2.23 – The seer identifies with the seen and (mistakenly) takes that to be its power and essence.

स्वस्वामिशक्त्योः स्वरूपोप्लब्धिहेतुः संयोगः ॥२३॥

sva svami saktyoh svarupa upalabdhi hetuh samyogah

  • sva – of self; one’s self; one’s own
  • svami – owner
  • saktyoh – of the powers
  • svarupa – nature; quality; essence; appearance; original form
  • upalabdhi – observation; perception; recognition
  • hetuh – cause
  • samyogah – absorption with; identification with; junction; union

2.24 – The veiling of Self-knowledge causes that mistaken identification.

तस्य हेतुरविद्या ॥२४॥

tasya hetuh avidya

  • tasya – of that; his
  • hetuh – cause
  • avidya – lack of Self-knowledge; spiritual ignorance

2.25 – When that veil of Self-knowledge is removed, the false identity dissolves, and the seer alone remains.

तदभाबात्संयोगाभावो हानं तद्दृशेः कैवल्यम् ॥२५॥

tat abhavat samyogah abhavah hanam tat drishi kaivalyam

    • tat – that
    • abhavat – not existing; not present; not being
    • samyogah – absorption with; identification with; junction; union
    • abhavah – nothingness; absence; void; negation
    • hanam – to be avoided; to be rejected; to be subtracted, eliminated, dissolved
    • tat – that
    • drishi – seeing; looking; observing
    • kaivalyam – liberation; perfect unity; enlightenment; freedom; Self-knowledge

Commentary on Sutras 2.23—2.25:

As an expression of consciousness (a soul), we are born into, and begin to relate to, the world of form. During this descent, the power of inertia (tamas guna) contracts our consciousness. It confines our powers of perception and veils all higher knowledge. This concealment is part of Maya’s great play.

The essence of our being is the Power of Awareness, and that never changes. But under the gunas’ influence, we mistake what we see for our power and nature. We believe we are the body and that the body creates and sustains our awareness.

In other words, our lack of Self-knowledge inverts our entire perception of reality. And as Patanjali described in Sutra 2.4-2.6, that fundamental ignorance gives rise to all our afflictions by forming the false-self which strives after its desires and hides from its fears.

Sutra 2.25 teaches us that we don’t need to try to become what we already are. All we have to do is remove the veil.

Just as darkness disappears the instant we turn on a light, the false-self vanishes in the light of the Self.

Liberation is not a state we create or acquire. It’s our natural state. Awareness reveals that state when our field of consciousness becomes clear enough to reflect its light.

“Return to the Self within and know your own secret! The universe is inside you and you are inside the universe. The inner Self is the One dancing in all—the One who is here and the One who is there.” ~ Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri