4.5 One singular awareness underlies all the many experiences in their wide variety.
When interpreting the previous aphorism as the capacity to generate a variety of body-minds, this sutra is thought to be a clarification of the fact that the yogi directs all the individual body-minds they’ve created. If the previous sutras are understood as dealing with the capacity to regulate the sense of self (asmita), this sutra can be thought of as confirmation that there is an underlying sense of self beneath all the individual experiences, regardless of how different they may be. As you observe yourself during your day, you’ll probably notice that you adjust the way you interact with the world according to the context that you are in. If you are at a library and are talking to a friend, the tone of voice you use might be different from your tone of voice when meeting that same friend at a busy restaurant. Similarly, what you talk about and the level of emotion you display may be different at different times and with different people. Is there a singular awareness underlying all the varied experiences you have? What is at the core of every one of your experiences? This inquiry can be extended to consider that the sense of being is common to all humans and, quite likely, to all beings.
Could this be one way to facilitate developing a sense of compassion and interconnectedness?
Could this be put into practice in the common greeting at the beginning and/or end of many yoga asana group sessions when everybody says namaste?
What is at the core of your being?
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:
4.5 pravṛttibhede prayojakaṃ cittamekamanekeṣām
प्रवृत्तिभेदे प्रयोजकं चित्तमेकमनेकेषाम् ॥५॥
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