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Mysticism, Psychology,
and Philosophy



New York Oxford • Oxford University Press 1998


Discriminating the
Innate Capacity
Salvation Mysticism of


But when the sun has set, Yajiiavalkya, and the moon
has set, and the fire has gone out, and speech is
hushed, what light does a person here have?
-Brhad AryaTJ,yakaUpani~ad.1

I have never had any revelations through anesthetics, but
a kind of waking trance-this for lack of a better word-
I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I
have been all alone. This has come upon me through re-
peating my own name to myself silently, till all at once,
as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of in-
dividuality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and
fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused
state but the clearest, the surest of the surest, utterly be-
yond words-where death was an almost laughable pos-
sibility-the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming
no extinction, but the only true life. I am ashamed of my
feeble ·description. Have I not said the state is utterly
beyond words?
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson2

MYSTICISM OR MYSTICALexperience in world religions presents a varied set of phenom-
ena. Those who would approach and attempt to analyze, classify, and understand such
phenomena from their own perspectives, with their own intentions, methods, back...



grounds, languages, and cultures, can perhaps agree on at least one aspect of their
enterprise: in dealing with mystical experience, however defined or undefined, we
nre dealing with highly significant events that at the same time transcend ordinary
experience. This transcendence of the limits of what is usual or paradigmatic for
experience makes mysticism particularly valuable. At the limits of the ordinary we
are likely to learn something new about religion and its study and about experience
In the last ten years a debate about the nature of religious experience, especially
with respect to mysticism, has become increasingly active. At issue is the role of the
mind in mystical experiences. Are the creative activities of the mind, with its cul-
tural shaping, training, and basic presuppositions, responsible for mystical experi-
ences, or is something else responsible? It may depend on which experiences we are
talking about. Katz and his colleagues represented in Mysticism and Philosophical
Analysis, 3 the so-called constructivists, argue that the active building processes of
the intellect, the constructive activities of language use, and the expectations gener-
ated by a life in a religious tradition are responsible. Sallie King, Donald Evans, and
Robert Forman and his colleagues, whom we might call, as Forman does, Perennial
Psychologists as represented in The Problem of Pure Consciousness, have argued
that mystical experiences do not necessarily result from such a conceptual building
process, but rather result from some other sort of process. 4 To wit, PCEs (Pure Con-
sciousness Events), 5 they argue, do not show signs of being so shaped and may re-
sult not from a construction process but from a process of progressively eliminating
conceptual shaping.
It seems like common sense to apply the same kind of analytic tools and perspec-
tives to mystical experiences as we might apply to any other ordinary experience.
The farther the actual experiences are from the ordinary, however, the more dubious
such common sense becomes. Perhaps the farthest extreme from ordinary experi·
ence is the mysticism represented by the class of PCEs. In particular, the kaivalya
experience described in the Sarpkhya- Yoga philosophy of Hinduism stands out in
the history of religions as an instructively clear example of a mysticism so beyond
the framework of ordinary experience that, I believe, it has something to say to the
present debate between constructivists and postconstructivists on the nature of
The classical systems of Hindu philosophy known as Srupkhya and Yoga offer an
outline of theory and practice to gain a particular mystical insight, known as "knowl-
edge of the difference" (viveka-khyati), which results in a salvific isolation (kaival ya
of consciousness from all other components of experience and from all suff ring.
The "liberation from suffering" demands the analysis and relinquishment of nothing
Jess than the structure of ordinary experience. It demands the discrimination of ,ill
intellectual, cultural, linguistic, and personal elements of conscious xp ti nee 'from
the consciousness itself. It demands the separation of all that is or cnn b constn1 ted

1t takes a thorn to remove a thom-kaivalya itself transcends constructed experience of any kind. s~. and linguistic process. The Sarpkhya of the SK consists of a theoretical analysis that enumer- ates. What' smore.mkhya- Yoga philosophy not only descnbes and analyzes the PCE of kaivalya but also out- lines methods to achieve it. represented chiefly by the Siirµkhya-Kiirikii (SK) of Isvarakr~IJa and the Yogasutra (YS) of Patafijali. 8 As the Saqikhya of Isvarakf~IJafocuses on the correct salvific understanding of structure of creation. open to direct experience by all technically proficient investigators. to the correct understanding of our contemporary discussion on the nature and study of mystical experience. from the simple capacity .E. The SK is a short summary (ca. To elucidate the difference.) of Smpkhya philosophy in verse. The evidence suggests that at least in the case of kaivalya mysticism of classical Sarp.E. I argue. the isolation of the innate capacity of consciousness itself. . focuses on the practical means.khya-Yoga philosophy. the contemporaneous Sarpkhya of Patafijali. Satpkhya-Yoga employs meditative technique to examine progressively more subtle levels of mind until the full range of mind is experienced and discarded: all things (including all mental things) are in this analysis material process-both the process of knowing and the objects known. the antidote to the epistemological error (ignorance) responsible for the suffering inherent in human life. The difference between the material process and con- sciousness itself is crucial not only to the dualistic system but also. 350-450c. outlin din th aphorisms of the Yogasutra (ca. the significance of kaivalya. yoga (i ." a dualist system of which but fragments remain. and characterizes the structure of reality. and an analysis of a yogic meditation method for isolating consciousness from intellectual. the postconstructivists do well in their theory to make allowance for an experienced capacity of consciousness beyond cultural or linguistic program- ming (or reprogramming). This insight into the nature of human experience reveals something else. as the Indian proverb goes. but only because. To be sure.khya-Yoga. 400 c. bridging the conceptual gap between ordinary experi- ence and salvific mystical experience. The Structure of Reality in Classical Srupkhya. the oldest is generally ac- knowledged to be Sarpkhya.Yoga Of the various orthodox 6 systems of Indian philosophy. categorizes. cultural and linguistic means such as me~itation are used to achieve kaivalya.• . cultural.khya-Yoga assumes an im- personal and culture-free core of the human being. 7 It is the SK that today is our best source of Sarpkhya in its clas- sical form. something totally apart from material process: a pure innate capacity to know. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 47 in experience . in this essay we explore three main areas: the structure of reality in Sarp. This knowledge is under- stood to be salvific. "enumeration. to be conscious at all. Salvation experience in Sarp.).

mahat) 4. and other details. from invisible to visible. no. a complementary whole for appre- hending the nature of the mystical salvation event both term kaivalya.khya Structure To understand kaivalya. from the most subtle. Unlike our modem scientific reliance on indirect perceptions furnished by the instrumenta- tion of atom smashers. the two systems present. and abstract components to the most gross." calledgu~s. 11 In a view rather similar to that of modem physics. and psychology posit a firm dualism.. primordial materiality (prakrti). simple. the on. tenninology. in dynamic equilibrium. the "symmetry breaking" results in combina- tions of these three gw:ias such that new successive principles manifest: 3. and concrete-something like a primordial "periodic table of elements"-twenty-five in all. epistemology. complicated. 13 Sarpkhya outlines the perceived structure. Even with twenty-five basic components. mind (manas) ."9 The sa. There are two irreducible. "isolation. however.12All component principles (tattvas) are considered open to perception. ego (ahafJ'lklira) 5.48 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS meditation. 14 Like a rope. 2) and its twenty-three progressive evolutes.. The Material World On the material side. 10 Sarpkhya enumerates the component principles that make up the universe from "inside out" and from subtle to gross. by which such saving knowledge becomes direct experience. spiritual discipline). innate. by and large. we must first gain an overall grasp of the Sarpkhya-Yoga structure of reality. These two are copresent and coetemal. Sarpkhya metaphysics. Although there are some differences in emphasis. Sarpkhya notes that reality involves a wide continuum of experience from subtle to gross. intellect (buddhi. consciousness itself (puru$a) 2. from unmanifest to mani- fest. the world of experience is analyzed into twenty-four funda- mental principles (tattvas). when the equi- librium between the three is disturbed.manifestmateriali~y is composed of three "strands. and other sophisticated technology. pure unmanifest primordial materiality (prakrti. Sarpkhya relies on the experiential reports of saints and sages who are understood to have cultivated their inner perception to directly perceive what is in- visible to our ordinary faculties. and indepen- dent realities in our universe of experience: 1. electron microscopes.

then sixteen). (II) The seven-intellect. contrastspralqti and its twenty-three material evolutes (variously grouped: 7. graspmg. py cholog1c mac ery o expenence. including its intellectual processing. praJ. c .· mtellect.· . excrebng. a tapestry blindly woven by acciden~ but a purposeful weaving. · . touching seeing tasbng smelling.orm. is only half the equation of experience--our experience necessarily involves the ele- ment of consciousness. . 17 Thus.· . . bananas) of ordinary experience. remains static and uncreative. speakin . DISCR. (Ill) The sixteen are generated. SK 3.. .etumat) nontemporal (11itya) nonspatial (vyapin) stable (akriya) simple eka unsupported (aniiirita) nonmergent aJiliga without parts anavayava) ind pendent (apara1antra) .yti. al hin f ..although uncreat~ evolves dynamically to create from itself fur- ther material building blocks (seven. the principle of consciousness itself.IMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 49 6-15. . a dance (SK 59) be- fore and for conscious observation. The difference is further elaborated in SK 10 and 11: Pu~a is similar to unmanifest pralqti in being: uncaused (ah. in four hemistichs (half lines). 16 Content. also uncreated. smell) 21-25. water. air. (IV) Consciousness is neither generated nor generative. Please note that the s _ . objects (bodies tables. Even so Saqikhya-Y oga cannot reduce the universe of experience to the nonconscious permutations of matter alone. thefhe subtle elements (tanmatras) (sound tou h & .taste. ISThj · th of nonconsc1ous matter. ego. earth) The gross elements (the five mahiibhutas) combine to tiorm the ~ · oss matena 1 e. s 1s not e garden variety mind/body dualism encoun- tered in Western philosophy! Here both body and mind are seen as unequivocally material. For Saqikhya the most important element of experience is still unaccounted for: creation is not merely an intricate interweaving of basic material strands (gu~s). eanng. .. g. and so forth-are both generated and ungenerated. while puru1a. 16) with pll~a: (I) Primordial materiality is ungenerated. procreating) 16-20. . the ten sense and action capacities (indriyas) (h. fire. movmg. the five gross elements (mahiibhutas) (space. In addition to and independent of the twenty-four principles of matter is punqa. . and mind together with every- thing they can process external to themselves-are aUseen asmerely different forms · . ' ' .

a "principle" but never a thing. our ordinary experience of the world. processes-that is. on the other hand. etc. mental activity of any kind. 23 Why does Sarpkhya teach such a nonintentional consciousness? SK 17 clarifies the reasoning: Puru~~aexists (puru\~o'sti) a.50 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS Pur~a is different from all prakrti in being: 18 without tripartite process (atrigu{Ul) differentiated ( vive kin) noncontent (avi~aya) uncharacterizable (asiimiinya) conscious (cetana) unproductive (aprasavadharmin) 19 In addition SK 19 summarizes puru~a's nature as: a witness (siisk#tva) possessed of isolation or freedom (kaivalya) indifferent (miidhyasthya) a spectator (dra~trtva) incapable of activity (akartrbhiiva) Thus. is not the same as ordinary psychological aware- ness. 22 In this dualistic perspec- tive. Consciousness (puru~a). Larson clarifies the Sarpkhyan puru$a in this way: Consciousness. puru~a is consciousness itself. in other words.uhgh tapararlhatv t) . is an undistinguished combination of (1) subtle material processes (such as we might today call brain pro- cesses). 20 Ignorance itself. because combinations [of the gu{UlS] exist for another's purpose (s. is sheer contentless presence (siisk$itva). and (2) the principle that witnessing "illuminates" them as intentional objects (see Table 2-1). the indifferent witness of all mental activity (thoughts. feelings.). The point here is that puru~a. the incessant permutations and interactions of the three gu{Uls. perceptions. Sarpkhya philosophy thereby rejects idealism without giving up an ultimately transcendent "con- sciousness. In terms of Western typologies." It also rejects conventional dualism by reducing "mentalist" talk to one or another transformation of material "awareness". as we noted earlier. sensations. without intention or process. pure consciousness. and it modifies reductive material· ism by introducing a unique notion of "consciousness" that is nonintentional and has nothing to do with ordinary mental awareness. in Sarµkhya- y oga is equated with just this confusion 21 between the appropriated "light of con- sciousness" and the material content and processes it "illuminates": thoughts. is in itself completely inactive and unintentional-pure sentient presence without any contents. the underlying factor that opposes salvation.

Matter is not conscious in itself. because of [the need for] the existence of an experiencer (bhoktrbhiivat) e. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 51 b. a "medium" through which and for which the concept becomes meaningful. Larson captures the thrust of the arguments for puru~a in SK 17 in this way: All of these arguments amount to one basic claim. Two Separate Realities prakrti matter consciousness itself psychological faculties alone intellect. 26 Without puru~a. rational. Without a conscious principle outside itself. sense capacities. and meaningful world "from Brahma down to a blade of grass" would finally show itself as an endless mechanical process in which the transactions of ordi- nary experience would amount to little more than occasional pleasurable respites from an endlessly unfolding tragedy. it is not enough to say that matter functions in its vari- ous levels and forms: the evolutionary manifestation of prakrti into twenty-three principles and all their comb~nations implies a purpose.iiidiviparyayad) g r. because (this other) must be apart or different from the three u 24 (trigu. In other words. Otherwise what appeared to be a uni- form. Like the flickering arrays of electrical on and off switches within a com- puter. that the very notion of tri- partite process itself becomes unintelligible in the absence of a distinct principle of sentience. Or putting the matter another way. not experience.:zas]is for the purpose of liberation (kaivalyartharµ pravrttes ca). mind. cannot stand alone in and of itself. one would come upon the remarkable paradox that an apparently uniform. because [this other must be] an overseeing power (adhi$fhiinat) d. mental operations without a conscious principle are just material changes. Only the witness who observes the computer screen makes the readout knowledge. and action capacities subtle elements gross elements material objects . it has no sentient light in which to be seen.. tripartite process although a powerful intellectual synthesis or conceptualization. it is blind. for even the awareness of the concept presupposes a ground or basis. 27 TABLE 2-1. ego. however complex. namely. cannot supply. unknowing. and unknown. a purpose that the material world.ias c.25 For the Srupkhya system. rational. even mental processes know nothing. and meaningful world is finally pointless. or perhaps better. and because [all] functioning [of the gu.

Without the presence of pure consciousness.21 The essential nature of the seen is to function for the sake of the seer. misidentified.16).25 From an absence of this [ignorance] there is an absence of association-the deliverance-this is the isolation (kaivalya) of seeing (drsi). which echoes the salvation scheme of the SK.15). 2. What is essentially conscious is separated from what is merely nonconscious (though dynamic) material. 2. Having established (parallel to SK I) that the ''totality of experience is nothing but pain" 28 (YS 2.18 The seen. Although a wealth of synonyms for puru~a andprakrti are used (such as seer and seen). We see in Yoga philosophy the same Satp. simply. the cause and mechanics of suf- fering and liberation are succinctly presented.23). Salvation is af- forded by breaking down the nature of ordinary experience into its dual and eter- nally distinct components: consciousness and matter. It is only through the seeming conjunction of two innate and completely independent realities that what humans know as expe- rience comes to be (2.23). 30 consists of the elements and the sense organs and functions for the sake of experience and liberation.e. [which] although pure sees the object." dismembering.. i. 2. Thec~g- nitive bubble bursts on inspection. It only witnesses the thinking (2..e. which is simply the see- ing. Ordinary experience is distilled. To do this. what it thinks about.ti) is the means of deliv- erance. ignor?. 2.26 Undeviating perception of the difference (viveka-khyii. emphasizing meditative experience as the means of salvation. as it were. activity. with what is seen (prak. there is a logical resolve to avoid this suffering in the future (2. 2. liberation is the dissolution of personal experience. prakrti). i. gives important corroboration to our understanding of the dualism of prakrti and puru~a. 2.23 Association is the cause of the apprehension of the essential nature of the owner (sviimf.khya structure of reality and the same concept of salvation. The faculty of consciousness (puru~a).18). Ignorance is the ordinary overlap of the two in what seems to be unified ex- perience of a person. 29 the basic Satp. 2.20 The seer is simply the seeing. owner and owned (2. what is conscious is isolated from the matenal . into its innate components. ignorance.20). the ulti- mate watcher or seer. indifferently watched by something else: pur~a.24 Ignorance (avidyii. Both are watched.'lt process is tricked into "deconstructing.-ti)-the thinking process of the mind complete with its contents-that is. is erroneously associated (2.15). The closest the YS comes to a definition of puru~a comes in chapter 2. Consciousness does not think. puru~a) and the owned (sva.khyan theory is quite recognizable: 2. the mechanical play of thought and sense perception have no meaning.52 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS Puru~ain Patanjali's YS Patafljali' s Srupkhya formulation. the Yogasutra. seer and seen.) is the cause.17 The cause [of future suffering] that should be avoided is the association (stl1J1Yoga) of the seer (dra~fri) and the seen (drsya). disposed to illumination. Experience is invariably painful (2. or inertia.

and con- ceptions (private mental content). they are no more conscious in their nature than the bones or toenails of the body or the gears and cogs of a motor. for it is the ultimate presupposition of all human thinking and being. the quintessential nature of the subjective act of thinking. It is more basic even than that. nothing at all! This nothing. is not a thing or the mere absence of a thing. a witness of the contents of experience that makes experience possible. incapable of being subjects or knowers. are . Anything cultural. Consciousness. ideas. feelings.a and pralcrti. intuitions. what. pure nonobjectivity. puru$a can never be isolated in the same way material objects are discriminated one from the other. puru$a. which has mostly to do with thoughts. Satpkhya-Yoga directly tackles the profound philosophical problem of conscious- ness. and the sense and action capacities (indriyas) are just so much mechanical hardware.31 The Significance of Pure Consciousness As we have noted. which in our thinking is so often ignored. It is the knower. one of the big philosophical surprises of SaIJ1khya-Yoga dualism is that it analyzes our psychological faculties in terms of material principles and pro- cesses. The result is kaivalya. along with the whole process of cognition. linguistic.32 the sensory mind (manas). the key to all and any knowing. isolated puru$a. SaIJ1khya relegates all such faculties to the material side of life. willing. in modem terminology subconscious or unconscious processes. is not even a medium or back- ground-that is to make it objective and material. is left of personal subjectivity and the knower? In reality. If these are ob- jective. It cannot be known the way material things. the Pure Con- sciousness Event (PCE).. To be a conscious being naturally entails a capacity of consciousness. intellectual. It is the pure core of subjectivity-not subjectivity in the ordinary sense. These faculties are all merely inert objects of knowing. subtle or gross. but subjectivity in the most radical sense: the es- sence. they are by their material nature the very opposite of con- sciousness. They are not merely activities beneath the surface of ordinary consciousness. and selfhood and the "seeing" or consciousness of all these things. the ego structure (aharhkiira). 33 SaIJ1khya-Yoga is unique in its subject-object dualism in that it classifies as matter not only the objects of the world but also everything knowable-including the most subtle inner objects of experience: thoughts. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 53 process it seemed to animate. psychological. then. Words do not suffice here. intentions. or even sensory is eliminated in the final dismemberment of ordinary experience-the clear distinction between puru. feeling. as such. Thus. the one common factor in all moments of awareness. intending. the intellectual faculty (called buddhi or mahat). material things. It is the very opposite of matter. Consciousness in itself is philosophi- cally and perceptually all too easy to ignore due to its transparency and to the sub- jective depth at which it is embedded in our nature. bereft of all intentionality. all content. and feelings. consciousness itself.

'' The Sarpkhya. Indian thought has shown a great interest in the bipolar nature of existence. It is nothing. the verb know implies a subject/agent. is not the knowing itself but always the object of puru$a' s illumination. the mechanical process of cognition and perception. mind. The isolation of the factor of consciousness in human expe- rience is the way to the salvation. In all human knowledge-events. The knowing (knowingness). Pure knowing no more requires an active agent/knower than being requires an active agent or a "be-er. Knowing refers to the fact that contents of whatever kind are present to awareness. is changeless consciousness. cetana) is as subtle as it is bold. 37 The Sarpkhya idea of consciousness (puru~a. beyond language. knows language (though to qualify con- sciousness in subject/object language also goes too far). and. puru$a. Its interest in isolating the pure core of subjectivity is excep- tional and may leave W estemers. The con- ceptual. This is puru$a. Whereas prakrti is internally complex. For example. This means that any constructivist claim about mystical experience can only apply in Satpkhyan analysis to the mate- rial portion of experience. with the exception of a few mystics. pure. rather than the immaterial knowing that. may seem to imply some kind of action. (Puru$a knows mental processes and their products. as light is illumination. and simple. There are those who might say that . cultural. but consciousness is actionless. whatever the object. through it. Snqtkhya- y oga sees itself as the answer to a practical problem. mind. It spontaneously knows the material agency. there would be no need for the Sarp. Knowing in this sense does not mean the cognitive pro- cessing. and linguistic frames that shape the contents of knowing from the Sarpkhya-Yoga viewpoint are-must be-material. the liberation from all forms of suffering. But there is more to experience. Consider the difficulty.Yoga puru$a is the knowing. than material constructions. and senses do something. however. The question "What is consciousness?" already seems to presuppose that it is a "what"- something objective. is the common factor of knowing.khya-Yoga system. cit. behind. 35 or maintains dynamic equalibrium 36 is utterly still. 54 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS is the knowing itself. the analysis and articulation in symbolic or formal structures. because it is a verb. the knowing-ness before which prakrti evolves. the material world. 38 The process of knowing something. The goal is not armchair speculation or knowledge for its own sake. sub- jective and objective. the pure knowing core of the person. falsifies it. If it were easy to articulate conceptually and isolate experientially. and senses. Intellect. says Sarpkhya. 34 involves. but rnental processes and products are not puru$a. does nothing. the intellect (buddhi). something that ordinary language can deal with.) Agency in Sarpkhya is all on the side of the material knower. someone who does the act of knowing-but calling conscious- ness a knower objectifies it. of personhood itself-the pure core of subjectivity. The word know. This is important to recallbe- cause the issue is not speculation but experience. the knowing. for in this philosophy nondiscriminati~n of pure consciousness is the very definition of the ignorance whose elimination is the system's only goal.

