I.41 क्षीणवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनता समापत्ति:

kṣīṇa-vṛtter abhijātasyeva maṇer grahītṛ-grahaṇa-grāhyeṣu
tat-stha-tad-añjanatā samāpattiḥ

kṣīṇa-vṛtteḥ abhijātasya iva maṇeḥ grahītṛ-grahaṇa-grāhyeṣu
tad-stha-tad-añjanatā samāpattiḥ

“When the disturbances have diminished, the citta becomes like a fine jewel. The perceiver, the perception, and the perceived become as one as the citta  focuses on the object and is saturated by it. This is samāpattiḥ.”

A perfect gem, transparent, flawless, absorbs the color of an object that it is placed on. At the same time, it is inviolable–in the words of Rohit Mehta, “not only uncorrupt but incorruptible.” Mehta calls this gem the intrinsic nature. It is in each of us, and there is a purity to it: “Nothing clings to it, and it clings to nothing.”

In sūtra I.4, Patañjali states that there is a tendency to identify with the patternings of the mind (vṛtti sarupyam itaratra, “otherwise there is identification with the vṛtti”). We are set–set in our ideas, set in our ways. We make choices based on our experiences and these become our survival skills, our coping mechanisms. They get us through.  They also limit us. They are what Rohit Mehta calls the acquired nature.

The ongoing practice of nirodha interrupts what has been our default way of being. It resets us. We come to value and rely on direct perception. We come to identify with seeing itself, with the liveliness of what is happening now.

To be willing to let go of strategies we have depended on, to trust in the freshness, the revelation of the new day, is to be vulnerable. To open ourselves to see as another sees, feel what another feels, to allow ourselves to be saturated by today’s experience, is to be pure–it is to be the gemstone.

Samāpatti is the term Patañjali here uses for the state of absorption, saturation, full perception. It comes from sam, “all,” + ā, an intensifier, + pat*, “to fall,” and thus has a sense of “falling all together.” It is the liberation of the powers of the citta, a freeing of our true selves.

*Pat is also the root of Patañjali, “he who falls into the palm of the hands.”

—–

“The fusion of the jewel with the colour of the surface on which it rests is not a characterless condition. In fact, such a jewel has a great integrity of character. What after all is character? Is it something put together in the process of time? Is it the product of one’s acquired nature? Is it something cultivated? That which is put together in time can also become disintegrated in time. And so that which exists on the whims of time is no character at all. Character is that which shines in a condition of complete vulnerability. That which is afraid of being vulnerable lacks character altogether. It is the acquired nature which seeks to remain invulnerable. It is the intrinsic nature which prefers to remain completely vulnerable, for it has nothing to protect due to the fact that it has no accumulations or accretions. The mind that is free from all accumulations is indeed a transparent mind.” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, The Art of Integration, p. 7

Samāpatti is not an altered state but rather a clearer, more accurate view of experience. It means ‘when everything falls together’ and is a completely natural way of being that arises sooner or later from the process of settling (nirodha).” – Chip Hartranft, The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali, commentary on I.41

Questions:
•Has yoga helped you identify old habits of your mind? Has it helped you become a better observer?
•What change has yoga practice brought on a body level? Emotional? Mental?
• Does yoga practice support you in becoming more present in the relationships in your life?
•In what way—in your experience—might a willingness to be vulnerable bring you to a clearer perspective?

kṣina-

verbal adjective (past passive participle) in compound

diminished (from kṣi, “to destroy)

vṛtteḥ

feminine noun, 6th case singular; here, second part of adjectival compound modifying citta (which is understood)

patterning of the mind, disturbance (from vṛt, “to abide, to move, to turn, to condition”)

abhijātasya

adjective, masculine, 6th case

beautiful, fine (from abhi-, “greatly,” + jan, “to be born”

iva

preposition, indeclinable

like

maṇeḥ

masculine noun, 6th case singular

jewel

grahītṛ-

masculine noun in compound

perceiver (from grah, “to grasp”); the suffix tṛ denotes agent, as in draṣṭṛ, “the seer”

grahaṇa-

neuter noun in compound

perception (from grah, “to grasp”); the suffix ana denotes an abstract noun, as in āsana, “sitting”

grāhyeṣu

neuter noun, 7th case plural

object of perception (from grah, “to grasp”)

tad-

pronoun in compound

that

stha-

participle in compound

staying (from stha, “to stand)

tad-

pronoun in compound

that

añjanatā

feminine noun, 1st case singular

saturation (from añj, “to anoint”

samāpattiḥ

feminine noun, 1st case singular

coming together, assuming an original form (from sam, “all,” + ā, an intensifier, + pat, “to fall”)

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