1.18 विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषो ‘न्यः
virāma – cessation, stoppage; pratyaya – material-thought processes; abhyāsa – practice, repeated or permanent exercise; pūrvaḥ – earlier, before; saṁskāra – latent impressions, past memories; śeṣaḥ – remaining, traces; anyaḥ – the other (Asamprajñāta Samādhi):
When a yogi remains constantly in the state of supreme detachment, knowing himself to be the purusha (atma), his purified mind is freed from all material thoughts and desires, even though memories of his past may still lie dormant within his mind. This is the other samādhi (asamprajñāta samādhi).
1.18 virāma-pratyayābhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṁskāra-śeṣo’nyaḥ
When a yogi remains constantly in the state of supreme detachment, knowing himself to be the puruṣaḥ (ātmā), his purified mind is freed from all material thoughts and desires, even though memories of his past may still lie dormant within his mind. This is the other samādhi (asamprajñāta samādhi).
So, in the last verse, Patañjali was speaking about what I will refer to as almost a mechanical process, or for certain steps that one can take to attain the position of what’s called samprajñāta samādhi. Now he is speaking about a different kind of condition, which he simply refers to as ‘the other’ samādhi. He doesn’t actually use the term asamprajñāta, but that is implied. And this asamprajñāta samādhi is considered the fully transcendental position.
When we look at the word samprajñāta: this ‘sam’ means something like ‘sameness’; the word ‘pra’… the portion of the word, ‘pra’ puts a stress on the word that will follow it, and so it means something like ‘very’ or ‘great’; ‘jñā’ is the root of jñāna, which is ‘knowledge’, or ‘wisdom’. So ‘prajñāta’ means…or ‘prajñā’ rather, means great transcendental wisdom, or great transcendental knowledge. And then the ‘ta’ added on the end… literally you can… it’s like adding ‘ness’ to a word. So, it’s kind of like, ‘fixed in great wisdomness’ is what ‘samprajñāta’ means.
Samprajñāta samādhi… the previous one that we spoke on… the condition… is actually dependent upon a support – this is called ‘ālambana’. So, it’s because, in the meditations… you’re using material nature as a support in the meditations. You’re meditating upon the distinction between that – between spirit and matter – with a view to trying to have a deeper understanding of the nature of that which is spiritual. Asamprajñāta samādhi is without any sort of support; it is a full and spontaneous absorption in transcendence. And so, I will just make a point that one can fall from the platform of samprajñāta samādhi, but from asamprajñāta samādhi one does not fall.
I previously spoke of that muni – Saubhari Muni, who was in this deep meditation within the water. He was a great mystic and he was obviously in a very fixed condition of some samprajñāta samādhi, but upon being reminded of sex life by seeing two fish copulate, it completely broke his samādhi – his condition, and he fell from that very elevated platform. So, you’ll see in the Vedas, there are a huge number of stories that relate to somebody not being utterly successful, and falling from that position… that condition. When we speak about memory of past, or latent impression still remaining within the mind of someone that’s attained asamprajnata samadhi, we should understand that these latent impressions, or past memories of things, do not become active and do not influence the ātmā. And the reason for this is because in this condition the ātmā has literally taken the driver’s seat. So, when I say that, it means that the living being is no longer driven or motivated, or influenced by the gunas of passion, ignorance, and goodness; by the ahaṇkara – the false concepts of the self.
That is because the citta has become completely purified. There is no other way to actually express… I mean it’s not like, in the state of full realization, that suddenly the gross physical body and the subtle coverings evaporate or disappear. They are still there, but what is considered to have happened, is that the gross and subtle coverings of the living being are now being utilized purely by the living being in a pure state, and have in effect become like extensions of the living being itself. So these past latent impressions that I spoke of… you know… and the example that’s often given is the idea of a seed; a seed… a tiny seed… when a yogi looks at a seed they see a tree; that there is actually a tree contained within that seed. It is just not manifesting or directly visible to our eyes yet, but it is there. And if the seed is planted and taken care of, then a tree manifests. And that tree in turn produces thousands of new seeds, and in each one of these seeds, a new tree is there. And so, this example is also given, and how material desire develops into fruitive activity that then stimulates thousands of new desires within the heart of the conditioned soul.
That is quite a frightening consideration. When somebody thinks, “Oh I’ll just do this – just this one thing,” we don’t see that in engaging in any material activity, we are going to produce from that literally limitless other material desires and activities that will come from it. So, in this example, the present material body is just like a tree that produces karmic seeds, and these karmic seeds are the seeds of the next body that will come. However, the cycle of ignorance can be cut to pieces by transcendental knowledge – this ‘prajna’.
In a state of liberation; in a state of enlightenment… as I stated, the material body and the mind… they don’t just fall away. What has been happening up to that point, is that the living being is like a person sitting within a vehicle and being forced to follow wherever that vehicle is going to go, and to see out the window the things that will be brought into contact with, and become absorbed in so many experiences. At the point of actual self-realization, the body and mind, and the ahaṇkara and the buddhi, are not operating, as it were, independently. In one of the coming sutras in the third pāda , Patañjali will speak about how the mind, because of its proximity to the ātmā, appears to take upon itself an independent existence. It’s like it thinks for itself, it does so many things, it’s active, and the living being is subjected to the influence of that mind. But in the state of liberation, the mind has now simply become a tool to be used by the ātmā in their embodied state. The previous example that I gave of the avadhūta condition, with the story of the Avantī Brāhmaṇa and the other story which I didn’t go into any detail about – Jaḍa Bharata, are examples of how somebody in a liberated state who chooses to utterly neglect their body and that which is external, and to pay no attention to it, are examples of how somebody can live in a fully transcendental state and not be influenced at all by the body or the mind.
So, this also reminds me of a verse from the Bhagavad-gīta which we’ve used before. Or there are actually three verses here… four…which really describes this condition:
“In the stage of perfection called trance, or samādhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of the greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.”
So that is a very beautiful description of what it is that we’re dealing with, with these verses here in the Yoga Sutra. In the Yoga Sutra of course…the verses we have been reading:
“When a yogi remains constantly in the state of supreme detachment, knowing himself to be the puruṣaḥ or ātmā, his purified mind is freed from all material thoughts and desires, even though memories of his past may still lie dormant within his mind. This is the other samādhi (asamprajñāta samādhi)”.
And of course, this supreme detachment that has been mentioned here, is you know referencing something from the sixteenth sutra: “When a person, after gaining knowledge of the ātmā (puruṣaḥ) through self-realization, becomes indifferent to the gunas (the underpinnings of material nature), this is called supreme detachment.”
So in this first pāda… and I’d just like to remind people that this is not literally a manual, for somebody to take and read and then follow along. This is a very profound text dealing with both the beginning principles and even the higher principles of this path to self-realization; of complete transcendence. And the verses as they are being presented are like bullet points in a teaching outline. And it does become necessary to have appropriate guidance and to develop an appropriate practice to come to experience the reality of all the things that are being presented here.