Patanjali Yoga Sutra Ch1 Sutra 16 (Parisamvad)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Transcribed from Parisamvad at The Yoga Institute.

Chapter 1, Sutra 16

Tat – Param – Purusa Khyateh – Gunavaitrsnyam

Indifference To The Gunas Or The Constituent Principles Achieved Through A Knowledge Of the Nature of The Purusa is called Paravairagya (Supreme Detachment).

Tal : that
Param : highest; ultimate
Purusa : pure consciousness , Self
Khyateh : through knowledge , vision
Guna : elements , prime qualities, constituents, attributes
Vaitrsnyam : state of freedom from desire or craving

“We are on a Sutra which talks about the ultimate, the highest. These things are not easy to understand. It means a total disinterestedness; total desire is for God. What remains is this understanding of consciousness, of spirit, of whatever is the highest. That is the only thought. That can be God also, but no thought of anything lesser. One has gained a complete control on all other things. Various attractions of the visual kind come, but the person has no interest at all – it is called Vasikara – mastery. Mind is just flowing in one direction, doesn’t get attracted to any other interesting thing. Understanding the highest and remaining in that condition.

Samadhi becomes ripened (Paripakva) – it is the final stage of Samadhi. The difference between the material world and consciousness is realized. We don’t realize this. The external world is there so long as the inner light is there.

Most of our life is this love making with the material world. We are interested in something new, something interesting, something pleasant all the time. When that kind of interest also goes, Samadhi is Paripakva, ripened. Then the real understanding also comes, that the so called world, the so called relationships and interactions are really not the truth. They are just a game, a play that goes on, causing happiness, unhappiness and it engages us. We are so engaged with this, right till the end. There is a story of a old rich man who is a miser. When he is dying he calls all his children. Then he suddenly notices the eldest son and asks him, ‘You are here, who is looking after the shop?’ Now here is a man, dying and the children have come to pay their respects and his last feeling is about money. So it is very very hard to get out of that.

In Samadhi the ultimate stage is that – no interest for anything, of any kind. These are theoretical ideas, but there are people who are in that state.

Paramhamsa Madhavdasji studied well, was appointed the top officer in court during British times and yet he didn’t see any sense in the whole thing; he resigned the job. His parents wanted to get him married. He didn’t say, ‘No’. A day or two before the marriage, his mother died. The marriage was postponed for a few years. Next time the father died. Madhavdasji saw this changefulness of life, lost all interest in bondage and got out of the house and joined a Vaishnav sect, which believed in God. There also he saw, a lot of politics was going on. He left it and wandered the country alone. He wandered the length and breadth of the country seven times on foot, came in contact with clever people and learnt. He went up to Tibet and learnt some yoga techniques from a woman. Ultimately he came to the Narmada bank, selected a place and put down whatever belongings he had, possibly just a bedding. The sun was strong. Some people passing by felt pity and brought some cloth which he put above his head and was at peace. People were interested in him, so they started settling around him. He had a following but he had no interest in them. He must have had a few hundred people living in the Ashram but he was least interested. He only guided them when someone required help. That was his life. The individual has no desires, no interest, no attachment, just awareness and it continues till one day he tells his disciples, “Tomorrow I will lock myself in this room, underground. Don’t disturb me. Next day you can open the door.” They follow his advice. When they open the door, they find him dead.

The man had no desire, no interest, not for his property not even for his life. This is the condition. We are talking of that state of mind – thoughts, desires, possessions – all gone – just awareness remains.

So we are in state of consciousness, where we are fully in this awareness principle, which we don’t know, though we are depending on it. Because we are aware, we are able to talk, listen, but we don’t try and understand what that principle is. We are only interested in the results, the talk, the pleasure, the pain and what not. Reaching that state of consciousness which is the source of the entire world and then deciding to remain in that state, not allowing oneself to get lost into anything – that is the final stage of Samadhi.”


Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra:

“There are two kinds of Vairagya. One is when you see certain defect in something and so you are not interested in it. This is partly like ‘the grapes are sour’ reaction. Even in this kind of Vairagya, reaching the highest stage is not easy. In case we divide it in to a scale of 5 points, we are not even at the 2nd point. We remain too identified with the material things and are not even aware of it. The possibility of some restraint and some understanding as to what to control comes very late in our lives.

The other stage, where the external stage is understood and the mental desires are focused upon, is possible only for the highly evolved person. What is being talked of here is more positive. It is not the question of being disinterested and giving away, but rather of possessing something and therefore not getting interested in any other thing, for eg. Mirabai who said that, “I have Krsna with me so I am not interested in anything else.” So the highest disinterest is possible only when there is a total awareness of pure consciousness. One creates a disinterest towards the Gunas which are at the bottom of the whole creation. The glamour, the glitter that attracts us, is all because of the Gunas. It is like knowing the actors while seeing the play. You know the villain so you know what he will do. You know all his moves. Even if he talks like a saint, you know the next moment he will act like a villain. So the entire creation as if acts according to a formula. Those who know the formula do not get disturbed. That is what is meant by disinterestedness in the Gunas. As against this, Purusa is pure and unchangeable. You have to reach that state.”

Q : How does one know what is good for us ?

A : There are two ways : 1) One’s own experience 2) Listen to a wise person.


About Parisamvad

On every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz holds Parisamvad sessions – Free interactive sessions that are open to all. These session begin at 7:20 am and end around 7:45 am.

The Friday Parisamvad is dedicated to explanation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by our esteemed Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji.

All are welcome to attend.

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