A sutra means a seed. It has to be worked on from many, many dimensions, then it will become a tree of understanding in you. A sutra is a very condensed message. It had to be so in those days, because when Patanjali created Yoga Sutras there was no writing. They had to be memorized. In those days you could not write big books, just sutras. Sutra means an aphorism, just a seed-like thing which can be memorized easily. And for thousands of years the sutras were memorized by disciples, and then their disciples. Only after thousands of years were they written, when writing came into existence. So a sutra has to be telegraphic; you cannot use many words, you have to use the minimum. So whenever you want to understand a sutra you have to magnify it. You have to use a magnifying glass to move into the details of it.
Lack of awareness is taking the transient for the eternal, the impure for the pure, the painful as pleasurable and the non-self for the self.”
Says Patanjali, “What is avidya? – lack of awareness. And what is lack of awareness? How do you know it? What are the symptoms? These are the symptoms: taking the transient for the eternal.”
Look around – life is a flux, everything is moving. Everything is moving continuously, changing continuously. Revolution is the nature of things all around. Change seems to be the only permanent thing. Except change, everything changes. It is just like the waves in an ocean – they are born, for a little while they exist, and then they dissolve and die. It is just like waves.
You go to the sea. What do you see? You see the waves, just the surface. And then you come back and you say that you have been to the sea and the sea was beautiful. Your report is absolutely wrong. You have not seen the sea at all; just the surface, the waving surface. You were just standing on the shore. You looked at the sea, but it was not really the sea. It was just the outermost layer, just the boundary where winds were meeting with the waves.
It is as if you come to see me, and you just see my clothes. Then you go back and you say that you have seen me. It is just like coming to see me, and just going around the house and looking at the outer walls, then going back and saying that you have seen me. Waves are in the sea, the sea is in the waves, but waves are not the sea. They are just the outermost, the most distant phenomenon from the center of the sea, from the depth.
Life is a flux; everything moving, changing into another. Patanjali says, “To believe that this is life is lack of awareness.” You are very, very distant, away from life, from the center, the depth of it. On the surface there is change, on the periphery there is movement, but at the center nothing moves. There is no movement, no change.
It is just like the wheel of a cart. The wheel goes on moving and moving and moving, but at the center something remains unmoving. On that unmoving pole, the wheel moves. The wheel may go on moving on the whole earth, but it moved on something that was not moving. All movement depends on the eternal, the non-moving.