pramâna"). This is an apprehension to be distinguished from the prehension of nondual knowledge & wisdom (the "gnostic insight" born from direct yogic perceivers - I.48). The latter refers to the prehension of ultimate truth resulting from realizing the ultimate nature of reality. In the West, the latter is called "intuitional knowledge" (Cusanus) or "scientia intuitiva" (cf. Spinoza), and deemed an organ of knowledge distinct from what is delivered by the senses & reason. In the Buddhadharma, it is the direct, non-conceptual, nondual wisdom born out of meditations on emptiness. Here, Patañjali deals with valid conventional knowledge (and later with false conventional knowledge or misconception).

Conventional cognition is articulated in an empirical-formal proposition of fact (cf.
The Rules of the Game of True Knowing, 1999 & Clearings : On Critical Epistemology, 2006). Then, on the basis of a theory of truth, the validity of the cognition ("pramânya") is ascertained. At this point, the proposition is either valid or false. The former is a conventional truth, the latter a conventional falsehood. We will confront the view expressed in the sûtra with contemporary epistemology (theory & practice of knowledge).

According to theoretical epistemology, valid cognition is the case when the proposition at hand has passed the test (experimentation - correspondence) and all relevant sign-interpreters agree on the meaning on what has been found (argumentation - consensus). Experimentation refers to the information offered by the five senses or perception ("pratyaksa"), whereas theory-formation & argumentation points to inference ("anumâna"). According to practical epistemology, a scientific research-cell always makes use of series of a posteriori rules-of-thumb, contextualized opportunistic logics and is embedded in a scientific community calling for relative, historical and pragmatical cultures. These may be identified as testimony or tradition ("âgama").

All of these epistemological considerations have been extensively explained in the studies on normative epistemology mentioned above. Moreover, the relationships between conventional valid cognition and metaphysics has also been studied elsewhere
(cf. Critique of a Metaphysics of Process, 2012). The application of this on cognition as viewed in the Buddhadharma can be found in my studies on emptiness & ultimate logic.

Let us analyse perception & sensation.

The five sense-consciousnesses provide us with sensate objects. But there is crucial difference between the perception of an object (caused by the stimulation of the sensitive surfaces of the organs of sense) and its sensation (of objects by consciousness). Please also refer to A Neurophilosophy of Sensation (2003).

The efficient neurological cause of perception is called "transduction" ("to lead across"). This is the logic by which a receptor cell, exposed to an environmental stimulus, causes an electrical response. On a deeper level, the overall functioning of the brain is thus underpinned by complex flows of electric charge (from the Greek "electron" or "amber"), which, together with magnetism, shapes the fundamental interaction known as electromagnetism (next to universal gravity and the subatomic strong & weak forces). Electromagnetism implies the simultaneity of electrical & magnetic forces. The magnetic field is caused by the electric current or motion of electric charges. The electromagnetic field is the space which exerts a force on particles possessing electric charge, in turn affected by these particles and their motion. All sensate information gathered by the senses is transducted into electromagnetic impulses transported to the CNS.

Traditionally, "sensation" is defined as the faculty through which the external world is perceived. Hence, the sensory system is two-tiered : on the one hand perception, the raw, naked immediacy of the receptor organs for smell, taste, touch, audition & sight, the "doors of perception" (Huxley) at the periphery of the olfactory, gustative, soma-aesthetic (or somato-sensory), visual & auditory systems of the CNS. On the other hand sensation, the end result of an array of central neural systems committed to process the coded form of the impulse perceived by the receptors, like the secondary & tertiary sensory areas, the spatial association area situated in the posterior parietal cortex (of both hemispheres), the angular gyrus in the inferior parietal lobe, sitting at the juncture of the tactile, visual & auditory areas, the limbic system (for emotional colouring) and the Ascending Reticular Activation System in the brainstem for the general arousal-level of the CNS.

Human Brain
Peripheral Nervous
System (PNS)
Central Nervous
System (CNS)
receptor organs
afferent pathways
synaptic relays
primary to tertiary areas, gyri, the limbic etc.
perception
codification
sensation
experience appearance

The transmission of afferent impulses is never direct, but by synaptic relays, changing the message into a "code". In every neuronal relay station, this coded impulse is modified. Although each sense has its primary receiving area laid out as a cortical "map" (cf. the Brodmann areas), the neuronal relays from the PNS to the CNS cause the preliminary "codification" of the raw impulse hitting the reception surface of nose, tongue, skin, ears and/or eyes. So when the impulses in some sensory pathway reach the primary sensory areas in the CNS, preliminary codification has already taken place (cf. Kant's distinction between experience, "Empfindung" versus appearance, or "Erscheinung").

The distinction between sensation and perception is important. Sensations occur to a subject of experience, and manifest as nose-consciousness (smelling), tongue-consciousness (tasting), skin-consciousness (touching), ear-consciousness (hearing), eye-consciousness (seeing) & the concert of these. They represent the final, "constructive" result of a process starting with naked, "unconstructed" perception. Perceptions are raw & simple, sensation are always processed & complex. Sensations happen to an empirical ego (largely processed by the prefrontal lobes of the neocortex, the so-called "fourth brain" next to the reptilian, mammalian and human brains) with a unique perspective on the ongoing, sensational & non-sensational stream of functional differences or "energies" within consciousness.

Perception is three-fold. The root of perception is the impulse affecting the receptor. Next, the afferent relay to the CNS is coded, finally projecting the coded impulse in the primary sensory area. Because these perceptional data are introduced through sensory pathways to which consciousness has normally no direct access, perception is, paradoxically, non-sensational. To clarify this idea, the neurophilosophy of the primary, secondary & ternary sensory areas will be helpful.

Distinguish between naked perception (stimuli & preliminary codation), natural perception (space, time, integration & projection) and sensation (conscious apprehension on the basis of labelling & naming). Although it seems our senses directly inform us about the outside world, they don't. Sensations, although based on perceptions, always imply conscious labelling or interpretation.

perception is S-R : S (stimulus) - R (response) model
sensation is S-I-R : S - I (internal process) - R model (with userware)
S(ensation) = P(erception) . I(nterpretation), with I ≠ 1.

When divorced from ultimate truth, valid conventional cognition is troublesome. The Buddha makes it perfectly clear conventional truth misrepresents its objects, attributing independence ("svatantra") and substance ("svabhâva") to them, thereby concealing their ultimate nature, which is full-emptiness. In other words, all objects are empty of substantial fixation, not firmly held in position for all of eternity, but impermanent, ever-changing, transient dependent-arisings, defined by arising, abiding & cessation. So when we lack the wisdom realizing emptiness, we are designating non-existent substance on objects. This is afflictive.

Valid conventional cognition facilitates our spiritual practice in describing the conventional world in a valid way, making it possible to logically identify and functionally operate sensate & mental objects. This is the activity of science. Thanks to science we are able to progress more rapidly, for we no longer attend silly physical, psychological, social, economical & political notions, eradicating superstitions, idiotic concepts and retarded magical thinking. Ante-rationality is not enthroned, but instead integrated. Ante-rationality designates the early stages of our cognitive development, defined by mythical, pre-rational & protorational notions, pre-concepts & concrete concepts respectively (cf.
Intelligent Wisdom : from Myth to Nondual Thought, 2007). All this empowers our spiritual practice considerably, making the yogi part of the world (but not of the world). Because of the facilitating impact of science, yogis can be contemporary men & woman, and need not to adhere to some outdated notion of dressing up & behaving like pseudo-psychotic madmen or shamans.


1.8.

Misconception is false knowledge not based on the appearance of its object.

Une opinion erronée est une connaissance fausse qui n'est pas basée sur l'apparence réelle de son objet.

Een onjuiste mening is een valse kennis die niet gebaseerd is op de verschijning van haar object.


False conventional knowledge or misconception ("viparyaya") contradicts the conditions set by epistemology to define valid conventional knowledge. Either the object is non-existent and so cannot be put to the test (for example : phlogiston) and/or it does not elicit a consensus among the involved sign-interpreters (the scientists apt to be able to interpret the test results and/or the theory elaborating the objects tested - for example : telepathy, psychokinesis). In the latter case, the object may be significantly identified (the statistical proof for parapsychological phenomena is staggering), but no unified theory to explain them can be discussed or no consensual theory has been found.

On the one hand, false conventional knowledge is troublesome when allowed to rule over science or valid conventional knowledge. Historical examples are ample and shall not be discussed here at length for the issue requires no explanation. For 15 centuries the West (and with it the world at large) has been plagued by the "sins against truth" propagated by the Roman Church. This alone suffices to explain why intelligent men & woman no longer adhere to its outdated dogma's, views and catechism. Misconception should never be made to rule.

On the other hand, misconceptions may, in rare & isolated cases, facilitate spiritual evolution. For example, the exaltation of the Passion of the Christ has facilitated certain spiritual orders to promote fasting, discovering the benefits of this practice in terms of the purification of the body. Or we may imagine certain superstitions to help avoid what could be physically or psychologically detrimental to certain individuals, ending their spiritual evolution. But although false conventional knowledge may in individual cases be beneficial, in general it rarely is.


1.9.

Conceptualization is without perceivable object, following verbal knowledge.

La conceptualisation est sans objet et suit uniquement la connaissance des mots.

Conceptualisatie is zonder waarneembaar object en volgt verbale kennis.


Mental states are either based on sensation or are non-sensational. In the latter case they are mental objects. Indeed, the cognitive system (cognition) only processes two types of objects : sensate objects & mental objects. The latter can be classified as volitional, affective, cognitive and sentient (consciousness). Sensate objects define the body, mental objects define the mind.

Sensations have a clear bodily location and possess "raw feels" or qualia, defined by the five-tiered sensory input of the five physical organs of sense (smell, taste, touch, audition and sight). More or less spatially defined, sensations are always the experience of a conscious subject. Without this conscious experience, sensations are not. So they are a higher-order kind of empirical data.

Non-sensational mental states have no distinct, outer events associated with them. These mental states, also emerging without one being conscious of them, may be classified as :

quasi-perceptional states : like hallucinating, dreaming, imagining, trance-visioning ;
emotions, feelings : the complete range from utter disgust to sublime bliss, from violence to peace ;
conative states : wishing, wanting, intending, trying, acting ;
cognitions : thinking, reasoning, knowing, conceiving, understanding, intuiting.

Conceptualization ("vikalpa"), defined in a very broad way, ranges from hallucinating to abstract understanding. Intuiting is non-conceptual, and falls outside this category. Genetical epistemology identified notions (mythical cognition), pre-concepts (pre-rational cognition), concrete contexts (proto-rational cognition), formal concepts (formal cognition), critical concepts (transcendental cognition) and creative concepts (creative cognition). It crowns this scheme with non-conceptual, nondual cognition (intuition, gnosis, wisdom). All forms of conceptuality are a form of verbal knowledge ("shabda-jñâna"). This incessant conceptualizing of reality in terms of language prevents us from directly experiencing the ultimate nature of things.

Conceptualization is troublesome when our concepts are reified, i.e. turned into things. This leads to what, in remembrance of Kant, one could call "ontological illusion" or "substance-obsession", turning mere concepts into things, grasping what is impermanent to be permanent. When we do so, we do not take ultimate truth into account, and so restrict our sources of knowledge to sensate & valid conceptual knowledge.

Conceptualization facilitates our spiritual growth when we use concepts to "burn up" conceptual reifications, as in critical, transcendental analysis, leading to a strictly nominalistic approach of conceptual thought. Such thinking has moved beyond this substance-obsession, and cognizes without attributing own-form to any of its concepts.


1.10.

Sleep is a fluctuation resting on the thought of non-occurrence.

Le sommeil est une fluctuation basée sur la notion de la non-occurence d'autres contenus de la conscience.

Slaap is een fluctuatie die rust op de notie van het niet optreden van andere bewustzijnsinhouden.


Sleep rests on the units of conscious experience ("pratyaya") involved with the non-occurrence or the non-becoming ("abhâva-pratyaya") of any other activity of consciousness. Here "pratyaya" is not simply translated as "thought", but as "units of conscious experience". Sleep can be subdivided in samsaric non-lucid dream states, samsaric non-lucid dreamless sleep, lucid dreaming and lucid dreamless sleep. All of these depend on the presence of "abhâva-pratyaya", as it were a unit of conscious experience inhibiting waking consciousness.

Samsaric dream states contain (a) reactive states processing what happened during the day and (b) symbolical occurrences defined by personal & collective unconscious material. Depth-psychology (Freud, Jung, Assagioli) has analyzed these extensively. The use of these reactions & symbols depends on the degree of dream recall during the waking state. Beside samsaric dreaming, a large part of the night is spent in samsaric dreamless sleep. Of this no recall is possible. Lucid dreams are dream states of which one is aware while they happen. The dreamer knows he or she is dreaming. Various degrees of lucidity may be the case. Finally, there is lucid dreamless sleep, which is the most evolved way of experiencing what happens when "abhâva-pratyaya" is at work.

Samsaric sleep is troublesome. It merely continues the delusion experienced during waking but in a more subtle way, using a dream body lolloping along the various happenings. This ungainly way does not bring anything positive to our spiritual emancipation and is often a playful extension of waking existence. While in it, we are not aware of it and when recalling it we experience it as if happened to another person. A nightmare is an exception, for it may suddenly propel us back into the waking state, bringing along its agony, fear and all the rest of it. Then, dreams seem very real and terrifying. But this slowly fades away and only if they recur will they be remembered.

In Tibetan Buddhism, dream & sleep are used to realize awakening. This clearly facilitates spiritual growth. After being able to recall dreams clearly one trains to become lucid dreamers. This means one is fully aware one is dreaming. The next step is to master what happens in these dreams. This may go as far as visiting Pure Lands, receiving teachings or communicating with Gurus & disciples who are also dreaming, with full recall of these events during the waking state. Finally, one is able to be lucid during dreamless sleep. Then consciousness actually experiences root-consciousness. This leads to full awakening ...


1.11.

Remembering is not being deprived of the experienced object.

La mémoire est la non-déprivation de l'objet vécu.

De herinnering is niet ontnomen worden van het ervaren object.


If memory is the network of subconscious traits ("vâsanâ") making recollection possible, then "smriti" is the actual act of remembering them. The unity of conscious activity (experience) or "pratyaya" cause corresponding reactors ("samskâra"). Taken together, they constitute memory ("smriti"), subdivided in that part of the unconscious which can be naturally remembered (subconscious) and that part which requires special techniques to do so (unconscious or depth-memory, of which storehouse-memory is part).

Remembering is troublesome when afflicted states are recalled over and over again or memory serves the obsessive continuation of negative feelings and/or thoughts about certain situations, circumstances or persons. But also in its most mild form is memory afflictive, namely as a moving back of awareness to the past, loosing one's mindfulness of the present moment. Just note how many times communication is put in the past tense or past events are recalled and gone over repeatedly. Even when the latter are positive does this throw awareness out of the moment at hand, and is the activity problematic in terms of our spiritual emancipation. No doubt is a pleasant way to wasting good time.

Remembering facilitates our evolution when it involves the recall of Dharma teachings in the broadest sense of the word, sacred texts & communications, or if this happens without loss of awareness of time present, i.e. with mindfulness. Then this regression into the past may serve evolution if it is more than just the recall of reified imprints. To be mindful about such negative imprints runs against the purpose of awakening, to say the least. In fact, these memories are quite useless, except as imprints required to analyze the past errors involved with the substantialization of objects. The suffering mind dwells in the past and expects a bad outcome in the future. It generates the conditions of its own woe.


1.12.

Restrict these through practice & dispassion.

La restriction de tout cela vient par la pratique et le détachement.

De beperking van dat alles komt door oefening en onthechting.


The unwholesome, troublesome fluctuations (not the facilitating ones) are restricted by two methods : practice ("abhyâsa") and dispassion ("vairâgya"). These are the two poles of Patañjali's Kriyâ-Yoga, a full-fledged system of practice on its own. It differs from the (probably later) "asta-anga" tradition with which Classical Yoga is mostly confused. As will become clear later (II.1), practice implies ascesis, self-study and devotion to the Lord, whereas dispassion is classified as "inferior" or "superior".

Practice is the actual endeavour to "just sit" and do yoga. Dispassion or renunciation is the attitude of letting go of the cravings fed by the external world. In terms of the Sûtric teachings of the Buddhadharma, this means no longer be entangled by the Eight Worldly Concerns : gain & loss, fame & disgrace, praise & ridicule, elation & sorrow. In terms of Tantra, it refers to the fact one should accept what is available when it is available and then enjoy it fully, while not longing for it when it is not there. To be able to enjoy while suffering is a special case on its own.

Renunciation may become a way of life, as in the monastic tradition, or be integrated in lay life. Then usually it refers to satisfying what one truly needs and not what one wants. In a general way, it points to letting go of coarse & subtle mental & sensate objects, and so has two forms : inferior & superior.

When we practice without true dispassion, we cultivate pathological ego-inflation and hunger for power and praise. When we are dispassionate without practice, the restricted energies have no outlet, causing mental & physical problems. This is like a blunt sword. Both need to walk hand in hand.


1.13.

Practice is the effort to gain stability in that restriction.

La pratique est l'effort d'atteindre la stabilité dans l'état de restriction.

Oefening is de inspanning om stabiliteit in die beperking te bereiken.


Each time troublesome fluctuations are restricted, practice is at hand. Distinguish between formal practice and micro-practice. The former is a ritualized yoga session, clearly defined by beginning (outer Refuge) and end (outer Dedication), while the latter are small restrictions done often every day, and this when necessary or wanted. Such informal practice may occur many times a day and even at night.

During micro-practices, one stops for a moment, returns to mindful awareness to then let go of what was identified as an unwholesome, afflictive fluctuation, be it a valid cognition, misconception, conceptualization, dream event or afflictive recall. The merit of these micro-practices are also accumulated, and their long-term effect considerable. Eventually they also cause the formation of new mental habit of being constantly aware of what is at hand ("inward-mindedness" or "pratyakcetanâ" - I.29). Formal practices affect the mind in a deeper and more profound way. Both activities are complementary and practiced together.

Practice is indeed an exertion of the will to abide in the condition of "nirodha", restriction. Eventually, the goal is to restrict all mental vibrations.


1.14.

This is firmly grounded only when cultivated properly & for a long time uninterruptedly.

Ceci devient une assise ferme si cultivée proprement pendant longtemps sans interruption.

Dit is enkel onwankelbaar gegrond wanneer het juist en gedurende een lange tijd ononderbroken gecultiveerd wordt.


Inward-mindedness is the habit countering the natural tendency of consciousness to turn & flow outwards. Right practice reverses this.

Root-consciousness, the seer, is not to be found in the outside world, but in the inside "space" of the mind (Rilke's "Weltinnenraum"). But in a substance-based view, this root-consciousness is the "Divine Spark" (Eckehart) or "Divine Image" (Beatrice of Nazareth), the "âtman" or spirit "buried in the soul", untouched by spatiotemporal happenings. To arrive to recognize this, one needs a long-term dedication, not merely occasional exercising & brushing-up. This is crucial. If one lacks the will to do so, yoga is a waste of time. If so, entertain activities helping the mind to accumulate the merits to practice in the future, like the practice of the Four Immeasurables (or "Abodes of Brahmâ") : joy, love, compassion and equanimity (cf. I.33). Many lifetimes of such activities may be necessary before the mind acquires a strong will entering the path of yoga. This is a persevering will (when outer enemies need to be confronted) and a determined will (with the appearance of the first inklings of inner vacillations & second guesses).

The word "properly" ("sat-kâra") indicates wrong practice exists. Balanced practice is in all cases the safest path. Proper practice & renunciation always generate harmony within & without. If this is not happening, wrong practice is at hand.

In his Eightfold Path, Lord Buddha also speaks of right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation, thereby pointing to the possibility of their opposite. Greater calmness leads to more compassion. This sets the stage for understanding & realizing the nature of appearances, the complex interrelational set of dependent-arisings arising, abiding & ceasing. Wisdom is realizing emptiness, not only understand it. The balance of these two wings (compassion & wisdom) makes the bird of awakening take off and fly.


1.15.

Dispassion is the smart volition of one without thirst for sensate & revealed objects.

Le détachement est la connaissance de la maîtrise de celui qui n'a pas soif d'objets physiques et révélés.

Onthechting is de kennis van het meesterschap van diegene die geen dorst heeft naar materiële en gereveleerde objecten.


Renunciation is not a neurotic rejection of the world, but a smart volition ("vashîkâra-samjñâ"). This smartness indicates a maturity. This is not an occasional aversion or intermittent withdrawal, but a strong-willed quenching of the exaggerated desire for ephemeral things like sensate objects and special experiences as described in the sacred texts (cf. visions, trances, bliss, angelic states, Divine states & magical powers). Longing for these things is contrary to dispassion and so hinders the restriction of the flux of consciousness.

To renounce the sensuous and its higher manifestations, is the inferior form of dispassion. This is partial or ordinary renunciation. This does not destroy the reactors, and is therefore not secured.


1.16.

Superior to that is non-thirsting for the strata of Nature resulting from the vision of Purusa.

La forme supérieure implique que l'on n'est pas assoiffé des plans de la Nature, ce qui résulte de la vision du Purusa.

Hoger dan dat is het niet-dorsten naar de strata van de Natuur die het gevolg zijn van het zien van Purusa.


"Para-vairâgya" or the superior form of dispassion renounces after having experienced the invisible worlds directly. The heavens of bliss are extraordinary abodes. The worlds of the "devas" exist as the perfection of the senses & the mind. To turn away from this is difficult. Superior renunciation is the fruit of advanced yogic practice.

For Lord Buddha, higher renunciation involves the desubstantialization of all possible sensate & mental objects
. Nothing, Buddhas included, is substantial, self-existing or self-sufficient.

The primary constituents of Nature ("guna") are the building-blocks of all conventional objects, and the latter are always mistaken in the sense they appear as substantial while they are not. To detach from this on a constant basis, is the superior dispassion involved here. In Tibetan's Old Translation School this gave rise to the practice of constantly reminding ourselves the world is like a dream (but with different physical constraints). Like in a dream, objects "work" and appear as independent, whi
le in final analysis this is mistaken, for they are dependent-arisings and so in no way substantial ("svabhâva") or existing from their own side.

The superior dispassion aimed at here, is not the renunciation of this or that object (be it sensate, "subtle", "invisible" or "spiritual"), but the letting go of the false ideation of the substantiality of all possible objects, be they conventional (all conventional objects are unsubstantial) or ultimate (all ultimate objects are likewise unsubstantial). What remains after this recognition, is the set of all dependent-arisings, the Net of Indra, the unbounded wholeness at the base of all possible purity & impurity.


Commentary on I.5 - I.16 :
Five Fluctuations & Kriyâ-Yoga


The fluctuations of consciousness are either troublesome (afflictive) or facilitate the process of interiorization aiming at the recognition of the root of consciousness, i.e. the "seer" (Patañjali) or the luminous mind (Lord Buddha).

First the troublesome flux needs to be restricted. This is done by proper practice causing inward-mindedness & inferior dispassion, the two wings of the bird of Kriyâ-Yoga.
The latter renounces worldly concerns and "revealed" objects. Finally, all flux is restricted. This is done by superior dispassion, renouncing Nature in toto, what leads to union.

Practice & dispassion work together. Both arrogant magical prowess (practice without dispassion), as otherworldly idleness (dispassion without practice) are avoided.


Union : Seedless & Seeded


1.17.

Union-with-seed (arising out of this restriction) is called "cognitive" by being connected with cogitation, reflection, joy & I-am-ness.

L'union-avec-semence -émergeant de l'état de restriction- est "cognitive" et s'oriente vers l'objet. Elle est connectée avec la cogitation, la réflection, la joie et le Je-suis.

Eenwording-met-zaad (als resultaat van onthechting) wordt "cognitief" genoemd wegens het verbonden zijn met cognitie, reflectie, vreugde en het "Ik-ben".


Union ("samâdhi") is the end result of the restriction of fluctuations and therefore the goal of Kriyâ-Yoga. Union is also the last "member" of the Eightfold Yoga. What is union ? How to realize it ?

After having discussed the various types of flux and the way to end them (namely by way of practice & dispassion), Patañjali highlights the fruit of these two (co)relative methods : "samâdhi". But the word appears "qualified", indicative of a yogic scale of different levels of union. "With seed" calls for "without seed" and union-with-seed is also immediately predicated, for it is
with cogitation, reflection, joy & I-am-ness.

When the five types of fluctuations are suspended, the state of "nirodha" ensues. This is a state of intense readiness allowing consciousness to open up to a new mode of conscious experience. But although this state of restriction is a necessary condition, it is not a sufficient condition, for, as II.45 explains, devotion to the Lord is also a precondition.

Union overcomes the dichotomy between object & subject, allowing one to experience the object as it were "from within" and this accompanied by an intense wakefulness or acute awareness differentiating it from all other states of consciousness. The ultimate state is without duality. Our teacher envisages nonduality as the absence of duality and not as the end of duality's illusionary power over the mind.

Union happens not "in one piece", for six different types are distinguished, a yogic "scala perfectionis" : (1) conceptual union-with-seed, (2) non-conceptual union-with-seed, (3) subtle union-with-seed, (4) ultra-subtle union-with seed, (5) union-without-seed and (6) "Dharma-megha" union.

The fundamental division lies between union "with seed" ("samprajñâta") and "without seed" ("asamprajñâta"), in other words, a "samâdhi" resulting from concentration ("dhârana") on an object (be it coarse or subtle) or from one lacking an object altogether. Union-with-seed is called "cogitative" ("samprajñâta") for object-oriented, i.e. with objective support. Seedless union is entirely oriented towards root-consciousness (the seer, self or luminous mind).


When superior dispassion has been realized, union-with-seed emerges.


Let us first clarify union-with-seed :

Union-with-seed ("bîja-samâdhi")

with cogitation ("vitarka") or
(1) conceptual union
with reflection ("vicâra") or
(2) non-conceptual union
with
coarse seed
(3) subtle union (4) ultra-subtle union with
subtle seed

In this sûtra, Patañjali only mentions the first two subtypes of union-with-seed : conceptual union (with cogitation or "vitarka") and non-conceptual union (with reflection or "vicâra"). These types always result from using coarse seeds ("bîya"). The object pertains to the visible realm of Nature. The Buddha notes how concepts about appearing things tend to become fixed properties of these appearances instead of conventional logico-functional elements of propositions about impermanent processes. This reification of concepts continues to happen even if one is made aware of this substance-obsession. It takes years of yogic practice to eradicate this. For our teacher this poses no problem. Concepts are always reified. His target is how concepts entangle consciousness and so must be restricted too. They are able to entangle precisely because of being substance-based. Like all essentialists (eternalists), Patañjali insists things can only exist if they own enduring, inhering properties existing from their own side.

If the object is drawn from the deep structure, like the energy potentials ("tanmâtra") or the senses ("indriya"), then two other types of union are at hand. In I.44 these are mentioned as subtle & ultra-subtle union. Subtle union restricts conceptual union
("nirvitarka"). Ultra-subtle union restricts non-conceptual union ("nirvicâra").

All types of union-with-seed are infused with joy (bliss - "ânanda") and the experience of the subject of itself, or I-am-ness ("asmitâ"). These are not two separate types of union-with-seed (as some commentators suggested), for joy and the knower are present in all types of union-with-seed. This type of union merely prepares for the higher type. The latter is wholly oriented towards the direct recognition of the root of consciousness.

The experience of this joy in all types of seed-based unions makes the experience of "samâdhi" immediately recognizable. Attachment to this bliss may become a very strong hindrance.


1.18.

The other (union-without-seed) has a residuum of reactors & follows the former when the thought of cessation is practiced.

L'union-sans-semence a un résidu de réacteurs subliminaux et suit l'union déjà mentionnée quand la notion de cessation est pratiquée.

Eenwording-zonder-zaad heeft een residu van reactoren en volgt de voorgaande eenwording wanneer de notie van beëindiging beoefend wordt.


When the ultimate cessation has been attained (when ultra-subtle union-with-seed is the case), then and only then does union-without-seed emerge. This is a formidable achievement.

Seedless union is a culminatory state in which consciousness merely exists in the form of the reactors. These reactors are the subliminal activators prompting mental activity. Seedless union ensues from the near-perfect practice of the unit of conscious experience of cessation (the gradual inhibition of all thoughts & units of conscious experience), but always follows union-with-seed. Although in this elevated state normal consciousness (always oriented outside) is destroyed, there is nonetheless a very sharp awareness of root-consciousness. What is left, is the deep structure (the network of reactors). The identity of the practitioner is almost completely shifted to the seer.

Seedless union brings into being a special reactor binding all others (I.50). When union-with-seed is realized, final or perfect union comes in sight, i.e. the direct & full recognition of the root of consciousness is nearly at hand.


1.19.

The union of those who have merged with Nature & those who are bodiless is due to their focus on the thought of becoming.

L'union-avec-semence de ceux qui se sont fondus avec la Nature et ceux qui sont sans corps est causée par la persistance de la notion du devenir.

De eenwording van diegenen die met de Natuur samensmolten en diegenen die zonder lichaam zijn is het gevolg van hun focus op de notie van het worden.


Patañjali warns against those who got side-tracked by merging with one of the superior planes of Nature (the realm of becoming - "prakriti-laya") and those who fuse with the formless realms ("videha"). Lord Buddha does the same. The Gods & Goddesses ("devas") are objects of refuge (III.51), but they are deceptive for do not lead to the cessation of suffering once and for all. The higher, formless Jhânas can be practiced to sharpen the faculty of concentration, but should never be viewed as final states.

As the formless Devas no longer possess senses, they cannot communicate, and so have blocked themselves and deliberately stopped their own spiritual evolution and this for a very very long time. Instead of the unit of conscious experience of cessation, they have "becoming" in their minds. Thus they stay self-trapped in the highest levels of cyclic existence, experiencing the most subtle form of suffering possible. They do have escaped the bulk of the suffering, but not ceased all suffering, nor does their union (heaven) last ...

Lord Buddha teaches to also pray for the Devas. These highly evolved sentient beings also need to spiritually evolve, i.e. cast away all ignorance. In their world, he appears playing the lute. His music captivates all their Divine attention because of its beauty, depth, wealth & splendour. Then, he teaches them profound impermanence by suddenly stop playing only to start playing again ... When a Deva starts to die (enters the Bardo of Death), traditional lore has it all other Devas leave. Only the Buddhas may truly comfort.


1.20.

Union-without-seed is preceded by faith, energy, mindfulness, union-with-seed & supra-cognition.

L'union-sans-semence est précédée par la foi, l'énergie, l'attention mentale, l'union-avec-semence et prajñâ.

Eenwording-zonder-zaad wordt voorafgegaan door geloof, energie, mentale aandacht, eenwording-met-zaad en wijsheid.


Besides union-with-seed, union-without-seed is preceded by faith, energy, mindfulness & direct intuitive knowledge or wisdom. These five features may be explained as follows :

(1) faith ("shraddhâ") : is not a blind acceptance, but a positive attitude towards the yogic path protecting practice, an intelligent & informed trust (Buddha calls this "verified faith", confirmed through one's own experience, to be distinguished from "bright faith" aroused from an outside source) ;
(2) vitality ("vîrya") : is energy arising from faith, empowering practice. With faith one practices and because of this the body-mind complex is invigorated ;
(3) mindfulness ("smriti") : the actual practice of concentration, contemplation & union ("samyama") ;
(4) union-with-seed : the central precondition to practice seedless union ;
(5) wisdom ("prajñâ") : intuitive prehension conductive to recognize the seer.

These five factors are also found in the Buddhadharma and some commentators suggested they were adopted from there. Indeed, the Five Controlling Faculties or Powers are : faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration & wisdom. Verified trust eliminated doubt. Energy and effort have four applications : (1) the effort to avoid or prevent unwholesome states not yet arisen, (2) the effort to abandon these when they arise, (3) the effort to cultivate wholesome states not yet arisen and (4) the effort to maintain wholesome states having already arisen.

The Buddha compared the progress of the practitioner to the rates at which camphor, dry wood or wet wood burn. Some move very quickly, others take only a little time or a very long time. Eventually, all these substances will burn. Every meditator will spiritually develop, although very wet wood will take a very long time to do so ...


1.21.

This is near to him who is extremely vehement in Yoga.

L'union est proche pour celui qui la pratique avec une grande ardeur.

Eenwording is diegene nabij die haar met grote bezieling beoefent.


1.22.

Because this can be modest, medium or excessive, the result differs.

Parce que cette ardeur peut être menue, moyenne ou intense, il y a une différence dans la proximité de cette union.

Omdat deze bezieling bescheiden, gemiddeld of groot kan zijn, is er een verschil in de nabijheid van deze eenwording.


Vehemence ("samvega") is essential.

Practice & dispassion are fuelled by the manifest and strong desire to emancipate ("moksa-abhilâsa"). This is not a sick mortification or exaggerated ascetism, but merely great enthusiasm. Human beings who are not willing to put in the necessary joyous effort will not cease their suffering, and continue to wander. Those who lack enthusiasm for the spiritual path should not walk it. To set the stage for future practice, they practice common goodness.

This is also the teaching of Lord Buddha.

The joyous element is crucial. Practicing and renouncing without the pleasure to do so will not do. So forcing people into spiritual emancipation is out of the question. There is no coercion in yoga. The degree of vehemence should define the kind of practice & dispassion implemented. When excessive, union will quickly come near, and so one may exercise a lot. But even when modest, practice will bring about fruits, but it will take a long time before the seer is recognized.

More effort, more results. Less effort, less results. On this practical insight all education is based, for repetitio est mater studiorum (repetition is the mother of all study).


Commentary on I.17 - I.22 :
Union : Seedless & Seeded


In this section, after having explained the fluctuations to be restricted, Patañjali introduces the fruit, the object of this section of the Yoga Sûtra, union ("samâdhi").

Union is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, pointing to a complete transformation of consciousness and the introduction of a new, highly exceptional state of mind. Union ends delusion & suffering. The various types of union form a hierarchy, starting with a union oriented towards Nature (with seed) and ending with a seedless union wholly directed to the seer and leading up to "Dharma Cloud" union.

The spiritual powers balance attention so the mind is well directed, orderly and not overpowered by adventitious dross, sustaining the power needed to make progress on the spiritual path. Lack of trust cripples practice, making it fickle. Energy & effort consolidate and reinforce the mind, supporting and driving the mind to accomplish the task. Mindfulness & seeded union are mental faculties directly leading to seedless union. Mindfulness pushes toward seeded union and the latter to seedless union.

The degree of vehemence determines the nearness to union.


Theist Presuppositions


1.23.

Or union through devotion to the Lord.

Ou l'union est atteinte par l'abandon complet en Isvara, le Seigneur.

Of eenwording door devotie voor Îshvara, de Heer.


II.45 explains union requires devotion to the Lord. Here a separate sûtra explains union may be the direct result from cultivating a special relationship with the Lord. For Patañjali, the Lord is the Supreme Being ("îsh", "îsha", "îshana", "îshvara").

In Hinduism, the meaning of Îshvara is very much dependent on the particular school of thought at hand.


In the older & primary Taittiriya Upanishad (2.6.1), we read : "He created all this, whatever is here. Having created it, into it, indeed, he entered. Having entered it, he became both the actual and the beyond, the defined and the undefined, both the founded and the unfounded, the intelligent and the unintelligent, the true and the untrue."

In Advaita Vedanta, when humans think of Brahman, this Supreme Self-Existing Being (both transcendent & immanent, i.e. pan-en-theist) is always projected upon the limited, finite human mind and then appears as Îshvara. The mind projects human attributes, such as personality, motherhood, fatherhood etc. on the Supreme Being. The transcendent aspect of Brahman is ineffable, His immanent aspect is called "Îshvara", the Lord.

In the Buddhadharma, in particular in the later Tantrayâna, the Lord is the Primordial Buddha ("Adi-Buddha"), who is not a Creator but the sole Supreme Deity in an emanationist and not in a creationist sense. Emanationism, from "emanation" (Lat. "emanare", or "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of"), views all things to be derived from the First Reality or First Principle by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of this First Reality, at every step becoming less pure & perfect. This view is opposed to both Creationism (introducing a God who is separated from creation and who creates it ex nihilo) and materialism (positing no underlying transcendent First Reality behind phenomena). In the West, it can be found in Plotinus and the neo-Platonic tradition he initiated.

In any case, Îshvara is always viewed as a Supreme Substance (or "substance of substances") and so exists inherently, from its own side and self-powered. According to the Buddhist Middle School ("Prasangika-Madhyamaka"), the highest tenet school of Buddhist philosophy, such a being cannot be found ! By contrast, the Adi-Buddha merely appears continuously, ever-changing and not inherently existing. The Adi-Buddha is an interdependent & impermanent holomovement. In this sense, Îshvara and the Adi-Buddha clearly differ. The latter is empty of self (does not inherently exist), is not omnipotent and not a Creator. But Îshvara comes close to the God of the Western monotheisms, who is the Creator of "Heaven & Earth", omnipotent, fully omniscient & omnipresent. For Lord Buddha, the belief in the existence of such a inherently existing Supreme Being is the gravest of delusions. On this point,
Patañjali & Buddha Shâkyamuni radically differ. On this point no bridging of positions is possible.

However, the belief in Îshvara does not in every case find expression in Hindu Yoga and seems to be a question of personal choice. But for
Patañjali, the Lord is an archetypal model to be emulated in active devotion ("pranidhâna"). This could imply a strong feeling of love ("bhakti") expressed in acts of worship, but also an attitude of the highest respect for the archetypal yogi.


1.24.

The Lord is a special Purusa untouched by the causes of sorrow, karma & its fruition and the deposit in the depth-memory.

Îshvara, suprême Purusa, n'est pas touché par les causes de malheur, les actions et leurs effets et le dépôt dans la mémoire profonde.

Îshvara, de Heer, is een bijzondere Purusa, onaangeraakt door de oorzaken van ongeluk, acties en hun resultaat en het bezinksel in het diepte-geheugen.


Îshvara is not the product of Nature, for the latter is insentient. Of all possible seers, He is a special "purusa", for He has never been nor will He ever be touched by Nature and its workings. He stands beyond the wheel of existence, absolutely separated from it, and He has never, unlike our innermost essence, been touched by delusion.

Here is the traditional ontological divide typical for all forms of theism. The essence of the Supreme Being transcendents Nature (His creation) and is ontologically different in a radical way ("totaliter aliter"). In scholastic philosophy (be it Judaic, Christian or Muslim), God's essence (whatness) is for God alone, while His existence (thatness) may be shared with His creatures (if He wishes so). Since beginningless time Îshvara is unrelated to the delusional mechanisms of Nature. This ontological gap, found in all Platonic systems, cannot be bridged. It sets the Lord apart in an Olympic way.

Again Lord Buddha disagrees. Not only is a substantial ("svabhâva") & independent ("svatantra") Supreme Being unfindable, but ultimate reality exists conventionally (pansacralism), and the only thing needed is the wisdom realizing emptiness. This is the pivotal difference between theist models and the Dharmic view. The world is an unbounded wholeness, and although a Supreme Principle can be identified, it does not exist on its own, separate from cyclic existence and its illusionary essentialism ; the Adi-Buddha exists in actuality, "with us".

The concert of Buddhas (no Buddha exists unrelated to the other Buddhas) crowned by the Primordial Buddha ("Adi-Buddha"), the Buddha of the Awakening of all the Buddhas, are interrelated and also appear conventionally. A Buddha prehends the emptiness of every object at the same time as its delusional, mistaken appearance as an unbounded wholeness processing dependent-arising. Thanks to this, he or she is able to teach Dharma, identify the mistaken element in the appearance (clearing understanding), and assist in the awakening of all sentient beings, still suffering because of this ignorance. The Buddhas are unaffected by this suffering, but are -unlike Îshvara- directly touched by it. If not, compassion would be impossible and Buddhas would be unable to teach and affect changes in the lives of those who go for Refuge to them. This would imply the teaching of the Buddha, the Dharma, is unreliable, undermining the possibility of a spiritual practice and a community of practitioners upholding it. But the opposite happened. Because all things are dependent-arising, they are all interconnected and able to transform in all possible matter-information-consciousness-communities-of-togetherness. The millenarian Buddhist practice based on calm insight into appearances proves the validity of the Eightfold Path by the cessation of all suffering, both in the practitioner and (in a wider sense) in humanity and all other sentient beings on this planet and everywhere else in the universe. This leads back to our praise of
Buddha Shâkyamuni, who Turned the Wheel of Dharma for all to find a way out of ignorance, our greatest foe.

Îshvara, like the God of the monotheisms, is aloof, uninvolved, Olympic. His creation only serves His Glory and His devotees sit on His soft cushion. They are only called to constantly worship & praise Him, whatever happens to them.

This leads to the incapacitating catastrophe haunting the Catholic God. Indeed, for Thomas Aquinas
(1225 - 1274), the relation between God and the world is a "relatio rationis", not a real or mutual bond. This scholastic notion can be explained by taking the example of a subject apprehending an object. From the side of the object only a logical, rational relationship persists. The object is not affected by the subject apprehending it. From the side of the subject however, a real relationship is at hand, for the subject is really affected by the perception of the object. There is an intention, an interest or intention towards the object.

The onto-theological postulate shared by all substantialist theologies (be they polytheist, henotheist or monotheist), was superbly formulated by Aquinas : God is not affected by the world, and so God is like an object, not a subject !

The world however is affected by this object-God. He is clearly not "Emmanuel", God-with-us. Hence, the relationship between God and the world is deemed not to be reciprocal. If so, the world only contributes to the glory of God ("gloria externa Dei"). The finite is nothing more than a necessary "explicatio Dei". This is the only way the world can contribute to God. But this contribution does not affect God's essence, nor His will. Being omnipotent, He is the sole absolutely autocratic dictator. He decides over life & death, freedom & punishment, peace & war.


In the line of this reasoning, the monotheist God, like a Caesar of sorts, is omnipotent and omniscient. This means God knows what is possible as possible, what is presently real as real and also the future of what is real (predestination lurks). Moreover, God can do what He likes and so is directly responsible for all events. These views make it however impossible not to attribute all possible evil, like the slaying of the innocent, to God ! Such a theology turns the good God into a brutal monster or proves the point He cannot exist (cf. Sartre). Indeed, free will cannot be combined with this view of God as the sufficient condition of all things, for freedom only harmonizes with a view of God as possibly a necessary condition.

The Buddhadharma rejects substance-theology without denying the existence of God (monotheism) or any of the henotheist manifestations of God (henotheism). The Adi-Buddha is deemed omniscient, for aware of the interconnected whole represented by the Net of Indra. However, although he knows the complete past and present, he does not know the future, but only the most likely outcome. The latter can however be curtailed at any moment by the decisions of sentient beings, especially humans, who are possessed by strong free will. God is not a creator or author who creates "ex nihilo", but a co-generator or architect of the world. The latter emanates from the First Principles (cf. Critique of a Metaphysics of Process, 2012) : primordial energy (zero-point field), ur-information (code of life) & ur-consciousness ("dharmakâya" of the Adi-Buddha). 

The Primordial Buddha is not omnipotent, for if so, then sentient beings would not cause their own suffering. He is omnipresent though, and so near every sentient being, aware of its suffering and therefore always assisting when they open up to the Dharma, putting in the joyous effort of "just sitting" on the hard rock of Milarepa.

The difference between the Adi-Buddha and Îshvara shapes a radical and irreversible philosophical divide between, on the one hand, Hinduism (and all other forms of theism), and, on the other hand, Buddhism (and also Taoism). This abyss between substance-based or process-based thinking cannot be bridged or accommodated. From the side of process, substance is an artificial, hallucinated mental construct. From the side of substance, process seems to lack anything real & concrete, has nothing to hold on to.

An existential choice is the only thing left.

Every human being has to make up his or her own mind about this. It is a personal matter. But a turn of heart must always remain possible. No ideology should kidnap personal freedom. Only direct personal experience is important here. If the logical inconsistencies of theist ontology are not convincing enough and subjective tendencies & predispositions require one to seek refuge in the God of the scriptures, then so be it. But if clarity & philosophical purity are important issues, then the Buddhadharma holds the strongest point, inviting us to a radical jump away from the shore of substance-obsession.


1.25.

In Him the seed of all-knowing is unsurpassed.

En Lui le germe de l'omniscience n'a jamais été surpassé.

In Hem is het zaad van alwetendheid onovertroffen.


Again Patañjali affirms the transcendent essence of the Lord. Nobody surpasses His knowledge. His lofty existence serves the yogi as model and standard.

The logical problems involved are not addressed. If Îshvara is what He is, then -as Nâgârjuna and all the Middle Way philosophers after him demonstrated- He cannot create, cannot change and cannot interact at all ! Perhaps we should understand Îshvara as a devotional model, who's omniscience & omnipotence are emotionally gratifying "metaphysical compliments" (Whitehead) without logical ground. As the Buddhist tradition evidences, the rejection of a substantial Deity does not curtail "samâdhi" or any other mystical (yogic) experience. The superstructure of theo-ontology may be replaced without ending spiritual evolution.

Is accepting such a transcendent & substantial Deity a matter of personal disposition, nothing more ? It seems the role of the Lord in the yoga philosophy of our teacher should not be underestimated. Îshvara is a role model, but also much more. He is God Incarnate, and so a true object of sustained & ardent devotion.


1.26.

He was also the mentor of the earlier ones by virtue of His temporal non-boundedness.

Il est aussi le guru des premiers et Il n'est pas conditionné par le temps.

Hij is ook de guru van de eersten en Hij is onbegrensd in de tijd.


In this sûtra, Patañjali touches upon the contradiction mentioned above. Indeed, if Îshvara is wholly transcendent (as claimed above), then how can He be regarded as a teacher and a mentor ?

