I.49 श्रुतानुमानप्रज्ञाभ्यामन्यविषया विशेषार्थत्वात्


śrutānumāna-prajñābhyām anyaviṣayā viśeṣārthatvāt
śruta-anumāna-prajñābhyām anya-viṣayā viśeṣa-arthatvāt
“[This prajñā has] another object than [that of] the knowledge from words or inference. It has a distinct aim.”

In sūtra I.7, Patañjali states that right knowledge can come from direct perception, inference or authoritative testimony. Here he describes the primacy of direct perception, and a falling away of dependence on intellectual analysis and the teachings of others.

With this falling away–or perhaps, what allows this falling away, is a shift in focus, a change of frame, to “another object” anya-viṣayā. Commentators beginning with Vyāsa have described this otherness to be the particular, the specific nature of an individual object–its uniqueness. Otherness can also be understood to be the seer within, the inner self, the soul–the most subtle of objects, perhaps the object that is even beyond the subtle.

This “other” object–what Rohit Mehta describes as the “essential quality of things”–is past the realm of words, ideas, calculations, conclusions. One might almost describe it as another place, as in this poem by Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
— Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Viśeṣa means distinction, singularity; and arthatvāt (from artha, “purpose, aim,” + tva, a suffix that makes an abstract noun) is purposiveness, sense of purpose. Patañjali suggests that, with the maturation of one’s insight (see I.47), the nature of one’s purpose also changes. In that place that Rumi describes–“out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing”–we experience fullness, completeness. We know we are enough. We accept others as they are. We lie down in the grass. We rest.

I’ll meet you there.


Samādhi surpasses the ability of scripture and inference in their ability to fully experience an object at its subtlest level rather than understanding it in an indirect, generic, and mediated sort of way. And, ultimately, says Vyāsa, it is only through samādhi that one can grasp the distinct particularity of the soul itself.” –Edwin Bryant

“All generalized knowledge is relative, governed by laws of probability. Such laws are the laws pertaining to the averages. They are principles based on statistical calculations. All scientific laws are of this nature, arrived at by quantitative measurements. But Wisdom is not a quantitative understanding of things. It is concerned with the essential quality of things. Its approach is qualitative.”  –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, p. 98

“Hundreds of people might sit in front of someone and he might talk for hours and hours about God. They might sit and listen for hours and hours, but it’s all nonsense. Yes. He has said nothing about God, and they have heard nothing about God. He has only said something about the God that he could fit into his own mind, and they have only understood the God that they could grasp with their own minds. That’s all. Nobody has said anything about the real God. It’s unexplainable. So, in that ṛtambharā prajña you transcend the mind and gain a knowledge that is realization.”
– Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, commentary on I.49

• Have you felt any shift over time toward a perception that is not quantitative but qualitative? How is that expressed in your practice?
• What does direct perception look like, what does it feel like? That is, what are the conditions in your body and mind when you are perceiving more directly?
• How has a reliance on reasoning and analysis, on the teachings of others helped you develop your practice? Have you experienced letting go of that reliance?
• Has yoga practice brought you more acceptance of others? Yourself?
•Has your sense of purpose changed?



word, teaching (from śru, “to hear”; what is heard)



inference (from anu, “after,” +, “to measure”)


feminine noun, 5th case dual, “from”

knowledge (from pra- , “forth,” + jñā, “to know”)


 in compound



masculine noun, 1st case singular

object (from viṣ, “to act”)


masculine noun in compound

difference, individuality (from vi-, “separate,” + śiṣ, “to remain”)


neuter noun, 5th case singular, “due to”

purpose-ness, nature of purpose (artha + tva, which makes an abstract noun)

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