Day 42 of #yogasutrachallenge: YS 1.42 Tatra s’abdartha-jnana-vikalpaih sankirna savitarka-samapattih: Mental absorption at the first stage (savitakra), is a mix of notions based on words and meanings
Day 42 of #yogasutrachallenge: YS 1.42 Tatra s’abdartha-jnana-vikalpaih sankirna savitarka-samapattih: Mental absorption at the first stage (savitakra), is a mix of notions based on words, meanings and ideas Having talked about the kinds of things we could meditate on and how that would affect the mind, Patanjali starts going into more detail on the 7 stages of mental absorption which will lead to enlightenment. Think of any object. A chair. A candlestick. A musical instrument. Can you say you have a clear idea in your mind? Probably not. Even something as simple as a chair could have many different forms, and our mental image of a chair will probably be a little unsettled – drifting from one of the many chairs we’ve seen to the next, triggering thoughts of interior design, or art, or travel, or the office, or any other connotations. Imprints that word and our experiences have made on the mind. If we had used a word with the same meaning e.g. “chaise” we might think of something different again. And even when we decide on “the chair” we want to think about, the details are hazy. This is mostly how we see the world. Words, meanings and ideas blend into one another. The cubists understood this, as have many contemporary artists inspired by that style. This lack of a ‘definitive’ representation of anything is also a big influence on my work as an artist – there’s so much beauty in the compositions and layers of things we create in the mind. So much fragile humanity to it. But I guess perhaps I’m longing to find something truer beyond that. Plato’s Theory of Forms occurred throughout his text, most notably The Republic, and asserts that abstract forms, not the material world we perceive, are the most fundamental kind of reality. That somewhere in the ether, there is the fundamental essence of a chair, or a violin, which is the most “real” version of that thing. It’s also a beautiful concept: what is a thing in its purest form? How can we conceive of that? This is what Patanjali is encouraging us to think about to move beyond our muddled, fragmented view of reality.