कृतार्थं प्रति नष्टमप्यनष्टं तदन्यसाधारणत्वात् I
kṛta-arthaṁ prati naṣṭam-api-anaṣṭaṁ tad-anya-sādhāraṇatvāt
When a person’s soul achieves (kṛta) its goal (arthaṁ), it’s as if nature ceases to exist (naṣtam) for that person. However (api), nature is still present (anaṣṭaṁ) for others (anya) since it is universal (sādhāranatvāt).
PRACTICAL LIVING On a very practical level, this sutra reminds us of the subjectivity of matter. What I use something for may be very different than what you use it for. When a child sees a fruit tree they may only think about how awesome it would be to climb it! When an adult sees the same tree he/she may think about how delicious those mangoes would taste. The object is the same: a tree. But how the mind attaches to that object can be very different for every person.
Nature reminds us of the quality of change and perspective: if you watch the moon for 24 hours, at some point it will ‘disappear’. Did it really disappear? From your perspective it did, but for someone else who is on a different part of the planet it is still there.
It is very helpful to remind ourselves that everything we see and experience in the world is only through our own lens, which is different from anyone else’s. The scratching and tint on my lens is different from yours. Arguments and wars occur because we forget this simple fact.
The next time you catch yourself criticizing someone else, step back, remove your ‘glasses’ and notice whether you can experience the same situation in a different way.
IN THE YOGA WORLD On another level, Patanjali is telling us that matter only exists to serve the soul. When a person achieves the ultimate goal of yoga – to connect with their True Nature, then nature (the body and mind) cease to exist or have any importance to that person. All they know is the soul – pure freedom. But nature still exists for those who have not encountered their souls yet. The latter need the body and mind in order to continue their journey inward.
As we continue to live in these bodies and continue to polish our minds, let us remind ourselves that there is a beautiful light within us that can guide us, promoting life and aliveness everywhere we go. So, the next time you’re in doubt about what to do, say or choose (regardless of how “big” the decision is), ask yourself this simple question: “What is the most life-promoting decision I can make?” The soul is the biggest life promoter there is 🙂
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON It is so refreshing and enriching to listen to someone talk about a subject that you are passionate about – in my case, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Recently I attended a sutras class taught by Daren. An experienced and knowledgeable teacher, he expresses himself with confidence, yet humility. His teachings are clear and filled with personal experiences. He makes fun of himself, and I find that very endearing in a teacher. He is approachable and caring to his students. Having mostly studied the sutras from teachers that are either in the West Coast or India, it brings a smile to my face to know that there is a fantastic sutras teacher from whom I can both learn and share these beautiful teachings with. Thank you Daren!
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 how suffering can be a catalyst to happiness!