2.24 Identifying with experiences is confusion (avidya).
In the previous sutras Patañjali explained that future suffering can be avoided (2.16) and that suffering results from conflating experiences with awareness (2.17). Then Patañjali contrasted the essence of experiences with the essence of awareness. Sutra 2.23, reiterating the message from sutra 2.18, says that experiences and awareness come together to give us the opportunity to distinguish experiences from awareness. The meaning of this sutra is a reminder of the message presented in verses 2.4 and 2.5: avidya is forgetting your true nature. Remember how at the beginning of the thread of the Yoga Sutra, in sutras 1.3 and 1.4, misidentification is contrasted with being in your natural state, a state of abiding in inner stillness and inner silence. The importance of this idea is highlighted in this sutra once again. When you believe that you are your experiences, your stories and your body you live in confusing leading you to a never-ending cycle of suffering and afflictions. Ponder the following questions to bring this verse into your daily life. As you live your life, how do you clarify the difference between your experiences and your awareness? Pay attention every time that you use the pronouns “I,” “me,” “mine,” “we,” “us,” and “ours”. What do you notice? What aspect of you does the pronoun refer to? Do you use these words to underscore an aspect of your identity, or do you use them with a sense of detachment? Does your use of these pronouns relate to the five categories of ways of being in sutra 1.5? Are you using those pronouns because of one of the five afflictions listed in sutra 2.3?
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:
2.24 tasya heturavidyā
तस्य हेतुरविद्या ॥२४॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast:
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