Yoga Sutra 27

Sutra 27

Through this unbroken flow of discriminative awareness, one gains perfect knowledge which has seven spheres.

There are seven frontiers to be integrated between the seen (nature, flesh) and the seer (soul, Holy Spirit). They are the body, the senses, energy, mind, intellect, consciousness, and the soul. According to this sutra, each has its own individual identity. Through our will to meditate on God, God will give us awareness of this sevenfold awareness/ knowledge. In Iyengar’s book it states, “According to Patanjali, the seven states (spheres) of conscious awareness are: emerging consciousness, restraining consciousness, sprouted or individualized consciousness, tranquil consciousness, attentive consciousness, fissured or rent consciousness and ripe or pure consciousness.” He goes on to give many other variations of these seven states of consciousness. He sums it up by saying a simple description of the seven spheres is “knowledge of the body, knowledge of energy, control of the mind, stability in intelligence, knowledge gained by experience, absorption of various flavors that life offers, knowledge of the self.” To sum up, Iyengar’s words, when we learn to control our body, energy, mind (both movements within and judgment), and therefore master acting rightly in all situations, we become luminous. From this luminosity or righteousness, we have total awareness of our core being (Holy Spirit) and supreme knowledge, and surrender ourselves to God’s will completely.

Once again the Bible focuses on God’s relationship with us and this sutra focuses on our relationship to self, In order to overcome the flesh. For this sutra, I agree, in order to do what God says we have to master our own will, however, since God does not explain 7 spheres of consciousness in the Bible I am not sure if this is how he made us. For me to be able to discern this sutra I am going to have to continue mastering my will, with God’s grace. From meditation experience, I can say that I believe I have experienced these layers of consciousness within myself. Which is why in yoga I study asana (body), pranayama (breath or energy), meditation, and scripture study and try to bring all this awareness into my daily life, always asking God for guidance and praying for him to help me surrender and hear his will. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul writes about being a servant of God. He states the importance of whole self-awareness and how through God’s grace and for God’s glory comes the only way to maintain this awareness.

1 Corinthians 9 Paul writes:

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews, I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means, I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [2] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.