This problem may perhaps be solved by interpreting His role as an instructor in a metaphorical and not a literal sense ? Then, Îshvara exerts, as Eliade says
a "metaphysical sympathy". But even the latter, as Feuerstein rightly remarks, is an "incomprehensible attraction". One may try to explain this by saying there exists a co-essentiality between Îshvara and every individual seer, but this does not really solve the logical conundrum, for how can the radically isolated individual self (in silent communication with Îshvara) interact with the deluded, Nature-stricken "ego normalis" ? We see the problem to be merely displaced. So again, only an existential answer is at hand : the yogi affectively idealises the Lord as the arch-yogi, as an ever-present example. The logical fact this example, being a substance, cannot truly communicate itself to a consciousness deluded by afflictive fluctuations, is left unanswered. To paraphrase T.S.Eliot, between the emotion and the reasonable response falls the shadow ...


1.27.

His word is OM.

Son nom est OM.

Zijn naam is OM.


1.28.

Recite it to realize its meaning.

Sa récitation mène à la réalisation de sa signification.

Reciteer dit om de betekenis ervan te realiseren.


1.29.

Hence the attainment of inwardmindedness and also the disappearance of the get betweens.

Ainsi un recueillement habituel se fait et les obstacles disparaissent.

Zo worden innerlijke waakzaamheid en de verdwijning van de belemmeringen bereikt.


This is the fundamental mantra, invoked by the sages of India since the very earliest times. The "AUM" sound is the underlying absolute vibration or tremor ("spanda") holding the manifested universe together and so heals the broken isolation caused by interacting with phenomena on the basis of deluded minds (waking, dreaming or sleeping).

The recitation (reverent repetition - "jâpa") of the Pranava Mantra is pan-Indian.

It is also part of the Buddhadharma, in particular the Tantrayâna. Most mantras of the Vajrayâna begin with the "pranava mantra". In the Tantric texts, the "pranava" can easily be linked with the Three Jewels, the Three Gates (of practice : body, speech & mind), the Three Paths and the Three Bodies (of a Buddha).

OM : Pranava Mantra

Three
Symbols
Three
Jewels
Three
Gates
Three
Bodies/Paths
bindu :
infinity
Buddha mind
heart
Truth
emptiness
raif :
the in-between
Dharma speech
throat
Enjoyment
compassion
AUM :
waking
dreaming
sleeping
Sangha body
head
Manifestation
renunciation

In the Practice of Prostration, "OM" is recited to activate the Crown Wheel, associated with the body, "AH" activates the Throat Wheel and speech, and "HUM" the Heart Wheel and mind.

OM ÂH HÛM

Three
Symbols
Three
Jewels
Three
Gates
Three Wheels
OM
purified body
Sangha body Bindu Visarga
Crown
ÂH
purified speech
Dharma speech Throat
Hûm
purified mind
Buddha mind Heart

In the Vajrayâna, introducing a new, highly powerful method (not a new wisdom), the supreme mantra encompassing all the mantras of the Buddhas & the Bodhisattvas is the "Vajra Mantra" (OM ÂH HÛM), representing the enlightened activity of all the Buddhas on the basis of the enlightened mind, the enlightened speech & the enlightened body of all the Buddhas. In a way, the Vajra Mantra is the mantra of the Original, Beginningless Buddha, the Adi-Buddha also called Aksobhya, Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, Vajradhâra ... The Three-Syllable Vajra Recitation purifies the Three Gates (of karma) of the practitioner, bestowing the "purity" of the enlightened activity, namely physical, energetic (vocal) & mental processes devoid of inherent existence, i.e. objects merely instantiated by logical & functional properties only.


Commentary on I.23 - I.29 :
Theist Presuppositions


This is the "theist section" of the Yoga Sûtra. It is an intrinsic part of it and vents Patañjali existential choice rather than being a theological position. The Lord is the archetypal yogi, instructor & mentor. Without Him, in particular devotion to Him, union is curtailed (II.45). It seems Patañjali wants to underline the need to establish an emotional, existential link with the Lord. But these metaphorical expressions of emotion do not follow the rules of formal logic. The Lord is incomprehensible, paradoxical, perplexing and so an object of wonder. This theme, foreign to the Buddhadharma, is heard in the songs of all theist mystics worldwide. Lord Buddha may also be an object of "bhakti", but never without respecting the wisdom realizing emptiness, yes, even the emptiness of ultimate reality.


Counteracting Hindrances


1.30.

Sickness, languor, doubt, heedlessness, sloth, dissipation, false vision, non-attaining the stages of Yoga and instability are the distractions of consciousness ; these are the obstacles.

Maladie, langueur, doute, négligence, paresse, dissipation, fausse vision, ne pas atteindre les stades du Yoga et instabilité, sont les distractions de la conscience, ce sont les obstacles mentionnés.

Ziekte, gesukkel, twijfel, nalatigheid, luiheid, onaandachtigheid, valse visie, het niet bereiken van de stadia van Yoga en wisselvalligheid zijn de afleidingen van het bewustzijn ; dit zijn de belemmeringen.


1.31.

Pain, depression, tremor of the limbs, wrong inhalation & exhalation jointly become with the distractions.

La douleur, la dépression, des tremblements du corps, une mauvaise inspiration ou expiration sont les symptomes qui vont de pair avec les distractions susmentionnées.

Pijn, depressie, het trillen van de ledematen, een slechte in -of uitademing zijn de symptomen die met de hierboven vermelde belemmeringen samengaan.


Anything preventing the practice of inward-mindedness ("pratyakcetanâ") is a distracting obstacle ("viksepa"). These result either from physical & mental disorders, from wrong practice (like over-exertion), from latent weaknesses, or from the sudden ripening of unexpected karmic seeds.

Yoga requires a strong body and a healthy mind. It is in no way a cure for neurosis or psychosis, quite on the contrary. If personality problems are at hand, one needs to deal with these before starting yogic practice, which is not a substitute for psychoanalysis & psychosynthesis. Physical and/or mental disorders are likely to promote a destructive use of the tool of yoga. The latter is a potent instrument, and may have negative effects. The presence of these obstructions protects the practitioner from practicing and call for a pause to analyze the physical and/or mental causes of the distraction. If no inner causes (physical and/or mental) can be identified by oneself or one's teacher, then outer causes are likely playing their debilitating role. The importance of a qualified teacher or mentor is essential to monitor progress, identify pitfalls, advice and at times warn. He or she also reassures, guides and protects.

In the Buddhadharma, the Five Hindrances are the result of the persistent unmerited actions of body, speech and/or mind. These are :

(1) sensual desire ("kâmachanda) : presenting alluring sense objects causing craving instead of a clear reflection, this is compared with colored dyes in a pot of water, preventing one to one's face (its end is like a debtor paying his last dues) ;
(2) aversion or ill will ("vyâpâda") : thoughts against, censure, judgment, disliking and malice towards others, compared with boiling water (its end is like a sick person recovering from illness) ;
(3) sloth & torpor ("thînamiddha") : dullness, boredom and lack of energy, sluggishness, sleepiness, compared with water covered over with slimy moss and water plants (its end is like a prisoner getting out of prison) ;
(4) restlessness & worry ("uddhacca-kukkucca") : agitation and distracting thoughts inhibiting calmness, remorse, anxiety, compared with water shaken by the wind, trembling & forming ripples (its end is like a slave freed) ;
(5) doubt ("vicikicchâ") : absence of trust or confidence, lack of faith and unwise, virulent skepticism, compared with muddy water set in a darkened room (its end is like a desert traveller coming back home).

The hindrances point to what kind of practice is necessary to make the aspirant find the path. They define five types of wrong minds. Their presence brings to the fore what should be eliminated from the mindstream. If these wrong minds are cultivated or have become habitual, spiritual progress is impossible.


1.32.

In order to counteract these, practice (concentration) on a single principle.

Pour les écarter, pratiquer la concentration sur un seul principe.

Om ze te verwijderen, concentreer op één enkel principe.


To eliminate these disabilities, Patañjali recommends the practice of concentration ("dhâranâ"), i.e. placing the mind on a single object. But this "single principle" needs to be practiced consistently, and one should not switch from one prop to another.

In Buddhist meditation, Calm Abiding is fundamental and, together with Insight Meditation, which is built on it, leads to direct prehension of the ultimate reality (luminous mind). Only a very relaxed and calm mind is pliant enough to be able to probe reality and accept it for what it is, i.e. absolutely devoid of substances and fully interconnected. However, to eliminate obstacles more is needed.

The Eightfold Path calls for ethics, meditation & wisdom. The practice of ethics accumulates merit. For the Bodhisattva, Lord Buddha teaches the mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings ("bodhicitta"). This mind disciplines itself to benefit others. Only when this mind has been generated should Insight Meditation be practiced. At every step of this gradual unfoldment, obstacles vanish. They are a clear sign our yoga, understood in the broadest sense, is actually doing its thing.

Jhâna Yoga (cf. III.2) is a special type of Calm Abiding tackling the hindrances directly. These Jhânas are accompanied by so-called "Jhâna Factors". These five factors are present in the First Jhâna, overcoming the hindrances. Each of these five factors enables the practitioner to overcome a hindrance :

(1) directed attention ("vitaka") : overcomes sloth & torpor ;
(2) sustained attention ("vicâra") : overcomes doubt ;
(3) joy ("pîti") : overcomes aversion ;
(4) bliss ("sukha") : overcomes restlessness ;
(5) one-pointedness ("ekaggatâ") : overcomes sensual desire.


1.33.

To show friendliness, compassion, gladness and equanimity -be they joyful, sorrowful, meritorious or demeritorious- pacifies consciousness.
 
Montrer gentillesse, compassion, contentement et sérénité -d'une façon joyeuse, triste, méritoire ou déméritoire- fait que la conscience est pacifiée.

Vriendelijkheid tonen, mededogen, blijheid en gelijkmoedigheid -of ze nu vreugdevol, lijdensvol, verdienstelijk of onverdienstelijk zijn- brengen vrede in het bewustzijn.


These four virtues are the favourite method for generating a peaceful mind (for Hinayanists - Majjhima-Nikâya, I.38) and Bodhicitta (for Mahayanists). They are collectively referred to as the "abodes of Brahma" ("brahma-vihâra") and are also called the "Four Immeasurables" (because, given their object is all sentient beings, their merit cannot be measured) :

  • joy or gladness ("muditâ) : "may all mother-sentient beings enjoy happiness and the causes of happiness" : this is the act of rejoicing in the happiness of others. Taking joy in the merits visible in this world opens the mind to the truth, the beauty & the goodness present around us in every moment, but often we are taken by unawareness. Seeing these virtues, opens & feeds the mind with positive, constructive thoughts ;

  • love or friendliness ("maitri") : "may all mother-sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering" : this is wishing every other not to be afflicted by suffering. If we can love our enemies, our friends and the strangers we encounter, we have conquered our own self-cherishing. Wishing all living beings happiness broadens the mind even further, for not only do we rejoice in their virtue, but we also wish to increase it ;

  • compassion ("karunâ") : "may all mother-sentient beings realize the greatest happiness : freedom of suffering" : this moves beyond merely wishing, but refers to actually realizing or contributing to the happiness of every other being. Here we engage and so actually do something. Afterwards we check whether sustainable improvement has been generated and correct our efforts if necessary, and this again and again and again ... ;

  • equanimity ("upeksâ") : "may all mother-sentient beings abide in equanimity, free from attachments to loved ones, free from hatred of foes" : this is dealing with every other in an impartial way. While acting, and contributing to the happiness of other sentient beings, they are not considered to be inherently different from one another, while their functional, dynamical distinctions are pertinent. This is a positive attitude, one of dispassionate & empathetic witnessing of the world.


Commentary on I.30 - I.33 :
Counteracting Hindrances


At the onset of our spiritual path, obstacles cannot be avoided. Only very exceptional individuals, namely those who have been intensely doing spiritual work in previous lives, are encumbered by less distractions and see obstacles vanish with ease. The common lot of us have not been working on our improvement that much, and so often find ourselves fighting against circumstances pulling us away from the path. Material, psychological & social conditions may force us to implement radical changes. Even a champion like Gautama left his family in the middle of the night. He also encountered many obstacles. Even just before his awakening, Mâra tried to convince him he was not fit for awakening, but to no avail.

Obstacles are often viewed as negative factors, and if too many are present we tend to grasp this as a good reason to stop practicing. Mostly we think we are using a wrong technique. While for some this may be true, often the contrary is the case. Distractions are like dangerous friends pushing on the sore spot. They are tools assisting our betterment. They point to where more attention is needed. Where our energies have been blocked by wrong diet, wrong posture, wrong breathing, bad habits, afflictive emotions, fixed attitudes, unwholesome mentalities, bad company etc. We should be thankful when they occur, for they offer an opportunity to change those things hindering our further growth. And indeed, sometimes radical changes are called for. Then only the brave persist in trusting their outer (embodied), inner (meditational) & secret Guru (their actual luminous mind). Unfortunately, when the storm is raging, most will quit their practice, lest they realize one builds genuine strength in the middle of the turbulence and finds one's true power when beset by catastrophe.


Alternative Paths to Union


1.34.

Controlled expulsion & retention of breath.

Ou l'union est atteinte par l'inspiration et l'expiration controlée.

Of eenwording wordt bereikt door gecontroleerde in -en uitademing.


Prânâyâma is an extraordinary technique, extensively used in Hindu Yoga, Chinese Ch'i Kung and Tibetan Tantrayâna.

Bodhidharma (Da Mo) was a Brahmin who became a Buddhist. He is believed to be the second Indian to be invited to China (after Mi Le Fo). Da Mo withdrew to the Shaolin Temple on Shao Shi Mountain (Henan Province). But when he arrived there, he found the monks to be weak & sickly ! Indeed, they had only been doing "inner cultivation" or Calm Abiding and not balanced this with outer energy work. They aggravated the problem by an unnutritional, protein-deficient diet. Most considered the body as a "notorious skin bag" ("chou pi nang"), a negative attitude also found in the Lesser Vehicle. Less present in the Mâhayâna, it is rejected by the Vajrayâna.

To find a solution, Da Mo meditated facing a wall and then wrote the Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic ("Yi Jing Jing") and the Marrow/Brain Washing Classic ("Xi Sui Jing"). These became standard texts of "working with vital energy" or "Ch'i Kung". The first (on outer work or "wei dan") taught the monks to gain health and regain strong bodies, the second (on inner work or "nei dan") longevity & enlightenment. These works initiated a new era for "Ch'i Kung", dividing the practices in outer ("wei dan") and inner ("nei dan") cultivation. Because of the first text, Shaolin priests got involved in martial arts training. Nevertheless, "wei dan" training remained sparse in Chinese Ch'an and Japanese Zen ! But to practice tranquillity without outer work is indeed hazardous. A stagnation of the flow of vital energy needs to be avoided ! To cool the fire too much is akin to dying. This is not a balanced, "Middle Way" approach.

In a general way, Calm Abiding or tranquillity meditation (part of "inner cultivation" or "nei dan")  is Yin (feminine, Lunar) and so adds "Water Ch'i" to the subtle energy-system. This cools down the body and reduces Yang (masculine, Solar), "Fire Ch'i". This is a common "renunciate" strategy to reduce the impact of the emotional mind (which is fiery). But if too much Yin is added and left unbalanced, immunity is brought down ("shielding Ch'i" becoming too weak). Hence, prolonged & repeated inner activity (like still meditation) always needs to be balanced by outer activity, Yang-based energy work ("wei dan"), the Fire-based method of "working with vital energy" ("Ch'i Kung").

Although many Wei Dan techniques exist, one of the basic techniques are the so-called "Eight Pieces of Brocade" ("Ba Duan Jin"). A more elaborate Wei Dan practice is the so-called "Five-Animal Exercises" ("Wu Qin Xi"). Many more exist, but these two cover the training intended.

The Chinese medical system, their martial arts, Ch'i Kung, inner alchemy, Taoist philosophy & way of life, are based on the view Tao generates the Five Elements of Nature (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood) and their nourishing & controlling cycles. These Five Elements of Nature should not be confused with the cosmic elements (organizing the universe) and the mundane elements (organizing the physical plane in a sixfold).

The cosmic elements (organizing the planes of hylic pluralism in Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Quintessence) represent the order or architecture of the world as a whole (with the "stûpa" as standard). Of all cosmic elements, only Earth is "visible". Earth itself is subdivided in four mundane elements, based on the notion of a sectagonal sphere of observation : front (air, rising), right (fire, culminating), back (water, setting), left (earth, anti-culmination) & prime vertical (nadir/zenith rotation)

The Taoist Five Elements of Nature are not geometrical, but temporal, indicating processes, dynamical states of rising, abiding & ceasing, defined by elaborate interdependent dependent-arisings. Therefore, to differentiate them from the more substance-based elements, they will be called "process-elements".

Cycle of Five Process Elements

These processes are impermanent but always interconnected in a two ways : process-elements nourish each other and process-elements control each others. The nourishing or "generating" cycle is the natural process, of which Earth is the centre, the middle point or receptacle. Earth is a process-element (between Fire & Metal) in its own right, but also the last phase of each process, namely the moments just before a process-element (following the natural cycle) transforms into the next process-element.

Natural cycle : Earth > Metal > Water > Wood > Fire (again followed by Earth)

Each process-element is controlled by the process-element two steps back in the natural cycle : Earth by Wood, Metal by Fire, Water by Earth, Wood by Metal and Fire by Water. This is the controlling cycle. The interplay of these two cycles, as well as the balancing of Fire and Water define Taoist practice.

In more advanced Ch'i Kung, complementing the elementary Wei Dan classic for vibrant health, the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" ("Ba Duan Jin"), five things need to be regulated : the body, the breath, the mind, the "Ch'i" (vital energy) and the "Shen" (spirit).

Five Organs Ch'i Kung is an elementary Nei Dan practice belonging to the fourth training, namely directly regulating the flow of vital energy, in this case to the five "Yin" organs : liver (Wood), heart (Fire), spleen (Earth), lungs (Metal) & kidneys (Water). Doing so makes them function properly, nourishing the brain. Then, vital energy -following intention- becomes abundant in all channels, after which advanced breathing techniques are applied to cycle vital energy and finally regulate the spirit, leading to awakening. This happens in advanced Nei Dan (with its vital energy orbits, brain & bone marrow nourishing).

Also India produced an elaborate system of energy regulation, but the influence of the Chinese sources on the latter has been sparsely recognized.


1.35.

Or it comes about when a heightened sensoric activity has arisen which holds the mind steady.

Ou par l'émergence d'une activité sensorielle aiguë qui stabilise le mental.

Of door het tevoorschijnkomen van een verhoogde zintuiglijke activiteit die de geest stabiliseert.


1.36.

Or by the sorrowless & illuminating.

Ou par des activités mentales qui sont sans tristesse et illuminantes.

Of door mentale activiteiten die zonder droefnis zijn en die verlichten.


According to Vyâsa, this refers to concentration on the "Lotus of the Heart" ("hridaya-pundarika") or Heart Wheel. Indeed, in Buddhist Tantra, the Heart Wheels houses the "indestructible drop" which is the abode of the very subtle mind (or Bodhi-mind of Clear Light) mounted upon the very subtle wind (the immortal body). In Mahâmudrâ, meditation on the heart is the simple, immediate & fast path to awakening.


1.37.

Or when consciousness is directed to those who conquered attachment.

Ou par une conscience dirigée vers ceux qui ont vaincu l'attachement.

Of wanneer het bewustzijn diegenen als object neemt die hechting veroverd hebben.


These are the accomplished yogis, realized teachers, awakened Gurus, Arhats, Superior Bodhisattvas, Dhyâni Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. These no not incite exaggerated desire, hatred or ignorance and so assist in the natural spiritual evolution of their devotees. They may also cause liberation !


1.38.

Or when resting on knowledge arising from dream & sleep.

Ou quand la conscience repose sur la connaissance qui émerge du rêve et du sommeil.

Of wanneer het bewustzijn rust op de kennis die uit de droom en de slaap tevoorschijnkomt komt.


Lucid dreaming allows us to practice when dreaming. Lucid sleep brings us close to the root of consciousness (cf. supra).


1.39.

Or through contemplation as desired.

Ou par la contemplation comme voulue.

Of door contemplatie, zoals gewild.


The state of restriction ("nirodha") can also be achieved by perfect concentration (or contemplation - "dhyâna") and this while using any object whatsoever as long as it has practical expediency. This will be further analyzed later.


1.40.

His mastery extends from the most minute to the greatest magnitude.

Sa maîtrise s'étend du plus petit aux plus grand.

Zijn meesterschap heeft een bereik van het kleinste tot het grootste.


Those who have realized perfect concentration are able to achieve restriction on any form.


Commentary on I.34 - I.40 :
Alternative Paths to Union


In this section, our teacher explains various ways to achieve the state of restriction, the dwindling of the fluctuations causing the mind to be shielded from the seer.


From Seeded to Seedless Union


1.41.

And when fluctuations have dwindled, consciousness is like a transparent jewel ; there results with reference to the "grasper", "grasping" and the "grasped" a coincidence with that on which consciousness abides & by which it is "anointed".

Et quand tout le flux a disparu, la conscience se compare à un diamant des plus purs ; entre "celui qui saisit", "saisir" et "ce qui est saisi", un état de coïncidence avec le siège de la conscience surgit, par lequel elle reçoit l'onction.

En wanneer alle fluctuaties verdwenen zijn, kan het bewustzijn vergeleken worden met een zuivere diamant ; tussen diegene die "kent", het "kennen" zelf en dat wat "gekend wordt" ontstaat een samenvallen met de zetel van het bewustzijn, waardoor het gezalfd wordt.


The highest state, resulting from the restriction of all fluctuations, implies a nondual, direct, immediate, instantaneous cognition revealing the object as it is ("sva-rûpa). The object of knowledge ("the grasped") is prehended from within the subject ("the grasper"), and this is no longer an apprehension, for the "grasping" is not a cognitive act separated from the knower & known.

Buddha's no longer apprehend, for the reified duality between object & subject is gone. They "prehend", meaning (a) object & subject are experienced as empty and (b) what is experienced is the totality of all dependent-arisings (the Net of Indra). Both of these are simultaneously prehended, for the ultimate & conventional properties of any object appears hand in hand (not sequentially, as is the case in apprehension or common empirico-formal cognition).

Consciousness has been totally transformed.
Patañjali compares it to a pure, transparent jewel. When held at the Sun, its boundaries cannot be seen and it seems as if the jewel is no longer there. Of course it is, and although there is this "samâpatti" or "coincidence" of opposites (cf. Cusanus' "coincidentio oppositorum"), for Lord Buddha, object & subject exist, but not in any reified, unchanging (essential) sense. From the side of experience, duality is gone, but philosophically, unreified (desubstantialized) duality remains.

Again the difference with Hindu ontology is clear. Nature has substantial characteristics. "Prakriti" (mentioned three times) is used in the plural genitive, and can be rendered as "world-ground". Nature refers to the matrix of creation ("alinga"), but also to the multitudinous phenomena of contingent, conventional existence, compromising both the visible & the invisible (or inner, subtle aspect - "sûksma"). Both deep structure and surface structure (of which ordinary consciousness or "citta" & mind or "manas" are part) are transformations ("parinâma") of the world-ground. They are created by a process of re-combination of the primary constituents of Nature, the "gunas", or the three forces of "tamas" (inertia), "rajas" (energy) & "sattva" (mass). These three substances are born of the world-ground. Although this onto-genesis is based on the idea of a constant transformation of the world-ground, Nature itself is deemed to exist from its own side, inherently and so independently from the seer (undeluded consciousness).

This is not the case for Lord Buddha, who only differentiates between uncontaminated & contaminated dependent-arisings and does not find any object to exist from its own side. All phenomena, Buddhahood included, are other-powered. The difference between Buddhahood and all other phenomena is the fact awakened consciousness is continuous in its dynamism, i.e. a holomovement with a perfect, unchanging kinetography.

Enlightenment is therefore not a kind of realization of an absolute (Platonic) division (between deluded consciousness and the seer on the basis of ending fluctuations), but the result of a total elimination of reification, both acquired (based on concepts) and innate (related to the ante-rational stages of cognition : myth, pre-rationality & proto-rationality). Of course, Buddha-mind prehends the coincidence of object, subject & what happens between them. Duality is only present when a Buddha teaches about this state, for experientially awakening is a unified ("eka") state, all experienced being of "one taste". But duality in itself is not a problem, but its reification is. Due to Hindu ontology, our teacher needs to understand the seer as absolutely separate from Nature. A Buddha prehends Nature and the spirit simultaneously. This is a huge difference.

Indeed, one may wonder how the seer can communicate with Nature ? In the view proposed by the Yoga Sûtra this is impossible. So when the yogi reaches the highest abode and fuses with the seer, how can any teaching be imparted ? Can any knowledge about this supreme coincidence be transmitted ? Philosophically, scientifically & rationally this cannot be the case, for the seer is substantially divided from Nature and ordinary "manas". Only devotional emulation ("Imitatio Dei") remains, but this can in no way be reasonably explained ... Compassion for Nature is not the heart of the seer, while it is the heart of emptiness.


1.42.

So long there is conceptual knowledge based on the meaning of words, the state is called "coincidence mixed with cogitation", or conceptual union.

Du moment qu'il y a connaissance conceptuelle basée sur des mots, l'état porte le nom "coïncidence mixte avec cogitation". Il s'agit là d'une union du type conceptuel.

Zodra er conceptuele cognitie is gebaseerd op woorden, draagt de staat de naam "samenvallen vermengd met cognitie". Het betreft een eenwording van het conceptuele type.


After having pointed to the highest state of coincidence, Patañjali returns to the first degree of "samâdhi", conceptual union ("savitarka-samâdhi").

Union-with-seed ("samprajñâta samâdhi")

"savitarka-samâdhi" :
(1) conceptual union
"nirvitarka-samâdhi" :
(2) non-conceptual union
with
coarse seed
"savicâra-samâdhi" :
(3) subtle union
"nirvicâra-samâdhi" :
(4) ultra-subtle union
with
subtle seed

 Conceptual union is characterized by the arising of thoughts ("pratyaya") constituting spontaneous acts of insight or knowledge ("jñâna") grounded in concepts derived from ordinary experience.


1.43.

When the depth-memory is purified, as it were empty of its essence and the object alone is shining forth, the state is empty of cogitations, or non-conceptual union.

Quand la mémoire profonde est purifiée, comme vidée de son essence et uniquement l'objet brille, l'état est sans cogitations. Il s'agit là d'une union du type non-conceptuel.

Wanneer het diepte-geheugen gezuiverd is, als het ware geledigd van de eigen essentie en alleen het object straalt, dan is de staat zonder cognitie. Het betreft een eenwording van het niet-conceptuele type.


The second degree, non-conceptual union ("nirvitarka-samâdhi"), is further defined. Here there a complete coincidence with regard to an object taken from visible, coarse ("sthûla") Nature (material objects, senses, surface mind or "manas"). Conceptualization as such has totally stopped, any only the object itself shines forth. All thoughts are restricted. Whether the object is "in" the mind of the yogi or the yogi's consciousness is "in" the object is not longer an issue. Identification is complete. All reactors causing conceptualization are temporary subdued, and so "depth-memory" is purified. By this stopping of all conceptualization, the unconscious deposit will deplete itself. This state could be seen as the first degree of nondual thought, the first level of nondual cognition.


1.44.

Thus by these forms the other two types of union, subtle & ultra-subtle are explained ; they use subtle objects.

De ces formes de coïncidences les deux autres types sont expliqués. Il s'agit du subtil et ultra-subtil, qui utilisent que des objets subtils.

Door deze twee vormen van samenvallen worden de twee andere uitgelegd, n.l. subtiel en ultra-subtiel, die enkel subtiele objecten gebruiken.


The third degree ("savicâra-samâdhi or subtle union) and fourth degree ("nirvicâra-samâdhi" or ultra-subtle union) of union-with-seed ("samprajñâta samâdhi") require identical yogic processes, but they use the subtle ("sûksma), invisible strata of Nature. At this point, all possible conceptualizations, based on coarse & subtle objects, have stopped and the end of union-with-seed is near.


1.45.

And the subtle objects terminate in the undifferentiate.

Et les objets subtils prennent fin dans le non-différencié.

En subtiele objecten eindigen in het ongedifferentieerde.


When (during "nivicâra-sâmadhi"), subtle objects no longer cause any possible conceptualization, and the subtle object of placement stands alone , the deepest, undifferentiate ("alinga") level of Nature is attained.


1.46.

These forms of coincidence (conceptual, non-conceptual, subtle & ultra-subtle) verily are with seed.

Ces formes de coïncidences font vraiment partie de la catégorie de l'union-avec-semence.

Waarachtig, deze vormen van samenvallen maken deel uit van de categorie van eenwording-met-zaad.


These unions restrict the reactors from which the whole conceptualized universe springs. These are burnt to ashes by these unions. For Lord Buddha, this "burning down" is nothing more than eliminating all reification, in this case innate self-grasping at subtle forms of substance-obsession buried in the unconscious strata.


1.47.

When there is a autumnal brightness in ultra-subtle union, the state is the clarity of the inner being.

Quand il y a un rayonnement lucide dans l'ultra-subtil, cet état se nomme "la clarté de l'être intérieur".

Wanneer er in de ultra-subtiele eenwording een heldere uitstraling aanwezig is, dan wordt dit de klaarte van het innerlijke wezen genoemd.


A very special lucidity ("vaishâradya") occurs at the peak of the highest degree of union-with-seed, compared with the extraordinary brightness and clarity of the autumnal sky of Northern India. Union is not dull, opaque or a state of unconsciousness, but a transparent & radiant inward-mindedness characterized by a supra-wakefulness in which the yogi faces the absolute nature of all phenomena.


1.48.

This state of supra-cognition is truth-bearing.

Cet état du prajñâ est source de vérité.

Deze staat van wijsheid is een waarheidsbron.


This lucidity is highly cognitive and so not passive at all. Wisdom, insight, gnosis, intuition etc. are at hand and the absolute, ultimate truth or esence ("tattva") is directly witnessed (prehended). This source of knowledge is infallible, and comes with a flash ("sphuta").


1.49.

The scope of this differs from that gained from what one heard & inferred ; this owing to its particular purposiveness.

Due à sa finalité particulière, l'ampleur de cette vérité diffère de la compréhension acquise de ce que l'on entend et raisonne.

Door haar bijzondere finaliteit, verschilt de uitgestrektheid van deze waarheid van het begrip verworven door wat men hoort en beredeneert.


Our teacher deems it necessary to underline this type of direct intuitive wisdom or gnosis (special knowledge) differs from all other sensate & mental sources of knowledge. The latter does not grasp the "genus" (generality) of an object, but its particular individuality. Moroever, this special, extraordinary faculty has a bridging function between ordinary "manas", always embroiled in the universal flux, and the ultimate & transcendent awareness of the seer or root-consciousness. It is a counter-force combating the propensity of consciousness to be oriented towards Nature. This is its particular purposiveness ("vishesa-arthatva").


1.50.

The reactor born from that binds all others.

Le réacteur subliminal né de ceci, enchaîne tous les autres réacteurs.

De reactor die hieruit geboren wordt, ketent alle andere.


How special ! How extraordinary ! The stepless, flashing, immediate wisdom, this "nirvicâra-vaishâradya-samâdhi" spontaneously generates, by restricting all conceptual activity whatsoever, a special, regressive reactor binding all other reactors ! The externalization of consciousness is thereby completely stopped and so this perfect restriction leads over into seedless union ("nirbîja-samâdhi), wholly oriented towards the seer, recovering this pure, absolute awareness of the self.


1.51.

When also this is restricted, owing to the restriction of all, union-without-seed ensues.

Quand cet réacteur subliminal est restreint -un résultat de la restriction du contenu total de la conscience- une union-sans-semence en découle.

Wanneer, naar aanleiding van de beperking van de volledige bewustzijnsinhoud, ook deze reactor ingeperkt wordt, dan vloeit hieruit eenwording-zonder-zaad voort.


At this point, the self-destruction of ordinary consciousness is complete. Only consciousness-of remains. This reveals the root of consciousness, the aloneness of the self.


Commentary on I.41 - I.51 :
From Seeded to Seedless Union


Patañjali makes clear how to understand union. It involves a coincidence between "grasper", "grasping" and "grasped". Ontologically, not only phenomenologically (experimentally) duality vanishes. For Lord Buddha, the reification of duality vanishes and union is explained in terms of the dual-union between Bodhi-mind ("dharmakâya") and the totality of what is ("dharmadhâtu).

Our teacher has two main divisions : seeded union and seedless union. The former is either based on coarse or subtle objects, the latter is turned inward and has only the seer as object. Coarse conceptualization is first explored, then restricted. Then subtle objects are used, leading to a reflective union. Reflection is not a conceptualization, but a cognitive act devoid of concepts dependent on the subtle planes of  Nature. When this has been explored, it is also restricted. This leads to the highest level of seeded union, non-reflective union or ultra-subtle union.

Ultra-subtle union (
"nirvicâra-samâdhi") is a very special type of union. It is a nondual, truth-bearing gnosis, wisdom or intuition ("nirvicâra-vaishâradya-samâdhi") generating this special reactor restricting all other reactors. When the latter is also restricted, the yogi is propelled into seedless union. This is a totally objectless state, for only consciousness-of is present.

At the end of the sûtra (IV.29), a consummate stage beyond seedless union is introduced ; "Dharma-megha-samâdhi".
The word "Dharma-megha" ("cloud of Dharma") figures prominently in the Mâhâyana sûtras. It is also the name given to the Tenth Bodhisattva Ground preceding Buddhahood. Why our teacher used this Buddhist terminology to describe this ultimate is unclear. For some it proves he identified the highest possible station-of-no-station with Buddhahood.

As will be made clear later (III.1), some parallels between Patañjali's stages of "samâdhi" and the Buddhist Jhânas can be established.


BOOK II

Sâdhana-Pâda (Path to Realization)


"Sâdhana", "path to realization" or "means of realization" is a summary of the methods to actually attain the transformation of consciousness into unaffected self-awareness of the "seer", the root of consciousness. It is an interesting vicissitudes of history (and Indology in particular) that the "asta-anga-yoga", the yoga of the "eightfold path", is consistently associated with Patañjali and not with his own system, Kriyâ-Yoga. Feuerstein and others made clear this second book is a composite of two independent traditions, Patañjali integrating definitions he thought interesting enough.

According to Vâcaspati Mishra, the second book introduces methods taught to assist those who need to purify the "sattva", i.e. the disciples. The first book merely sets defines the basics and sets the stage of the ultimate goal, "sâmadhi", and although it does introduces a few crucial methods, it did so without elaborating them, or focusing on the disciple ("sâdhaka").


The Causes of Sorrow & their Mechanics


2.1. Ascesis, self-study and devotion to Îshvara constitute the Yoga of Action.

L'ascèse, l'étude de soi et l'abandon complet en Îshvara constituent le Kriyâ-Yoga.

Ascesis, zelfstudie en volledige overgava aan Îshvara vormen Kriyâ-Yoga.


As has been explained above (I.12), Kriyâ-Yoga is based on practice & dispassion. The latter has an inferior, relative & incomplete form and a superior, absolute & complete form (I.15-16). To further define "practice" ("abhyâsa"), Patañjali introduced three formal categories : "devotion to Îshvara" ("Îshvara-pranidhâna"), self-study ("svâdhyâya") and ascesis ("tapas"). In the Eightfold Yoga, practice is analyzed using eight categories of practices.

Devotion to the Lord is a very important category. This proves Îshvara is an integral part of this "classical" view on yoga. One cannot divorce the Lord from the system and then claim Râjâ Yoga is intact. The devotional part is clearly "bhakti" and harnesses our affections, emotions & feelings. This leads to ritual worship and practices found in the popular expressions of religious feelings & attitudes. The yogi is not a cerebral, introvert type shunning emotional or artistic expression of spiritual intent. He acts to express his love for the Lord, and does so with great vehemence. If this is absent, Kriyâ-Yoga is not the case.

Self-study (I.44) refers to the recitation of and meditation on the sacred texts like the Vedas. By intoning these scriptures, one is charged by the numinous power of the words ("mantra"). This also mobilizes attention, internalizes consciousness and brings one close the Deities connected with these texts.

Finally, ascesis ("tapas") compromises all those exercises falling outside the former two. By doing so, our teacher again emphasizes the importance of the theist, Brahminical tradition. Classical Yoga subscribes to the essentialists tenets and is therefore an orthodox teaching.


2.2. This Yoga aims at cultivating union & attenuating the causes of sorrow.
 
Ce Yoga a pour but l'union et l'atténuation des causes de malheur.

Deze Yoga heeft tot doel eenwording te cultiveren en de oorzaken van lijden te verzachten.


Kriyâ-Yoga has two interconnected aims : to cultivate union by attenuating the causes of sorrow. Vâcaspati Mishra remarks the method of yoga cannot succeed in the complete abolition of the causes of sorrow, for this only happens when the state of "elevation" ("prasamkhyâna" - IV.29) is attained. This is a phase of seedless union. This "samâdhi" can only be prepared, but comes about spontaneously & autonomously. Because it does not serve the will, it has often been interpreted as an act of grace ("prasâda"). Indeed, the grace of Îshvara is a cause of union. Also in other theist systems, "all is grace" ... humans may put in effort, but finally it is God who decides. Lord Buddha teaches the opposite : joyous effort is all it takes to overcome the hindrances and realize recognizing the luminous mind. The Buddhas have already decided. It is the disciple who needs to act and clear the dross.

The causes of sorrow ("klesha") are the drives or motivators prompting us to act, feel, think, assert ourselves etc. Part of these are based on nurture, while some stem from previous lives. They consolidates our ego-image as a finite entity other than (or removed from) the root of consciousness, the seer, our luminous mind. These causes of sorrow bring about world involvement, exteriorizing consciousness, making it oblivious of the inner world. The interaction with the world (the five senses and the ordinary mind) gives rise to reactors ("samskâra") stored in the unconscious deposit of action ("âshaya"). The latter arise as causes of sorrow, closing the vicious samsaric cycle.

For the Buddha, this false identity (reification of self) and the involvement with the conventional world (reification of others) cause substance-obsession concealing our true nature (Buddha-mind). World involvement and exterior activities are not the basic problem. Of course, because they imply interaction with a conventional reality appearing differently than it truly it, i.e. being of the nature of illusion, these activities are likely to reinforce our grasping at objects as independent & substantial. This mistaken apprehension is the root cause of all our suffering. So, especially at the onset of the path, renunciation is necessary. All exaggerated attachment needs to be relinquished. The worldly concerns need to be considerably downsized. In the Buddhadharma, "klesha" is translated as "affliction". Two types are distinguished : emotional afflictions (leading to various destructive & negative affective states) and mental afflictions (relating to our mistaken apprehension of sensate & mental objects). The former are caused by wrong actions of body, speech & mind done by a self-cherishing ego. The latter result from intellectual & innate self-grasping.


2.3.

Nescience, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion, the will-to-live are the five causes of sorrow.

L'ignorance, le Je-suis, l'attachement, l'aversion et la volonté de vivre sont les cinq causes de malheur.

Onwetendheid, het Ik-ben, hechting, aversie en de levenswil zijn de vijf oorzaken van lijden.


2.4.

Nescience is the field of the other causes ; they can be dormant, thin, cut off or aroused.

L'ignorance est la terre nourricière des autres causes ; lesquelles sont à l'état de sommeil, atténué, intercepté ou actif.

Onwetendheid is de voedingsbodem voor de andere oorzaken ; die kunnen slapend, verminderd, onderschept of actief zijn.


Ignorance ("avidyâ") is the breeding ground, or root cause of all our afflictive states. On this, both Patañjali and Lord Buddha agree, although they define it in a different way ! Ignorance is not merely the absence of knowledge, as when one does not know if something is the case or not, but a fundamental epistemic error concealing the pure awareness of the seer. Instead of being the absence of something one may know, it is the presence of something not really there. For our teacher, the duality between object & subject is the mistaken dichotomisation he seeks to remove. For him, an ontological preoccupation with the world lies at the basis of the concealment of the seer. 

In the Mind-Only School of Buddhism, the same (wrong) object of negation is proposed (i.e. duality deemed to be the basic problem). But according to the Middle Way School, in particular the Prasangika-Madhyamaka, duality is not the object of negation, but its reification or substantialisation is.
They agree a Buddha never witnesses (experiences) duality, for the object appears in the subject and the subject in the object. There is union here. When a Buddha teaches, duality cannot be avoided. But this is not the fundamental issue. Ignorance is not eliminated when duality is gone, but when all reification, all tendencies (acquired & innate) to turn sensate & mental objects into independent, inherently existing things from their own side, self-powered and isolated, has irreversibly ceased. So the afflictions rise from ignorance not because duality obscures the seer, but because ignorance makes us believe there is a snake while only a coiled rope is at hand. Ignorance makes us superimpose substantial self-identity on objects and this false ideation is the fundamental cause of all afflictive states. In the Buddhadharma, ignorance causes the deluded mind to either repel, attract or be indifferent to objects, and because this happens with ignorance in the background, rejection turns into hatred and acceptance into exaggerated desire or passion. These three minds, respectively defined as the subtle white, red & black minds, then spawn coarse afflictions like anger, cruelty, hatred, greed, poverty-mentality, stupidity, exaggerated attachment, jealousy, pride etc. These lead to personal suffering and cause suffering in others.

Clearly
Patañjali would disagree. He conjectures the Lord is the "substance of substances", who as a pure Spirit is the Creator of a substantial Nature of which our ordinary mind is a solid part (how He can possibly do this is not the issue). By continuing outward-mindedness, we feed the samsaric cycle, by which we become more and more obscured, unable to realize the seer, the self at the root of our consciousness and ontologically co-relative with the Lord. He does not focus on reification, but on the elimination of duality by totally restricting the impact of Nature on consciousness. For our teacher, Nature is the culprit. When all fluctuations resulting from the mechanisms of Nature cease, enlightenment is the outcome. For Lord Buddha, awakening happens when all coarse, subtle & very subtle reification ends, when substance-obsessions is irreversibly out. Nature is not the problem, but its reification is.

I-am-ness points to the ontological, substantial ego, the sense of selfhood existing from its own side. Such an identity is illusionary, meaning it merely seems to exist independently, while this is not the case. The ego or sense of identity is the first substance ignorance brings about. Indeed, as all experience is "known" by this identity, accepting self-powered objects immediately leads to the reification of the "knower". In the Lesser Vehicle, personal selflessness is the ultimate state (of the Arhat). Seeing a snake, while there is only a rope, causes the observing ego to be fearful, empowering his or her own separate & independent existence. This ontic ego, to reinforce itself, seeks attachment. The objects its attaches itself to are also deemed to exist on their own. Hence, all forces trying to destroy this attachment are rejected. Likewise, when this ontic ego is challenged, aversion results. The will-to-live is the fundamental expression of this reification. For the ontic ego to survive, its own existence needs to be cherished before that of any other being.

The afflictions are said to exist in four operational modes :

(1) dormant ("prasupta") : they are inactive, but part of the unconscious deposit ("âshaya") of reactors (and so are not gone) ;
(2) attenuated ("tanu") : they are active, but restricted by yogic practice ;
(3) intercepted ("vicchinna") : they are active, but blocked by another affliction ;
(4) aroused ("udâra") : they are fully active.


2.5.

Nescience is the seeing of the eternal, pure, joyful and the Âtman in the ephemeral, impure, sorrowful and the non-Âtman.

La perception de l'éternel, du pur, du joyeux et de l'Âtman, dans l'éphémère, l'impur, le triste et le non-Soi, est appelée ignorance.

Onwetendheid is het zien van het eeuwige, zuivere, vreugdevolle en het Zelf in het tijdelijke, onzuivere, droeve en het niet-Zelf.


When we do not recognize our true, fundamental identity, we are ignorant. For our teacher, this cognitive error is not one based on turning the impermanent into the permanent, but perceiving the self ("âtman", "purusa") in the non-self. We think the root of consciousness is identical with the ordinary mind and its empirical ego. We do not realize inward-mindedness and so do not know the ego is merely a suffering, limited surface phenomenon allowing us to interact with natural mechanism causing our consciousness to fluctuate and so suffer more ! The eternal, pure & blissful is identified with the temporal, sullied & sorrowful.

For Lord Buddha, not recognizing our Buddha nature, the fundamental, very subtle level of our mind radically distinct from the conventional, natural world, is not the result from being too involved with the world, but involved in the wrong way. We do not recognize the ultimate properties of objects because of the false ideation turning objects into things. This we also do with ultimate objects, like our Buddha nature. The fundamental, primordial or original mind is not a substantial reality existing from its own side (as the "âtman" of our teacher), but an impermanent phenomenon like all other phenomena, a dependent-arising among the other dependent-arisings. The only difference here is the fact this Clear Light mind is uncontaminated by reification, and so prehends not a single substance. This it does continuously in a particular way (for all mindstreams are individual dynamical continua), and this specific holomovement is the only mark distinguishing it from other Buddhas (and their specific holomovements). All other, i.e. contaminated, impure dependent-arisings are not characterized by such a holomovement, for their dynamics is triggered by substance-obsession (ignorance) and the resulting afflictions. The latter cause their localized dynamic.

The ignorant has the ultimate truth concealed by the conventional truth. He or she does not realize the ultimate exists conventionally, nor the concealing capacity of reified, conventional reality (with its conventional truths & falsehoods). In all cases, the latter is impure & contaminated, in other words, cause of mistaken apprehensions, leading to deeper, continuing states of confusion, delusion & suffering, and this both in this and in all next manifestations (rebirths) of the mindstream at hand.


2.6.

I-am-ness is the identification as it were of the seer and the capacity of seeing.

Considérer celui qui voit et l'instrument avec lequel il voit comme étant un, est appelé le Je-suis.

Het Ik-ben is als het ware de identificatie van de ziener met de capaciteit van het zien.


The capacity "to see" (know, experience) is part of Nature. The seer is not part of Nature. The empirical ego at the heart of ordinary consciousness (and part of Nature) constitutes itself by identifying the natural capacity "to see" with the seer. Our teacher wants the self and Nature to be disentangled. False cognition brings both together and roots its sense of identity in that.

