I.47 निर्विचारवैशारद्येऽध्यात्मप्रसाद:

nirvicāra-vaiśāradye ‘dhyātma-prasādaḥ
nirvicāra-vaiśāradye adhyātma-prasādaḥ

“In the proficiency of nirvicāra, there is a ripening toward the calmness and kindness of the inner self.”

Patañjali has described the process of moving from the gross to the subtle and from savitarka/savicāra (with reason/with intuitive thinking) to nirvitarka/nirvicāra (beyond thinking) as a process of letting go of associations and preconceptions, an emptying of sense of self (I.42-43). The state of nirvicāra, he says here, brings an ableness, a proficiency, and a clarity to citta. It brings vaiśāradya. Derived from the Sanskrit word for autumn (śarad), vaiśāradya alludes to the attainments that come with time, with ripening: skill, wisdom. It has generally been translated as “clarity” in the yoga context. Autumn skies are clear, yes, and the fruits of autumn come after the dormancy of winter, the workings of spring and summer.  Citta is part of nature, and this sūtra suggests that citta–our consciousness, mind, perceptions–has it seasons.

I am reminded of the sacred Shiva mantra, a prayer for freedom from the fear of death, which uses an image of a cucumber on the vine. Free me from the bonds of death, the mantra says, as the ripened cucumber falls away from the vine. The stem, when the cucumber is ripe, withers. One does not need to cut it. The cucumber comes away as if on its own.

Om tryambakaṃ yajāmahe
The three-eyed one we worship,
sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
the one who is fragrant, and who sustains all living beings.
urvārukamiva bandhanān
Like the cucumber from its bonds,
mṛtyormukṣīya mā’mṛtāt
may I be freed from death and may I not be separated from the nectar of life.

Patañjali states in this sūtra that–with the ripening of nirvicāra–the calmness, kindness, goodness (prasād) of the inner self (adhyātma, could also be translated as greater self) begins to be realized. The word prasād links this sūtra back to I.33, maitrī-karuṇā-muditopekṣāṇāṁ sukha-duḥkha-punyāpunya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaś citta-prasādanam.

Friendliness, compassion joy, and presence, are indeed the qualities of adhyātma, the divine that is within us. The calmed citta is, perhaps, like the weaned child of Psalm 131:

I have calmed and quieted my soul,
 like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.  
–Psalm 131.2

There is a readiness that is necessary to weaning. The child who has been well-nurtured–the child that has been cared for–is the child that is calm and quiet, full, satisfied.

This path of yoga requires kindness and self-acceptance; the readiness to be present in love towards others begins within.

—–

“At the peak of the ultra-reflexive identification with a subtle object, consciousness reaches its greatest lucidity. This state is compared by Patañjali with the extraordinary brightness of the autumnal sky of northern India. It is statements and metaphors like this which  clearly discredit those biased critics of Yoga who refuse to see in samādhi anything else but a condition of reduced awareness or even total unconsciousness. Samādhi means a state of supra-wakefulness.” –Georg Feuerstein, The Yoga-Sāutra of Patañjali, commentary on I.47

“One cannot go to Truth. Truth comes to man, but only when the consciousness is rendered completely empty, where not even a seed of thought remains. It is only when there is existence without identity that spiritual illumination comes. An illumined person is a nameless being.”
–Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, commentary on I.47

Questions:
• How does shifting your attention from the gross to the subtle affect your sense of self? What is it to be a “nameless being”?
• Do you practice with a sense of self-acceptance? Are you satisfied with the fruits of this season? With the abilities of your body and your mind as they are now?
• How do you react to difficulty and limitation? Are you harsh otowards yourself?
• How has yoga affected your self-care? Do you deliberately take time to nurture yourself, to bring friendliness, joy, compassion, and presence to your day?

nirvicāra-

adjective in compound

beyond intuition (from nir-, “without,” + vi-,  “distinct,” + car, “to move”)

vaiśāradye

neuter noun, 7th case singular, “in”

experience, skill, lucidity (from vi + śarad, “autumn”;
adhyātma-

masculine noun in compound

higher self (from adhi + ātman)

prasādaḥ

masculine noun, 1st case singular

calmness, kindness, clarity (from pra, “to, before” + sad, “to sit”)

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