is somewhat similar to that of n mir . and awake. antahkarana· . It is 40 a silent witness of mental operations. untouchable consciousness-pure spirit. ts not a personal subject. with- out consciousness of any kind. conscious- ness is eternally other than and actually unconnected with matter and its permuta- tions. out finding out what the person 43really the "I'1gh·t " o·f consc1ousn · · ess· .Yoga the object of consciousness can refer to three things: 1. infinite. . Consciousness is eternally free of such objects. mistakenly· associated WI. The intellect (buddhi). P c ar expen- ence beyond faith or any other mental construction. and senses) 2. nor the nerve. ' enymg e poss1b1hty of any actual PCE. involves reception and processing of certain tooth and gum sensations. sentient witness of all me_nta~events. and senses cor- responding to what we would call thoughts. for example. feelings. . the mental core of personhood.tta). th· e "'mner ms . but not with . Both the sensations and the mental processing that cate- gorizes them not only as suffering but as suffering-to-someone are to be understood as material events. ego.khya. Suffering a toothache.. · 1 w at senousness the experienceof 1solatmg consc10usness itself is taken. Acco~dmg to Saqikhya-Y oga the mistake of the intellect (buddhi) can be rectified by the intellect and the liberati~g truth of separate. nor electrochemical nerve impulses. The capacity of consciousness is eternal. It ts mstruct1ve m Srunkhya-Yoga to see w·th h .together with personal awareness as a whole are genera~ed by 42 epistemological error-intellectual appropriation of conscious~ess. and sensations 3. The personal or phenomenal subje~t is the. c. unchanging.39 In Saqikhya. All three of these entities. immaterial. It is not those operations: it is not the ego's fear or insecurity. . The true situa- tion from the view of Sarp.. eternal. however.. the silent. prakrti. as we know. however. th . . DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 55 all talk of consciousness itself is mere speculation thereby d . . mind.. nor the tooth. the human experiences of personal feelings (pleasure/pain/neutrality). personal selfhood (ahaT{lkara). . The eternal subject. ego. The internal mental operations of the intellect. mind. Since. . To· e· situation .Yoga is quite different. free puru~a can be realized. . . The internal mechanical process of cognition (involving the subtle mate- rial agents known as intellect. . The sensations and judgments assembled by the intellect are mere permutations of matter. nor the intense sensation. The external objects that are perceived and processed. . By so doing. are understood as material objects. inactive. nor the concepts associated with them. .function mg of ~hat l·s ca·JJed · t rumen t" (SK· . salvation here is not a future event apprehended by faith but a am·ul . 41 Pain (or pleasure for that matter) exists in this understanding only when the machinery that receives and conceptualizes the intense stimuli as "pain" also appro- priates to itself the faculty of consciousness. not only pain is born but necessarily pain-to-someone-personhood is born as well. suffers so long as it takes itself to be a conscious someone experiencing pain. ' YS. .

belong entirely to the material side of the equation. it is truer to the Sarpkhya-Yoga tradition to represent it as experience.. and even engineered in a constructed way. auditions.. The states come and go. perceptions or conceptions of unity with nature.Yoga is distinct from concepts or conceptual pro-. including culture. dependent on the material world of physical and psychological facul- ties. As such. any personal mystical experience from the Satpkhya viewpoint is necessarily a constructed experience. Some might argue that as such it should be excluded from the concept of experience entirely. 44 Behind the facade of a person knowing is the reality of a separate knowingness and a material personality known. cesses. In their sense it is the only truly spiritual experience.Yoga is seen as experience and as as real. Buddhi is in itself not conscious. visions. The "toothache" has been fixed by "x-raying" the phenomenal knower and extracting the phenom- enal person! In this spiritual dentistry. 56 IN THI! RBLIGIOUS TRADITIONS ror. articulated. although it may be described. the tooth remains. Paul) think "not me. and all that shape them. When this mirror is "yogically polished. and belief.. but pur~a in me. Though nonordinary." This realization destroys all possibility of suffering and all possibility of taking phenomenal personhood seriously." its culminating intuition is that the light is "other" than it." With respect to this inner consciousness. this does not preclude the possibility of a nonordinary experience... and conversions. karman.. which. Self-conscious individuality is no longer a source of pain. not spiritual-not the illu- minator of "personhood" but only the illuminated "reflector. in itself as experience is not personal or in any way constructed. the buddhi must now (apologies to St. The effect of denying kaivalya the status of experience would merely deemphasize what the tradition insists upon-its practical reality. Whatever its final ontological status. the mind/body complex still continues by dint of remaining karmic impressions (as a potter's wheel continues to spin for a while after the pot is thrown).45 can collect.khya-Y oga. neither the light nor the objects it represents are ever really "in" the mirror. language. the person is pulled. but the real knower of the states is experienced as eternal and eternally free. any kind of personal mystical experience would be seen as just another rearrangement of the material components of the world. for. After this real- ization there is no longer a personal consciousness around which the results of ac- tion. there is no one subjected to mental or physical states. The delicately perspicacious but seriously mistaken "buddhi-mirror'' experiences in igno- rance not only that it has "light 0 in it but that it is the very source of such illumina- tion. Even so. The point for our discussion of mysticism is this: most mystical experience-for example. Even these states continue only until the karman is exhausted. kaivalya in Satpkhya. Experience of Pure Consciousness Consciousness itself in Srupkhya. including language and culture. according to SK 67.. since it is the only experiencethat is of . In fact.·from the viewpoint of Sarp. The argument is largely semantic. .

like a single ongo. Yet consciousness remains. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 57 a ~rinciple other than ~atter. for it cannot be captured in the play of matter. a sequen e a . it is necessarily transparent to us. including our aversion or attraction (which as mental operations or thoughts are also objects). aqi ya. unconsciousness. all of which would in Sarpkhya understanding still involve phe- nomenal. The kaivalya experience as the experience of consciousn~ss alone ~n and of Itself might as well be termed pure experience. conceptual cognition. not even in thoughts or feelings. Our tende~cy. It appears most distinctly when matter. Consciousness is for us (on the ordinary phenomenal level) an abstraction-merely the common denominator to all experiences of objects. It is the one constant. transforming suffer- ing into liberation. In Sarpkhya-Yoga it is the one reality that is truly mysterious. perhaps very naturally. Purusa even if we miss it in its isolated purity. transparent ocean to (and in) every fish. into its own object to say that it knows itself.oga vie · ws i't as · something like · sequence of frames. is t~ emphasize the objective pole of ordinary experi- ence: the vanous obJects of expenence. Our language 1s not designed to handle the load of nonordinary realities. the. Dealing respectfully with nonordinary experiences is full of semantic traps. The situ~tion is in no way bleak. The greatest mystery is neither rare nor unavail- able. without a final or satisfactory conceptual answer. fulfilling its co. it also distorts the issue to make conscious- ness. just as the fish may know every- thing that floats in the ocean but never consciously know or notice water motion W 1 expenence. it happens and is valued as the greatest happening. It is an experience. or the Freud- ian subconscious. element that for us is usually synonymous 'th · · Th h expen·ence seems unitary. It transcends the subject/ obJect s~cture of ordm~ expen~nce. As such. · . This Sarpkhya. In Sarpkhya. What is this pure consciousness? The question remains. To say that pure consciousness isn't experiencable or conscious falsifies the record of what Sarpkhya-Y oga practitioners are clearly asserting. excluding pure consciousness. It is an event: but outside of time. surrenders its claim to conscious personal identity.smic task it dissolves into its unmanifest source. To approach even the concept of consciousness in itself is to distance oneself from the ma tena · l elemen t 10 · ex pen·ence . Though it is not ordinary experience. oug . It is just knowing- ness in itself. ne~essarily. Just as the issue is obfuscated by shrinking the realm of experience to ordinary experience. overwhelmingly so. when the matenal faculty of intellect is led to the clear vision of itself as nonconscious. · tu s kh y pie re. but not in the continuum of ordinary expenences. in the form of intelle~t. the knowingness in all forms of knowl- edge. is not only transcendent but also imma~e~t innate to every experience. By ~ature it is nonordinary. That which is pure luminosity does not need another light to illuminate itself. yet the water is real and important.Yoga consciousness should not be confused with the usual lan- guage of phenomenal (subject/object) awareness or with similar-sounding terms like self-consciousness or consciousness of consciousness. pure subjectivity.

Yoga philosophy is less interested in enumerating cosmic structural principles. as we have seen. I Here begins the traditional teaching of Yoga.khya-Yoga) to be saved. What we call Hfe experi- ence is but a sequence of such objects on the mind ' s screen. Yoga uses these principles to build a detailed map of the psychological states that correspond to the progressive isola- tion of consciousness itself from mental process of any kind. 48 The confusing or apparent mixing of these eternally separate realities is seen to be the source of all suffering.idhana and samadhi Meditation practice. But in all ordinary experiences of objects there is something else . the unmixing. is defined in the very beginning of the YS: I. to know it in its uniqueness is to be it and (in Sarp. so other that it is not even a thing." Meditative Practice: Isvara-praQ. . the discrimination (viveka) of the intellectual capacity (buddhi) from the consciousness capacity (puru$a) brings about salvation from suffering. feelings. Something "Wholly Other" (apologies to Otto). Not only our environ- ment. The way will be somewhat indirect. A concrete example makes the nature of this classical yogic mysticism clear. It is the mystery of conscious existence. Sfil'Pkhya-Yoga finds in the structure of experience two separate capaci- ties: the capacity to know and the capacity to be known. Although the YS offers a wide variety of choices for inducing mystical experi- ence in the direction of its salvific goal. our possessions . discriminating between these two finest capacities and isolating pure consciousness. Instead. perhaps the means par excellence is a prac- tice known as Tsvara-pra"IJ. and our body are objects.idhana: "meditation on the Lord. but our personalities as well. Our very existence as distinct persons is also a constructed object. As the SK painstakingly emphasizes the enumeration of twenty-four subtle mate- rial principles and their contrast with the principle of consciousness. according to S!qikhya-Yoga. Isolating Pure Consciousness: A Y ogic Method As noted. On one side there is the capacity of consciousness 46 and on the other the capacity to be objectified 47 and to intellectually process objects.2 Yoga is the quiescence of the operations of awareness. but an ungraspable no-thing. a presence in which and for which objects appear. or yoga. for to penetrate the tradition very deeply we must first explore the nature of meditation.58 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS of objects of awareness: thoughts. and sensations. the YS empha- sizes the means of traversing this territory. that makes the experience possible.) 1. (Yogas citta-vrtti-niroda}:. (atha yogiinusiisanam. So.) The text then details and analyzes the various ordinary and nonordinary states of awareness that lead with disciplined practice to the actual quiesc ence of mental .

(heyam du!J. (tada dra~tu!J.TY 59 activity.khamanagatam. the sutra themselves (apart fromlater commentaries) actually emp~a size me~t ation ~n acre~ sound (rather than emotional worship with loving devotion. the essential innate form (svarupa) of that which really se.CJ.3 Then the seer abides in its essential nature. . own time and religious viewpoint. The first and second chapters of the YS refer to a particular meditation process to attain the most quiescent state of awareness and to purify the mind of obstacJes along the way . is all that remains: puru$a.) The means of escape is to cultivate the experiential states that result in the dis- crimination and isolation of the true seer. samprajftiita samiidhi.equence is pain and frustration. i.e. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CA.Lord"-.pre 1· (1) the · ry stages o f co-herent 1mma · ss and (2) the fmal pe~ ct is0Jat1on f . in which. in which the awareness as a whole is entirely fixed upon an object of any kind (YS 1.) . the seer] appears to be identical with the operations of awareness. _bbakti ) to ~nn g ~bout . I 7) 2. and the various forms of ignorance whose common cons. The prudent conclusion is that 2. . isolating consciousness itself The consequence of the operations of awareness settling down entirely. (vrtti-sarupyam itaratra) This apparent mixing of what is truly separate is the Pandora's Box of Saipkhya- y oga. there is the confusion. puru$a.. interestingly enough. Otherwise.PA. personhood. focused. as a kind of theistic ' devotion to the "Lord.16 Future suffering should be avoided. Its central placement and the discussion at:. ..svarupe 'vasthanam.4 Otherwise [consciousness. awarene . um 1e ) : 1. is stated in YS 1. the very goal of yoga. On 50 the surface it may be seen. 1. or perceptive coherence. The innate capacity. kind of devotion (bhakll) appropnat . 1·nto a. the appar- ent mixing of the intellectual process and consciousness itself: 1.. asamprajftiita samiidhi.: _. the mental activity as a whole bas entirely settled down. e to their. From it come ego.3: . or quiescent coherence of awareness.. In fact .:zz_ 'dh-na a . foVara-pra. re- linquishing any kind of object." Although the same religious commentators elaborate this s~called ~meditatio_n on in all seeing. This involves paradigmatically the distinction of two unusual state s of experience (called samiidhi) in which the mental activity becomes cohe _AQ • 'fi d rem. . Patafljali's own expressed_descnpllon m th~ YS seems to focus more on technical practice (abhyasa) than on piety.out it indicate its importance.

To understand this process of using language within the mind to go beyond both language and mind.:iava 01\1? It is consciousness itself. (Tasya vacakalJ.idhli.18). 4. literally a "thought .t.28 Meditative repetition of it [results in] the realization of its referent. the complete quiescence of mental operations: 2.23 Or by meditation on (devotion to) the Lord.) 1. The YS seems to go out of its way (unlike the SK) to include God.60 IN THB RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS consciousnessitself in asamprajlUltasamadhi.27 The sound which expresses Him is the prai:iava (OM:).. (Tsvara-pra. (Tajjapas tad-artha-bhavanam. pralJ. which reduces mental activities to the silence of pure consciousness. we must dig more deeply into the history and earlier traditions behind this practice.) 1.1dlii-siddhir rfvara-prarJ.avalJ. Puru~a is referred to as master or owner (svamin. (sam.23) and Lord (prabhu. is common in Indian religion. (Tatah pratyak-cetanadhigamo 'pi antarayabhavas ca..tool" consisting of a sacred sound or string of sounds.27-8: 1. The overall use of mantras as a means to change one's state of experienc . 51 This yogic means of isolating consciousness itself is by mentally applying one- self to52the name.24).) 1. 2. as well as the negation of obstacles.) The existence of a sacred seed-sound (bfja) for I~vara (Ofyl) and the sound's use as an option for inducing and perfecting coherent states of awareness are logically laid out in chapter 1: 1.27 The sound which expresses Him is the prai:iava (Ofyl). the Lord. but only as an impersonal cipher whose "name" is particularly suited to isolating consciousness itself. Meditation on O}rf The nature of the practice of fsvara-pra.) 1. The reli- gious or ritual use of language as mantra.:iidhana is specified most directly in sutras 1. Mantra use ranges from a practical and relatively impersonal repetition to intensely personal devotional prayer.28 Meditative repetition of it [results in] the realization of its referent. (Tasya vacakah pranavah.) What is the ultimate referent for the pra. (Tajjapas tad-artha-bhavanam. the Lord God (lsvara) is defined in the YS in terms of puru~a (1.45 Coherence is perfected by meditation on Isvara.ntJ.) Patafijali's emphasis on the meditative repetition of the linguistic symbol (vlicakab) is neither original with him nor out of the mainstream of Indian thought.:iidhanadva.:iava). the mantra 0¥ (calledpra.29 From that the consciousness within is attained.

Here language does not function con .. to remove . It was known from earliest times as japa ("murmuring"). This silence correlates with contentless consciousness itself. The three letters and the dichotomy between sound and silence furnish the basis of much analysis and analogy for the linguistically minded philosophers of the later Vedic Upani~ads.55 Although the single syllable Ofy. it functions to deconstruct itself.lseems to be the ultimate in simplicity. "M" (anusviira). W." which may have been used to aid concen- trative absorption. Names for divinity in Hinduism are innumerable. or.lis understood to be made up of sequential elements (counted variously as three. The great source of confusion for any interpreter comes from mixing or not con- tinually discriminating between two levels: 1.) Though OMhas been associated with the divine in all Hindu religious sects. silence itself is not real absence of sound but the very quietest "pronunciation" of the cosmic O~. language and reahty. the nasalization. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 61 derives from the ancient Indian conc~ption of the intrinsic correlation of name (niima) and form (rupa). since word and referent in magical Vedic language are two forms of the same thing. (In this perspective.. Vedic ritual.54 Repetitive "murmuring" or " humming. the term pra.56 The unfolding sound/silence structure of O:fy1parallels the structure of the mind and the universe itself. later. more technically. the earliest stratum of Hindu- ism. for example. The German lndologist J. 3½ ele- ments): "A" and "U" (which elide to make "O"). the material intellect and consciousness itself. Hauer links OMto the groups that practiced the intensive study and recitation of sacred texts (sviidhyiiya). and the silence ("½") that remains after the hum of nasalization. OM. was technically called pra. The silence to which Ofy. structively to shape and mold experience.lpoints. OMis speech. the realities they represent would change in the way desired. By linking the mind with the nonlinguistic realities beyond it. was based on the premise that by manipulating sacred names (ir- respective even of the will of the gods). four. brahman. The sound OM. entirely immaterial.. which is understood to correspond to the struc- ture of the microcosm and the macrocosm. a means of passing over from the word to the referent. much is made of its inner acoustic structure. In the case of a referent that is spiritual-that is. it is obviously much more than just a convenient tag for a personal Lord.:iava became exclusively identified with the syllable OMitself. acts as a bridge. Ofy.which comprises the levels of relative awareness from most gross to most subtle 2.-- Ofyfalso functions paradoxically to disjoin what in speech is erroneously l~nked. 53 Such absorption in sa- cred texts through repetition was practiced mentally (manasii) in the village and orally (viicii) in the forest. Hauer notes that such sviidhyiiya orjapa of OMprobably brought it to acceptance as a designator of the highest power. OMis speech par excellence.

62 IN THB RIILIGI.9 The true and pure essence has been taught there. enjoyed. having the form of Prar.The objectof this allowanceordisnllowo. all multiplicity of enjoy r.iava (OM). whos prototypeis th· re ti tion of 0~1. This involves knowledge of a range of progressively more at- tenuated levels of speech and mental functioning as a whole. "that whose very principle or essence is the word.ncedoes not.5).it accepts within itself all mutually contradictoryid n of .seemsto resonate withBartrhari.ava. still. all dogmas or doctrines arise. To help us understand exactly how the tradition is capable of using language to remove language and isolate consciousness itself.vary. the knowledge capable of being grasped through one word. Word-brahman) as the seed (bfja) of all things. and enjoyment (1. Oty1is understood here as the very essence of the Veda (the co.Althou h Burtrhurifovor8monlsmund . as sabdatattva.8) (Bartrhnri seems to recognize dualism while ultimately preferring monism). "57 The Viikyapadrya (VP) goes on to identify this sabda-brahman (the Absolute-as- Word.Referring to the Vedic trndition. This work. he note : 1. we must explore the philosophy of language contemporary with Sarp.khya-Yoga thinking.58 Thus. After all.khyasystem of thought and the use of Qlantras are clearly linguistic phe- nomena. Levels.9rllhmnnor dlsul· lowsall of them.The ultimate purpose of ritual murmuring of the 0~ SOUnd is conscious silence. the Viikyapadrya of Bartrhari. the Sarp. the commentary (possibly also by Bartrhari) adds with respect to OM': The mystic syllable (PraQava)allowsfor all pointsof view. while pu~a may be conscio~ ness. and Meditation on lsvara Some modem constructivists might respond that. Bartfhari goeson to link the Word-brahman with OM. To counter this argument and to clarify this point.4) attained and symbolized by the Veda (also one and many) (1. it is the causeof the ris ondfall of doctrines.llectionof chants that Hindus revere as highest revelation) and as the unitarysyllableofbrahman from which all thoughts. I now elucidate how the use of language in Saipkhya-Yoga to either describe a nonlinguistic phenomenon or to bring a nonlinguistic experience about does not necessarily imply that we have a linguistically constructed experience in the Saipkhya-Yoga PCE. it is the common factor of all originaJcauses. Pataiijali's nonsectarian philosophyof meditation. language must be involved in its production. brahman. An important discourse on philosophy of language that arose at the approximate time of the YS might help us flesh out some of the remaining mysteries behind Patafijali' s understanding and use of prar. Language. the source of conflicting views as dualism and monism (1.OUll TRADITIONS itself from consciousness. they might insist. ther fore. celebrates the nondual Absolute religious ultimate of the Jsthe sourc of ull Scrip- ture. In a truly conciliatoryspirit.and in no wuycon· tradicting the different views.

42 This Science of Grammar is the supreme and wonderful source of the knowledge of the threefold word.37) and cognized the eternal scriptures (Veda) and the science of grammar that explicates and preserves the scriptural potency (1. . also charactensttcally adds a fourth level of speech. so philosophy of language and the "perfected" medium of classical Sanskrit could also provide a common foundation for intellectual life. social.60 Here the vaikharf level represents the uttered sounds produced by the vocal cords and heard by the ears. Pasyantf. the Madhyama (the Middle One). Both met in the syllable Ofyf. ethnic. Such discrimination reveals that language (sabda) is to be differentiated into three levels: 1. the "Seeing One. the gross level of speech. or transcendental level. appeared as a common theme in Indian religions. (the Elaborated). and the Pasyanti (the Seeing One). which also knew of three levels of recitation-the loud chanting of the hotr. The three levels of speech seem to refer to the material universe.35-43). Beyond the thr~e material levels of speech there is still a fourth level-the speechless. or yoga. the verbal thinking level that is the source of gross speech. Both men reached for common ground in a period that sought to shore up intellectually what their rulers hoped to maintain politically in the face of geographical. from higher Brahman. soundless si- lence. We see that the language speculations upon which Pat~jali could draw spoke of three levels of sound or word · · (qumtessentially · · by three 1eve 1s o f OM) represented . Tantric thought. For example. where name and form (word and material referent) are one in seed-form. the low muttering of the adhvaryu. Bartfhari goes on to link sabda-brahman with yoga by underscoring and support- ing the supernormal powers (siddhis) of perception of those who have purified their minds ( 1. The concept of these three distinct. As meditative discipline. mental level of speech. both rely on Ofyt in their parallel quests for universality. This is presumably the level of mental function where the r#s and advanced yogins are said to cognize the impersonal acous- tic structures of the Veda and the universe as a whole. wordless Abs~l~te beyoo d thought. comprising many paths. the Upani~ads differentiate the level of sabda-brahman (Brahm~- as-Word) from asabda-brahman (Wordless Brahman). and religious divisions. and beyond · material vibration ' an ultimate level of conscious silence. the lower Brahman of activ- ity and mental operation. recognizing the same distinction. This most compact seed-level of speech for Bart:rhari points to an underlying monism. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 63 Patafljali dualism. known in a flash of di- rect intuition so compact and whole that it is without the usual sequence and distinc- tion of ordinary thought or articulated speech . the para. a silent. increasingly inward levels of speech is prob- ably not unrelated to the ancient use of Vedic mantras in the sacrifice. Madhyama is the subtle." corresponds to the very finest level of intuitive cognition. and the silent witness and mental recitation of the brahmin priest during the ritual. of the Vaikhari.

the first manifestation 4.Iedg . the intellect (buddhi). that is. Yoga philosophy is the form or wing of Smpkhya that details practical methodsto achieve this nonordinary salvific knowledge. the 'biov.of the sounds of all beings" might be the perspective of a meditator's progressive udeconstruction of his own mental world-perception of increasingly subtle. Parallel to these divisions of the basic building blocks of matter and personality. experiences the full range of matter in the form of his own body and mind As YS 1. Although neither Pataiijali nor his primary commentator. Patanjali lays out levels of meditative process (samprajnata samlidhi. discrimination of mixed 1e.. UNMANIFEST (aliriga). 62 They present the Smpkhya sbucture (the divisions of the guQ. They are: . YS 3..19).64 IN THI! RELIGIOUS TILU>ITIO S Pataiijali shows special interest in language in the YS (1. The process of yoga (i. In Sarpkhya. that is. UNDJSCERNED(avise.asin equilibrium.-e1s is the essential tool for yogic liberation. DISCERNED( vise. Indeed. The yogin systematically gradually. BARELY MANIFEST (lirigamatra).rikara.a) composed of: 5 subtle elements (tanmatras) 1 ego or "amness" (aha. The levels are progressive levels of discrimination that resu.40announces: His mastery ranges from the most minute to the greatest magnitude. specifically mention the three or four le els of . unmanifest matter. Pataiijali lays out the levels of matter from~- est to most subtle (YS 2. prakrti with three guQ.Vyasa. asmita) 3. meditation is simply to provide firsthand experience of this Smpkhya structure of life for all its components are available within the meditator. especially its duality of consci~ and matter.42). 1.61 Following the Satpkhya scheme..27 larly in relation to the ordinary cognitive process lhat mixes the w~-~ the associated mental concep~ and the actual referenL 1bough this mix ma be ran- tageous for normal language communication. to have saving knowledge is to know the structure and composition of life in its twenty-five constituents. increasingly stripped down levels of being: 1.17.e. samlipatti) ( 1.a) composed of: 5 gross elements (mahiibhutas) 5 sense capacities (buddhindriyas) 5 action capacities (karmendriyas) 1 mind (manas) 2.17 promises lhal b) app}ing coherent awareness (samiidlu1 to the discrimination of these from increasing focus (coherence) of mind.~ the Je\"ds of mind and meditation as well as the corresponding levels of matter he delineates seem to correspond.

