ii.17-24 Identification with Phenomena is the Cause of Pain
2.17 When The Self Yokes with Everything It is Not.
When the Self so totally over-identifies and yokes with everything in the phenomenal world It is Not, then It becomes It’s own executioner. “I am my thoughts; my body”, “I am my personal problems”, “I am exclusively a product of my genetic make-up, my family, my occupation in life.” There needs to be a substitution with Ensō in the equation: when Mind Recollects Itself with no-thing else in the picture, then the return to Bhutatathata (Absolute Suchness) is assured.
2.18 What is observed are qualities of the gunas: stretching for perfection, excessive mobility, and inertia. This is a marriage between the elements and the sense organs. What is produced are incessant experiences that generally lead to excessive sensuality, but if properly transcended can also lead to spiritual liberation.
Experiencing too much sensual-bombardment can be a blessing in disguise: “When will it all end?” “Enough already!!!” This initiates the spiritual-quest for transcending the temporal order. Yet acceptance for the limitations experienced within the temporal-order needs to occur first, this is in order for the Self to Recollect that all this is just passing fancy until the day of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi—undivided Supreme Enlightenment—is Self-Realized. This is not something like waiting for a Christmas present, that is presently in storage, to arrive—but rather a Spontaneous Self-Recognition that hereafter keeps all the phenomenal stuff at bay.
2.19 The gunas are subdivided as follows: undifferentiated, defined, nonspecific and specific.
Undifferentiated: Prime, unadulterated matter—when first breathed forth at the moment of creation
Defined: A slight hint of maturation
Nonspecific: nature getting a first hint of its creative prowess
Specific: gross objective phenomena
Patañjali includes this breakdown of the gunas in order for the yogin/yogini to develop a more subtle-sense of the inner-workings of their arising.
2.20 The Watcher is nothing more than what is constituted from the mechanism of seeing—although appearing pure and undifferentiated is actually a skandhic-mechanism in disguise.
This is a vitally crucial sutra in that many people assume that it is the Mind-in-Itself who watches and judges phenomena. The Mind IS NOT the Watcher. Mind is not some form of Objective or Subjective phenomenal entity that is part of the materialized bundle. The old metaphor that “the Sun is not contained in the mirror” holds true. The mirror can only reflect THAT which—in itself—is untouchable and pure.
2.21 What is observed exists only for the sake of the observer.
Phenomena only exist in so far as it’s perceived by the observer. There is no purpose for its existence. Those who believe exclusively in the “purpose-driven-life” are in for a big surprise at the end of their samsaric journey. In fact, the purpose-driven-life is the fata morgana of the clouded-mind. Do you suppose that Mind “exists” solely to generate and perpetuate more and more phenomena? This is sheer madness. Mind DOES NOT exist in the phenomenal sense. Phenomena are nothing more than a play of the gunas for the benefit of an imaginary observer who does not exist in the absolute sense.
2.22 The phenomenal world will continue to exist for the puthujjana (those who are stupefied as their Buddha-nature remains inactive), but it is completely irrelevant for the Awakened.
Wonderful Realization! Don’t get hung-up on the material-phenomenal world; if you do you’re only showing your ignorance (avidya) and refusal to recognize and recollect your own True Essential Stature in the Unborn. In short, phenomena are NOT for you.
2.23 The nexus between Observer and Phenomena creates a case of mistaken identity.
What the “observing you” perceives is inadequate to your True Identity in the Unborn. You are NOT your imagined life or your imagined future hopes and desires. Remaining bound to such an ignoble dilemma will only create further needless dukkha.
2.24 The former nexus is the root cause of avidya.
When one awakens to the Self-Realization of Noble Wisdom, then all former associations and attachments of the phenomenal realm fall by the wayside. As the Blessed One spoke in the Diamond Sutra:
Someone who tries to discern me in form
Or seek me in sound
Is practicing non-Buddhist methods
And will not discern the Tathāgata
A Buddha is to be seen [known] through Dharmakaya,
And his guidance manifests from Dharmakaya.
Yet the true nature of Dharmakaya cannot be understood,
And it is not capable of being known.