I hope the reader remembers that the lines 1.12-1.16 were dedicated to abhyasa and vairagya. In particular, the line 1.15 gave an extensive definition of vairagya:
1.15 the disengagement from emotions [related to] the seen and heard objects is the sign of mastery in vairagya,
while the 1.16 defined the ultimate experience of vairagya through disengagement from gunas:
1.16 the utmost (vairagya) comes when Purusha is comprehended by means of disengagement from gunas.
Out of sudden, in slokas 1.17 and 1.18 Patanjali dramatically (as one may think) changes the subject and starts telling about the category of Samprajna. However, if we rely upon the understanding that was offered in our previous posts, the logic and the coherence of exposition shall become obvious. The actual interrelation between vairagya and amprajna does exist. One’s disengagement from emotional experience (vairagya) naturally comes upon comprehension of its origin and character.
Thus the line 1.17 in fact clarifies the only reasonable method of reaching vairagya – apprehension of one’s emotional and intellectual vrittis and going to meta-context in respect of them.
This is important from practical point of view, since when inexperienced, the practicing persons rather often try to disengage (as they think) from the problem by means of repressing it. Or by forcing oneself, somehow keeping one from thinking, feeling or doing. But this method is not very effective. One cannot gain a victory over oneself, let alone it’s impossible to put the squeeze on the self. The more you try to suppress some aspect of yours, the more intensively it will start to haunt you from the depth of your subconscious mind. Here the eerie visions (temptations) of Christian hermits shall be a perfect illustration. The genuine development of emotional sphere happens through expansion of one’s consciousness.