Yoga Sutra 2.21 the essence of the Seen is to be for the purpose of him alone

Sūtra II.21

The essence of the Seen is to be for the purpose of him alone

Since the Seen has its being as an object for Puruṣa, whose nature is sight alone, the essence of the Seen is to be for the purposes of him alone. It means that this is its true being. Therefore it has come to exist at all only through the being of that other, and when the purposes of experience and release have been effected, it is not seen by Puruṣa.

Him refers back to the Seer, sight alone, pure, whose self is as has been described; for the purposes of him means for him, for his sake, for his purpose, for which it becomes the object of sight. The purposes are either as experience or as release. The essence of the Seen means the essence of pradhāna, what it is in itself.

(Opponent) But this work is supposed to be setting out the four-fold field; why this irrelevancy?

(Answer) The goal is absolute cessation of suffering, and that is relevant.

(Opponent) But how can this absolute cessation of suffering you talk of come about through ascertaining that the Seen is for the purposes of Puruṣa?

(Answer) If it is realized that the nature of the Seen is only for his purposes, then when that purpose comes to an end completely, the Seen has fulfilled its purpose, and the Seen will end completely because there is nothing for it to do; there would be no goal for any activity by it. When a thing has in fact been done, there is nothing to make a new duty of it. But if the Seen were essentially self-sufficient (svārtha), then from that self-sufficiency it would again and again go into operation, and there would never be absolute cessation. This is why it is shown that it is only for the sake of Puruṣa.

The essence of the Seen is, that it is not self-sufficient, because the Seen is by definition something experienced, like a dish of rice, and because it is unconscious, and because it is something which collaborates (with body, senses and object). So he says, Since the Seen has its being as an object for Puruṣa, whose nature is sight alone. The word iti means ‘since’. The essence of the Seen is to be for the purposes of him alone. It means that this is its true being. The raison d’être of pradhāna is only for the purposes of Puruṣa because it is in the position of object of sight, like a dish of rice.

Now he brings out what the sūtra intends to say: Therefore because it is limited to being for the purpose of Puruṣa it has come to exist at all as taking on the form of borrowed consciousness by the nature of the other. When the purposes of experience and release have been effected, it is not seen by Puruṣa, there being nothing to be effected apart from experience and release.

Losing its character, it comes to an end. Yet it does not end. How so?

 

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