Verse 32: Ten Special Objects

Verse 32, to use the terminology of the previous verse, describes how the activation of the”army of 13 organs” leads to cognition. the first part of the verse seems straightforward and describes how some are responsible for seizing, others for illuminating and others for sustaining. 13 (organs) are divided into 3 (seizing, illuminating and sustaining).

The 2nd part of the verse tripped me up. The notion that everything that is seized, illuminated and sustained is made up of “ten special objects.” First, given the unfolding nature of the text, the “ten special objects” are only mentioned and not elaborated (and, once again, the commentaries attempt to glimpse into the future did not help). Then there the number 10 re-appears … so my mind was trying to figure is this ten the same as the previous ten (objects-of-sense) or a different ten … and it is a different ten how do these other ten divide into 3 … until, finally, I was able to shed the complexity and ingest the simplicity of what is being said:

  1. Everything I experience, is seized, illuminated and sustained (and that is what cognition is).
  2. Everything I experience (that is seized, illuminated and sustained), is made up of ten special objects (which will be described later in the text).

I just now looked at the commentaries again and even after having found a peaceful resolution of this verse, they, for some reason, seem to make things sound more complicated then they are … and there is a part of my thinking that gets turned on by this promise of elaborate complexity. I don’t know why that is (neither the commentaries tendency nor mine). Part of it could be an ambiguity in interpreting the original Sanskrit (I’ve started studying Sanskrit grammar, but I am not sure I will find better direct clarity in this lifetime). But part of it, I suspect, is some kind of modern, so-called-enlightened cultural bias that demands that ideas be granted some kind of amplified intellectual aura. For me these tendencies (both personal and collective) create obstruction and confusion.

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