One must take it like breathing exercises, as a technical matter.
It has nothing to do with religious preaching. All these hatha yoga exercises are means of achieving the state of emptiness.
It is the sinking into what we describe as an unconscious state, but which in the East is described as a higher consciousness. Purusha is a super-consciousness.
This is why it is almost impossible to translate the term “unconscious” into Hindi.
There is a term: bodhi, i.e., enlightenment, a higher or super-consciousness, an extended superhuman consciousness, namely the consciousness of purusha.
Now here in the West we have some medieval parallels with this concept, namely in Meister Eckhart. In his meditation “On the Abandonment of Things” he says:
People say: “O Lord, how much I wish that I stood as well with God, that I had as much devotion and peace in God as others have, I wish
that it were so with me!”
Or, “I should like to be poor,” or else, “Things will never go right for me till I am in this place or that, or till I act one way or another.
I must go and live in a strange land, or in a hermitage, or in a cloister.”
In fact, this is all about yourself, and nothing else at all.
This is just self-will, only you do not know it or it does not seem so to you.
There is never any trouble that starts in you that does not come from your own will, whether people see this or not.
One’s own will, this self-seeking to which Meister Eckhart refers, this is Western language; to be precise, this is the I, certainly not the purusha, but the self-seeking of Western consciousness.
We can think what we like, that a man ought to shun one thing or pursue another-places and people and ways of life and environments
and undertakings-that is not the trouble, such ways of life or such matters are not what impedes you.
It is what you are in these things that causes the trouble, because in them you do not govern yourself as you should.
Therefore, make a start with yourself, and abandon yourself.
These matters are prakriti. The I-consciousness that one should abandon is sattvam.
Truly, if you do not begin by getting away from yourself, and abandon yourself, wherever you run to, you will find obstacles and trouble
wherever it may be.
People who seek peace in external things be it in places or ways of life or people or activities or solitude or poverty or degradation-however great such things may be or whatever it may be, still it is all nothing and gives no peace.
People who seek in that way are doing it all wrong; the further they wander, the less will they find what they are seeking.
They go around like someone who has lost his way; the further he goes, the more lost he is.
Then what ought he to do?
He ought to begin by forsaking himself, because then he has forsaken everything.
This is self-abandonment. If I abandon sattvam I have also abandoned all things with it (prakriti).
If I succeed in differentiating between the egoic consciousness within me, which is naturally always bound to objects, and the objects themselves, then it is possible to reach the purusha.
Truly, if a man renounced a kingdom or the whole world but held on to himself, he would not have renounced anything.
What is more, if a man renounces himself, whatever else he retains, riches or honors or whatever it may be, he has forsaken everything.
About what Saint Peter said: “See, Lord, we have forsaken everything” (Mt. 19:27)-and all that he had forsaken was just a net and
his little boat-there is a saint who says: “If anyone willingly gives up something little, that is not all which he has given up, but he has
forsaken everything which worldly men can gain and what they can even long for; for whoever has renounced his own will and himself
has renounced everything, as truly as if he had possessed it as his own, to dispose of as he would.”
For what you choose not to long for, you have wholly forsaken and renounced for the love of God. 534
One has abandoned it for God’s sake, that is, for the sake of the purusha.
That is why our Lord said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit!” (Mt. 5 :3 ), that is, in the will.
And no one ought to be in doubt about this; if there were a better form of living, our Lord would have said so, as he also said: “Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself” (Mt. 16:24), as a beginning; everything depends on that.
Take a look at yourself, deny yourself. That is the best of all.
You should know that there was never any man in this life who forsook so much that he could not still find more in himself to forsake.
There are few people who see this to be true and stick by it.
This is indeed a fair exchange and an honest deal: By as much as you go out in forsaking all things, by so much, neither less not more, does
God go in, with all that is his, as you entirely forsake everything that is yours. Undertake this, and let it cost you everything you can afford.
There you will find true peace, and nowhere else.
So this contemplation is a direct parallel with this Yoga Sutram.
But it is in a Western sense parallel with our exceptionally egoic consciousness.
The West is combined in a way with the prakriti, which was never the case in the East.
When compared with our consciousness, Eastern consciousness is darker.
We would say that of course. An Eastern man would certainly not say that, for when compared with what he is conscious of, we are in the dark.
Meister Eckhart has another term related to this: the concept of detachment.
This is directly a differentiation between purusha and sattvam.
