Yoga Sutra 1.4

Translation and Commentary

May 28, 2013    BY Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Translation

Elsewhere [the seer] conforms to the modifications of the mind.
Yoga Sutra 1.4 Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, PhD

Vṛtti thought constructs; modifications; that which rotates like a wheel; movement.

Sārūpyam this term is derived from sarūpa, which is a combination of sa + rūpa. Sa means "with"; rūpa means "form." Sārūpyam means becoming one with form; identification with objects.

Itaratra elsewhere; everywhere other than in samadhi; any time other than when the mind is not still.

Mistaken Identity

If the mind has a pleasant attitude toward that object, it experiences pleasure. If the mind has an unpleasant attitude toward an object, it experiences pain.

The mysterious power of the mind misleads and binds us. We sleep to the divine self within, and wake to a world of distracting identities.

When the mind is not still and consequently when the soul is not established in its essential nature, our consciousness identifies with the modifications of the mind. But the mind is the tool that consciousness uses to explore its own nature. When because of its instability, the mind runs in the external world from one object to another, consciousness loses sight of its own inherent attributes and consciousness surrenders to the mind. When that happens, the mind takes consciousness on a long and exhausting tour of the external world. Consciousness becomes dependent on the mind and complications set in. The mind is scattered and fragmented. It is not able to stay on an object long enough to gain a right understanding of that object. It flits from one object to another without perceiving any of them clearly. That is why, to a person with a restless mind, life and everything in it remains a mystery.

The mind has a unique characteristic: it assumes the form of whatever it perceives. When it is perceiving an object, it becomes that object. When it conceives the idea of God (which is a form of inner perception), it becomes that God. If the mind has a Christian attitude toward God, it experiences a Christian God; if it has a Hindu attitude, it perceives a Hindu God. If the mind has a pleasant attitude toward that object, it experiences pleasure. If the mind has an unpleasant attitude toward an object, it experiences pain. But if the mind is not tainted by its own self-created notions, it will have a neutral attitude toward the objects it perceives which is simply neutral information presented to consciousness. It neither stains nor agitates the mind, and therefore, the mind remains pure and still. Such a mind is the resting ground for the soul—a source of freedom and enlightenment.

But when its neutrality is lost, the mind becomes the victim of its own imaginations and projections, and consciousness has no choice but to identify with them. This identification leads to misery. That is why the yogis say that it is important not to identify with the modifications of the mind. Instead, we must make the mind one-pointed and then turn that one-pointed mind inward. A one-pointed, inward mind is illumined by that eternal light residing within each of us.

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
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>>