atha-now; yoganusasana = yoga-
yoga and its practice = anusasanam- explanation
Now I give the explanation of (the discipline of) yoga and its
practice. Discipline is the basis of meditation and yoga. The word "Anushasan"
also means discipline and regularity absolutely necessary for
success in any human endeavour.
Sri Patanjali began by the term atha which means
now or at this time, I will do something. He
took the task of giving the explanation of yoga and its practice,
because before this time such an explanation was not laid out in an
academic way. He gave the syllabus for yoga,
thus breaking the monopoly of all those teachers who mastered yoga
and who taught it to their students bit by bit over the years.
Whatever Sri Patanjali would say would be
standard. It cannot be changed merely by a
difference in philosophy. Just as a gasoline
combustion engine manufactured in Japan will be quite similar to one
manufactured in German, so yoga practice will be the same
everywhere, because the human body is the same in each case, and the
way of changing the subtle form which produced that gross one is
also the same.
Some commentators have said that the word NOW implies that after
some or much preparation, NOW this information is being presented.
yogah cittavrtti nirodhah
yogah- the skill of yoga; cittavritti
= citta mento-emotional energy +vritti-vibrational mode; nirodhah -
cessation, restraint, non operation
The skill of yoga is
demonstrated by the conscious non-operation of the vibrational modes
of the mento-emotional energy.
Yoga is something personal and practical. It is not a
group effort. Each student of yoga has to
achieve the states all by himself or herself.
Thus in a sense, yoga is an isolated and lonely course.
This is the reason for the poor response of the public to the
call to take up hard-core yoga austerities. People like company but yoga requires the company of one’s self
only. One must work with one’s psyche only to be
successful in yoga.
There were many attempts to translate the word citta.
Some say it is the mind, some say it
is the energy in the mind. Some say it is the
consciousness. These terms, though accurate to a
degree bring with them a certain vagueness which covers the meaning
To understand citta we have to consider
two aspects, those of thinking and feeling. Whatever energy is used for thinking is citta, and whatever is used
for feeling is citta. It is citta through which
we think and feel. To understand citta one has
to become concerned with psychological locations.
Where does your thinking take place? When
a thought arises in which energy is illustrated in the mind?
When you have an emotional response to something real or
imaginary, in which part of your psyche does that take place?
What sort of energy is used to develop and transmit emotion?
Whatever correct answer one would give to any of these
questions would identify the citta energy. Chitta is the mento-emotional energy in which our thoughts are
formed and are disintegrated. It is the energy in which our feelings
are formed and in which the same feelings subside to nothingness.
By convention it is discovered that the
vibrational energy of the mind always keeps moving in one way or the
other. Thus some spiritual masters conclude that
it would be impossible to comply with this stipulation of Patanjali
for the non-operation of the mento-emotional force in the psyche.
They have dismissed Patanjali as being an impractical
theorist. The solution they say is to engage the
mind in spiritual topics, never giving it the chance to dwell on
ordinary subjects which are apart from the trancendence.
However, human convention is not everything.
When a yogin gets experience beyond the dimension of this
world, he can afford to heed Patanjali, and strive for the
non-operation of the mental-emotional force in this dimension of
consciousness. Somehow by his own endeavor and
by divine grace, a yogin’s mento-emotional force becomes stilled.
It stalls for a time and turns into a divine vision which
perceives the chit akasha, the sky of consciousness.
The world known otherwise as akshardam, brahma and vaikuntha.
When this happens , the yogi understands what Sri Patanjali
explained in this verse 2 of his sutras.
Srila Yogeshwaranana Yogiraja indicated that Sri
Patanjali should not have suggested that it was possible to
completely quiet the mento-emotional force, for indeed, it is not
possible to stop it from vibrating altogether, but rather one may
quiet it in one dimension while it continues to operate in another.
It cannot be quieted in all of it’s phases because even after
the dissolution of the universe, the prana, or subtle mundane energy
keeps shifting quietly for many millions of years.
This slight movement, might in reference , be considered to
be static but does have a vibrational consistency.
I cannot help but wonder, when reading these verses and
commentary whether or not the meanings need to translate into such
technical terms and I don’t mean this in a critical way of either
Sri Patanjali or Sri Madhvachara. Recently I
read a “translation “ of this same verse by Mr. Alister Shearer, who
gave these words: Yoga is settling the mind in
I thought this interesting in the simplicity of the words as well
as the suggestions that perhaps words like settling and silence
though simple sounding could when tried to
Illustrate with words become very complicated.
And as we are seeing here, the complicated and agitated mind
prevent Yoga from happening to the practitioner.
The mind must be made quiet and anyone who has endeavored to
meditate for any length of time soon discovers that any haphazard
effort to quiet the mind brings on more turbulence in the
mind…and perhaps technically speaking the word “settling” is
Not literally accurate, but for practical purposes, settling is
what happens when the mind does in fact become quiet.
tada drastuh svarupe avasthanam
tada- then; drastuh- the
perceiver; svarupe- in his own form; avasthanam- is situated
Then the perceiver is
situated in his own form.
When the mento-emotional energy has reached the state of
quiescence, the perceiver within that energy, experiences himself by
himself, alone without those influences. This is the state of
swarupa, or his own form.
So long as that mento-emotional energy vibrates
actively, the perceiver is not allowed to reflect on himself.
He is instead, drawn into concerns other than myself.
Thus he responds carelessly since his sense of identity was
diverted to something else.. Sri Patanjali gave this statement about
the situation in the spiritual self, swarupe, to give encouragement
and to generate interest in self realization.
After all, if one does not realize one’s essential self, one must
identify with objects or energies which are not the self.
The only question I would raise here is this,
If the perceiver rests in his own form, then why is right
perception regarded as a vritti?. In going
through this text, I am struggling with the term perception, where
many translators give the term cognition, or understanding.
More about this later.
vrtti sarupyam itaratra
mento-emotional energy; sarupayam- with the same format, conformity;
itaratra - at other times
At other times, there is conformity with the mento-emotional
The perceiver, even though he is different to the
mento-emotional energy, is not allowed to show autonomy or
independence when that energy is active in its concern for things in
this dimension. The perceiver is forced as it
were, to conform to the dictates of that mento-emotional force.
He is forced to use the same format as the energy
irrespective of a deliberate or non-deliberate interest into this
dimension and its corresponding higher or lower locales.
The perceiver is forced to identify with that ideation
energy. It is only when its vibrations cease of
their own accord or are suppressed by him or by another force, that
he may realize the self.
This is such an amazing verse.
AT ALL OTHER
TIMES, (when not situated in his real form) a man conforms
automatically with something he is not! So from
this perspective most people go through life totally immersed in
something they are not, totally identified with something they are
not. One would think, having realized this,
That this in itself would be a tremendous motivating force and
impetus to simply find out who I really am, or what we really are!
Pantanjali is saying that we live out lives.
Identified with the wrong things and when we actually come to stop
this identification, who we really are is simply there.
The sheer simplicity of this may sound easy, but is it really
as easy as it sounds. Let’s read on.
vrttayah pancatayyah klista aklistah
vibrations in mento-emotional energy; pancatayyah
- fivefold; klistaklistah= klista- agonizing + aklistah-
The vibrations in the mento-emotional energy are five-fold
being agonizing or none- troublesome.
Sri Patanjali has not given a middle designation or a
mixed status for the mento-emotional vibrations.
He simply stated that there were five types of these vibrations;
some causing agony and some which are not troublesome.
This is to be realized in mystic yoga practice so that the
yogi becomes expert at recognizing the various moods of his mind and
emotions. An ignorance of the operations of the
mental and emotional energy, will cause the self to trail behind the
mental and emotional moods. This will invariably
lead to haphazard rebirths and responsibility for wreckless acts.
Ignorance of one’s psychology and of how it operates, is
costly to the living entity.
As stated in the second verse of these sutras, the
skill of yoga is demonstrated by non-vibrational of the
mento-emotional energies. When the Yogi ceases
the vibrations, the energy converts into being a supernatural vision
with which he sees into the chit-akash, the sky of consciousness,
the spiritual environment. The yogin was given
the citta energy for that purpose but due to his ineptness he was
not able to use it appropriately. Instead it
served him for imagining and analyzing mundane energy.
Sri Patanjali will tell us something more about the five
vibrationial modes of the mental and emotional energy.
This means that some of the vrittis go unnoticed and some get our
attention in the form of pain. If one of them
were agonizing, I suppose the need for self
liberation or liberation would not arise.
viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrtayah
pramana - correct
perception; viparyaya - incorrect perception; vikalpa – imagination;
nidra – sleep; smrtayah- memory
They are correct perception, incorrect perception,
imagination, sleep and memory.
This means that we have to recognize five kinds of
vibrational activities of the mento-emotional energy.
According to Sri Patanjali whatever occurs in the mental and
emotional energy must be one of a combination of the five
vibrations. A yogin should know these
thoroughly. If one does not understand the
workings of his mind and feelings, he cannot become liberated.
One cannot become liberated from an ignorance of these.
We are endowed with the mento-emotional energy and it is
restricted to those five kinds of vibrations which produce either
correct perception , false perception, imagination, sleep and
memory. All these psychological functions occur
in the citta energy. That is
its capability when focused into this dimension.
The problem with this is that the living entity cannot always be in
a position to know what is taking place within his own mind and
emotions. In most persons, the operations occur
faster than the entity is able to perceive.
