Yoga Sutra 4.23 Mind, coloured by Seer and seen, has the various purposes

Sūtra IV.23

Mind, coloured by Seer and seen, has the various purposes

Mind (citta) is coloured by an object cognizable to the mind, and by the fact of being (itself) an object, it is bound up with the subject, Puruṣa, by a mental function of belonging (to Him). It is this very mind alone that is coloured by the Seer and the seen. It assumes the appearance of object and subject, the unconscious becoming conscious. The mind, being insentient, essentially an object – conscious as it were, on the analogy of the crystal – is said to comprehend everything.

By that assumption of form by the mind, some have been misled into thinking: it is only mind which is conscious. Others hold that all this is mind alone, and that this world with its cows and jars and so on does not exist as self-sufficient. They are pathetic. Why? The basis of their delusion is the mind’s appearance in all the forms.

But in samādhi-knowledge (prajña) the object of the knowledge is reflected in it (pratibimbī-bhūta), and from the fact of becoming the object of the meditation there, must be something other (than it).

Mind coloured by Seer Puruṣa and seen sound and the other objects, coloured by both, has the various purposes (artha) of Puruṣa, namely experience and release. Mind (citta) is coloured by an object (artha) something (viṣaya) which is comparable to a magnet, cognizable to the mind, and by the fact of being an object to Puruṣa, it is bound up with the subject (viṣayin) Puruṣa, next to it, by the mental function (vṛtti) a mental idea (mānasa pratyaya) of belonging (ātmīya) as being its object.

Bound up with Puruṣa as it is by way of a mental function of self-hood, and thereby coloured with the nature of the Seer, and coloured also by the objects like sound which it can cognize, it is this mind alone and not Puruṣa that is coloured by Seer and seen. He goes on to explain what is this colouring by Seer and seen: It assumes the appearance of object and subject, the forms of conscious and unconscious.

(Opponent) How is it possible that what is of itself unconscious becomes of conscious nature?

(Answer) It is possible. It is (only) seemingly conscious, from its eternal proximity to Puruṣa, and so those who cannot discriminate say that it is conscious. Not so with the objects, for they are inherently unconsciousness. That mind, however, is of itself unconscious is stated in the words that follow: The naturally unconscious becomes sentient.

The mind, being insentient, essentially an object, but conscious, as it were, on the analogy of the crystal, is said to comprehend everything.

From that By that assumption of form by the mind, some have been misled. This taking on by the mind of that form has been a cause of delusion to the Vaiśeṣika-s. They, and others like them, whose minds have been bewildered by the magic trick (mahendrajāla) of the mind’s conforming itself, say that it is only that, the mind, which is conscious. How so? Inasmuch as they think that consciousness produced by the conjunction of mind (manas) and Puruṣa is an attribute which is separable. But they have this distinction from the Vaināśika Buddhists: they hold to a permanent unitary dharmin.

Others Buddhists hold that all this is mind alone, and that this world with its cows and jars and so on does not exist as self-sufficient, that is to say, distinguished as common to the ideas (pratyaya) of everyone. In this way, they deny even their own experience. Thus deluded, these shallow Vaināśika thinkers are pathetic.

Why? The basis of their delusion is the mind’s appearance in all the forms. This delusion of theirs does have some cause for it, not as in the case of the materialists (lokāya-tika), who have no ground for theirs, any more than the advocates of the Void (śūnya-vādin). These two last are simply engaged in deceiving people, and deserve no sympathy whatever. So it is rightly said of the previously mentioned pitiable ones that they are pathetic, because their delusion does have some basis.

Who then are undeluded? He replies: In samādhi-knowledge (prajñā), the object of the knowledge is reflected in it (pratibimbī-bhūta), and from the fact of becoming the object of the meditation there, must be something other (than it).

Perception in samādhi-knowledge (prajñā) means perception by an undeluded mind, for minds that are changeable (vikṣipta—comm. to I.1) are deluded. In samādhi-knowledge, undeluded, pure, discriminative, clear and profound, the object of the knowledge is reflected in it as it were in a spotless mirror, and from the fact of its becoming the object of the meditation, there in the samādhi-knowledge, which is the instrument, is something other than the samādhi-knowledge, which is essentially something produced by closeness to it, and is an action, and so forth.

If that (other) were itself to be merely the mind, how could the nature of the samādhi-knowledge be determined by samādhi-knowledge itself? Therefore this which is the object reflected in the samādhi-knowledge by which it is ascertained, is Puruṣa.

As there is this distinction in nature between knower, knowing process and known object, those who realize that the distinction into three is innate – they see rightly, and Puruṣa is attained by them.

If that other were itself to be merely the mind, how could the nature of the samādhi-knowledge be determined by samādhi-knowledge itself? There would be the absurdity of an action in its own self, so there is no way it could be determined. Therefore this which is something other than samādhi-knowledge, being the object reflected in the samādhi-knowledge by which it is ascertained, is Puruṣa. He is other than the object of the meditations of that samādhi-knowledge, being in fact the subject.

As there is this distinction in nature between knower, knowing process and known object, from the recognition of the difference between subject, instrument and object, inasmuch as an indivisible unity cannot be in successive instants a thing and then an agent and then an object, those who realize that the distinction into the three is innate – they see rightly (samyagdarśin), and Puruṣa is attained is reached by them; the context shows that this means that Puruṣa is known by them.

Why, again?

Why again should there be a Puruṣa apart from the mind? It has already been proved by the fact that the mind is something seen, but now he intends to prove it by showing that this very mind must have a Lord, because it is a construct:

 

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