When root-consciousness ("purusa") is misidentified with consciousness ("citta"), then we establish our identity outside ourselves, as part of Nature. For
Patañjali this is the fundamental category mistake. For Lord Buddha, root-consciousness ("tathâgatagarbha") is not recognized because we establish our identity and that of others in a substantial way, attributing inherent existence to it. For our teacher, personality or "I-am-ness" ("asmitâ") is the product of nescience and fosters the continuation of the misidentification. For Lord Buddha however, each Buddha-mind (like each "purusa") has individuality (a specific holomovement), but this is concealed by the false identity resulting from turning the ego ("citta") into a self-existing entity. I-am-ness is not the problem, the reification of the ego is. The ego is not ontic, but merely logico-functional, designated on impermanent aggregates (of body & mind). The sense of identity is fundamentally impermanent and, when substantialized, contaminated. A Buddha has a sense of identity, but this is totally impermanent & uncontaminated. It only serves this Buddha's compassionate teaching, and so does not exist from his side, but only from the side of sentient being.


2.7.

Attachment is that which rests upon pleasant experiences.

L'attachement repose sur des expériences agréables.

Hechting berust op aangename ervaringen.


2.8.

Aversion rests on sorrowful experiences.

L'aversion repose sur le désagrément.

Aversie berust op onaangename ervaringen.


Lord Buddha too recognizes three fundamental forces at work in the (subtle) mind, namely : attraction leading to attachment, repulsion giving rise to hatred, and indifference leading to misrepresentation (identifying process as substance). But he does explain their operational properties differently.

Reified acceptance & rejection are indeed the two tendencies springing out of ignorance. When we accept an object we dislike to inherently exist, we posit it as an entity isolated from ourselves and so independent of our state of mind. This turns it into a foreign agency, a possible enemy and so treat to our own substantialized sense of security. How to trust something causing sorrow we cannot influence, nor truly interact with ? This experience causes aversion. Likewise, when we deem a desirable object to exist as a substance, we may loose it, for it acts independent of ourselves and so may disappear. This causes strong (exaggerated) attachment. How to be comfortable with the idea an object we like may suddenly permanently vanish ? This is only possible when we no longer grasp at it as an independent, separate, isolated, inherent thing, but rather as an interdependent, connected, interrelated, process-based entity. Then we are co-responsible for it being there or not, and, on the deepest level, the bond between it and ourselves is never severed. The same goes for enemies. When we consider the animosity as depending on our own mentality, then the possibility to transform a foe into a friend remains open. But if positions are fixed & permanent, such radical changes are impossible. This causes again suffering and prolonging this is indeed very stupid. For if on the most fundamental level of reality (namely at the ultimate, absolute level), then we will encounter our foe and/or our friend again and again. So why not settle things on the surface-level right now ? This is the wise approach, brought about by inward-mindedness realizing the deep structure of reality.


2.9.

Thus the will-to-live, flowing along by its own inclination, is rooted even in the sages.

Donc, la volonté de vivre, qui coule selon sa propre nature, croît même dans les sages.

Dus, de levenswil, die volgens zijn eigen aard vloeit, is zelfs in de wijzen geworteld.


The thirst to live is the last of the causes of sorrow. As long as existence is samsaric, this statement is true. And for our teacher, there is no other way, for Nature in intrinsically flawed and so must, in toto, be rejected in the search for the root of consciousness, demanding an orientation finding nothing of spiritual value in Nature.

Lord Buddha disagrees. Although for those very attached to Nature such a rejection and inward orientation are indeed of use to conquer their exaggerated clinging to the world, and although renunciation is the first aspect of the path of the Buddhadharma (together with Bodhicitta & emptiness), Nature in itself, in other words, "samsâra" is only cause of sorrow because of our cognitive error, not because of Nature's ontology. To purge this, renunciation is of course -as a first step- necessary, but this is more than just turning away from the world, it requires one to first understand the wisdom realizing emptiness, freeing every object of its presupposed, but actually non-existent, substance-base or "own-form" ("svabhâva"). Turning away from Nature does not solve our problem. It does not end the causes of suffering ! Lord Buddha's analysis goes deeper and is more pervasive. Indeed, when we think turning away is the solution, we end up (as did our teacher) with two brontosauric substantializations : the "âtman" (my Lord) & Îshvara (our Lord) ! Integrating these leads to countless logical problems, and then only irrational devotion is a possible way out.

Our cognitive flaw is not a wrong orientation (as
Patañjali teaches), but the projection of a false idea on objects. Take the latter away, and we no longer experience cyclic existence, but "nirvâna". This is not the sudden appearance of another world, an awakening to another "plane" of Nature (a heaven world, a Platonic "world of ideas"), but the same world lacking inherent existence. This projection of substantiality and essentiality on objects comes in two ways, either in terms of intellectual, acquired, "cultural" substance-overlays, or as innate, inborn "natural" superimpositions of self-power. The latter we share with all other sentient beings, and these are indeed still present in Superior Bodhisattvas, those on the Path of Seeing who already gathered quite some direct wisdom (i.e. realization instead of understanding only). So even in these wise men and woman, innate self-grasping remains, and this they shed on the Path of Meditation (the Second to the Seventh Bodhisattva Ground).


2.10.

The subtle form of these (causes of affliction), namely the reactors & thoughts during union, has to be overcome by the process of (spiritual) counter-flow.

La forme subtile de ces causes de malheur (réacteurs subliminaux et notions de l'union) doit être vaincue par le processus du contre-courant spirituel.

De subtiele vorm van deze oorzaken van lijden (namelijk de reactoren en het voorkomen van gedachten tijdens de eenwording) moet overwonnen worden door het proces van spirituele tegenstroom.


2.11.

The crude form of these causes of sorrow are to be left behind by contemplation.

La forme brute (les fluctuations) doit être abandonnée par la pratique de la contemplation.

Hun ruwe vorm (de fluctuaties) moet verlaten worden door de oefening van de contemplatie.


For Patañjali, the causes of sorrow are responsible for the maintenance of a false sense of identity (of ourselves and of others). They alienate the yogi from the seer. Although Buddha agrees people need to renounce the world at the beginning of the path, he does not consider this to be the only step. The deeper cause of our false sense is reification, not the "kleshas", which are not rejected and which indeed work to shape the dissatisfaction all sentient beings experience.

The causes of sorrow have two forms : coarse ("sthûla") and subtle ("sûksma"). The former are the fluctuations (
"vritti"), the latter the reactors & thoughts present during union. The reactors are destroyed by way of the process of samadhic inward-mindedness ("pratiprasava"), but first the yogi tackles the coarse form, the fluctuations. Patañjali is very clear : the thoughts found during union are not of the nature of fluctuations, for these need to be totally stopped before union happens. The fluctuations are eliminated through the practice of contemplation ("dhyâna"). Only when this contemplation ends the flux, will union happen. The samadhic thoughts present then are of a special nature. When union happens, the yogi tries to end the subtle causes of sorrow, namely the reactors and these special thoughts occuring during union.


2.12.

The causes of sorrow are the root of the action-deposit and this may be experienced in this or in a future incarnation.

Les causes de malheur sont la racine du dépositaire d'action, ce qui peut être vécu dans cette vie ou dans une prochaine incarnation.

The oorzaken van lijden zijn de wortel van het actie depot en dit kan worden ervaren in deze of in een volgende incarnatie.


2.13.

So long as the root exist there is fruition from it in the form of birth, a span of life and enjoyment.

Il y a, dans la mesure ou la racine existe, des résultats de ceci : naissance, durée de vie et jouissance.

Zo lang als de wortel bestaat zijn er resultaten, n.l. geboorte, levensduur en plezier.


2.14.

These have delight or distress as results, according to the meritorious or demeritorous causes.

Elles portent les fruits du bonheur et de la peine causés par des actions méritoires et déméritoires.

In functie van verdienstelijke of onverdienstelijke oorzaken hebben deze geluk of ongeluk als gevolg.


This long section on the causes of sorrow, clearly indicating our teacher (like Lord Buddha) has identified the root problem of the disciple, namely all kinds of suffering, ends with two sûtras on rebirth. They make clear one should not think it is all over when our physical body dies. If this would be the case, then the cessation of suffering would be co-terminous with the inevitable end of the physical body, and the latter is experienced by all sentient beings (together with sickness & old age). Thinking this is not the case is really stupid. Materialists existed in all eras, and Lord Buddha as well as Patañjali must have encountered them. Elsewhere their arguments have been scrutinized (A Philosophy of the Mind and its Brain, 2009).

Also Buddha rejects the materialist option, for the end of suffering comes about by the Eightfold Path, not by the demise of the physical body. The criminal mind may be sure, it is not that easy to get away with what we willingly do wrong, and thinking otherwise is of no avail
! One is better prepared, and wager intelligently. Indeed, because of the reactors we generated, the possibility to reincarnate as a human being may be lost. Instead, an existence as a hell being, hungry ghost or animal may be the outcome ... These sentient beings, suffering extremely, do not have the opportunity to practice and so cannot better themselves. They depend on the compassionate action of the Buddhas.

The conditioned existence of the wheel of becoming ("bhava-cakra") is an existential cycle of suffering ("samsâra"). Because all actions of body, speech & mind cause a reactor to form and these reactors together constitute the action-deposit in the deep mind (called storehouse-consciousness -"âlâya-vijñâna"- in Buddhism), our minds will always experience the effects of what we do. When our actions ("karma") are meritorious or wholesome, we create positive reactors. Demeritorious actions cause negative reactors. This iron law of retribution is accepted by Lord Buddha and
Patañjali alike. But Buddha adds to this natural mechanism the new degree of freedom offered by the Buddhadharma. Besides the importance of the intent, when we act without considering the actor, the action and the one acted upon as inherently existing, there is no karma involved. Moreover, if we cherish all sentient beings because we understand all phenomena are dependent-arisings and so interdependent, the merit collected by this compassion will eventually, as it were, propel us out of cyclic existence, in other words, make us prehend, being Buddhas, how the ultimate exists conventionally (pan-sacralism). Of course, as long as reactors exist (and they do because of our innate reification), then the law of karma continues to operate and we experience fruition : rebirth, life & experiences. For Patañjali, suffering continues not because of reification, but because of our involvement with Nature. For our teacher Nature has nothing good to offer. For Lord Buddha, Nature is the object of great compassion ("mahâkarûna").

In the Buddhadharma, there is no permanent, substantial self ("âtman", "purusa") unseen by a nature-embroiled mind ("citta") forced by reactors to "clothe" itself again and again in the vestments of Nature (reincarnation), but a continuous but impermanent luminous mind concealed by subsequent "tenants" of the mindstream of which it is the most fundamental level (rebirth), and this since beginningless time and for all times. These tenants, existing because of their wrong -reifying- view, are not reborn, but perish together with the expiration of their "lease" (life-span). During their samsaric existence, their experiences are collected in the storehouse consciousness and the drives stored there cause a new "tenant" to arise after the last one died (cf. the mechanisms of the "bardos" of death, intermediate stage & rebirth). When one of these tenants recognizes the luminous mind of the mindstream it is used to call "its own", then awakening happens and all the deposits of all previous tenants may be remembered by this enlightened, Buddha-mind. A Buddha may exists in Nature as long as he or she desires (cf. the notion of "immortals" in Taoism). He or she leaves the bliss of "nirvâna" only to teach sentient beings how to end their suffering.


2.15.

Because of the sorrow present in the transformation of Nature, in its anguish, in its reactors and due to the conflict between the movements of Nature, to the discerner all is merely sorrow.

Les tristesses présentes dans la transformation continue de la Nature, dans son angoisse et dans les réacteurs subliminaux, et qui par-dessus sont dues aux conflits entre les mouvements de la Nature, tout ceci n'est rien d'autre que tristesse pour l'homme qui discerne.

Omwille van de droefnis aanwezig in de transformaties van de Natuur, in haar angst, in haar reactoren en als gevolg van het conflict tussen de bewegingen van de Natuur, is dit alles, voor diegene die onderscheidt, slechts droefnis.


2.16.

What is to be abandoned is the sorrow yet to come.

Ce qui doit être surpassé est la tristesse à venir.

De droefnis die nog moet komen is dat wat verlaten moet worden.


To the discerner ("vivekin"), all of Nature is suffering. As conventional reality is what ordinary, common consciousness apprehends, Buddha agrees. However, our teacher claims Nature is intrinsically the cause of suffering, whereas Lord Buddha identifies a deeper cause : the reification of Nature by the common mind.

Of course, for a discerning common consciousness ("citta", "manas"), part of Nature and constantly at work with its conventional properties divorced from the ultimate properties (reducing the Two Truths to a single, conventional truth), Nature can be nothing else but suffering. However, as soon as we realize our woe stems from substantializing our experience of Nature, the ultimate properties of Nature are revealed. For
Patañjali, Nature has no ultimate properties. The ultimate (as in all idealist systems) is radically divorced from conventional reality, which has nothing to offer in soteriological terms (except explaining why we suffer). So our teacher reduces the Two Truths to a single, ultimate truth (the same procedure is seen in Buddhist idealism, dismissing conventional reality to possess any value, thereby making the use of compassion void and so contradicting the life & teachings of Lord Buddha).

The common discerner realizes even meritorious actions leading to positive agreeable states bring about suffering. As long as Nature is at hand (
Patañjali) or reification is the case (Buddha), what is received will be lost and what is not wanted is at hand. This existential datum is not easy to discern. Especially when one is still subject to coarse suffering (hunger, thirst, sickness, poverty, social oppression etc.), one tends to identify the opposite (material abundance, health, freedom, etc.) as flawless. The poor want to be rich, the oppressed want to be free. How can they, except if very discerning, realize the end of their coarse suffering will not end the pervasive suffering of cyclic existence ? Even the wealthy & free may have great difficulty realizing they are fundamentally dissatisfied. They flee from this insight, and use their material abundance to shield themselves from realizing the vanity of their physical existence, making their physical demise more painful and thus full of regrets (of not having found genuine happiness, i.e. the root of their consciousness), causing a less promising rebirth. Often they pathetically seek to maintain their situation, and unable to grasp this causes again immediate & future suffering. One does not need to abandon the causes of what might make us loose the goods we have, but abandon the causes of the suffering yet to come. This is the path of a discerning consciousness. It identifies the nature of cyclic existence correctly, and this independently of whether it is subject to coarse suffering or not. It does so not to settle in this, but to be motivated to end future suffering.

Again, our teacher considers Nature to be the main cause of suffering, whereas Lord Buddha identifies this as the lack of realization of Nature's ultimate properties (caused by the reifying false ideation). The wisdom realizing emptiness prehends the pure, uncontaminated side of Nature, i.e. the impermanent but desubstantialized dependent-arisings ultimately constituting it.


Commentary on II.1 - II.16 :
The Causes of Sorrow & their Mechanics


In this long section, Patañjali focused on actual practice and the causes of sorrow.

Besides a variety of techniques ("tapas"), he makes clear the ritual (mantric) recitation of sacred texts and devotion to the Lord are essential. This should make us understand "bhakti" to be a crucial component of Classical Yoga. The transformation of consciousness ("citta") into the pure awareness of the seer ("purusa", "âtman") not only comes about by yogic technology as described in the Eightfold Yoga (in fact subcategories of "tapas"), but is intrinsically related with establishing a direct experience of the Lord, as well as the study of His sacred scripture. Such a direct experience cannot be established without mobilizing our affections, for devotion is based on emotions & feelings (like joy, gratitude, awe, trust, surrender etc.). These differ from the more "cerebral" procedures required by concentration, contemplation and the various degrees of union.

After having explained the various types of union (in his first book), our teacher concentrates on the disciple who is confronted with the causes of suffering. The fact suffering is targeted, shows the pan-Indian intent to cease all possible dissatisfaction. Also the Third Noble Truth on the cessation of suffering points in that direction. We seek union because this ends our woe. Nothing else will. Buddhahood ends it. "Dharma Cloud" union ends it too. The causes of affliction are fed by our unmeritorious actions. Here both also agree. But Lord Buddha insists substantialization is the root cause, whereas
for Patañjali the involvement of consciousness with Nature is. But both agree cyclic existence as a whole is characterized by pervasive suffering. Indeed, even positive states transform in negative states (in Buddhism, even the gods die in anguish because they are bound to find themselves reborn in lesser states), whereas negative states (due to lots of meritorious activity) turn positive. It is an endless dance of transformation, fundamentally (because of the constant change) leading to suffering (except for those who turn away from Nature and find "aloneness", or, as Buddha teaches, end the acquired & innate tendency to substantialize objects of experience). Both want to end the suffering yet to come, i.e. irreversibly cease our predicament.

The distinction between coarse & subtle causes of affliction is pertinent. We first need to end the fluctuations of consciousness. This leads to union. Then the coarse causes of affliction are ended. When union is the case, the
process of samadhic inward-mindedness ("pratiprasava") ends the subtle form of suffering, related to samadhic thoughts and reactors resulting from the action-deposit in the deep mind. Indeed, in the first degrees of union, thoughts still appear. Then, after prolonged samadhic practice, seedless union spontaneously arises. This union has the potential to generate a reactor destroying all other reactors ! With the total purification of the deep mind, ultimate union is the case.

For Lord Buddha, reification is the cause of reactors. First acquired reification needs to stop. This still implies conceptualization. Then inborn reification is addressed. This implies nondual cognition (at hand on the Path of Seeing and all the subsequent Bodhisattva grounds, i.e. the Paths of Meditation & No More Learning). When Buddhahood is entered, all adventitious material, present in the storehouse consciousness and covering the Clear Light mind, is removed.


The Seer & the Seen


2.17.

The correlation made between the seer and the seen is the cause of that which is to be overcome.

La correlation entre le voyant et le vu est la cause qui doit être surpassée.

De correlatie tussen ziener en geziene is de oorzaak die overstegen moet worden.


Nature and the seer (root-consciousness) are ontologically different and for ever separate. But how can there be a "correlation" ("samyoga") between both ? We cannot say Patañjali hides the fundamental tenet of his system of yoga. Quite on the contrary, he repeats it again and again. Because the mind is involved in the operations of Nature, sorrow is the result. To cease suffering altogether, every part of this involvement needs to end. Then and only then is liberation the case. But repetition is not argumentation, nor does it take away flawed logic.

But if the seen (Nature) and the seer are both substances and different, how can they communicate, interact, relate, be involved with one another ? Logically, this correlation can be nothing else but enigmatic and inexplicable. So it cannot  be taught, can it ? The seer ("drastri") is the "power of awareness" ("cit-shakti"). The seen is the world, both unmanifest & manifest. Vâcaspati Mishra characterizes their relationship as a "proximity" ("samnidhi"). The seer has the "capacity" ("yogyatâ") or internal fitness to apperceive Nature. The world has the capacity to be apperceived. Another image he uses is "reflection" ("pratibimba") : the seer is mirrored in (deluded) consciousness ("citta", "manas") and thanks to the reflected light the seer makes contact with the objective world.

How is this possible ? Should we pose the question ? Is the teaching of our teacher meant to be logically scrutinized & philosophically debated ? Or should we conclude he was unable, as was Descartes, to grasp the inevitable and irreversible problems related to ontological dualism ? If two entities (like mind, "res cogitans" and matter, "res extensa") are ontologically & substantially different (the former internal, nonspatial & temporal, the latter external & spatio-temporal), then per definition they cannot interact for they lack any common ground to do so ! To communicate, parties need to share a language and many more things. If they have nothing in common (incommensurable), and this the radical way suggested by
Patañjali, then a forteriori seer & seen cannot interact, be proximate, reflect, or correlate.

In the Buddhadharma, calling for logical analysis to "test" its insights, the luminous mind and ordinary, coarse consciousness are not substances (but both dependent-arisings), and empty of inhering properties hindering a complete interaction. They are not different, but merely distinct. The thus-gone-nature is the very subtle mind (mounted on a very subtle wind), to be distinguished from the subtle & coarse minds in terms of "purity" or "degree of contamination", i.e. level of reification. The luminous mind, or the very subtle mind of Clear Light is totally pure, absolutely lacking inherent existence and therefore ultimate. The subtle mind lacks coarse (outer, acquired, conceptual) reification. When this mind abandons inner, innate, non-conceptual reification, subtle reification ends. When it finally abandons the reification of duality itself (hindering omniscience), very subtle reification ends (and awakening a fact). The coarse mind is totally contaminated (completely identified with conventional reality). As long as the mind reifies it is relative, not ultimate. In this scheme, the communication between our luminous mind and the coarse mind (empirical ego), although difficult and demanding daily joyous effort, is not impeded by any ontological abyss or gap between substantially different entities (like seer & seen).

Our teacher teaches a logical impossibility crippling his intent and turning any attempt at an apology into an irrational discourse. But he does not conceal this at all. He is consequent in holding an inexplicable view one may only accept dogmatically. Perhaps this again points to the strong "bhakti" component in his system ? Affection finds no problem in logical inconsistency, and may even promote the latter (cf. "credo quia absurdum est"). Such "procedures" have no place in the science of mind of the Buddha.


2.18.

The seen has the character of brightness, activity & inertia ; is embodied in elements & sense-organs and serves the purpose of enjoyment and emancipation.

Le vu a un caractère rayonnant, actif ou inerte et il s'incarne dans des éléments et des organes de sens, et sert à la jouissance et à l'émancipation.

Het geziene heeft een stralend, actief of inert karakter, incarneert in elementen en zintuigen en dient voor plezier en emancipatie.


Here the seer ("drishya") is defined. Nature is constituted by interdependent primary constituents ("guna"). These relate to the three principal modes of manifestation ("shîla"). Brightness is "sattva", activity is "rajas" and inertia is "tamas". These apply to the world of things as well as to the phenomena related to consciousness.

Our teachers recognizes a dual purpose in Nature. On the one hand, the world serves experience. When thus preoccupied, we seek enjoyment. On the other hand, Nature serves emancipation ("apavarga") by being the object of negation. When we withdraw from it, liberation is the case. The seer is either involved in the processes of the world (how this is possible is inexplicable - cf. 2.17), causing bondage (and therefore sorrow), or radically breaks away from any interaction with it. This causes liberation. However, the distinction between liberation & bondage are categories of the finite mind. From the side of the seer, there is only freedom (he who distinguished between "samsâra" and "nirvâna" is still part of the former).

If the seer and the deluded mind cannot interact (because substantially different entities can have nothing in common and so cannot communicate), then there cannot be any worldly involvement of the seer. In that case, the deluded mind can never experience the seer, nor can it (if the capacity to apprehend exists only from the side of the seer) ever experience the world ! Again an unacceptable for absurd & contra-experiential consequence of
Patañjali's substantializing view.

It should be remarked both Eastern & Western philosophy have been substance-obsessed to the point of exhaustion. Besides Heraclitus, Ockham & Kant, most -if not all- Western philosophers cherishing reason have tried, in vain, to salvage substance in one form or another. Even today, materialism still tries to succeed in this and looks away from the mountain of logic & evidence pointing to process. Indeed, even quantum mechanics evidences the absence of self-powered physical entities. Indeed, whether a subatomic entity behaves as a particle or as a wave depends on the consciousness observing it ! Its properties cannot be divorced from the observer, undermining the cut-off view necessary to maintain inherently existing substances (independent & separate). In view of the correctness of the predictions made on the basis of the quantum theory, non-locality is a mathematical necessity (cf. theorem of Bell). Hence, all matter, ensuing from the Big Bang, is entangled from the very beginning (of this universe). Matter is not substantial, but process-based, i.e. (inter)relational. Likewise, before Nâgârjuna, Buddhists themselves tried to "save" substance, introducing it both at the side of the object as well as the subject. So we can say our teacher, like so many others, did not realize this "blind spot" because of the overall involvement of Hindu culture at large with substance, in casu Divine substance. He took this for granted and so had no choice than to develop this wrong view.


2.19.

The strata of Nature are : the particularized, unparticularized, differentiate & undifferentiate.

La Nature est stratifiée en le particularisé, le non-particularisé, le différencié et le non-différencié.

De strata van de Natuur zijn het particuliere, het niet-particuliere, het gedifferentieerde en het ongedifferentieerde.


2.20.

The seer is sheer seeing, but though pure sees through the mind (and its thoughts).

Bien que le voyant soit pur, il semble voir à travers le mental et ses notions.

De ziener is zuiver zien, maar niettegenstaande zuiver, ziet (de ziener) met behulp van het mentale en diens concepten.


Patañjali subscribes to the view of hylic pluralism. Nature is stratified, layered into various planes. This is a pan-Indian view also found in Early Buddhism (cf. the distinction between material & immaterial Jhânas), Tantric Buddhism (coarse, subtle & very subtle minds mounted on coarse, subtle & very subtle winds) and Chinese Taoism. It can also be identified in Shamanism, Ancient Egypt, Hermetism and Christian ontology (cf. ps.Dionysius the Areopagite). It returned in Hermeticism and Western occultism (theosophy, anthroposophy & magic).

In Sâmkhya & Vedânta, the absolute, inherent existent higher Self ("purusa", "âtman"), is covered by 3 sheaths (each sheath operating in a different world) :

  • the gross body : "sthûla-sharîra", "annamaya-kosha" (food body) ;

  • the subtle bodies : "sûkshma-sharîra", also called "linga-sharîra", made up of "prânamaya-kosha" (breath body), "kâmamaya-kosha" (feeling body), "manomaya-kosha" (thought body), "âtimamaya-kosha" (abstract thought body) & "vijñanamaya-kosha" (intuition body) ;

  • the sheath of bliss : or "kârana-sharîra", also called "ânandamaya-kosha" (bliss body).

To the seer, the deluded mind and its cognitive acts present themselves as objects. The seer is in no way related to extraneous, worldly factors. The apperceptions of the mind are multiple & discontinuous, those of the seer perfectly continuous.

If the seer is sheer seeing and pure, how can it "see" through the mind. This is only possible (cf. the previous sûtras) if they share common ontological ground, which is rejected. The continuity of the seer (contrasted with the discontinuity of the seen & the deluded mind) refers to the self-identity of substances. Although their accidental properties may change, the substantial core (the essence) does not. If the latter changes, another substantial entity is at hand, and as the seer is absolute, its substantial properties never change, so they are said to be continuous.

contaminated phenomenon
conventional - impure
impermanent and changing in multiple ways substance-based
uncontaminated phenomenon ultimate - pure impermanent and changing in a continuous way process-
based

For Lord Buddha, all phenomena (contaminated & uncontaminated, impure & pure, conventional & ultimate) are dependent-arisings and so changing from moment to moment. Because all things are made out of the same "stuff", they can interact, communicate, share and transform into one another. This ongoing momentary change is called "impermanence" and holds for all phenomena, be they conventional or ultimate. All conventional minds & sensate objects are contaminated (reified). They are changing all the time in all kinds of multiple ways (and so not constantly in the same way). So they are impermanent. All ultimate minds & objects (the "Dharmakâya", Clear Light mind, and the "dharmadhâtu", the unbounded totality of all that is) are uncontaminated (lack reification) and so change from moment to moment. They are impermanent too. But, and this is crucial, ultimate phenomena change in the same way (are holomovements), and this for ever (since beginningless time to unending time). In this sense, they are called "continuous" and this despite the fact they change from moment to moment. So a change from moment to moment should be distinguished from this special continuity of ultimate phenomena. This is a differential dynamic, a change ruled by the same differential equation. The latter is a change defined as a symmetry transformation (a kind of desubstantialized self-identical change). The pattern, form or style of this special kind of change does not exist independently from the change (as a kind of substance), but happens "swimmingly", i.e. as an integral part of the change. This explains why Buddhas are indeed very subtle phenomena. Their impermanence is a fact hand in hand with their differential identity (or entity-in-movement).


2.21.

The essence of the seen is only for the sake of this seer.

La nature de ce qui est vu est seulement telle pour ce voyant.

Het wezen van het geziene is er enkel voor deze ziener.


Of course, as in all substantialist discourses introducing substances (here : "âtman", "purusa") and a primordial substance (here : "Îshvara"), the world has no relevance of its own. It serves the purpose of the experience of root-consciousness of itself (II.18). Likewise, the seer, although the highest goal of our human aspiration, serves no external purpose whatsoever, but is absolutely self-involved, self-powered & self-determined. In radical monotheist discourses, as found in Judaism, Christianity & Islam, the same logic prevails. The world is "nothing" compared to God, and He is the One Alone. Life, Nature, conventional existence etc. are basically worthless.

Understanding such a view to be the most absurd consequence of a wrong conceptualization happens as soon as one recognizes compassion & mercy are impossible without attributing intrinsic value to conventional reality, to Nature. The Buddha has no problem identifying this, but needs -as usual- a subtle logic to make it clear. The Buddhadharma is not an easy, irrational teaching.

Tsongkhapa, the Tibetan protagonist of the Prasangika-Madhyamaka, balanced the Two Truths (conventional versus ultimate reality) as follows : (1) the ultimate exists conventionally and (2) conventional truth is valid (in its own realm), but mistaken (when compared with ultimate truth). The first tenet has been touched upon earlier : ultimate reality is not a separate ontological stratum (as in all Platonic, idealist schemes), but the conventional world apprehended & prehended without any essentialism. When the process-based nature of the conventional world is realized, ultimate reality is too. This does not make the conventional world vanish, but merely reveals the ultimate properties of any object of cognition. Sentient beings grasp at this sequentially ; when the conventional world is grasped, the ultimate is not, and vice versa. Then the conventional conceals the ultimate. Buddhas realize the conventional & ultimate simultaneously. From their side they prehend the ultimate (all is empty), but at the same time they apprehend the conventional and so the suffering these beings experience (from their own side). This latter capacity makes it possible for Buddhas to be genuinely compassionate. In absolutist (idealist) discourses this is never possible, for a God separated from Nature us unable to love or care for His creatures. This logic dictates. Indeed, in the Koran, the word "love" is not found once !

The second point should be perfectly clear. Conventional truth is valid insofar as the conventional world is at hand. As long as the mind reifies, then this conventional truth is the only way to shield us from the horrors of conventional falsehood (of course, it is worse to say -as
Patañjali does- that conventionality is inherently wrong). Logic, science & philosophy are possible and valid in their own sphere. They should not be extended to cover ultimate truth, for only ultimate logic & direct experience can do that. The conventional truths are valid for they represent discussed & tested empirico-formal propositions found to correspond with (conventional) reality, triggering a consensus among the relevant sign-interpreters (the scientists). Because conventional truth is valid, compassionate action is possible. For if all conventionality is merely serving the ultimate (as Platonists, idealists, monotheists etc. wrongly claim), then suffering can not (and should not ?) be addressed (for this is the job of the Lord !). If this is so, then history shows the Lord is either doing His job badly, enjoys suffering or is indifferent towards His own Creatures. Each of these options rules Him out as an object of devotion, except for fools & masochists (Sartre developed the same kind of strong argument).

But, although conventional truth is valid in the conventional sphere, it is mistaken for concealing the ultimate properties of objects. This mistake causes conventional objects to appear differently than they ultimately are. This difference between how they appear and how they ultimately exist, is called "illusion" ("mâyâ"). Conventional objects appear as substantial ("svabhâva), independent ("svatantra") and with "own-form" ("svarûpa"), but they are process-based & interdependent. Nature is not "on its own", but a dependent-arising (albeit a contaminated one) like its ultimate properties (which are uncontaminated). It is not ontologically different and so divorced from root-consciousness, but fundamentally identical with it, except for the false ideation existing from the side of the sentient beings apprehending it.

When conventional objects serve no purpose except the end of conventionality, then the object of knowledge has been sacrificed to the subject of knowledge. This is precisely what our idealist teacher does, and why the ontology of his system of yoga is defunct. Apparently, logic & reason are not paramount.


2.22.

Although the seen has ceased to exist for he who has accomplished his purpose, it has nevertheless not ceased to exist, since it is a common experience to all others.

Bien que ce qui est vu soit perdu pour celui qui a atteint son but, il n'est cependant pas perdu pour tous les autres.

Niettegenstaande het geziene is gestopt van te bestaan voor diegene die zijn/haar doel bereikt heeft, is het allicht niet gestopt van te bestaan aangezien het de gedeelde ervaring van alle anderen is.


Patañjali rejects the idea a single person is able to destroy the universe (and so, in his view, end suffering). The latter would only happen if all minds would simultaneously be liberated, i.e. disentangle from the mechanism of the world. When a single person achieves liberation, he or she abolishes the false identity and is relocated into the seer. For this person, Nature as ended, and his or her "aloneness" ("kaivalya") is at hand. This does not conjure away the outer world for all those who still erroneously identify with the phenomenological consciousness of a particular spatiotemporal organism. The ontological reality of the world exists for all those who exist in bondage, but stops for those who realize the seer.

Likewise, the Buddha argues awakening is always the fruit of the path of an individual mind. To such a mind, the world appears as it is, devoid of substantialist overlays, i.e. as a gigantic dependent-arising in which all things are interconnected. But for sentient beings, the world continues to appear as mistaken, and this because all sentient beings suffer from the false ideation superimposing substantial identity on what is merely and in all cases an impermanent process. The Buddha is however adamant about the power of Buddhas. When a Buddha appears, he or she is able to take away the veils covering the deluded mind of sentient beings. He or she may "empty hell" with the snap of a finger. Unfortunately, given the extent of our delusions,  the next moment, the selfsame hell is filled again (with other sentient beings experiencing the effects of their anger, hatred, violence & cruelty). And again the Buddha appears ... This makes some Buddhist conjecture "samsâra" will, in concreto, never end.


2.23.

The correlation causes the seer to apprehend the own form of the power of the owner and of the owned.

La corrélation (entre le voyant et ce qui est vu) fait que le voyant appréhende la vraie forme du pouvoir de celui qui possède et du possédé.

De correlatie tussen de ziener en het geziene is er de oorzaak van dat de ziener de eigen vorm vat van de kracht van de bezitter en van wat die bezit.


The seer is the owner ("svâmin"). Nature is the owned ("sva"). Our teacher merely reaffirms his idealist & inexplicable position. How can such a correlation ("samyoga") between both be considered without introducing absurd, logically unacceptable  consequences ? It can not ! The apparent association of the transintelligible subject (the seer) with a specific, still  fluctuating consciousness ("manas", "citta") cannot be explained. Patañjali's transcendentalist metaphysical assumptions do not allow this. Instead of adapting his axioms to what experience teaches, he merely confirms them and, as all dogmatic thinkers in all religious idealisms do, turns away from the nonsensical consequences. The metaphysics of Classical Yoga is not better than the dogmatic models the monotheisms developed on the basis of Greek (mostly Platonic) substance-thinking.

Lord Buddha starts with conventional reality and discovers ultimate reality by eliminating the delusion of reification. The ultimate is not transcendent, but immanent. Pan-sacralism is the case. He does not reject conventionality, but accepts it for what it is : the domain of valid science & philosophy. So his metaphysics does not contradict what these conventional disciplines find out about the world.
Patañjali rejects all of this. The owned only serves the owner and has no value next to being owned. Man is the slave of the Lord, nothing more ! Lord Buddha identifies ultimate truth not by rejecting conventional truth (as does Patañjali), but by prehending the ultimate as an uncontaminated dependent-arising realized when the conventional is purified.


2.24.

The cause of this is ignorance.

La cause de ceci est l'ignorance.

De oorzaak hiervan is onwetendheid.


Spiritual degeneracy and concomitant suffering, anxiety, distress, sorrow, pain & dissatisfaction, are caused by ignorance. On this point, both agree. But our teacher identified ignorance merely as man's association with Nature. Lord Buddha understands it as the result of substantializing objects. So in terms of the Buddhadharma, our teacher's view is the most wrong view one may hold, for it substantializes both the ultimate (the substantial Lord) & the conventional (the substantial world) ! Such a tenet, so logic teaches, is inexplicable, irrational, paradoxical and devoid of common sense, metaphysical clarity & ontological workability. But can one suggest our teacher was not aware of all of that ? Clearly not. This leads us to think he is far more "bhakti" than one would suspect from a yoga said to integrate a solid "jñâna" perspective.

Indeed, the Royal Path of Classical Yoga is often presented as a balanced whole, taking all main yogas into account ("jñâna", "karma" & "bhakti"). But this is clearly not the case, for our teacher does not really show much respect for the exigencies of logic. In this he differs from Buddha, who also used debate and reasoning, and tried to avoid irrational mental constructs, as well as thoughts hindering genuine emancipation, i.e. a spiritual discipline truly ceasing suffering.


2.25.

When this disappears the correlation ceases ; this is cessation, the aloneness of seeing.

Lorsque cette ignorance disparaît, la corrélation disparaît aussi ; ceci est la cessation complète, voir continuellement sans notion, l'esseulement.

Wanneer deze onwetendheid verdwijnt, verdwijnt de correlatie ook. Dit is volledige beëindiging en het voortdurend zien zonder noties, het isolement.


Our teacher continues to elaborate on the consequences of his inexplicable view. Here, the ultimate consequence of this is at hand.

When the mechanism of Nature have been totally eliminated, then and only then does the correlation between the seer and consciousness (between the transcendent root of consciousness and the radically different immanent delusional mind) end. When this happens, Nature has ended (for that yogi), and so all physical & conscious activity (part of Nature, i.e. all except the seer), stops. This is not the "isolation of the seer" (Woods), for the seer is always isolated, nor the "liberation of the seer" (Taimni), for the seer is always already free, but refers to the capacity of the seer to "see" or continuously apperceive without any object. This state is called "aloneness" ("kaivalya").

Lord Buddha does not understand enlightenment to end the appearance of objects, making the Clear Light mind to stand alone and prehend without an object. What "is", is the "mahâmudrâ" of all possible objects of which the "Dharmakâya" is the subjective prehension. Awakening just refers to the radical, irreversible end of reification. Then the world appears as it is, an interdependent & interrelated unbounded wholeness. The distinction between "samsâra" and "nirvâna" is no longer at hand. Things are the totality they just are ("dharmadhâtu"). Duality is no longer the case, for the object appears in the subject and the subject in the object. But when a Buddha teaches, duality is used in a desubstantialized way. It still is present when a Buddha acts, but duality does not lead to any dualistic appearance (reifying object, subject and the duality between them). Buddha's prehend objects as they are. This prehension is nondual, meaning the duality no longer impacts on the cognitive act (positing itself as a substance).

For our teacher, liberation means a self-awareness devoid of any objectivity, whatever that means !


2.26.

The means of cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment.

La vision du discernement permanent est le moyen d'atteindre la cessation.

Het middel tot de volledige beëindiging is de voortdurend onderscheidende visie.


The essence of the yoga of Patañjali is the separation ("viyoga") between the seer and the seen. As this can only be brought about by a mind part of the seen, a paradox is at hand.

At the height of union, consciousness is emptied of all contents, but possesses self-awareness of its reified existence. At this point, the distinction between the vacated seen (the nearly totally disentangled mind) and the seer is apprehended. This is called "the vision of discernment" ("viveka-khyâti"), and when it is unceasing, liberation is nearly a fact.
To achieve total liberation (cf. III.50), even this vision is naturally abandoned. This vision is the immediate, direct certainty of consciousness of its own existence as consciousness. It is the terminal phase of seedless union. Only consciousness-of remains. This is absolutely objectless !


2.27.

For he who possesses this there arises, in the last stage, prajñâ, which is sevenfold.

Dans le dernier stade, la sagesse en sept étapes surgit pour celui qui a atteint ceci.

Voor diegene die dit bezit, is er in het laatste stadium de zevenvoudige wijsheid.


At the last stage of the highest stage of seedless union (at the end of the vision of discernment), sevenfold wisdom occurs. Patañjali does not explain what he means by this.

According to Vyâsa, these seven aspects, divided in the fourfold release pertaining to intuitive insight ("vimukti") and the triple release of consciousness itself, are :

(1) future suffering is prevented ;
(2) all the causes of suffering are permanently eliminated ;
(3) complete cessation is achieved ;
(4) vision of discernment, the ultimate means of cessation, is the case ;
(5) the deep mind has gained sovereignty ;
(6) the gunas have lost their foothold ;
(7) the seer abides in his essential, substantial nature, undefiled and alone.


Commentary on II.17 - II.27 :
The Seer & the Seen


In the last ten sûtras, Patañjali focused on defining the seer (root-consciousness, and not part of Nature), the seen (the natural order) and (deluded) consciousness (different from root-consciousness and not part of Nature). He repeats his basic view : Nature is the cause of our suffering. Through action, consciousness gets entangled in its mechanisms and this gives rise to reactions causing suffering. Even the positive reactions are, when contrasted with the self-awareness of the seer, to  be rejected. There is nothing good to be found in Nature, which either serves our longing for pleasure (when we are not on the path) or our spiritual emancipation (when we are). In the latter case, we only need to turn our backs to Nature and we shall find peace.

The seen is of the nature of basic constituents (brightness, activity & inertia) and our entangled consciousness is also a natural phenomenon, and thus radically different from its own root, the seer. When an individual is liberated, the others (still entangled) are not. Eventually, when the correlation between the seen & the seer disappears (ignorance or nescience ends), then aloneness is the case. This is the sheer power of seeing without any object, or consciousness aware of its own existence without any seer. This ultimate state is preceded by the vision of discernment, the highest level of seedless union. This vision brings the direct immediate certainty self-awareness is just around the corner. It also generates a whole array of new mental capacities (the sevenfold wisdom).

I have amply criticized our teacher's basic tenet. Let it suffice to repeat the core of the difficulty : if the seer & the seen are ontologically different entities (and this is emphatically stated throughout the text), then no "correlation" is possible and the seer cannot "see" by way of deluded consciousness, not can the latter emancipate by emulating the Lord. Likewise, the inner root of consciousness ("âtman", "purusa") is radically divided (divorced) from the deluded superstructure turned outwards ("citta", "manas"). How can any communication be rationally thought ?

In my opinion, these remarkable paradoxes & inconsistencies point to
Patañjali's devotional intent and less to his desire to elaborate a rationally balanced system of yoga. Ascesis (applied yogic technology) is but one third of the practice, for the two other thirds are devotional, either directly (the Lord) or indirectly (His sacred texts). Does Classical Yoga prove to be more of an art of mind than a science of mind ? Of course, the latter is clearly present. But are these spiritual exercises (putting aside devotion) in the same way close to our teacher's heart than his devotion for the Lord ? I think not.


Here  begins the Eightfold Yoga


For Feuerstein, the section on the Eightfold Yoga is either a later interpolation or a lengthy quotation by our teacher. He considers this to be the only alien material in the text. Although textual analysis has allowed Indology to identify the beginning of this section (II.28), is end it not so clear. It runs a couple of sûtras in Book III, and is presumably resumed at III.9.


The Morality of the Yogic Path


2.28.

Through the performance of the members of Yoga and with the dwindling of impurity, the radiance of true knowledge comes about, up to the vision of discernment.

Par la pratique des membres du yoga et l'élimination des impuretés, une luminosité de la connaissance vraie s'installe, qui emmènera le yogi vers la vision du discernement.

Door de beoefening van de ledematen van de Yoga en met het verdwijnen van de onzuiverheid komt de straling van de ware kennis voort en dit tot de onderscheidende visie.


In the Maitrâyanîya Upanisad, yogic technology is systematized in six members ("sad-anga-yoga). The eightfold system ("asta-anga-yoga") is an elaboration of these earlier representations. The members ("angas") are not to be viewed as stages, but need to be practiced together. They define a process of purification whose combined power is able to end the physical, emotional, moral & mental defilements due to the entanglement of consciousness with Nature. The dwindling ("ksaya") of these delusions does not happen sequentially but simultaneously (as legs walking). They propel the yogi forward along the path of inward-mindedness and interiorization, a movement away from the causes of sorrow.

Thanks to these ascetical practices ("tapas"), a radiance of knowledge arises, and this develops up to the vision of discernment (II.26).


2.29.

Restraints, observances, posture, breath-control, sense-withdrawal, concentration, contemplation & union are the eight.

Limitations, observances, posture, maîtrise de la respiration, rétraction sensorielle, concentration, contemplation et union sont les huit membres.

Restricties, observaties, houding, controle van de ademhaling, terugtrekking der zintuigen, concentratie, contemplatie en eenwording zijn de acht ledematen.


2.30.

Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and greedlessness are the restraints.

Non-nuisance, véracité, ne pas voler, chasteté et désintéressement sont les limitations.

Niet-schaden, waarachtigheid, niet-stelen, kuisheid en onbaatzuchtigheid zijn de restricties.


2.31.

Valid in all spheres, irrespective of birth, place, time and circumstance are these. They are the great vow.

Elles sont valables partout, indépendamment de la naissance, du lieu, du temps et des circonstances ; elles constituent le grand voeu.

Deze zijn overal geldig, onafhankelijk van geboorte, plaats, tijd of omstandigheden. Zij vormen de grote eed.


2.32.

Purity, contentment, austerity, self-study and devotion to the Lord are the observances.

Pureté, contentement, austérité, l'étude de soi-même et l'abandon complet en Isvara sont les observances.

Zuiverheid, tevredenheid, ascese, zelfstudie en volledige overgave aan de Heer zijn de observanties.


Restraints ("yama") & observances ("niyama") define an ethical code in accord with the moral guidelines advocated by most religious systems. To keep these principles intact is understood as a vow ("vrata"). Similar ethical principles are found in the Buddhadharma.

N
on-virtuous actions are paths leading to the lower realms of "samsâra" (hell-beings, hungry ghosts, animals), i.e. to more confusion and suffering. In principle, there are countless non-virtuous actions, but they are classified insofar as the cause is physical, verbal or mental :

1) Negative physical actions :

Killing.
Sexual misconduct.
Stealing.

2) Negative verbal actions :

Lying.
Slandering (divisive speech).
Abusing (hurtful speech).
Gossiping (idle chatter).

3) Negative mental actions :

Malice.
Avarice (covetousness).
Wrong views.

