प्रकाशक्रियास्थितिशीलं भूतेन्द्रियात्मकं भोगापवर्गार्थं दृश्यम्: I
prakākaśa-kriyā-sthiti-śīlaṁ bhūta-indriya-ātmakaṁ bhoga-apavarga-arthaṁ dṛśyam
That which we can see (dṛśyam) has the qualities of light (prakāśa), movement (kriyā) and stability (sthiti), and is composed (ātmakaṃ) of the elements (bhūta) and the senses (indriya). Its purpose (arthaṁ) is to give the Seer life experiences (bhoga) and help with spiritual transformation (apavarga).
PRACTICAL LIVING This rich sutra describes the material world: body, mind and emotions of living beings. Patanjali says that we are made up of the five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth, which manifest in the qualities of light, movement or stability. For example, when we are ready to fall asleep we need the quality of stability to be dominant. When we are taking a test, we need the quality of lightness. And when we need to go out and run errands we need the quality of movement. These qualities are always fluctuating, like we saw in Sutra II.15.
Dṛśyam, or that part of us that is always changing, is also composed of senses. In Yoga, we say that human beings have 11 senses: 5 organs of perception (sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell); 5 organs of action (speech, grasp/grip, motion, reproduction and elimination); and lastly, the mind. These senses provide a person with experiences (bhoga). These may be pleasant or painful. According to Yoga, these experiences (regarding of the result they produce), can help someone to evolve spiritually.
Have you ever asked yourself “What am I doing with my life?” or “What is life about?”. These questions have been asked for millenia and different philosophies have attempted to answer these mysterious questions. Is life about having fun? Is there a deeper meaning than that? According to Tal Ben Shahar, a Positive Psychologist, happiness is achieved when we balance 2 things:
1. Pleasure. We have senses that tell us when something tastes, feels, sounds, smells or looks good. Enjoying life means that we choose people, activities, meals, locations and experiences that are pleasant. Do you choose to spend time with people who make you feel good? Do you engage in activities that interest you? Do you savor every bite of food you place in your mouth?
2. Purpose. In order for us to feel deeply satisfied, we need to feel like we are contributing in some way to something. This may be what you choose to do as a career, as a hobby, or simply how you ARE in the world with others. Activists feel a huge sense of purpose by supporting their cause. My husband feels a profound fulfillment by treating others with kindness. A good friend of mine feels she is living her calling by dedicating her life to her beautiful family. However you do it, finding meaning in life is a necessary component to living a fulfilling life.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Recently, I had a big “aha!” moment. I understood at a deeper level why it is that Yoga was practiced by only a handful of people before the 20th century: it’s goal is spiritual transformation and that not only takes a lot of dedication, but is not desired by most people. It is not desired because getting close to spirit means profound levels of detachment. The scariest letting go is that of the ego, our sense of identity, of who we think we are. Most people seek pleasure, moment after moment, thinking that pleasure equals happiness. In Yoga, whether our life experiences provide us with pleasure or pain, they can, with awareness, lead us closer to the Seer. The soul can only be reached through the mind. And the mind needs the soul in order to live. It is a beautiful relationship.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON What a GIANT heart this woman has! Kai has a heart of gold, a smile that lights up the planet, and yummy energy that everyone around her feels and is drawn towards. Her life is filled with pleasure as she surrounds herself by wonderful people, fun activities and lots of traveling. However, she also is a woman who lives her life with a lot of meaning. Her jewelry, art and her words are covered with wisdom, deep reflection and tender love. Kai, I love being with you. You radiate love woman! Love you beautiful soul!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and next week we look at the different layers of the body and mind!
Divino este post Lulu!!! So clear, so simple and so so meaningful. Gracias por tu generosidad de compartir tu knowledge todas las semanas. I so look forward to receiving your Sutras! Me enriquezco un poquito con cada uno… Or so I hope!
Beso enorme, love you,
Ces, so good to know that they are enriching in some way. Thanks for the feedback! Love you!
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This one is over the edge for me, I am getting bogged down in all the detail of all the translations. Maybe because now I have too many books that I use every week. But, trying to break this down, as a secular yogini. Sitting at my front window studying, a large truck passes, and I try to relate the mental process between the Seer and seen. I think the gunas may come into play when brain acknowledges eyes on truck and mind decides which association to give rise. What is it doing, what is inside, where is it going, did they break any branches, etc. Noticing there was some kind of mental process as I watched it go by, a diversion from reading this Sutra. Just trying to keep it simple yet understand the extent of all the explanations of gunas, 11 senses, duality, 5 elements, a balance between pleasure and purpose feels more right size.
Hi Kate, if the vocabulary is overwhelming, I suggest you ignore the sanskrit for now. Stringing this to our practical lives is what yoga is about. Also remember that studying Yoga is a lifetime endeavor…we are always reflecting and becoming more self-aware…there’s no end to it so please be patient with yourself 🙂
Well, I went to my new class last night. The teacher said the gunas were like protons, neutrons and electrons. Just thought I’d add that.
Hahaha! Love it Kate. Thanks for sharing. The more visuals we have, the deeper this all sinks in.