Sutra 3.26: pravrittyah aloka nyasat suksma vyavahita viprakrista jnanam
By correctly directing and focusing the light of perception in which the senses and their objects (the whole of nature) function, knowledge can be gained of the subtle, the hidden, and even the remote objects or phenomena. Translation by Swami Venkatesananda
Our world, our universe, is made up of many things. Some of them we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and some of them we can’t. Some of them we can remember, some of them are less present. Some are part of our immediate space and some are far away. We can be certain of so little, except that we aren’t and may never know all of our universe.
The scientific method helps humanity to inquire and investigate without needing to pretend or assume knowledge. The process of using observation, hypotheses, experimentation, and theories to offer more or less reasonably verified explanation of phenomena gives us a means by which to resist the hubris of defining our knowledge of the world through only our beliefs and personal experiences.
Yoga, and in particular samyama (referred to here in sutra 3.26 as “focusing the light of perception”), is a way for each of us to become experientially aware of (i.e., not cognitively aware of) the same scope of phenomena. We absolutely need science to know the universe, but we don’t necessarily need to science to experience the universe.
One avenue of exploration –be it science or personal experience– may spark a desire to translate your discoveries into a universal language (maybe the language of math or yoga or?). Or it may leave you simply at peace with the universe and your place in it. And then again, there’s no reason it can’t do both.
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts. Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.