In the last article post, sutras 1-18 of book two of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, were covered. This article will focus on the next set of sutras in this thread, sutras 19 through 27. The next article will cover sutras 28 to 45, which have some of the best known parts of the Yoga Sutras, a discussion of the yamas and niyamas.
In the sutras for this section of book two, the sadhana pada or portion on practice, Patanjali discusses the stages of nature and the relationship between the Seer of Nature and Nature itself. These sutras also lead the reader to the seven planes of understanding to find one’s own wisdom and true nature.
There are four stages of Prakriti, or Nature, discussed in this section: unmanifested stage, a slightly manifested stage, a more developed stage where nature forms into the subtle senses, intellect and the mind; lastly, where gross objects can be heard, felt, seen, touched, smelled and tasted.
Patanjali then introduces us to Purusha, the Seer, for whom all the objects that can be seen in nature exist. The reality is that this is all an illusion for the seer to witness. Illusion, also known as maya, is something that the seer should not avoid, but should face head on to understand. Once the illusions are understood and solved through the union, or samyoga, of Purusha and Prakriti, then the Seer can start to realize his or her true Self. The ignorance of the Seer is why this union between nature and the seer is necessary. This is how the Seer realizes that his/her own ignorance in nature is not the truth. Then once this ignorance is removed, the Seer can rest in his or her own Nature.
Mana eva manush yanam.
A man is according to his mind.
Patanjali then explains that the mind is what keeps man in bondage, but the mind can also liberate the man. The way to do this is called viveka, which is trying to understand and see the permanent aspect in everything and not fall into the impermanent aspects.
Sutra 27 in book 2 leads us to a discussion of the different stages of attaining Nature, Purusha, in the seven planes of understanding, or saptadha bhumi. This are the different stages of one’s wisdom. The first is the desire to know anything more, so realizing that looking for knowledge from external things, will not bring the knowledge sought after. One must look inward and get to know oneself.
The second stage is the desire to stay away from any thing. One realizes that good and bad, pain and pleasure, etc. are not from outside sources.
Stage three, one loses the desire to gain anything new because the mind is fully understood and conscious. Stage four is losing the desire to do anything because there is no longer anything to be done. Stage five comes as a result of freeing the mind of having to do anything, so the distractions and sorrow are released. Stage six allows one to lose fear and therefore lose the mind itself. This opens one to the seventh plane, where Nature itself remains and all delusions are gone.
In the next section of review in book 2 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Patanjali will lead the way in how yoga can help make a being pure and find his or her own true Nature.