The seed of all knowledge.

तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञ-बीजम् ॥

tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajña-bījam ||

 

After the deep questioning about the nature of īśvara Patanjali generously gives our minds a rest with a (relatively) simple sutra. īśvara is unsurpassed in the knowledge of all, because īśvara is the seed of all knowledge.

tatra = in that (in this case in īśvara)

niratiśayaṁ = above all else, unsurpassed

sarvajña = sarva – all, jña (jñāna) – knowledge, knowing

bījam = seed

Bryant discusses the use of ‘seed’ in the context of there being different levels of knowing just as there are different levels of growth in the life of a plant. The seed contains all the knowledge of how to become a flower just as īśvara contains all the knowledge of how to become a universe.

In Bouanchaud’s beautiful book “the essence of yoga” he describes the relationship between the perceived individual self and īśvara beautifully.

“īśvara is a model for human beings – our essence is an identical spiritual entity. However…we are imprisoned in negative impulses and sentiments and bound by corporeal limits”

Bouanchaud, B. (2001). The essence of Yoga. Delhi: Sri Satguru, p.38.

It is the release from the prison of negative impulses and corporeal limits (see chapter three, probably wont get to this until 2025!) that a practice of yoga gives us, thus we unite with īśvara.