Yoga Sutra 4, Chapter 1, State of Mind when Its not Steady

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all articles on Yoga Concepts

” vritti sarupyam itarata “

Yoga Sutra 4 explained:

vritti- fluctuations of the mind, thoughts

sarupyam – existence or appearance of

itarata – somewhere else,

– in the thoughts of the material world

In this Yoga sutra4, Chapter Samadhipada,

Patanjali is talking about what happens at

other times when the mind is not in a state of complete steadiness.

As per Samkhya philosophy the existence of the being is made possible by the coming together of two entities: the pure consciousness; the material world. If the mind ( matrix of thoughts) remains unarrested, not concentrated the matrix of the thoughts being incessantly generated by the interaction of the senses, indriyas as per Samkhya, with the material world completely hides the awareness of the pure consciousness behind it.

As per yoga sutra 4, the mind here remains in a befuddled state, completely identifying itself with the thoughts, forgetting its true nature which is pure consciousness.

Pure Consciousness without any blemishes of the thoughts of the material world

As the mind loses its steadiness, this clear canvas begins to get covered by the blemishes of the thoughts being generated on account of its contact with the material world.

Matrix of thoughts on the unsteady mind

When the mind goes completely in the control of the senses it generates a denser matrix of thoughts which are mostly imaginations of the mind. The being at this stage starts completely identifying only with these thoughts. The awareness of the pure consciousness is completely lost and the being starts taking the material world ( source of these thoughts) as the only reality available to it.

Yoga sutra 4 chapter 1

The ego ( Asmita) binds around and cements this last stage of the awareness of itself for the being. This Yoga Sutra 4 speaks about the state of mind when it is not steady: loss of awareness of the pure consciousness.

Vriitis Hide the Awareness of Consciousness – Yoga Sutra 4

Yoga sutra 4 explains that when the mind is unsteady, mental modifications (vrittis) appear (sarupyam) from somewhere else (itarata) hiding the awareness of the pure consciousness behind them.

The biggest challenge of yoga for a being is to continue existing in the material world, and also remaining aware of the pure consciousness or the true reality. The existence of the mind is the cause of the intermixing of these two separate entities.

Pure consciousness or the spirit only witnesses the drama being unfolded in front of it by the material world. In case one is well aware of the separate existence of these two, one can keep the witness like attitude to the happening around in the material world and not get involved with it at all.

When the being is not aware of this distinction between the two it gets involved with the drama being generated by the elements emerged form Prakriti (material world) and hence it starts suffering. Samkhya philosophy talks about Three types of sufferings that need to be overcome.

The aim of Samkhya philosophy ( and also of yoga philosophy ) is to realize this distinction and maintain a witness like attitude towards the happening around in the material world, purify the mind of any emerging thoughts and realize its true existence – pure consciousness.

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