Yoga Sutra Study – 3.53

Ksana tatkramayoh samyamat vivekajam jnanam

“By samyama on moment and on the continuous flow of moments, the yogi gains exalted knowledge, free from the limitations of time and space.”

This is the last practice of samyama, which is discussed in the Vibhuti Pada. Ksana, or a moment, is defined as the ultimate particle of time, according to Vyasa. A continuous flow of such moments is called krama.

In daily life, we operate according to “time”. However, time is not krama. Time is created by our mind, in order to organize phenomena one after the other. Our mind is not capable to understand that there is only present moment, so it creates the concept of past and future. Everyone talks about past and future, but no one has ever seen past or future. From the viewpoint of consciousness, our life experience is not a movie, which seems to be an unfolding process, but many independent events that happen simultaneously in a moment. Consciousness exists at our birth, during our growth and mature period, and at our death. Consciousness is at every moment simultaneously. However, as our mind is functioning, we are unable to realize this fact. If you ask someone who has near-death experience, he would probably tell you that all his life experiences flash through in one instant. This is because the mind suspends at the time of death.

Patanjali says that by samyama on the present moment and the process of succession, higher knowledge is revealed. This knowledge is the knowledge born of discriminative understanding (vivekajam jnanam), it gives one ability to discriminate between moments and succession. In sutra 3.54, Patanjali continues to explain that discriminative knowledge enables one to discriminate between similar objects, to see through the mere appearances and go into underlying reality.

Everyday we are going through a lot of happenings, collecting many thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we become so involved in these mind activities that we lose control of our emotions, behaviors, etc.. It seems we are blind folded, no matter how hard we try, we still cannot see through, we still cannot realize what is actually going on. Thus we fall into a vicious circle, following which, a big mass in life. This is the moment when we need to use this technique. Focus on a single situation, or a moment, which causes you tension or discourages you. When this samyama is done, you will realize what is actually going on and what is keeping you from realizing your destiny.