65 Perception bereft of ordinary thinking (nirvicara-2--4). One sees the subtle object without mental conversation or thinking about it. 1. the referent 2. puru$a. 4. the articulated sound). The ultimate level of meditation is then without seed (nirbfja) of any kind and beyond any phenomenal perception (asamprajnata )-it corresponds to the total cessation of the operations of awareness (as manas. From earliest times the Vedic tradition has accessed holy power and salvation pri- marilythrough the recitation of sacred texts (svadhyaya). is the all-inclusive syllable Ofyt. i.e. This is beyon~ discursive thought or language. it rep- resents the most subtle possible object of the yogin' s coherent aware- ness. which arises mysteriously. The essence of speech and the mantric vehicle par excellence.. natu- rally responds to his will. without label or comment.kara). The range of matter. is understood to directly reveal truth (rta. · conducted at the most delicate and brilliant level of awareness (buddhi).67 The method is well known in the Indian tradition: meditative repetition (japa). the idea known. The yogin's ideal.. or buddhi) and leaves the yogin isolated as impersonalpuru$a. the object directl ~rceiv~d in terms of its component subtle elements. Oral recitation of the Yedi .. SUBTLE THOUGHT ABSORPTION (saviciira samlipatti) This level transcends language and concepts-here the object of medi- tation "appearing in the mind as the object alone (svarupamiitra)" seems to correspond to the level of the tanmatras. impercep- tible prakrti.. and corresponds in its levels to the full range of creation. as we have seen. and object (artha). ends in the unmanifest. spontaneously from deep within him. aharhkara. consciousness itself. speech. As buddhi is the first evolute (lingamatra) of prakrti (alinga). archetypal vehicle in this meditative journey is the vehicle of viik.48). concept (jfiiina). the intellectual faculty..e. however. 3. ORDINARY THOUGHT ABSORPTION (savitarka samiipatti) ~s absorption d~sc_riminatesleast-with respect to language it still fads to properly d1stmguish among word (Jabda). 66 The yo gin must transcend all vestiges of prakrti for that which is beyond her and conscious-in-itself. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 65 1. 64 the sheer sense of identity that underlies all personal experience. auss ABSORPTION (sananda 63 samapatti) This level seems to correspond to the purest portion of the ego fac- ulty (asmita. The mirror of the mind sim- ply takes the form of the subtle object. i. bringing him to the farthest extreme of perception of the mani- fest world. AMNESS ABSORPTION (sasmita samapatti) This level seems to correspond to the buddhi. aha.

and association. and human awareness. which holds that the various operations of the aware- ness. This understanding of Ofyt. How exactly might this work in yogic practice? The Process of Meditation The mechanism is relatively simple. . any and all activities of the mind.14).OM. OM.16).13). as well as certain associated presuppositions about the interrelated nature of language. overpower. admittedly cultural and linguistic. Such practice of a single principle (OM. Mental repetition of a special "mind-tool" (man- tra) like OMis traditionally taught only in private initiation. Continued practice is particularly necessary in the light of the theory of afflictive impressions (klesas. Continued repetition of this single item in face of the diversity of ordinary thought presents the mind with a unique mode of functioning. O~. OM. where the sacred man- tra is whispered into the initiate's ear. 1.OM. and eliminate these impressions from ordinary experience.13-2 . eventually. leave traces. for there is not to be any "thirst for objects perceived or those revealed in scripture" (dr$tiinusravika-vi$aya-vitr$. it takes a thorn to remove a thorn. he seems to strip down the complicated external para- phernalia of sacrificial rituals and sectarian devotional worship (such as the religious praises of the thousand names of God) to the simple and profound repetition of o~. Our fate is one of inevitable and continuous frustration (dul:.kha)(2. in order to transcend itself.17). Just as Pataiijali strips human personality to its bare core. does not stop there. as we have indicated. our misidentification of pure consciousness with the mind/body complex (2.and so on) 68 must give the mind an extraordinary experience of continuity and unity.:za 1..15-2. reality (nama-rupa). carries the whole Indian tradition on its back. It gains this neces- sary steadiness and becomes "firmly established when practiced assiduously in the proper way without interruption over a long period of time" (1. Such relaxed. as we have seen.16) unless we can weaken. pure consciousness. unattached. and fate: They determine our reactions to events (attachment or aversion) and thus maintain our ignorance.2-2. repetition must become steady (1. The human mind is simply riddled with such traces or impressions. That in itself is not enough: the skill in repetition demands a counterpart in dispassion as the operations of awareness come to quiescence only "by practice and detachment" (abhyiisa-vairiigyabhyam.15) or. which together make up our conscious and subcon- scious memory and which rise and fall from dormancy to activity according to stimu- lus. it is presented. As the proverb goes. personality. This already takes the sound in the correct direction-from the external speech to the internal thought. for anything of thegu~ws (1. The collection of such impressions (sa1]'lskliras) make up one's character. reaches its simplest and most practical fonn in O}rl-japa of the YS.12). Dispassionate repetition of the mantra implies a certain attitude of relaxation and letting go: this mastery cannot be the fanatical intensity with which the West generally caricatures the yogin. 66 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS hymns. 2. context. later internalized in Upani~adic meditation.14).

strips ordinary mental activity and ordinary personality to the bone.15). vacillation. or puri- fiers. The practice is analyzed into stages. This practice of ' compose his mind) is a steady flow of coherent silence (nirodha)-the total cessation of ordinary mental operations (3. 1. It is only at this gross and beginning level that OMcan be associated with an ordinary word meaning such as fsvara. puru~a) is entertained.given enough time. 1. coordinated whole. Isvara) and referent (in my contention.. In fact.:iidhana.70 This power is due to the relaxed but increasingly focused awareness with which they are entertained. Who or what OMrefers to as the designator of Isvara will become appar- ent in pure experience as the meditative process deepens. First.:iidhana as a kind of intensification of emotional attachment to the anthropomorphic Lord as the sum of religious imaging and conceptualization seems to be ruled out. in Patafijali's formulation it would restrict one from further progress in experiencing more subtle. the concept of 'fsvara-pra.69 Even more important. since He is an object "revealed [by scripture]" (anusravika-vi~aya. as Patafijali describes. we must recall that even this coherence on the level of ordinary thinking must be detached from the personal or dogmatic Lord. as we noted earlier. Mantras themselves are calledpavitran. the beginning repetition of OMmixed in the yogin' s mind with idea (some conception of the personal God. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 67 Ordinary experience involves an ordinary and relatively scattered pattern of attention th~t ~erpetua~es itself: The yogin's detached practice of a single mantra is just the med1cmethe mmd requtres. Thus. (Observing your flow of thoughts as you continue to read this might confirm the point. Ordinary mental process is seen as relatively incoherent-subject to constant dis- traction. literally. a state of coherence (termed samiidhi. As the mind settles with the detached repetition of the Oryt. their method of use. Coherent impressions accumulate as the yogin practices until the underlying process 71 of the gw:. The more coherent the mental function. makes them ideal objects for creating a new.) The yogin's practice of a single syllable creates a one- pointed state of awareness. is perhaps the chief ex- ample of the means to asamprajnata samadhi.." "placed or put together"). dominant kind of mental impression that is not only pure (harmonious. This is the so-called ordinary thought absorption level. nonobstructing) but also exponentially more influential. In effect. .:iidhana. "synthe- sized. more ignificant levels of apprehension. In any case. d finition . They are understood to have special power (a{ir~ta)to cleanse impurities from the mind. and weakness-and incapable of sustained function as a uni- fied.9-3. the more powerful the result. as we have seen.15). This prelimi- nary level ofjapa is sometimes even begun with voiced chanting-(vaikhari level)- and slowly diminished to purely mental (madhyama) repetition.the more laboriou and more energy-consuming association chains of scattered thoughts. it means that Patafijali' s practice of 'fsvara-pra. This process may sound very techni- cal and exotic. 2. soothing.

it is the subtlest level where speech emerges from the unmanifest. In this nirvitarka level the object alone.50) leaves the mind dissolved in its unmanifest state. The levels of the mind have been progressively stripped away. This is subtle thought absorption. From the viewpoint of Sarpkhya-Y oga. Here all knowledge is available-the yogin is absorbed in the faculty of knowing in its unhindered clarity and perfection.kara level of awareness. 72 This may corre- spond symbolically to the abstract but completely unified resonant nasalization (niida) of OM. and most radiantly desirable material faculty. this is actually understood as the root of all ignorance. now stripped of the subtle sound. Intellect (some- times also calledmahat. in Bartrhari' s terms. Impressions on this level are said to be truthful and to block all other impressions (1. The bliss is relinquished for the even more tranquil absorption in the intellect (buddhi) alone. its innate essence. awareness even- tually slips to an even more subtle and more simple level. this most subtle object or seed of awareness.Yoga the faculty of intellect is the most transparent. of course.kara loosens with detachment. 73 Speech has returned to its source in con- scious silence (para). judgments. the second level of coherent mental functioning.) In a real sense this. There is no sense that someone is seeing something through the process of perception.68 IN THB RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS impressions. Here the previous blending of intellect. egoity.. The final act ofrenunciation(paravairagya. only complete identification of awareness with the subtle ele- mental level. and OM-sound. is a level of OM. most pure. appears in its svarupa. as the subtle element of sound (. as the coherent impressions grow stronger. or. mistakenly identifies itself with consciousness itself. leaves only intellect (buddhi) absorbed in its ownamness (asmitii) as the object or content of meditation.fabda-tanmatra). 3.. "great one"). the nada of OM. however. leaving the yogin. 3. the very "bottom" of what Barqhari termed the madhyamii level of viik. or reasoning. It is the first manifestation of matter.r. This is not yet the ultimate nature of the yogin. conditioned. The third level involves the dropping away of even the subtle sound element itself-without losing awareness." pasyantf. Identification with the bliss of the aha. the sound o~ in this case. until the awareness (citta) itself is dissolved into the unmanifest prakrti. the most transparent and perfect level of aware- ness. Eventually.r. This level is very rarified. In Saipkhya. With supreme detachment. This leaves the yogin absorbed in the bliss (iinanda) of the substrate of subtle experience. 4. merging each effect into its cause. and memories drop away. too. due to its transparent purity. an act that creates personal suffering and the need for imper- sonal salvation. while at the same time isolating the inner- . As detached repetition of this level of OMcontinues. bereft of operational intellect. and material. the most delicate and primal. the "Seeing One. the asmitii or aha. even this most subtle and luminous level is relative. drops as well.48-150. It would seem to correspond to the extreme limit. is matter that. reduced to a brilliant point (bindu). at the goal. t.16. a new level of coherent absorption arises that is completely free of ordi- nary mixed thinking and presents the object of awareness without verbal associa- tion.