In a very illuminating sentence, he says in his meditation about detachment:
I have read many writings of heathen philosophers and sages, of the old covenant and of the new, and have sought earnestly and with diligence which is the best and highest virtue whereby a man may knit himself most narrowly to God and wherein he is most like to his exemplar, as he was in God, wherein was no difference between himself and God, ere God created creature.
And having approfounded all these scriptures to the best of my ability, I find it is none other than absolute detachment from all creatures.
As our Lord said to Martha, “unum est necessarium~” which is as good as saying, He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing,
Our doctors sing love’s praises, as did St. Paul, who said, “Whatsoever things I do and have not charity I am nothing.”
But I extol detachment above any love.
First, because at best love constrains me to love God.
Now it is far better my constraining God to me than for me to be constrained to God.
My eternal happiness depends on God and me becoming one; …
This the union with the purusha.
[ … ] but God is apter to adapt himself to me and can easier communicate with me than I can communicate with God. Detachment
forces God to come to me, and this is shown as follows.
Everything is fain to be in its natural state.
But God’s own natural state is unity and purity and these come from detachment.
Hence God is bound to give himself to a heart detached.-Secondly, I rank detachment above love because love constrains me to suffer all things for God’s sake: detachment constrains me to admit nothing but God.
Now it is far better to tolerate nothing but God than to suffer all things for God’s sake. For in suffering one has regard to creatures, …
This is the prakriti .
. . . whence the suffering comes, but detachment is immune from creature. Further, that detachment admits of none but God I demonstrate
in this wise: anything received must be received in aught.
But detachment is so nearly naught that there is nothing rare enough
to stay in this detachment, except God. He is so simple, so ethereal, that he can sojourn in the solitary heart. Detachment then admits
of God alone.
That which is received is received and grasped by its receiver according to the mode of the receiver; and so anything conceived is known and understood according to the mind of him who understands and not according to its innate conceivability.
And humility the masters laud beyond most other virtues.
I rank detachment before any meekness and for the following reasons.
Meekness can be without detachment but complete detachment is impossible without humility.
Perfect humility is a matter of self-naughting; but detachment so narrowly approximates to naught that no room remains for aught betwixt zero and absolute detachment.
This is the void or shunyata.
Wherefore without humility is no complete detachment.
Withal two virtues are always better than one.-Another reason why I put detachment higher than humility is this: humility means abasing self before all creatures and in that same abasement one goes out of oneself to creatures.
But then man is trapped once again in the prakriti through humility.
But detachment abideth in itself. Now no going out however excellent, but staying in is better still.
As the prophet hath it, “omnis gloria filiae regis ab intus,” the king’s daughter is all glorious within.
Perfect detachment is without regard, without either lowliness or loftiness to creatures: it has no mind to be below nor yet to be above; it is minded to be master of itself, loving none and hating none, having neither likeness or unlikeness, neither this nor that, to any creature; the only thing it fain would be is same.
But to be either this or that it does not want at all. He who is this or that is aught; [ … ]
So as you see this is prakriti.
[ … ] but detachment is altogether naught. It leaves things
Here someone may object, But surely in our Lady all the virtues flourished in perfection and among them absolute detachment.
Now granting that detachment is better than humility, why did our Lady glory in her lowliness instead of her detachment, saying, “quia respexit dominus humilitatem ancillae suaeJJ: “He regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden?”
I answer that, in God there is detachment and humility as well, so far as virtues can be attributed to God.
Know, it was his loving meekness that made God stoop to enter human nature while it remained within itself as motionless, what time he was made man, as it was while he created the heavens and the earth, as I shall show you later.
This describes the mixing and at the same time the detachment from the purusha, the droplet on the lotus leaf. In this way God entered into creation without being affected by it in his innermost.
And seeing that Our Lord when he chose to be made man did persist in his motionless detachment, by the same token did our Lady
know that he expected her to do the same, albeit for the nonce he had regarded expressly to her lowliness and not to her detachment.
So remaining unmoved in her detachment she yet gloried in her lowliness and not in her detachment.
Had she but once remembered her detachment to say, “He regarded my detachment,” her detachment would by that have been disturbed and would not have been absolute and perfect since a going forth has taken place.
Any event, however insignificant, will always cause some troubling of detachment.
There you have the explanation of our Lady’s glorying in her lowliness instead of her detachment.
Quoth the prophet, “audiam, quid loquatur in me dominus deus,” “I will be still and listen to what my God may be saying within me,” as though to say, if God would parley with me then he must come in for I will not go out.
It is Boethius who exclaims, “Ye men, why do ye look without for that which is within you? ~Carl Jung, Psychology Yoga Meditation, Page 235-239