The full negative result or fruit is experienced if and only if the non-virtuous action is complete. The latter is the case if and only if four factors are simultaneously present :

The Four Factors of Completion :

  • the object of the action : the object of the action depends on what kind of non-virtue is at hand :
    * killing : any other being, from an insect to a Buddha ;
    * sexual misconduct : is analyzed in terms of the "Four Wrongs" :
    (a) wrong object : any unsuitable object of attention : for a celibate monk (nun) : any other person, for a layman : anyone else's partner, our own parents, a child, a monk (nun), a pregnant woman, animals, any non-consenting person ;
    (b) wrong organ : anal or oral sex ;
    (c) wrong place : places offending others (public space or sacred space) ;
    (d) wrong time : during pregnancy, illness or when one has taken vows ;
    * stealing : anything someone else regards as their own ;
    * lying : about what is seen, heard, experienced, known, not seen, not heard, not experienced, not known and certain non-verbal actions like physical gestures, writing or remaining silent ;
    * slandering : two or more people having a relationship ;
    * abusing : any person who can be hurt by what is said ;
    * gossip : any meaningless object ;
    * malice : hurting any other person by thought, word or deed ;
    * avarice : wanting anything belonging to someone else ;
    * wrong views : denial of what is needed for liberation & enlightenment ;

  • the intention of the action : for there to be a full intention to commit any negative deed, three factors are needed :
    (a) correct discrimination : the correct identification of the object ;
    (b) determination : the will to carry out what has been correctly identified ;
    (c) delusion : a mind motivated by one of the Three Poisons : ignorance, craving & hatred ;

  • the preparation of the action : the preparation of the means to engage in a negative action ;

  • the completion of the action : the negative action is complete when the object of the action has been realized, i.e. not abrogated.

The severity of non-virtuous actions or the degree of suffering caused depends on the power of the action. The latter is determined by six factors :

The Six Factors of Severity :

  • the nature of the action : physical & verbal non-virtuous actions can be listed in order of the degree of the harm inflicted : killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slandering, abusing & gossiping. Among the mental non-virtuous actions, the order is : wrong views, malice & avarice ;

  • the intention : the stronger the delusion, the more negative the intention. Insofar an bad action is immediately followed by a thought negating its inherent existence, the negative intention is lessened, if not eliminated ;

  • the method : the degree of harm inflicted by the chosen method ;

  • the object : the more important the object, the more powerful it becomes ;

  • the frequency : the more it is repeated, the more powerful it becomes ;

  • the absence of an opponent : absence of virtue or regret is more powerful.

Non-virtuous actions have three effects :

The Three Effects :

  • the ripened effect : rebirth into a lower realm or rebirth as a human burdened with vast suffering ;

  • the effects similar to the cause : these are tendencies or experiences similar to the cause. Tendencies make us repeat similar actions in the future and experiences bring us in direct contact with similar negative actions (done by others), but of which we are the object ;

  • the environmental effect : rebirth in hostile environments resembling the non-virtuous action.


2.33.

For the repelling of unwholesome thoughts cultivate the opposite.

Pour repousser les pensées opposées il faut cultiver leur contraire.

Om schadelijke gedachten af te duwen, cultiveer het omgekeerde.


2.34.

Thoughts such as harming et cetera, whether done, caused to be done or approved, whether arising from greed, anger or delusion, whether modest, medium or excessive - these find their unending fruition in nescience and sorrow ; so cultivate the opposite.

Des pensées comme nuire, etc... engendrées par soi-même, causées ou approuvées, provenant d'avidité, de colère ou d'illusion -modestes, moyennes ou excessives- trouvent leur fin dans l'ignorance et la souffrance ; cultivez donc leurs contraires.

Gedachten zoals schaden etc., zelf gedaan, aangezet om te doen of goedgekeurd, voortkomend uit woede of illusie -of ze nu bescheiden, gemiddeld of excessief zijn- vinden hun einde in onwetendheid en lijden ; cultiveer dus hun omkering.


When the moral code has been breached, one needs to cultivate a mental state opposite to the one prompting the infringement. Rationalizing negative thoughts away is not enough, but counter-measures need to be deliberately put in place. This means repelling unwholesome intentions.

In the system of karma developed by the Vedic seers, the Upanisadic teachers and most sects of the renunciant movement (except for Buddhism), the objective (outer) effect of an act determines its nature. Unendingly ("ananta") effects follow their cause. In Jainism, the slightest objective harming ("himsâ") causes the soul ("âtman") to be covered by defilements causing negative rebirths. It seems our teachers agrees. In a strict and determined way, unwholesome activities of body, speech & mind intensify spiritual blindness and so enhance the yogi's dissatisfaction with worldly life. Why ? Because precisely the mechanisms of Nature cause negative activity to effectuate negative experiences. The seer is separate from this, and the Lord never has and never will be affected by this, for ontologically different from Nature and her tricks. Karma, viewed as wholly part of Nature, is a natural law, and so blind, objective and unrelated to the subject setting it in motion. Although the free will of the subject is the origin of the action, the actor cannot influence the law of karma in any way. The only thing to be done is avoid the mundane altogether. Sure, the liberated yogi (having totally succeeded in emulating Îshvara) no longer produces karma, for "isolated" and "alone". But this pure seer is no longer part of Nature, and he or she is unlikely to "return" to the world to teach or compassionately assist sentient beings ... For this one, it is all over. Not so for the others, but this is their problem, not his.

Also on this point Lord Buddha disagrees. Of course, one cannot deny the objective effects of certain very immoral actions, like killing or stealing or causing others to do these and other negative actions. But the first question should not be about the objective results, whatever they may be, but about the subjective, inner intention of the actors. This is paramount. Hence, the law of karma remains blind, but only when the intent and the action coincided (as is often the case). When the intent contradicts the action, and/or the action is done to genuinely benefit others, the effect of the karmic law is partly annulled. A medical doctor may kill the sick mother to save the healthy baby. A Bodhisattva may kill a potential murdered out of compassion to save lives and/or to prevent the culprit from accumulating vast negative karma. An advanced Tantric may visualize or even do wrong to train transformation (all is of "one taste") and release actions into emptiness. In these cases, some negative karma is set in motion, but this negativity is not accumulated when antidotes to purify the negative effects are set in place.

In this practice of purification, Buddha Vajrasattva is invoked as the last of the so-called "four opponent powers", the culmination of four antidotes neutralizing negative "karma". Here he represents the purity realized by every Buddha. Without these Four Powers, there is no way to ultimately purify misdeeds and their residue, in other words, "oppose" delusion. As the "fourth power", Vajrasattva Purification is called the "actual antidote", preluded by the other three. So this Buddha vowed to purify all sentient beings from their deluded ideation and subsequent emotional suffering, leading to dis-ease and loss of wholeness. The other three "opponent powers" are :

* the power of reliance : to end our predicament and cease our suffering definitively, we have to rely on the special power of the Three Jewels, the Buddhas and Superior Bodhisattvas. Without this, the power of regret has no object - so the least there must be, is an inkling of awareness every moment is also (besides conventional) absolute (ultimate) ;
* the power of regret : we bring our non-virtuous activities to mind, and direct this confession to the powers we rely in. We generate a sincere sense of regret by understanding the terrible consequences for us (the rise of hindrances) and others if we do not repent. It is not enough to generate regret without directing it to some higher, pure entity outside our monkey-ego, for this does not trigger the necessary perspective on an ideal not yet actualized ;
* the power of resolve : we make a firm determination or vow not to engage in these activities in the future and realize our ideal. In particular, we no longer attribute self-power to what we do or others do. This then I vow : "May I apprehend all phenomena, myself included, as other-powered."

If, and only if, we rely, confess and vow, will the actual antidote, when applied, have its fullest effect, i.e. cease all possible defilements, afflictions and deluded obscurations.

For Buddha, m
oral discipline is to deliberately refrain from the Ten Non-Virtuous Actions on the basis of a clear recognition of their dangers. Realizing the effects of bad actions and the firm motivation to practice their abandonment constitutes the practice of good actions. Not performing bad actions is thus not enough. To harvest the beneficial effect, we have to be conscious of the difficulties caused by bad actions. The same four factors of completion and three kinds of effects also pertain for good actions. The power of good & bad actions depends on four factors :

The Four Factors of Power :

  • the person who is the object of the action : to direct actions towards those who are kind to us increases their power ;

  • the vows taken : performed as the result of vows, actions become more powerful ;

  • the object instrumental in the action : when the object is useful or helpful to the other person, the action is more powerful ;

  • the motivation : actions done with a strong motivation are more powerful.

Most virtuous actions, so-called good "karma", do not liberate or enlighten sentient beings. They cause to experience happy results and good circumstances in future lives, but this "karma" does not set them free. Why ? Ordinary beings taint their virtuous actions by self-cherishing, thinking the "I" performing the good action exists inherently, from its own side, as an independent substance. When performing the good deed, this ignorance (or confusion about the ultimate nature of the subject) is mixed with our mind. We cherish the good deed by thinking : I am doing good and will be rewarded ! Although our intentions are not deluded, the delusion of an autonomous subject is present. As a result, our virtuous actions producing good "karma" are still the cause of rebirth in "samsâra". Hence, the virtuous actions of ordinary humans are "throwing actions", hurling them in the fortunate worlds of desire of humans or gods. Likewise, non-virtuous actions throw them in the unfortunate states within cyclic existence : the hells, the painful state of the hungry ghosts or the ignorant existence of animals.

At this point, the crucial difference between good "karma" and merit ("punya") as seen by the Buddha becomes poignant. By itself, positive "karma" does not free sentient beings from cyclic existence. It just makes them "move up" the ladder of "samsâra". Their type of suffering alters, but suffering remains. It does not end actions, but causes good effects within "samsâra". But, as the Wheel of Life teaches, the effect of all actions exhausts itself, making all actions impermanent & transient. So although they have created for themselves better conditions (less painful suffering), the causes of this improvement eventually end and so chances are they find themselves again in the same or even in more severe types of closed spaces. All sentient beings experience the exhaustion of their good and bad "karma". Only merit builds a supramundane "capital". Only "nirvâna" is true peace, lasting, permanent, unceasing ... This reflects the optimism of the Buddhadharma, and the fundamental way it differs from the traditional Brahmanistic interpretation of "karma" we also find in the Yoga Sûtra.

In sensu stricto, merit can be defined as the result of virtuous actions not causing samsaric rebirth. These are not throwing actions, for they cause liberation from cyclic existence by virtue of the special power of the object of merit : the Three Jewels : the Buddha, the Dharma & the Sangha. Hence, virtuous actions associated with merit have two effects : (a) they result in positive effects within "samsâra" without throwing us in cyclic existence and (b) end actions, i.e. liberate us from suffering by the power of cessation inherent in the Dharma


2.35.

When grounded in non-harming, all enmity is abandoned in one's presence.

Tous les êtres abandonneront leur animosité en présence de celui qui est fermement établi en non-nuisance.

In de aanwezigheid van diegene die gegrond is in niet-schaden, verlaten alle wezen hun vijandschap.


2.36.

When grounded in truthfulness, one masters action & its fruition.

Après s'être fermement établi dans la véracité, on maîtrise l'action et son fruit.

Gegrond in waarachtigheid, bemeestert men de actie en haar vrucht.


2.37.

When grounded in non-stealing, all jewels appear.

Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de ne pas voler, des joyaux apparaissent.

Gegrond in niet-stelen, verschijnen er juwelen.


2.38.

When grounded in chastity, vitality is obtained.

Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de chasteté, une grande vitalité est acquise.

Gegrond in kuisheid, wordt een grote vitaliteit verworven.


2.39.

When settled in greedlessness one secures knowledge of the wherefore of one's births.

Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de désintéressement on connaît le pourquoi de sa ou ses naissances.

Gegrond in onbaatzuchtigheid, verzekert men kennis over het waarom van de eigen geboortes.


2.40.

Purity gives a distance towards one's limbs and the desire of non-defilement by others.

Par la pureté une distance envers son corps se crée et le non-salissement par autrui est désiré.

Zuiverheid schept afstand van het lichaam en de wens om niet door anderen bevuild te worden.


2.41.

Furthermore, also purity of beingness, gladness, one-pointedness, mastery of the sense-organs & the capability of seeing one's Âtman are achieved.

Aussi la pureté du sattva, le contentement, l'état de convergence, la victoire sur les sens et la capacité de voir son propre Âtman est atteint.

Ook worden bereikt de zuiverheid van het zijn, tevredenheid, de staat van convergentie, meesterschap over de zintuigen en de capaciteit om het eigen Zelf te zien.


2.42.

Through contentment unexcelled joy is gained.

Du contentement jaillit l'atteinte d'une joie suprême.

Uit tevredenheid ontspringt het bereiken van een onovertroffen vreugde.


2.43.

Through austerity, as impurity dwindles, power over body & sense-organs.

Par l'austérité et parce que les impuretés disparaissent, un pouvoir sur le corps et les sens est acquis.

Door ascese en omdat de onzuiverheden verdwijnen, wordt macht over het lichaam en de zintuigen verworven.


2.44.

Through self-study a contact with the chosen deity.

Par l'étude de soi, on établit un contact avec la divinité choisie.

Door zelfstudie wordt contact met de gekozen godheid gelegd.


2.45.

Through the devotion for the Lord, union.

Par l'abandon complet en Isvara, l'union.

Door volledige overgave aan de Heer, eenwording.


In this section, our teacher lists the various benefits of moral discipline. This shows the importance for the yogi of a correct behavioural pattern. He is separated from the world, but remains an example. Also, by following these moral maxims, the security of his practice is guaranteed.


Commentary on II.28 - II.45
The Morality of the Yogic Path


Seeing the seer is not a mundane activity, quite on the contrary. Inward-mindedness is complete and Nature vanishes. During the process of spiritual emancipation itself, the yogi turns away from society and its cultural objects. He or she rejects worldly activities and so fame, power, wealth, status and the like hold no longer any interest. So one may ask whether this asocial stance has any advantages for society at large ? Besides being a haven of peace, the yogi has an immediate effect on the surroundings by communicating some of the tranquillity gathered and implating the seeds of evolution in receptive minds.

The restraints and observances cause all kinds of special effects : enmity is abandoned in the presence of the yogi, his words are strong and not in vain, he is never without what he needs to sustain his material existence, his vitality enormous, his knowledge of his previous lives assists him, his purity stops him from associating with contaminating others, he is glad, joyful, concentrated and masters his senses. This turns the yogi into an example and a beacon.

In II.44 - 45,
Patañjali repeats the importance of the Lord. Self-study "svâdhyâya" established contact ("samprayoga") with the chosen Deity. In Hindu theo-ontology, not monotheism (one, singular God), but henotheism is the case. In this view, the One God manifests as a plurality of Deities to be worshipped by as many devotees as possible. This "contact" is not a union with the essence of the Deity (as in Hindu Tantra), but a meditational experience. By dedicating a separate sûtra on "Îshvara-parnidhâna", our teacher puts again into evidence the importance of the Lord. Besides all the trappings of ascesis ("tapas"), the Lord in all His manifestations, causes one to perfect ("siddhi") union and be liberated. Is this devotion the only means to be free or only one of several ways of achieving this transformation liberating one from Nature ? For Vâcaspati Mishra the members of yoga are subsidiary. Vyâsa (in his commentary on III.6) claims moving up the levels of union is a direct result and so wholly depends on the grace ("prasâda") of the Lord ! In the "asta-anga" tradition as well as in Kriyâ-Yoga the central role of Îshvara cannot be overlooked. Again one may ask how these substantial, closed-up Deities may indeed "communicate" with their devotees ? Substances are "alone" & "isolated", and the Lord is radically separated from Nature and all deluded minds tricked by her. How can these sullied minds contact the Lord ? How can the Lord contact these minds ? This cannot be explained, and the issue gives rises to countless paradoxes, crippling a rational exegesis & apology of our teacher's position.

In Buddhism, in particular Tantrism, the Buddhist Deity is an uncontaminated dependent-arising. It appears with Form Bodies ("rûpakâya") recognized by superior practitioners ("Samboghakâya") and ordinary sentient beings ("Nirmânakâya"). While substance-based Deities (like Îshvara and His manifestations) are denied as valid objects of refuge (for mistaken about their ultimate nature), meditational Deities ("ishta-deva", "chosen Deity"
or Tib. "Yidam") are valid bridges to connect the conventional world with ultimate reality ("nirvâna", "Dharmakâya", "tathâgatagarbha").

This visionary, meditational encounter (cf. Deity Yoga) is an acutely realistic experience because the devotee designates body & mind in terms of the chosen Deity. The latter acts as the "inner Guru" bringing the devotee into contact with his or her own "secret Guru", or the luminous mind. In this sense, Buddhist Deities are (like all Buddhas, Superior & ordinary Bodhisattvas) constantly in touch with the world, and able (for sharing a common ultimate nature) to communicate. Hence, Buddhist meditation brings about perfectly explainable perfections & powers ("siddhis"). As both the devotee & the chosen meditational Deity are dependent-arisings, no paradoxes are at hand. The only thing needed is a valid technology allowing the transformation of uncontaminated (impure) into contaminated (pure) dependent-arisings. Such an alchemy does however not require one to bridge two logically incommensurable entities like seen & seer.


The Outer Limbs Completed


2.46.

Posture is steady and comfortable.

La posture doit être stable et agréable.

De houding moet stabiel en aangenaam zijn.


2.47.

This is accompanied by the relaxation of tension & the coinciding with the endless.
 
Ceci est accompagné par la relaxation des tensions et par une coïncidence avec l'illimité.

Deze gaat vergezeld door het ontspannen van de gespannenheid en door een samenvallen met het grenzeloze.


2.48.

Hence, the pairs of opposites are unable to strike.

Ainsi on ne sera pas affecté par la dualité.

Aldus kan de dualiteit niet toeslaan.


2.49.

When this is achieved, breath-control (the cutting off of the flow of inhalation & exhalation) should be practised.

Etant établi dans la posture, on pratique la rétention du flux de l'inspiration et de l'expiration du souffle (appellée la maîtrise de la respiration).

Wanneer dit zo is, moet de controle van de ademhaling beoefend worden, d.i. het afsnijden van de flux van in -en uitademing.


Posture ("âsana") does not aim to gain mastery over physiological & psychological processes. For our teacher, and rightly so, postures only serves meditation, nothing else. Steadiness & comfort are the two characteristics of posture. Allowing the yogi to momentarily forget the body, these are necessary preconditions to cultivate inward-mindedness. When posture is properly cultivated, one experiences a relaxation of tension, making the body feel light & blissful. It feels as if the skin is no longer a frontier, but extends and merges with the surrounding space. When deep relaxation is the case, opposites like pain/pleasure, heat/cold, humidity/aridity, tension/relaxation no longer assail the practitioner. When posture is mastered, one may start breath-control ("prânâyâma"). The latter calls for the cutting-off ("vicceda") of inhalation & exhalation.

This is a science of its own, and both in India, Tibet & China various breathing techniques were developed, each aiming at particular energetic results. Grosso modo, these traditions all share hylic pluralism advocating various levels of embodied existence. In the Upanisads, these are called "food-
sheath", "subtle-sheath" and "bliss-sheath". If posture affects the gross body or "food-sheath" ("sthûla-sharîra", "annamaya-kosha"), breath-control deals with the energy-matrix (breath-body) sustaining this coarse body ("prânamaya-kosha") and connecting it with the other, invisible bodies. This breath-body is the first body of the "subtle sheet" ("sûkshma-sharîra", or "linga-sharîra"). The other bodies of this sheath are : "kâmamaya-kosha", feeling body, "manomaya-kosha", thought body, "âtimamaya-kosha", abstract thought body & "vijñanamaya-kosha", intuition body. The third sheath is called the "bliss-sheath" ("kârana-sharîra") or "ânandamaya-kosha", the body of bliss. This last body is the co-relative with liberation.


2.50.

Breath-control is external, internal & fixed in its flux, it is regulated by place, time & number, it can be protracted or contracted.

La maîtrise de la respiration est extérieure, intérieure et d'un mouvement fixe ; elle est conditionnée par le lieu, le temps et le nombre et peut être protractée ou contractée.

De controle van de ademhaling is extern, intern & met een vaste beweging. Zij wordt gereguleerd door plaats, tijd en getal, en kan verlengd of verminderd zijn.


Inspiration (inter), expiration (outer) & retention are the three phases of "prânâyâma". As breath (and vital energy, "prânâ" or "ch'i") follows mental intention, it can be directed to a location within the body. The phases have a certain length (time) and a number of repetitions. Another element is the strength with which breath is expelled & drawn in.

Although the Buddha rejected the substantial nature of the "âtman", the idea our luminous mind (introduced with the Third Turning) is covered by adventitious, accidental material remained. To thoroughly remove these, meditation is indispensable. Sutra & Tantra Yogas were developed. The radical transformation (of impure into pure) sought in Tantra can only be accomplished by working with the so-called "Vajra Body". This is a technical term for the "etheric double" (the Kemetic "ka") or "prânamayakosha" ("sheath of breath").

The Vajra Body is not really a "body", suggestive of relative functional independence, but the subtle extension of the physical body. Hence, Vajra Body and physical body form a whole. In fact, the Vajra Body is the underlying energy-matrix of the physical body. It acts as an interphase between the coarse physical plane (1) and the more subtle planes (2 - 7). Perhaps this explains why in the Completion Stage Yoga of the Highest Yoga Tantra, Isolated Body & Isolated Speech are sometimes regarded as a single stage.

 Seven
Planes
Hindu
Loka
Yoga
Kosha
Qabalah
Theosophy
Buddha
Dharma
7 parâ-
rûpa
purusa
pure
awareness
logoic Dharma-
kâya
6 satya hiranya
or
ânanda
bliss
monadic Sambhoga-
kâya
5 tapar atmic
4 janar vijñana
intuition
buddhic
3 mahar âtima
abstraction
causal
2 svar mano
thought
mental
bhur-
var
kâma
emotion
astral
1 bhur prâna
breath
etherical
Vajra Body
Nirmâna-
kâya
anna
food
physical

Before they affect the realm of manifestation, all activities of the higher planes (7 - 2) reflect in this etheric double. Hence, changing the way this double functions, allows one to better access these higher planes. This explains why Tantra always involves the acquisition of parapsychological powers (telepathy, telekinesis, etc.), the so-called miracle "powers" ("siddhi"). These are incorporated in the so-called Four Vajra Actions of pacification, increase (decrease), control & wrath (destruction). The presence of these tantric powers proves one has effectively transformed. But their actual use has its own dangers, both outer & inner. Outer dangers may be the accusation of black magic and subsequent social isolation. Inner dangers involve the development of personal pride. Serious tantrics avoid their display, but vow to make use of them when compassion demands.

In Theosophy and Qabalah, the physical plane ("bhur") is subdivided in 7 subplanes. Four of these define the gross, coarse physical body (the "food sheath" of Earth, Water, Fire & Air), whereas three subplanes house the "etheric double", a better name for the Vajra Body. This energy-field is also operational in Chinese systems of philosophy (Taoism), medicine (acupuncture) and martial arts (based on Ch'i Kung or "working with vital energy"). It is dynamically energized by "ch'i", "prâna", "vâyu", "breath", "vital energy", "vital force", "orgone", "pneuma", "ruach" or "wind" ("lung" in Tibetan). In the Buddhadharma, the elements of physical reality are the base for observing existing objects positioned in space & time. The four quaters define the base of the "stûpa" of enlightenment, followed by space & various higher states of consciousness.

Subplanes of
the physical realm
Function Element Aggregates Type of Body
7 quantum space
quintessence
very subtle
Clear Light mind
subtle
etheric
double

Vajra Body

matrix of vital energy
6 ch'i
vâyu
prâna
subtle mind of near-attainment
subtle mind of increase
5 electro-
magnetic
subtle mind of appearance
4 wet & hot Air
gaseous
thought gross
physical
body
3 hot & dry Fire
fiery
volition
2 cold & wet Water
liquid
affect
1 dry & cold Earth
solid
form

The energy-sheet, energy-field or energy-matrix underlying the physical body (and its vitality) was already known to the Ancient Egyptians, where it was called the "ka" (or "double"). It was "fed" by the subtle energy of the offerings and gratified the "ba", the dynamical principle of spiritual evolution (translated as "soul").

According to the Chinese, the regulation of breath is the ultimate strategy to lead the winds and so "prânâyâma" is the "royal road" to transform the mind (cf. Sûtra Practices, Energy Work I - III). Indeed, "ch'i" flows to where the mind directs it. Without its regulation, tantric transformation is impossible. This insight was also practiced in India.

Working directly with this energy-field of vitality, Tantra quickens the process of liberation, prompting awakening by eliminating the stagnation within the energetic matrix underlying the affective afflictions & mental obscurations (causing the energy-channels to have "knots"). Of course, the better the structure & the functions of this subtle energy-field are understood, the more efficient & thorough "working with energy" ("Ch'i Kung") will be. The dangers involved by directly acting on this vital field call for deep understanding & long (slow) practice. The reward is promising ; by taking away all energetic knots, the root of our obscurations is cut and suffering irreversibly ceases.

The Vajra Body consists of vital energy or subtle winds ("prâna", breath, "vâyu", energy), channels ("nâdî", literally "river", here "tube", "pipe"), energy wheels or energy vortices ("chakras", wheels) and seminal drops or energetic essences ("bindu", "dot"). Of the countless channels, the tantrics only use three : "lalanâ" (left & Lunar, the Hindu "idâ"), "rasanâ" (right & Solar, the Hindu "pingâla") and "avadhûti" (central, the Hindu "sushumnâ" as mentioned in the Maitri Upanisad). In the Chinese scheme, twelve meridians are identified, and hundreds of possible points of stagnation (of vital energy). Various "orbits" are visualized, for this subtle energy is lead by mental intention.

Moreover, in Chinese Acupuncture & Inner Alchemy, these "left" and "right" channels are not used, for a system of "front" (Lunar - Yin) and "back" (Solar - Yang) is in place. The "central" channel is no doubt the "Thrusting Channel" ("Chong Mai", starting at the perineum, through the spinal cord into the brain, ending in the Upper Elixir Field, in particular the Brow Wheel). While the Tibetans use "vase breathing" to "kindle" the tantric fire, the Chinese introduce a variety of breathing techniques as bellows to heat the furnace, viewed as various stategies to circulate vital energy stored in the "belly", the Lower Elixir Field. This energy is slowly refined and transformed into a calm mind (Middle Elixir Field) and very subtle spiritual power ("shen"), identified with Buddhahood (Higher Elixir Field).

The Tibetans visualize the channels differently than the Hindus (who interlock these channels around the central channel), and situate the white drops in the head and the red drops in the Sacral Wheel (or Navel Wheel), but not in the Root Wheel (as the Hindus). Crucial variations in correspondences are also the case. Comparing these views on the Varja Body with the Chinese system of 12 meridians (channels), 10 organs, 8 wonder meridians and 3 Elixir Fields (main wheels), the simplicity of the former becomes clear. All need to be taken into account and compared. Then striking similarities appear.

Given, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, every pore of the skin is connected to an energy channel, literally countless of these "rivers of ch'i" are operational. In the tantric tradition, 72.000 channels are mentioned, but in tantric practices these boil down to 3 main channels in which 5 principal winds and 5 minor winds circulate. In these pipes, these vital energies constantly flow. At various places (co-relative with the endocrine system), these multiple flows form wheels or vortices of energy ("chakra"), operating a particular function.

In both Yoga & Tantra, of these multiple energy-wheels, 7 major wheels are of central importance. Separate yogas for each "lotus" are available.

Sanskrit
Name
Common
Name
Frontal
Position
Rostral
1.mûlâdhâra Root perineum cervix
2.svadhistâna Sacral pubic bone coccyx
3.manipûra Navel navel behind navel
4.anâhata Heart midway nipples behind centre of chest
5.vishudha Throat midway sternum behind throat pit
6.âjñâ Brow between eyebrows middle of brain (pineal)
Bindu Visarga Bindu top back of head (occipetal)
7.sahasrâra Crown crown of head (pituitary)

Breath is an external wind.

All other winds are internal. Winds see not, but they always go, advance. Minds cognize (see), but are immobile. Winds are like a strong, but blind horse, always on the move, proceeding in a constant danger of running into obstacles. Minds are like a sharp, but lame horseman, unable to walk, but always aware of what is happening, always exhibiting intention.

When the horseman mounts the horse (mind mounts wind), he is finally able to progress, perfectly directing the horse to its goal, assisting it to avoid obstacles. He can see, the horse not. He cannot walk, the horse can. Both complement each other perfectly. The horse offers the efficient ability (capacity) to move, but remains unaware of the goal (the object, be it sensate or mental). The horseman is aware of the goal (sees it), but remains unable to reach the goal without the horse.

Both horse & horseman, wind (body) & mind, belong to distinct domains of existence, each expressing an identity & functional capacity of its own (relative, non-substantial). Winds (material carriers of momentum) represent the material ability to implement change through decisive action "on the ground". Minds (sentient directors of material & informational momentum) represent the conscious ability to apprehend (& prehend) meaning and on the basis of this the choice or userware altering the probable outcome of events (the horse no longer perishes in the "entropy" of the abyss ahead). Mind is negentropic but inefficient. Winds are efficient but entropic. Mind manipulates probability-fields, matter the whole array of energy-fields.

wind aggregate of form blind horse gives transport of momentum very subtle, subtle (etheric) & coarse
mind   4 other aggregates lame horseman seeks a sensate or mental object very subtle, subtle & coarse

This image explains the relationship between winds & minds. Every state of mind is "mounted" on a particular wind. Without winds, mind cannot find its object. The coarse mind is based on the operations of the coarse winds, and the latter are the gross physical body, in particular the electro-magnetic activities of the brain, the nervous systems of heart & gut, as well as the complete peripheral nervous system. Materialist science investigates coarse winds mounted by coarse minds. Eliminate the former (at physical death) and the latter can no longer move to their object and so cannot manifest. From the side of gross matter, it then seems as if the mind no longer exist at all. However, for Tantra, the physical body (in casu the brain), is not the direct cause of the coarse mind (as materialism claims), and the coarse mind is not the only kind of mind, but operates next to the subtle mind & the very subtle mind.

As mind is caused by mind, and wind by wind, wind (brain) never directly causes mind (thought). Hence, the brain does not produce, cause or generate the coarse mind, but merely -by computing transmissions- allows the latter to mount it so it can manifest (move to its various objects and show presence of meaningful choice). The brain does not cause consciousness, but is a complex input/output device.

The coarse winds (body/nervous system) are like an input-device comparable to a radio  capturing radio-waves (minds). When the radio is broken or destroyed, the waves are still present, but it seems as if they do not exist (for the radio can no longer capture them). Mutatis mutandis, the coarse winds are also an output device impacting the waves by informing them about its own environment and what it (as a sensing device) can gather about this. When the brain alters its structure, the neurological valves change and when the "doors of perception" (Huxley) are wider open, new minds are captured.

Winds & minds constantly interact. These two distinct domains of actual occasions exchange (scalar) information. Minds alter the material probability-fields (downward causation) and winds (brain patterns) determine what waves (minds or states of consciousness) can be received (upward causation). Physical death ends the coarse mind, not the subtle & very subtle minds !

The coarse mind is rooted in the subtle mind, and the subtle mind in the very subtle mind. The latter is beyond any possible conceptual classification, and so no "cause" or "root" can be attributed to it. This Bodhi-mind defies the conceptual, apprehending mind. It refers to the non-conceptual, nondual mode of cognition, prehending things as they are, without any conceptual superimposition or overlay (of independent & separate substance or essence).

coarse wind subtle wind very subtle wind
gross body
nervous system
etheric double, energy-matrix, Vajra Body beginningless, permanently residing (immortal) body

Tantra works with subtle and very subtle winds. Coarse winds bring about the physical body. Coarse winds are the coarse energies of the physical body and its four elements (of form) enabling coarse volition, affection, cognition & sentience to operate. Subtle winds manifest the Vajra Body, the vital body of energy, and are related to speech, the act of communication. Subtle winds act as the mount of the subtle minds of appearance, increase or near-attainment. The very subtle wind, the root of the subtle wind, is the immortal body with which Bodhi-mind from beginningless time interacts (is mounted on). At Buddhahood, this body transforms into the Form Body ("rûpakâya") of a Buddha.

Subtle minds are the root-causes of all coarse minds. There are 80 of these subtle causes of all coarse mentation, divided in three categories : 40 subtle desire-minds of appearance (Lunar), 33 subtle hatred-minds of increase (Solar) & 7 subtle indifferent minds of near-attainment (or root-mental states of all possible coarse mental states). Other classifications exist.

Subtle minds of appearance are of acceptance & desire, subtle minds of increase are of rejection & hatred and subtle minds of near-attainment are of indifference, unconsciousness & ignorance. These 3 subtle minds are the foundation, base or root of the coarse mind.

The subtle mind of white appearance is the source of the grossest level of conceptual thought, of the 40 subtle minds of desire, of accepting. Red increase is the source of the middling level, of the 33 subtle minds of hatred, of rejecting and black near-attainment is the source of the subtlest level of conceptual thought, of the 7 subtle minds of ignorance, of indifference, delusion and moments of unconsciousness. So although the coarse minds are mounted on coarse physical energies and without the latter these minds cannot operate (cannot move to their objects), they themselves are rooted in the 3 subtle minds and not based on coarse winds. When the coarse mind dissolves, the subtle mind remains. This is mounted on subtle wind (the Vajra Body).

Finally, the very subtle mind is the indestructible Bodhi-mind at the core of every sentient being since beginningless time, mounted on the very subtle wind. This mind is the foundation of the subtle mind. When the subtle mind dissolves, only the very subtle mind remains and this is an indestructible and immortal mind mounted on an indestructible and immortal very subtle wind. Both indestructible mind & wind reside in the Vajra drop at the Heart Wheel ("anahâta"). It is called "immortal" because it endures from lifetime to lifetime, and this until & including Buddhahood. It is impermanent (and so an -uncontaminated- dependent arising), but continuous (a perfect holomovement or enlightened kinetography expressing the Wisdom Body of the Buddha at hand).

coarse mind subtle mind very subtle mind
mounted on a mortal wind, ending with gross
physical death
mounted on a mortal wind, ending with etheric death mounted on a beginningless immortal wind

There are 4 gross internal winds : downward-voiding, upward-moving, equally-abiding & pervading. The crucial life-supporting wind is coarse, subtle & very subtle. Mounted winds of conceptual thoughts are gross life-supporting winds. The mounted winds of the minds of appearance, increase and near-attainment are subtle life-supporting winds. The Clear Light mind is mounted on a very subtle life-supporting wind.

Each of these 5 winds throne in a Wheel, with the life-supporting wind ruling the Heart Wheel.  In Tantra, of all the subtle winds, the life-supporting wind is therefore the most important. This wind has 5 branches (related to the Heart Wheel) : moving, intensely-moving, perfectly-moving, strongly-moving & definitely-moving. The very subtle wind is the root of speech and "mantra".

Name Wheel Element Winds Buddha Families
Crown space
quintessence

Dharma
pervading Vairochana
Brow upward
moving
Throat upward
moving
Heart Air
Vajra
life
supporting
blue Aksobhya
on a yellow background
Navel Fire
Karma
equally
abiding
green Amoghasiddhi
on a red background
Sacral Water
Padma
downward
moving
red Amitâbha
on a blue background
Root Earth
Ratna
downward
moving
yellow Ratnasambhava
on a green background

The most refined state of this vital wind-energy, called the "treasure of the body", produces radiance shining to all parts and surfaces of the body, most importantly the chest (Heart Wheel), face (Throat Wheel) & forehead (Brow Wheel). This most refined energy is called "drops" ("bindus") and these too constantly circulate in the channels. These drops are the essences of the vital energy constituting the Vajra Body. So "ch'i" has two modalities, called "wind" and "drops". The latter are the most refined state of the former. They could be called the "subtle" essence of the winds, or subtle winds, mounted by the subtle mind (with its three aspects).

There are 3 types of drops : the white drops, the red drops and the Vajra drop or "indestructible drop".

white Lunar drops indestructible (Vajra) drop red Solar drops
foremost found in the head (Bindu Visarga) etheric double, energy-matrix, Vajra Body foremost in Sacral & Navel Wheels
received from father
descends at death
house of our luminous mind
opens up at death
received from mother
ascends at death
bone, marrow & sperm Bodhi-mind mounted on the very subtle life-wind flesh, skin & blood
white mind of appearance black mind of near-attainment red mind of increase
method / compassion bliss-emptiness wisdom / emptiness

The white drops are linked with semen and are received from the father. At any one time, the majority of these drops are found in the head. They are Lunar, and in Inner Alchemy express the "watery", or "yin" side of the Upper Elixir Field (which as a whole is fiery or "yang"). This area encompasses the Crown Wheel ("sahasrâra") and the "Bindu Visarga", the actual abode of the white drops.  For me, these white drops are related to desire & method (not hatred & wisdom).

The red drops are linked with blood and are received from the mother, and can always be found in surplus in the Sacral & Root Wheels. They are Solar, expressing the "fiery", or "yang" side of the Sacral Wheel ("svadhistâna"), which as a whole is "watery" or "yin". These red drops are related to hatred & wisdom (not desire & method).

The "indestructible drop" resides in the Heart Wheel, the abode of our luminous mind, the Clear Light mind. It is called "indestructible" because -contrary to the other drops- cannot degenerate (does not end), except at death, when it opens, releasing the Clear Light mind mounted on the very subtle life-supporting wind. In this Vajra drop, this Bodhi-mind is mounted on the very subtle wind, and this since beginningless time. The mind of a Buddha is the Truth Body. The wind of a Buddha is the Form Body. The Vajra drop is the container housing our luminous mind, the very subtle wind mounted by the very subtle mind is the contents.

All these elements together constitute the complicated subtle anatomy & physiology of the Vajra Body. Tantra, in particular in the Completion Stage of Higher Tantra, aims to directly influence this.

Note, in this context, the bodies of a Buddha.

Ultimate
Truth

Ultimate
Reality
Formless body

"arûpa"

Absolute

Dharmakâya
Truth Body
wisdom-mind
or
Bodhi-mind
or
very subtle mind mounted on very subtle wind
TWO PARTS :
Nature
Body or
true cessation
empty by
nature
absence of the
stains of inherent existence
Wisdom Body or
true path
secret Guru
Conventional
Truth

Conventional
Reality
Form Bodies

"rupa"

Relative

Sambhogakâya
Enjoyment Body

all planes of existence except the physical
meditational Deity
inner Guru
Nirmânakâya
Emanation Body

physical realm of actual manifestation
outer Guru

The Nature Body has no production, duration or disintegration, no beginning, middle or end. It is not a different entity from phenomena, and does not fall into the extremes of existence or non-existence. Pure of all obstructions & unconditional it is unknowable by the conceptualizing, conditional mind. It can not be apprehended, only prehended. This is the original, primordial, very subtle Clear Light mind, like a loving son continuously recognizing his loving mother. It is without a trace of essentializing obscurations & hallucinations, without any substance-obsession. In not a single moment of the mindstream of a Buddha is inherent existence entertained. This original Nature Body is beyond any sense of temporality, wholly supra-mundane. It could be called the pure space in which enlightened mental activity (wisdom) happens.

The Wisdom Body is the final, perfect wisdom ("prañja"), i.e. the actual, temporal and active cognition of phenomena as their are, i.e. empty of inherent existence or substance. This involves the Two Truths, prehended simultaneously. A Buddha perceives all conventionalities, i.e. the varieties of phenomena, as having no substantial, independent, inherent existence, devoid of substantial instantiations, but also (and at the same time), the Net of Indra, the universal interconnectedness of all these phenomena, enabling universal compassion. Hence, the Wisdom Body is the actual omniscient consciousness of a Buddha, i.e. his omniscient eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mental consciousnesses continuously prehending suchness, that what is (the unbounded wholeness of the "dharmadhâtu"). It cognizes the emptiness of everything in a nondual way, covering past, present & future instantly (omniscience) and beyond designation (omnipresence). For it all is empty of substance but full of process. This knowledge of the future does not lead to predestination, for a Buddha sees all possible futures, not all futures to be actualized.

In Hindu Yoga, the 3 main channels are called (a) the left channel ("îda"), Lunar and like female energy having a cooling effect, (b) the right channel ("pingâla"), Solar and like make energy having a heating effect, and (c) the middle channel ("sushumna"), neutral and the pathway for the ascent of the "kundalîni".

Navayâna Tantra
Left Channel Central Channel Right Channel
White Blue Red
Lunar union of Moon & Sun Solar
desire ignorance hatred
left nostril third eye
(Brow Wheel)
right nostril
Water & Earth (Yin) space Air & Fire (Yang)
Upper Elixir Field Middle Elixir Field
Golden Elixir
mysterious pass
Lower Elixir Field
subject of experience the experience object of experience
40 conceptions of craving 7 conceptions of delusions 33 conceptions of hatred
compassion - bliss - appearance union of bliss & emptiness, etc. wisdom - emptiness -no-appearance
Bell Vajra & Bell Vajra
White Mind of
Appearance
Black Mind of
Near-Attainment
Red Mind of
Increase
white drops indestructible drop red drops

Bringing all left (subjective) & right (objective) winds into the central channel purifies the minds mounting them. Lunar Bliss (method/compassion) and Solar wisdom (emptiness) unite ("evam") as one ("eka") and the "Golden Elixir" is found.

Manipulating this complex energy-matrix is not without dangers. It should be done with great care, patience & understanding. If this vital foundation is harmed, fatal damage may be caused, leading to the irreversible breakdown of health, to mental disorders and even to  a diminished lifespan or sudden death. This explains why all so-called "energy work" or "ch'i kung" calls for a slow & gradual practice, avoiding forceful methods. The Tibetan traditions speaks of "wind disease" caused by unskilful manipulations of the subtle anatomy. Indeed, before starting Tantra, many years of basic energy practice (like "wei dan" Ch'i Kung) is recommended.

If the tantric transformation is successful, then the tantric yogi may develop considerable physical & mental powers & extend his or her lifespan. Eventually, this change leads to Buddhahood and therefore to the end of the suffering caused by death (and rebirth). At this point, others can be most optimally assisted in ending their suffering too.

All of this through "prânâyâma".


2.51.

Transcending the external and the internal sphere is called "the fourth".

Un mouvement du souffle qui surpasse l'extérieur (expiration) et l'intérieur (inspiration) est appelé "le quatrième".

Een beweging die in -en uitademing overstijgt wordt "de vierde" genoemd.


The "fourth" ("caturtha") is suspended, shallow or nearly undetectable breathing. It is involuntary, and occurs spontaneously in samadhic states. Hence, it transcends the normal three-phased pattern.


2.52.

So the covering of the (inner) light disappears.

Ainsi la maîtrise de la respiration fait dissiper le voile couvrant l'illumination.

Aldus doet de controle van de ademhaling de sluier die de verlichting bedekt verdwijnen.


2.53.

And the mind is fit for concentration.

Le mental devient apte à la concentration.

En het mentale wordt uitgerust voor de concentratie.


When breath-control has become habitual and -during meditation- highly interiorized, then an inner luminosity ("prakâsha") is the case. This inner light facilitates entry into the first of the  "inner" limbs of the "asta-anga", concentration ("dhârana").


2.54.

Sense-withdrawal is the imitation as it were by the sense-organs of the own form of consciousness by disuniting from their objects.

La rétraction sensorielle est l'imitation de la propre forme de la conscience par les organes des sens, qui se sont retirés de leurs objects.

Het terugtrekken van de zintuigen is als het ware de imitatie door de zintuigen van de eigen vorm van het bewustzijn en wel door zich van hun objecten terug te trekken.


Sense-withdrawal ("pratyâhâra"), the last "outer" limb of the Eightfold Yoga, is defined by pointing to the intimate relationship between ordinary (deluded) consciousness and sensation. We know sensate objects constantly bombard the mind, pulling it outwards, towards Nature and its sorrow-producing mechanisms. When sensory input is increased, the mind's activity increases. The obverse is also the case : when sensory input is decreased, the mind is able to take leave from the outer world. Hence, by the retraction of the influence of the senses, we facilitate the tranquillity of the mind. Sensory deprivation is an extreme form of this principle. But experiments show prolonged sensory deprivation causes the appearance of unsuspected mental objects, namely unconscious content usually overrun by the sea of sensoric material habitually processed by the mind. Hence, sense-withdrawal makes the mind more aware of its inner space and the mental objects inhabiting it.

In the Hindu tradition, sense-withdrawal implies meditating with eyes closed. In the Buddhadharma, the eyes are never completely closed, but only partly. As mindfulness is crucial, the yogi remains aware of the surroundings, placing all what happens in the Ganzfeld of compassionate attention. Closed eyes do symbolize turning away from the world, and this harmonizes with the intent of Classical Yoga. Eyes partly closed reminds of the Middle Way of the Buddha, avoiding all extremes, and so continuously attuned to the world of conventions. Indeed, the latter is the object of compassion and so in no way to be turned away from ! On the contrary, as long as sentient beings suffer, Buddhas exit their nirvanic bliss to appear to higher & common practitioners and to bring about compassionate change in cyclic existence. They never choose to be "isolated" (as the formless gods), but are highly interested & ecological holomovements.


2.55.

Hence the supreme obedience of the sense-organs.

Ainsi l'obéissance suprême des sens surgit.

Aldus rijst de opperste gehoorzaamheid van de zintuigen.


When sense-withdrawal is mastered, one may intentionally block out sensory input at will. When this has been achieved, one's practice is no longer bothered by the input of the senses. This makes the yogi ready to concentrate unwaveringly on any object of choice.


Commentary on II.46 - II.55
The Outer Limbs Completed


As will become clear (cf. III.4), restraint, observance, posture, breath-control & sense-withdrawal are the "outer limbs" of the eightfold scheme. Restrain & observances aim at moral issues, whereas the others are physical, energetic, psychological and spiritual (fully aiming at realizing the seer). Although we practice these eight members simultaneously (the first two whenever we act, and the others during practice), it is clear a path unfolds in terms of mastering the members.

