1.45 Deepening levels of subtlety reveal the undifferentiated substratum of existence.
This sutra offers a glimpse of the continuous process of yogic purification, a shedding of attachments to layers of existence from the most apparent to the subtlest until all that remains is pure awareness. In the previous four verses you see this process. It starts from clarifying your mind and heart. Then you focus on one meditation object from its form, name and meaning to its subtle essence. As sutra 1.17 indicated, eventually this process leads you to connect with greater clarity with the subtler aspects of your own being. You start by feeling sensations, then you notice your thoughts and emotions until you feel the common ground were your sensations, thoughts, emotions and experiences are taking place, your own sense of being. You feel your own aliveness directly, and without any distractions. Even deeper than your own sense of being is the foundation of life, prakrti. Prakrti is the matrix of nature. Without beginning or end, prakrti is the primordial and undifferentiated essence of everything that exists. Prakrti is the pure potential from which nature manifests in continuous and endless transformation. In sutra 1.19, the prakrtilayas were mentioned as those beings who identify with the subtlest aspect of nature, remaining merged in nature (prakrti). This is a subtler level of existence than being embodied, yet it is not the complete liberation that results from freeing oneself even from the attachment to nature.
One way to probe the meaning of this sutra is to be curious about the subtlest aspect of your own experiences. Remember that you are gradually leaving behind the processes of conceptualization. What happens when you try this? Another option is to use the “I Am Here Now” mantra. Start chanting aloud, gradually making the sound into a very soft whisper. Then, chant silently while still moving your mouth almost imperceptibly. Keep repeating the mantra silently. Then release the word “here” so that you chant “I am now.” Continue and let go of the word “now.” And after a while let go of the word “I.” Stay chanting “am” in the softest silent manner possible. What happens when you try this?
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 some of the words coming together:
1.45 sūkṣmaviṣayatvamcāliṇga paryavasānam
सूक्ष्मविषयत्वम्चालिण्ग पर्यवसानम् ॥४५॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually: