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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Yogi Kalinath - Chapter 1, Verse 16


Pada 1, Sutra 16

Sanskrit Verse

Tat param purusa-khyater guna-vaitrsnyam

Translation

The superior aspect of non-attachment is ceasing desiring for the primary constituents of Nature (Gunas) due to the individual identifying with the Self.

Interpretation

The Self is our true, immortal and eternal identity. It does not fluctuate in its remembrance or in its connection to All That Is. The Gunas are the material modes of Nature and due to the dynamism of Nature are in a constant state of flux. The Self is beyond (not affected by) Nature and is its play ground. Knowledge of the Self is the Supreme Knowledge, the Knowledge of all knowledge. Being a slave to the senses or the vain desires generated by the mind lead to misery and at best can only satisfy one temporarily. Knowledge plus Practice (Sadhana) will lead to Freedom where on the journey of life one will develop more equanimity with a corresponding spontaneous natural (and not forced) withdrawal (non-attachment) from the enticements of the primary forces of creation (the Gunas). Only the mortal self (forgetting the Eternal Self within) hankers desperately after the illusory world of transience.

It behooves us to reflect on the following verses from the Bhagavad-Gita:

Water flows continually into the ocean

But the ocean is never disturbed:

Desire flows into the mind of the seer

But he/she is never disturbed.

The seer knows peace….

He/She knows peace who has forgotten desire.

He/She lives without craving:

Free from ego, free from pride.