Patanjali describes a process of knowing whereby the practitioner of Yoga concentrates so intently on an object that he gains knowledge by identity. This process, called samyama provides some of the advanced results and powers that come about through what is known as Raja Yoga.
In recent years, Western philosophers and physicists have been building a model of the universe, based on their theoretical work and various experiments conducted in quantum physics, such as what is known as “quantum entanglement”, that makes it clear that there is a consciousness in the universe that is universal, aware and inter-connected. Quantum entanglement became an issue when a particle was separated into two parts, and physically separated by 12 miles distance. One section of this particle was subjected to a magnetic field, but both segments reacted as if they had undergone the same experience, simultaneously. Something made the 12 mile distant part respond at a speed faster than light. That something is “consciousness”.
Other physicists are now talking about the entire universe being conscious and one entity. Recently in focus was the work of physicist Gregory Matloff of NY City College of Technology, who stated essentially that “a proto-consciousness field” could in fact be a universal phenomenon through the entire universe. This would bring us eventually to the statement found in the ancient scripture, the Taittiriya Upanishad that says “The Spirit who is here in man and the Spirit who is there in the Sun, lo, it is One Spirit and there is no other.” (Bhriguvalli, Ch. 10, pg. 281, The Upanishads, Sri Aurobindo)
Sri Aurobindo explores the issue of the universality of consciousness and the process of knowing: “There is, then, first a fundamental unity of consciousness that is greater or less in its power, more or less completely and immediately revelatory of its contents of knowledge according to our progress and elevation and intensity of living, feeling and seeing in the supramental ranges. There is set up between the knower and the object of knowledge, as a result of this fundamental unity, a stream or bridge of conscious connection… and as a consequence a contact or active union enabling one to see, feel, sense supramentally what is to be known in the object or about it. … The necessity of this stream or this bridge of connection ceases when the fundamental oneness becomes a complete active oneness. This process is the basis of what Patanjali calls samyama, a concentration, directing or dwelling of the consciousness, by which, he says, one can become aware of all that is in the object. But the necessity of concentration becomes slight or nil when the active oneness grows; the luminous consciousness of the object and its contents becomes more spontaneous, normal, facile.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 23, The Supramental Instruments — Thought-process , pg. 826