Yoga Sutra 1.36 radiant perception beyond sorrow

Sūtra I.36

Or a radiant perception beyond sorrow

The words ‘brings the mind to steadiness’ are to be supplied from the previous sūtra. When one concentrates on the heart-lotus, there is direct awareness of the buddhi. The buddhi-sattva is like shining space, but while the concentration is still wavering in stability, the perception takes the luminous form of a sun, or a moon, planet, or gems.

When the mind reaches samādhi on I-am-ness, it is like the still ocean, serene and infinite, I-am alone. On which it has been said: Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of I-am alone.

There are thus the two sorrowless perceptions, one of divine objects, and one of self alone, by which the mind of the yogin attains steadiness.

The sūtra has to be completed from the context, so that it runs: ‘Or where a radiant perception, beyond sorrow, is attained, it brings the mind to steadiness.’ As a perception in which light is experienced, it is called radiant, and as it causes sorrow to pass away, it is beyond sorrow. How is it produced? When one concentrates on the heart-lotus, there is a direct awareness of the buddhi an experience of its true nature. What then is this nature of the buddhi-sattva? Like shining space, ever radiant and all-pervading. But because there in that buddhi-sattva there is still wavering (vaiṣamya) in the stability, because the concentration has not come to complete likeness of the buddhi-sattva as it is in itself, the radiant perception of the yogic concentration on the heart-lotus takes the luminous form of a sun or moon, planet or gems.

When the mind reaches samādhi on I-am-ness, on ‘I’ (ahaṅkāra), which happens when the buddhi-sattva approximates to its own true nature, it is like a still ocean, serene and infinite, I-am alone. On which it has been said as regards this samādhi Having discovered having attained the self the ātman of I-am-ness (asmitā) which is being explained, which is subtle as an atom being so subtle he should be conscious of I-am alone. He should be conscious only of the likeness of the object of the meditation. As the true form of the I alone, it is seen as distinct from what has coloured it, like a crystal taking on the colour of what it is laid on.

There are these two sorrowless perceptions, one of divine objects and one of self alone. All of them, from the perception of fragrance to I-am-ness, are entirely without sorrow. But the radiant perception is different from the group of five beginning with the experience of fragrance. The ones connected with an object are preliminary to the pure I-am, and as such, there is a difference in their fields. By which sorrowless radiant perception the mind of the yogin attains steadiness.

 

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