Yoga Sutra 4.22 awareness of the idea of the self

Sūtra IV.22

In assumption of its (the mind’s) form on the part of the unmoving consciousness, is awareness of the idea of the self

In when there is assumption of its (the mind’s) form on the part of the unmoving consciousness, there is comes to be awareness of the idea of the self. The consciousness is awareness, Puruṣa, which as it never changes, is unmoving. There is assumption on the part of the consciousness, though unmoving, of its form. It refers back to the familiar mind (citta), and assumption of its form means assumption of the form of that mind. In the assumption of its form by that consciousness, there comes to be awareness of the idea of the self (sva).

In the mind, there comes about a perception of the notion (bauddha-pratyaya) of the self. It is for this that the mind (buddhi) transforms itself into notions of objects like sound.

The power-of-the-experiencer does not change. Unmoving, it has as it were passed into the changing object, conforming to its function. The assumption of its form of borrowed consciousness by mere resemblance to the mental process, and not distinguished from it, is what is called the mental process of knowing. So it is said:

Neither underworld nor mountain crevasse,
nor darkness nor submarine depth, Is the secret cave in which is hidden the eternal
Brahman:

(But) it is the mental process when not discriminated –
thus they teach.

He makes it clear: The power-of-the-experiencer (bhoktṛ-śakti) the power-of-the-Seer as has been described does not change. Unmoving though it is, it has as it were passed into the changing object the idea in the mind (bauddha-pratyaya), as the field of the thinking subject, conforming to its function, conforming, as it were, perceiving it as its seer. An idea in the mind (bauddha-pratyaya), by merely arising becomes an object for it. The power-of-the-experiencer, perceiving it, conforms to that idea in the mind, the mental function (vṛtti).

The assumption of its form of borrowed consciousness, acquiring its form of being endowed with consciousness, the form of being endowed with a Puruṣa, the form attained by that mental process – as a lump of glowing iron gets the form of being endowed with fire placed near it – from being the object-of-sight, by mere resemblance to the mental process by its mere conformity to the mental process, and not distinguished from it, this is what is called the mental process of knowing (jña), the mental process of pure knowing, being the mental process of mere perception (upalabdhi). So it was said: ‘Otherwise, it conforms itself to the mental process’ (I.4), and further clarified with: ‘Experience is the idea which does not distinguish (Puruṣa from mind-sattva)’ (II.35).

The assumption of the form of the mind comes from the fact of difference between experiencer and experienced. Without a separate experiencer, there would be no reason for any appearance of mind alone as seer and seen. So it was well said that the followers of Sānkhya and Yoga understand by the word ‘sva’ the Puruṣa, while others, though in fact understanding it, yet shrink from admitting it.

So it is said – by mere resemblance to the process of the mind (buddhi-vṛtti) the ‘knowledge’ process is perceived in mind (buddhi) alone, and not outside it – Neither underworld nor mountain crevasse, nor darkness nor submarine depth nor any such thing, Is the secret cave in which cave is hidden the eternal Brahman. That secret cave is not the underworld or the other regions. As to that secret cave, where It is hidden: It is the mental process, it is in the secret cave of the mind (buddhi), the mental process called Self (ātman), called Brahman, when not discriminated, when it has not been separated out, when it is not discriminated from the process of the mind, thus they teach, those who can see the difference (vivekin).

Why is it then that Puruṣa assumes the form of the mind? Or again, is it that it (mind) is then experiencing its own buddhi, thus giving rise to the error of the Vaināśika Buddhists, who say that it is mind (citta) alone that is both object (grāhya) and subject (grāhaka)?

On that point, this is what is to be accepted:

 

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