3.53 – By samyama on the moment-to-moment unfoldment of time, higher intuitive knowledge is born.

क्षणतत्क्रमयोः संयमात् विवेकजंज्ञानम् ॥५२॥

ksana tat kramayoh samyamat viveka-jam jnanam

  • ksana – moment; instant; extremely brief measure of time
  • tat – that
  • kramayoh – sequence; order; succession of events; sequence of time; gradual progression; unfoldment
  • samyamat – by samyama – the perfect integration of consciousness; the uniting of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi
  • viveka – discernment; discrimination; wisdom; clear intuition
  • jam – born
  • jnanam – knowledge; awareness

3.54 – Through that samyama on the moment-to-moment unfoldment of time, one can discern the differences in types, appearances, and locations of what is otherwise indistinguishable.

जातिलक्षणदेशैः अन्यतानवच्छेदात् तुल्ययोः ततः प्रतिपत्तिः ॥५३॥

jati laksana desha anyata anavachchhedat tulyayoh tatah pratipattih

  • jati – type of birth; genus; lineage; family
  • laksana – characteristic; mark; sign; trait
  • desha – place; region; location
  • anyata – other; different
  • anavachchhedat – unbounded; not limited; uninterrupted; indistinguishable
  • tulyayoh – the same; equal
  • tatah – due to that; from that
  • pratipattih – to determine; ascertain; discern

3.55 – That intuitive-born knowledge carries one beyond all objective reality, and every worldly concern, into Timeless Awareness.

तारकं सर्वविषयं सर्वथाविषयमक्रमं चेति विवेकजं ज्ञानम् ॥५४॥

tarakam sarva visayam sarvatha visayam akramam cha iti viveka jam jnanam

  • tarakam – carrying over; protecting; savior; helmsman; boat
  • sarva – all; every
  • visayam – object or thing; worldly concerns; object of the senses
  • sarvatha – in every way; at all times
  • visayam – object or thing; worldly concerns; object of the senses
  • akramam – timeless; non-sequential; devoid of order
  • cha – and; also; both
  • iti – thus
  • viveka – discernment; discrimination; wisdom; clear intuition
  • jam – born
  • jnanam – knowledge; awareness

Commentary on Sutras 3.53—3.55:

In our modern world, we live by the clock. Our constant fixation on the hour and minute creates enormous stress and drives us further into the illusion of finite existence.

We see time as money or something that can be spent. And yet, as often as we check in to see how much of the day remains or how many years we may have left on this planet, we fail to see the individual progression of moments.

Some have likened our view of the progression of time to how we perceive a movie. A film is produced from a series of still photos. Those frames, viewed in quick succession, create the illusion of a seamless flow. In the same way, we construct the drama of life out of a multitude of individual life events.

Like a film editor, the mind constantly cuts and splices those events. It can take the beats from one action sequence and rearrange their order to create an alternate version of the story. Or, it can conjure and splice in scenes that never occurred. It can exaggerate dialogue, zoom in on specific details while excluding others, and add music and sound effects to heighten the drama.

The mind is a master editor. One of its greatest tricks is to superimpose the scenes of the past, or the imagined scenes of the future, on the events of the moment. The purpose of this is to enhance the story of the false-self, which only exists within the illusory construct of time.

In these sutras, Patanjali invites us to pause and unpause the movie to see how it’s being constructed.

Samyama of the moment-to-moment unfoldment of time allows us to see the movie in slow motion. We can then examine the most minute transformations in otherwise indistinguishable events.

In other words, we’re cutting through the illusional movie-in-the-mind projection. We see reality as it’s happening rather than watching the mind’s Hollywood production.

During higher meditation, we turn off the movie altogether and step outside the boundaries of time. There’s no concept of the past or future. Only Pure Presence remains. Were we to abide in that state while engaging in the world, we would see that the moment-to-moment progression of time was all happening now. In other words, we could encompass the whole scene from the panoramic perspective of Timeless Awareness.

As William Blake once wrote:

“Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour.”