Thus the entity sees the conclusions or feels such conclusion
and does not understand what is taking place until after it has
occurred or until after he or she has reacted beneficially or
unbeneficially to them.
Let us take for example the operation of sleep. One may
fall asleep and not know it until after the sleep mode has
terminated. A man for instance, who drives a car
in a tired state, would realize that he fell
asleep at the wheel after his car had crashed into a tree and he
awoke in a badly damaged body in a hospital.
operations are impulsively performed in the mind and emotions.
This impulsiveness is a handicap for the living entity.
Now will discuss these five operations one
The most interesting feature of this
operation is our dependence upon it. The
question arises as to why we need a psychological tool for correct
perception. Why is it that we could not perceive
reality without having to use the mento-emotional energy?
The question is this: If as this sutra
indicates , we are dependent on the correct perception vibrational
mode of the mind, then how can we restrict the energy so that it
does not shift into the mode which gives us incorrect
perception or unrealistic imagination? As we
consider these sutras, we will see if Sri Patanjali dealt with these
questions. Otherwise each yogi will have to get
answers from another authority and from his own valid research.
The only thing we know for certain is this: the
mento-emotional energy is capable of five kinds of operations.
Furthermore, normally we do not control this, but rather this
happens reflexively. What yoga process gives us
the ability to control this either absolutely or partially?
The problem with false perception is that within the
energy itself, there is a tendency not to recognize the vibrations
which cause false perception, but rather to try to correct such
perception by various haphazard applications.
Therefore we have to train the psychology in a different way, in a
totally new way, so that it becomes concerned only with recognizing
the vibrational state from which false perceptions are derived.
This means that we have to advance to higher yoga in dharana
linkage of the mind to higher concentration forces.
It is not false perceptions that are the problem but
rather the vibrations in the energy which cause the wrong views in
the first place. We have to strive to recognize
these vibrations and to stop them, so that the mind may function
only with the vibrations which produce correct or true perceptions.
This will take repeated practice, because the vibrations
which produce false perceptions are naturally occurring.
It is not a matter of suppressing these undesirable
vibrations, even though a yogi will have to suppress them from time
to time. It is rather a feat for the yogi to
cause the mind and feelings not to vibrate in that way.
This would require a mastership of pranayama and a strong
development of vigilance and acute dispassion.
These aspects will be discussed in detail elsewhere in this
commentary. It is mentioned by Sri Patanjali.
Two person in particular
requested that I write this translation and commentary of Sri
Patanjali Muni’s Yoga Sutra. Those persons are
Srila Yogeshwaranand Yogiraja who has departed from his physical
body and Sir Paul Castagna, who to this date (Jan. 2003) still uses
a physical form. Srila Yogeshwarananda, thought
that I was duty bound to write such a translation and commentary and
that it would benefit me. Sri Sir Paul Castagna
thought that I would further break open the meaning of the sutras.
In any case I now thank these two individuals for their pushing and
Maharshi is not an ordinary person. And though I
was reluctant to translate and comment on this classic work on
Yoga and its practice, still I benefited from this task which
my teacher Srila Yogeshwarananda and my colleage Sri Paul Castagna
motivated me to begin and complete.
The curbing of the imagination faculty of the mento-emotional energy is the key to a successful dharana practice.
This dharana is the sixth stage of yoga, that of linking the
attention to a higher concentration force. The
process of willful non-operation of the
vibrational capacity of the mento-emotional energy has to do with
curbing the impulsive nature of the imagination faculty of the
buddhi organ in the head of the subtle body.
Hence the checking of the impulsive operation of this faculty is the
key to mastery of the dharana practice.
Sri Krishna told Arjuna that for those living entities
who are embodied, this technique is hard to attain:
kleso'dhikatarah tesam avyaktasaktacetasam
avyakta hi gatih duhkham dehavadbhih avapyate
The mental exertion of those whose
minds are attached to the invisible existence is greater. The goal
of reaching that invisible reality is attained with difficulty by
the human beings. (Gita 12.5)
For a person who is used to gross and subtle mundane
objects and who is sensually inclined to enjoying such objects, a
preliminary procedure is given by the yogi masters.
This is the process of focusing on sanctified
objects in this world. After some time
when the student develops detachment from this world, he is
introduced to the method of directly shifting his attention from
this world to the chit akash, the sky of
This begins with the
naad sound kriya which was given to Uddhava in the eleventh canto of
hrdy avicchinnam omkaram
punah samvesayet svaram
In the heart
chakra, the Om sound which is like the continuous peal of a
bell,resonates continually,like a fibre in a lotus stalk. Raising it
by using the vitalizing energy, one should blend that sound with the
musical tones.(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.34)
When the imagination faculty is fully curbed, it
develops into the eye of consciousness, which is called Jnana
chaksus or Jnana dipah, when this eye opens one sees into the chit
akash, the sky of consciousness. When one is
steady in using this eye, one’s spiritual life is sealed.
That is an objective of yoga practice.
will hear more from Sri Patanjali of how to attain this.
The vibration of sleep cannot be eliminated altogether
but its negative aspects may be curtailed by a yogin through mastery
of pranayama and expertise in the dharana linkage of the attention
to hight concentration forces. According to
Srila Yogeshwarananda, sleep is a permanent requirement for the
subtle and causal forms. These bodies require
sleep for rejuvenation. Even the cosmic god, the
Hiranyagarbha personality , has to sleep from time to time, thus
shutting down his energies which flow into this material world.
However, a yogin should curtail the negative aspects of
sleep by learning how to keep his subtle body fully charged with
fresh prana and with energies which come in from higher dimensions.
The vibration of memory is an ever-active and
functions automatically on the basis of prompting which come
to it from the mento-emotional chamber. Memory
circuits are triggered by impressions which arise in the
imagination, as well as from the other three vibrational powers of
true perception, false perception and sleep.
yogin has to learn how to shut off the automatic switch which causes
the memory to be activated. If he fails to do
this, he will be unable to reach the stage of samadi which is the
highest level of yoga practice.
pratyaksa anumana agamah pramanani
direct but correct perception + anumana- correct analysis + agamah-
correct reference; pramanani- true perception, correct perception
Correct perception may be acquired directly, by correct
analysis or by correct reference.
Even though this is obvious, Sri Patanjali alerts us in
this verse, that we have to learn how to recognize when our
intellect functions in this mode of operation.
Everyone understands that when false information is used there will
be incorrect conclusions. Analysis, when applied
to false information, results in false
conclusion, which leads to incorrect insight.
is the same with reference. A reference may be
the wrong one, or it may be inaccurate, hence the use of it will
lead to false conclusions. Direct perception may
be incorrect. Pratyaksa is a combination of
prati and akshah, but aksha means perception.
When that perception is correct, it is prati-aksha, pratyaksa.
For true perception a yogin must have an accurate intellect
and also have accurate information from outside his intellect.
It is not just reliant on his intellect.
It is reliant on getting accurate information outside the intellect.
However, if the yogin’s intellect is sufficiently surcharged
with higher concentration forces, he will recognize the incorrect
and unreliable information. He will not use such
information to produce wrong conclusions. A yogi
must be in the right position to get the right information.
This is achieved by mystic maneuvers.
This all means that there is more for accurate perception; more is
required besides the purity of the psyche of the yogi.
He has to get himself into a position from which he can use
his accurate buddhi organ to perceive correctly.
An astronomer may have an accurate telescope but still
he cannot take an accurate reading on a very cloudy night unless he
can go beyond the cloud formations. He has to
put himself in the proper positions to use the accurate instrument.
Correct perception may be acquired directly only if the yogin
has a reality-perceiving intellect and is in the proper position to
Correct perception can be acquired directly by insight
developed by correct analysis after getting some facts but this is
solidified only after the yogin can take that
analysis to the point of getting the direct sight of it.
Furthermore, by correct reference, a yogin may form certain
correct conclusions but that is not sufficient because it is not
direct sensual observation. Therefore it is
incomplete. He will have to develop himself
further to reach the stage of true direct sensual perception of the
supernatural and spiritual realities.
Finally a yogin has to develop himself in such a way as
to sort out the various true and erroneous perceptions of his
intellect. Then he may suppress and gradually
eliminate the faulty parts and the motivations which support
viparyayah mithyajnanam atadrupa
incorrect perception; mithyajnanam= mithya-false + jnanam-
information; atadrupa = atad - not this = rupa- form; pratistham -
Incorrect perception is based on false information and on
perception of what is not the true form.
The vibrational mode which produces
a firm conviction about something that is incorrect is caused by the
perception of false information and on perceiving what is not the
true form (atadrupa).
The willingness of the buddhi organ in accepting the
information given to it by the senses is the root of this problem.
The reliance of the buddhi on the sensual energies must be
broken by the yogin. This can be achieved by
perfecting the pratyahar 5th stage
of yoga practice, where the sensual energies are withdrawn from
their interest into the subtle and gross mundane world.
The strength of the senses which is their ability to keep the
buddhi organ under subjugation is based on the extrovert tendencies
of the organ. Thus if that tendency is
squelched, the senses lose their authority over the organ and it
becomes independent of them. This is mastered by
The perception of the sensual energies is operated with
the energy of fuel of the prana which is subtle air.
When the yogi practices pranayama and is able to take in a
higher grade of prana, his senses become purified and they no longer
make so many erroneous judgments which they force the buddhi to
accept. Thus the yogi becomes freed from
I struggled with this word perception where many translators give
the word understanding or cognition. In this
kind of text as in much of the whole hindu approach, it is very easy
to get so totally caught up in words, and mistake the words
For the actual things.
