Ignorance is Bliss?

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

2.4  avidya ksetram uttaresam prasupta tanu vicchinna udaranam

Ignorance (lack of true knowledge) is the source of all suffering whether dormant, weak, interrupted or fully active.

2.5 anitya asuci duhkha anatmasu nitya suci sukha atma khyatih avidya

Ignorance is the failure to discriminate between the permanent and the impermanent, the pure and the impure, bliss and suffering, the Self and the non-Self.

In the past when attempting to study the sutras, I’ve skipped over the ones that I couldn’t understand or didn’t find appealing.  After all, there is so much information packed into them that I figured I’d need many lifetimes to comprehend them.  Plus, there are times when it just seemed like Patanjali was picking certain details to pieces.   For example, in sutras 2.4 & 2.5 the types of ignorance are listed.  I find myself thinking “Do we really need to distinguish between dormant, intermittent and fully active states of ignorance?”.

This time, I decided to stick with Sutras 2.4 & 2.5  rather than ignore them.  (Hmm, is ignoring a type of ignorance?)  Contemplating the sutras becomes a form of meditation.  Understanding is no longer the goal.  Instead, the practice becomes being more comfortable with NOT understanding.  In asana practice, the poses that I am uncomfortable in or think I can never do are often the ones that teach me the most.  Could it be that the sutras teach in the same way?

At this point, I still don’t understand these sutras.  But the not knowing doesn’t bother me anymore.  Does that mean ignorance is bliss?  Yes, because ultimately, it’s all bliss!

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