Yoga Sutra 1.25
Translation and Commentary
Therein lies the seed of unsurpassed omniscience.
Yoga Sutra 1.25 Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, Phd
niratiśayaṁ without limit; that which cannot be surpassed; the highest absolute
sarvajñabījam = sarva + jna + bijam
Thus, sarvajñabījam means knower of all; knower of everything; knower of past, present, and future; having the seed of omniscience.
Untouched by the fivefold afflictions, God has one particular characteristic that outshines all others.
According to Patanjali, the most distinctive characteristic of God is that in him lies the seed of unsurpassed omniscience. Religious texts emphasize the omnipotence of God (Almighty God). In patriarchal societies, God is viewed as an all-powerful male charged with absolute authority to rule over all creation. Nothing and no one can supersede his authority. God is an embodiment of power. He subdues or vanquishes anyone who attempts to challenge his unbridled position. He establishes law and order, rewards those who obey his laws, and punishes those who disobey him. He lives in the kingdom of heaven, fitted with all that which makes his glory shine. In matriarchal societies, all the characteristics of an all-powerful God, except gender, are transferred to a Goddess. According to Patanjali, however, submission to, or worship of, such a deity serves no purpose.
At this point, and only at this point, surrender becomes a matter of personal experience—a state of gratitude powerful enough to fill your mind and consume all the afflictions that once used to agitate it.
Then to what kind of God or Goddess is Patanjali advising aspirants to surrender? The answer is clear. Surrender to a God who knows what your problems are and knows how to help you. You do not know what you are and where you are, and yet you are trying to know yourself and find yourself. You do not know what could be the best tool for discovering yourself, and yet you are trying to discover yourself. You do not know your destination, yet you are trying to reach it. You do not know the purpose and meaning of life, and yet you are trying to attain it. You are like a blind person running a race.
That is why Patanjali advises you to surrender yourself to the God in whom lies the seed of unsurpassed omniscience. God, as described in the previous sutra, is untouched by the fivefold afflictions (ignorance, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion, and fear of death) and by action, the fruits of actions, and the realm of awareness where subtle impressions of our past actions are deposited. The complete knowledge of everything that existed in the past, exists in the present, and will exist in the future, is innate to this divine being, for to such a one, time poses no barrier. All directions are clear to him. He knows all your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the merits and pitfalls, invisible and visible, of all paths.
Surrender to such an omniscient being ensures that you are in good hands. Fear and anxiety are left behind when you realize that the actions of this omniscient being have no selfish motives. Her love for you is unconditional. Her intrinsic compassion is her sole motivation for guiding and serving all living beings. In response to the calling of your heart, she is spontaneously moved to place herself at your service. This realization is overwhelming, and the inability to contain this overwhelming experience causes you to surrender yourself in gratitude. At this point, and only at this point, surrender becomes a matter of personal experience—a state of gratitude powerful enough to fill your mind and consume all the afflictions that once used to agitate it. You no longer make an effort to practice “surrender to God” as a tool; rather, you find yourself in a surrendered state. When that happens, the scriptures say, “You are fully prepared to receive and retain the seeds of highest knowledge.”
God is the repository of the seed of unsurpassed omniscience—the seed of limitless knowledge resides in him. He has no personal afflictions; he has no karma and thus no impulse to pay his karmic debts. He has no reason to perform any actions, and yet he goes on dispensing beatitude to all. He constantly and effortlessly disperses the seed of knowledge in the hearts of all living beings. But infertility caused by ignorance, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion, fear, karmas, the fruits of karmas, and the subtle karmic impressions deposited in our mindfield prevents it from sprouting. It is total surrender (with right understanding of God) that helps us prepare the soil in which the seed of omniscience can germinate, grow, multiply, and lead us to realize that God is in us and God is us, for we are the fruit of his seed.
Spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than a quarter of a century, he is the author of fourteen books, including his recently-released The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, and his autobiography Touched by Fire: The Ongoing Journey of a Spiritual Seeker. Pandit Tigunait holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and another in Oriental Studies from the... Read more>>