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Book 1, Sutra 49: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra

“THIS WISDOM DIFFERS FROM THAT DERIVING FROM CONVENTIONAL LEARNING OR ONE’S OWN INSIGHTS BECAUSE IT IS FOCUSED ON THE SPECIAL PURPOSE UNDERLYING ALL OBJECTS.”

 

Patanjali is telling us why the wisdom, “prajna,” produced by samadhi is so special and different from other types of more conventional wisdom. The specialness of the samadhi wisdom is derived from the very profound purpose underlying the objects that becomes clear to the yogi. That special purpose is called “artha” and Patanjali tells us about this “artha” (and its importance) in not less than 17 sutras.

In sutra 43 Patanjali describes the process of this special “artha” arising in the consciousness of the yogi and the monumental effect that it produces: “When memory is purified and there is a realization of emptiness then meaning alone stands forth without sense impressions. This is called nirvitarka samapatti.”

“Meaning” is interchangeable with “purpose” and both give us the definition of “artha.” We are all looking for the fundamental meaning of life which is the same as our purpose for existing and when we find it, true wisdom dawns, as Patanjali tells us in this sutra 49. Wisdom is “True” in the highest sense because it is about THE purpose, “arthatvat,” Patanjali tells us here. That purpose, in fact, is the “other” or hidden object, “visaya,” behind all objects. And that purpose is also the inner most core or seed, “sabijah,” that is the only thing remaining as an anchor to the yogi established in this stage of samadhi. As we shall see in the final sutra, 51, of this chapter, there is one higher stage, “nirbijah,” or without seed, for the yogi to reach. Even the underlying purpose of life, the “artha,” has to be relinquished for the mind to be completely freed of all disturbance.

 

 

 

 

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Book 1, Sutra 42: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra

“WITH SAVITARKA SAMAPATTI, THE OBJECT’S NAME, THE MEANING BEHIND THE NAME AND ALL OTHER INFORMATION CONNECTED TO THAT OBJECT ARE BLENDED TOGETHER SEEMLESSLY.”

 

In this sutra Patanjali continues to describe “samapatti,” or the state of cognitive blending analogously described by the clear crystal in the last sutra. Here he adds 5 Sanskrt terms: “sabda,” “artha,” “jnana,” “vikalpa,” and “savitarka.” Roughly translated these terms mean “name,” “meaning,” “factual knowledge,” “conceptualization” and “sensorially based perception.” Translations differ somewhat on how Patanjali intended these 5 terms to relate to each other and to “samapatti.” Some translators wrote that the first 4 terms are blended together to get a new version of “samapatti” called “savitarka samapatti.”

I don’t think the “samapatti” described in this sutra is a “new” one that differs from the “samapatti” of the last sutra but I do admit that the following sutras will describe further refinement of “samapatti.” For now, Patanjali is simply giving us more information about the cognitive blending called “samapatti.” Just as the last sutra stated that it was a blending of experiencer, experience and the process of experiencing itself, in this sutra Patanjali describes it as a blending of the theoretical knowledge of an object (name, meaning, inferences, references, etc.) with the sensual knowledge of that object. We can call this “savitarka samapatti,” or “samapatti with sensation” in order to distinguish it from the higher or more refined “nirvitarka samapatti” or “samapatti without sensation” that Patanjali will describe next.