Yoga Sutra 2.26 unwavering Knowledge-of-the-difference is the means of release

Sūtra II.26

Unwavering Knowledge-of-the-difference is the means of release

Knowledge-of-the-difference is the idea that (mind-)sattva and Puruṣa are different. But this wavers, until illusory knowledge has ceased. When illusory knowledge is reduced to the condition of sterility like scorched seed, the sattva, cleansed of the taints of rajas, reaches the highest purity of consciousness of mastery; its flow of the ideas of Knowledge-of-the-difference becomes without taint.

Unwavering Knowledge-of-the-difference (viveka-khyāti) is the means of release. As to what that Knowledge-of-the-difference is which is being referred to, he says: Knowledge-of-the-difference is the idea that (mind-)sattva and Puruṣa are different, namely a correct awareness of where sattva and Puruṣa are similar and where they are distinct. But this Knowledge-of-the-difference wavers is not firm (sthira), is not effective, until illusory knowledge (mithyā-jñāna) has ceased.

As it is said:

As gold unrefined does not shine,

So the knowledge of an immature man attached to the world does not shine forth.

(Viṣṇusahasranāma 77)

And again:

Though the man who holds to desire and possession may have knowledge,

It does not sustain itself.

(Mahābh. XII.227.20)

But when illusory knowledge, like a scorched seed is reduced to sterility unable to produce any effect, the sattva, cleansed of the taints of rajas the taints themselves being rajas, it is now undefiled by any such impurity, reaches the highest purity called consciousness of mastery; it reaches the pure serenity of Knowledge (jñāna-prasād), and its flow of the ideas of Knowledge-of-the-difference becomes untainted, in which state this Knowledge is continuous.

This Knowledge-of-the-difference, unwavering, is the means to release. Thereby illusory knowledge is reduced to the condition of scorched seeds and unable to propagate any more, so Knowledge-of-the-difference is the path to release and the means of escape.

This Knowledge-of-the-difference thus untainted becomes unwavering, and when it is thus unwavering, illusory knowledge is reduced to the condition of a scorched seed because it is overcome and unable to propagate any more, just because it is like a scorched seed. So it is said:

As seeds scorched by fire do not sprout any more,

So with taints scorched by the fire of Knowledge; The self meets them no more.

(Mahābhārata XII.204,16a)

In the same way Knowledge-of-the-difference is the path to release (mokṣa) and the means of escape (hāna).

 

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