I have observed this in
my own psyche self study. I think it’s a key way of seeing what an
actual division exists in reality between the Perceiver and the
Perceived…and in that interval is what Patanjali called the Buddhi
and it’s operations.
Admittedly and regrettably I do not speak Sanskrit and my personal
problem with this word has more to do with the conditioning or habit
pattern my own buddhi formed over the 20 some years of reading this
text and memorizing verses using the word understanding…perhaps
other readers will encounter this as they proceed through the text.
Not to worry. One must get in touch with
what those words represent and at a certain point let go of the
stronghold the buddhi has on these words and their actual or unread
meanings.. the word I would use is
sabdajnana anupati vastusunyah
sabdajnana – written or
spoken information; anupati- followed by; vastusunyah- devoid of
reality, without reality; vikalpah- imagination
Verbal or written information which is followed by concepts
which are devoid of reality, is imagination.
It is important to understand that the same
mento-emotional energy which can mislead the living entity or cause
him to come to the wrong conclusion, is the very same psychic organ
which he must use to see into the super-physical world.
Even though Sri Patanjali listed only five modes of operation
for this tool, still, when it is shifted off from this world it can
be used for super-physical perceptions. Therefore it can be used in the mode of correct perceptions for
When it is used as motivated by false verbal or written
information, it develops ideas, conceptions and the like, which
cause an imagination which has no basis in reality.
But since the living entity is dependent on it, he accepts
its picturizations, sounds and impressions as if such notions were a
reality. Thus he makes mistakes.
He has to learn to recognize when his buddhi organ has
adopted a submissive acceptance of incorrect information.
Is this a clue here?
Does this imply that
whatever OTHER activity of the “perceiver” that is not sleep .
imagination, right perception, wrong perception of memory” is what
Sri Patanjali is calling super physical perception?
Does this mean when the Perceiver looks without judgment,
without opinion, without superimposing his memory functions on what
he is observing, THEN he is seeing in what is being called
super-physical and is no long being led as it were by the vritties.
pratyaya alambana vrttih nidra
abhava- absence of awareness;
pratyaya- conviction or belief as mental content; alambana- support,
prop, means of conversion; vrittih- vibrational
mode; nidra - sleep
Sleep is the vibrationial mode which is supported by the
absence of objective awareness.
There are various types of sleep but the true sleep is
when the mind has no content, such that one feels as if one was
barely existing during the sleep. This is
realized not during that state but after it.
During such sleep the living entity becomes disconnect from his
buddhi organ. But when he is connected to it
again, he realizes that he was barely connect to his discrimination
and sense of objectivity.
We may consider that the vritties or vibrational modes
of the mental and emotional energy are fivefold in normal
consciousness. It is like a car which has a set
of four gears, with a mental functioning. The
reverse function is comparable to the operational mode of memory.
Memory has to do with recalling something from the past.
The mental function is comparable to deep sleep when the
vehicle cannot move at all. The other modes or
gears are all forward vibrations, which Sri Patanjali gave as
correct perception, false perception and imagination.
anubhuta visaya asampramosah smrtih
anubhuta- the experience; visaya-
the object; asampramosah- retention; smrtih-
Memory is the retained impression of experienced objects.
Memory has to do with the past and therefore it might be
compared to the reverse gear in an automobile.
In reverse, the driver travels on the path traversed before.
Memory must be curbed by a yogin, because otherwise he would
never be free from the mental impressions which have formed in his
conscious and subconscious mind. These
impressions vent themselves into the conscious mind and are
appropriated by the buddhi intellect organ for usages in further
imaginations, which lead to actions of interference in the material
world. This interference brings on liabilities
for which the yogin is held responsible. If one does not quell, or
quiet off completely, the memory and disconnect from the memory, he
cannot become liberated. Thus a yogin has to get
a method of removing this function in the mento-emotional energy.
In ordinary waking consciousness the
ordinary human being does not have a sense, or make the distinction
between what Sri Pantanjali is calling the Buddhi organ and himself.
Later on he will tell us that it is due to this short
sightedness, lack of skill, or ignorance that we do not experience
our actual self, but rather mere projections and superimpositions.
This Buddhi organ is part of a survival mechanism gone amuck.
How easy it is to recall an event, and then find yourself
immersed in that event, just as in a dream or in doing mental
gymnastics, problem solving and so on. It is so easy to become lost
in these things, and eventually we must ask ourselves “Where ought
we to be stationed?” After millions of years of
being tossed around by the senses and survival mechanism, when do we
come to make a sincere inquiry as to who and where we are in all of
this, for if we in our normal state feel ourselves merged with these
equipment when we un merge where then do we find ourselves?
abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah
abhysa- effective yoga practice;
vairagyabhyam = non – interest, a total lack of concern, non-
interference; tan= tat- that; nirodhah- cessation, restraint,
That non-operation of the vibrational
modes is achieved by effective practice in not having an interest
n the very same operations.
Sri Patanjali Mahamuni Yogiraja gave me a hint regarding
this verse. By telepathy he sent this
clarification. “Those who are advanced should
continue practicing with firm faith that their connection with the
lower operational modes of the mental and emotional energies
decreases daily. They need not read any more of
these sutras which I wrote down so long ago.
“However those who are not so advanced should read
further and take hints according to their particular progressions.
In this verse twelve, these sutras are concluded, but dull
students need to hear more from the teacher.
They should listen to more of the verses.
book ends in this verse twelve for those who are
advanced, but others should read on for more
hints on practice.”
To wipe out one’s connection with the vrittis or the
operational modes of the mental and emotional energies, we need to
be detached from the very same operations or modes.
That is all we need to do. However for
those of use who are not so advanced we need to hear more.
Basically speaking we have to enter into the neutral mode and
from there into higher concentration energies which cause sensual
perception into the chitakash, the sky of consciousness.
Vairagya has come to be translated as detachment or non
attachment. However it is more than that .
It is a total lack of interest and an attitude of
non-interference in cultural activities. One
gets hints about this as one progresses in yoga.
One is shown the way by other great yogins like Sri Patanjali.
tatra sthitau yatnah abhyasah
tatra – there, in that case; sthitau
– regarding steadiness or persistence; yatnah - endeavor; abhyasah –
In that case, practice is the persistent endeavor (to
cultivate that lack of interest).
The related practice is hereby defined.
It must be persistent and requires endeavor
(yatnah). One has to cultivate that lack
of interest because by nature, the mind and emotions are extroverted
and have self-conceited mentality. The
self-conceited mentality is used to enjoy privately in the
psychology in a perverted and harmful way. All
this must be curbed effectively.
sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara
sa =sah- that; tu- but; dirgha –
long; kala- time; nairantarya- uninterrupted continuous;
satkara—revernce, care attention; asevitah- sustained practice,
aggressive interest; drdha- firm; bhumih- ground, foundation, basis
But that is attained on the firm basis of a continuous
reverential sustained practice which is executed for a long time.
What was acquired over millions and millions of births
will take some time for its removal from the psyche.
It will not go away over night.
Thus this yoga course is not the same as the easy paths of
anusravika visaya vitrsnasya vasikarasamjna vairagyam
drsta- what is seen or
perceived directly; anusravika- what is conjectured on the basis of
scripture or valid testimony; visya- an attractive object;
vitrsnasya - of one who does not crave; vasikara – through control;
samjna – consciousness,
demeanor, mind-set; vairagyam- non interest
The non interest in the operations of the mento-emotional
energy is achieved by one who has perfect mastery in consciousness
and who does not crave for what is perceived or what is heard of in
the mundane existence.
To silence the mento-emotional energy one has to stop
craving the subtle and gross existence. Any
craving triggers a renewed interest in this world and its
activities, that activates the five vibrational operations, which
were listed before as correct perception, incorrect perception,
imagination, memory and sleep.
tatparam purusakhyateh gunavaitrsnyam
tat – that; param –
highest (non – interest ); purusa -
of the spiritual person; khyateh –of a thorough awareness;
guna – features of material nature; vaitrsnyam – freedom from desire
That highest non-interest occurs
when there is freedom from desire for the features of material
nature and thorough awareness of the spiritual person.
This does not come about easily. This is why Sri Patanjali alerted the student yogis that it will
take a long time (dirgha kala) for them to attain success.
This cultivation of non-interest is said to be part of raja
yoga, but that does not mean that one can get it by avoiding asana
and pranayama practice.
Purusha, the spirual personality and prakriti, the gross
and subtle material nature, display a liking for one
another. It is not an easy task for
anyone to nullify this affinity. A complete
transformation in the psychology would be required for one to
develop the full non-interest in the subtle or gross mundane energy.
vicara ananda asmitarupa anugamat samprajnatah
vitarka – analysis; vicara
deliberation, reflection; ananda – introspective happiness;
asmitarupa – I- ness self consciousness; anugamat -
by accompaniment, occurring with; samprajnatah -
the observational linkage of the attention to a higher
The observational linkage of the attention to a higher
concentration force occurs with analysis, reflection, introspective
happiness or focus on self consciousness.
Suddenly and without warning, Sri Patanjali jumped from
the cultivation of non-interest in the mundane world to the
observational linkage of the attention to higher concentration
force. If a yogin is successful at stopping the
ordinary functions of his mento-emotional energies, he will enter a
neutral stage from which his attention will be linked to or fused to
higher concentration forces in the sky of
consciousness , the chit akasha.
