2.18:Prakasa kriya sthiti silam bhuta indriya atmakam bhoga apavarga artham drisyam, The seen is of the nature of the gunas: illumination, activity, and inertia. It consists of the elements and sense organs, whose purpose is to povide both experiences and liberation to the Purusha.
Previously in sutra 2.17 we are told that our avoidable pain is caused by the projection of the Seer onto the Seen. Now Patanjali explains the nature of the Seen and what its purpose is. Why this whole divine comedy of God playing hide and seek with himself? First of all the Seen is prakriti and of the nature of the three gunas, sattva (illumination), rajas (activity) and tamas (inertia). The scope of the Seen includes everything from consciousness of the mind and the sense organs to the physical elements-the objective world. But more importantly the purpose of Prakriti is for the experiences and the liberation of the Self. This brings up some classical philosophical questions that are difficult to answer but here Patanjali gives us a positive view of this divine comedy. Is the state of the Self after contact with Prakriti, identifying with Prakriti, suffering and then from these experiences achieving liberation different from the original state of the Self? Taimini in his commentary says, "The mighty adepts of Yoga who emerge as Jivanmuktas (liberated souls) from the evolutionary cycle do not merge into God and become indistingishable from Him by losing their identity for ever. They become free from the domination of the Gunas and illusion of Prakriti and yet retain all the knowledge and powers which they have acquired though evolution." So Patanjali tells us that this wonderful and misterious universe has purpose-the perfection and liberation of individual.