called kaivalya (3. The ultimate mystical experience in Sarpkhya~ Yoga results from the final elimination of all concepts. all thinking. ethnic. totally inactive witness to all levels of buddhi is now isolated in its own unthinkable but conscious luminosity. This innate capacity to be conscious. deconstructing oneself as a person in favor of the nonlinguistic experience of puru$a. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 69 most core. with its cultural shaping. this puru$a. The assertion that all mystical experience is necessarily constructed seems incompatible with the evidence. in Sanskrit or English. All the meditator' s doing is undone: in the conscious silence apart from all objects of thought or perception.34). In the final analysis. In so doing the yogin not only reduces language from word to sound to conscious silence but also eliminates any possible cultural or conceptual building blocks. consciousness itself. theistically or atheistically-the experience per se is not that of a yogin. or a Hindu. or is something else responsible? In the case of Sarp. beyond any possibility of conception or construction. responsible for all mystical experiences as the constructivists assert.khya-Yoga philosophy as a conceptual or cultural scheme but any possible conceptual.55. 4. the yogin gains every- thing (salvation) by losing every thing.khya-yoga. the meditator finds his or her innate nature to be simply conscious- ness itself. All such things are ob- jects of consciousness. Conclusion What is clear from our detailed example of yogic meditation on the sound OMis that Patafijali' s mysticism intentionally goes beyond intentionality and language by using language to transcend itself. The layers of human per- sonality have been peeled away by following a reducing sound beyond its material source to conscious silence.khya system) but also the very innate intentional structures of the mind. The experience of isolation belongs to the capacity to be con- scious.khya-Yoga philosophy en- shrines in kaivalya a nonordinary experience that transcends not only Sarp. of human personality. an "impersonhood" beyond any possibil- ity of suffering. all . or conceptual image. as it has never previously been discriminated from the various constructed levels of experience it has enabled. is familiar in a sense. the knower. it is the inherent structure of reality that is responsible for mystical experiences. The yogic meditator transcends not only concepts and thought itself (even the concepts of his own Sarp. This is the para level of speech. all feeling. all words. too. as it has been the background and precondition for all previous material experiences. pure consciousness. This totally silent.the conscious silence to which it points. The conclusion for the study of mysticism is that Sarp. puru~a. yet it is novel. alone. or cultural structure. or a South Asian. Are the creative activities of the mind. linguistic. quiescent and seedless samiidhi. 74 The experience belongs to no conceptual identity-no religious. training. linguis- tic. and basic presuppositions. cultural. However this event may be described later-in poetry or prose. the ultimate referent of OM.

4.70 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS memory. T. Katz (1978). What is le~ properly termed innate. James (1958). . IO. ahamkiira (ego). A PCE is an event in which experience is reduced to its pure subjective component. The SK represents the chief known text of Sarpkhya. Forman (1990) The Problem of Pure Consciousness (New York: Oxford University Press). 7. something simple' which even in a constructed world puts the mystery back into mysticism. p. P· IS. (These pramm:ias.ik~. which implies that there is an inevitable and unsatisfactory flaw in ordinary expen- ence-the escape from this ill is the main thrust of South Asian philosophy and religion. even perhaps the exemplary medium of meditation (japa). a i~! unitary term. which is likely to have been influential on the final formulation of the YS and its main commentaries. James reveals that this revelation was in a letter from Tennyson to B.Dates are very approximate. Mysticism and Religious Traditions (New York: Oxford University Press). consciousness itself. 6. T. whose authoritative scripture (testimony). This excludes Buddhism and Jainism. citta. and W. t. (SK 1). P. Hume. awareness divided in Sa. and. is consciousness. . Katz (1978) and (1983). S.composauonan sutras (dense aphorisms) rather than verses (kiirikiis) as in the SK. C.iJvara. Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. It is not self-conscious and not symbolically conscious-just consciousness itself. Mysticism: A Study of Its Nature. analysis.the Yogasutra of Patanjali (ca.8:0 emphasis on practice. logkal inference. Religious Experience (Berkeley: University of California Press). and all perception. Brhad AryQ1Jyaka Upani1ad 4.rpkhya 0 ~e threefold inner instrument of buddhi (intellect). See also Wayne Proudfoot (1984). intention or any kind of object. and method of attainment are constructed material processes. without content. 6. but these are the most recent estimations. and in this essay. 5. 8. The YS supplies these. 2. S. the experience of kaivalya is something else. 295. See J. Larson and R. Bhattacharya (1987). for practice or meditation. Major differences between SK and YS arethat the YS includes a concept of God. By suffering and frustration I am attempting to render the Sanskrit term dul. 3. G. who further recalled that Tennyson said of this experience: "By God Almighty!there is no delusion in the matter! It is no nebulous ecstasy. 4 (Princeton: Princeton University Press). tr." 3. ' Notes Translations are those of the author except where otherwise noted.s epistemo1ogically grounded on three sources of reliable knowledge: direct: perception(including what we mjgbt can supernormal perception). Blood. with special regard to Katz's own essays. Cognitive Value and Moral Implications (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). but a state of transcendent wonder ' associated with absolute clarity of mind. Wainwright (1981). S.. Siilflkhya: A Dualist Tradition in Indian Philosophy. 9. object-related. p. and manas. 400-500 CE).or sources of reliable knowledge. The SK is understood to be roughly contemporaneous with its philosophical sister. elevation. Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion 1901-1902 (New York: New American Libraryof World Literature). even though suchnastika systems have much in common with many Sarpkhya-Yoga-positions. 1. as noted earlier. Its nature is discussed from many viewpoints in R. 133. W. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature.. Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (New York: Oxford Univer- sity Press)..the SK aJia text seems to be bereft of specific guidelines for any spin. is a chief. for the relative. While its description. K. vol. The analysis i. OM. By orthodox I mean astika-the Hindu systems that accept in their own way the au- thority of the Vedic revelation. See.

15. it dissolves-mission accomplished.s tu vikiiro (IV) na prakrtir na vikritih purusah.. and the five subtle elements. SK 22-41. The observation alluded to is one of pure unjudgmental. YS citta. from the gross material objects to their less obvious and subtler components.. The actual term most used is "association. J. subatomic particles. G. Our physics today clearly recognizes and discriminates many "layers" of reality. even down to "unmanifest" virtual particles. m YS 1. 17. 78. the sixteen are the ten indriyas plus the mind and the five gross elements. I. . Siirrzkhya. translation of SK 59. 12. Yogi-pratyak~a. Larson ( 1979). thence the mind and senses. When the material intellect discriminates the fact that it is in itself unconscious matter and that its activity is for "something" immaterial quite be- yond itself. mahat). Ibid.r. pp. .) The worldview is essentially logical and empirical. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 71 are the same in ~th systems. Classical Sa. from that evolves the ego fac- ulty. This is difficult because it is so at variance with the usual way we conceptualize the process of experience.7 pratyak$a-anumilna-ligamiiJ:i. or photon. so also prakrti ceases after having manifested herself to puru~a. . Saipkhyan analysis begins with objective material elements which we would tend to see as inner and subjective-the first manifest principle of creation is not the atom.a.To make the association 1s to be confused.w!~~out t~.: Partite process. the direct but supernormally acute perception of the trained meditator. The term.. 13. 273: rangasya darsayitva nivartate nartakz yathii nrtyat.µkhya: An Interpretation of Its History and Meaning (Santa Barbara: Rose/Erikson). The whole purpose of the evolution and activity of material processes is to be observed by another-the consciousness function. is not the deliberative or analytical observation of a critic-critical faculties ore material pro- cesses in Sarpkhya. since even scriptural evidence is understood to represent the record of the di- rect perceptions of great seers. p. Sarrzkhya. or elec- tron.z sapta {III) $Odasaka." refers to puruia being entirely different and separate from the three strands (gu~s) or components of prakrti .translated by Larson and Bhattacharya. Larson. SK anta~karafJ. 77-78. . as in SK 11. atoms. 14. ego. and something conscious. . I use the term "nonconscious" as a gloss for Sanskrit acetana.e. uncritical aware- ness. .19. and quantum ground states. again. The seven referred to are intellect. 20.a. 21. though different terms are used: in SK 4 dr$tam anumiinam aptavlicanam ca. This observation.'' safTl.z prakrtivikrtayal. whose fluctuations exert measurable influence on real matter. puru$asya tatha 'tmanam prakiisya vinivartate prakrtih As a dancer ceases from the dance after having been seen by the audience. SK 3 text: (I) mulaprakrtir avikrtir (II) mahadiidyiil. p. 16. such as chemical compounds. 18.atrigu. but the intellectual capacity (buddhi. 11. ignorant of the essential independence and separation of the two wholly other elements. The impor- tance of ordinarily invisible components of matter is fundamental. and so on. .

n "the three gu. drg-sakti 'capacity of seeing' (2. Recall that. duhkham eva sarvam. as stated earlier. the goal of the incessantly active combinations and interactions of the gu. [consciousness] does not belong to me. citi 'consciousness' (4. Liberation. Larson and Bhattacharya. 25. master. th operations of the threefold "inne~ instrument.18).ikhya. Brahma is the Hindu creator god himself.:ias and their interaction. Siir. it may seem that puru.6). . The intellect finally discriminates the truth: nli'smi name nii'ham. My own translation. .:ias. sviimin owner. p.23). See note 31 below for a list of different synonyms. 4. the gu. the material substance that results trom .:ias" appears. the forms and functioning vanish (SK 61).19: 4. drii 'seeing' <2·20• 25). illumined by puru~a. By "tripartite process" Larson refers again to the three gu. thus not an ontological problem but a problem of epistemological clarity. 77. In general whe ." sattva. blind mechanical process reliant on an- other. you can sub st1tute pra rti. puru.$fr'seer' (1. Larson and Bhattacharya. Conceptual error in the form of the ego principle (ahal']'lkiira)generates the forms and functioning of creation. and tamas. 30. (In the YS these operauons of awareness are simply called cltta-vrtti. prakrti-the three functional modes or charactenst1cs of matenal that explain its evo- lutionary combinations in the twenty-three principles that make up the world. the goal of Saqikhya. no one released. SK 20 clarifies the situation: because of the association (sal']'lyogiid)of pure consciousness with the material operations that make up the awareness.17.and ~n~ (manas).) 23. but the spectacle is only seen by the passive witness puru.:iasof prakrti.pp. and on its lack of discrimination between itself andpuru$a for it sense of separate selfhood (ahal']'lkiira)(SK 24). the 'I' is not [conscious]" (SK 64) and the further surprising consequences (SK 62) "No one there- fore. Such mental activities in S!rpkhya are technically called antabkara{Ul-Vrtti-i. 29. ego (~ha. they are both eternally separate. k . in Saqikhya. The same point is echoed in YS 4. as it were. Ego or ego structure is not to be taken as an equation with the Freudian ich or ·~go · It is what I would call the sense of separate identity. ob- 31. In the YS we see that puru~a and prakrti play the same familiar roles-the chi~f vious difference is in terminology: puru~a is represented by a wide range of synonyms 10 lhe YS: dra. respectively." intellect ~buddhi). a motivation for the "dance of matter" since the very functioning of the material universe is to rectify. The wealth of synonyms may indicate that the YS editor was working to harmonize and unify several different Srupkhya-Yoga traditions. is bound and is released. is bound.e.3. a tragic error occurs-the unconscious mental processes appear to be conscious. the intellect must be brought to the realization of its true status. but it is actually only a mistake of the intellect that such a thing happens-the ac- tion.rtkiira). an epistomological mistake that results in conscious awareness of suffering (SK 1). and prabhu 'maSter. rajas. 4. 24. "I am not [conscious]. Puru. 20. 27. 28. 2. Ilumination. Siil']'lkhya. 79-80.$a. and the inactive pure consciousness appears to be active. likewise no one transmigrates. and inertia are English translations of the three "strands. lord (2.$afits into this system as an agent of meaning.for its consciousness.$a. the termgu.19 It is not self-luminous because it is something perceived.$ais bound and liberated.23). When the error is ex- posed. 24).22.19 na tat sviibhiisam drsyatviit. 32. 26.:ias refer. (Only) prakrti in its various forms transmigrates. In reality. To save conscious beings from conscious suffering." Thus. activity. also a material creation of the three '~strands" of the ropeof matter. the drama of liberation is all on the side of the intellect. lord' (4. To wit.72 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS 22.

