1.29 ततः प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमो ‘प्यन्तरायाभवाश्च

tataḥ pratyak-cetanādhigamo’pyantarāyābhāvaś ca

tataḥ – then, from this; pratyak – inward; cetanā – consciousness, sentience; adhigamaḥ – attainment, realization; api – too, also; antarāya – obstacles, impediments; abhāva – absence, annihilation; ca – and:

Then (from that) comes realization of the individual self and the obstacles are removed.

1.29  tataḥ pratyak-cetanādhigamo’ pyantarāyābhāvaś ca

Then (from that) comes realization of the individual self and the obstacles are removed.

This is the final in this group of verses speaking about Īśvara and the connection between the ātman and this paramātma, and the fundamental principles of spiritual development or growth, or realization.

In his commentary Vyāsa has stated that samādhi is attained by complete surrender and devotion to Īśvara – īśvara-praṇidhāna. And here in his commentary Vyāsa places the following question before the sutra by Patañjali.  And the question he puts:” What else happens?” Meaning what else happens apart from the attainment of samādhi?

Because all of the previous references were how surrender to Īśvara makes it so a person can attain the state of samādhi. And I just want to state once more if I may please, that the reference to samādhi here, we should not think of as being a mental state. It is not a mental state; it is a state beyond the mind. It is the practical and deep absorption and realization of the ātman in its own divine and eternal spiritual nature, and the connection that the ātman has with paramātma. So, after asking this question,” What else happens?” of course the verse then, “Then (from that) comes realization of the individual self and obstacles are removed.” So, these two things arise from this submission; this praṇidhāna…this submission to Īśvara: the overcoming of all the obstacles to self-realization. So these will be mentioned in a more detailed way in the very next sutra.

And then the second thing or benefit is self-realization itself. So we see here that there are… this term  ‘pratyak-cetana.’ Pratyak refers to that which is inner or innermost, and cetana (or in its fuller form caitanya) refers to consciousness. Now, this reference points to an inner or the deeper consciousness…or ‘the original’ is probably more accurate – the original consciousness of the ātman.

The material condition occurs when the pure and uncontaminated ātman becomes contaminated…and I will explain what I mean by that in a moment… contaminated by the ahaṅkara. The ahaṅkara is the foundation of material existence and the foundation of prakṛti as well. We should understand that the atman is always pure. My guru maharaj, he would sometimes use the example of a diamond which is in the earth, and it may be buried and covered with dirt and rock and things, and may appear to be what we would consider dirty, but in reality the dirt that is covering the diamond never actually penetrates the diamond. And when one recovers the diamond from the earth, and cleanses away the rock and the dirt and debris surrounding it, the glory of the diamond becomes manifest.

So, in a very similar manner the atman may become covered, but its original consciousness is always unaffected; is always pure. But when that consciousness now manifests through filters, the first being the ahaṅkara, and that consciousness is then radiated out through the mind and through the gross material body, everything that is undertaken by the mind and the body, and everything that is all information and experience received, do not actually touch the deep transcendental nature of the ātman. But because the ātman has misidentified with the ahaṅkara… with the false concept of who I am – the body and the mind, so the atman experiences pain and pleasure and becomes entangled, and is pulled into an ongoing and almost never-ending saga known as saṁsāra.

I’ve used the example previously of somebody sitting in a movie house and watching the screen, and how that it’s just light reflecting off a screen, and yet we can become overwhelmed with emotion; we can lose all recollection of where we’ve parked the car or who’s sitting beside us, what clothing we have on our body. All recollection is gone, and we have become deeply absorbed to the point where I’ve read where somebody had a heart attack during a cinema performance. And it… I mean nothing was happening to the person – they were just sitting there in a chair – but because of the intense absorption in the experience and what they’re seeing, so there is this physiological reaction, as there are mental or psychological reactions. That example applies to the atman in its experience of the world also.

So, what is the nature of this self-realization, or this realization that is being spoken of here by Patañjali? So Vyāsa states that just as Īśvara is a puruṣa who is pure – and he actually specifies that the puruṣa is pure, peaceful, independent and free from change…eternally the same, so also the ordinary puruṣa is like this. So, this is like an amazing revelation for probably many people – that just as Īśvara has these characteristics, so also the puruṣa has these characteristics. But what Vyāsa is also doing in making this point, and his choice of some of the words, is that there is actually a qualitative oneness with the puruṣa and Īśvara, but there is also a quantitative difference. And we see this when he explains that Isvara is a puruṣa-viśeṣa. And while it may be powerful rishi’s and yogi’s that rise almost to the platform of becoming like devas or demigods, and who can display incredible displays of omniscience, the omniscience of the individual ātman can never reach that; equal or surpass that, of Īśvara .

So there is a qualitative… it’s like when you take a drop of water from the ocean and you chemically analyze that drop, it has all of the characteristics of the ocean, and therefore we can say it is one. But yet there are no coral reefs, or battleships or cargo ships, floating on that one drop… or sharks or whales swimming in it, because of a quantitative difference. And this is a reference to the Vedantic philosophy of bhedābheda .

Many of the commentators… or at least a couple of the very early of the commentators, make reference to this principle – this simultaneous oneness and yet difference. And what that does is, it should offer an understanding and appreciation to the sincere seeker on the spiritual path, of the nature of the difference between myself and Īśvara. And in this way, we can understand and appreciate the need for what is called īśvara-praṇidhāna, because it is then, by the exercise of Īśvara’s will; by His divine grace; by His mercy, that the aspirant and devout yogi may experience full self-realization, after having all of the obstacles to self-realization removed – not through my own doing, but through the mercy of Īśvara. Thank you very much.