11.11.2009

Not Ideas but the Things Themselves

I've been reading Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds -- but I wish it didn't. I wish we were serious enough about postmodernism and fragmented epistemologies and so on to take seriously the notion that something written long ago might be truer and more resonant than something written after World War II.

Here's the one sutra I'm working on this week:
By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards vice, the mind becomes pure.
Satchidananda says that if we forget everything else from the sutras of Patanjali, we should remember this sutra. He says there are only these four locks even as you are presented with the only four keys you'll need. When you meet a person who is virtuous, be glad! When you encounter misery, be compassionate! -- and so on. And that's it! Isn't that "tight?"

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