In the beginning the yogi will be affected by four other forces from this side of existence.
These are the analytical power of the intellect, the
reflective mood of it, the introspective happiness which is felt
during pratyahar sensual withdrawal practice and the I-ness or self
consciousness which has directed the attention to be linked to the
higher concentration force.
Some other commentators categorized samprajnata as a
type of samadhi. In other words it has come down
in the yogic disciplic succession that
samprajnatah is a type of samadi or a lower stage of the eighth and
final level of yoga practice. However, this
writer wants to inform readers that samprajnata is part of dharana
practice which is the sixth stage of yoga. In
that stage the linkage is deliberate and is done by the yogi by the
mystic force applied . In the next stage, that
of dhyana, the yogi is able to realize his sense of identity and his
finds that his will power is drawn into the higher concentration
force of it’s own accord. In the eighth stage,
that of samadhi, his will is not only effortlessly drawn but it is
continually pulled like that for a long time, for over half hour or
In the stage of samdhi, he loses himself more and more,
because he does not have to exert his will or
deliberation. Thus he becomes relaxed.
His mystic power loses tension and application because it is
effortlessly pulled into and fused to the higher concentration
In the samprajnata observational linkage, the yogin
sometimes finds that he must analyze what he is linked to.
This is preliminary. All yogis go through
these stages one by one as they progress and one does not move from
lower to a higher stage until one has integrated the lower
progression. At first when the deliberate
linkage occurs, there is an analysis of what one is linked to, as to
what level it is on and as to its value, as to what it will evolve
into and as to the extent of transcendence.
After this one reflects on it, for the purpose of
integrating it fully for the sake of being able to explain it to
others at a later date. Many of the writings of
this writer were made on the basis of due reflection in this stage.
It is for the integration of the writer himself
and use later on in teaching and explaining.
After one advanced beyond this, one reaches a stage of
introspective happiness. This is due to full
pratyahar when one loses interest in others and totally pulls in all
sensual energies and is able to direct
oneself purely without looking back for others.
When this stage is completed, one reaches a stage of
self awareness in feeling the limits of one’s spiritual radiation.
At this stage one links up with the cosmic buddhi and the
cosmic sense of identity which are bright lights on the super
physical planes of existence. This causes an enrichment of one’s
personality and a surcharging of one’s spirituality.
If one is not careful at this stage, one may attract many
disciples, thus bring one’s spiritual practice to an end.
Student yogins must remember that samprajnata
absorption is observational. That is its flaw.
However it is part of the course of development.
One must perform it and do so carefully so that one can reach a
higher stage. On any stairway, some steps might
be slippery, some might be rough, some might have partial treaders,
but regardless on has to use all of them if one is to go higher.
Thus one should not feel that he can bypass the samprajnata
stage of absorption. If one completes it
properly one will progress upward without having to come down again.
virama – losing track of, dropping;
prayaya – objective awareness, opinions and motives of mind content;
abhyasa – practice; purvah- previous, before; samskarasesah +
samskara – impression in the mento-emotional energy =sesah – what is
remaining; anyah – other
The other state is the compete departure from the level where
the remaining impressions lie in the mento-emotional energy.
The previous practice of losing track of one’s opinions
and motives results in the other state which is awareness of
remaining impressions left in the mento-emotional energy.
Most commentators agree that this is the stage of
asamprajnata samadhi or a state of fusion to a higher plane without
maintaining any opinions or motivations.
Provided that one has had a previous practice of
repeatedly losing track of one’s opinions and motivations, one can
attain this other state in which there is awareness of the remaining
impressions in their seed form as they exist in the mind compartment
and in the emotions. The yogi must repeatedly
practice to attain this, as Sri Patanjali told
us of the long practice (dirgha kala) required.
In this state there is no foothold on any form or forms, and
therefore the yogi has to be very determined, patient and
bhavapratyayah videha prakrtilayanam
bhava – inherent nature, psychology;
pratyayah –mental content, objective awareness; videha- bodiless
persons; prakritilayanam – of those who are diffused into subtle
Of those who are diffused into subtle material nature and
those who existing in a bodiless state, their psychology has that
This is another jolt put to us by Sri Patanjali, as he
explained why one yogi gets a certain advancement which is different
from another and why without any current practice, some persons
attain the benefits of yoga. In this case, those
who are diffused into the subtle material nature without any effort
on their part, without endeavor, are able to do so because of their
inherent nature. A question remains as to
whether this in the inherent nature of the spirit or of the psyche
which is allied to it.
Sri Patanjali answered that question by throwing at us
the word pratyaya, which means their mental content, the
psychological make-up. However, even though it
is not their spirits, still they have to adhere to that nature.
Certain other individuals attain the bodiless state and
remain in material nature. They sometimes take
birth but are unable to remain tied down to a material body due to
their inherent tendency to be bodiless.
Bengali Baba, in his commentary on these sutras stated
that the Videhas, the bodiless ones, are the persons who after
performing virtuous actions such as Agnihotra ceremonies of the
Vedas, attain the state of freedom, which is similar to
absoluteness. He referred to Mandukopanisad,
Chapter 2 Part 1. He wrote that they are not to
return to human life but they will become presiding officers in
future creations. He cited King Suratha who will
be the eighth Manu after the reign of the current Manu who is
Such persons attain a permanent status as small-time
gods of these worlds. They have no need at all
to take a gross body. They either use a subtle
body or no type of material body at all, but their energy affects
smrti samadhiprajna purvakah itaresam
sraddha – confidence; virya –vigor,
stamina; smrti – introspective memory; samadhi – continuous
effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force;
prajna – profound insight; purvakah- previously practiced; itaresam
– for others
For others, confidence, stamina, introspective memory, the
continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher
concentration force, and profound insight, all being previously
mastered, serves as the cause.
These are the requirements for those who want full
success in attaining what Sri Patanjali described in the second
The skill of yoga is
demonstrated by the conscious non-operation of the vibrational modes
of the mento-emotional energy. (Yoga Sutra 1:2)
One must have confidence in the practice of yoga and be
satisfied with it to such an extent that one becomes attached to it
above everything else and will do it to completion.
If one does not have such confidence one will be stalled at
the lower stages, one will give up the practice and take a position
here or there in the material world, or one might become detached
from gross existence but remain attached to certain subtle mundane
One must have stamina which arises with sufficient vigor
to spur one to practice. There are many energies
which contravene, or undermine yoga practice.
one does not have the stamina, one will be influenced by a negative
force and will give up the practice.
One must practice samadhis repeatedly.
Samadhi is the continuous effortless linkage of the attention
to any of the higher concentration forces, which a yogi experiences
. He must practice repeatedly.
The yogin must have profound insight gained through
development of the buddhi intellect organ which sees beyond the
material world into the super physical planes and beyond.
Sri Patanjali though acknowledging those person who are
natural mystics, who can tune into the subtle material nature or who
can exist in the material world in bodiless states, without having
to do any yoga practice wrote these sutras expressly for those yogis
who are endeavoring with such stamina that they will adhere to yoga,
life after life until they reach the culmination.
There are many people who without any record of yoga
practice in their current or perhaps even in their past lives, who
are able to switch themselves to psychic or supernatural levels.
But these persons rely on their inherent nature either to be
accustomed to being bodiless, or to being diffused into particular
subtle phases of material nature (prakrtilaya).
tivra – very intense; samveganam –
regarding those who practice forcibly; asannah -
whatever is very near, what will occur soon
For those who practice forcefully in a very intense way, the
skill of yoga will be achieved very soon.
Even though Sri Patanjali stated that yoga is attained
after a long time, he qualified that statemnt by saying that it is
achieved shortly by those who have intense speedy practice.
In fact one cannot conclude yoga practice in any life without
intensity and persistence. It is impossible
This is a very amazing commentary, “one cannot conclude yoga
practice in any life without intensity and persistence.”
other words, at some point the serious yogin MUST intensify his
practice to the level that is being discussed here. Whatever that
level is, and whatever intensity really means.
Let us read on to see if we are given any more clues as to the
mrdu madhya adhimatratvat tatah api
slight; madhya – mediocre; adhimatratvat - from intense; tatah -
then; api = even; visesah - drating
Then there is even more ratings, according to intense ,
mediocre, or slight practice.
Yoga practice yields results according to the intensity
of correct practice. One person might practice
intensely with the wrong methods. His result will be the realization
of the incorrect practice. Another person might
practice very little with the correct method but he too might not
get the results because his practice does not have much
Sri Patanjali Maharshi gave four rates.
Very intense (tivra-samvega), intense (adhimatratva),
mediocre (madhya), and slight (mrdu).
isvara pranidhanat va
isvara - The Supreme Lord;
pranidhanat - derived from profound religious meditation; va - or
Or by the method of profound religious meditation upon the
Sri Patanjali in an abrupt statement gave an alternative
method (va -or), which is the profound religious
meditation upon the Supreme Lord. Readers who
want to inquire further into the meaning and application of this
verse may check on the root words in Sanskrit to find out what that
word pranidhana means. One should first
check the root word dha, which meant to put, to
lay upon, to fix upon, to hold, to contain, to seize.