Before the mind is fit ("yogyatâ") for concentration ("dhâranâ"), breath-control & sense-withdrawal must be mastered. So a division can be made between three levels : the apprentice foremost trains moral conduct and posture. The fellow masters posture, breath-control & sense-withdrawal. Mastership is at hand when the master yogi is able to focus on the "inner limbs" : concentration ("dhâranâ"), contemplation ("dhyâna") & union ("samâdhi").


BOOK III

Vibhûti-Pâda (Path to Power)


Book three starts in the middle of the exposition of the Eightfold Yoga. This to clearly indicate the importance of the last three members ? These form a separate unit, called "constraint" ("samyama"). The master who trains constraint inevitably generates magical powers ("vibhûti"), a word not found in the text. This third book also discusses other interesting points.

Buddhist Tantra, be it Lower, Higher or Most Excellent Tantra, and the Sûtra Practices preceding them, also mention paranormal feats ("siddhi"). Let us discuss the tantric view on them (Calm Abiding, which is part of Sûtra training, also generates special, but less spectacular and far-reaching mental powers).

Lower Tantra : Action, Performance, Yoga
Vajra Action Feats Yoga Element
pacifying avoid untimely death, illnesses, harmful influences, conflict Other
Self
Ratna
increasing lengthening life span, youth, magnificence, power, resources Mind
Sound
Lotus
controlling dominate evil, control of natural processes, manipulate outcomes Abiding in Fire
Abiding in Sound
Karma
destroying killing, expelling, confusing harmful beings Bestowing liberation at the end of sound Vajra

These common accomplishments, also including clairvoyance, telekinesis, heightened understanding of texts, other minds, telekinesis etc. enhance the power of the yogas. These feats are never displayed, except when compassion obliges. The tantric is not an entertainer. He or she may choose to only develop one or two of these powers, primarily to check the ability to enter concentration. Sometimes (in the context of initiation), they may manifest to help a student. But never without the grace of delicacy, secret, mystery and tact, avoiding upsetting other sentient beings beyond reasonable & sober measure. The latter includes "wrathful compassion", for the latter is indeed most powerful when coupled with a calm & benevolent mind.

The magical, paranormal powers do indicate attainments, and so are waymarks measuring one's position on the gradual path. The overt display of magical powers ensures one's physical survival, to say the least, but also attracts crowds. These powers are not stations, but transitory states calling us to move on. The "magical" feats allow the tantric to perform these special activities for the benefit of others and this brings about very exceptional merit further enhancing the capacity of the yogas of Tantra, preparing the actual realization of Buddhahood. The nature of this merit is special because, thanks to the tantric method, Dharma directly interacts with the karmic web of cyclic existence. If successful (bringing real benefit to sentient beings), this alters the beings & their environment involved, dramatically changing their ailing and suffering afflictive habits, thereby offering novel choices and therefore new selections (expressing a higher negentropic degree of freedom). Altering the subtle probability-fields underlying the karmic hotchpotch (executed by etheric knots), afflictive paths of action are indeed deflected, accommodating a more spiritual, Dharmic course of action.

The magical feats are a kind of "dangerous barometer" measuring the power of one's concentrations, as well as a means to enhance this, thereby accomplishing powerful compassionate action.


Constraint


3.1.

Concentration is the binding of consciousness to a single spot.

La concentration fixe la conscience sur un point particulier.

Concentratie fixeert het bewustzijn op één enkel punt.


The first step in the process of restraint, the first of the inner member of the Eightfold Yoga leading to powers, is concentration ("dhâranâ"). This is the mental tool par excellence to attain magical powers, but also trance-states, lofty altered states of consciousness and even personal liberation.

Patañjali introduces concentration in the context of spiritual emancipation through inward-mindedness and the cessation of all movement caused by Nature, making objectless awareness solely aware of itself
. For Lord Buddha, concentration is the tool ending the hindrances to spiritual emancipation, yes, even eradicating the subtle causes of these obstacles, the fetters or mental auto-incarcerations, leading up to the end of suffering, first personal and then to benefit all other sentient beings.

Concentration is not merely attention for outer objects or attention for inner states (introspection). Nor is it mindfulness. But the practice of the latter facilitates concentration. Mindfulness as a meditative practice is an awareness of 360°, or Ganzfeld awareness, taking in all sensate & mental objects present in every moment during meditation (and post-meditation). This awareness is a "Gestalt", a "mandala" containing all outer (sensorial) and inner (mental) events (already) happening right here and now. Mindfulness is therefore not directed towards a single spot, but includes everything constituting the moment at hand.

Concentration goes the opposite way. It involves the intentional "placement" of an outer ("bâhya-visaya") or an inner ("antara-visaya") object.  For
Patañjali, the inner objects of placements are various places within the body (the energy-wheels). As concentration cannot happen without total sense-withdrawal, the outer object is always internalized (visualized, represented, cognized, named, labelled, designated, etc.).

Binding consciousness to a single spot is called "one-pointedness" ("eka-agratâ"). The Ganzfeld is eliminated, and awareness reduced to a single place or "spot". The circle of 360° is reduced to 1°, from a plane to a point. Mindfulness has no object of placement, in fact, in principle, it takes in all objects, whereas concentration has a single object of placement.

In the Buddhadharma, practicing meditation with an object of concentration or "object of placement" in order to arrive at a deep, undisturbed calmness able to scrutinize what happens is the first wing of Buddhist meditation, called "Calm Abiding" ("shamatha"). The second wing is Insight Meditation
("vipashyanâ"). Stillness must be sufficiently founded to allow active wisdom-insight to penetrate and break all (physical, emotional & mental) fetters. This is the key to the integration of calmness & wisdom realizing emptiness, of compassion & the wisdom realizing emptiness. The Mahâyâna teaches "superior seeing" (cf. Tsongkhapa), a higher meditative state wherein analysis triggers deeper calmness and calmness sustains sharper analysis.

In the Pâli Canon, both wings, calmness & insight, can and are to be practiced together. But in later expert commentaries (as in the Vishuddhimarga of Buddhaghosa, ca.430 CE), "dry insight" is introduced. Here, insight comes while not in meditative calmness ! Of course, to allow for liberation, such dry insight still needs deep states of calmness. This also implies the mere study & (conceptual, philosophical) contemplation of emptiness is possible and may even assist actual entry into states of deeper concentrated calmness. 

In the Vishuddhimarga "eka-agratâ" (as is the case in the Yoga-Sûtra), is a very specific mental state of concentration, a one-pointed concentration on a single object, whereas in the Pâli sûtras the same word refers to the mere unification of mind. Within these semantic limits, the word also allows us to conceive of a stream of objects. The latter meaning does not preclude the former. Strict concentration could be seen as a special, intentional spatiotemporal constriction of the unified mind, continuously bathing in the warm, unified sea of "all possibilities" (360°).

Besides wisdom
("prajñâ") & morality ("śila"), the Eightfold Path also requires meditation ("samâdhi"). The latter is subdivided in "right effort" ("samyag vyâyâma"), "right mindfulness" ("samyag smriti") and "right union" ("samyag samâdhi"), also translated as "right concentration" ...

In my view, when standing next to wisdom & morality, "samâdhi" as "meditation" is a generic name for all Buddhist spiritual practices, and so refers to a broad set of yogas, including all preparatory practices like mindfulness and the various techniques suggested by Patañjali's concentration ("dhâranâ") & contemplation ("dhyâna"). But in the phrase "samyag samâdhi", i.e. next to right effort and right mindfulness, "samâdhi" means "union" and designates the highest possible state of true peace ; the cessation of suffering, "nirvâna".

And what is true peace ? Right union implies it is possible to realize wrong higher states of mind, causing more suffering instead of ending it. With these two words the Buddha has drawn a line in the sand. Patañjali also warns agains those taken by "becoming", i.e. by the lofty states of Nature.

As in Patañjali's "samyama", constraint, concentration ("dhârana") is the necessary pre-condition to realize anything. Whereas our teacher uses it to eradicate natural movement, for the Buddha it leads to stillness, tranquillity and deep calm. For both however, concentration is the base of all higher meditative states of consciousness. And the reason is simple : contemplation ("dhyâna") is nothing but perfect concentration.

Starting with Mindfulness, Calm Abiding leads to great stillness. Already when the first degrees of stable relaxation are attained, the Buddhist practitioner inquires about the nature of objective & subjective reality, and this to end the reification of one's personal identity, causing self-love & self-cherishing feeding afflictive emotions & obscured minds. For the "bird of awakening" to fly, both Calm Abiding & Insight Meditation are necessary.

In the Pâli Canon,
the wish to attain liberation from cyclic existence for oneself alone lies at the heart of the soteriology. The methods of the Theravâda do not focus on compassion (but on equanimity), nor are they dedicated to help all sentient beings (as in the Mahâyâna). Only enlightened beings (Buddhas) can do this and so one focuses on entering one's personal "nirvâna", called "liberation". This ends in Arhathood. Renunciation, equanimity & emptiness-of-self are the three pillars of this Individual Vehicle. Its views on the practice of meditation are outstanding.

Technically, liberation or enlightenment (in the Lower Vehicle the two cannot be distinguished), involves the breaking of a succession of "fetters" ("samyojana"), ten in number. These Ten Fetters represent the sum total of all subtle causes of personal suffering, i.e. of all emotional and person-based mental delusions. These foes generate hindrances to spiritual progress. The fetters are indeed the underlying tendencies in the mind acting as the root-cause of the hindrances (to spiritual practice). The Arhat is a Foe Destroyer, ending all personal suffering for all times. This is possible because a liberated mind no longer reifies the ego, i.e. has fully realized the impermanence of the aggregates of illusion ("skandhas"), the selflessness (or emptiness) of person.

• Five Lower Fetters :

(1) separate selfhood, (2) sceptical doubt, (3) attachment to rules and rituals for their own sake, (4) sexual desire, (5) ill will ;

• Five Higher Fetters :

(6) desire for existence in the world of form, (7) desire for existence in the formless world, (8) conceit, (9) restlessness and (10) ignorance.

The stages of liberation are marked by the weakening and finally the eradication of these fetters. Liberated practitioners are identified according to the resultant degree of liberation achieved.

Prior to the supramundane insight or wisdom accompanying these stages of liberation or levels of personal enlightenment, one walks the "mundane path" (consisting of the Eight Jhânas). The "supramundane path" ("lokottaramârga") is the dedicated practice of the Eightfold Path.

Four stages mark this supramundane path :

  • the "stream-enterer" ("shrotâpanna") : has eradicated the first three fetters. He has only seven rebirths in the human or god realms before liberation ;

  • the "once-returner" ("sakridâgamin") : reborn once more, has weakened the fourth & fifth fetter ;

  • the "non-returner" ("anâgamin") : has broken all the first five fetters and is reborn in the god realm from where liberation is attained ;

  • the Arhat or "Worthy One" : has broken all ten fetters and won liberation in this life.

Together, these four stages define the "Ârya-Sangha", the Sangha Jewel of Early Buddhism.

Ten Fetters Type of
Fetter
Stages of Personal
Liberation
Rebirths until End of Suffering
(1) separate self lower
fetter
the stream-enterer 7 human lives or in pure abode
(2) skeptical doubt
the once-returner once more
as human being
(3) attachment to rules
(4) sexual desire the non-returner one more in pure abode
(5) ill will
(6) desire for form existence higher
fetter
Arhathood none
 (7) desire for existence in the formless world
(8) conceit
(9) restlessness
(10) ignorance

First Calm Abiding is at hand, followed by a special kind of Calm Abiding, the concentrations & absorptions of Jhâna Yoga. Calm Abiding is one-pointedness meditation and so calls for concentration, but one without the use of specific "totalizing" Jhanic objects of placement ("kasinas") and without the intent to enter Jhâna, the ultimate states of concentration advocated by Buddha. As Jhâna Yoga is a special kind of Calm Abiding, let us discuss the latter first.

Calm Abiding

In Calm Abiding or tranquillity meditation, three factors are essential : (a) attentional stability or the capacity to keep one's attention ("smriti") on the object of placement constant & non-compulsive, (b) vividness, or the capacity of the mind to clearly see and maintain interest in the object, and (c) introspection or vigilance ("samprajanya"), or watching carefully to apprehend the precise moment attention begins to slip.

The way to serenity, is focusing the mind and maintaining one's attention continuously and clearly without distractions on an object. Although Calm Abiding uses attention, it is not a Mindfulness Meditation, but a Concentration Practice. It has a precise, focalizing object of meditation and an explicit technique (prerequisites, faults, powers & antidotes). Indeed, attention is no longer "overall" or 360°, as in Ganzfeld Mindfulness Meditation, but confined to the object "placed" before the meditator. This is the "object of placement".

This object can be coarse (a sensuous object) or subtle (a mental object). As an outer object, representing our own luminous mind, or potential of enlightenment, a statue of the Buddha is the most obvious object of placement. But all kinds of objects may be used. In principle, all sensuous objects are potential objects of placement, while some may be more appropriate than others. The goal of Calm Abiding is complete equipoise on the object of placement, the mind never abandoning the object to finally merge and transcend.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Calm Abiding is practiced in terms of
the Nine Stages to Calm Abiding. From the beginning of the practice to its culmination, certain problems arise, addressed by specific antidotes each time when they happen.

At every step of the gradual path advocated by the Buddha, the mind grasps, i.e. apprehends with exaggeration, adding & taking away. Compulsive grasping of the mind being at the heart of the suffering ceased by the Buddhayâna. Ignorance brings forth the duality of exaggerated desire (passion) and virulent, toxic negation (hatred).

In Calm Abiding, this compulsion is evidenced by coarse & subtle laxity & excitation. Desire is linked with laxity, hatred with excitement. These distract the mind, taking attention away from the object of placement.

Laxity is either the absence of a clear mind apprehending the object (coarse) or the absence of an intensity of clarity, i.e. a sense of tightness of mind with respect to the object (subtle) ;

Excitement is the scattering of the mind away from the object to another object, like remembering a pleasant object while trying to focus on the object. Coarse excitement completely replaces the object of placement with this object of desire, while in subtle excitement only a "corner" of the mind has come under influence of discursiveness while the appearance of the pleasing object is imminent ;

Let us first discuss the teachings concerning Calm Abiding, summarized as the mental applications, prerequisites, faults, powers & antidotes.

The stages of the path to meditative equipoise or full concentration on an object, put Four Mental Applications into evidence :

The Four Mental Applications :

1. forceful engaging : one has to force the mind to remain focused on the object of placement (stage 1 & 2) ;
2. interrupted engaging : our practice is interrupted by thoughts and we have to continually bring it back (stages 3 to 7) ;
3. uninterrupted engaging : the mind no longer wanders and stays with its object without interruptions (stage 8) ;
4. spontaneous engaging : the mind rests in meditative equipoise (stage 9).

There are Six Prerequisites to achieve Calm Abiding. If these are not actively sought, the whole training is rather futile, like bringing water to the ocean. These prerequisites are relative and need to be adapted to place, time & person.

The Six Prerequisites :

1. a suitable environment : a quiet, safe place with few companions ;
2. few desires : cultivating few and simple needs ;
3. contentment : attending to what is given in the moment and be satisfied ;
4. few concerns : a simple lifestyle, dealing with what is present right now ;
5. ethical discipline : recognizing the harmful and not indulging in it ;
6. avoiding compulsive thinking/feeling/acting : no mental toys, glib talks, goofy cravings, in particular regarding the worldly desires.

During calmness meditation, there are Five Faults to avoid. As long as a single one is present, the object of placement is not stable and the Eight Antidotes still need to come into play.

The Five Faults ("âdînava") :

As long as one of these faults is present, the object of placement is unstable.

1. laziness ("kausîdya") : the wish to establish the object of placement not present ;
2. forgetting the precept ("avavâdasammosha") : the object is indeed entirely forgotten ;
3. laxity ("laya") & excitement/excitation ("auddhataya") : implying, on the one hand, lethargy or a heaviness of mind & body and, on the other hand, the fragmentation of attention ;
4. non-application ("anabhisamskâra") : the antidotes to laxity & excitement are not applied ;
5. over-application ("abhisamskâra") : the antidotes to laxity and excitement are applied too often.

Zeal to place the object and meditate on it is generated. This means a strong wish to do so at the start. Then the object cannot be forgotten. Lack of interest must be absent from the start. Moreover, the instructions have been memorized. With the object duly placed, only laxity & excitement need to be eliminated by attention & introspection. A clear mind must be attending its object in an intensely clear way. This only happens if it is intensely interesting. Moreover, desire for another object is absent, the unscattered mind being totally dedicated to attending its object of placement. This leads to total familiarization with the object and finally union ("samâdhi").

Without certain faculties, the goal of Calm Abiding cannot be reached. To train these powers, is to enhance the elimination of laxity & excitement, leading up to a total concentration on the object of placement.

The Six Powers ("bala") :

Only by the presence of these power can the object of placement become stable.

1. hearing ("shruta") : stage 1
refers to listening to and/or reading the instructions
2. thinking ("chintâ") : stages 2 & 3
thinking over what has been heard and/or read
3. attention ("smriti") : stages 2 & 3
keeping the object in mind
4. introspection ("samprajanya") : stages 5 & 6
watching attention slip away from the object
5. effort ("vîrya") : stages 7 & 8
doing what is needed to practice further, applying the antidotes
6. familiarity ("parichaya") : stage 9
being totally familiar with the object

Each time an object of placement is attended by the mind seeking meditative equipoise, this mind works its way through the nine stages. At first slowly and after practice rapidly and eventually instantly. When enthusiasm fades, introspection needs to be strong. Watching the arising moment of the mind slipping away from the object, effort is put in by applying the appropriate antidote. This is practiced and eventually the mind and the object integrate.

The Eight Antidotes ("pratipaksha") :

By not applying these antidotes, the hindrances to a stable object of placement remain and Calm Abiding is not realized.

Antidotes to laziness (in premeditation & postmeditation) :

1. faith ("shraddhâ")
2. aspiration ("chhanda")
3. exertion ("vyâyâma")
4. pliancy ("prashrabdhi")

Laziness is the absence of the wish to practice Calm Abiding. If this lack of motivation is present, one needs to gather one's genuine intentions regarding the spiritual path (to awakening). This is a faith check. If the wish to realize the spiritual goal is indeed found to be (still) present, and the necessity of calmness truly understood, then one must trigger enough emotional energy (interest) to be able to aspire strongly and put in the effort to realize more constancy and endurance. Finally, being able to practice in a non-compulsive way, adds suppleness to the actual performance of the practice, taking away harshness.

Antidotes during meditation :

5. attention ("smriti") : antidote to forgetting the precepts ;
6. introspection ("samprajanya") : antidote to laxity & excitement ;
7. application ("abhisamskâra") : antidote to non-application of antidotes ;
8. equanimity ("upekshâ") : antidote to over-application.

Attending the precepts is identifying the stage at hand and remembering the antidotes. On the one hand, in the case of laxity, the mind either becomes dull or the object becomes dull. On the other hand, in the case of excitement, the mind either becomes scattered (no longer identifies the object of placement) or is torn in two (object of placement and another object). Introspection, as a special kind of attention (one directed to the mind itself) identifies this. Working to not to forget to apply antidotes and stopping to use them automatically, as a reflex, are two meta-antidotes, resulting from the fact people even tend to forget or abuse what ceases their suffering.

At some point, the object of placement becomes stable. Finally, the mind never leaves its object. This is full concentration.

The Nine Stages to Calm Abiding

The primary obstacles to attain the apex of Calm Abiding, called "setting in meditative equipoise" are laxity and excitement. The former diminishes mental clarity and is a kind of inner dullness & heaviness, while excitement is a scattering of the mind by desirously engaging in another object deemed pleasant. Both diminish the ability to concentrate on the object of placement and so prevent Calm Abiding. When they appear, the antidotes counteract them.

In a general way, laxity is remedied by brightening or enlarging the object of placement and excitement is counteracted by decreasing the size & brightness of the object. Each of the Nine Stages has its own name.

1. Mental Placement : Gross Excitation

Setting the mind. The object, an image or statue of the Buddha or another virtuous object, is found. Concentration is intermittent and random thoughts enter often. The object can only be briefly held. Attention is brief and the object is often lost. There is a lot of mental chatter. Emotional resistances to the training are strong and lead the mind away from its object. This is gross excitation. The object is lost for a considerable time.

2. Continual Placement : Gross Excitation

Continuously setting the mind. Without gross excitation, by an increase of attention, the object can be held for a minute. Mental chatter is present but moves to the background. Resistances fade but are still present. After a small period of placement, the mind is led astray again and the object is lost for some considerable time. Then it is found again.

3. Patched Placement : Gross Excitation

Resetting the mind. One stays on the object longer, but due to excitation it is occasionally lost, but comes back quickly. It is not yet perfectly clear and background mental chatter is still intermittently present. Attention is never lost for long, but the mind does momentarily slip off into short distractions.

4. Close Placement : Gross Laxity & End of Gross Excitation

Close setting of the mind. The mind is imbued with calmness, and the object is not lost for hours at a time. Attention is stable enough for distraction to get hold. There is enough "ballast" to keep the boat of attention from rocking over into wandering. Gross excitation is temporarily overcome. But when continuity of attention is greater, laxity becomes stronger. Introspection is necessary to watch whether it is rising. One need to get rid of gross laxity, fading vividness. This is done by paying closer attention without putting in too much effort. The lens of attention is focuses more and more finely, seeing greater details. There is no wandering, but some background chatter remains. A split focus is present : one on the object, another on this "noise", or imagery on the periphery of one's awareness. After some time, a naturally arisen mental image or "sign" ("nimitta") appears in the area of attention, like a web of light surrounding the object of placement. Finally gross excitation is gone, but gross laxity not yet.


5. Taming : End of Gross Laxity, Subtle Laxity

Disciplining the mind. Vividness is enhanced. The advantages of this training emerge and they are delightful. Gross laxity is addressed. The object is not lost and mental chatter is gone. But bright vividness is not yet there, and so this state is not to be confused with "samâdhi". Training attention to details, paying very close attention to the object of placement brings greater "density" of moments of clear attention directed upon the object. Eventually gross laxity stops. But subtle laxity remains.

6. Pacification : Subtle Excitation

Pacifying the mind. The senses are withdrawn. There is very little sensoric input. All resistance to the training is gone and attention is stable and very tightly woven. Here, subtle excitation happens. Only a "corner" of the mind has come under influence of discursiveness while the appearance of the pleasing object is imminent.

7. Complete Pacification : End of Subtle Laxity

Thoroughly pacifying the mind. To overcome subtle laxity, vividness needs to be improved further. The object is clear, but can become even clearer ! Intense vividness is sought. Finally, subtle laxity stops and one focuses on the "sign" of the object of placement.

8. Single-Pointed Placement : End of Subtle Excitation

One-pointedness of mind. No laxity or excitation whatsoever arise. The training needs very little effort in the beginning and then goes effortlessly. The mind is cruising. Introspection is no longer necessary. The only thing done is to accustom the mind to this state, creating a deeper and deeper sense of familiarity with it.

9. Balanced Placement : Mind of Full Concentration

Setting the mind in meditative equipoise. No effort is needed. Entering meditation is like putting on new clothes. The mind is like a breeze. Deep transformation of the mind happens.

So concentration ("dhâranâ") is the practice of Calm Abiding, and its fruit, complete concentration, balanced placement or meditative equipoise on the object of placement is completed or full concentration.

The second wing of Buddhist meditation, Insight Meditation, takes the accomplishment of Calm Abiding as its base, placing emptiness as object of concentration. This generates "superior seeing", a mind able to introduce a positive interaction between calmness & analysis. On the basis of this mind one is able to generate the generic idea of emptiness leading to the approximation of the direct experience of emptiness. This sets the stage of directly seeing emptiness.

Jhâna Yoga

When Calm Abiding has been realized, Jhâna Yoga may be practiced. Jhâna Yoga is a special concentration practice, i.e. one requiring specific objects of placement referring to the material & immaterial elements of the cosmos. The practice of the material Jhânas are mandatory to enter the supramundane Jhâna states, i.e. they are prerequisites to liberation.

In the Pâli Canon, Eight Jhânas are mentioned. These are all mundane and subdivided into four material states ("rûpa jhânas") and four immaterial or formless states ("ârûpa jhânas") . "Jhâna" is the Pâli for "dhyâna". It is derived from the verb "jhâyati", meaning "to contemplate, meditate". The Jhânas are unique mental absorptions, special kinds of concentrations involving material & immaterial states or very absorbed minds of concentration. Note both material (bound to form and also called "concentrations") and immaterial (formless and also called "absorptions") Jhânas are mundane, i.e. belong to the world of cyclic existence and its suffering.

Jhâna Type Technical Name Elements Planes
mundane 4 material Jhânas concentrations Earth : gross or coarse matter material planes of existence
Water, Air, Fire : subtle, etheric matter
4 immaterial Jhânas absorptions very subtle base of 4 Elements immaterial planes of existence
supra
mundane
4 stages of liberation stream-enterer, once-returner, non-returner, Arhat beyond the elemental world beyond existential suffering

The stages of liberation are supramundane, transcending "samsâra" and hence cause of liberation. It could be said the first four mundane Jhânas prepare the practitioner for the four supramundane paths & fruits or stages of liberation. But tradition has it the last four are optional.

The mundane Jhânas refer to the four cosmic elements (of matter), namely Earth, Water, Fire & Air, representing the multiple fourfolds defining structure, content & dynamics of the gross & subtle material plane, element Earth representing the gross or coarse materiality, Water, Fire & Air subtle materiality. Each mundane Jhâna is a method or skilful means to eradicate the suffering related to the element in question. The practice of these state Jhânas lead to rebirth in the heavens of Brahmâ. In the Mahâyâna, we find a similar procedure in the "dissolutions" practiced in Mahâmudrâ (four coarse states, three subtle states and Clear Light mind).

To this elemental list are added space (in which material objects are positioned), consciousness (apperceiving these objects situated in space), nothingness (the object of this immeasurable alertness) and neither-perception nor non-perception (the end of perception itself). This is the still super-subtle awareness of the state of peacefulness of total non-perception. This ends the mundane Jhânas. These immaterial Jhânas are called formless because they overcome all perceptions of coarse & subtle material form. They are also the subjective counterparts of the immaterial planes of existence. They have very little relationship with the ordinary world and represent the formless & very subtle foundation of the (coarse & subtle) material world of form.

Buddhist Jhâna Yoga, in the elaborated format found in the Vishuddhimarga, calls for the use of disk like images of various colours as objects of concentration (the so-called "kasinâyatanas" or "spheres of totality"). In Theravâda, forty visual objects are listed, of which only 10 are "kasinas", corresponding with the concepts of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind (Air), the colours Blue, Red, Yellow & White and the ideas of space & bright light (consciousness).

The supramundane stages of liberation (also called "supramundane Jhânas") are prerequisite to liberation and take place at the end of the practice of the mundane Jhânas. In these, calmness & insight are practiced subsequently, in the supramundane Jhânas both merge. The immaterial Jhânas are not necessary to achieve liberation and embellish the spiritual perfection of the meditator. They are optional. This is not the case for the material Jhânas.

Mundane
Jhânas
Cosmic
Element
Jhâna
Factor
Realms
First Earth
("pathavî")
thought, reflection, joy, bliss Form
Realm

Form
Deities

Form
Jhânas
Second Water
("âpo")
joy, bliss, one-pointedness
Third Fire
("tejo")
bliss, one-pointedness
Fourth Air/Wind
("vâyo")
equanimity, one-pointedness
Fifth Base of
Boundless Space
one-pointedness Formless
Realm

Formless
Deities

Formless
Jhânas
Sixth Base of
Boundless Consciousness
one-pointedness
Seventh Base of
Nothingness
one-pointedness
Eight Base of
Neither-Perception
Nor Non-Perception
one-pointedness

Regarding the historical origins of these "jhânas", recent scholars (Wynne, 2007) put into evidence the link between, on the one hand, early Buddhism element meditation & the Jhânas, both material & formless, and, on the other hand the Upanisadic, Brahminical origin of this element meditation.

So interestingly, this elemental meditation has a Brahminical origin. Early Upanisadic parallels were found of the goals of Gautama's two teachers, Âlâra Kâlâma (the Seventh Jhâna, the sphere of "nothingness") and Udakka Râmapûtta (the Eight Jhâna, the sphere of "neither perception nor non-perception"). Both were probably part of the Brahminical clan of world renunciants ("shramanas"). Gautama realized they proclaimed their doctrines because of direct realization, his own preferred approach. But before attaining this direct realization of the Seventh & Eight Jhânas for himself, he first gained all intellectual understanding of these teachings. His teachers considered their goals to be liberating and so introduced the definitions of these lofty altered stated of consciousness as epithets of liberation, invoking nothingness and a nondual state of awareness beyond any predication.
Their yogic technology was thought to lead to the highest formless consciousness and so finally to liberation, union with Brahman.

As also the Yoga-Sûtra teaches, early Brahminical literature (predating Patañjali for centuries), depicts the wise attaining union with "Brahman" as simulating the process of world dissolution in his own yogic practice ("neti neti"). Nature needs to end if ordinary consciousness ("citta") is to be transformed into untainted, self-powered "pure" awareness of consciousness of itself ("purusa", "âtman"). "Âtman" is conceptualized as both "nothingness" ("akiñcana") and "the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception" ("naivasamjñânâsamjñâyatana"). Brahman is described as : "not one with awareness within, not one with awareness without, not one with awareness of both, not a mass of awareness, not awareness nor non-awareness." (Mândûkya Upanisad, 7). The goal of Udakka Râmaputta was the early conceptualization of the "âtman". When attained, this mind is the nondual state of the "âtman" or self. This state is like "seeing one does not see", implying one is aware ("seeing"), while simultaneously not being aware of any object in particular ("one does not see"). This is objectless consciousness-of. This highest state (on the Eight Jhâna), so Buddha's teacher's told him, leads to union with Brahman, in particular "nirguna Brahman". Hence, it must imply the end of physical existence ("Dharma-megha-samâdhi" calls, as our teacher explains, for the total cessation of the constituents of Nature, the "gunas"). For Lord Buddha, the material & immaterial Jhânas do not end suffering and so remain mundane. He seeks a path beyond suffering and so introduced the supramundane stages of liberation.

We know Buddha sought this-life salvation. Not Nature (ontology), but our ignorance regarding Nature's ultimate process-nature (epistemology) is target. Because of this changed methodology, Nature can be embraced without hindering spiritual emancipation.
Bodhisattva Gautama rejected the goals of his teachers (for they did not end suffering), but nevertheless incorporated his revised, desubstantialized version of their Element Yoga in his teachings, integrating these special states of mental concentration & absorption in terms of calmness (Calm Abiding) and insight (Insight Meditation), without "dry insight" (insight without tranquillity).

In actual Buddhist Jhâna Yoga practice, the base of the Fifth Jhâna is the space in which all objects in the material realm appear. The Sixth is the consciousness holding this boundless space as its object. The Seventh is the absence of this consciousness of boundless space, driving a sense of nothingness as a rich emptiness, a full-emptiness. Finally, in the Eight Jhâna, this consciousness of the base of nothingness itself is taken an the object of placement.

It could be argued the Buddhist Jhânas generate special reactors aiming at destroying the roots of ignorance, restoring our mind so it opens up to "what is" in each element of cyclic existence, thereby ending all co-relative suffering. These "totalizations" and salvic activity en masse returns in the Mahâyâna as the compassionate meditations to alleviate the suffering of the Six Realms of Suffering (gods, demi-gods, humans, nature, hungry ghosts, hell-beings).

Buddhist Meditation
Type of Meditation Main Characteristic Yoga
mindfulness 360° Ganzfeld, river-flow awareness Four Foundations of Mindfulness
ordinary
concentration
unification of mind Calm Abiding
one-pointedness on object
Eight Mundane
Jhânas
Four Material
Concentrations
Calm Abiding and
Insight Meditation
Four Formless
Absorptions
Calm Abiding
Supramundane
Jhânas
stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, Arhathood Noble Eightfold Path

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness practices (body, feeling, consciousness, mental objects) and the generation of stillness culminate in the First Jhâna. Each of the Eight Jhâna states of concentration & absorption, preluded by the practice of ordinary concentration (Calm Abiding), are characterized by the presence or absence of five mental factors or "Jhâna factors" along with various other secondary qualities. These are the by-products of this special Jhanic concentration aimed at replacing the Five Hindrances : sense desire, ill will/aversion, sloth & torpor, restlessness & remorse and doubt.

These hindrances interfere with concentration and result from three types of erroneous actions : wrong thoughts (greed, hatred, cruelty), wrong speech (false speech, malicious speech, harsh speech & gossip) and wrong deeds (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct). These wrong actions are themselves but expressions of the Ten Fetters. When Jhâna is attained, the hindrances are in abeyance. They are permanently destroyed when supramundane liberation is realized (i.e. when the fetters, the subtle causes of the hindrances, are eradicated).

These Jhâna factors are :

1. "vitarka" : movement of the mind applied to sensate or mental objects or "thinking" and (later) initial conceptualizing cognition ("vitarka" - thought) - this calms sense desire ;
2. "vicâra" : conceptual examination and (later) the abiding of the mind on its object allowing for sustained conceptual elaboration and mental reflection ("vicâra" - reflection) - this pacifies ill will/aversion ;
3. "pîti" : joy, rapture, delight, exuberance, zest or physical pliancy ("pîti" - joy) - this vanquishes sloth & torpor ;
4. "sukha" : happiness, gladness, contentment, bliss or mental pliancy ("sukha" - bliss), transformed in the Fourth Jhâna (and higher) into
equanimity ("upekshâ") - this eliminates restlessness/remorse ;
5. "ekâgratâ" : one-pointedness ("ekâgratâ"), preluded by the unification of mind ("ekodi-bhavam") - this overcomes doubt.

Jhânas Jhâna Factor Secondary Qualities
First thought, reflection, joy, bliss contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision
Second  mental unification, joy, bliss contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision

internal assurance, persistence, mindfulness, attention
Third bliss, one-pointedness contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, attention
Fourth equanimity, one-pointedness contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, attention

neither pleasure or pain, unconcern due to serenity of awareness
Fifth to Eight one-pointedness not mentioned

The first two Jhâna factors are also found in the Yoga-Sûtra. But for our teacher, "vitarka" is conceptualization based on a coarse object.  "Vicâra" is a reflective (confusingly called "non-conceptual") elaborating activity based on a subtle object. Hence, "nirvitarka" could been understood as the restriction of coarse concepts, and "nirvicâra" as the restriction of subtle conceptual elaborations.

In the Pâli Canon, both are conceptual, and refers to thinking & examining, whereas in the Vishuddhimarga, they imply the initiation of thought ("vitarka") & its elaboration through sustained attention ("vicâra"). In Jhâna Yoga, this refers to the presence of such conceptual activity. To move up, this activity has to end, causing the arising of the "Noble Silence" of the Second Jhâna.

Despite these differences between our teacher and the Buddhadharma regarding "vitarka" & "vicâra", they are small enough to allow for comparison. Indeed, our teacher, trying to disentangle the mind from Nature, distinguished on the basis of the outer object of meditation (coarse or subtle), whereas Lord Buddha, aiming at ending false ideation, defines on the basis of the inner content of the meditative mind.

When a mind is free from the Five Hindrances, then the natural outcome of this seclusion is joy & bliss, the third & fourth factors. During physical pliancy,
the currents of energy (winds) of unhealthy physical states leave the body and serviceability moves throughout the body, ending states of roughness & heaviness, making the body feel light as cotton. Mental pliancy is the total pacification of unwholesome, afflictive states making the mind heavy and preventing it to be used according to will. Then it becomes possible to recognize the spacious, luminous, untainted (pure) & original (primordial) mind and eventually fully rest in it.

The fifth Jhâna factor, one-pointedness, refers to (a) the "unity of mind"
("ekodi-bhavam") of the Second Jhâna and (b) the single-minded, one-pointedness concentration  ("ekâgratâ") from the Third Jhâna onward. The latter is the ability of the mind to remain without distraction, unwavering as steady on the fixed object of placement as long as wanted. In the former, present in the Second Jhâna, the state of mind itself is unmoving, still, present & clear (cognizing) while the experience of sensate or mental objects is ever-changing. The unity of mind includes the possibility to realize meditative equipoise on an object of placement, which is at hand starting with the Fourth Jhâna.

In the First Jhâna,
thinking and thoughtful examination are present simultaneous with unification of mind ("ekodi-bhavam"), but not one-pointedness of mind ("ekâgratâ"). In the Second Jhâna, thinking & examining are replaced by inner tranquillity & one-pointedness.

In the vast majority (over 100 sûtras), the First Jhâna is described as having only four Jhâna factors, whereas only in a few late sûtras, in the Abhidharma and the commentarial tradition, 5 factors are listed.
So to add "one-pointedness" to the First Jhâna is in conflict with the original teachings of the Buddha. In fact, the presence of cognitive activity ("vitarka" & "vicâra") precludes one-pointedness, but not unification of mind. The yogi tries to suspend all conceptualizing, discursive thinking, thereby ending name-giving, judging and labelling. This seclusion from conceptual mind brings forth one-pointedness of mind (Second Jhâna). The cognitive activity of this "direct", "immediate" non-conceptual mind is nondual. Nonduality is not the end of the two poles of the dyad (this would be "a-duality"), but merely their lack of connectivity & relationality ; no longer polarities, but operating complementary identities & functions defined by determinations (laws) & conditions (contexts).

Jhâna Yoga ferrets the Jhâna qualities out, one after another, so they vanish. The Second Jhâna drops the activity of the conceptual mind, making the one-pointedness of mind arise. The Third Jhâna eliminates joy. At this point consciousness switches from the physical body (both coarse & subtle) to the mental body. The Fourth then eliminates this mental bliss, but not without replacing it by equanimity ("upekshâ"). In the Fourth Jhâna, only equanimity & one-pointedness remain. These mental states of calmness are used for Insight Meditation. Also a
t this stage, psychic powers are attained (clairvoyance, clairaudience, retrocognition, telepathy & psychokinesis).  In the Formless Jhânas, only one-pointedness remains.

Jhânas Names Jhâna Factor Patañjali
Preparation Four Foundations of Mindfulness
ordinary Calm Abiding
outer limbs, dhâranâ
First calmness & insight

material

Four Jhânas

Rûpa Jhânas

material
form

concentrations
cessations

they prepare
enlightenment
mental unification, thought, reflection, joy, bliss dhyâna
savitarka samâdhi
savicâra
samâdhi
samprajñâta-samâdhi

magical
union

Second one-pointedness, joy, bliss nirvitarka samâdhi
nirvicâra
samâdhi
Third one-pointedness, bliss nirvicâra-vaishâradya-samâdhi
prajñâ-âloka
viveka-khyâti
Fourth one-pointedness equanimity
Fifth calmness & insight

supramundane

Ârupa Jhânas

immaterial
formless

attainments
absorptions

they embellish
practice
one-pointedness kaivalya asamprajñâta-samâdhi"

mystical
union

Sixth one-pointedness
Seventh one-pointedness
Eight

one-pointedness

Liberation supramundane
Jhânas

stream-entry, once returning, non returning, Arhathood

Dharma-megha-samâdhi

Calm Abiding is practiced before Jhâna Yoga. This tranquillity meditation leads to concentration or "dhâranâ". Although meditative equipoise has been nearly realized, concentration has not been perfected to the point of contemplation. When the latter is the case, entry in the First Jhâna has happened. This is the interesting point this confrontation of Jhâna Yoga with the teachings of the Yoga-Sûtra advances. The Buddhahdarma does not distinguish between "dhâranâ", "dhyâna" & "samâdhi". Our teacher explicitly does. When "dhyâna" is perfected, conceptual union results. First in terms of samadhic thoughts and then as samadhic conceptual elaborations. Both are truth-bearing. When these samadhic thoughts & elaborations are restricted (in "nirvitarka samâdhi" and "nirvicâra samâdhi" respectively), the Second Jhâna is the case.

Limb of Yoga Type of Concentration Yoga
Calm Abiding near-meditative equipoise
near-perfected concentration
"dhâranâ"
Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Contemplation meditative equipoise
perfected concentration
mandala consciousness
"dhyâna"
onset of First Jhâna
Union samadhic thoughts &
their elaboration
"savitarka & savicâra samâdhi"
deepening of First Jhâna
restriction of all samadhic thoughts & their elaboration
"nirvitarka & nirvicâra samâdhi"
Second Jhâna

This reading of the Jhânas was based on the Pâli Sûtras and to a lesser degree on the Abhidharma & the Commentaries, in particular the Vishuddhimarga. Of course, given Patañjali was active when the Mahâyâna in general and the Madhyamaka in particular were already broadly known, a comparison with the Ten Bhûmis must ensue. But this falls outside the scope of the present commentary. It will be addressed in the context of a study on the Avatamsaka Sûtra. This large text introduces the Ten Stages for Superior Bodhisattvas. These extraordinary human beings realize the end of intellectual self-grasping (on the basis of the cessation of self-cherishing), but still need, before entering Buddhahood, to tackle innate self-grasping and the mental factor hindering omniscience.


3.2.

Here, the one-directionality of the thoughts related to the object of concentration is contemplation.

La contemplation est l'unidirectionnalité des notions qui accompagnent l'objet de concentration.

Contemplatie is de unidirectionaliteit van de noties die het object van concentratie begeleiden.


Patañjali makes a clear distinction between concentration ("dhâranâ") and contemplation ("dhyâna"). In Buddhist practice, concentration is mostly called "dhyâna" or even "samâdhi", and concentration as "dhâranâ" is quasi unknown. This is confusing, but stems from the fact of restraint, the co-operation of these three limbs. Indeed, full concentration ("dhâranâ") is contemplation ("dhyâna") and full contemplation is union ("samâdhi"). So if meditative equipoise or full concentration is the goal of Calm Abiding (which it is), then one may understand why only "dhyâna" is mentioned, for meditative equipoise is full concentration and therefore contemplation. However, not all concentration is complete, and only perfect concentration leads to entry in the First Jhâna. Without a separate definition for contemplation the specific mental capacities involved here are overlooked.

So our teacher makes a very important distinction, absent in Buddhist literature on the subject of concentration. The distinction between concentration & contemplation allows one to distinguish between near-complete concentration (or near-meditative equipoise) and full concentration or contemplation. It also allows one to isolate the mental factors related to the latter. To identify concentration with contemplation and the latter with union leads to an insufficient understanding of the subtle differences between these inner members, and this is crucial to be able to identify errors in practice. So we must be grateful for these interesting definitions.

During full concentration, the mind is fully focused on a single spot. In Buddhism this may also be an actual external object (for sense-withdrawal does not imply the eyes are closed). All mental activity is centered around this outer or inner, coarse or subtle object. This leads to total calmness. When this tranquillity has been established, only the object shines forth and all adventitious discursive (conceptual) activity stops. One would suppose this situation continues, but this is not the case. After having realized the state of full concentration, the object slowly becomes part of the yogi and the yogi finds himself or herself as part of the object. Then contemplation begins and unfolds.

This word comes from the Latin "contemplatio", or "joint together in sacred space". Thanks to full concentration, a sacred space ("templum") is established around the object, and the mind (like a Roman augur) never leaves this space. Just as the augur abides within the predefined sacred place, so does the contemplator retreat into the "sanctuary" of the object of placement. For the interpretation of "godly messages", the Roman priest would take specific animals for observation into his "templum". These he would attentively observe, but he would pay equally much attention to spontaneous appearing elements, such as for instance birds, within this sacred space. Similarly, the contemplator deliberately turns the object of placement into a special seed thought. Observing this while staying open to pay attention to spontaneous appearing elements, the yogi is informed yogi about the inner existence of the object. Serving as a bridge to the seer, the "inner Deity", the seed "unfolds" in the sacred space or web of light (cf. "nimitta" in Jhâna Yoga) around this object defined by full concentration and therefore stable. The thoughts arising as elements within this web of light around the object and filling its sacred space are "one-directional" ("eka-tânatâ"), literally "of one extension or stretch". This one-directionality of the thoughts ("pratyaya") during contemplation distinguishes them from ordinary thoughts. They are all part of the sacred space of the object. The subject itself gradually also becomes part of this space. When this process is completed, union ("samâdhi") is the case. But as long as this perfection of contemplation has not happened, contemplative consciousness could, because of the presence of this sacred space, be called "mandala consciousness".

This sûtra elucidates the fact that between concentration and union an important intermediate stage is operational : contemplation. Full placement is the beginning of contemplation, and while meditative equipoise ends random discursiveness, contemplation sets afoot another special type of cognitive activity, namely special thoughts springing forth from the object, having the latter as their seed. The special nature of this mental activity is the fact all these thoughts are one-directional, and so all part of the sacred space or web of light around the object. When contemplation unfolds, the yogi step-by-step merges with this web, and when full contemplation is at hand, object & subject fuse, for union ("samâdhi") has become the case. So when in the last stages of concentration (near full concentration), random discursive activity completely halts, one should realize contemplation reactivates one-directional conceptual activity, and this leads to union. If the arrival of this one-directional activity is immediately arrested and so not allowed to unfold (because such is deemed distractive), then contemplation will not happen and so the chance of union will be missed. Contemplation makes clear concentration leads to one-directional discursive activity within the sacred space of the seed-object, and this special kind of thoughtful activity promotes union instead of hindering it !

Comparing the Jhânas with these teachings on constraint in the Yoga-Sûtra, one could identify "dhyâna", contemplation or perfect concentration, with the onset of the First Jhâna, and "dhâranâ" with near-complete concentration. The activity of the factors "vitarka" & "vicâra" is contemplative, implying a mandala of concepts and their elaboration. We need to be aware of their presence before eliminating them (propelling the mind in the Second Jhâna). If we don't allow this awareness to unfold, one cannot thoroughly do this. This is the important point advanced by Patañjali. While some Jhâna commentators attribute an insignificant background activity to these conceptual factors, or -based on the Vishuddhimarga- reduce them to merely initiating  ("vitarka") and  sustaining ("vicâra"), our teacher makes clear contemplation is an important element,  bridging concentration (ordinary Calm Abiding with near-perfect concentration) with union (elucidating the difference between Calm Abiding and Jhâna Yoga).