190. nor the radiator knows anything. its sharpest and clearest level is this distinction between itself and consciousness. 38. but no pain. The universe is under- stood to rest in such a state between cyclic creations. light is the central metaphor. [which] although pure sees the object. Gross (London: Longmans Green).to be empm~ally. Although the relationship between Freudian psychoanalysis and other similar Western approaches and Srupkhya. The passenger i~ the car may notice the gauge. 33. in favor of the impersonal core of life as consciousness. This may sound impossible. Yet Sarµkhya would agree with our ordinary experience- the intellect does seem to be conscious. It is enough that m Saqlkhya this understanding was understood to be rationally established. Maitri Upaniiad .is true or not need not concern us here. Green and T.ya) is the "original" state of prakrti when the three strands (gu. J. Yoga philosophy is potentially rich and illuminating. The metaphor of light is inescapable. either with reference to visual perception with terms like "seer" or "seeing"-2.22 all explain puru~a or atman with reference to a s1mtlar analogy of the chanot (sans radiator). if the point still seems obscure. Light needs no external second light to illumi- nate it. the state of being a witness fsiiqin). 4. and I believe. (dra$fii drsimiitra}:i suddho'pi pratyayiinupasya}:i. 533. consciousness. it is self-luminous. Take the term m its more general English sense. is that it merely seems to be conscious-upon examination the intellect can actually sort out the difference between itself and the Other whose consciousness it "borrows. The car is not a ~onsc_ious being. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 73 an~ represents the mistake~ i~entification of the material intellect with immaterial pure con- sciousness.20 The seer is simply the seeing. and D. H. 41. 1976. "Does Consciousness Exist?" in The Writings of William James. ~o.A Treatise on Human Nature. not in any technical psychoana- lytic way. though eternally unchanging. such as William James or David Hume.19 in note 12 above). today's natural parallel is the automobile. eternal life-not eternal life for someone.3. nor do they suffer. the Vedic fondness for chanots should be remembered. 36. Th~ con- sciousness "belongs to" another who is radically different and separate.9. . have actually asserted that no such thing exists.1. Having made that distinc- tion. the gauge. because _noconsciousness. McDermott (New York: Random House). The dynamic equalibrium (pralii. Matter. unmanifest prakrti. . expen- rnentalJy verifiable.)-or by ref- erence to its radiant or "self-luminous" (svabhiisa) property as opposed to that of prakrti (see 4. Thus. . it has a gauge and a radiator. it deserves a detailed examination on its own.3 ff. J. Because yogins trained in the reqwsate d1sc1plme tmd techmcaJ pra tl e~. 42. Whether this ." The final stage of intellect.:ias) balance each other-in this state matter is unmanifest. 37. James ([1904]. but the elimination of the phenomenal person. H. though eternally in motion. Involution (pratiprasava) refers to the opposite process of dissolving into unmanifest root-materiality when the material evolution has reached its goal. . but he also does notfeel the car's pain. It is an interesting paradox. SK 19 describes puru~a with the term siik#tva. is life itself. the knowledge of the dif- ference between intellect and consciousness. p. T. Neither the needle. Prakrti's evolution is technically called pari1Jiima. Perhaps. Katha Upani~ad 3. The truth. 35. 40. Western philosophers who have taken an interest in consciousness. ed. mission accomplished. 2.6. moving into the red. it is free to dissolve into its source. Cars don't feel pain: they are not significan~ that (from the viewpoint of Yoga) this doctrine was ~~der~to~ . 39. ~f this taxi/car analogy seems far-fetched or excessively modem. See W. 34. a more mechanical analogy might help. ed. is essentially dead. The toothache phenomenon is no more the suffering of a conscious entity than is the needle of a taxi's temperature gauge. however. Svetasvatara Upa~i!~ 2. Hume (1898). p.

entirely personal. dismembered into the components of the world and society we know. comments on YS 1. They are oft~n impersonal symbols. YS 2. 47. God. Puru~a is also understood to be connected with Agni. the YS came about to make the experiences systematically intelligible. In fact.e. "The Sources and Nature of Puru~a in the Puru~a-Sfitka.6. literally means "person. Karman operates mechanically as natural law. ekagra 'focused' (lit." Journal of th~ American Oriental Society 51: 108-118. either immedi- ately in this life or in future lives. pp. might be defined as a sense of perspective vis- a-vis the many sharply contrasting oppositions of phenomenal life. Lack of identification with the ego seems to liberate much laughter and a bright sense of humor. the schools emphasize the truly impersonal core of ordinary personhood. · ' an 43. with little in the way of the distinctive personalities or character dis- played by their Greek Olympian cousins.74 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS in fact had experiences described as asamprajnata samadhi. I. . YS 2. Vyasa. 44. the Vedic god of illumination and fire. Conscious- ness. By using the term "person" for the philosophical and experiential principle of pure consciousness. both the anthropomorphic gods and the cosmicpurusa are seen from the earliest texts as ambiguous with respect to their personhood. niruddha 'extinguished' . I. we should be clear that such personhood is not.: University Microfilms). 48.a. are a very sour and serious lot. in the distracted level of awareness. The chief commentator on the YS. and this coherence is a feature of all levels of awareness: I.1: Yoga means samiidhi 'coherence' [of awareness]." It relat~s to th~ a~cient yedic figure of Puru~a. All the serious philoso- phizing in yoga literature might lead one to believe that virtuosos of meditative practice. 45.] The question arises as to why coherence is explicitly said to be a feature of all fiv~ level~ 0 awareness. A sense of humor. sva-sakti. ksipta 'restless' 2. sviimi-sakti. yogins.. darsana-sakti. "one-pointed") 5. For a hist~ry of the term see L. 49. Pflueger ( 1990). 13ff. 195ff. as a human faculty." the moral law of cause and effect. ~ich. mudha 'dull' 3. YS2. YS 2. [The same must undoubtedly be said for the restless and dull levels. YS 4. For mterpretat10n and translation of the Vedic myth see w.N Brown (1931 ).. drg-sakti.6. 46.e. The gw:zas are in no particular hurry to deliver one's just deserts.. when the first three levels are essentially excluded in this statement and its logica 1 extension. Vncaspati gives persuasive reasons as to why the first three levels are not _tobe th considered yoga but never clears up why they were mcluded in the sweeping statement m e first place. citta-vrtti-nirodha. Of these. the coherence is subject to distr~caon and thus is not properly classified as yoga. It is interesting in this regard that the Snrpkhya-Yoga term for pure consciousnes puru. citi-sakti. viksipta 'distracted' 4.23. purusa d kaivalya.. and Meditation: The Concep! oflsvara _inthe Yogasutr~ (Ann Arbor.e. Even though the term puru$a starts out meaning a cosmic Person. The term puru$a in Saqikhya-Y oga is a technical usage.23.34. in RV 10_9 6 a primordial giant "Person" whose body ts sacnfictally dismembered to create the world and the human social structure. The term karman or karma (literally "action") refers to the material consequences of action according to the "law of karman. at least in my experience in meeting such people. I. Every intentional action entails a morally appropriate consequence-one reaps what one sows. even then. This is far from the case. Their inclusion may be more significant than their exclusion.

and distracted awareness p . th . A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. of Buddhist bhakti. with mind (manas)-to give whole attention to. fuzzy. purity. For knowledge of the screen or knowledge of the program- ming. bring in. · · · See _H. a co erent. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass) Buddhists use pra~idhiina in the classical period to refer to the "vow. Perceptive coherence is a state of awareness (citta). even if incomplete. . . strengthening his resolve to attain enlightenment and free all creatures. only states four or five really apply. while 8 stable.4. pain. . 1s no mg less than inherent m ordinary levels of restless. The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (Delhi: Mottlal Banarsidass) · S ·ddhartha •s For example. yet the set is on: there is coherence. undecaymg. . 1978). . or con- stantly interrupted transmtss10_n~1ght correspond to the first three levels. th. the famous biography of the Bu~dha. and ordinary humans might thus hope (with proper training and practice) to attain it. The simple sense seems to be to place down and/or in front of. d · the Dasa-bhum.ka-sutra. subsequent to his accepting the thought of enlightenment (bodhi-citta).19. 163. The term pra. . Our true identity.) f . is . apply. or aspirati~n". 1ess O • t the sense . 50. Even so. c ear 1y apparent only when they are a IIowe d to qmet own mto a focused or quiescent stat Wh · · h · . Th vow becomes more _ h I b . dull. ~ot m:o ve any of these five levels. put)+ pra (before. s_tat. set (a gem) in. A flickering.13. . w ere e a orate m some texts such as the Sukhiivatf-vyuha. including: deposit.16. Se. turn or di~ect eyes or thoughts upon. ve~ m a oommg. The last state of extinction would correspond to a bright.s ibodh" and 1 early pranidhana in this way· "I will attain the immortal. of a new Bodhisattva. t the Buddha as Lord than to be- This resolve might be seen as a kind of devotion. . It derives from verb i/dha (place. ma. DISCRIMINATING THB INNATB CAPACITY 75 What do these states have in common? Nothing but awareness 1·tself Th . even if mini I Th" .:iidhana itself has many meanings. is order is the •. by comparison with ordinary awareness. h . Here the screen is perfectly coherent. Seen from this angle. touch. foc~~ed trans~ss1on appearing on th~ screen would correspond to the highest potential for telev1s10n receptton--coherent perception-a precise representation of the ob- ject televised.17). 175. .e M. the teaching of yoga has a basis in the structure of ordinary aware- ness. an ID · it is tenfold ' .3• etc. All five states. co erence 1s an mherent potential." there is a sort of order. is beyond all states. coherent awareness (samiidhi of either kind) is nonordinary. focused picture. extremely orderly form of awaren . Monnier-Williams ([1899]. . just the essential under- lying nature of the screen itself. con s1der. ~ommg liberated and liberating. quiescent coherence is not even a state-it is pure consciousness isolated from the material awareness and all its states. In the midSt · and imper. ess.nh h E .Da~al ([l 932]. . Th· B0 ddhist usage 1sc 1oser o . not the utter chaos of static or the "nonexistence" of a dark screen when the set is off. It is beyond states and thereby salvific. underlymg the disorderly forms and 1 " · d ". e. . meditation m the YS than to that of sectarian Hindu bhaktt. clear. . clear screen without an image.ZitaVistara. new ed. · .1ini8. then. er aps 1t 1s e essential form (svarupa o awareness. . there are differentiations. pure consciousness. buzzmg confusion. · ·· h . 1979). No image is projected or perceived. ld . . t ere must be some orderliness. From this a variety of uses are noted by Monier-William s. in front of)+ ni (down) (Pa1. e _ . onal liberation are still in the foreground. the La. erent co erence. That is to say h h . place in. w en t ere 1s any kind of perception or cogmt10n. just as anyone with a television set might hope to obtain a clear. 361. respectively.ree ' · · free the world from all pain. Perhaps the analogy of a telev1s1on screen might help the modem reader relate t th· . have an underlying coherence that is either obscured to some degree or clearly evident." 161. yet there is no image. Sheer static wou. There 1s a structure of perce~~on. en aware- ness of any kmd 1s present. . 1 0 IS concept. -dh ·) h · e imp11cat1on1s th at coherence (sama . reflect. a devotion to d~ty. "bl .

