Patanjali Yoga Sutra — तस्य हेतुरविद्या ॥2.24॥

Spiritual ignorance (ādhyātmika ajñāna) is the root cause for the misconstrued identification of Puruṣa with prakṛti.

Normally we get confused with religiousness and spirituality. If you say ‘God is for my life, it is religiousness; if you say ‘my life is for God’, it is spirituality. If this clear difference is not understood, it is spiritual ignorance. Read carefully following synopsis of messages once again:

  1. Puruṣa forms the highest aspect of Paramātma whereas; prakṛti is the projection of a lower aspect of Paramātma. (Gītā 7.5).

b. Prakṛti exists only to serve the Puruṣa in His quest for realization (Yoga sūtra 2.21).

  1. For a realized sādhaka, prakṛti Māya no longer exists. Prakṛti Māya no longer binds him to the mundane life of desires and gratification (Yoga sūtra 2.22).
  2. Puruṣa unites with Prakṛti so that Puruṣa is able to unravel and realize His true nature (Yoga sūtra 2.23).
  3. ādhyātmika ajñāna is the root cause for wrong identification of Puruṣa with prakṛti (Yoga sūtra 2.24).

When ajñāna dominates, Puruṣa gets lost in the pleasures offered by Prakṛti Māya and He identifies Himself with prakṛti and its pleasures offered, thus spiritual sādhana comes to a grinding halt (Story of Mahendra forgetting his true nature when he was caught in the life of a pig). This misconstrued identification is ignorance or spiritual bankruptcy.

Such ignorance is sternly criticized by Bhagavān:

चिन्तामपरिमेयां च प्रलयान्तामुपाश्रिताः।

कामोपभोगपरमा एतावदिति निश्चिताः॥गीता १६.११॥

cintāmaparimeyāṃ ca pralayāntāmupāśritāḥ|

kāmopabhogaparamā etāvaditi niścitāḥGītā 16.11

Being slaves to innumerable worries, considering sexual pleasure as the premier purpose of life, they (men with āsurīsampat / cārvākas) conclude that life is nothing more than this (because of their spiritual bankruptcy).

Bhagavān Ramaṇa Maharṣi, one of the greatest yogis, had a strange way of teaching his disciples, that is, through ‘mouna’ — silence. He would hardly speak — once in a way — a few words only. But even those few words were so powerful and enigmatic that the disciples had to contemplate (manana) on those words for days together to fully comprehend.

Once a man came to Ramaṇa Maharṣi and shared all the difficulties he was facing in his life. Maharṣi did not utter even a single word and kept divine silence. Unable to get the solution to the problems, the man came the next day also and shared his difficulties. But the Maharṣi maintained the same silence. This happened for four days. On the fifth day, Maharṣi said a few words that contained the highest philosophy. Suddenly one of the disciples of Maharṣi stood up and said, ‘Maharṣi, he has come to you for some kind of solution for his problems. You are giving him the highest philosophy. In what way that helps him? Why don’t you give him some solution?’ Maharṣi did not answer but kept silent.

Next day, Maharṣi addressed his disciples and the man who had come with his problems:

Maharṣi: ‘A beggar was sleeping on a footpath, along with his co-beggars. That night he saw a dream as if he was the king of that country. He was enjoying his dream with full drive. Suddenly a thief snatched his crown and started running out. The beggar started yelling, ‘thief, thief, catch him. He is running away with my crown!’ Other beggars sleeping with him were disturbed and woke up. They assembled around the dreaming beggar. They understood that he was dreaming. At that point in time, what they should do? Should they chase the dream thief who had snatched the crown or should they awaken the beggar who was dreaming?’

Disciples: Yes, we would wake up the dreaming beggar.

Maharṣi: That is what I did. When that man approached me for a solution to his problems, my intention was to wake him up. Hence, I gave him a philosophical answer so that he would wake up from his dream. Without waking up, there cannot be any solution at all.

Life is:
Liberation from
Ignorance
Finding
Enlightenment

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