Yoga Sutra 1.3

  • 1.2 states what Yoga is, 1.3 states why Yoga is.
  • Taimni doesn’t say much in 1.3, because what is more to say is said in subsequent sutras.
  • One could almost switch up 1.2 and 1.3.
  • There is an implicit statement that ‘stopping the modifications of the mind’ releases ‘the Seer in his own essential nature’.  What is it about the ‘modifications of the mind’ that disestablishes ‘the Seer in his own essential nature’?

The progression from 1.2 to 1.3 is quite clear.  Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind.  Then the seer is established in their own essential nature.

Whereas 1.2 is a statement of what yoga is, 1.3 is a statement of why yoga is (at least to me).  1.3 starts speaking the language of motivation.  It starts to speak to the Seer.  I sense a gradual movement of intention.  Like the first fluttering of a leaf about to be carried away by the wind.  Carried hither, perhaps.  I get the sense of the beginning momentum and of the overcoming of static friction.

Taimni doesn’t seem to have much to elucidate in this section.  I can get a sense of his dilemma.  The translation is pretty clear.  He’s convinced of his final words in 1.2: “…useless to say anything further at this stage.”  He mentions, briefly:

We cannot know what this state of Self-realization is as long as we are involved in the play of Citta-Vrttis.  It can only be realized from within and not comprehended from without… The higher stages of consciousness which unfold in the state of Samadhi and which are referred to in 1.44 and 1.45 are called Rtambhara or truth-right-bearing.  In their light the Yogi can know the truth underlying all things in manifestation.  But he can know the truth in this way of only those things which are part of the Drysam, the Seen, not of the Drasta, the Seer.

The only thing not really spoken of is why ceasing the modifications of the mind results in Self-realization of the Seer.  And the reason for this is essentially because that’s what 1.4 and beyond are about.

I like the framing of the traditional subject/object duality in subjective seer/seen terminology.  These words are far more pregnant for the hermetic wizard-shaman spelling out a magic womb of Self in me.  It reminds me of how I have thought for many years that when we frame meaning in personal, concrete terms, we gain much greater access to underlying currents and relationships than when we consider things “abstractly”.  Specifically, I mean that we need to continually bring our abstractions down into our body of personal experience, so that our new abstractions can set and balance their weight upon our grounded insights.

In this way we create a river of insight, and a self-supporting process of growth.  Abstractions embody.  Like climbing a mountain with a pack filled sand and rocks on your back to deposit at the top–over and over again.

A picture I found on Google Images from

I found this searching for artificial mountains of dirt on Google Images.  It’s from  While not exactly what I was looking for, I quickly warmed to it as also a good illustration of what I see the Yoga Sutras pointing towards.  In fact, after a day, the more I reflect upon this image, the more it really speaks to me about the essence of Yoga (at least proximally, to my current level of achievement).  Can you see the simplicity of the expression???  It is the perfect illustration of a very important level of Yoga.  Maybe it would be better if he was standing atop a pile of ashes?  Nah, dirt and mud is the ash of life (consider an oil reserve [if the prevailing theories are to be believed]).

Consider the dirt our shed age, our shed stiffness, our shed dis-eases, our shed illusions, our stopped ‘modifications of the mind’.  The child atop is our essential nature beyond the shed modifications.  Nietzsche’s hammer freed from the stone (find quote here) into living form.  Philosopherstone.

So it is seen by this seer.


  • Drasta – the Seer
  • Drsyam – the Seen
  • Svarupa – own essential nature, Self-realization
  • Rtambhara – higher stages of consciousness which unfold in the state of Samadhi

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