I.25 तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञत्वबीजम

tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajñatva-bījam

“There [in īśvara] is the incomparable seed of all knowledge.”

This description of īśvara begins with an adverb of place: tatra, “there.” It suggests for the practitioner that there is a possibility of being “in” īśvara, of dwelling there.

“In īśvara,” the sūtra says, is the seed of all knowledge, a quality of all-knowingness, a wisdom that is not limited by time or circumstance, nor by the perspective of an individual citta. It is incomparable to any knowledge that we have, yet we have a relationship to this ultimate knowing. The seed of whatever light we have, whatever inspiration guides us, springs from this place.


“Try to think of a second; you will have, with the same act of perception, to think of time which is unlimited. So with knowledge. Knowledge is only a germ in man; but you will have to think of infinite knowledge around it. So the very constitution of our minds shows us that there is unlimited knowledge, and the yogis say that that unlimited knowledge belongs to God.” –Swami Vivekananda, Raja-Yoga, commentary on I.25

“For the believer, God is omniscient. Nonbelievers might be inclined to see this as absolute knowledge, a wisdom that transcends human beings, but toward which we strive. This comes close to the famous maxim, attributed to Socrates: “Know thyself and thou shalt know the universe.” –Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga, commentary on I.25

“In the Bhagavad Gītā, Śri Krishna describes himself as the eternal seed of all beings. Here Patañjali says that īśvara or the Ultimate Being is the seed of omniscience. The seed contains all manifestation, and so the Supreme Being is the container of all that is to be manifested. Described as the very seed of omniscience, He is the container of all that was, is and will be. ” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, p. 46

bījam mām sarvabhūtānām
the seed, I, of all beings
viddhi pārtha sanātanam
know, Arjuna, [I am] ancient
buddhir buddhimatām asmi
the intelligence of the intelligent I am
tejas tejasvinām aham
the light of light I am
Bhagavad Gītā, VII.10

• What perspective does an idea of complete knowledge give you on your own knowledge?
• Is “I don’t know” easy or difficult for you to say? Do you admit when you are wrong?
• How do you react to uncertainty?
• Does believing that  wisdom exists in everyone change how you perceive yourself and others? (Credit to Bernard Bouanchaud for this question.) How does it affect your relationship with others?






neuter adjective, 1st case sing.

unsurpassed, unrivaled, matchless (nir-, “outside of,” + ati-, “beyond, + śī, “to lie, rest”)


neuter noun in compound

omniscience (sarva, “all,”+ jña, “to know,” + -tva, suffix that makes an adjective an abstract noun)


neuter noun, 1st case sing.


2 thoughts on “I.25 तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञत्वबीजम

  1. my own knowledge: instinct or intellectual? – both sort of minimal
    always admit i’m wrong – tho w/wonde
    firm knowledge: nothing is certain
    relationships: with respect and then… surprise disappointment

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