Ketkar (Calcutta: University of Calcutta) and include more thetSUC references. 55. who. such as mantras for snakebite. it is not indicated in the YS. though not different fromhis powers [saktis]. 200 BCE to 200 CE. who is the cause of the manifested phonemes [ak~ara].. 2. Hauer. Elsewhere I have argued at length that Patafijali ' s view ofisvara taken from the YS alone. and Meditation. p. For detailed arguments see L. of course. see M. Hauer (1958). from whom the creation of the world proceeds. it would seem that the YS is intentionally going out of the way not to personalize the Lord. new ed. S. the term fsvara has been equated to pure consciousness (1. Indian medical texts such as Caraka and Susruta used the term pra1J. p. trans. "Mantras-What Are They?" in Understanding Mantras. 79. 52. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. described as the timeless source (guru) of traditional wisdom (1. See A. Alper. whose very essence is the Word. Clearly. Who has been taught as the one appearing as many due to the multipli city of bis powers. p. 34. in contrast with that of most of his commentators. Freer' s explanation of the Buddhist usage comes closest also to the sense of the term in the YS: Praf)idhana signifle "disposition particuliere d'esprit. Dayal ( 1978). Dayal quotes Freer in the Journal Asiatique. 64. Der Yoga. Farquhar ((1920] 1967). An Outline of the Religious Literature of India (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass). p. 476. I argue that Pataiijali actually demythologizes the prevalent devotional understanding of a personal God in favor of pure meditative experience-a deep. . Der Yoga: Ein indischer Weg zum Selbst Stuttgart: W. p. The Bodhisattva. Bald bedeutete dieses Wort auch die gesummte Silbe selber. .1. Kohlhammer Verlag). seems to be so. J. Pflueger. and the MAU are among the latest of the classical Upani~ads con- nected with the Veda and are generally dated in the period of classical Sanskrit literature ca. SUNY Se- ries in Religious Studies (Albany: State University of New York Press). " H.. the MU. 32. N. the concept of a personal Lord has no place in the strict dualism of the Sarpkhya and Yoga. H.76 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS Perhaps L.26). Monier-Williams (1979). Japa in conjunction with svlidhyliya and tapas (purification practices) appears in the YS. .idhana in the sense of applying a remedy for a disease. 53. p. universal. Vi~i:iu. closest of all to the YS. The PU. This is soon to be published in revised form by SUNY Press as The God Within: The Lord of Worship and the Lord of Meditation in Ancient India. Everything said of Isvara in the YS itself can be fruitfully applied as well to impersonal pure consciousness.25). 22. The Brahman who is without beginning or end. Padoux (1989). So far in the specialized vocabulary of the YS. "das Hervor- brummen oder Vorausbrummen" (als Einleitung zum Gesang). Indeed. Winternitz (1960-62). l.:iava). This puts prar. 56. 660. but by the "significant sound" (vlicaka) 01\1 (the pra. 25: Das Summen dieser Silbe nannte man prar. application del l 'esprit a un objet determine . See YS 2. A History 0 l~-f dian Literature. The only specific appellation ofthis isvara has not been by personal or individual name. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass). and M.Kalidasa uses the term as "profound religious meditation" or in com- pounds as "abstract contemplation of" in Raghuval'fl. Paris (1881). seems to support the wholesale equation of isvara with pure consciousness. ed.zava. innate capacity of consciousness. who appears as the object s. the meditative sense of praQidhiina is the strongest possibility . God.zidhiina clearly parallel to the old sense of yoga and meditation as a harnessing or disciplining of the spirit for a particu- lar task. If Patafijali had a specific personal deity in mind or an anthropomorphic image. In fact. Their thinking is. or Siva. W. 51.P. See J. Consciousness. Indeed. 54. given the significant focus on isvara.23) in which there is transcendental knowledge (1. especially the task of liberation. shorn of any personal attribute.

. · into nirvana. See also the detailed explication in 1. "d k" all suffering •. dhyiina) levels in Buddhist meditation (Dhzgha-nikiiya 1. ne ss is over as well.. __u. ecome the cause of all vari- from K. This le~e~ i~ not expli~i~ly named as such but can be posited from the terse listing in 1. The Vakyapadfya of Bhartrhari with th V .. di · ·ns from here one steps on1Ythe absolute purity (parisuddhi) of one-pomted me tatton remat . since it is the substrate of amness (aharrzkara) and clearly the most "stripped down" level of asamprajiiata samiidhi bereft of vitarka. S. Ibid. viciira. 65.The Path of Purification(Visuddhimagga).. Seen as the dispositions of the gu..ya Series. By the same token.r absorptlh~n u~?1baenytoensd · · th· " ot mgness prakrti (prakrtilaya I 19) attains a simulacrum of liberation m is n . bliss drops and ' ' . trans.. seems reasonable.~~~eccan C~llege) . and in the fourth and laSt . Rather than attammg pure co · . 58. Perhaps a contemporary of PatanJah: .:ias. . English A. The third and fourth levels here are difficult since Pataiijali has not defined them in the YS. Calif. • • etc. The similarity between Patafijali's four levels here and the first four jhii. savitarka) and saviciiram (Skt. p.. identifying ananda (3) with the experience of ahaf!1.32.A.: Shambala) pp.S. . savicara) occur. 36. association of the amness absorption with buddhi.when the equilibrium of unmanifest matterIS lSfUp ' (Skt_. The structural demands make Bhojaraja' s commentary the most reasonable to me. 61. 14. the six transformations birth w :h (th ough one) differentia- ety in Being. Iy~.happiness and b_lisS. · 63.kara as the very substrate of the bliss of the senses (tamasic aharrzkaramay be blissful too but due to tamas beyond perception or recognition as deep sleep) its assignment to the third level makes some sense and fits the structural overview. reads: satya visuddhis~~tr~ekctc_an. The techm- cal Pali terms savitakkam (Skt. since the yogic word for ahaf!'lkara is asmitii. and ananda characteristics. p. . The Vakyapadfya (1965). · ·s no. this "pseudoliberated dnohncons~1odu sonfen ss n1. but unfortunately t~1s state is ar · .:iavarupe.beyond ~nything manifest to perceive. 60. If we associate sattvic ahaf!1. Depending on whose Time-power [kala§akti] tO h' tion is attributed. thus the asmita level of samapatti is a very reasonable correlate with asmita itself. Y · · • ley. 64. and asmita (4) with the experience of buddhi. • • · d· te t e perao ~ temporary.z. Patafijali leaves us here (as in many places) with little choice but to scramble for speculative solution that brings out the perceived unity and underlying meaning of the system. t and unification of mind (ekodibhava). As interpreters of the YS. Buddhaghosa (1976). Translation. 14. Iyer. Chapter I.4 of the Visuddhimagga ?f B. DISCRIMINATING THE INNATE CAPACITY 77 3. Iyer. Poona: Deccan College.) is remarkable. Even so. of Bhartrhari with the Vrtti and the Paddhati of Vrsabhadev D J· The Vakyapad. nsciousness. 1t represent s pur e in terms of consc10usness. 125.nconsciousness and perhaps even worse. 1. The yogin wh~se meditation transcends the buddhi fo. in K.:za) and absorption in the buddhi corresponds to isolation of the relative perceiver (grahltr).17: vztarka-vzcaranandasmztanugamiit samprajfiata}. here re~er- ring to critical thinking and sustained thinking. The commentaries offer little help since they conflict with each other.182 ff. · · ·. Iyer ( 1965). ·i t 10 66.kara. The Viikyapadfya (1965).. along with p'fti-sukharrz. Bhikkh N anamol · (Berke- vol. p. In the secondjhana the factors of critical ~d SUSamed thinking drop away· in the third happiness drops. Paramanu-parama-mahatvanto 'sya vaszkarah.kara corresponds to Pataiijali's distinction of samiidhi in the process of perception (graha. 144--175. 62.:ia sarvavadavirodhina II 59.d ol!eg_eMonograph o av. p. Building Centenary and Silver Jubilee Series 26 (P e ~t. The text. absorp- tion in the satvic ahaf!1. yaivaikapadi:igamii! yuktii pra. In this way.

reflect- ing the quieter. The Garland of Letters (Val'f)amiilii. H. the main ~·~t . Sacred Books of the East Series. for their reputed abil- ity to neutralize such concentrated poisons as snake venom. he reaches the Supreme Source in which all differ- entiation is completely lost. para. (Madras: Ganesh and Co.4. forms and formlessness. identical with sabdabrahman. Buhler ([ 1886] 1964). 4th ed. 70.)." In Understanding Mantras. with previous knowledge of the corr~ct fo?11s o~ w~rds.78 IN THE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS 67. 72. "A Study of the Use ofMagico-Religious Speech in Ancient Indian Medicine. Handbuch der Orientalistik.e. even to the present day. 73. My interpretation of bindu is offered as a possible. From that intuitio~ in which all Being is latent and which. P. who. might best be thought of due to these differ- ences as a fourth level of speech. The Yoga Upani~ads use niida and bindu in various ways." See K.14 states: One. Woodroffe (1963). most subtle level of viik. G~pta ( 1989). Brill) or J. The dramatically increasing power of quieter. yet it admits of variation-i. The formless level. more internal levels of sound. YS 1. The Viikyapadiya (1965). See. See Iyer. p. I. D. 69. giving rise to the third level of tribindu or kiimakalii.32. 25 (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass ). overall scheme I am introducing.e. Even later. is rec- ognized even in Manu Smrti: An offering consisting of muttered prayers is ten times more efficacious than a sacri- fice performed according to the rules (of the Veda).. . due to the repetition of the union (mentioned above) tends to produce its result. For Bartrhari the paiyantz is the highest. Zysk (1989). 21. for example.ntiu Tantrism. a (prayer) which is inaudible (to others) surpasses it a hundred times. Called ekatattviibhyiisa. After having reached the undifferentiated state of the word he comes to the source of all differentiation: Intuition (pratibha). According to the Indian medical science of the time. parir. more powerful levels of the awareness in which they are entertained.. th the tradition correlates levels of OMwith levels of speech and levels of mind/medttauon is supported. G. goes beyond sequence and attams urn on with 1t. 68. showing a not unusual lack of unani~ity on technical terminology between and sometimes within te~ts. "The Paiiaratra Attitude to Mantra" in S. Alper. By acquiring special merit through the use of the correct word. transcending paiyantz. ed. mantras were key components in healing rituals and well known. is bow tbe Tantric elaborations of the doctrine have conceptualized speech. Ayurveda. ~t. Hoens.2 (Leiden: E. Bartrhari philosophy of speech as brahman recognized a method for practically usi ·& I thi ng speech to bring awareness back to its unman11est source. 2. The Laws of Manu.H. He explains the Tantric understanding of The Garland of Letters to mean that bindu is rather the second emanative state of niida. n s process the meditator relies on Grammar (the "door to salvation") for the correct form of speech. reali~es the unity of the real wo'. and the mental (recitation of sacred texts) a thou- sand times. 71. he is united with the great Word and attains freedom from the senses.rd. J. in any case. logical view makes sense in the. SUNY Series in Religious Studies (Albany: State University of New York Press). J. and Grammar relies 00 yogic perception and experience to "purify" speech by reducing it within the mind to its source. Woodroffe' s explication of the mantrasiistra reverses this understanding of bindu as the transition point to para. This. called the supreme (para) and characterized as both formless and immortal. Translation from G.):Studies in Mantra-Siistra. Gouclriaan. In all cases.iiima. S. The Vrttion VP 1. more "rational" medical methods in later times were recommended to be used "mantravat. and T. Gupta. 4 7. p." "like mantras.

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