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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Yogi Kalinath - Chapter 3, Verse 17


Pada 3, Sutra 17

Sanskrit Verse

Shabdaartha-pratyayaanaam itaretaraadhyaasaat sankaras tat-pravibhaaga-sanyamaat sarva-bhoota-ruta-jnaanam

Translation

There is ordinarily confusion between the words themselves as sound, their meanings and their concepts. By restraint of the mind on their distinctions, there arises knowledge of the sound of all beings.

Interpretation

Language which is communication is composed of words through the agency of sound. In our everyday interaction through the agency of verbal communication we ordinarily make no distinction between the sound of the words, their meanings and their very concepts. It is only in learning a foreign language that we, at least initially, make a distinction between sound, the object it represents and its idea including the feeling it elicits. Through the awareness of this distinction, the Yogi is able to learn the language of all beings including those of the animal kingdom.

Reflection

When we break down something as complex as language, we are left with its component parts that form an integral part of the process that we call communicating through sound. Communication starts with an idea in the mind of the transmitter together with the desire to communicate that idea to the receiver which is transmitted by the agency of sound that we call words. Through constraint on the sound and the feeling / reaction it elicits it is possible to start getting knowledge of the sound of all beings. The same can also be applied to our own self-talk and how we define the world and our own life experiences through words and their repetitiousness. In other words, our own personal language that formulate our belief systems and take on reality.