Then check nidhana, which means putting down, depositing, or
a place where anything is placed. Then check
This indicates very profound and a deep laying of the
mind upon the Supreme Lord. This is very deep
meditation. If one can achieve that without
doing yoga practice, one would be demonstrating that culmination of
yoga , or one would have the mastery of yoga, even without practice.
klesa karma vipaka asayaih aparamrstah
klesa – affliction, troubles; karma-
action; vipaka- developments; asayaih – by subcounscious
motivations; aparamrstah – unaffected; purusa – person; visesa –
special; isvarah- Supreme Lord
The Supreme Lord is that special person who is not affected
by troubles, actions, developmens or by subconscious
Less there be no argument about it, Sri Patanjali
clarified what he meant by the Supreme Lord, the Ishvara, as the
person who is ever free from all afflictions, actions and
developments in the material world and from subconscious
motivations. Such a person wherever he may be
found, would cause the devotee to enter into the higher
consciousness for being free from the normal operations of the
mento-emotional energy provided the devotee could do as instructed
in the previous verse:
isvara pranidhanat va
by the method of profound religious meditation upon the Supreme
Lord.” (Yoga Sutra 1:23)
tatra niratisayam sarvajnabijam
tatra – there, in Him;
niratisayam – unsurpassed; sarvajna - all knowing; bijam – origin
There, in Him, is found the unsurpassed origin of all
This is a further description of the Supreme Lord.
Sri Patanjali has carefully not named this Lord as Krishna or
Shiva or Brahma, or anyone else. He gave that
Lord’s special characteristics through which He may be identified.
this is interesting and gives further clues that what Sri Pantajali
does not say can sometimes be as important as what is stated on the
lines. What if each Yogin were to sit down
honestly with himself and try to identify WHO this person would be
in the context of one’s own life and try to identify That Person who
he views as having the origin of all knowledge.
On a purely psychological level this could be a worthwhile endeavor
in that one would discover WHO that person is and perhaps how he
came to have this regard, and from there perhaps gain further
understandings as to the psychological authority in ones life.
But Sri Patanjali MAY be more specific
than this. He MAY be talking about a God who he
himself experiences different from the God that you and I might
purvesam api guruh kalena anavacchedat
sa =sah – He; esah – this particular
person; purvesam – of those before, the ancient teachers; api –
even; guruh – the spiritual teacher; kalena- by time; anavacchedat -
this particular person, being
unconditioned by time is the guru even of the ancient teachers, the
authorities from before.
In case there is doubt about this Supreme Person, Sri Patanjali informs us that He is the teacher even of the ancient
authorities from before. He is ever existing and
is ever the supreme master and supreme teacher of everyone.
then will the average yogi find this person?
Where is the map to his door? How can a man
practically speaking know or come to be aware of this particular God
and what is the medium through which He can be expereiced, perceived
tasya vacakah pranavah
tasya – of Ahim; vacakah- what
is denoted or named; pranavah – the sacred syllable AUM (Om)
Of Him, the sacred syllable Aum (Om) is the designation.
Om is the standard designation given
to the Supreme Being by the Vedic sages of who went beyond this world
In the Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna identified Himself with
this Aum (Om).
So here he gives
further clues as to the questions which arose in the previous verse.
Who could read these verses and not feel the presence of the greatness
of the author and feel some kind of reverence and awe in just listening
to the potency of his language.
taj = tat - that sound = japah –
murmering; tadarthabhabanam= tat =that +artha – value + bhavanam –
with deep feelings
That sound is repeated, murmured constantly for realizing
A whimsical repitition of Aum (Om) will not serve the
purpose. The japa murmuring has to be done with
deep feeling and intense concentration. This
leads into a deeper state of mind and to a quietude in which
reverberates the sounds which come in from the super-physical world.
These sounds are the actual Aum (Om) and the yogi recognizes
them after purifying his mento-emotional energy through pranayama
and a lack of interest in the material world.
A key factor is to disengage the gears of memory from
the engine of the buddhi organ. For so long as
the memory runs on automatically, the yogi cannot be free from the
chatter and picturizations of the mind.
Thus he will not experience what comes from the
super-physical and spiritual world.
he is speaking about a technique , namely this specific sound
repeated/ murmured constantly …. For realizing it’s meaning.
tatah pratyakcetana adhigamah api
antaraya abhavah ca
tatah – thence
what is resulting; pratyak – backwards, inwards, in the opposite
direction; cetana - sense consciousness; adhigamah – accomplishment;
api –also; antarya – obstacle; abhavah – not existing; ca – and
As a result there is inwardness of the sense consciousness
and the disappearance of obstacles to progress.
The result of chanting Omkara is given here as the
attainment of the stage of pratyak (pratyahara), which is the
internalization of the sense consciousness. Usually this consciousness courses outward into the subtle and gross
material world. If Aum (Om) is repeated
properly, one may develop introspection so that the same outward
going sense energy turns back and begins to flow inwards.
This causes conservation of psychological energy in the
realms of thinking and feeling. Thus the
mento-emotional energy is restrained and conserved.
The yogi then gets a boost of pranic charge and experiences
super-physical and spiritual realities. This
leads into dharana practice which is the sixth stage of yoga.
As soon as one has mastered the internalization of the
sense consciousness, many obstacles goes away, because one is lifted
out of the dimension where such hindrances exist.
One transcends them. The obstacles remain
for others who have not advanced to that stage.
vyadhi styana samsaya pramada alasya
avirati bhrantidarsana alabdhabhumikatva anavasthitatvani
cittaviksepah te antarayah
vyadhi – disease; styana – idleness;
samsaya – doubt; pramada – inattentiveness; alasya – lack of energy;
avirati – proness to sensuality; bhrantidarsana- mistaken views;
alabdhabhumikatva - not being able to maintain
the progress made, not holding the ground (bhumi); anavasthitatvani
– unsteadiness in the progression; cittaviksepah-
scattered mental and emotional energy; te – these; antaryah –
These obstacles are disease, idleness, doubt,
inattentiveness, lack of energy and prone to sensuality, mistaken
views, not being able to maintain the progress attained,
unsteadiness in progression, scattered mental and emotional energy.
Pratyahar practice which was described in the previous
verse as being the main benefit from the murmuring of the Aum (Om)
sound, is the turning point in the practice of a yogi.
If he masters that, there is really no turning back form him.
He will thereafter consolidate the progress.
Those who do not master pratyahar are subjected to numerous
types of discouragement in yoga practice. It is
mainly because they did not master pranayama.
Under a false notion (bhrantidarsana), a neophyte gets
an idea that he does not have to do any painstaking strenuous
pranayama. Thus he neglects a very important
stage and is unable to change out the lower pranic energies in his
Let me go
over the obstacles one by one.
Disease is an obstacle to any yogi who acquires a gross
body for the practice of yoga. That body is our
means of deliverance but if it is unhealthy, our minds and emotions
will be disturbed in such a way as to cause us to desist from
practice for sometime. However a yogi should be
realistic. He is a limited being and he should
not expect that his human form will always be free from disease.
Some yogis, the advanced ones, maintain the practice
even with disease. This is to maintain the habit
of the practice. If one passes on from a
diseased body and does not attain liberation, one will carry to the
next human body the tendency to do yoga, which will be an asset in
the new form. Thus even if there is disease, a
yogin should maintain
portion of the practice he can do with the diseased form.
One who has passed the seventh stage of yoga, that of
dhyana effortless linkage of the attention to the higher
concentration forces, is not put down by disease, but others
definitely are. Since one’s liberation is
reliant on the status of one’s human body, one should do as much as
possible to protect the body from disease.
By constitution some persons do not have much
determination. Their minds are fickle. Such
persons come to a yoga class for quick liberation.
Without understanding the requirement, they adopt the view
that everyone can attain liberation in a jiffy or that a great yogin
should be able to liberate everybody.
The truth is that everyone cannot become liberated
because by constitution some spirits do not have the
gomsha or inner drive to work for liberation.
However a person who is by nature idle-minded might
become liberated if his atmas or spirit is connected existentially
to a great yogin. By proximity to that great
yogin, an idle-minded person might become liberated.
If a boat has got too small of an engine,
then a tug which is a small boat with an overly-powerful
engine can pull it along. Similarly if another
boat has a large enough engine which is defectively operating, it
too can be pulled by a powerful tug. It is a
question of how long such a tug would pull the
powerless boat. How long can a great yogi drag
an idle-minded disciple of his.
Idle mindedness can be overcome after long long
practice, especially in pranayama and pratyahar, which are breath
infusion and sensual restraints. It is the
outpouring of the sensual energies which cause a person to have a
scattered mind. This is why in the last sutra,
Sri Patanjali indicated that if one chants the Omkara one could
Doubt is removed by personal experience of spiritual
truths. Such experience comes after persistent
practice. Some student yogis are doubtful by
instinct. Even after having a few experiences,
they remain troubled about the aim of yoga. This
stresses their minds and causes them to go slower in the
A doubtful student will leave the path unless he or she
is sustained in the practice by the association of a great yogin.
This is related to idleness, and is based on innate
tendencies having to do with the scattering energies of the mind.
It is by mastery of pratyahar, the fifth stage of yoga, that
this is achieved. Inattentiveness is a state of
mind which is driven by certain types of pranic forces which latch
on to a particular living entity. If he or she
can change that pranic energy, taking in a more concentrated type,
the inattentiveness goes away.
In yoga one has to endeavor. If
there is a lack of energy, there will be no progress.
This is also driven by the type of pranic energy in the
mind. Hence the need for pranayama and pratyahar
practice to change the nature of the mind by changing the energy
content. The mental and emotional energy which
we use has certain inherent capabilities.
