1.26 Not conditioned by time, Supreme Being is the unequaled teacher of all times.
This sutra continues clarifying the nature of Supreme Being. So far, we know that Supreme Being is truly impartial as it is not affected by afflictions, actions, reactions or impressions (1.24). We also know that Supreme Being is infinitely aware and all knowing (1.25). This sutra adds that Supreme Being is timeless and that it is the unsurpassed teacher of all time. At any moment, when you are fully present, especially when you are completely absorbed in something that captures your undivided attention, it seems that time stops. For instance, when you are engaged in a conversation on a topic that you are truly curious about, you remain focused without distractions. As the conversation ends it is often difficult to say how much time elapsed. It is as if your awareness enables you to step out of the constraints of time. This is often described as entering the timeless present moment. At that moment, are your afflictions, actions, responses and impressions automatically on hold? Does this relate to what sutra 1.3 talks about, that when you quiet down your ways of being you embody your true nature? Does your yoga practice transport you into the eternal present moment? Have you found ways to enter the timelessness dimension of life? From a different angle, what makes you feel bound by time? If you feel that you do not have time to do all that you need and want to do, it will be helpful to examine your priorities to notice what you are making important enough to deserve your time and attention. As you reflect on your own relationship to time, consider if there may be anything that can be free of the conditioning of time.
The second section of this sutra states that Supreme Being is the unsurpassed teacher of all times. Great teachers inspire you to explore the boundaries of your current understanding. As you reach the zone of bearable discomfort indicating that your current ideas are no longer satisfactory, the teacher offers helpful guidance and support. A great teacher does not get caught in his or her own personal drama because that prevents her from guiding the student impartially and with caring awareness. In the process of growing as a human being each person will find obstacles and challenges. These challenges are feedback suggesting alternative options to move beyond where you currently are. As you engage in the deep self-inquiry that yoga is, it is instrumental to understand your own learning process. Because a teacher can create the situation that facilitates your growth, but it is completely up to you to go through the process of expanding the current boundaries of your understanding. Even if your teacher is outstanding, it is still you who does the learning. If you refuse to learn, nobody can make you. Notice how the obstacles you face are the perfect result of what has happened before. These obstacles are lessons elegantly calibrated to where you are, what you need and what you can handle. Since life continually adjusts the feedback to be most appropriate for you, is it possible that life is indeed the greatest teacher? Most often your likes and dislikes become an obstacle to differentiating between what you want/like and what you need. This is the cause for a lot of drama and resistance. Are you tuned into your own learning process? Do you know how you learn best? If you keep running against the same obstacles again and again, are you making conscious choices or are your likes and dislikes choosing for you? Are you making yourself available to life by accepting the lessons that it offers you?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with all the words coming together:
1.26 sa pūrveṣāmapiguruḥ kālenānavacchedāt
स पूर्वेषामपिगुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात् ॥२६॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually: