4.4 – Conscious expressions of Awareness form independent self-identities.

निर्माणचित्तान्यस्मितामात्रात् ॥४॥

nirmana chittani asmita matrat

  • nirmana – forming; producing; creating
  • chittani – fields of consciousness; minds
  • asmita – egoism; a mistaken self-identity; the sense of being an “I”; a sense of being a separate, isolated, independent entity
  • matrat – only; alone

4.5 – One Awareness initiates the diverse actions of the many.

प्रवृत्तिभेदे प्रयोजकं चित्तमेकमनेकेषाम् ॥५॥

pravritti bhede prayojakam chittam ekam anekesam

  • pravritti – perception; cognition of; activity; rise; flow
  • bhede – separating; removing; division; diverse
  • prayojakam – cause; ; initiator; author; founder
  • chittam – consciousness; field of consciousness; reflecting; mind; thought
  • ekam – one
  • anekesam – many; large numbers

Commentary on Sutras 4.4—4.5:

All souls (individualized expressions of Awareness) emerge from one field of Awareness. As they descend into physical existence, they become encased in various bodily sheaths known as koshas. There are five koshas in all:

  1. Annamaya kosha – the physical sheath
  2. Pranamaya kosha – the vital sheath
  3. Manomaya kosha – the mental sheath
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha – the wisdom sheath
  5. Anandamaya kosha – the bliss sheath

Through Maya’s concealing power of avidya, the soul develops a sense of I-ness (asmita), which causes them to identify with the koshas rather than recognize them as the outer garments of their true Self. The koshas become part of the material from which the soul constructs the false-self.

Living from that distorted perspective, the soul believes their false-self to be the cause and performer of all their actions. But there is only one power, cause, and actor—Awareness,the Self.

That is the higher meaning of the word kriya. It comes from two root words: kri, meaning “action,” and ya, meaning “soul” or “Spirit.” Through the purifying practices of kriya yoga—self-discipline, Self-reflection, and surrender to Awareness—we realize that it’s through the Power of Awareness that all actions are performed.