Fourth chapter is kaivalya pāda and has 34 aphorisms. Kaivalya is explained in the previous article. Kaivalya means detachment; perfect isolation, abstraction, and detachment from all other connections in Prakṛti. Detachment of the soul from matter (Prakṛti) or further transmigrations. Liberation is possible only when the soul is completely disconnected from buddhi. This explanation is different from Vedāntic interpretation. Vedānta says that one has to meditate with the help of the mind on the Brahman within. When the intensity of the meditation increases, one realizes the Self within. However, both Yoga philosophy and Advaita philosophy authoritatively say that one should meditate on Brahman to realize It.
Siddhis can be attained, provided one’s karmas permit such siddhis. Other things that aid siddhis are auṣadha (combination of different herbs; auṣadha means medicines or herbal medicines), mantras, meditation and samādhi. However, if one has good karmic account (which means that he would have done rigorous spiritual practices in his or her previous births, which is being continued in this birth), then mere meditation will lead him to Liberation. Any siddhi can be experienced either during samādhi or after it. Without experiencing samādhi, siddhis are not possible. If one develops siddhis, he has to ignore it to attain Liberation. Siddhis are major deterrent factors in spiritual pursuit. Siddhis that come within because of quality meditation is said to be of highest order. Induced siddhis (through auṣadha) are secondary in nature.
Naturally happening incidents are not due to pāpa and puṇya. If someone says that it is due to pāpa and puṇya, then he is ignorant. A farmer removes blockades in flow of water in his field and then the water flows freely. Everyone has hidden power to evolve. But the deep rooted blockades are to be removed. When these blockades are removed, he blossoms forth as a yogi. A true spiritual Guru helps him in this transformation.
When pāpa and puṇya interact with each other, the more dominant one wins. Acts of pāpa are destroyed by puṇya. In other words, sattva guṇa destroys tamo guṇa. Rajo guṇa is between sattva guṇa and tamo guṇa, and is also destroyed. When all the three guṇa-s are destroyed, his consciousness becomes pure and he is geared up for realization. This is further explained in the next aphorism.
Antaḥkaraṇa works on subtle body. Mind understands; citta (reasoning) establishes the understanding of the mind; buddhi assists in citta’s evaluation; and finally ego implements. This is the case with ordinary individuals. But in the case of a yogi mind-stuff, the original unpolluted mind alone works. Hence, yogi’s consciousness is always pure, paving way for his Liberation.
Each one of us has different mind-sets. But the mind that is purified through meditation is free from karmic impressions. Here, karmic impressions does not refer to sañcita karmas, which have to be experienced at any cost; this is applicable even to a yogi. Karmic impressions here means karmas of this birth. A yogi stays away from activities that cause karmas; hence he does not accrue karmas in this birth.
Why a yogi is not accruing karmas? Karmas are always related to the mind. When the mind indulges in activities, it accrues karmas, either good or bad. But a yogi, does not get himself attached to actions. He walks means, he simply walks towards an unknown destination. He does not walk with a purpose or goal. He does not perform any actions for his own betterment; because he has neither desires nor attachments. Patañjali talks about three types of actions for ordinary men – good, bad and combined. But in the case of a yogi, as he does not act expecting something, he is free from three types of actions.
Vāsanā-s are the impressions of anything remaining unconsciously in the mind, the present consciousness of past perceptions and knowledge derived from memory. Any vāsanā gets embedded only in subconscious mind. These vāsanā-s mature at some point, making that person to act according to the maturing vāsanā-s. It implies that one has to get rid of these vāsanā-s. The only way to get rid of vāsanā-s is not get attached to the actions performed. All the actions should be for the betterment of others and should have no selfish interest. If one develops inclination to work for others without any selfishness, he is called a yogi. (Meditation helps to cleanse sub-conscious mind).
Experience of beings differ due to their birth, space and time. When ordinary people live along with yogis, ordinary people will not act in the way ordinary people act. They think and act in line with yogis. Circumstance play significant role in shaping one’s character. Therefore, it is important to live in a good environment, so that one gets good vāsanā-s. Mind and impressions in the mind always continue, hence one has to be careful on this. Fox example, if one is addicted to drugs, he will be pushed to live in a place where drugs are available without control. Such a person cannot even think of becoming a yogi, as he has already fallen victim to the environment.
(IV: 1 – 9)