Two Ashtangis talk about the real and the unreal

Ready for a wild ride down the rabbit hole?

If not, you might want to get off now. You’ve been warned…

Here’s Guy Donahaye’s latest, and he takes off from a Richard Freeman statement:

I was recently reading some articles on Richard Freeman’s website when I came across this statement:

“As it appears normally, consciousness is always conscious of something. Consciousness then appears as the thing of which it is conscious. What is unconscious then appears as conscious.”

I had to stop at the second sentence repeatedly. First of all, because I did not understand the jump he was making between the two sentences, but then, once I understood what he was trying to say, my mind still refused to read further…

These two sentences represent the crux of the yogic view of a-vidya and maya.

It only gets wilder from there. Here’s just a taste:

But this content, this “something” of which we are aware, is not within Purusa, it does not change Purusa, Purusa does not take its form.  This content is in the mind. It is the mind which mutates with changing content. According to yoga, Purusa is just looking at the mind and it’s contents like a witness.

The stream of vrittis is illuminated on the screen of the mind before the inner eye just like a movie. Just as when we watch a movie we forget ourselves and become identified with the plot and the characters, in the same way we identify with the projections on the internal screen of the mind.

Patanjali describes the experience of samadhi as one in which the Purusa is “established in its true form” and otherwise (our normal experience), as Purusa “appearing to take the form of our experiences”.

One to chew on for some time. But who exactly is doing the chewing?

Posted by Steve

Published by


Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Two Ashtangis talk about the real and the unreal”

  1. “Q: What is the difference between and yoga and enquiry?
    A: Yoga enjoins chitta-vritti-nirodha (repression of thoughts) whereas I prescribe atmanveshana (quest of oneself). This latter method is more practicable. The mind is repressed in swoon, or as the effect of fasting. But as soon as the cause is withdrawn the mind revives, that is, the thoughts begin to flow as before. There are just two ways of controlling the mind. Either seek its source, or surrender it to be struck down by the supreme power. Surrender is the recognition of the existence of a higher overruling power. If the mind refuses to help in seeking the source, let it go and wait for its return; then turn inwards. No one succeeds without patient perseverance. “~ Ramana Maharshi on Yoga

  2. This idea is rooted in sankya philosophy. A more poetic version is:

    “Two birds that are ever associated and have similar names, cling to the same tree. Of these two, one eats the fruit of divergent tastes, and the other looks on without eating.”

    -svetasvatara upanisad, 4.6

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s