Yoga-sutras (Ancient and Modern Interpretations)

by Makarand Gopal Newalkar | 2017 | 82,851 words | ISBN-13: 9780893890926

Yoga-sutras 4.3, English translation with modern and ancient interpretation. The Patanjali Yogasutras describe an ancient Indian tradition spanning over 5000 years old dealing with Yoga:—Meditating the mind on the Atma leading to the realization of self. This study interprets the Yogasutras in light of both ancient and modern commentaries (e.g., Vyasa and Osho) while supporting both Sankhya and Vedanta philosophies.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of sūtra 4.3:

निमित्तमप्रयोजकं प्रकृतीनां वरणभेदस्तु ततः क्षेत्रिकवत् ॥ ४.३ ॥

nimittamaprayojakaṃ prakṛtīnāṃ varaṇabhedastu tataḥ kṣetrikavat || 4.3 ||

(3) Causes do not put the nature into motion, only the removal of obstacles takes place through them.

Ancient and Modern interpretation:

This is like a farmer breaking down the barrier to let the water flow (the hindrance being removed by the causes, the nature impenetrates by itself).

Araṇya explains[1] power of hearing with different types exists according to variations of triguṇas. If characteristic of one variation is suppressed, other will appear. The human nature is opposed to divine nature. Therefore, through the cause, in the shape of suppression of human nature, divine nature manifests itself. It is like removal of weeds to guide water in the farm.

Osho opines[2] that farmer has a water channel flowing, but he opens another chanel by removing earth and water starts flowing in that chanel. Similarly, energy flows through sahasrāra if a yogī channelizes it properly.

Patañjali, while explaining the above aphorism uses simile of a farmer irrigating a field. A farmer diverts water currents in different furrows by clearing certain channels and closing some other. If he wants that the water should flow to a higher level, he has to close the channels going towards lower level. The current itself is natural, and its tendency to flow down is also natural but the farmer has the choice to make it flow upwards. A spiritual aspirant, like wise, closes the lower centres of consciousness and opens channels going to higher centres so that consciousness evolves.

Taimni has given synopsis[3] of these sūtras. These sūtras give fundamental laws of nature which govern the flux of phenomenon constituting the world of relative. This needs to be understood properly to judge the functions and limitations of siddhis. The yogī is bound by laws of nature and till such time his consciousness functions in the realms of nature, it is bound by these laws. He has to work towards his liberation from realm of prakṛti, but he can do so, only by obeying and utilizing the laws which operate in her realm.

Footnotes and references:


Araṇya, op.cit., p.350


op. cit., p.15


op.cit., p.380

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