Chapter 7: Beyond the Error of Experiencing
Soren Kierkegaard, one of the most influential existential thinkers in the West, has said, “God is subjectivity.” He comes very close to Patanjali. What does he mean when he says God is subjectivity? When all objects are known as separate from you, they start disappearing. They exist through your cooperation. If you think you are the body, then the body continues; it needs your help, your energy. If you think you are the mind the mind functions; it needs your help, your cooperation, your energy.
This is one of the inner mechanisms: that just by your presence nature becomes alive. Just by your presence the body functions as alive; just by your presence the mind starts functioning.
In yoga they say it is as if the master had gone out, then he comes back home. The servants were chitchatting and sitting on the steps of the house and smoking, and nobody was worried about the house. The moment the master enters, their chitchat stops, they are no longer smoking, they have hidden their cigarettes and they have started working. They are trying to show that they are so much involved in their work that you cannot even conceive that just a moment before they were gossiping, sitting on the steps idling, lazy, resting. Just the presence of the master, and everything settles - as if the teacher had gone out of the class and there was much turmoil, almost a chaos, and the teacher comes back and all the children are in their seats and they have started writing, doing their work, and there is complete silence. The very presence.
Now, scientists have something parallel to it; they call it the presence of the catalytic agent. There are a few scientific phenomena in which a certain element is needed just to be present. It does not act in any way, it does not enter into any activity, but just the presence of it helps some activity to happen - if it is not present that activity will not happen. If it is present it remains in itself, it does not go out; just the very presence is catalytic, it creates some activity in somebody else, somewhere else.
Patanjali says that your innermost being is not active; it is inactive. The innermost being is called in yoga the purush. Your pure consciousness is a catalytic agent. It is just there doing nothing; seeing everything, but doing nothing; watching everything, but getting involved in nothing. By the sheer presence of the purush, the prakriti - nature, the mind, the body, everything, starts functioning.
But we get identified with the body, we get identified with the mind: we slip out of the witnesser and become a doer. That’s the whole disease of man. Vivek is the medicine: how to go back home, how to drop this false idea that you are a doer, and how to attain to the clarity of just being a witness. The methodology is called vivek.