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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Yogi Kalinath - Chapter 2, Verse 18


Pada 2, Sutra 18

Sanskrit Verse

Prakaasha-kriyaa-sthiti-sheelam bhootendriyaatmakam bhogaapavargaartham drshyam

Translation

The seen has the characteristics of brightness, activity and inertia. It is embodied in the elements and in the sense organs and exists for the dual purpose of enjoyment and emancipation.

Interpretation

The seen refers to Prakriti, Nature which is composed of Sattva (brightness), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (inertia), the three Gunas or qualities of material nature. The seen is embodied in the 5 elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether which are in constant flux. The sense organs operate through our 5 sheaths—the physical (Annamaya Kosha), the vital (Pranamaya Kosha), the mental (Manomaya Kosha), the intellect (Vijnanamaya Kosha) and the bliss (Anandamaya Kosha) sheaths.

The Gunas, elements and sense organs allow us to enjoy the world (Bhukti) but also to be bound by it. Consequently withdrawal and detachment from the Gunas and sense organs allow us to become emancipated.

Reflection

Prakriti is the formulation for the playground of the Divine through the agency of the individual Atmas. The issue arises when we are hypnotized through the sense organs by the show of the Gunas and 5 elements (the seen) and forget the Seer Within. Only when we forget the Seer Within do the concepts of being bound and of liberation occur.