2.55 Then, the senses are mastered and at the service of the highest goal.
The objective of pratyahara is to expand your repertoire of options for your senses, so that you can feel both what is outside of you and what is inside. In other words, you develop a mastery over your senses so that they are at the service of your awareness. As a result, you can direct your senses to serve the most important objective: to be with what is without distractions. All the yoga practices so far provide ways to optimize the flow of vital energy and to direct it with single pointed focus. As you turn your senses inward, you set the conditions to gain true knowledge of yourself through your direct experience (pratyaksha 1.7). Without commentary, what is the direct experience of being you? Notice that it is not a fixed or static experience. It is a constant flow of multiple streams of sensory information. This is an experience like no other. It cannot be captured, recorded, or expressed accurately in its entirety in any medium. Moreover, nobody else can experience what it feels to be you. One clarification is necessary at this point. The whole project of yoga is not about isolating ourselves from other human beings. The goal is not to escape from your life. On the contrary, all yoga practices offer you opportunities to see how your beliefs and inaccurate sense of who you are may be limiting your wholehearted participation in the eternal dance between life and consciousness. The more you experience yourself clearly, the more you notice that you were never separate. You directly experience that in every single moment you are deeply embedded in the all-encompassing interconnectedness of the matrix of life. As you experience yourself as whole and complete, it becomes more evident and eventually undeniable that the differences between you and other beings are rather superficial. Mastering your senses and regulating your ways of being foster your open hearted and open-minded participation in life with kindness, compassion, and joy. In fact, yoga helps you become a life-affirming presence in the world. Can you articulate your senses to support your single pointed focus? Can you merge your sensations and thoughts into the direct experience of your vital energy? What is important enough to you to deserve your wholehearted engagement?
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:
2.55 tataḥ paramāvaśyatā indriyāṇām
ततः परमावश्यता इन्द्रियाणाम् ॥५५॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast:
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