Integrating this insight into Jhâna Yoga means the First Jhâna starts with perfect concentration or contemplation ! This mandala consciousness turns it into a crucial stepping-stone to higher realizations and conforms with what we know about Gautama's experience under the rose-apple tree as a child. Indeed, the Bodhisattva, utterly calm, observed the "mandala" of the events of this spring festival. To realize entry into the First Jhâna and fully stabilizing this is then the first important step in successful Jhâna Yoga.


3.3.

That, shining forth as the object of concentration -as it were empty of its own form- is union.

Cette conscience, rayonnant comme l'objet de concentration -comme vidée de son essence- est l'union.

Dat contemplatief bewustzijn, stralend als het object van concentratie -als het ware geledigd van zijn aard- is eenwording.


When the one-directed flow of contemplative thoughts is present and well established (the seed unfolding into a lotus), with the object still shining forts as the object of placement, then the mind is fully contemplatively absorbed and full contemplation is the case. At this culminative point of contemplation, the object is part of the subject and vice versa. Hence, the object no longer seems to possess its original form and seems emptied of it. This us (conceptual & non-conceptual) union.


3.4.

The three together are constraint.

Ces trois, appliqués sur le même objet sont appellés contrainte.

Deze drie samen (concentratie, contemplatie & eenwording), toegepast op hetzelfde object, vormen de beheersing.


3.5.

Through mastery of that prajñâ flashes forth.

Par la maîtrise de la contrainte, le prajñâ surgit.

Door meesterschap van de beheersing flitst intuïtie.


3.6.

Its progression is gradual.

Sa progression est graduelle.

Zijn progressie is stapsgewijs.


3.7.

Compared with the previous members these three are inner.

Intérieure par rapport aux précédents.

Deze drie zijn, vergeleken met de voorgaande leden, innerlijk.


3.8.

Yet in relation to union-without-seed they are outer members.

Mais extérieure par rapport à l'union-sans-semence.

Echter in relatie tot eenwording-zonder-zaad zijn ze externe leden.


Mastering constraint (concentration, contemplation & -seeded- union), calling for several stages and so a gradual enfoldment, leads to intuitive insight into the ultimate nature of things. This is a flashing-forth ("âloka") of wisdom ("prajñâ"), and this is coterminous with the full depth of the samadhic experience with seed ("nirvicâra sâmadhi"). Then, in & thanks to this ultimate lucidity, a shift occurs from the mind to the transcendent seer. Hence, this "âloka-prajñâ" is a synonym for the vision of discernment ("viveka-khyâti").

Constraint is "inner" compared to the previous five members, but "outer" from the perspective of seedless union. Hence, the "union" targeted in constraint is not the latter (for this comes about by the grace of the Lord), but ultra-subtle union-with-seed, the last stage of seeded union. The powers are therefore the result of concentration, contemplation (perfected concentration) and seeded union.


Here ends the Eightfold Path


Commentary on III.1 - III.8 :
Constraint


Constraint ("samyama") brings the most important limbs together : concentration, contemplation & union (in all its degrees). These inner limbs have been thoroughly prepared by the five outer limbs. These techniques or spiritual ascesis ("tapas") are within the reach of the will of the yogi. Concentration holds the object of placement in a single spot, ending random conceptualization. Contemplation turn it into a seed generating a constant flow of one-directional mandala-like ideas leading up to union-with-seed. The terminal phase of the latter brings about the vision of discernment and flashes of intuitive insight. At this point, the yogi completely turns away from Nature and a shift from the ego to the seer is at hand. Nothing else can be done than continue to practice constraint.

When the Lord deems fit, on the basis of seeded union, seedless union happens.


Transformations


3.9.

The restriction-transformation connected with consciousness in its moment of restriction is the subjugation of the reactors of emergence & the outgoing of that of restriction.

La transformation restrictive connectée avec la conscience dans son moment de restriction, est la subjugation des réacteurs subliminaux d'émergence et la manifestation de l'réacteur subliminal de restriction.

De restrictieve transformatie verbonden met het bewustzijn in zijn moment van restrictie is de onderwerping van de reactoren van emergentie en de manifestatie van de reactor van restrictie.


3.10.

The calm flow of this is effected through reactors.

Le flot calme de cette conscience est atteint par des réacteurs subliminaux.

Het kalme vlotten van dit bewustzijn wordt beïnvloed door reactoren.


This and the following sûtras focus on transformation ("parinâma"). The issue in crucial in understanding how consciousness (as a part of changing Nature) can transform into unchanging transcendent awareness of the unchanging seer divorced from Nature.

Unlike Vedânta and like Sâmkhya, Yoga confirms the changes ordinary consciousness observes are real, and based on "prakriti", matter. So transformation implies a given real condition ("avasthâ") disappears and another equally real condition of the same substrate appears. So (as III.14) puts it, matter is the permanent substance ("dharmin") and its subsequent manifestations its qualities ("dharma").

So, the seer is a substance remaining constant throughout the changes occuring as a result of practice. The latter merely removes the impact of Nature causing "citta" and "manas". Restriction is the result of the emergence or actualization of a specific reactor inhibiting those reactors causing it to turn outwards. When this happens, these reactors become latent. For our teacher, consciousness consists of a series of moments ("ksana"), for time itself is the actualization of the succession ("krama") of structural units. The generation of this special reactor during the practice of restraint brings about a "calm flow" ("prashânta-vâhitâ").

One may doubt whether Patañjali succeeded in explaining change. As Nâgârjuna made clear, substances, or inherently existing entities, cannot really change, for they are fixed in their substantial self-identity (cf. emptiness & ultimate logic). Moreover, granted change would have been explained, then how can an ever-changing entity (consciousness as part of the seen) transform into a  never changing one (the seer radically removed from the seen) ?


3.11.

Union-transformation is the dwindling of all-objectness and the uprising of one-pointedness.

La transformation unifiante fait disparaître les objets de conscience et apparaître l'état de convergence.

De eenmakende transformatie doet de objecten van bewustzijn verdwijnen en de staat van convergentie verschijnen.


3.12.

Then, when the quiescent and the uprisen thoughts are similar, the one-pointedness-transformation of consciousness occurs.

Ensuite, la condition mentale dans laquelle l'objet de conscience un moment donné est identique à l'objet qui surgît un moment plus tard, est appellée la transformation de l'état de convergence.

Dan, wanneer de kalmerende en opwekkende noties gelijkaardig zijn, geschiedt de éénpuntigheidstransformatie.


3.13.

By this are explained the transformations of form, time-variation & condition with regard to the elements and the sense-organs.

Ainsi sont expliquées les transformations de forme, la variation de temps et de condition, liées aux éléments et aux sens.

Hierdoor worden de transformaties van vorm, tijd-variatie en voorwaarden m.b.t. de elementen & de zintuigen verklaard.


During union, the cluster of objects typical for ordinary consciousness, is replaced by one-pointedness. Centrifugality is replaced by centripetality. Here our teacher merely defines one of the general characteristics of union. Likewise, one-pointedness itself is a succession of similar ideas momentarily flashing up in consciousness. Change implies three factors : (1) the succession of forms of a substance ("dharma-parinâma"), (2) the temporal sequence ("laksana-parinâma") and (3) the overall form of how the substance manifests ("avastha-parinâma").

It again apparently eludes our teacher substance-thinking and change are fundamentally antithetical. Either one posits substances and then (as in Spinoza's system or in the Vedânta) one introduces universal illusion (absurdly denying the existence of the most obvious change as the rising of the Sun), or one considers all things, the absolute included, as processes (as in the Buddhadharma). To combine both is trying to boil water with ashes, an utter impossibility. The definitions are however valid, but cannot be consistently applied in a substance-based ontology. This our teacher does not seem to grasp. Only when substances are abolished and replaced by processes and their formal characteristics can change be explained as it is done here. Hence, one does not get a consistent answer to the question how ordinary consciousness can transform into pure awareness. If this is the case, then the most fundamental of issues remains unresolved and these clear definitions cannot be applied ...


3.14.

The form-bearer is that which follows the quiescent, the uprisen or the indeterminable.

Ce qui soutient la forme (la substance) est ce qui conforme au calme, à l'actif et à l'indéterminable.

De vormdrager is dat wat conform is met het kalme, het opwekkende en het niet-determineerbare.


Our teacher continues. The substance or form-bearer ("dharmin") is permanently present in but different from its forms ! The quiescent forms have been, the uprisen are and the indeterminable will be or latent possibilities.

Vyâsa explicitly points to the opposing Buddhist concept of "anâtman" or "no self", meaning absence of inherently existing objects, subjectively (personal self), as well as objectively (other persons & objects). Clearly Nâgârjuna's criticism (or for that matter the analysis of criticism & nominalism of substantialism) is not considered.

Suppose a substance, fundamentally inherently self-identical. If its self-identity changes we have another substance. This means the former substance has been destroyed and a new substance has been generated. If we claim (as our teacher affirms) inherent self-identity (the seer) cannot be destroyed, then all change is merely accidental. Moreover, two different substances (seer versus seen) cannot transform into one another. The seer always remains the seer and the seen always the seen. Spiritual emancipation is impossible. As soon as Patañjali rejected idealism and so accepted Nature to be real, his ontology of the latter precludes (a) transformations within Nature and (b) the soteriologically crucial transformation of seen into seer. The project fails to deliver its basic aim : a consistent view on spiritual emancipation.


3.15.

The cause of the difference in the transformations is the differences in the sequence.

Les différences dans la succession temporelle des formes de la même substance sont la cause des différentes transformations.

De oorzaken van de verschillende transformaties zijn de verschillen in de temporele opeenvolging van de vormen van dezelfde substantie.


This is a remarkable sûtra. It incorporates one of the basic ideas of the Buddhadharma. The flow of time only appears to be continuous. Actually, a succession of moments, or infinitely short intervals ("ksana") are the case. If time were continuous, no change would be possible. We becomes aware of the accumulated effect of minute changes.

In the Abhidharma, a fundamental moment is objectively defined as one sixtieth of a finger snap. A single thought lasts ninety moments (1.17 seconds) and there are 4.500 moments in a minute (3.240.000 in a day), meaning one moment lasts about thirteen milliseconds (to experience two sounds as distinct they need to be at least 10 milliseconds apart). Psychological experiments show the smallest unity of subjective time, the "present moment", to last two or three seconds. This is a sophisticated fabrication of the brain to accommodate the fact different pieces of information belonging together arrive at the brain at different times.

This sûtra shows our teacher to be aware of the problems involved when positing time as a substance. It is incomprehensible he does not apply this to his definition of the seer. For if the seer is substantial, then it likewise impossible for the seen to transform into this pure awareness. By the same logic, it is impossible for a correlation to exist  between seer & seen.


Commentary on III.9 - III.15 :
Transformations


To understand transformation is to be able to argue how the mind actualizes the change from its ordinary deluded condition (the seen) into a less suffering mind, and, eventually into an awakened mind (the seer). This is the crucial point in any soteriology. In the Buddhadharma, this is the transformation of impure actions (of body, speech & mind) into the pure, enlightened actions of a Buddha. This transformation is unhindered by the underlying ontological choices, for both the "stuff" out of which sentient beings and Buddhas are made from is identical (namely dependent-arisings defined by matter, information & consciousness).

Perhaps to those on the path of devotion, able to remember the incredible intensity of bliss caused by worshipping their guru and their Deities, such arguments may seem futile, but to those looking for a reasonable system of spiritual emancipation this is hardly the case. Lord Buddha shares their concern. He advises one to test his teachings as a goldsmith would scrutinize gold by rubbing it. And if his teachings seem of no value, then one is advised to discard them altogether. Devotion, although necessary, is hardly suitable to test the intellectual worth of a spiritual path. The devotee seems blinded by his or her affections, and unable to bear any defect in the proposed teachings. This is clearly the downside of Bhakti Yoga in all its guises.

In this section, Patañjali tries to technically underpin the restrictions he proposed at the beginning of his text. Ordinary mind needs to transform into a self-aware mind. To do so, the temporal process (or path) of restriction is introduced ; by eliminating the impact of Nature on consciousness, the seer shines through. As Patañjali rejects idealism, he cannot, as in the Vedânta, introduce universal illusion to balance the equation. He accepts the realistic ontology of moments, but seems oblivious this disables substantialism. A substance does not change, and this holds true for both absolute substances (like the Lord and the seer) and relative substances (like the primary constituents of Nature). Inherent existence leads to one conclusion : production & causality are impossible, and so no temporal sequence can be argued. This led Vedânta (and idealism at large) to posit "mâyâ", a conception of the world eliminating its objectivity, breaking away from any real (valid) conventionality whatsoever.

Seedless union, arising spontaneously, is the final goal, automatically leading up to the final termination of the fluctuations of consciousness. Leaving the grace of the Lord for a moment aside, restraint is the only way to the highest stage of seeded union (ultra-subtle union). The latter is the penultimate stage of the path, preceding seedless union. So without restraint, the path cannot be completed on the basis of ascesis ("tapas"). But restraint causes powers ("vibhûti") to arise. In the following sûtras (III.16 - 53) various "siddhis" are discussed. These will not be extensively commented upon, except to explain some of the words were needed.


The Powers


3.16.

Through constraint on the three forms of transformation comes knowledge of past & future.

Par l'application de la contrainte sur les trois formes de transformation on peut atteindre la connaissance du passé et du futur.

Door beheersing van de drie vormen van transformatie toe te passen, ontstaat er kennis over het verleden en de toekomst.


3.17.

The sound, the object & the thought are superimposed on one another in a confused way. Through constraint on the distinction of these, there arises knowledge of the sounds of all living beings.

Le son, l'objet et la notion présente dans le mental sont mélangés d'une façon confuse. Par l'application de la contrainte sur la distinction de ceux-ci, ce désordre disparaît et on comprend la signification des sons de chaque être vivant.

De klank, het object en de notie worden op een verwarde wijze op elkaar gelegd. Door beheersing van het onderscheid tussen deze, verdwijnt deze wanorde en begrijpt men de betekenis van alle klanken van elk levend wezen.


3.18.

Through a perception of the reactors, knowledge of previous births.

La connaissance de la naissance antérieure est atteinte par une perception directe des réacteurs subliminaux.

Door de reactoren waar te nemen, verkrijgt men kennis over vorige geboortes.


3.19.

Through the thoughts of another, knowledge of his consciousness.

Par la perception directe des notions d'autrui, on peut acquérir la connaissance de leur mental.

Door de noties van een ander waar te nemen, verkrijgt men kennis over hun bewustzijn.


3.20.

But not of that which supports this, for it is absent from it.

Mais, n'étant pas assujettis à la contrainte, les facteurs mentaux d'autrui qui supportent ce mental ne peuvent être connus.

Maar niet van wat dit draagt, want dit is hierin afwezig.


When reading the thoughts of others, the consciousness of the other is disclosed in its entirety, but not the objects on which these thoughts are based.


3.21.

Through constraint on the form of the body, upon the suspension of the capacity to be perceived, meaning the disruption of the light travelling from that body to the eye, invisibility.

Par l'application de la contrainte sur la forme de son corps, c'est-à-dire par la suspension de la capacité d'être perçu, le yogi devient invisible (ainsi la lumière qui voyage de ce corps jusqu'aux yeux d'autrui est interrompue).

Door beheersing van de vorm van zijn/haar lichaam, d.w.z. door de schorsing van de capaciteit waargenomen te worden, wordt de yogi onzichtbaar, want het licht dat van het lichaam naar het oog van de anderen reist is onderbroken.


3.22.

Karma is acute or deferred. Through constraint thereon, or from omens, knowledge of the time of death.

Le karma est de deux sortes : aigu ou différé. Par l'application de la contrainte sur ce karma ou sur les présages, la connaissance du moment de la mort peut être atteinte.

Karma is acuut of uitgesteld. Door beheersing van dit karma, of door kennis van de tekens, verwerft men kennis over het wanneer van de dood.


3.23.

Through constraint on friendliness etc., the powers of that quality.

Par l'application de la contrainte sur l'amabilité etc., le yogi peut acquérir les pouvoirs de cette qualité.

Door beheersing van vriendelijkheid etc., worden de krachten van deze kwaliteit verworven.


3.24.

Through constraint on the power of the elephant etc., the strength of it.

Par l'application de la contrainte sur la force de l'éléphant etc. , le yogi peut acquérir celle-ci.

Door beheersing van de kracht van de olifant etc., kan de yogi deze verwerven.


3.25.

By focusing the flashing-forth of mental activities on any object, knowledge of its subtle, concealed & distant aspects.

En focalisant le flash des activités mentales sur un object, la connaissance des aspects subtils, cachés et lointains de celui-ci est acquise.

Door de flikkering van mentale activiteit op een object kan kennis, kunnen de subtiele, verborgen of verafgelegen aspecten hiervan verworven worden.


3.26.

Through constraint on the Sun, knowledge of the world.

Par la contrainte sur le Soleil, on peut tout connaître concernant l'ensemble du monde.

Door beheersing van de Zon, kennis over de wereld.


3.27.

Through constraint on the Moon, knowledge of the arrangement of the stars.

Par la contrainte sur la Lune, on peut acquérir la connaissance des étoiles et des astres.

Door beheersing van de Maan, kennis over de ordening van sterren en planeten.


3.28.

Through constraint on the pole-star, knowledge of their movement.

Par la contrainte sur l'étoile polaire, on peut acquérir la connaissance de leurs mouvements.

Door beheersing van de poolster, kennis over hun bewegingen.


3.29.

Through constraint on the navel wheel, knowledge of the organization of the body.

Par la contrainte sur le vortex ombilical, la constitution du corps peut être connue.

Door beheersing van de vortex van de navel, kennis over de organisatie van het lichaam.


3.30.

Through constraint on the throat wheel, the cessation of hunger & thirst.

Par la contrainte sur le vortex de la gorge, le yogi peut apaiser la faim et la soif.

Door beheersing van de vortex van de keel, beëindiging van honger & dorst.


3.31.

Through constraint on the tortoise duct, steadiness.

Par la contrainte sur la veine kûrma, le yogi peut acquérir la stabilité.

Door beheersing van het schildpad-kanaal, standvastigheid.


3.32.

Through constraint on the light in the head, vision of the perfected ones.

Par la contrainte sur la luminosité dans la tête, le yogi peut avoir la vision des êtres parfaits.

Door beheersing van het licht in het hoofd, het visioen van de volmaakten.


3.33. Or in a flash-of-illumination all is known.

Ou, par l'éclair de l'illumination tout peut être connu.

Of, door de flits-van-verlichting, kan alles gekend worden.


3.34.

Through constraint on the heart, understanding of consciousness.

Par la contrainte sur le coeur, le yogi comprend la nature de la conscience.

Door beheersing van het hart, begrip van het bewustzijn.


The link between consciousness and the Heart Wheel is pan-Indian.

In Buddhist Tantra, the very subtle mind (Clear Light mind or luminous mind) is mounted on the very subtle wind (or body) and housed in the Indestructible Drop located in the Heart Wheel. To bring all subtle energy into this drop is the tantric definition of awakening.

Also in Chinese Taoism, the "mysterious pass" or ultimate balance between Heaven & Earth is situated in the Middle Elixir Field of the heart.

Even in Western Qabalah we see how Tiphareth, associated with the heart, holds the balancing position between the Crown (Kether) of the Divine World of Atziluth and the Kingdom (Malkuth) of the World of Manifestion (Assiah).

Even in science, the importance of Heart Coherence for physical, psychological & spiritual wholeness has been recognized (cf. The Window of the Good Heart, 2009).


3.35.

Experience is a thought based on the non-distinction between absolutely unblended Purusa & beingness. Knowledge of Purusa comes from constraint on the own-purpose of Purusa, apart from the other-purposiveness of Nature.

L'expérience est le résultat de la connaissance du Purusa et du sattva -qui sont absolument différents- comme non-différents. La connaissance du Purusa peut être acquise en effectuant la contrainte sur le but propre du Purusa.

Ervaring is een notie gebaseerd op het niet-onderscheid tussen Purusa en sattva, beide absoluut onvermengd. Kennis van Purusa komt door beheersting van de eigen vorm van Purusa, los van de gerichtheid van de Natuur op de andere.


3.36.

Hence, a flash-of-illumination in hearing, sensing, sight, taste & smell.
 
Ainsi naît l'éclair de l'illumination dans l'ouïe, le toucher, la vue, le goût et l'odorat.

Zo rijst de flits-van-verlichting in horen, aanraken, zien, proeven & ruiken.


3.37.

These are obstacles to union but attainments in the waking-state.

Ceci sont des obstacles à l'union mais des acquis dans l'état de veille.

Deze belemmeren de eenwording, maar zijn verworvenheden in de waaktoestand.


The previous powers are at hand during the waking state, not during practice. Of course, as III.50 makes clear, to enter the superior forms of union, all powers need to be renounced.


3.38.

Consciousness can enter another's body on relaxation of the cause of attachment and through the experience of going forth.

En affaiblissant la cause de l'attachement à son corps et par l'expérience du passage pour se dégager du corps dense, le corps subtil peut entrer dans le corps d'autrui.

Door de oorzaak van hechting te verzwakken en door de ervaring van het voortgaan, kan het bewustzijn een ander lichaam binnentreden.


3.39.

Through mastery of the up-breath, one gains the power of non-adhesion to water, mud & thorns and levitation.

Par la maîtrise du prâna qui va vers le haut, le yogi peut rester non-affecté par l'eau, la boue, les épines, etc. et se mettre en lévitation.

Door de opwaartse adem te bemeesteren, verwerft men de kracht van het niet-kleven aan water, modder & doornen alsook levitatie.


3.40.

Through mastery of the mid-breath one acquires effulgence.

Par la maîtrise du prâna du milieu, il peut acquérir le resplendissement.

Door de midden adem te bemeesteren, verwerft men weelde.


3.41.

Through constraint on the relation between ear and ether, the Divine ear.

Par la contrainte sur la relation entre l'oreille et l'éther, l'oreille Divine est acquise.

Door beheersing van de relatie tussen het oor en de ether, het Goddelijk oor.


3.42.

Through constraint on the relation between body and ether and through the coincidence with light objects such as cotton, the power of traversing the ether.

Par la contrainte sur la relation entre le corps et l'éther et aussi en se concentrant sur les objets légers tels que le coton, il peut se déplacer dans l'éther.

Door beheersing van de relatie tussen het lichaam en de ether en door het samenvallen met lichte voorwerpen zoals katoen, verwerft men de kracht om de ether over te steken.


3.43.

An external, non-imaginary fluctuation is the "great incorporeal" from which comes the dwindling of the coverings of the (inner) light.

Une fluctuation extérieure et non-imaginaire est le "grand incorporel" d'où provient la perte de la force qui voile la lumière.

Een externe, niet-imaginaire fluctuatie is de "grote onlichamelijke" waardoor het verdwijnen van de bedekkingen van het licht voortkomt.


Vyâsa's commentary makes clear this power involves the projection of consciousness outside the body, first, in an imaginary sense ("kalpita") and then actually ("akalpita"). Vâcaspati Mishra explains this is done to enter another body and to realize the true nature of consciousness.


3.44.

Through constraint on the coarse, the own form, the subtle, the connectedness and the purposiveness of objects, mastery over the elements.

Par la contrainte sur le dense, la forme propre, le subtil, la connexité et le dessein des objets, la victoire sur les éléments est atteinte.

Door beheersing van het ruwe, de eigen vorm, het subtiele, de verbondenheid en de doelgerichtheid van objecten, meesterschap over de elementen.


3.45.

Hence the manifestation of powers such as atomisation etc., the perfection of the body and the indestructibility of its constituents.

Ainsi se manifesteront des pouvoirs comme l'atomisation etc., la perfection du corps et l'indestructibilité de ses parties.

En zo manifesteren zich krachten als atomisering etc., de volmaaktheid van het lichaam en de onverwoestbaarheid van zijn onderdelen.


The Yoga-Bhâsya mentions eight supreme powers :

(1) atomisation ("animan"), (2) magnification ("mahiman"), (3) levitation ("laghiman"), (4) extension or the power to reach everywhere ("prâpti"), (5) freedom of will ("prâkâmya"), (6) mastery over creation ("vashitva"), (7) power of creation ("îshitritva") and (8) power of wish fulfilment ("kâmâvasâyitva"). It is likely these powers pertain to the subtle body only.


3.46.

Beauty, gracefulness and adamant robustness are the perfection of the body.

Beauté, délicatesse et une force adamantine constituent la perfection du corps.

Schoonheid, finesse en een keiharde robustheid vormen de volmaaktheid van het lichaam.


3.47.

Through constraint on the process of perception, the own-form, I-am-ness, connectedness & purposiveness, mastery over the senses.

Par la contrainte sur le processus de perception, la forme propre, le Je-suis, la connexité et le dessein des objets, le yogi peut remporter la victoire sur les sens.

Door beheersing van het proces van perceptie, de eigen vorm, het Ik-zijn, verbondenheid en doelgerichtheid, meesterschap over de zintuigen.


3.48.

Hence fleetness of mind lacking sense-organs & mastery over the matrix of Nature.

Ainsi il acquiert une vitesse, comme le mental, sans l'aide d'un véhicule et une maîtrise complète de la matrice de la Nature.

Aldus, een snelheid van geest zonder hulp van de zintuigen en meesterschap over de matrix van de Natuur.


3.49.

For he who has merely the vision of discernment between Purusa & beingness the supremacy over all states and omniscience ensues.

Celui qui connaît la différence entre le Purusa et le sattva de la conscience, acquiert une suprématie sur tous les états d'existence et l'omniscience.

Diegene die het onderscheid tussen Purusa en het zuivere zijn ziet, verwerft een suprematie over alle staten van het zijn alsook alwetendheid.


The power of omniscience is an interesting one. If it means the yogi knows the complete past and everything happening now, then free will remains possible. But if one claims, as in most branches of monotheism, the yogi also knows the actual future, then predestination is the case and free will an illusion. In devotional discourses on the Buddha one reads a Buddha knows the "three times". However, if so, then the free will attributed to human beings has no reality whatsoever, and nobody is able to really freely choose to end suffering. Rationally, one may claim the Buddha prehends the most likely course of events. He knows the set of all potentialities related to a certain process, but not exactely which one will indeed actualize (leaving the power of initiative intact).

The Buddhadharma also mentions the "obstructions to omniscience" dealt with when innate self-grasping has been eliminated. This merely points to the fact a Bodhisattva on the highest three Bodhisattva grounds (the Path of No More Learning) ends substantiating duality itself. It does not refer to the notion he or she, as a Buddha, knows all actual futures (but only all possible ones). The same goes for omnipotence. If a Buddha would possess the power to end suffering at will, then cyclic existence would be immediately over. This is obviously not the case. Not because of the perversity of the absolute (as Sartre rightly identified concerning the "good", omnipotent monotheist God), but because Buddhas, although superpowerful, are unable to curtail freedom.

If sentient beings prefer to suffer or are unwilling or unable to choose for true peace, then so be it. Even Lord Buddha could not change the evil will of his cousin Devadatta. The latter entered the "sangha" and gained the supernormal powers of the mundane (ordinary) plane ("puthujjana-siddhi"). Later, however, he began to harbour thoughts of jealousy and ill will toward his kinsman, the Buddha, and his two chief disciples, Sâriputta and Mahâ Moggallâna, with the ambition of becoming the leader of the Buddhist order ... He even tried to kill the Buddha.


3.50.

Through dispassion even to that, with the dwindling of the seed of the defects, aloneness.

A l'atteinte du détachement de cela -par la destruction de la semence même des afflictions- il atteint l'esseulement.

Door onthechting van zelfs dat, met het verdwijnen van het zaad van de afwijkingen, het isolement.


At this level, two things need to be renounced : (1) all the powers mentioned above and (2) the vision of discernment itself. This is the higher form of dispassion ("para-vairâgya"). After this, only the seer remains.


3.51.

The invitation of the high-placed gives no cause of attachment or pride, because of the renewed and undesired inclination.

Etant invité par les êtres très évolués, le yogi ne doit développer aucun attachement ni orgueil, car il est possible que l'inclination non-désirée vers les plans inférieurs de la Nature se renouvelle.

Gezien de vernieuwde en ongewenste neiging, geeft de uitnodiging van de hoog geplaatsten geen reden voor hechting of trots.


During the practice of union with seed one encounters discarnate beings like Deities and angels. They offer distractions to the extraordinary mind of the yogi. These joys of heaven need also to be renounced.

Indeed, even the highest bliss needs to be "emptied" of any substantializing tendency. In the Buddhadharma, the union of bliss & emptiness is sought, never bliss alone.


3.52. Through constraint on the moment and its sequence, knowledge born of discernment.

Par la contrainte sur le moment et sa continuité, le yogi peut acquérir la connaissance issue du discernement.

Door beheersing van het ogenblik en zijn opeenvolging, kennis geboren uit onderscheiding.


Restraint on the moment itself results in knowing the crucial distinction between the seer and consciousness ("manas").

In the Ati-Yogas of Buddhist Tantra, the awareness of the now is "pure", for untainted by any substantiating activity. It reveals the very subtle mind, and resting in it is identified as awakening. A Buddha never rests in the past, in the future, in  somewhere else or in the minds of other sentient beings, but only in the vivid always alreadiness of the moment at hand. This is suchness, in which all is "good" ("samantabhadra").


3.53.

Hence the awareness of the difference between similars which cannot normally be distinguished due to the continuity of the distinctions of class, appearance & position.

Ainsi émerge la conscience-de-différence entre des similaires qui normalement ne peuvent pas être distingués à cause de l'indéterminabilité des distinctions entre espèce, apparence et position.

Aldus het bewustzijn van het verschil tussen gelijkaardigen die normaal niet kunnen worden onderscheiden omwille van de continuïteit van de distincties tussen soort, verschijning en positie.


Nominally, we distinguish objects on the basis of their class, their individual properties and their spatial location. During union, one realizes this continuity is illusory, for in reality only discontinuity is at hand. Buddhism agrees. However, how this correct observation fits in the substantialism of Nature & seer is not made clear (in fact, it cannot be put into evidence, for incommensurable entities are at hand).


Commentary on III.16 - III.53 :
The Powers


Our teacher explains various powers resulting from specific practices involving constraint.


The Vision of Discernment


3.54.

The knowledge born of discernment is the "deliverer" and is omni-objective, omni-temporal and non-sequential.

La conscience issue du discernement est le "délivreur", omni-objectif, omni-temporel et sans séquence.

Kennis geboren uit onderscheiding is de "aanleveraar" en is omni-objectief, omni-temporeel en zonder aaneenschakeling.


The vision of discernment brings about an intuitive & gnostic knowledge (cf. I.8). Consciousness has become translucent, with a transparency approximating the seer.


3.55. Thus, with the equality in the purity of beingness & Purusa, aloneness.

Ainsi, avec la pureté égale entre le sattva et le Purusa, l'esseulement est établi.

Aldus, met de identiteit tussen de zuiverheid van sattva en Purusa, het isolement.


Commentary on III.54 - III.55 :
The Vision of Discernment


When "purusa" and "prakriti" have been radically separated, and the seer is discerned, consciousness is equal to the purity of being itself, a state of refinement equal to the essential purity of the seer. Then, only the seer is present and this is aloneness. The latter is the final consequence of essentialism. The ultimate substance can be nothing else but "alone". The monotheist God is defined as the "One Alone". This is seen as the most perfect state to be in, while it is in fact, according to the Buddhadharma, still a samsaric state, albeit one of the highest formless Deities fixated on the Eight Jhâna. For Lord Buddha, this state is devoid of compassion, unable to communicate, absolutely isolated and so a very subtle kind of suffering.

If so, then the whole salvic project of Classical Yoga has failed, and this on logical & functional ground. Its yogic technology merely pushes consciousness to the apex of cyclic existence, the "peak of sâmsara", or the highest position within the realm of suffering, the most subtle suffering possible. By defining awakening as aloneness, our teacher fell into the ultimate trap of suffering, in vain trying to avoid sorrow by radically isolated oneself from it.

In the right view, suffering is transcended by realizing no substances exist.  This alone opens up the mind to the universal interdependence & interconnectedness of all things conventional & ultimate. This is the reverse of aloneness and born out of the vision of unbounded wholeness !


BOOK IV

Kaivalya-Pâda (Path to Aloneness)


In this concluding book, "aloneness" ("kaivalya"), the last phase of mutated consciousness, is at hand. Various incidental philosophical points leading up to it are discussed. This runs against the assumption Book Four would only be a summary of the foregoing. New points are introduced.

Book I set the stage by defining the basic principles of this yoga, practice & union. Book II introduced the aspirant, the practitioner. Book III focused on the fruits of constraint, magical feats. In Book IV, the conditions of the ultimate goal of practice, discernment, are discussed. This is done by clarifying a few fundamental philosophical choices of Patañjali.

For Feuerstein, the vocabulary and conceptual framework prove this book is continuous with the preceding books.


Interpolated ?


4.1.

The powers are the result of birth, herbs, mantra, ascesis or union.

Les pouvoirs sont le résultat de naissance, de plantes, de mantra, d'ascèse ou d'union.

De krachten zijn het gevolg van geboorte, kruiden, mantra, ascesis en eenwording.


According to Hauer, the first sûtra is interpolated.

Book Three teaches paranormal powers to be primarily induced by the practice of constraint, the simultaneous use of concentration, contemplation & union. But here we learn they may also be part of one's karma (birth), be the outcome of taking herbs (like soma), uttering mantra or special practices like fasting. They also result from union itself !

The latter is a strange statement. As all union implies perfect concentration (and hence contemplation), and Book III introduces constraint as the cause of powers, claiming they are also the result of "union" is somewhat unnecessary and confusing (as if union is possible without concentration & contemplation). This, and also the dislocated content of this sûtra, indeed suggest it could have been interpolated.

Was the original lost and did the copyist merely put in a generalizing intro to Book IV ?

A more plausible alternative could have been :

4.1. Aloneness is possible because consciousness can be transformed (and so become pure).


Nature's Will & Conscious Action


4.2.

The transformation into another category of existence is possible because Nature is superabundant.

La transformation en une autre espèce est possible grâce à la superabondance de la Nature.

Transformatie in een andere soort is mogelijk door de grote weelderigheid van de Natuur.


All outer objects are modifications of the fundamental substratum, the world-ground. Nature is deemed superabundant, for the three basic constituents combine in multiple ways, giving rise to infinite possibilities. Hence, "citta" can be transformed, becoming "sattvic" or pure enough for the seer to be realized. It can remove the dross of coarse and violent energies and become calm, inwardminded and restricting conscious flux. Turning towards the seer one realizes discernment (between "purusa" and "prakriti") and realizes the objectless awareness of liberation. Without the transformation of coarse into subtle and subtle into very subtle, liberation would be impossible. So the cause of our suffering (the mechanisms of Nature) also assists in delivering us from it.

Given Nature is supposed to exist because of three basic substances, transformation can only be viewed as a movement between static & ontic entities and not as the activity between inherently impermanent process-objects. Dynamism between substances always entails logical paradoxes and functional inefficiencies. Consistently thinking (and operating) production and causality runs into problems. Process thinking understands related entities to emerge from their relationships, not vice versa. Objectivity is interrelational and so an interconnected, universal interdependency.


4.3.

The cause-without-measure does not initiate Nature but -as a farmer- singles-out possibilities.

La cause-sans-but n'initie pas la Nature, mais, comme un laboureur, distingue les choix.

De oorzaak-zonder-maat initieert de Natuur niet, maar -zoals een landbouwer- selecteert mogelijkheden.


What is this cause-without-measure ("nimitta"), the driving force of Nature, its primordial will ("âshis"). This force  is the mechanism by which potentialities actualize and are reabsorbed. This "will" not personal, but merely a natural "urge" to ceaselessly transform into myriads of forms. It is a universal pool of reactors constantly and for ever causing woeful transformations.

Feuerstein identified these "incidental causes" with the universal store of subliminal traits ("vâsanâ") caused to exist as a result of the unmeritorious actions of all sentient, samsaric beings. The personal reactors of a particular human are merely a tiny fragment of the total, universal pool of traits, co-extensive with the dynamism of Nature. Hence, the spiritual process is not initiated by this natural & universal urge to transform (but, as will become clear, by the seer). The primordial urge merely singles-out possibilities. This shapes "pathways" of ongoing sufffering. Emancipation neutralizes these canalizing mechanisms by which consciousness remains twisted together with Nature.


4.4.

Individualized consciousness proceeds from the primary I-am-ness.

La conscience individuelle procède du Je-suis unique.

Het individueel bewustzijn komt voort uit het primaire Ik-ben.


As consciousness is transformed to the point of discernment, our teacher explains how the difference between this deluded consciousness (part of the seen) and the seer exists, in particular from where this individual consciousness proceeds.

Individualized consciousness, the deluded mind ("manas"), this fluctuating consciousness ("citta"), our ordinary identity entangled with Nature and its urge to transform, feeding the universal pool of reactors with its own, is ontologically not self-sufficient, but derives from the primary I-am-ness ("asmitâ-mâtra"), i.e. root-consciousness, the seer. It is the latter which makes individuation possible, not Nature, the seen. The seer is, as Sâmkhya calls this, an "I-maker" ("ahamkâra"). Thus, the will to emancipate is rooted in the seer, not in the seen or the primordial will of Nature.

How the deluded mind proceeds from the seer, given their ontological unmixed nature, is unclear. In the Buddhadharma, the personality or common sense of identity is designated on the basis of the coarse mind (volition, affection, cognition, sentience) and the coarse body (form). The uncommon (higher) sense of identity is designated on the basis of the subtle mind and the subtle body. But this subtle sense of identity proceeds from the very subtle, our luminous mind. As all these levels are dependent-arisings and so mixed, the problems haunting the Yoga-Sûtra, with its absolute ontological division between seen & seer, are absent.


4.5.

These individualized consciousnesses are engaged in distinct activities, but the one consciousness is the originator of the others.

Bien que les consciences individuelles soient occupées avec des activités distinctes, cette conscience unique est à l'origine de toutes les autres.

Niettegenstaande deze geindividualiseerde bewustzijnstoestanden bezig zijn met onderscheiden activiteiten, is dit unieke bewustzijn de bron van alle andere.


Our various identities (common ways to adapt our sense of identity to a given outer situation) are distinct, but in fact rooted in the seer, the "one consciousnbess" ("cittam-eka"). Given the subtle body mounted by the subtle mind underpins the coarse body mounted by the coarse mind, and the subtle identity proceeds from the very subtle mind (mounted on the very subtle body), the pre-personal root of consciousness (the deepest level of the mindstream) is the fundamental groundless ground of all states of mind.


4.6.

Of these individualized consciousnesses, that born out of contemplation is without subliminal deposit.

Parmi les consciences individuelles, la conscience née de la contemplation est dénuée de dépôt subliminal.

Onder deze individuele bewustzijnstoestanden is het bewustzijn geboren uit contemplatie zonder subliminaal depot.


All common (individualized) consciousnesses produce sorrow. This because their actions cause a subliminal deposit to be formed. Only yogic practice stops this process of ongoing suffering characterizing Nature, the seen. The common, coarse mind is part of Nature.

A consciousness transformed by practice, in particular realizing contemplation, has no deposit. It does not add to the universal pool of reactors, has stopped feeding Nature and its primordial will (to transform into multiple -suffering- forms). Such a mind no longer participates in the urge of Nature.


Commentary on IV.1 - IV.7 :
Nature's Will & Conscious Action


First transformation itself. The case process is the right view to grasp change, production, transformation, causality etc.

One of Nâgârjuna's crucial theorem states substances or inherently existing objects preclude causation. The middle course is always between substance (inherent existence) and complete non-existence, between eternalism and nihilism (denying existence).

"Neither from itself nor from another,
Nor from both,
Nor without a cause,
Does anything whatever, anywhere arise."

Nâgârjuna : Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ, I.1.

The cause from which objects do rise (i.e. relatively, conventionally exist) is dependent-arising. If reified, inherently existing objects cannot bring forth, then they cannot initiate their own transformation, mutation or change. And if such is the case, then the ultimate (ontic) seer (Îshvara, the Lord) cannot create Nature, (ontic) Nature cannot be in constant flux, nor can deluded consciousness transform into the seer (its own root-consciousness) and realize aloneness.

Given the above theorem has been sufficiently demonstrated, both in logic and in experience, then the core of the Yoga-Sûtra has been incapacitated (for a complete treatment of this issue, consult my papers on emptiness, ultimate logic and metaphysics - chapter 6).

In logic. Married bachelors.

In formal logic, searching after inherently existing substances is like someone looking for a married bachelor to be happy. As the latter cannot be unwed because he is married and he cannot be wed because he is a bachelor, the wish to find one is unreasonable and based on a misconception, for the set of married bachelors is a forteriori empty. This is a proof on the basis of logical contingency. It remains dependent on the choice of logical operators and their truth-values. In quantum logic, married bachelors are possible, for in the complex state before a quantum system is observed, "married" and "unmarried" are superimposed. In a logic rejecting the excluded third, alternative logical solitions are also possible.

In formal logic, the concept "inherently existent objects" involves a contradictio in terminis. If these objects are truly inherently existing, then they must be either the same or distinct from their parts. As they are neither the same nor different from their parts, they cannot logically exist at all and so constitute an empty set. Moreover, insofar as they are inherently existing, they cannot change and so cannot perform functions. As all objects are "objects" because of the conceptual designation of their identity and their functions, it follows no conceptually designated objects can inherently exist and so no inherently existing object can be identified & perform functions. The two are mutually exclusive. So formally, the phrases "inherent existence", "married bachelors", "square circles" or "four-angled triangles" are analytically not well-formed. Although they seem to mean something, they don't. They are all examples of analytical fallacies a priori.

In fact. A hippopotamus in the house.

If substances exist, they must be as easy identifiable as any large object, say a hippopotamus. Suppose a house has ten rooms and someone says there is a hippopotamus in the house. If, after having closed all exits, a healthy, reasonable person is placed in each room and asked to search everywhere for the hippopotamus, and if, after having searched thoroughly, all ten willing observers agree on the fact no hippopotamus was found, then the conclusion there is no hippopotamus in the house must be considered as a posteriori valid. If the claim is made again, and the search is repeated a number of times with identical results, then at some point the absurdity of the claim must become obvious to all reasonable persons and no more searches are made or need to be made to ascertain whether there is a hippopotamus in the house.

Likewise, if after thinking over all possible arguments positing inherent existence honestly, repeatedly & profoundly, no such object is found, then one may reasonably assume such an object cannot be found. Not wanting to posit unfindability, one merely asks : "Show me a single static object !". "Where is the hippopotamus ?"


The substantialist, ontological realism advocated by Patañjali and all other theist mystics has no solid base (in logic and experience). However, as the proof of this cannot be absolute, for arrived at using the argumentum ad absurdum (i.e. identifying absurd consequences and not syllogistic inference), it remains sub specie temporis possible a would-be substance could at some point be found. This is (accepting the restrictions of formal logic) highly unlikely or nearly impossible.

Only if no absurd consequences can be found, can a inherently existing object be rightly (validly) claimed.


Karma and the Yogi


4.7.

The karma of the yogi is neither black or white ; that of the others is threefold.

Le karma du yogi n'est ni noir ni blanc, tandis que celui des autres comprend trois sortes.

Het karma van de yogi is zwart noch wit ; dat van de anderen is drievoudig.


In the human sphere of action, to realize discernment and aloneness, the yogi arrests the process whereby the deluded mind feeds these mechanisms of Nature, katabolic as well as anabolic. Actions of body, speech & mind ("karman") are the medium of entanglement, be they destructive (black) or constructive (white). Because of yogic realizations brought about by specific yogic activities, one breaks away from this mixing with Nature. At this point, the result of one's every action is no longer to be classified under dualistic headings. The actions of the yogi and those of "the others" cannot be compared.

Moreover, in seedless union, no reactor whatsoever can accrue to the yogi. The yogi transcends morality and immorality. He or she is totally a-moral. As a result, these exceptional individuals no longer have to mix with society at large (without being sociopaths, fringe phenomena or outcasts).


4.8.

Thence follows the manifestation only of those subliminal traits corresponding to its fruition.

Donc, seulement suivant les résultats de leur karma, apparaissent les traits subliminaux correspondants.

Dus, subliminale trekken verschijnen enkel in functie van het resultaat van hun karma.


For the common human, constructive actions (of body, speech, mind) cause constructive effects. Destructive actions (of body, speech, mind) cause destructive effects. One suffers in the measure one has made others suffer. The underlying mechanism making this happen is the storehouse-capacity of the deep mind (depth-memory). All actions resonate and are memorized. Powerful actions and habitual action cause subliminal traits to rise and these reactors cause later effects. The law of karma is works likewise for wholesome and unwholesome actions. To transcend this law is beyond the reach of "citta" or "manas", ordinary, coarse consciousness.

Karma is the fundamental cause hindering discernment & aloneness. Because of wrong actions, the mind remains chained to Nature.

Only inwardmindedness and dispassion make it possible to "restrict" these imprints stored by the depth-memory. Seedless union generates a reactor restricting them all ! This is the path of the yogi who moves beyond the automatic mechanisms of suffering found both in Nature and in the coarse mind. Due to this, the yogin escapes Nature (discerns) and finally remains "alone".


4.9.

On account of the uniformity between the depth-memory and the subliminal activators there is a causal relation, even though separated in terms of place, time & birth.

Grâce à l'uniformité entre la mémoire profonde et les réacteurs subliminaux, une relation causale entre la manifestation de l'réacteur et la cause existe, même si cause et effet sont éloignés par espace, temps et naissance.

Dankzij de uniformiteit tussen het diepte-geheugen en de subliminale activatoren bestaat er een causale relatie, zelfs indien (oorzaak en gevolg) gescheiden zijn qua plaats, tijd & geboorte.


Because this depth-memory is the storehouse of all the actions done by all agents of the complete mindstream (and so encompassing all rebirths before awakening) and these imprints are not stored in the mortal physical body (brain) mounted by a coarse mind, these reactive forces, there is no doubt, emerge in the next rebirth. But to do so, they need "secundary causes" accommodating their actualization.

At physical death, the coarse wind upon which the coarse mind was mounted dissipates, and the coarse mind dissolves into the subtle mind mounting a subtle wind (or subtle body). Even at this point, the mind is under the impact of "karmic winds", i.e. the subtle power of karma, urging towards certain effects, some of them unwholesome. These white & black forces cause new mixings with Nature's urge or thirst and rebirth happens. The new "tenant" of the mindstream, separate from the preceding one in terms of space, time & birth, is nevertheless conditioned by the actions of the latter. The lease the new tenant finds unfolding during its earthly existence is determined by those past subliminal seeds activated in its present rebirth. Hence, the mind never escapes what it caused, for the carrier of this is not the winds but the very subtle mind.

With joyous effort, rejecting constant outwardmindedness, the yogi, aware of the luminous mind, breaks away from these heavy & persistent past debts. Thus the stage is set for discernment and aloneness.


4.10.

These are without beginning because of the perpetuity of the primordial will.

Ils sont sans commencement à cause de la perpétuité de la volonté primordiale, inhérente à la Nature.

Door de eeuwigheid van de primordiale wil zijn deze zonder begin.


Nature, both visible & invisible, has this "urge" to ceaselessly transform. This gigantic process is linked with the alternating unfoldment and reabsorption of all of Nature's entities. This is the endless and therefore beginningless process of the appearance, end of appearance & reappearance of Nature.

Because Nature's process of reactors is beginningless, the primordial urge of Nature to change is perpetual. Because of our lack of inwardmindedness, we add to Nature's reactors and become more and more enslaved by them. Due to more outward actions we become more intertwined with the urge of Nature. In this way, we reinforce our participation in Nature's grand cycle of suffering. This involves black, white and grey types of actions.

The yogi breaks away from the samsaric cycle. The distinction between the seen and the seer is the way to do this. When realized, aloneness is the case.


4.11.

Because of the connection with cause, fruit, substratum and support, it follows that with the disappearance of these, the disappearance of those is brought about.

En raison de la liaison entre les traits subliminaux avec cause, fruit, substrat et support, la non-occurence de ceux-ci implique la non-occurence des traits subliminaux.

Dus, door het verband tussen oorzaak, gevolg, substraat en ondersteuning, zullen, wanneer deze verdwijnen, de sublimale trekken ook verdwijnen.


Cause is ignorance. Fruit is the motive of action. Substratum is consciousness and support is the stimulating object presented to the mind. These connect with the production & manifestation of unconscious reactors forming unconscious traits.

The traits ("vâsanâs") can only be gradually attenuated by practice. Only yoga is able to do this. No other technology to purify the mind from its interactions with Nature is available.


Commentary on IV.7 - IV.11 :
Karma and the Yogi


Traditionally, karma is fourfold :

(1) black : the consequences of negative actions as done by evil beings ;
(2) white/black : the results as found in ordinary human beings ;
(3) white : as found in virtuous persons ;
(4) neither black or white : as found in the adept (master) yogi. As the latter has transcended morality, he or she is not moral or immoral but a-moral.

There exists a connection between the subliminal traits and the consequences of an act in terms of retribution. The reactors, combining into traits, are the material of the action-deposit ("karma-âshaya"). They take effect in accordance with the moral "color" of the antecedent volitional activity. Moreover, the traits  form a causal nexus irrespective of the span of time between the action (the origination of the trait) and its taking effect. The latter is also independent of the environmental setting. The law of karmic retribution extends to all one's future lives ! The reactors are beginningless because the super-personal urge of Nature to ceaselessly transform itself and actualize its infinite potential is also without beginning.

In the Yogâcâra school of Buddhism, the aggregate of consciousness (in which volition, affection & cognition are reflected) is subdivided in eight levels of consciousness.

The first six (five sense consciousnesses and one mental consciousness) form the coarse mind and its gross, empirical sense of self-identity, called "ego". The latter is rooted in the sixth consciousness.

This empirical sense of ego, when reified (substantiated) forms the seventh consciousness, the deep sense of self-identity, rooted in our affects & personalized cognitive processes. This is the ontic ego, a deeper, subconscious sense of identity. It becomes conscious as soon as the empirical ego feels threatened, attacked or abused. Usually, it operates in the background as a certain feeling & thought regarding our personal existence. It could be called the "I-maker" ("ahamkâra").

The causes of sorrow ("klesha") "drive" the activities of these seven levels. Either because of the subsequent constant involvement with Nature (Patañjali) or because of the constant reifications at these levels (Buddha), reactors ("samskâra") are formed and deposited in the unconscious action-deposit ("karman-âshaya"), the so-called "storehouse-consciousness" ("âlâya-vijñâna") of Mind-Only or "mind-substratum". This disperses traits & dispositions ("vâsanâ") onto the mind-substratum. The reactors combined into traits, the very material of the action-deposit, cause renewed action, closing the vicious circle of suffering.

The mind-substratum is the eight level of consciousness. It contains the information & energy causing a new rebirth of the same mindstream. But this mind is not the primordial root of consciousness, the luminous mind. This is revealed (shines through) when the mind-substratum is emptied of action-deposit.

For our teacher this comes about when the mind radically disconnects from Nature. For Lord Buddha, it spontaneously happens when the mind ends self-cherishing, intellectual self-grasping, innate self-grasping and dualistic appearances (the reification of duality itself).


Real Objectivity


4.12.

Past and future as such exist, because of the difference in the paths of the forms.

Le passé et le futur existent en soi à cause des différences entre les chemins des formes.

Door de verschillen in de paden van de vormen, bestaan verleden en toekomst op zich.


The reality of time results from the ever self-modifying primary substance of Nature, the world-ground.


4.13.

These are manifest or subtle and composed of the gunas.

Ces formes de la Nature sont différenciées ou subtiles et ont la nature des gunas.

Deze vormen zijn manifest of subtiel en zijn van de natuur van de gunas.


4.14.

The "that-ness" of an object derives from the homogeneity in the transformation.

Un objet s'objective parce que la transformation des gunas est homogène.

Het "dat-zijn" van een object wordt afgeleid van de homogeniteit in de transformatie.


Commentary on IV.12 - IV.14 :
Real Objectivity


The movements of Nature are not random, but the forms, visible & invisible, are guna-based and follow a pattern whereby transformations quickly repeat themselves, generating a homogeneous movement experienced as a distinct object.

Our teacher is a realist. Space, time, the "gunas" and the "thatness" of entities are not merely projections of the mind, but inherently existing things "out there". To be "real", they have to be substances. That only dependent-arisings can be consistently viewed as realities eludes him. Indeed, substance-based realism defies its own purpose. Only dependent-arising or process-based realism is able to pass the test of logic and be found in experience.


Phenomenology of Consciousness


4.15.

In view of the multiplicity of consciousness as opposed to the singleness of an object, both belong to separate levels.

En vue de la multiplicité de la conscience par rapport à l'unicité d'un objet perçu, les objets appartiennent à des niveaux séparés de la Nature.

Gezien de multipliciteit van het bewustzijn in tegenstelling tot de enkelvoudigheid van een object, behoren beide tot onderscheiden strata van de Natuur.


Objects are not merely (as ontological idealism like Vedânta claims) the products of the mind. When the same object is experienced by many different minds, one should not assume all of them experience that object in the same way. Each mind more or less constructs its own reality. Of course, overlapping exists, and this shared reality can be communicated to others.

Mind, consciousness & mental objects, insofar as they are deluded and so different from the seer, belong to a part of Nature distinct from matter & sensate objects. Consciousness & matter belong to distinct levels of Nature.


4.16.

And the object is not dependent on a single consciousness. This is unprovable. Besides, what could this possibly be ?

Et l'objet ne dépend pas d'une seule conscience ; cela ne peut être prouvé ; et (s'il en était autrement) qu'en adviendrait-il ?

En het object hangt niet af van één enkel bewustzijn. Dit kan niet worden bewezen, en indien toch, wat zou dit dan mogelijk kunnen zijn ?


Again, the idealist school of later Buddhism, the Yogâcâra (Mind-Only), is rejected. How can one speak of an object if it is nothing but an idea in the One Mind ? Our teacher has identified the truth-core of realism. If objects have any objectivity, then they must possess an extra-mental component. Likewise, if mentalities are truly subjective, then they must possess an extra-objective component.

It should be remarked Mind-Only is not idealistic in the sense of Berkeley, Hegel or Vedânta, all rejecting objectivity an existence of its own. What the Yogâcârins are saying is this : reality-as-it-is, or absolute reality (Kant's "Ding-an-sich") lies outside our common experience. When we experience a sensate object, we experience our own construction of that object, or reality-for-us ("Ding-für-uns"). Due to common traces & dispositions we share and so different sentient beings experience things differently. The world is a construction of our mind, but this does not take away objectivity is out. Things do possess their own determinations & conditions, and because of our contaminated minds we do not experience these but our superimpositions on them. A Buddha, who stopped reifying altogether, merely prehends reality as it is, without any mental overlays. And this absolute reality is not merely an absolute mind, but an absolute mind prehending "that what is" ("dharmadhâtu").


4.17.

An object is known or not by reason of the required coloration of consciousness by it.

Un objet est connu ou pas, en raison de la coloration acquise par la conscience de cet objet.

Een object wordt gekend of niet afhankelijk van de kleuring verworven door het bewustzijn van dit object.


Vyâsa compares the object with a magnet. Consciousness is a piece of iron. It is attracted to the object and held captive by it.


4.18.

Because of the immutability of Purusa, the fluctuations of consciousness are always known by its "superior".

Le Purusa n'est pas le résultat de conséquences et donc toutes les fluctuations de la conscience lui sont connues.

Purusa is niet het resultaat van consequenties en dus zijn alle fluctuaties van het bewustzijn Purusa bekend.


The seer ("purusa", "âtman") is here called the "superior" ("prabhu") of ordinary consciousness ("manas", "citta"). Now Patañjali claims that precisely because of the immutability of the seer, the flux is always known by this self. The reasoning is clear : if the seer would also change, there would be no stable point and so no possibility to know the fluctuations.  The Buddha would reply such a reference is indeed necessary, but its reification not. One does not need an absolutely stable position to be able to compare and know, but merely a relatively stable identity confronting relatively changing objects. The ordinary ego suffices. It is designated on impermanent aggregates, but nevertheless is a relatively stable dependent-arising. Of course, this changes moment by moment, and so does our (conventional) knowledge. But despite these changes, some elements perdure longer than others and so the knowledge acquired about these will also last longer. Besides this, our deluded eightfold mind functions against the full-empty (non-substantial but interconnected) luminous mind. This is an absolute reference recognized when awakening is the case. It is absolute, not in a substantial sense, but merely as a continuous (uncontaminated) dependent-arising.

Again note the problem of the incommensurability between the seer & the seen. Ontologically different entities can not be correlated or compared in any way. Thus the seer, absolutely isolated from Nature, cannot know the seen in any way. No medium exists to effectuate this. As our luminous mind is an uncontaminated dependent-arising, it is always working in the background of our mind, a contaminated dependent-arising. No ontological gap exists and so both may interact & communicate. In fact, to recognize this root-consciousness or very subtle mind of Clear Light, the union of bliss & emptiness, and to fully rest in this recognition (by completely, wholeheartedly surrendering to it), is awakening, is Buddhahood. In no way is Nature a fundamental hindrance, but merely a relative distraction to be dealt with by way of practicing right renunciation, generating Bodhicitta and meditating on emptiness (to the point of actually "seeing" it, i.e. prehending the vast network of dependent origination, the so-called "Net of Indra").


4.19.

That fluctuating consciousness has no self-luminosity because of its seenness.

Cette conscience n'est pas lumineuse d'elle-même, car elle est le perçu.

Omdat het gezien wordt, heeft dat fluctuerend bewustzijn zelf geen luminositeit.


4.20.

And so it is impossible to cognise both consciousness and its object simultaneously.

La compréhension des deux n'est donc pas possible en même temps.

Een simultaan begrip van het bewustzijn en zijn object is onmogelijk.


The deluded mind only cognizes because it borrows this capacity from the root of consciousness. In absolute terms, Buddha would agree. Fundamentally, the capacity to cognize, the mind's clarity, is not rooted in the coarse ego or the subtle self, but in the luminous mind. In a relative, conventional sense, every relatively stable identity may cognize another less stable object. And so conventional cognition (apprehension) is possible without invoking the root of consciousness, i.e. ultimate cognition (prehension).

The mind (part of Nature) is seen by the seer and only exists to illumine objects. Hence, it has no capacity to see itself, i.e. shed light upon itself. The seer cannot become the object of any other, extraneous consciousness.

Buddha's prehend conventional objects and subjects. At the same time they also prehend their emptiness (or lack of inherent existence). This is not a mere absence, a void, but an unbounded wholeness, a luminous emptiness. Moreover, Buddha's also prehend other Buddha's for they are not isolated substances, but universally interconnected holomovements. In every jewel of the Net of Indra all other jewels are reflected. Hence, in every Buddha-mind all other luminous minds are reflected ... All Buddha's constantly and endlessly dance together. Although each has a particular wisdom-mind, they all share the same full-empty process-nature.


4.21.

If consciousness were perceived by another this would lead to a regress from cognition to cognition, confusing memory.

Si la conscience peut percevoir une autre conscience on n'en finit jamais, ce qui rend la mémoire confuse.

Indien het bewustzijn door een ander zou waargenomen worden, dan zou dit tot een regressie van kennis naar kennis leiden, wat het geheugen zou verwarren.


This argument holds in the ultimate, absolute sense. We need to posit an ultimate luminous mind if we wish to understand how prehension (absolute cognition or the activity of Buddha-mind) is possible. Conventionally however, apperception is possible even if we thereby cause a regressus ad infinitum. This merely points to the incomplete, relative, problematic & logically unsatisfactory nature of conventional thought, even if the latter is the foundation of science & philosophy. Indeed, genuine intellectuals realize the fragility & limited possibilities of empirico-formal thought. They are therefore always humble and open to changing their views. They reject dogmatism & skepticism, always remaining critical and therefore demarcating their domain as accurately as possible.


4.22.

When the unchanging awareness assumes the shape of that consciousness, experience of one's own cognitions becomes possible.

Quand la conscience immuable assume la forme de cette conscience, l'expérience de ses propres actes cognitifs est possible.

Wanneer het onbeweeglijk bewustzijn de vorm van dit bewustzijn aanneemt, dan wordt kennis van de eigen ervaringen mogelijk.


How an unchanging mind may assume anything is unclear. Our teacher says there is a proximity between consciousness & seer. Although unmixed & unbleded ("asamkîrna"), he proposes a "conformity" ("sârûpya") or "correlation" ("samyoga") to describe the seer's apparent loss of autonomy & isolation. But given the seer's inherent existence, there can be no actual change or diminution whatsoever. This paradox is again the outcome of consequent essentialism. Our teacher does identify logical problems, but apparently not those affecting the core of his own system !


4.23.

Provided consciousness is coloured by the "seer" & the "seen", it can perceive any object.

Colorée par le voyant et le vu, la conscience peut voir tous les objets.

Wanneer het bewustzijn gekleurd is door de "ziener" en het "geziene", dan kan het elk object waarnemen.


From the perspective of finite, common consciousness, the correlation between the seer & the seen manifests as a "coloration" ("uparâga") of the mind by the seer. The deluded mind reverses the true relationship. Due to ignorance, it arrogates to itself the role of seer, turning the seer into an object. Another coloration of this ignorant mind is by external objects.


4.24.

That consciousness, though speckled with countless subliminal traits, has its own other-purpose due to (being limited to) its collaborate activity.

Etant limitée à des activités de collaboration, la conscience, teintée par les réacteurs subliminaux, a néanmoins son propre but pour les autres.

Dat bewustzijn, niettegenstaande bevlekt met ontelbare subliminale trekken, heeft, door zijn samenwerkende activiteiten, zijn eigen gerichtheid op de andere.


Consciousness is not self-sufficient, nor exists for its own sake, i.e. as the effect of the cycle of suffering. It serves the dual purpose (II.18) of world experience or its negation (in spiritual emancipation). This other-purpose of consciousness is due to it being a composite process, and not singular as the seer.


Discernment


4.25.

For him who sees the distinction, there comes about the discontinuation of the cultivation of the false self-sense.

Pour celui qui voit la distinction, une discontinuation de la projection du faux Soi surgit.

Voor diegene die het onderscheid ziet, ontstaat een onderbreking van de projectie van het valse Zelf.


In seedless union, the vision of discernment between transformed consciousness (or pure "sattva") and the seer ends the false sense of self.


4.26.

Then consciousness -inclined towards discernment- is borne onwards towards aloneness.

Puis en acquérant le discernement, la conscience s'incline vers l'esseulement.

Dan, door het onderscheidingsvermogen te verwerven, neigt het bewustzijn tot het isolement.


4.27.

In the intervals of that consciousness, other thoughts may arise from the reactors.

D'autres notions nouvelles provenant des réacteurs subliminaux peuvent apparaître dans les interstices de cette conscience évoluante.

In de intervallen van dat bewustzijn kunnen andere noties uit de reactoren oprijzen.


Before seedless union spontaneously happens, the yogi may oscillate between subtle and ultra-subtle union. By cultivating the reactor of restriction ("nirodha-samskâra") the externalization of consciousness is inhibited, triggering contentless awareness (ultra-subtle union). When the reactors of restriction outweigh those of emergence, consciousness starts to completely dissolve. What remains is not unconscious stupor but the intense, objectless lucidity of the seer.


4.28.

Their cessation is achieved in the same way as described for the causes of sorrow.

Leur cessation doit être envisagée comme il a été dit concernant les causes de malheur.

Hun beëindiging moet worden bereikt op dezelfde manier als beschreven voor de oorzaken van het lijden.


The end of these other thoughts is achieved by pursuing the practice of the vision of discernment (as in II.10).


4.29.

Always non-usurious even in that consciousness & through the vision of discernment, a union designated as "cloud of Dharma" ensues.

L'union désignée comme le "nuage du Dharma" est atteinte par le yogi qui -par la vision du discernement- reste toujours non-attaché, même dans l'état d'élévation suprême.

De eenwording genaamd "wolk van Dharma" wordt bereikt door de yogi die -door het onderscheidmakend visioen- voordurend onthecht is, zelfs in zo'n verheven staat.


The consummate phase of seedless union is designated as "cloud of Dharma". It immediately precedes the aloneness of the power of seeing. The world "dharma-megha" figures prominently in Mâhâyana sûtras. It is also the name given to the Tenth Bodhisattva Ground preceding Buddhahood.


4.30.

Hence the discontinuation of the causes of sorrow and of karma.

Par ce fait, les causes de malheur et le karma ne sont plus.

Hierdoor bestaan de oorzaken van het lijden en het karma niet meer.


4.31.

Then, when all coverings of imperfection are removed, little remains to be known because of the infinity of knowledge.

Puis, étant libéré du recouvrement de l'imperfection, il reste très peu de choses à connaître du fait que la connaissance qui en résulte est infinie.

Dan, vrij van de bedekking van de onvolmaaktheid, blijft er, door de oneindigheid van de kennis, slechts weinig te kennen over.


4.32.

Hence the termination of the sequences in the transformation of the gunas, whose purpose is fulfilled.

Ensuite vient la fin des séquences dans les transformations des gunas, qui ont atteint leur but.

Dan komt het einde van de opeenvolgingen in de transformaties van de gunas, wiens doel voldragen is.


4.33.

"Sequence" means that which is correlative to the moment, apprehensible at the terminal point of a transformation.

Par "séquence", on entend ce qui est correlatif au moment du temps, connu au point final d'une transformation particulière.

Onder "opeenvolging" wordt verstaan dat wat co-relatief is met het moment, gekend op het eindpunt van een transformatie.


Why our teacher, at this point, defines in a nutshell the relation between the moment, the unit of time, and the sequence, the unit of transformation, as "correlative" ("pratiyogin") is unclear. Perhaps this sûtra is interpolated. It would have been better placed in the section on transformation.


4.34.

The process-of-evolution of the gunas, devoid of the purpose for Purusa, is aloneness, the establishment of the power of awareness in its own form. End.

Le processus d'évolution des gunas devenu inutile au Purusa s'appelle esseulement ; ceci est l'établisement du pouvoir de la conscience dans sa propre forme. Fin.

Wanneer het proces van evolutie voor Purusa geen doel meer heeft, is er het isolement, de totstandkoming van de kracht van het bewustzijn in zijn eigen vorm. Einde.


Aloneness happens after the physical body has died. Like in all theist traditions, this-life awakening is deemed impossible. The reason is simple : as Nature is the culprit, only the end of our physical connection with it generates final liberation.


Translations :

English - French - Dutch


English Translation


BOOK I

1.1. Now (begins) an exposition of Yoga.

1.2. Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.

1.3. Then the seer stands in his own form.

1.4. At other times, there is conformity with this flux.

1.5.This flux is fivefold ; afflicted or non-afflicted.

1.6. They are : valid cognition, misconception, conceptualization, sleep & memory.

1.7. Valid cognition is based on perception, inference and testimony.

1.8. Misconception is false knowledge not based on the appearance of its object.

1.9. Conceptualization is without perceivable object, following verbal knowledge.

1.10. Sleep is a fluctuation resting on the thought of non-occurrence.

1.11. Remembering is not being deprived of the experienced object.

1.12. Restrict these through practice & dispassion.

1.13. Practice is the effort to gain stability in that restriction.

1.14. This is firmly grounded only when cultivated properly & for a long time uninterruptedly.

1.15. Dispassion is the smart volition of one without thirst for sensate & revealed objects.

1.16. Superior to that is non-thirsting for the strata of Nature resulting from the vision of Purusa.

1.17. Union-with-seed (arising out of this restriction) is called "cognitive" by being connected with cogitation, reflection, joy & I-am-ness.

1.18. The other (union-without-seed) has a residuum of reactors & follows the former when the thought of cessation is practiced.

1.19. The union of those who have merged with Nature & those who are bodiless is due to their focus on the thought of becoming.

1.20. Union-without-seed is preceded by faith, energy, mindfulness, union-with-seed & supra-cognition.

1.21. This is near to him who is extremely vehement in Yoga.

1.22. Because this can be modest, medium or excessive, the result differs.

1.23. Or union through devotion to the Lord.

1.24. The Lord is a special Purusa untouched by the causes of sorrow, karma & its fruition and the deposit in the depth-memory.

1.25. In Him the seed of all-knowing is unsurpassed.

1.26. He was also the mentor of the earlier ones by virtue of His temporal non-boundedness.

1.27. His word is OM.

1.28. Recite it to realize its meaning.

1.29. Hence the attainment of inwardmindedness and also the disappearance of the get betweens.

1.30. Sickness, languor, doubt, heedlessness, sloth, dissipation, false vision, non-attaining the stages of Yoga and instability are the distractions of consciousness ; these are the obstacles.

1.31. Pain, depression, tremor of the limbs, wrong inhalation & exhalation jointly become with the distractions.

1.32. In order to counteract these, practice (concentration) on a single principle.

1.33. To show friendliness, compassion, gladness and equanimity -be they joyful, sorrowful, meritorious or demeritorious- pacifies consciousness.

1.34. Controlled expulsion & retention of breath.

1.35. Or it comes about when a heightened sensoric activity has arisen which holds the mind steady.

1.36. Or by the sorrowless & illuminating.

1.37. Or when consciousness is directed to those who conquered attachment.

1.38. Or when resting on knowledge arising from dream & sleep.

1.39. Or through contemplation as desired.

1.40. His mastery extends from the most minute to the greatest magnitude.

1.41. And when fluctuations have dwindled, consciousness is like a transparent jewel ; there results with reference to the "grasper", "grasping" and the "grasped" a coincidence with that on which consciousness abides & by which it is "anointed".

1.42. So long there is conceptual knowledge based on the meaning of words, the state is called "coincidence mixed with cogitation", or conceptual union.

1.43. When the depth-memory is purified, as it were empty of its essence and the object alone is shining forth, the state is empty of cogitations, or non-conceptual union.

1.44. Thus by these forms the other two types of union, subtle & ultra-subtle are explained ; they use subtle objects.

1.45. And the subtle objects terminate in the undifferentiate.

1.46. These forms of coincidence (conceptual, non-conceptual, subtle & ultra-subtle) verily are with seed.

1.47. When there is a autumnal brightness in ultra-subtle union, the state is the clarity of the inner being.

1.48. This state of supra-cognition is truth-bearing.

1.49. The scope of this differs from that gained from what one heard & inferred ; this owing to its particular purposiveness.

1.50. The reactor born from that binds all others.

1.51. When also this is restricted, owing to the restriction of all, union-without-seed ensues.

BOOK II

2.1. Ascesis, self-study and devotion to Îshvara constitute the Yoga of Action.

2.2. This Yoga aims at cultivating union & attenuating the causes of sorrow.

2.3. Nescience, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion, the will-to-live are the five causes of sorrow.

2.4. Nescience is the field of the other causes ; they can be dormant, thin, cut off or aroused.

2.5. Nescience is the seeing of the eternal, pure, joyful and the Âtman in the ephemeral, impure, sorrowful and the non-Âtman.

2.6. I-am-ness is the identification as it were of the seer and the capacity of seeing.

2.7. Attachment is that which rests upon pleasant experiences.

2.8. Aversion rests on sorrowful experiences.

2.9. Thus the will-to-live, flowing along by its own inclination, is rooted even in the sages.

2.10. The subtle form of these (causes of affliction), namely the reactors & thoughts during union, has to be overcome by the process of (spiritual) counter-flow.

2.11. The crude form of these causes of sorrow are to be left behind by contemplation.

2.12. The causes of sorrow are the root of the action-deposit and this may be experienced in this or in a future incarnation.

2.13. So long as the root exist there is fruition from it in the form of birth, a span of life and enjoyment.

2.14. These have delight or distress as results, according to the meritorious or demeritorous causes.

2.15. Because of the sorrow present in the transformation of Nature, in its anguish, in its reactors and due to the conflict between the movements of Nature, to the discerner all is merely sorrow.

2.16. What is to be abandoned is the sorrow yet to come.

2.17. The correlation made between the seer and the seen is the cause of that which is to be overcome.

2.18. The seen has the character of brightness, activity & inertia ; is embodied in elements & sense-organs and serves the purpose of enjoyment and emancipation.

2.19. The strata of Nature are : the particularized, unparticularized, differentiate & undifferentiate.

2.20. The seer is sheer seeing, but though pure sees through the mind (and its thoughts).

2.21. The essence of the seen is only for the sake of this seer.

2.22. Although the seen has ceased to exist for he who has accomplished his purpose, it has nevertheless not ceased to exist, since it is a common experience to all others.

2.23. The correlation causes the seer to apprehend the own form of the power of the owner and of the owned.

2.24. The cause of this is ignorance.

2.25. When this disappears the correlation ceases ; this is cessation, the aloneness of seeing.

2.26. The means of cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment.

2.27. For he who possesses this there arises, in the last stage, prajñâ, which is sevenfold.

2.28. Through the performance of the members of Yoga and with the dwindling of impurity, the radiance of true knowledge comes about, up to the vision of discernment.

2.29. Restraints, observances, posture, breath-control, sense-withdrawal, concentration, contemplation & union are the eight.

2.30. Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and greedlessness are the restraints.

2.31. Valid in all spheres, irrespective of birth, place, time and circumstance are these. They are the great vow.

2.32. Purity, contentment, austerity, self-study and devotion to the Lord are the observances.

2.33. For the repelling of unwholesome thoughts cultivate the opposite.

2.34. Thoughts such as harming et cetera, whether done, caused to be done or approved, whether arising from greed, anger or delusion, whether modest, medium or excessive - these find their unending fruition in nescience and sorrow ; so cultivate the opposite.

2.35. When grounded in non-harming, all enmity is abandoned in one's presence.

2.36. When grounded in truthfulness, one masters action & its fruition.

2.37. When grounded in non-stealing, all jewels appear.

2.38. When grounded in chastity, vitality is obtained.

2.39. When settled in greedlessness one secures knowledge of the wherefore of one's births.

2.40. Purity gives a distance towards one's limbs and the desire of non-defilement by others.

2.41. Furthermore, also purity of beingness, gladness, one-pointedness, mastery of the sense-organs & the capability of seeing one's Âtman are achieved.

2.42. Through contentment unexcelled joy is gained.

2.43. Through austerity, as impurity dwindles, power over body & sense-organs.

2.44. Through self-study a contact with the chosen deity.

2.45. Through the devotion for the Lord, union.

2.46. Posture is steady and comfortable.

2.47. This is accompanied by the relaxation of tension & the coinciding with the endless.

2.48. Hence, the pairs of opposites are unable to strike.

2.49. When this is achieved, breath-control (the cutting off of the flow of inhalation & exhalation) should be practised.

2.50. Breath-control is external, internal & fixed in its flux, it is regulated by place, time & number, it can be protracted or contracted.

2.51. Transcending the external and the internal sphere is called "the fourth".

2.52. So the covering of the (inner) light disappears.

2.53. And the mind is fit for concentration.

2.54. Sense-withdrawal is the imitation as it were by the sense-organs of the own form of consciousness by disuniting from their objects.

2.55. Hence the supreme obedience of the sense-organs.

BOOK III

3.1. Concentration is the binding of consciousness to a single spot.

3.2. Here, the one-directionality of the thoughts related to the object of concentration is contemplation.

3.3. That, shining forth as the object of concentration -as it were empty of its own form- is union.

3.4. The three together are constraint.

3.5. Through mastery of that prajñâ flashes forth.

3.6. Its progression is gradual.

3.7. Compared with the previous members these three are inner.

3.8. Yet in relation to union-without-seed they are outer members.

3.9. The restriction-transformation connected with consciousness in its moment of restriction is the subjugation of the reactors of emergence & the outgoing of that of restriction.

3.10. The calm flow of this is effected through reactors.

3.11. Union-transformation is the dwindling of all-objectness and the uprising of one-pointedness.

3.12. Then, when the quiescent and the uprisen thoughts are similar, the one-pointedness-transformation of consciousness occurs.

3.13. By this are explained the transformations of form, time-variation & condition with regard to the elements and the sense-organs.

3.14. The form-bearer is that which follows the quiescent, the uprisen or the indeterminable.

3.15. The cause of the difference in the transformations is the differences in the sequence.

3.16. Through constraint on the three forms of transformation comes knowledge of past & future.

3.17. The sound, the object & the thought are superimposed on one another in a confused way. Through constraint on the distinction of these, there arises knowledge of the sounds of all living beings.

3.18. Through a perception of the reactors, knowledge of previous births.

3.19. Through the thoughts of another, knowledge of his consciousness.

3.20. But not of that which supports this, for it is absent from it.

3.21. Through constraint on the form of the body, upon the suspension of the capacity to be perceived, meaning the disruption of the light travelling from that body to the eye, invisibility.

3.22. Karma is acute or deferred. Through constraint thereon, or from omens, knowledge of the time of death.

3.23. Through constraint on friendliness etc., the powers of that quality.

3.24. Through constraint on the power of the elephant etc., the strength of it.

3.25. By focusing the flashing-forth of mental activities on any object, knowledge of its subtle, concealed & distant aspects.

3.26. Through constraint on the Sun, knowledge of the world.

3.27. Through constraint on the Moon, knowledge of the arrangement of the stars.

3.28. Through constraint on the pole-star, knowledge of their movement.

3.29. Through constraint on the navel wheel, knowledge of the organization of the body.

3.30. Through constraint on the throat wheel, the cessation of hunger & thirst.

3.31. Through constraint on the tortoise duct, steadiness.

3.32. Through constraint on the light in the head, vision of the perfected ones.

3.33. Or in a flash-of-illumination all is known.

3.34. Through constraint on the heart, understanding of consciousness.

3.35. Experience is a thought based on the non-distinction between absolutely unblended Purusa & beingness. Knowledge of Purusa comes from constraint on the own-purpose of Purusa, apart from the other-purposiveness of Nature.

3.36. Hence, a flash-of-illumination in hearing, sensing, sight, taste & smell.

3.37. These are obstacles to union but attainments in the waking-state.

3.38. Consciousness can enter another's body on relaxation of the cause of attachment and through the experience of going forth.

3.39. Through mastery of the up-breath, one gains the power of non-adhesion to water, mud & thorns and levitation.

3.40. Through mastery of the mid-breath one acquires effulgence.

3.41. Through constraint on the relation between ear and ether, the Divine ear.

3.42. Through constraint on the relation between body and ether and through the coincidence with light objects such as cotton, the power of traversing the ether.

3.43. An external, non-imaginary fluctuation is the "great incorporeal" from which comes the dwindling of the coverings of the (inner) light.

3.44. Through constraint on the coarse, the own form, the subtle, the connectedness and the purposiveness of objects, mastery over the elements.

3.45. Hence the manifestation of powers such as atomisation etc., the perfection of the body and the indestructibility of its constituents.

3.46. Beauty, gracefulness and adamant robustness are the perfection of the body.

3.47. Through constraint on the process of perception, the own-form, I-am-ness, connectedness & purposiveness, mastery over the senses.

3.48. Hence fleetness of mind lacking sense-organs & mastery over the matrix of Nature.

3.49. For he who has merely the vision of discernment between Purusa & beingness the supremacy over all states and omniscience ensues.

3.50. Through dispassion even to that, with the dwindling of the seed of the defects, aloneness.

3.51. The invitation of the high-placed gives no cause of attachment or pride, because of the renewed and undesired inclination.

3.52. Through constraint on the moment and its sequence, knowledge born of discernment.

3.53. Hence the awareness of the difference between similars which cannot normally be distinguished due to the continuity of the distinctions of class, appearance & position.

3.54. The knowledge born of discernment is the "deliverer" and is omni-objective, omni-temporal and non-sequential.

3.55. Thus, with the equality in the purity of beingness & Purusa, aloneness.

BOOK IV

4.1. The powers are the result of birth, herbs, mantra, ascesis or union.

4.2. The transformation into another category of existence is possible because Nature is superabundant.

4.3. The cause-without-measure does not initiate Nature but -as a farmer- singles-out possibilities.

4.4. Individualized consciousness proceeds from the primary I-am-ness.

4.5. These individualized consciousnesses are engaged in distinct activities, but the one consciousness is the originator of the others.

4.6. Of these individualized consciousnesses, that born out of contemplation is without subliminal deposit.

4.7. The karma of the yogi is neither black or white ; that of the others is threefold.

4.8. Thence follows the manifestation only of those subliminal traits corresponding to its fruition.

4.9. On account of the uniformity between the depth-memory and the subliminal activators there is a causal relation, even though separated in terms of place, time & birth.

4.10. These are without beginning because of the perpetuity of the primordial will.

4.11. Because of the connection with cause, fruit, substratum and support, it follows that with the disappearance of these, the disappearance of those is brought about.

4.12. Past and future as such exist, because of the difference in the paths of the forms.

4.13. These are manifest or subtle and composed of the gunas.

4.14. The "that-ness" of an object derives from the homogeneity in the transformation.

4.15. In view of the multiplicity of consciousness as opposed to the singleness of an object, both belong to separate levels.

4.16. And the object is not dependent on a single consciousness. This is unprovable. Besides, what could this possibly be ?

4.17. An object is known or not by reason of the required coloration of consciousness by it.

4.18. Because of the immutability of Purusa, the fluctuations of consciousness are always known by its "superior".

4.19. That fluctuating consciousness has no self-luminosity because of its seenness.

4.20. And so it is impossible to cognise both consciousness and its object simultaneously.

4.21. If consciousness were perceived by another this would lead to a regress from cognition to cognition, confusing memory.

4.22. When the unchanging awareness assumes the shape of that consciousness, experience of one's own cognitions becomes possible.

4.23. Provided consciousness is coloured by the "seer" & the "seen", it can perceive any object.

4.24. That consciousness, though speckled with countless subliminal traits, has its own other-purpose due to (being limited to) its collaborate activity.

4.25. For him who sees the distinction, there comes about the discontinuation of the cultivation of the false self-sense.

4.26. Then consciousness -inclined towards discernment- is borne onwards towards aloneness.

4.27. In the intervals of that consciousness, other thoughts may arise from the reactors.

4.28. Their cessation is achieved in the same way as described for the causes of sorrow.

4.29. Always non-usurious even in that consciousness & through the vision of discernment, a union designated as "cloud of Dharma" ensues.

4.30. Hence the discontinuation of the causes of sorrow and of karma.

4.31. Then, when all coverings of imperfection are removed, little remains to be known because of the infinity of knowledge.

4.32. Hence the termination of the sequences in the transformation of the gunas, whose purpose is fulfilled.

4.33. "Sequence" means that which is correlative to the moment, apprehensible at the terminal point of a transformation.

4.34. The process-of-evolution of the gunas, devoid of the purpose for Purusa, is aloneness, the establishment of the power of awareness in its own form. End.


French Translation


LIVRE I

1.1. Ici commence un exposé sur le Yoga.

1.2. Le Yoga est la restriction des fluctuations de (dans) la conscience.

1.3. Dans ce cas, le voyant s'établit dans sa forme propre.

1.4. Sinon, il existe conformité entre le voyant et ces fluctuations.

1.5. Les fluctuations sont de cinq sortes, ayant les caractéristiques d'affliction ou de non-affliction.

1.6. Les fluctuations sont : la cognition valable, l'opinion erronée, la conceptualisation, le sommeil et la mémoire.

1.7. Une cognition valable est basée sur la perception, l'inférence et le témoignage.

1.8. Une opinion erronée est une connaissance fausse qui n'est pas basée sur l'apparence réelle de son objet.

1.9. La conceptualisation est sans objet et suit uniquement la connaissance des mots.

1.10. Le sommeil est une fluctuation basée sur la notion de la non-occurence d'autres contenus de la conscience.

1.11. La mémoire est la non-déprivation de l'objet vécu.

1.12. La restriction de tout cela vient par la pratique et le détachement.

1.13.La pratique est l'effort d'atteindre la stabilité dans l'état de restriction.

1.14. Ceci devient une assise ferme si cultivée proprement pendant longtemps sans interruption.

1.15.Le détachement est la connaissance de la maîtrise de celui qui n'a pas soif d'objets physiques et révélés.

1.16. La forme supérieure implique que l'on n'est pas assoiffé des plans de la Nature, ce qui résulte de la vision du Purusa.

1.17. L'union-avec-semence -émergeant de l'état de restriction- est "cognitive" et s'oriente vers l'objet. Elle est connectée avec la cogitation, la réflection, la joie et le Je-suis.

1.18. L'union-sans-semence a un résidu de réacteurs subliminaux et suit l'union déjà mentionnée quand la notion de cessation est pratiquée.

1.19. L'union-avec-semence de ceux qui se sont fondus avec la Nature et ceux qui sont sans corps est causée par la persistance de la notion du devenir.

1.20. L'union-sans-semence est précédée par la foi, l'énergie, l'attention mentale, l'union-avec-semence et prajñâ.

1.21. L'union est proche pour celui qui la pratique avec une grande ardeur.

1.22. Parce que cette ardeur peut être menue, moyenne ou intense, il y a une différence dans la proximité de cette union.

1.23. Ou l'union est atteinte par l'abandon complet en Isvara, le Seigneur.

1.24. Îshvara, suprême Purusa, n'est pas touché par les causes de malheur, les actions et leurs effets et le dépôt dans la mémoire profonde.

1.25. En Lui le germe de l'omniscience n'a jamais été surpassé.

1.26. Il est aussi le guru des premiers et Il n'est pas conditionné par le temps.

1.27. Son nom est OM.

1.28. Sa récitation mène à la réalisation de sa signification.

1.29. Ainsi un recueillement habituel se fait et les obstacles disparaissent.

1.30. Maladie, langueur, doute, négligence, paresse, dissipation, fausse vision, ne pas atteindre les stades du Yoga et instabilité, sont les distractions de la conscience, ce sont les obstacles mentionnés.

1.31. La douleur, la dépression, des tremblements du corps, une mauvaise inspiration ou expiration sont les symptomes qui vont de pair avec les distractions susmentionnées.

1.32. Pour les écarter, pratiquer la concentration sur un seul principe.

1.33. Montrer gentillesse, compassion, contentement et sérénité -d'une façon joyeuse, triste, méritoire ou déméritoire- fait que la conscience est pacifiée.

1.34. Ou l'union est atteinte par l'inspiration et l'expiration controlée.

1.35. Ou par l'émergence d'une activité sensorielle aiguë qui stabilise le mental.

1.36. Ou par des activités mentales qui sont sans tristesse et illuminantes.

1.37. Ou par une conscience dirigée vers ceux qui ont vaincu l'attachement.

1.38. Ou quand la conscience repose sur la connaissance qui émerge du rêve et du sommeil.

1.39. Ou par la contemplation comme voulue.

1.40. Sa maîtrise s'étend du plus petit aux plus grand.

1.41. Et quand tout le flux a disparu, la conscience se compare à un diamant des plus purs ; entre "celui qui saisit", "saisir" et "ce qui est saisi", un état de coïncidence avec le siège de la conscience surgit, par lequel elle reçoit l'onction.

1.42. Du moment qu'il y a connaissance conceptuelle basée sur des mots, l'état porte le nom "coïncidence mixte avec cogitation". Il s'agit là d'une union du type conceptuel.

1.43. Quand la mémoire profonde est purifiée, comme vidée de son essence et uniquement l'objet brille, l'état est sans cogitations. Il s'agit là d'une union du type non-conceptuel.

1.44. De ces formes de coïncidences les deux autres types sont expliqués. Il s'agit du subtil et ultra-subtil, qui utilisent que des objets subtils.

1.45. Et les objets subtils prennent fin dans le non-différencié.

1.46. Ces formes de coïncidences font vraiment partie de la catégorie de l'union-avec-semence.

1.47. Quand il y a un rayonnement lucide dans l'ultra-subtil, cet état se nomme "la clarté de l'être intérieur".

1.48. Cet état du prajñâ est source de vérité.

1.49. Due à sa finalité particulière, l'ampleur de cette vérité diffère de la compréhension acquise de ce que l'on entend et raisonne.

1.50. Le réacteur subliminal né de ceci, enchaîne tous les autres réacteurs.

1.51. Quand cet réacteur subliminal est restreint -un résultat de la restriction du contenu total de la conscience- une union-sans-semence en découle.

LIVRE II

2.1. L'ascèse, l'étude de soi et l'abandon complet en Îshvara constituent le Kriyâ-Yoga.

2.2. Ce Yoga a pour but l'union et l'atténuation des causes de malheur.

2.3. L'ignorance, le Je-suis, l'attachement, l'aversion et la volonté de vivre sont les cinq causes de malheur.

2.4. L'ignorance est la terre nourricière des autres causes ; lesquelles sont à l'état de sommeil, atténué, intercepté ou actif.

2.5. La perception de l'éternel, du pur, du joyeux et de l'Âtman, dans l'éphémère, l'impur, le triste et le non-Soi, est appelée ignorance.

2.6. Considérer celui qui voit et l'instrument avec lequel il voit comme étant un, est appelé le Je-suis.

2.7. L'attachement repose sur des expériences agréables.

2.8. L'aversion repose sur le désagrément.

2.9. Donc, la volonté de vivre, qui coule selon sa propre nature, croît même dans les sages.

2.10. La forme subtile de ces causes de malheur (réacteurs subliminaux et notions de l'union) doit être vaincue par le processus du contre-courant spirituel.

2.11. La forme brute (les fluctuations) doit être abandonnée par la pratique de la contemplation.

2.12. Les causes de malheur sont la racine du dépositaire d'action, ce qui peut être vécu dans cette vie ou dans une prochaine incarnation.

2.13. Il y a, dans la mesure ou la racine existe, des résultats de ceci : naissance, durée de vie et jouissance.

2.14. Elles portent les fruits du bonheur et de la peine causés par des actions méritoires et déméritoires.

2.15. Les tristesses présentes dans la transformation continue de la Nature, dans son angoisse et dans les réacteurs subliminaux, et qui par-dessus sont dues aux conflits entre les mouvements de la Nature, tout ceci n'est rien d'autre que tristesse pour l'homme qui discerne.

2.16. Ce qui doit être surpassé est la tristesse à venir.

2.17. La correlation entre le voyant et le vu est la cause qui doit être surpassée.

2.18. Le vu a un caractère rayonnant, actif ou inerte et il s'incarne dans des éléments et des organes de sens, et sert à la jouissance et à l'émancipation.

2.19. La Nature est stratifiée en le particularisé, le non-particularisé, le différencié et le non-différencié.

2.20. Bien que le voyant soit pur, il semble voir à travers le mental et ses notions.

2.21. La nature de ce qui est vu est seulement telle pour ce voyant.

2.22. Bien que ce qui est vu soit perdu pour celui qui a atteint son but, il n'est cependant pas perdu pour tous les autres.

2.23. La corrélation (entre le voyant et ce qui est vu) fait que le voyant appréhende la vraie forme du pouvoir de celui qui possède et du possédé.

2.24. La cause de ceci est l'ignorance.

2.25. Lorsque cette ignorance disparaît, la corrélation disparaît aussi ; ceci est la cessation complète, voir continuellement sans notion, l'esseulement.

2.26. La vision du discernement permanent est le moyen d'atteindre la cessation.

2.27. Dans le dernier stade, la sagesse en sept étapes surgit pour celui qui a atteint ceci.

2.28. Par la pratique des membres du yoga et l'élimination des impuretés, une luminosité de la connaissance vraie s'installe, qui emmènera le yogi vers la vision du discernement.

2.29. Limitations, observances, posture, maîtrise de la respiration, rétraction sensorielle, concentration, contemplation et union sont les huit membres.

