The sutras so far have introduced us to a few relatively simple but extremely important concepts of yogic philosophy, but the next one elevates into some slightly advanced concepts.
Before that we need to understand basic 3 Gunas (characteristics) of human nature.
Gunas: These are the three basic forces of nature according to Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. They are tamas (heavy, dark, inert), rajas (active, agitated), and sattva (light, serene).
Purusha: The true Self- which is not defined by a body, physical/emotional/mental state, or even relationship to the outside world. The Purusha is both individual because it exists within each of us and universal because it is the same for all of us.
Every person alive is affected to some degree by the gunas. Most of us are some combination of the three. People who are very tamasic tend to be depressed. People who are very rajasic tend to be anxious. And people who are very sattvic can often seem ungrounded.
One needs find a healthy balance between the three gunas for being able to achieve the higher realms of self-realization.
Sage Patanjali in his next aphorism aptly quotes,
tat param purusha khyateh guna vaitrshnyam
Indifference to the subtlest elements, constituent principles, or qualities themselves (gunas), achieved through a knowledge of the nature of pure consciousness (purusha), is called supreme non-attachment(paravairagya).
He defines Higher dispassion as a total absence of craving for anything material, which comes by discriminating between spirit and material nature.
What Sage Patanjali is trying to propagate here is that, the more we are in touch with our true nature, the less we are affected by the gunas. Thus, we are not pulled in different directions all the time, we become more balanced and stable. This is an important goal of starting yoga- to reach the balance.
Ultimate dispassion is a very freeing concept, because it gives the aspirant ultimate relief from craving itself. The goal of sspiritual life is not reinforcing the human ego but about developing humility. It is best defence a yogi has against the false ego’s influence which is a distraction in his ultimate journey towards self-realization.
In this verse, a very high and rarefied state of consciousness is established which describes a state of being that is even greater than the detachment discussed in the previous verse.
Additionally, this verse hints at a state of being where the individual soul is completely free from matter and material desire’s influence, even though they may still be in a human body.
The practical concepts of Yoga like Asana, Pranayama and Dhyana increase the mental willpower of the aspirant thus making it easy to apply the philosophies of Yogsutras.
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