3.52 Self-importance and pride from contact with others, even with celestial beings, can result in undesirable consequences re-emerging.
Today the cult to personality is so widespread that it makes it easy to understand how being approached by the powerful and the famous may be a source of pride and self-importance. Moreover, it may also explain how pride and self-importance contribute to the undoing of some of those people who have reached positions of prominence. In this sutra, Patañjali states that even after the long process of releasing your identity, your exalted state may attract invitations from celestial beings that result in re-igniting the seeds of your ways of being in the form of self-importance and pride. There are countless examples of stories about temptation in all the wisdom traditions around the world. Temptation exposes lack of commitment to the path to freedom. As you may recall, one of the obstacles listed in sutra 1.30 was anavasthitatvani, instability or inability to maintain the level of progress reached. Remember also that at the beginning of Chapter Two of the Yoga Sutra, it says that not knowing your fundamental nature (avidya) becomes the field where other afflictions sprout, including misidentification with the sense of “I” (asmita), likes (raga), dislikes (dvesha), and a sense of self-importance (abhinivesha) (2.3-2.9). This almost seems like an invitation to be very well established in the practice of humility (ishvara pranidhana).
What are you tempted by?
When temptation emerges, what kind of imbalance does it reveal in you? How can you address that imbalance?
Are you following the teachings intelligently or are you following a charismatic teacher?
Are there traces of self-importance in you?
What are the triggers that activate your self-importance?
Do your thoughts, intentions and actions reveal pride?
How is your life purpose orienting you towards liberation?
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:
3.52 sthānyupanimantraṇe saṅgasmayākaraṇaṃ punaraniṣṭaprasaṅgāt
स्थान्युपनिमन्त्रणे सङ्गस्मयाकरणं पुनरनिष्टप्रसङ्गात् ॥५२॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast:
This is an excerpt from the book Unravel the thread: Applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to live a happy life