2.30. Non-nuisance, véracité, ne pas voler, chasteté et désintéressement sont les limitations.

2.31. Elles sont valables partout, indépendamment de la naissance, du lieu, du temps et des circonstances ; elles constituent le grand voeu.

2.32. Pureté, contentement, austérité, l'étude de soi-même et l'abandon complet en Isvara sont les observances.

2.33. Pour repousser les pensées opposées il faut cultiver leur contraire.

2.34. Des pensées comme nuire, etc... engendrées par soi-même, causées ou approuvées, provenant d'avidité, de colère ou d'illusion -modestes, moyennes ou excessives- trouvent leur fin dans l'ignorance et la souffrance ; cultivez donc leurs contraires.

2.35. Tous les êtres abandonneront leur animosité en présence de celui qui est fermement établi en non-nuisance.

2.36. Après s'être fermement établi dans la véracité, on maîtrise l'action et son fruit.

2.37. Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de ne pas voler, des joyaux apparaissent.

2.38. Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de chasteté, une grande vitalité est acquise.

2.39. Après s'être fermement établi dans l'état de désintéressement on connaît le pourquoi de sa ou ses naissances.

2.40. Par la pureté une distance envers son corps se crée et le non-salissement par autrui est désiré.

2.41. Aussi la pureté du sattva, le contentement, l'état de convergence, la victoire sur les sens et la capacité de voir son propre Âtman est atteint.

2.42. Du contentement jaillit l'atteinte d'une joie suprême.

2.43. Par l'austérité et parce que les impuretés disparaissent, un pouvoir sur le corps et les sens est acquis.

2.44. Par l'étude de soi, on établit un contact avec la divinité choisie.

2.45. Par l'abandon complet en Isvara, l'union.

2.46. La posture doit être stable et agréable.

2.47. Ceci est accompagné par la relaxation des tensions et par une coïncidence avec l'illimité.

2.48. Ainsi on ne sera pas affecté par la dualité.

2.49. Etant établi dans la posture, on pratique la rétention du flux de l'inspiration et de l'expiration du souffle (appellée la maîtrise de la respiration).

2.50. La maîtrise de la respiration est extérieure, intérieure et d'un mouvement fixe ; elle est conditionnée par le lieu, le temps et le nombre et peut être protractée ou contractée.

2.51. Un mouvement du souffle qui surpasse l'extérieur (expiration) et l'intérieur (inspiration) est appelé "le quatrième".

2.52. Ainsi la maîtrise de la respiration fait dissiper le voile couvrant l'illumination.

2.53. Le mental devient apte à la concentration.

2.54. La rétraction sensorielle est l'imitation de la propre forme de la conscience par les organes des sens, qui se sont retirés de leurs objects.

2.55. Ainsi l'obéissance suprême des sens surgit.

LIVRE III

3.1. La concentration fixe la conscience sur un point particulier.

3.2. La contemplation est l'unidirectionnalité des notions qui accompagnent l'objet de concentration.

3.3. Cette conscience, rayonnant comme l'objet de concentration -comme vidée de son essence- est l'union.

3.4. Ces trois, appliqués sur le même objet sont appellés contrainte.

3.5. Par la maîtrise de la contrainte, le prajñâ surgit.

3.6. Sa progression est graduelle.

3.7. Intérieure par rapport aux précédents.

3.8. Mais extérieure par rapport à l'union-sans-semence.

3.9. La transformation restrictive connectée avec la conscience dans son moment de restriction, est la subjugation des réacteurs subliminaux d'émergence et la manifestation de l'réacteur subliminal de restriction.

3.10. Le flot calme de cette conscience est atteint par des réacteurs subliminaux.

3.11. La transformation unifiante fait disparaître les objets de conscience et apparaître l'état de convergence.

3.12. Ensuite, la condition mentale dans laquelle l'objet de conscience un moment donné est identique à l'objet qui surgît un moment plus tard, est appellée la transformation de l'état de convergence.

3.13. Ainsi sont expliquées les transformations de forme, la variation de temps et de condition, liées aux éléments et aux sens.

3.14. Ce qui soutient la forme (la substance) est ce qui conforme au calme, à l'actif et à l'indéterminable.

3.15. Les différences dans la succession temporelle des formes de la même substance sont la cause des différentes transformations.

3.16. Par l'application de la contrainte sur les trois formes de transformation on peut atteindre la connaissance du passé et du futur.

3.17. Le son, l'objet et la notion présente dans le mental sont mélangés d'une façon confuse. Par l'application de la contrainte sur la distinction de ceux-ci, ce désordre disparaît et on comprend la signification des sons de chaque être vivant.

3.18. La connaissance de la naissance antérieure est atteinte par une perception directe des réacteurs subliminaux.

3.19. Par la perception directe des notions d'autrui, on peut acquérir la connaissance de leur mental.

3.20. Mais, n'étant pas assujettis à la contrainte, les facteurs mentaux d'autrui qui supportent ce mental ne peuvent être connus.

3.21. Par l'application de la contrainte sur la forme de son corps, c'est-à-dire par la suspension de la capacité d'être perçu, le yogi devient invisible (ainsi la lumière qui voyage de ce corps jusqu'aux yeux d'autrui est interrompue).

3.22. Le karma est de deux sortes : aigu ou différé. Par l'application de la contrainte sur ce karma ou sur les présages, la connaissance du moment de la mort peut être atteinte.

3.23. Par l'application de la contrainte sur l'amabilité etc., le yogi peut acquérir les pouvoirs de cette qualité.

3.24. Par l'application de la contrainte sur la force de l'éléphant etc. , le yogi peut acquérir celle-ci.

3.25. En focalisant le flash des activités mentales sur un object, la connaissance des aspects subtils, cachés et lointains de celui-ci est acquise.

3.26. Par la contrainte sur le Soleil, on peut tout connaître concernant l'ensemble du monde.

3.27. Par la contrainte sur la Lune, on peut acquérir la connaissance des étoiles et des astres.

3.28. Par la contrainte sur l'étoile polaire, on peut acquérir la connaissance de leurs mouvements.

3.29. Par la contrainte sur le vortex ombilical, la constitution du corps peut être connue.

3.30. Par la contrainte sur le vortex de la gorge, le yogi peut apaiser la faim et la soif.

3.31. Par la contrainte sur la veine kûrma, le yogi peut acquérir la stabilité.

3.32. Par la contrainte sur la luminosité dans la tête, le yogi peut avoir la vision des êtres parfaits.

3.33. Ou, par l'éclair de l'illumination tout peut être connu.

3.34. Par la contrainte sur le coeur, le yogi comprend la nature de la conscience.

3.35.L'expérience est le résultat de la connaissance du Purusa et du sattva -qui sont absolument différents- comme non-différents. La connaissance du Purusa peut être acquise en effectuant la contrainte sur le but propre du Purusa.

3.36. Ainsi naît l'éclair de l'illumination dans l'ouïe, le toucher, la vue, le goût et l'odorat.

3.37. Ceci sont des obstacles à l'union mais des acquis dans l'état de veille.

3.38. En affaiblissant la cause de l'attachement à son corps et par l'expérience du passage pour se dégager du corps dense, le corps subtil peut entrer dans le corps d'autrui.

3.39. Par la maîtrise du prâna qui va vers le haut, le yogi peut rester non-affecté par l'eau, la boue, les épines, etc. et se mettre en lévitation.

3.40. Par la maîtrise du prâna du milieu, il peut acquérir le resplendissement.

3.41. Par la contrainte sur la relation entre l'oreille et l'éther, l'oreille Divine est acquise.

3.42. Par la contrainte sur la relation entre le corps et l'éther et aussi en se concentrant sur les objets légers tels que le coton, il peut se déplacer dans l'éther.

3.43. Une fluctuation extérieure et non-imaginaire est le "grand incorporel" d'où provient la perte de la force qui voile la lumière.

3.44. Par la contrainte sur le dense, la forme propre, le subtil, la connexité et le dessein des objets, la victoire sur les éléments est atteinte.

3.45. Ainsi se manifesteront des pouvoirs comme l'atomisation etc., la perfection du corps et l'indestructibilité de ses parties.

3.46. Beauté, délicatesse et une force adamantine constituent la perfection du corps.

3.47. Par la contrainte sur le processus de perception, la forme propre, le Je-suis, la connexité et le dessein des objets, le yogi peut remporter la victoire sur les sens.

3.48. Ainsi il acquiert une vitesse, comme le mental, sans l'aide d'un véhicule et une maîtrise complète de la matrice de la Nature.

3.49. Celui qui connaît la différence entre le Purusa et le sattva de la conscience, acquiert une suprématie sur tous les états d'existence et l'omniscience.

3.50. A l'atteinte du détachement de cela -par la destruction de la semence même des afflictions- il atteint l'esseulement.

3.51. Etant invité par les êtres très évolués, le yogi ne doit développer aucun attachement ni orgueil, car il est possible que l'inclination non-désirée vers les plans inférieurs de la Nature se renouvelle.

3.52. Par la contrainte sur le moment et sa continuité, le yogi peut acquérir la connaissance issue du discernement.

3.53. Ainsi émerge la conscience-de-différence entre des similaires qui normalement ne peuvent pas être distingués à cause de l'indéterminabilité des distinctions entre espèce, apparence et position.

3.54. La conscience issue du discernement est le "délivreur", omni-objectif, omni-temporel et sans séquence.

3.55. Ainsi, avec la pureté égale entre le sattva et le Purusa, l'esseulement est établi.

LIVRE IV

4.1. Les pouvoirs sont le résultat de naissance, de plantes, de mantra, d'ascèse ou d'union.

4.2. La transformation en une autre espèce est possible grâce à la superabondance de la Nature.

4.3. La cause-sans-but n'initie pas la Nature, mais, comme un laboureur, distingue les choix.

4.4. La conscience individuelle procède du Je-suis unique.

4.5. Bien que les consciences individuelles soient occupées avec des activités distinctes, cette conscience unique est à l'origine de toutes les autres.

4.6. Parmi les consciences individuelles, la conscience née de la contemplation est dénuée de dépôt subliminal.

4.7. Le karma du yogi n'est ni noir ni blanc, tandis que celui des autres comprend trois sortes.

4.8. Donc, seulement suivant les résultats de leur karma, apparaissent les traits subliminaux correspondants.

4.9. Grâce à l'uniformité entre la mémoire profonde et les réacteurs subliminaux, une relation causale entre la manifestation de l'réacteur et la cause existe, même si cause et effet sont éloignés par espace, temps et naissance.

4.10. Ils sont sans commencement à cause de la perpétuité de la volonté primordiale, inhérente à la Nature.

4.11. En raison de la liaison entre les traits subliminaux avec cause, fruit, substrat et support, la non-occurence de ceux-ci implique la non-occurence des traits subliminaux.

4.12. Le passé et le futur existent en soi à cause des différences entre les chemins des formes.

4.13. Ces formes de la Nature sont différenciées ou subtiles et ont la nature des gunas.

4.14. Un objet s'objective parce que la transformation des gunas est homogène.

4.15. En vue de la multiplicité de la conscience par rapport à l'unicité d'un objet perçu, les objets appartiennent à des niveaux séparés de la Nature.

4.16. Et l'objet ne dépend pas d'une seule conscience ; cela ne peut être prouvé ; et (s'il en était autrement) qu'en adviendrait-il ?

4.17. Un objet est connu ou pas, en raison de la coloration acquise par la conscience de cet objet.

4.18. Le Purusa n'est pas le résultat de conséquences et donc toutes les fluctuations de la conscience lui sont connues.

4.19. Cette conscience n'est pas lumineuse d'elle-même, car elle est le perçu.

4.20. La compréhension des deux n'est donc pas possible en même temps.

4.21. Si la conscience peut percevoir une autre conscience on n'en finit jamais, ce qui rend la mémoire confuse.

4.22. Quand la conscience immuable assume la forme de cette conscience, l'expérience de ses propres actes cognitifs est possible.

4.23. Colorée par le voyant et le vu, la conscience peut voir tous les objets.

4.24. Etant limitée à des activités de collaboration, la conscience, teintée par les réacteurs subliminaux, a néanmoins son propre but pour les autres.

4.25. Pour celui qui voit la distinction, une discontinuation de la projection du faux Soi surgit.

4.26. Puis en acquérant le discernement, la conscience s'incline vers l'esseulement.

4.27. D'autres notions nouvelles provenant des réacteurs subliminaux peuvent apparaître dans les interstices de cette conscience évoluante.

4.28. Leur cessation doit être envisagée comme il a été dit concernant les causes de malheur.

4.29. L'union désignée comme le "nuage du Dharma" est atteinte par le yogi qui -par la vision du discernement- reste toujours non-attaché, même dans l'état d'élévation suprême.

4.30. Par ce fait, les causes de malheur et le karma ne sont plus.

4.31. Puis, étant libéré du recouvrement de l'imperfection, il reste très peu de choses à connaître du fait que la connaissance qui en résulte est infinie.

4.32. Ensuite vient la fin des séquences dans les transformations des gunas, qui ont atteint leur but.

4.33. Par "séquence", on entend ce qui est correlatif au moment du temps, connu au point final d'une transformation particulière.

4.34. Le processus d'évolution des gunas devenu inutile au Purusa s'appelle esseulement ; ceci est l'établisement du pouvoir de la conscience dans sa propre forme. Fin.


Dutch Translation


BOEK I

1.1. Het nu is een uiteenzetting over Yoga.

1.2.Yoga is the beperking van de fluctuaties van (in) het bewustzijn.

1.3. In dat geval staat de ziener in zijn/haar eigen vorm.

1.4. Anders zijn ziener en zijn/haar fluctuaties conform.

1.5. Er zijn vijf soorten van fluctuaties ; pijnlijk of pijnloos.

1.6. Deze zijn : geldig kennen, onjuiste mening, conceptualisatie, slaap en geheugen.

1.7.Geldig kennis is gebassed op perceptie, inferentie en getuigenis.

1.8. Een onjuiste mening is een valse kennis die niet gebaseerd is op de verschijning van haar object.

1.9. Conceptualisatie is zonder waarneembaar object en volgt verbale kennis.

1.10. Slaap is een fluctuatie die rust op de notie van het niet optreden van andere bewustzijnsinhouden.

1.11. De herinnering is niet ontnomen worden van het ervaren object.

1.12. De beperking van dat alles komt door oefening en onthechting.

1.13. Oefening is de inspanning om stabiliteit in die beperking te bereiken.

1.14. Dit is enkel onwankelbaar gegrond wanneer het juist en gedurende een lange tijd ononderbroken gecultiveerd wordt.

1.15.Onthechting is de kennis van het meesterschap van diegene die geen dorst heeft naar materiële en gereveleerde objecten.

1.16. Hoger dan dat is het niet-dorsten naar de strata van de Natuur die het gevolg zijn van het zien van Purusa.

1.17. Eenwording-met-zaad (als resultaat van onthechting) wordt "cognitief" genoemd wegens het verbonden zijn met cognitie, reflectie, vreugde en het "Ik-ben".

1.18. Eenwording-zonder-zaad heeft een residu van reactoren en volgt de voorgaande eenwording wanneer de notie van beëindiging beoefend wordt.

1.19. De eenwording van diegenen die met de Natuur samensmolten en diegenen die zonder lichaam zijn is het gevolg van hun focus op de notie van het worden.

1.20. Eenwording-zonder-zaad wordt voorafgegaan door geloof, energie, mentale aandacht, eenwording-met-zaad en wijsheid.

1.21. Eenwording is diegene nabij die haar met grote bezieling beoefent.

1.22. Omdat deze bezieling bescheiden, gemiddeld of groot kan zijn, is er een verschil in de nabijheid van deze eenwording.

1.23. Of eenwording door devotie voor Îshvara, de Heer.

1.24. Îshvara, de Heer, is een bijzondere Purusa, onaangeraakt door de oorzaken van ongeluk, acties en hun resultaat en het bezinksel in het diepte-geheugen.

1.25. In Hem is het zaad van alwetendheid onovertroffen.

1.26. Hij is ook de guru van de eersten en Hij is onbegrensd in de tijd.

1.27. Zijn naam is OM.

1.28. Reciteer dit om de betekenis ervan te realiseren.

1.29. Zo worden innerlijke waakzaamheid en de verdwijning van de belemmeringen bereikt.

1.30. Ziekte, gesukkel, twijfel, nalatigheid, luiheid, onaandachtigheid, valse visie, het niet bereiken van de stadia van Yoga en wisselvalligheid zijn de afleidingen van het bewustzijn ; dit zijn de belemmeringen.

1.31. Pijn, depressie, het trillen van de ledematen, een slechte in -of uitademing zijn de symptomen die met de hierboven vermelde belemmeringen samengaan.

1.32. Om ze te verwijderen, concentreer op één enkel principe.

1.33. Vriendelijkheid tonen, mededogen, blijheid en gelijkmoedigheid -of ze nu vreugdevol, lijdensvol, verdienstelijk of onverdienstelijk zijn- brengen vrede in het bewustzijn.

1.34. Of eenwording wordt bereikt door gecontroleerde in -en uitademing.

1.35. Of door het tevoorschijnkomen van een verhoogde zintuiglijke activiteit die de geest stabiliseert.

1.36. Of door mentale activiteiten die zonder droefnis zijn en die verlichten.

1.37. Of wanneer het bewustzijn diegenen als object neemt die hechting veroverd hebben.

1.38. Of wanneer het bewustzijn rust op de kennis die uit de droom en de slaap tevoorschijnkomt komt.

1.39. Of door contemplatie, zoals gewild.

1.40. Zijn meesterschap heeft een bereik van het kleinste tot het grootste.

1.41. En wanneer alle fluctuaties verdwenen zijn, kan het bewustzijn vergeleken worden met een zuivere diamant ; tussen diegene die "kent", het "kennen" zelf en dat wat "gekend wordt" ontstaat een samenvallen met de zetel van het bewustzijn, waardoor het gezalfd wordt.

1.42. Zodra er conceptuele cognitie is gebaseerd op woorden, draagt de staat de naam "samenvallen vermengd met cognitie". Het betreft een eenwording van het conceptuele type.

1.43. Wanneer het diepte-geheugen gezuiverd is, als het ware geledigd van de eigen essentie en alleen het object straalt, dan is de staat zonder cognitie. Het betreft een eenwording van het niet-conceptuele type.

1.44. Door deze twee vormen van samenvallen worden de twee andere uitgelegd, n.l. subtiel en ultra-subtiel, die enkel subtiele objecten gebruiken.

1.45. En subtiele objecten eindigen in het ongedifferentieerde.

1.46. Waarachtig, deze vormen van samenvallen maken deel uit van de categorie van eenwording-met-zaad.

1.47. Wanneer er in de ultra-subtiele eenwording een heldere uitstraling aanwezig is, dan wordt dit de klaarte van het innerlijke wezen genoemd.

1.48. Deze staat van wijsheid is een waarheidsbron.

1.49. Door haar bijzondere finaliteit, verschilt de uitgestrektheid van deze waarheid van het begrip verworven door wat men hoort en beredeneert.

1.50. De reactor die hieruit geboren wordt, ketent alle andere.

1.51. Wanneer, naar aanleiding van de beperking van de volledige bewustzijnsinhoud, ook deze reactor ingeperkt wordt, dan vloeit hieruit eenwording-zonder-zaad voort.

BOEK II

2.1. Ascesis, zelfstudie en volledige overgava aan Îshvara vormen Kriyâ-Yoga.

2.2. Deze Yoga heeft tot doel eenwording te cultiveren en de oorzaken van lijden te verzachten.

2.3. Onwetendheid, het Ik-ben, hechting, aversie en de levenswil zijn de vijf oorzaken van lijden.

2.4. Onwetendheid is de voedingsbodem voor de andere oorzaken ; die kunnen slapend, verminderd, onderschept of actief zijn.

2.5. Onwetendheid is het zien van het eeuwige, zuivere, vreugdevolle en het Zelf in het tijdelijke, onzuivere, droeve en het niet-Zelf.

2.6. Het Ik-ben is als het ware de identificatie van de ziener met de capaciteit van het zien.

2.7. Hechting berust op aangename ervaringen.

2.8. Aversie berust op onaangename ervaringen.

2.9. Dus, de levenswil, die volgens zijn eigen aard vloeit, is zelfs in de wijzen geworteld.

2.10. De subtiele vorm van deze oorzaken van lijden (namelijk de reactoren en het voorkomen van gedachten tijdens de eenwording) moet overwonnen worden door het proces van spirituele tegenstroom

2.11. Hun ruwe vorm (de fluctuaties) moet verlaten worden door de oefening van de contemplatie.

2.12. The oorzaken van lijden zijn de wortel van het actie depot en dit kan worden ervaren in deze of in een volgende incarnatie.

2.13. Zo lang als de wortel bestaat zijn er resultaten, n.l. geboorte, levensduur en plezier.

2.14. In functie van verdienstelijke of onverdienstelijke oorzaken hebben deze geluk of ongeluk als gevolg.

2.15. Omwille van de droefnis aanwezig in de transformaties van de Natuur, in haar angst, in haar reactoren en als gevolg van het conflict tussen de bewegingen van de Natuur, is dit alles, voor diegene die onderscheidt, slechts droefnis.

2.16. De droefnis die nog moet komen is dat wat verlaten moet worden.

2.17. De correlatie tussen ziener en geziene is de oorzaak die overstegen moet worden.

2.18. Het geziene heeft een stralend, actief of inert karakter, incarneert in elementen en zintuigen en dient voor plezier en emancipatie.

2.19. De strata van de Natuur zijn het particuliere, het niet-particuliere, het gedifferentieerde en het ongedifferentieerde.

2.20. De ziener is zuiver zien, maar niettegenstaande zuiver, ziet (de ziener) met behulp van het mentale en diens concepten.

2.21. Het wezen van het geziene is er enkel voor deze ziener.

2.22. Niettegenstaande het geziene is gestopt van te bestaan voor diegene die zijn/haar doel bereikt heeft, is het allicht niet gestopt van te bestaan aangezien het de gedeelde ervaring van alle anderen is.

2.23. De correlatie tussen de ziener en het geziene is er de oorzaak van dat de ziener de eigen vorm vat van de kracht van de bezitter en van wat die bezit.

2.24. De oorzaak hiervan is onwetendheid.

2.25. Wanneer deze onwetendheid verdwijnt, verdwijnt de correlatie ook. Dit is volledige beëindiging en het voortdurend zien zonder noties, het isolement.

2.26. Het middel tot de volledige beëindiging is de voortdurend onderscheidende visie.

2.27. Voor diegene die dit bezit, is er in het laatste stadium de zevenvoudige wijsheid.

2.28. Door de beoefening van de ledematen van de Yoga en met het verdwijnen van de onzuiverheid komt de straling van de ware kennis voort en dit tot de onderscheidende visie.

2.29. Restricties, observaties, houding, controle van de ademhaling, terugtrekking der zintuigen, concentratie, contemplatie en eenwording zijn de acht ledematen.

2.30. Niet-schaden, waarachtigheid, niet-stelen, kuisheid en onbaatzuchtigheid zijn de restricties.

2.31. Deze zijn overal geldig, onafhankelijk van geboorte, plaats, tijd of omstandigheden. Zij vormen de grote eed.

2.32. Zuiverheid, tevredenheid, ascese, zelfstudie en volledige overgave aan de Heer zijn de observanties.

2.33. Om schadelijke gedachten af te duwen, cultiveer het omgekeerde.

2.34. Gedachten zoals schaden etc., zelf gedaan, aangezet om te doen of goedgekeurd, voortkomend uit woede of illusie -of ze nu bescheiden, gemiddeld of excessief zijn- vinden hun einde in onwetendheid en lijden ; cultiveer dus hun omkering.

2.35. In de aanwezigheid van diegene die gegrond is in niet-schaden, verlaten alle wezen hun vijandschap.

2.36. Gegrond in waarachtigheid, bemeestert men de actie en haar vrucht.

2.37. Gegrond in niet-stelen, verschijnen er juwelen.

2.38. Gegrond in kuisheid, wordt een grote vitaliteit verworven.

2.39. Gegrond in onbaatzuchtigheid, verzekert men kennis over het waarom van de eigen geboortes.

2.40. Zuiverheid schept afstand van het lichaam en de wens om niet door anderen bevuild te worden.

2.41. Ook worden bereikt de zuiverheid van het zijn, tevredenheid, de staat van convergentie, meesterschap over de zintuigen en de capaciteit om het eigen Zelf te zien.

2.42. Uit tevredenheid ontspringt het bereiken van een onovertroffen vreugde.

2.43. Door ascese en omdat de onzuiverheden verdwijnen, wordt macht over het lichaam en de zintuigen verworven.

2.44. Door zelfstudie wordt contact met de gekozen godheid gelegd.

2.45. Door volledige overgave aan de Heer, eenwording.

2.46. De houding moet stabiel en aangenaam zijn.

2.47. Deze gaat vergezeld door het ontspannen van de gespannenheid en door een samenvallen met het grenzeloze.

2.48. Aldus kan de dualiteit niet toeslaan.

2.49. Wanneer dit zo is, moet de controle van de ademhaling beoefend worden, d.i. het afsnijden van de flux van in -en uitademing.

2.50. De controle van de ademhaling is extern, intern & met een vaste beweging. Zij wordt gereguleerd door plaats, tijd en getal, en kan verlengd of verminderd zijn.

2.51. Een beweging die in -en uitademing overstijgt wordt "de vierde" genoemd.

2.52. Aldus doet de controle van de ademhaling de sluier die de verlichting bedekt verdwijnen.

2.53. En het mentale wordt uitgerust voor de concentratie.

2.54. Het terugtrekken van de zintuigen is als het ware de imitatie door de zintuigen van de eigen vorm van het bewustzijn en wel door zich van hun objecten terug te trekken.

2.55. Aldus rijst de opperste gehoorzaamheid van de zintuigen.

BOEK III

3.1. Concentratie fixeert het bewustzijn op één enkel punt.

3.2. Contemplatie is de unidirectionaliteit van de noties die het object van concentratie begeleiden.

3.3. Dat contemplatief bewustzijn, stralend als het object van concentratie -als het ware geledigd van zijn aard- is eenwording.

3.4. Deze drie samen (concentratie, contemplatie & eenwording), toegepast op hetzelfde object, vormen de beheersing.

3.5. Door meesterschap van de beheersing flitst intuïtie.

3.6. Zijn progressie is stapsgewijs.

3.7. Deze drie zijn, vergeleken met de voorgaande leden, innerlijk.

3.8. Echter in relatie tot eenwording-zonder-zaad zijn ze externe leden.

3.9. De restrictieve transformatie verbonden met het bewustzijn in zijn moment van restrictie is de onderwerping van de reactoren van emergentie en de manifestatie van de reactor van restrictie.

3.10. Het kalme vlotten van dit bewustzijn wordt beïnvloed door reactoren.

3.11. De eenmakende transformatie doet de objecten van bewustzijn verdwijnen en de staat van convergentie verschijnen.

3.12. Dan, wanneer de kalmerende en opwekkende noties gelijkaardig zijn, geschiedt de éénpuntigheidstransformatie.

3.13. Hierdoor worden de transformaties van vorm, tijd-variatie en voorwaarden m.b.t. de elementen & de zintuigen verklaard.

3.14. De vormdrager is dat wat conform is met het kalme, het opwekkende en het niet-determineerbare.

3.15. De oorzaken van de verschillende transformaties zijn de verschillen in de temporele opeenvolging van de vormen van dezelfde substantie.

3.16. Door beheersing van de drie vormen van transformatie toe te passen, ontstaat er kennis over het verleden en de toekomst.

3.17. De klank, het object en de notie worden op een verwarde wijze op elkaar gelegd. Door beheersing van het onderscheid tussen deze, verdwijnt deze wanorde en begrijpt men de betekenis van alle klanken van elk levend wezen.

3.18. Door de reactoren waar te nemen, verkrijgt men kennis over vorige geboortes.

3.19. Door de noties van een ander waar te nemen, verkrijgt men kennis over hun bewustzijn.

3.20. Maar niet van wat dit draagt, want dit is hierin afwezig.

3.21. Door beheersing van de vorm van zijn/haar lichaam, d.w.z. door de schorsing van de capaciteit waargenomen te worden, wordt de yogi onzichtbaar, want het licht dat van het lichaam naar het oog van de anderen reist is onderbroken.

3.22. Karma is acuut of uitgesteld. Door beheersing van dit karma, of door kennis van de tekens, verwerft men kennis over het wanneer van de dood.

3.23. Door beheersing van vriendelijkheid etc., worden de krachten van deze kwaliteit verworven.

3.24. Door beheersing van de kracht van de olifant etc., kan de yogi deze verwerven.

3.25. Door de flikkering van mentale activiteit op een object kan kennis, kunnen de subtiele, verborgen of verafgelegen aspecten hiervan verworven worden.

3.26. Door beheersing van de Zon, kennis over de wereld.

3.27. Door beheersing van de Maan, kennis over de ordening van sterren en planeten.

3.28. Door beheersing van de poolster, kennis over hun bewegingen.

3.29. Door beheersing van de vortex van de navel, kennis over de organisatie van het lichaam.

3.30. Door beheersing van de vortex van de keel, beëindiging van honger & dorst.

3.31. Door beheersing van het schildpad-kanaal, standvastigheid.

3.32. Door beheersing van het licht in het hoofd, het visioen van de volmaakten.

3.33. Of, door de flits-van-verlichting, kan alles gekend worden.

3.34. Door beheersing van het hart, begrip van het bewustzijn.

3.35. Ervaring is een notie gebaseerd op het niet-onderscheid tussen Purusa en sattva, beide absoluut onvermengd. Kennis van Purusa komt door beheersting van de eigen vorm van Purusa, los van de gerichtheid van de Natuur op de andere.

3.36. Zo rijst de flits-van-verlichting in horen, aanraken, zien, proeven & ruiken.

3.37. Deze belemmeren de eenwording, maar zijn verworvenheden in de waaktoestand.

3.38. Door de oorzaak van hechting te verzwakken en door de ervaring van het voortgaan, kan het bewustzijn een ander lichaam binnentreden.

3.39. Door de opwaartse adem te bemeesteren, verwerft men de kracht van het niet-kleven aan water, modder & doornen alsook levitatie.

3.40. Door de midden adem te bemeesteren, verwerft men weelde.

3.41. Door beheersing van de relatie tussen het oor en de ether, het Goddelijk oor.

3.42. Door beheersing van de relatie tussen het lichaam en de ether en door het samenvallen met lichte voorwerpen zoals katoen, verwerft men de kracht om de ether over te steken.

3.43. Een externe, niet-imaginaire fluctuatie is de "grote onlichamelijke" waardoor het verdwijnen van de bedekkingen van het licht voortkomt.

3.44. Door beheersing van het ruwe, de eigen vorm, het subtiele, de verbondenheid en de doelgerichtheid van objecten, meesterschap over de elementen.

3.45. En zo manifesteren zich krachten als atomisering etc., de volmaaktheid van het lichaam en de onverwoestbaarheid van zijn onderdelen.

3.46. Schoonheid, finesse en een keiharde robustheid vormen de volmaaktheid van het lichaam.

3.47. Door beheersing van het proces van perceptie, de eigen vorm, het Ik-zijn, verbondenheid en doelgerichtheid, meesterschap over de zintuigen.

3.48. Aldus, een snelheid van geest zonder hulp van de zintuigen en meesterschap over de matrix van de Natuur.

3.49. Diegene die het onderscheid tussen Purusa en het zuivere zijn ziet, verwerft een suprematie over alle staten van het zijn alsook alwetendheid.

3.50. Door onthechting van zelfs dat, met het verdwijnen van het zaad van de afwijkingen, het isolement.

3.51. Gezien de vernieuwde en ongewenste neiging, geeft de uitnodiging van de hoog geplaatsten geen reden voor hechting of trots.

3.52. Door beheersing van het ogenblik en zijn opeenvolging, kennis geboren uit onderscheiding.

3.53. Aldus het bewustzijn van het verschil tussen gelijkaardigen die normaal niet kunnen worden onderscheiden omwille van de continuïteit van de distincties tussen soort, verschijning en positie.

3.54. Kennis geboren uit onderscheiding is de "aanleveraar" en is omni-objectief, omni-temporeel en zonder aaneenschakeling.

3.55. Aldus, met de identiteit tussen de zuiverheid van sattva en Purusa, het isolement.

BOEK IV

4.1. De krachten zijn het gevolg van geboorte, kruiden, mantra, ascesis en eenwording.

4.2. Transformatie in een andere soort is mogelijk door de grote weelderigheid van de Natuur.

4.3. De oorzaak-zonder-maat initieert de Natuur niet, maar -zoals een landbouwer- selecteert mogelijkheden.

4.4. Het individueel bewustzijn komt voort uit het primaire Ik-ben.

4.5. Niettegenstaande deze geindividualiseerde bewustzijnstoestanden bezig zijn met onderscheiden activiteiten, is dit unieke bewustzijn de bron van alle andere.

4.6. Onder deze individuele bewustzijnstoestanden is het bewustzijn geboren uit contemplatie zonder subliminaal depot.

4.7. Het karma van de yogi is zwart noch wit ; dat van de anderen is drievoudig.

4.8. Dus, subliminale trekken verschijnen enkel in functie van het resultaat van hun karma.

4.9. Dankzij de uniformiteit tussen het diepte-geheugen en de subliminale activatoren bestaat er een causale relatie, zelfs indien (oorzaak en gevolg) gescheiden zijn qua plaats, tijd & geboorte.

4.10. Door de eeuwigheid van de primordiale wil zijn deze zonder begin.

4.11. Dus, door het verband tussen oorzaak, gevolg, substraat en ondersteuning, zullen, wanneer deze verdwijnen, de sublimale trekken ook verdwijnen.

4.12. Door de verschillen in de paden van de vormen, bestaan verleden en toekomst op zich.

4.13. Deze vormen zijn manifest of subtiel en zijn van de natuur van de gunas.

4.14. Het "dat-zijn" van een object wordt afgeleid van de homogeniteit in de transformatie.

4.15. Gezien de multipliciteit van het bewustzijn in tegenstelling tot de enkelvoudigheid van een object, behoren beide tot onderscheiden strata van de Natuur.

4.16. En het object hangt niet af van één enkel bewustzijn. Dit kan niet worden bewezen, en indien toch, wat zou dit dan mogelijk kunnen zijn ?

4.17. Een object wordt gekend of niet afhankelijk van de kleuring verworven door het bewustzijn van dit object.

4.18. Purusa is niet het resultaat van consequenties en dus zijn alle fluctuaties van het bewustzijn Purusa bekend.

4.19. Omdat het gezien wordt, heeft dat fluctuerend bewustzijn zelf geen luminositeit.

4.20. Een simultaan begrip van het bewustzijn en zijn object is onmogelijk.

4.21. Indien het bewustzijn door een ander zou waargenomen worden, dan zou dit tot een regressie van kennis naar kennis leiden, wat het geheugen zou verwarren.

4.22. Wanneer het onbeweeglijk bewustzijn de vorm van dit bewustzijn aanneemt, dan wordt kennis van de eigen ervaringen mogelijk.

4.23. Wanneer het bewustzijn gekleurd is door de "ziener" en het "geziene", dan kan het elk object waarnemen.

4.24. Dat bewustzijn, niettegenstaande bevlekt met ontelbare subliminale trekken, heeft, door zijn samenwerkende activiteiten, zijn eigen gerichtheid op de andere.

4.25. Voor diegene die het onderscheid ziet, ontstaat een onderbreking van de projectie van het valse Zelf.

4.26. Dan, door het onderscheidingsvermogen te verwerven, neigt het bewustzijn tot het isolement.

4.27. In de intervallen van dat bewustzijn kunnen andere noties uit de reactoren oprijzen.

4.28. Hun beëindiging moet worden bereikt op dezelfde manier als beschreven voor de oorzaken van het lijden.

4.29. De eenwording genaamd "wolk van Dharma" wordt bereikt door de yogi die -door het onderscheidmakend visioen- voordurend onthecht is, zelfs in zo'n verheven staat.

4.30. Hierdoor bestaan de oorzaken van het lijden en het karma niet meer.

4.31. Dan, vrij van de bedekking van de onvolmaaktheid, blijft er, door de oneindigheid van de kennis, slechts weinig te kennen over.

4.32. Dan komt het einde van de opeenvolgingen in de transformaties van de gunas, wiens doel voldragen is.

4.33. Onder "opeenvolging" wordt verstaan dat wat co-relatief is met het moment, gekend op het eindpunt van een transformatie.

4.34. Wanneer het proces van evolutie voor Purusa geen doel meer heeft, is er het isolement, de totstandkoming van de kracht van het bewustzijn in zijn eigen vorm. Einde.


Epilogue


Theist traditions either defend a plurality of Deities (polytheism) or a single Deity (henotheism & monotheism). In the latter case, the Deity is qualitatively one, but always manifests as a plurality (henotheism), or quantitatively singular (monotheism). Although Hinduism qualifies as henotheism, in his Yoga-Sûtra Patañjali only mentions Îshvara, the Lord. The reason is simple : the Lord is the arch-yogi, the personification of the Absolute insofar as the yogi is concerned.

In all theist traditions, the absolute can be nothing else but a supreme substance creating all other substances. This Olympic view is also that of our teacher. The Lord is separated from Nature in a radical, irreversible sense. He exists on His own, self-powered and from His own side. Such an ontological division assists the soteriology : the sorrow of cyclic existence dungeoning the coarse, fluctuating mind can only be escaped by emulating this state of affairs, making the yogi disentangle from Nature and stand alone just as the Lord abides in aloneness. Hence, union equals separating from the world. Nature is devaluated to the point of only having meaning insofar as it assists its own rejection. This is a negative appreciation also found in the Abrahamic faiths. This hatred for the natural order is a disaster.

In the Dharmic traditions, Devas are not rejected. Even the existence of a Supreme Being is acknowledged. But just like all other things in existence, these Divine beings are impermanent and process-based. They too are sentient beings, as so they suffer ! While this woe may be very subtle, it cannot be taken away from them, except if they too awaken to the ultimate truth of emptiness, the absence of any kind of substance in existence. Now, making the ground of grounds disappear (ending our ignorance) does not make existence vanish, as nihilism would have it. When substance is evacuated, something else remains, namely dependent-arising. We don't need substances to "save" existence, quite on the contrary. To exist is to be in relation, to be connected to others, to interrelate and interdepend. Breaking away of this, in whatever format, is a sure path to more suffering. We always first need to restore relationships, not back away and leave. If this is the case, and it is, then our teacher is deluded. The ultimate state in his salvic scheme (aloneness) is merely the "peak of samsâra", the tragedy of the formless Devas, radically separating themselves from the rest of cyclic existence.

As long as substances are identified one may be sure ignorance abides. To exist is to be a process, not a substance. And to be a process means changing, transforming, moving ... So quite the opposite holds : thinking substance (superimposing the false idea of substantial permanence) means one cannot explain change. Substance-thinking fixates what is fundamentally impermanent. Doing so makes it impossible to explain how becoming is at hand, and it is always at hand. Substantialism effectively incapacitates compassion, the actual activity of ending the suffering of others. Those who are thus deluded end their own spiritual evolution, as well as adding misfortune to the lives of those unfortunate enough to interact with their petty world.

Lord Buddha, and the greater part of Taoism, embraces Nature. The ultimate, the absolute exists conventionally, relatively. This pan-sacralism seeks to understand the interdependence between all sentient beings (humans included) & Nature. It tries to constructively interact with the latter. Likewise, the physical body is not shunned, but its countless functionalities studied & optimalized. Buddha practiced extreme austerities but rejected them. They do not lead to the end of suffering, only the middle path does. Suffering is not a property of Nature, but of the mind. Karma is not an automatic result, but results from intention. Buddha brings the practitioner back to him or herself. Hence, salvation is not a movement away from Nature, radically separating from the world, but fully embracing the dependent-arisings constituting Nature. When this is thoroughly & irreversibly realized, the yogi turns into an uncontaminated dependent-arising, a Buddha. It is not necessary for the yogi, to be finally truly happy, to physically die first. Awakening can be a fact right now ! Hence, Buddhas are in the world, and teach to awaken others. What a different view !

Imagine four thirsty travelers along a hot desert path heading due East : the first is a common human being, the second a physicist, the third a polarized sunglass wearer and the fourth a Buddha.

With cries of joys, the first points to a mirage up ahead. Taken by ignorance, he expects to clench his thirst soon. This is the lot of common humanity, self-grasping at something (inherent existence) not there at all. Hence, thinking his thirst will be clenched, this one is pleased with this appearance, expending more energy to get there faster !

The second sees the mirage for what it is (an optical illusion) and assures the first there is no water. The physicist sees the mirage, but knowing the laws of physics involved, unmasks this conventional appearance as a falsehood. The mirage is not a conventional truth because it violates conventional law. In the conventional realm, this one is indeed authoritative. Continuing walking East, he does not walk faster, keeping calm in the burning Sun.

The third sees nothing at all, and wonders what the first two are talking about. Suppose the mirage were entirely false -not appearing at all- then this one would be the most authoritative. But this is not the case. It does appear. This traveler has impaired senses and so cannot be authoritative at all. He follows the two others heading East.

How can the handicapped have a complete apprehension ?
How can these three know quicksand is due East ?

Simultaneously, the fourth prehends the mirage as space-like, i.e. empty of inherent properties, and -as the physicist- as a contaminated illusion-like dependent-arising of a conventional falsehood. The mirage appears, but like all appearing objects, is prehended as empty of inherent existence (space-like). But while it appears, a Buddha simultaneously prehends all the determinations & conditions of its dependent-arising as something different as what it truly is (illusion-like). Indeed, the mirage appears as something existing from its own side (even to the physicists), while this is definitely not the case. The former has valid, mistaken knowledge, the fourth unmistaken knowledge. Likewise, with the arising of his thirst, a Buddha prehends the lake of water in the West and so teaches (the truth of the water), turns and walks away from the first three (some might say he miraculously transforms hot sand into a lake of cool water, but this does not fit the purpose of the simile) ! Note how the Buddha's prehension exceeds the physicists apprehension. He is saved, the others likely lost. Llet us add the physicist is most likely to apprehend the quicksand, but when he does,  it is too late, for he too is exhausted by lack of water, although less quick than the first who expended all his energies chasing the conventional falsehood.


Selected Bibliography


Abhedananda : The Yoga Psychology, Ramakrishna - Calcutta, 1973.
Âranya : Yoga Philosophy of Patañjali, Calcutta University Press - Calcutta, 1981.
Avalon : The Serpent Power , Dover - New York, 1974.
Ballantyne & Shastri : Yoga-sûtra of Patañjali, Parimal - Nagar, 1983.
Cozort, D. : Highest Yoga Tantra , Lion - New York, 1986.
Dasgupta, S. : A History of Indian Philosophy , Cambridge University Press - Cambridge, 1922.
Eliade, M. : Yoga : immortality and freedom , Bollingen - Princeton, 1954.
Evans-Wentz, W.Y. : Tibetan Yoga , Oxford University Press - Oxford, 1958.
Evans-Wentz, W.Y. : The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Oxford University Press - Oxford, 1968.
Feuerstein, G. : The Yoga-sûtra of Patañjali , Dawson - Kent, 1979.
Feuerstein, G. : The Yoga-sûtra of Patañjali : an Exercise in the Methodology of Textual Analysis , Motilal - Dehli, 1979.
Feuerstein, G. : The Philosophy of Classical Yoga , Manchester University Press - Manchester, 1980.
Feuerstein, G. & Miller, J. : A Reappraisal of Yoga , Rider & Company - London, 1971.
Gambhîrânanda : Eight Upanisads, Swapna - Calcutta, 1991.
Gambhîrânanda : Chândogya-Upanisad, Nabajiban - Calcutta, 1992.
Iyengar, B.K.S. : Light on the Yoga Sûtras of  Patañjali, Thorsons - London, 2002.
Iyengar, B.K.S. : Core of the Yoga Sûtras, Thorsons - London, 2012.
Leggett, T. : Sankara on the Yoga-sûtra , Routledge & Kegan - London, 1981 & Motilal - Dehli, 1992.
Mishran S.R. : Fundamentals of Yoga, Lyrebird Press - London, 1972.
Rivière-Marquès, J. : Le Yoga Tantrique - hindou et thibétain , Véga - Paris, 1938.
Sadânanda Sarasvati : Les Yogasûtras de Patañjali, Le Courrier du Livre - Paris, 1976.
Srivastava, L.K.L. : Advaitic Concept of Jîvanmukti, Bharatiya - Dehli, 1990.
Stcherbatsky, Th. : Buddhist Logic , Dover - New York, 1962, 2 volumes.
Svâtmârâma : Hathayogapradîpikâ, Adyar - Madras, 1972.
Taimni, I.K. : The Science of Yoga , Theosophical Publishing House - London, 1961.
Tart, Ch.T. : Altered States of Consciousness , Doubleday - New York, 1969.
Werner, K. : Yoga and Indian Philosophy , Motilal - Dehli, 1977.
Woods, J.H. : The Yoga-system of Patañjali ,
or the Ancient Hindu Doctrine of Concentration of Mind, embracing :
- the mnemonic rules, called Yoga-Sûtra , of Patañjali (A.D.300 and 500) ;
- the comment, called Yoga-Bhasya , attributed to Veda-Vyâsa (between A.D. 650 - 850) ;
- the explanation, called Tattva-Vaisaradi , of Vachaspati-Misra (A.D. 800 - 850), Harvard Oriental Series, vol 17, 1914.
Woods, R. : Understanding Mysticism , Image - New York, 1980.


 
 

Wim van den Dungen, Antwerp - 2014
philo@sofiatopia.org l SiteMap l Bibliography

Mistakes are due to my own ignorance and not to the Buddhadharma.
May all who encounter the Dharma accumulate compassion & wisdom.
May sentient beings recognize their Buddha-nature and find true peace.

 

initiated : 20 I 2014 - last update : none - version n°1