तदपि बहिरङ्गं निर्बीजस्य I
tadapi bahir-aṅgaṁ nirbījasya
Even these (tadapi) last three limbs (aṇgaṁ) are external (bahir) when compared to a seedless (nirbījasya) state.
PRACTICAL LIVING Last week we saw that the last three limbs (concentration, meditation and complete integration) are more subtle than the first five (relationships, lifestyle, body, breathing and the senses). This week Patañjali says that in comparison to seedless (nirbīja) samādhi (complete integration), the last three limbs are very gross. In other words, Patañjali is telling us that everything is relative in life. We tend to compare our growth and our experiences in relation to others or to ourselves in the past. Our experiences and our growth lie in a spectrum. Our starting places are all different. So we gradually walk on our spectrum of life, moving from not seeing clearly to having more and more clarity. We gradually fix our ‘life prescription glasses’. And maybe one day those glasses will point us towards the soul, a place that transcends the mind (nirbīja samādhi). In that place, there are no seeds waiting to react to the world. It is a seedless field, one of expansion and spaciousness. It is a lot more subtle place than concentration, meditation and being totally absorbed by an object (the trio referred to as saṁyama).
IN THE YOGA WORLD Here Patañjali is comparing integration with seeds (sabija samādhi) and seedless integration (nirbīja samādhi). Last week, the former seemed subtle when compared to something else. This week, it is considered gross when compared to seedless integration. We can only keep walking our paths, keep doing the work and gradually moving along the spectrum of deep knowing.
Within the realm of the mind, Vyāsa, a great commentator on the Yoga Sūtras, divides the mind into 5 states:
i. kṣipta – a very unfocused and agitated state of mind
ii. mūdha – a dull and lethargic state of mind
iii. vikṣipta – a state which constantly moves from agitation to dullness
iv. ekāgra – focuses, one-pointed attention
v. niruddha – the movement of the mind is suspended
The mind’s state needs to be suspended in order to experience seedless samādhi. This is where the ‘seeds’, which are constantly sprouting in our minds, are silent and even non-existent. In other words, when the body, senses and ego are not reacting to the world anymore, then we are able to reach a rare and unique state of seeing the soul, and we see the quite and spacious awareness residing deep within us.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Iemanja, the mother of all mothers in the Afro-Brazilian spiritual tradition, presented herself to me as an ‘ally’ in a Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Growing up in Brazil, I related to her mostly on New Year’s Eve when dressed all in white (like she does), and I would throw flowers into the ocean as gratitude offerings. I would thank her for my beautiful life. I would then ask her to guide me through the next year. But that was pretty much it, until a few weeks ago, when she came to me in a vision, and powerfully introduced herself as my inner wisdom – a loving and compassionate companion within me. In essence, a part of me. A water Goddess, she came to remind me to stay fluid, soft, cool, fresh and strong. She reminds me to stay courageous and stay present through life’s storms. She reminds me to live a life of beauty, a life of godliness.
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 we will look at the transformation process of a calm mind!