Mistaken views come about according to the status of the
buddhi organ which is used for analyzing. That
organ, regardless of its accurate or inaccurate deductions, is prone
to receiving information from the senses. The senses in turn accept
information in a prejudiced way, depending on the type of sensual
energy used and on the basis which come up in the memory circuits.
Purification of the buddhi brings about a dismissal of
the mistaken views and that process is called buddhi yoga which is
described in detail in chapter two and three of the Bhagavad-gita.
One must purify the life force, the kundalini chakra, as
well as all parts of the subtle body. One must
be celibate by practicing the yoga austerities.
Then the buddhi organ assumes a brighter glow and becomes capable to
avoiding mistaken views. The sensual energies
are purified by pranayama and pratyahar practice.
able to maintain the progress made (alabdhabhumikatva)
A person who takes to yoga and who by association with a
great yogi, makes some progress, may not be able to maintain the
advancement. He or she might digress into a
lower stage after some time. This is due to the
assertion of the lower nature. It is due also to
the distractions which come by virtue of the
power of the memory. Instead of shedding off
previous negative tendencies, the person is motivated by these,
because of the probing and prompting of the memory circuits.
Thus the person becomes distracted from yoga and is driven to
live a life which is similar to the one used by non-yogis.
Thus whatever progress is made is lost for the time being,
when the lower tendencies take over the psyche and force it to their
way of operation.
Unsteadiness in progress (anavasthitatvani)
Unsteadiness in progression occurs because of the force
of cultural activities. These acts force their
way into the life of an aspiring yogi and cause him to abandon yoga
altogether or to see it as being a side feature.
When the cultural activities assert themselves as the priority, the
yogi is unable to maintain a consistent practice.
His progression becomes sporadic and he loses faith in yoga,
thinking that it will not give him the results intended.
A yogi in such a position needs to consult with a person
who understandings karma yoga as it is taught in the Bhagavad-gita
to Arjuna. If one works under the direction of
the Universal Form in helping with His duties in karma yoga, then
one can ultimately be free from cultural acts, even from those which
are enforced in this world by the Universal form of Sri Krishna.
But one must be directed by a great yogi or alternately by
Lord Shiva, Lord Balarama, or Lord Krishna.
mental and emotional energy (cittaviksepah)
There is only one way to get rid of the scattered
mental and emotional energy. That is the method
of pranayama and pratyahar practice. Pratyahar
practice causes one not to need much association from others because
by it one conserves the sensual powers and enriches oneself being
less and less dependent on whimsical social associations.
Pranayama practice makes the yogin see that is is possible to
change out the lower pranic energies in the psyche for higher ones
which accelerate yoga.
duhkha daurmanasya angamejayatva
svasaprasvasah viksepa sahabhuvah
duhka –distress; daurmanasya – of
mental depression; angame jayatva – nervousness of the body;
svasaprasvasah – labored breathing; viksepa – distraction; sahabhuva
– occurring with the symptoms
Distress, depression, nervousness and labored breathing are
the symptoms of a distracted state of mind.
Physical distress, mental distress, emotional distress
causing nervousness of the body and labored breathing, occur as
symptoms of a distracted mind. These manifest in
old age as a matter of course. To decrease these
occurances consistent asana and pranayama practice is required.
These distractions and the obstacles mentioned
in the previous verse must be avoided by a yogin.
He must recognize how these come about and stay away from
their causes. He must know how to sidestep the
human association which bring on or aggravate these.
tatpratisedhartham ekatattva abhyasah
tat – that; pratidedha – removal;
artham – for the sake of; eka – one; tattva- standard method in
pursuit of reality (tattva); abhyasah – practice
For the removal of the obstacles, there should be the
practice of a standard method used in the pursuit of the reality.
One has no alternative but to practise, using methods
which yogis in the past were successful in applying.
Each yogin has to use a method that applies to his state of
development. In the Bhagavad-gita also there is
a similar statement about the practice:
asamsayam mahabaho mano durnigraham calam
abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena ca grhyate
The Blessed Lord said;
Undoubtedly, O powerful man, the mind is difficult to control. It is
unsteady. By practice, however, O son of Kunti, by indifference to
its responses, also, it is restrained. (Gita 6.35)
Something that might be interesting to note here is that thus far
Sri Patanjili has not yet talked about sin or anything resembling
it. He is not preaching to us or laying down
moral dogma that humanity is to follow under penality of hell, or
karmas in future lives. Thus far his approach is
strictly from a clinical view.
maitri karuna mudita upeksanam sukha
duhkha punya apunya visayanam bhavanatah cittaprasadanam
maitri – friendliness; karuna –
compassion; mudita- joyfulness, cheerfulness; upeksanam –
indifference, neutrality, non- responsiveness; sukha – happiness;
duhkha – distress; punya – virtue; apunya- vice; visayanam –
relating to attractive objects; bhavantah – abstract meditation;
citta-mento-emotional energy; prasadanam - serenity
The abstract meditation resulting from the serenity of the
mento-emotional energy comes about by friendliness, compassion,
cheerfulness and non-responsivness to happiness, distress, virtue
This reverts back to the second verse where the skill of
yoga is defined:
of yoga demonstrated by the conscious non-operation of the
vibrational modes of the mento-emotional energy.” (Yoga Sutra 1:2)
The turbulence in the mental and
emotional energies cause the living entity to be unsettled in the
material creation and to strive after that which is temporary.
This causes stress and ends in frustration, because the
temporary manifested energy always changes either in a favorable or
For stability of that energy, one has to practise yoga
for a long time, but most persons are disinclined to the austerities
and do not regard yoga as the priority. This is
because they are given over to the sensual energies and the promises
transmitted to them by such powers, promises that are not to be
fulfilled in fact.
By cultivating friendliness, by administering
compassion, by maintaining a cheerful demeanor and by an overall
attitude of neutrality in non- responsivness to the movements of the
lower energies, the yogin develops serenity of nature, which allows
him to practice the abstract meditation through which he is allowed
to break away from here and enter into the superphysical and
us read on and hope that some Method for this “abstract “ meditation
pracchardana vidharanabhyam va
prachardana – exhalation;
vidharanabhyam – by inhalation; va – or; pranasya –of the vital
Or by regulating the exhalation and inhalationi of the vital
This is the practice of pranayama, the fourth statge of
yoga practice. This must be learned from a
knowlegable yogin who practices and knows the benefits of the
methods he teaches. It may be discovered by a
few fortunate students of yoga.
Again, we hope the author will give some method or technique for
visayavati va pravrttih utpanna
manasah sthiti nibandhani
visayavati – like normal sensuality,
something different but similar to a normal object; va – or;
pravrttih – the operation; utpanna – produced, brought about;
manasah – of the mind; sthiti- steadiness; nibandhani – bond, fusion
Or fusion and steadiness of the mind is produced by the
operation of the mento-emotional energy towards an object which is
different to but similar to a normal thing.
This refers to the superphysical and or
spiritual perception which is developed in the psyche of a yogi,
especially in his buddhi organ through the curbing of the
imagination faculty. Then the yogi sees objects
which are not of the gross and subtle material energy but which are
superphysical and spiritual. Perceiving such
objects brings steadiness of mind and fusion of the attention of the
yogi into the higher level of reality, the chit akash.
Visaya is a normal sense object of this world, something
to which our normal senses are usually attracted to either for
attaching itself or for repulsing itself from.
Vati means something that is similar, something like that.
Objects in the sky of consciousness are also objects but they
do not cause the self to be degraded as the objects in this world
The term pravritti means operation, for active function.
Even though the mastership of yoga is to the stop the
conventional operation of the mental and emotional energies, still
this means that they must be stopped on this side of existence.
Hence the functioning of that energy for perception of
spiritual objects causes the fusion of the mental- emotional force
to a higher reality.
Patanjali is talking about the different means of quieting the mind.
I think it’s important to remember this as we go through the
text. Note the word “OR” which is given in many of these sutras..
this means that the same result can be arrived at by different
means; perhaps according to different termperments, and different
backgrounds. Modern psychology for example
claims that people learn and experience the world in very different
ways. Some people learn audialy, while other
predominantly learn visually or kinesthetically.
And each person’s language evolves around those Ways of experiencing
their reality…i.e. “I SEE what you mean, will be
said by a visual person,
I HEAR what you are saying by an person who predominantly
experiences the world through the faculty of
hearing. I “FEEL” that what you are saying
is…..will be a person who kinesthtecally experiences and learns…and
so what happens when a feeling person talks to a visual person, or
vise versa…and what happens when a teacher is predominantly
kinesthetic and he is talking to a class who are a mixture of all of
So Sri Patanjali is giving these different
means of bringing the mind towards quietude.
Different temperments will take to different approaches…and some
people will not make any sense out of some of these methods.
visokah va jyotismati
visokah – sorrow-less;
va – or; jyotismati – spiritually luminous
Or by sorrowless and spiritual luminous states
The experience of various student yogis differ, but the
similarity is that the experiences cause them to have faith in the
practice of yoga, and it increases their drive for progress.
It is not stereo-typed. One person might
see beyond this physical world into the sky of consciousness.
Another might feel a sorrowless energy or experience sheer
Any of these experiences which are valid alternatives to
this subtle and gross material existence, will result in the
stability of mind required to put a halt to the operations of the
mental and emotional energy, thus leading to personal experiences of
the transcendence, and to mastership of one’s interaction with this
vitaraga visayam va cittam
without; raga – craving; visayam -an object or person; va – or;
cittam – mento-emotional energy
Or fixing the mento- emotional energy on
someone who is without craving.
