It has been almost a year since I posted to this blog, but I’m back and will pick up with the Sutras where I left off. I’ve actually been doing a lot of Sutra study and Sanskrit study. I’ve also added another commentary to my studies: The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali by Edwin Bryant. Edwin does workshops and the Sutras and the Gita (see http://www.edwinbryant.org/ for more details) and I highly recommend studying with him if you get the chance.
Iyengar: The gunas generate their characteristic divisions and energies in the seer. Their stages are distinguishable and non-distinguishable, differentiable and non-differentiable.
Iyengar discusses prakrti (or nature) so that we can release ourselves from it. Prakrti consists of cosmic intelligence which is made up of the three gunas: sattva – luminosity, rajas – action, and tamas – inertia. Prakrti also manifests itself in the five elements –earth, water, fire, air, and ether and in smel, taste, shape, touch, and sound. The counterpart to the universal intelligence is citta or consciousness, which consists of the mind (processes sensory input), intelligence (discrimination), and the ego (the individual “I”). The concrete form of prakrti also consists of the senses of perception (ears tongue eyes nose skin) and the organs of action (legs arms speech organs).
These are the distinguishable elements. Unspecified principles are “unevolved matter”. Iyengar says that the merging specified into the unspecified is the “merging of nature into spirit” and is a “divine marriage, which becomes possible through the work of yoga.”
Bryant: The different stages of the guna qualities consist of the particularized, the unparticularized, the distinctive, and the indistinctive.
Bryant adds to the understanding from Iyengar’s commentary by stating “ gunas may appear to have the nature of birth and death, but all that is really occurring is that the volutes of the gunas are manifesting and unmanifesting the various bodies and things of thins world due to the constant flux of the gunas themselves”. When I think about my own make it, I appear to be in various combinations of the three gunas at all times.
Taimni: The stages of the gunas are the particular, the universal, the differentiated and the undifferentiated.
Taimni goes into a deep analysis of the gunas, but says at the end “Since the Gunas lie at the very basis of the manifested Universe and their roots are embedded in the deepest layers of consciousness their subtle nature can be realized only in Samadhi. Their intellect can, at best, enable us to gain only a general idea with regard to their nature and their gross expressions on the lowest plane.”
Carrera: The stages of the gunas are specific, nonspecific, defined, and undifferentiated.
Carrera’s translation comes through so I can understand this Sutra better. In Sutra 2.17 we sometimes confuse the Seer with the Seen (Prakrti). This sutra helps us understand Parkrti’s evolution so we can “trace back our everyday experience of the solid three dimensional world we live in to the very doorstep of the seer”.
Undifferentiated: Universal Prakrti / matter
Defined: Cosmic Intelligence; the gunas qualities begin here.
Nonspecific: Evolution of the senses…matter becomes manifesting as…
Specific: gross objects – the things we feel and touch.