Jan 25, 2013

Sutras 1.5 - 1.9. Vritti: Pramana, Viparyaya and Vikalpa

Having made sense of “Drashtar” category we can come back to analyzing the category of “vritti”. Let us remember that vritti is something that a person identifies himself with, letting his Inner Observer (Drashtar) get dissolved in this something and thus lose its essence. 

By the way, this category has been invented by theosophs in order to denominate the said mystic experience. Other Schools of mysticism and philosophy denoted the respective experience as the sense of “I am” (Ramana Maharshi), crystallization of the consciousness (Gurdjieff), calm (Sufism), Dasein (Heidegger), “existential Me”, “existential identity” (D. Bugental) etc. Of course at first sight these terms don’t seem to be similar for they have emerged in scope of different discourses. The calm, for instance, verbatim means heart (under reservation “spiritual”), while Dasein literally is translated as “this-being”, “here-being”. However the detailed descriptions of the experience underlying each of these words are very similar.

The identification of Drashtar with vritti is the loss of self-identity, or to be more precise, it is the identification of self as cognizing subject with viewpoints, roles and concepts about the Self.

Jan 24, 2013

Sutras 1.3 - 1.4. Drashtar. The Inner Observer

Now that we have accumulated sufficient resource we can come closer to understanding Patanjali’s definition of Yoga as chitta-vritti-nirodha. However, for complete comprehension of this line we should pay attention to the explanation the author gives to his definition in lines 1.3 and 1.4. Especially that it is in these lines that Patanjali introduces another category that is fundamental for esoteric knowledge and that I will so far refer to as the Inner Observer.

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥
1.2. yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् ॥३॥
1.3. tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe'vasthānam

वृत्तिसारुप्यमितरत्र ॥४॥
1.4. vṛtti-sārupyam itaratra

I have drawn the line 1.2 to bring back the context, while the lines 1.3. and 1.4 need to be translated.
So 1.3:

Jan 21, 2013

Raga and Dvesa. The Issue of Emotions in Yoga

In our previous article we have discussed the general aspects of the category of "klesha”. However I think that two of the said categories - raga and dvesa – require a more thorough analysis. And as a matter of fact, given the name of the blog it is time we proceed from the text analysis to it actual commenting upon J.

Based upon the literal translation of Patanjali’s text we have defined raga and dvesa as “holding up to…" (attachment to) something pleasant and unpleasant respectively. First we should note that such understanding of these terms differs much from the understanding that occurs in terms of traditional translations. 

Jan 18, 2013

Sutras 1.5, 2.3. - 2.9. Klesha. A very conceptual article:)

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाऽक्लिष्टाः ॥५॥
1.5. vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā'kliṣṭāḥ

The category of "klesha" by no means refers to the group of words that should be rather explained than translated. Moreover, the situation with this category translation is just as confusing as it is with other key psycho-technical terms.

The Russian-Sanskrit dictionary offers the following translation variants: 1) torment, suffering, 2) malady, disease; 3) difficulty 4) inconvenience. As we see the semantic field is originally wide enough to make the translation no longer obvious. Other common Russian translations only aggravate the situation by further expanding the field and introducing there the terms of obviously contradictive meaning: love for life, attachment to existence, almost the same as Kama (seems like someone was much affected by neuroses - A. S.), grief, pollutions, destructive emotions, disturbing emotions, negative emotions, mind poisons, etc.

Jan 15, 2013

Sutra 1.2. Nirodha. The Problem of the Practice Boundedness

So the word nirodha that at first glance seemed to be so easy to understand has turned out to come with many surprises. Let us consider another one that despite its apparent irrelevance once cost the great Buddhist teaching its split followed by numerous inter-school debates. In terms of its application to Yoga Sutra this issue can be formulated as follows: 

If Yoga is liberation (in this case any other translation of the word nirodha will suit) of chitta from vritti, does the state reached in scope of it come as a stable and permanent that the subject will continuously remain in, or is it only a glimpse, an instant and transient breakthrough when "the drashtar rests in his own svaroope (his genuine nature)" (line 3), and then the vrittis will once again obfuscate the chitta?