One may, by association with a great yogi who is free
from craving develop stability to stop the razzy dazzy operations of
the mental and emotional energies. Such
associations can definitely cause this.
svapna nidra jnana alambanam va
dream; nidra – dreamless sleep; jnana – information; alambanam-
taking recourse; va - or
Or by taking recouse to dream or dreamless sleep
Some yogis gain steadiness of mental and emotional
energy by keeping track of their dreams and by remaining objectively
conscious in dreamless sleep. Through these
mystic observations they study the movements of consciousness and
are able to discern reality and non-reality and to situate
themselves in the state which is detached from the normal operations
of the mental and emotional force. For success
in this course a yogi must distance himself from his memory, because
its impressions aggravate the instability of the mind and motivate
the emotional energies to create picture sensations for further
cultural activity in the material world.
Here yet another method is suggested.
these are suggestioins…and things just stated in passing.
The word Or leaves it up to the reader to decide whether or
not he wants to explore this particular avenue or not.
Either way Patanjali is not trying to tell us that there is
only one way to accomplish this objective. Sri
Patanjali is not a fundementalist. Modern
scholars look at him and say he is a scientist and that what he is
giving here is science. But modern science has become very much
concerned with very accurate and specific methods of measuring these
things, and most of what is being presenented here are things for
which there are no instruments fine enough to measure and record the
findings. Each practitioner must divise his own
methodology if he wants to chart and record his findings “as”
science, or with some semblance of scientific principals.
yathabhimata dhyanat va
yatha – as, according; abhimata –
what is dearly desired; dhyanat – from effortless linkage of the
mind to a higher concentration force; va – or
Or it can be achieved from the effortless linkage of the mind
to a higher concentration force which was dearly desired.
This gives the hint that through love and endearment,
one may attain the cessation of the undesirable operations of the
mental and emotional energy. The process of
bhakti or devotion is mentioned in this verse
under the term abhimata which means agreeable, beloved and
some point in going through this text one has to
appreciate not only the work that Sri Patanjali laid out here, but
the depth it takes to translate the Sanskrit into English.
I do not have a grasp of the Sanskrit language, but from
going through this patiently and with an open mind, my appreciation
of what is taking place here grows by the day.
hope that those who read this will gain this appreciation as well
and come to realize how great a debt we have for those who go
through the painstaking task of converting the Sanskrit to English
without distorting it or trying to twist its meaning to something
other than what is being said. We are truly at
the mercy of those who do these translations and I think this
is something that must be acknowledged and not take for granted.
paramanu paramamahattvantah asya
paramanu = paprama – smallest
+ atom; parama – greatest; mahatva – largeness, cosmic
antah – ending, extending to; asya –
of his, him; vasikarah – mastery of the psyche
The mastery of his psyche results in control of his
relationship to the smallest atom or to cosmic proportions.
Some commentators explain that this means the yogi gains
control over what is atomic (anu) and what is
cosmic (mahatva). However on a close check of
the Sanskrit term vasikarah, this does not tally with what Sri
Patanjali indicated. He means that the yogi is
able to control not the atomic and cosmic but rather his
relationship to the same. By controlling the
forces in his psyche, his psychological energies, he acquires a
greater degree of control over his response to what is cosmic and
atomic. Those aspects remain the same in the
universe he inhabits, but his response to them changes in such a way
as to set him in a position of relative immunity to their negative
or spiritually detrimental influences. This
occurs because of the yogin’s detachment, his lack of interest as
described in text 12 and 15.
While a human being is almost compelled to react in a
preset way to a set of circumstances or to a type of energy, the
yogin, because he has switched his energy intake to a higher
concentration force, can side-step most influences and
remain in an unbiased status as conferred on him by his yoga
One, I suppose could assume that because in chapters that follow Sri
Patanjali will discuss the mystic powers that become available to
the yogi that this verse implies this, but Madhvi disagress with
this presumption. It is also interesting that
the commentators Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti in their Yoga
sutras of Patanjali on Concentration of Mind give this
interpetation. All that Patanjali does in the
present sutra is that he is clarifying the notion that the mind has
the ability to concentrate itself on an extremely small (anu)
“object” like the atom, as on an extremely large (mahahat) “object”, like the universe.
The mind can
conceive the infinitely small as well as the infinitely great and
then concentrate itself on it.”
ksinavrtteh abhijatasya iva maneh
grahitr grahana grahyesu tatstha tadanjanata samapattih
ksina – great reduction; vrtteh –
concerning the mento-emotional operations; abhijatasya – of what is
produced all around or transparent; iva –like; maneh – of a gem;
grahitr- perceiver; grahana – flow perception; grahyesu – in what is
perceived; tatstha – basis foundation; tad = tat- that; anjanata –
assuming the nature of or characterization of (anj- to smear with,
to mix with); samapattih – linkage fusion.
In regards to the great reduction of the mento-emotional
operations, there is fusion of the perceiver, the flow of
perceptions and what is perceived, just like the absorption of a
This happens also in ordinary experiences, when a person
becomes totally preoccupied as it were with gross objects or an
endearing feeling. Thus what is as special about
a yogin who achieves this after much practice at greatly reducing
the impulsive operations of his mento-emotional energy.
There must be a difference in the accomplishment of the
yoga. For one thing, the ordinary person is
driven impulsively. He has not practiced to stop
the automatic operations of his mental and emotional energies. He
has no control over the fusion of his consciousness with various
forces to which his mind and emotions are impulsively attracted. He
does not have to purify in psyche which the yogi earned by higher
yoga practice. The yogin’s linkage with higher
concentration forces is quite different to the ordinary man’s
absorption with subtle and gross energy which is perceived by an
It is in this particalar verse and it’s
interpetation that I have great difficulties. In a sense it raises
great concern for me and with all due respect, reverence and awe to
both Sri Patanjali and Sri Madhvacharya I will voice these concerns.
First of all why MUST there be a difference between the spontaneous
operations of an ordinary man and a yogi. A yogi
after all is really just an ordinary man who for one reason or the
next has taken up some form of yoga practice and this in itself
does not make him more “spritual” or “holy” just because he
does this. In fact many people take up yoga for reasons far less
pure than many “ordinary “ people take up careers in accounting or
education. The problem for me is that in the
second sutra the text states that when the mental-emotional
operations are shut down, then the Perciever resides in his pure
self. Well surely that Pure self must be
existing all the while, even at this very moment in everyone, in
every germ…so why single out the yogi and make this distinction just
because he is trying to reach that pure state with this particular
method? And why should he be regarded distinctly
when in fact the pure self is already existing?
And why should be it be an either or game?
ordinary man could stumble on a piece of gold as well as a priest?
The priest is still a man after all he just has different
ambitions, and who knows what is actually motivating him to take up
this process or some other processes?
the psychological world EVERYONE is the star of their own theater.
Everyone feels like the center of the universe and perhaps there is
a good reason why this is so.
We are talking about yoga PRACTICE here,
and so this means, doesn’t it, that the yogi is practicing
something…as a musician would practice music, as an athelete would
practice swimming, trying get proficicent trying to gain some self
control, but there are millions of people PRACTICING and surely
their effort in one sense sets them apart from those who do not
practice anything, but all the same, they are still operating with
essentially the same equipment dealing with the same internal and
artha jnana vikalpaih sankirna savitarka samapattih
tatra – there, in that case; sabda –
word; artha- meaning; jnana – knowledge concerning something;
vikalpaih – with option, alternative, doubt , uncertainty; sankirna
– blending together, mixed; savitarka – thoughtfulness, reasoning,
deliberation; samapattih – fusion linkage
In that case, the deliberate linkage of the mento-emotional
energy to a higher concentrating force occurs when a word, its
meaning and the knowledge of the object alternate within the mind,
blending as it were.
There are various types of linkage between the yogin’s
partially or fully purified attention and some other person or
force. It might be a person or force residing in
his psyche or one that is exterior to it. When
that linkage occurs with the analytical organ being operative, then
it is called deliberative linkage or vitarka samapattih.
Sri Patanjali defined each type of higher linkage to clarify
the various levels of accomplishment of a yogi and to remove any
vagueness regarding lower accomplishment and higher yoga.
this merely another way of saying that the person gains
understanding of the thing he is observing? Could it be, in all of this analysis that some of these processes
are very simple acts that this same self does quite frequently,
consciously or unconsciously, but the feat and by gymnastics of
trying to describe them makes them sound far more complicated and
obscure than they really are for this same perceiver
or observer, or whatever you wish to call him. Or is this
really something very complicated that required real genius to
divine. Of course we are at the same time talking about advanced
yoga practice and not the impulsive mental and emotional conditioned
responses that are ordinarily experienced in modern life, but all
the same…the self is present through it all, and I think this needs
to be acknowledged so that the whole process doesn’t become far too
abstract to the sincere reader who is trying to understand this
smrtiparisuddhau svarupasunya iva arthamatranirbhasa nirvitarka
smrti – memory; parisuddhau – on
complete purification; svarupa- essential nature of something; sunya
– devoid of; iva – as if; artha – meaning; matra – only; nirbhasa –
shining; nirvitarka – fusion or linkage without deliberation of
Non-analytical linkage of his attention to a higher
concentration force occurs when the memory is completely purified
and the essential inquiring nature disappears as it were, such that
the value of that higher force shines through.
This is a description of what a yogi
experiences when he engages in non-analytical linkage of his
attention to a higher concentration force with a purified memory and
when he find that the analytical urges of the buddhi organ cease
functioning. Then he discovers the value of the
higher concentration force or person to which he is linked.
