Yoga Sutra 1.3
Translation and Commentary
Then the seer becomes established in its true nature.
Yoga Sutra 1.3 Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, PhD
Tadā then; only after—never before.
Draṣhṭuḥ possessive case of draṣḥtṛ, which means "seer, perceiver, pure witness (as opposed to the doer); pure consciousness; pure intelligence; the divine being; the transcendental reality; soul; ātman; puruṣha."
Svarūpe locative form of
Svarūpa = sva + rūpa
Sva one's one; essential; intrinsic; natural
Rūpa form; state
Avasthānam establishment; residence; resting ground
The Self Revealed
Once the mind is crystal-clear, we begin to perceive the objects of the world the way they are; our perception is no longer distorted.
How would we see ourselves if our inner vision were clear and unobstructed? This sutra explains that we would see ourselves as we are...
It is only when the mind is no longer in turmoil that the divine being within us can rest peacefully in its natural abode. Philosophically it is true that the soul is pure and divine, never subject to change, and that peace and bliss are its intrinsic nature. But as a practical matter, when the soul is accompanied by a disturbed mind it loses its self-awareness. Once embodied, it must use the mind as a tool to experience its own inherent attributes. If this tool is contaminated, then the soul has no chance to experience its own nature and, helpless, it experiences only what the mind presents to it. That is why this pure and divine, ever-perfect soul finds itself in bondage and craves liberation.
Sensing this, we commit ourselves to a variety of spiritual practices—visiting shrines, reading scriptures, performing rituals, serving God in temples and churches, praying, reciting mantras, drawing mandalas, and practicing meditation. But the word tadā in this sutra refers to the previous sutra, and thus emphatically maintains that the soul can be established in its true nature only after the mind has become still. By implication it also tells us that a confused mind is not fit to follow any spiritual path, that in order to do any practice successfully you need a disciplined, focused mind. Singing prayers, repeating mantras, and reciting scriptures are of little value if the mind is scattered. In fact, all the different forms of spiritual practice have only one goal: to purify the mind by making it one-pointed.
The divine within us is ever-enlightened, and it is the inherent light of the divine that illuminates our inner and outer worlds. Once our mind is purified, the light of the divine illuminates our whole life from within. Spiritual practices do not brighten the divine—they simply cleanse the mind so that the light of the divine from within can pass through the mental field without obstruction.
Once the mind is crystal-clear, we begin to perceive the objects of the world the way they are; our perception is no longer distorted. We come to see that material objects are neither good nor bad, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but neutral. It is our attitude toward them that makes them appear either positive or negative. Once this realization dawns, the mind finds no reason to be agitated. The charms and temptations of the world no longer affect it. Even while it is active in the world, the mind remains still.
In yoga that stillness is known as samadhi—a state in which the mind is free from all disturbances. Yoga likens this state to a perfectly clear crystal that poses no obstruction to light. In this state, truth is known in its fullness. That is called enlightenment or self-realization.
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>>