Iyengar: The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation.
Taimni: The cause of that which is to be avoided is the union of the Seer and the Seen.
Carrera: The cause of that avoidable pain is the union of the Seer (Purusha) and the Seen (Prakriti).
I struggle with this sutra and Carrera sums it up why. It is paradoxical that this sutra explains that the union of the Seer and the Seen is the cause of our human suffering. “..Isn’t union –yoga – what we are seeking?”. But Carrera clarifies that union also can mean correlation or connection. And the false connection, he says, of mistaking the mind with the Seer, causes our suffering. If we believe we are only our mind, then “we tend to make choices that serve its whims, fears, and habits”. We look to the outside world for comfort. The root of this behavior is avidya or ignorance.
Iyengar discusses the concept of intelligence, which he says is the “vehicle closest to the soul”. If intelligence is undiscriminating, we suffer, but if it discriminates, it can mingle with seer. Intelligence, he says, oscillates between the head and the heart; this oscillation stops through understanding, which he explains is mediation. The ego dissolves and allows the Self (Purusha) to shine in its own glory.
Taimni adds in his discussion that yoking of the Seer and Seen is a form of bondage and that yoking always causes bondage.
The next two sutras go into the “the Seen” more deeply.