Tag Archives: Gestalt

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.3

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1.3 Then, the seer dwells in his own true splendour

[from BKS Iyengar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali]

Alternative interpretations:

Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self-realization.

Then the perceiver is situated in his own form

This relates closely to 1.2, so that by practising yoga, one can see the true nature of the self. Iyengar says that when the consciousness (or mind) is stilled, it is no longer distorted, and its true nature can be seen. This is very similar to Buddhist philosophy, where the process of meditation (obviously without asana) removes the obstacles from the mind and allows us to see our true nature. These obstacles / afflictions or ‘kleshas‘ in Buddhism include strong emotions (anger, fear, jealousy) which cloud our ability to see the nature of reality.

The difference in language between the yoga sutras and Buddhist philosophy is interesting. The yogic view stresses restraint and regulation of the mind, whereas (to my understanding) the Buddhist view is to simply be aware of the affliction as it arises, and that awareness removes its cloud over our ability to see things as they really are.  There are obvious parallels with psychotherapy here, too. The therapy process, particularly Gestalt therapy and also psychoanalytic therapy, emphasises being aware of how our minds interpret the world around us, which is not necessarily how the world really is.

So to my mind, this sutra is emphasising that this eight-limbed path can lead to clearer thinking and the ability to see things as they are, without being clouded by thought or false interpretation.