Readers should not get frustrated because these are very
complicated explanations given by Sri Patanjali.
After all, what he describes has to do with very subtle
superphysical and spiritual phenomena. This is
not easy to understand. It gives us an
appreciation of the accomplishments of the great yogins.
Shudda means purity but pari shudda means complete, all
around purity. When the memory is cleaned by a
consistent and thorough practice which results in stopping it’s
impulsive activations and silencing its influences and biases, then
the yogi is able to disarm the buddhi organ.
This is the important clue in this verse.
Because the buddhi carries the weapon of analysis, it is
able to blackmail and intimidate the self into cooperating with the
plan of the impulsive but blind life force and the sensible but
shortsighted senses. Thus when the yogin
silences the weapon of analysis, he becomes freed from its
At that time the senses become powerless to bother him,
because they lose the protective support of their powerful friend,
the analytical intellect organ (buddhi). Thus the yogin no longer
has to fight with the memory to stop it from whimsically and
impulsively showing him so many impressions on their visual and
audial forms. With such distractions reduced to
nil, he progresses quickly and is able to move his attention into
the realm of the chit akash, the sky of consciousness.
am wondering if this is a discription of the mechanics of what we
savicara nirvicara ca suksmavisaya vyakhyata
etaya – by this; eva – only; savicara
– investigative linkage of one’s attention to a higher concetration
force; nirvicara – non-investigative linkage; ca – and; suksma –
subtle; visaya – object; vyakhyata – explained
By this, the investigatative linkage and non- investigative
linkage of one’s attention to a higher concentration force
consisting of subtler objects, was explained.
There is a difference between an analytical linkage and
an investigative one. There is a slight
difference. It depends on the yogi’s interest in
particular subtle phenomenea as well as on the influence of the
higher concentration force to which he is linked.
At a higher stage, he regards the subject of interest without
the bias of analytical or investigative approach.
This is called surrender to the higher concentration force,
person or thing as well as to his relationship with it.
suksmavisayatvam ca alinga
suksma – subtle; visayatvam – what is
concerning the nature of gross objects; ca – and; alinga -
without characteristics; paryavasanam – termination
The insight into the subtle nature of gross objects,
terminates when one becomes linked to the higher concentration force
which has no characteristics.
As far as matter is concerned, a yogin has to research
into it by linking his attention to its subtle states.
Ultimately, he will reach a stage where he connects with the
undifferentiated status of matter which is it’s ultimate stage.
At that point, his research into it terminates.
Yet he still has to discover the role played by the Supreme
activating and manifesting matter.
Sri Patanjali has graciously informed all student-yogins
that when they reach the featureless state of the subtle material
energy, they have reached the end of their research into it.
But this must be discovered by each yogin during the linkage
of his attention to higher concentration forces.
all of this subtle terrain the map and the navigator must pause at
ta eva sabijah samadhih
ta- they; eva – only; sabijah – with
motivation from the mento-emotional energy; samadhih- effortless
continous linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force
The previous descriptions concern the effortless and
continuous linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force,
as motivated by the mento- emotional energy.
After making so much progress in higher yoga, a yogin
realizes that what he was engaged in, was being motivated by the
same mental and emotional energy which he endeavored to transcend.
This is because he discovered that besides himself there was
a force in his psyche which derived fulfillments
from the endeavors. He traces and discovers that
these were a psychic motivational force which derived a pleasure
from his practice.
At that stage the practice begins in earnest and the
purpose of the material energy in the life of the yogi is revealed.
Bowing to the mental and emotional mundane energy in his
psyche he moves on in appreciation. The purpose
for which the Supreme Being caused the limited self, His eternal
partner, to come in contact with a mundane life force and an
investigative organ called a buddhi, now become evident to the
nirvicara vaisaradye adhyatmaprasadah
nivicara = non – investigative
linkage of one’s attention to a higher concentration force;
vaisaradye – on gaining competence; adhyatma – relationship between
the supreme soul and the limited one; prasadah – clarity and
On gaining competence in the non-investigative linkage of
one’s attention to the higher concentration force, one experiences
the clarity and serenity which results from the linkage of the
supreme soul and the limited one.
When the yogin passes beyond the realm of material
nature, his attention links up with spiritual energy in total.
Then he may, if he continues to progress, gain the competence
described in this verse. That causes his limited
spirit to link up with the Supreme personality.
From that connection a serenity of spirit as well as a clarity of
the relation between him and that Supreme person develops.
rtambhara tatra prajna
rtambhara – reality – perceptive,
truth discerning; tatra – there, at that time; prajna – insight
There with that competence, the yogin develops the
The rtambhara buddhi is called by different terms
elsewhere in the Vedic literatures like the Bhagavad-Gita.
It is termed as jnana-dipena and jnana chaksusa.
This means the lighted (dipena) insight (jnana) or the vision
(chaksusa) of insight (jnana). In yoga parlance
it is sometimes called the cleansed brow chakra, or third eye.
However this comes after much practice, when the mental and
emotional energy (citta) is silenced, when it stops vibrating in
reference to the subtle and gross material energy and when it
becomes stabilized and converts the imagination orb into exacting
Srila Yogeshwara of Gangotri, that great yogin, rated
this rtambhara buddhi highly. He recommended its
development to all yogins. Sri Patanjali
clarified that until one reaches the stage of nivicara Samadhi, that
of non-investigative linkage of one’s attention to a highter
concentration force in the chit akash, one cannot develop this
rtambhara buddhi. Patanjali identified the stage
at which a yogin develops this.
anumana prajnabhyam anyavisaya visesarthatvat
sruta – what is heard; anumana – what
is surmised or seasoned out; prajnabhyam- from the two methods of
insight; anya – other; visaya – object; visesa – particular aspect;
arthavat – because of an object
It is different from the two methods of insight which are
based on what is heard and what is reasoned out, because that is
limited to a particular aspect of an object.
Direct perception with the reality-perceptive insight is
different to conventional perception which is
based on what is heard or read of and what is surmised or reasoned
out on the basis of lower sense perception. This
is because in lower sense perception, the mind can only deal with
one aspect at a time. It then presents this to
the buddhi organ for analysis and comparison.
Then through prejudiced notions one forms opinions.
This is haphazard.
ajjah samskarah anyasamskara
taj= tat- that; jah- which is
produced from; samskarah- the impressions; anya- other; samkara-
impression; pratibandhi- the preventer, that
which effectively suppresses something else
That impression which is produced from the reality-perceptive
insight, acts as the preventer of the other impressions.
Sri Patanjali’s Sanskrit language and dissection of yoga
practice is precise. Let us say for example that
a car shifts into second gear at 25 miles per hour.
The driver might never realize the fact, however, the
engineer who designed the transmission or another observant person
would know of the 25 mile per hour speed
shifting requirement. Some persons who have
mastered higher yoga to a degree are to an extent ignorant of the
details of higher yoga practice. Unfortunately
some of these persons took up the task of translating and commenting
on these sutras. They gave opinions that are at
variance with what Patanjali intended.
Sri Patanjali composed a Sanskrit grammar which means
that he was very knowledgable of the language.
To deal with his Sanskrit, one has to know Sanskrit grammar
thoroughly. Patanjali was very observant of his
own yoga practice and had good schooling in it.
Besides he is a mahayogin from his previous births.
Thus to translate and comment on his sutras is a challenge
for anyone. In any case, he did use a great
favor by showing up the stages of higher yoga, a process which to
say the least, is vague even to many of the yogins who reached the
higher practice. This is because of the subtlety of the experiences
and the failure of yogins to observe the minute details as Sri
Patanjali did. By a careful study of the
information, any yogi can get some idea of where he is located on
Sri Patanjali informed us, that the impression derived
from the reality-perceptive insight acts as a preventer to the other
impressions in the psyche which were formed by the lower buddhi
organ and which bother a student yogi.
This information is significant, because in higher yoga
one wonders when and where, one will get rid of the impressions
which arise repeatedly in the mind and jar one lose from the
prescribed focus. The answer is that until one
develps the reality-perceptive insight as stipulated here, one will
not able to completely suppress the distracting impressions.
One will have to tolerate them to a degree and use other
partial controlling methods. This clears
misconceptions and gives the student yogi hope that a time will come
when the bothersome memories will be suppressed.
tasyapi nirodhe sarvanirodhat nirbijah
tasya - of that (preventative
impression); api- also; nirodhe – on the non operation; sarva – all;
nirodhat – resulting from that non-operation; nirbijah – not
motivated by the mento-emotional energy; samadhi – continuous
effortless linkage of the attention to the higher concentration
The continous effortless linkage of the attention to the
higher concentration force which is not motivated by this
mento-emotional energy, occurs when there is a non-operation, even
of that preventative impression which caused the suppression of all
other lower memories.
When all the impressions cease to be activated, when
they all seem to be finished for good, then the highest
contemplation occurs. That is a contemplation which is not motivated
from this end of existence. It is controlled by
and operated by the higher spiritual level of existence, from the
other side of life, the chit akash.
Traditionally this first chapter is called Samadhi pada,
which means the chapter defining Samadhi. The Second chapter is
usually called sadhana pada, which deals with the practice of yoga.
That is of special interest to the student yogis.
After describing the higher yoga, the so-called raja yoga,
Sri Patanjali described the practice of yoga as it is.
Anyone who calls himself a yogi or aspires for that honor,
should pay close attention to the second chapter.