[Advaita-l] Patanjali Yoga Sutra. I.3

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 21 15:11:15 CDT 2009

Dear Shri Vidyasankar,
I confess that this is a very difficult case. 
Traditional translation (as per one source)

I.3 tadâ draSTu: svarûpe ‘vasthânam
tadâ = then
draSTu: = seer, witness, pure awareness
svarûpe = own essence, identity
avasthânam = state of abiding
Then, pure awareness can abide in its very nature.
Kindly refer to my original message 318 in Indology list:
In messages 315 & later Dmitri thinks adraSTu makes better sense : 

"In that case unobservable relaxes in its natural form" (after cittavRtti nirodha done),

but I will not quote his support. 
In your message 298, you rejected the reading saying 
1. adra.staa is incorrect 
2. YS 2.20-21 mention dras.taa
3. YS 1.4 commentary supports dra.staa
I was not really aiming at adra.staa, but I am interested in adras.tu, not as a karta 

of the sentence, but as an attribute/qualification for swarupa (I want to read it as 

'unseen form'). I will explain myself below. 
YS 2.20 :
Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the

perceiving mind.
This was indeed talking of the dras.ta (the so often popularly used word 'witness' 

in vedanta terminology)... in a negative light... because this sutra is saying every seer 

(even the highest, namely Vishnu) has some defect caused by his/her own bias. 
In essence, the phenomenal world exists to reveal this truth.
This is a logical continuation of 2.20, as it is saying the phenomenal world exists 

as a proof of 2.20 (because the draSTu himself caused his own world, due to Br.U.I.v.1). 

In other words, Vishnu's world exists due to Vishnu's way  of looking at things, 

Rudra's world exists due to Rudra's way of seeing world, and likewise Devadatta's.
IMO, YS.I.4 was already brainwashed by the interpretation of I.3 which I contest as wrong. 

So I.4 can not taken as an independent view. 
Kindly ignore my adventurous post 244 which took off on a tangent.

In sutra I.2, yoga is the karta. As per sutra convention, for I.3 also yoga should continue 

to be the karta. Only in I.4 karta changes ot vRtti. 

While it is true that by removing all vRttis one can get instant realization, 

I think it is too big a leap to become a draSTu (reference to Brahman?) 

who can abide by one's own nature. As for being a simple seer, every one 

who sees a few things, BTW, even with chittavRttis one has that draSTu status.

I can as well say I am the draSTu of my life, home and office. 

The purpose of yoga can not be to "unite" with Brahman as the latter is just a witness. 

Yoga has to be the dvaita view of uniting with the Lord, whoever it can be, in any situation.

Let us consider a simple and practical example: inhalation (prANa) and exhalation (apAna). 

These two are two different vRttis. These two vRttis keep interchanging positions 

because neither can continue forever on its own. So I want to use yoga as 

chttavRtti nirodha and attempt to stop both of them. Not that I hate either of them, 

but I just dislike the way I am forced to change direction every few seconds. 

Why am I being forced to go through all this? Is there is a way to do nirodha 

of these vRttis, not by stopping either of them or both of them, but by finding 

the root cause of both of them? That state is vyAna, which can not be seen by 

either prANa or apAna. vyAna is adraSTu-svarUpa for prANa and apAna. 

So in this particular example, yoga is established in this adraSTu svarupa namely vyAna.

The seer in I.3 can not be the the ultimate witness Brahman, because 

a mention of Brahman is usually made either in the beginning of a work 

or end of the work, not somewhere in the middle. 

The seer in I.3 can not be a simple seer, because this simple seer exists always, 

even without chittavRtti nirodha.

So yoga happens when a nirodha is done for normal routine activities of life, 

and stopping normal wanderings of the manas, and realizing where these are coming from.

It may not be the ultimate source from which all this is born (prajna) unless we are just one level

below prajna. It is definitely not Brahman as it is beyond cause & effect. So it must be Prajna or a 

lower level truth, a qualified Brahman, a conditional Brahman, but somewhat higher level 

than the present state of mind. Also the word yoga itself means joining, which is always 

between two things: the sum total of the vRttis of the ahamkAra and their immediate cause 

which can not be seen by the vRttis themselves or by the person enjoying those vRttis.


This is not to say that vyAna is the ultimate seer. VyAna itself will merge into udAna 

which is its adhidaivam; and udAna into samAna. But for the moment as we live under 

control of prANa and apAna our immediate goal is to achieve yoga with vyAna, and this 

can only be done by means of chittavRtti nirodham (for now limited to restricing the two vRttis  

namely prANa and apAna). ChittavRtti nirodha is mandatory because otherwise if we allow inhalation 

and exhalation to happen we would never experience vyAna, as it will be like trying to do 

paschimothan asana after bending keens. Yoga can only be achieved after the necessary discipline. 

So the meaning of the sutra I.3 is very simple: from existing level you just go one step 

higher which is the cause of current state of manas.


I.4 continues saying, itaratra - otherwise, if such a merger (yoga) doesn't happen, 

you will keep seeing the vRttis. Again, the word sArUpyam is used because these vRttis 

that are seen in case of non-achievement of yoga are well classifiable into a limited number, 

and they will not be infinite vRttis. Why? because if we are able to generate infinite vRttis, 

after all we would be the creator! No, we will be simply creating the same vRttis again and 

again in a loop, enjoying prANa and apAna one after another (or other vRttis in other multiple-element

models etc like satva, rajas, tamas etc). 


But one thing is sure, vyAna is definitely adraSTu-svarUpam, because it can not be seen as 

long as we live and think inside the box. When we restrict the vRttis of lower level, we merge 

into a higher level and lower vRttis simply vanish as a consequence because they now look trivial; 

and what once appeared  as big things in life now appear as toys. And then this process is to be 

repeated till one reaches prajna, the ultimate cause at which point causality itself breaks down. 


As I said, the only justification I have for svarita is my remembrance of my father's style of 

chantings of some mantras as well as singing other poems. Somehow if there is no balam, 

he used to struggle and find a word that has the required strength. Without svarita I.3 is weak. 


If this is rejected, I promise not to return until I do my home work properly next time.  




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