June 13, 2020

Sutra 1.25-1.26: Ineffable

Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now

    1.25 Tatra niratisayam sarvajna bijam
    1.26 Purvesham api guruh kalena anavacchedat
    • tatra = there
    • niratisayam = unsurpassed / limitless
    • sarvajna = all-knowing / all knowledge / omniscient
    • bijam = seed / root

    • purvesham = ancient / first
    • api = also / too
    • guruh = teacher / master
    • kalena = time
    • anavacchedat = unbounded / limitless

Yoga is not a religion, but sutras 1.23-1.29 could lead one to come to the mistaken assumption that it is. See, these sutras set out to describe god. As someone who grew up Catholic, but has not been part of the church for a very long time, the term 'god' can be triggering for me. Yet, I also know that my comfort with using the word 'universe' can set off red flags for others. Which makes it somewhat tricky to contemplate and discuss this particular set of sutras. So instead of focusing on words and terms, try tapping into that feeling or energy of something that is more than you. That time when you've felt fully connected to yourself, to another person, a group of people, nature, the present moment, etc. This is samadhi (the ultimate goal of yoga) and ishvara (god/universe/divine/light/etc.) is one way to help guide us there through our practice.

The last sutra and these additional two try to give us a greater understanding of ishvara:
sutra 1.24 - ishvara is impartial and not affected by actions, reactions or desire
sutra 1.25 - ishvara is everywhere, in everything and available to everyone
sutra 1.26 - ishvara is all knowledge and and ultimate truth

It is so difficult to put the concept of something more than you into words, but I think Osho describes this idea of ishvara (though he used the word god) beautifully when he said "You are the seed, and ishvara is the manifestation. You are the seed and ishvara is the actuality. You are the potential; ishvara is the actual."

One of the things I love so much about the yoga sutras and the practice of yoga (that I have mentioned, and will continue to reiterate) is the concept of experience and choice. Surrendering to something greater than you (which is what these sutras is about) is one path to lead to the goal of yoga (samadhi). Your only job is to test this path out. Does it work? Then continue along that path. Does it not feel quite right? Then some other practices will come up later in the sutras that may aid in your quest a bit better. But, the only way to know if it is your way or not is to have the experience. So this week, try it on for size. In your practice (whether asana, meditation, pranayama, etc.) can you tap into and surrender to something more than you? Contemplate the quote above and see how easily (or not) it weaves its way through your practice.

Sutra 1.25 There (ishvara) is the root of limitless knowledge.
Sutra 1.26  Not bound by time, (ishvara) is the teacher of even the ancients.

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