Patanjali 1:1 – 1:2

patanjali_yoga_sutras

These explanations are from the writings of Swami Vivekananda.

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

1. Now concentration is explained.

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥

2. Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).

A good deal of explanation is necessary here. We have to understand what Chitta is, and what the Vrittis are. I have eyes. Eyes do not see. Take away the brain centre which is in the head, the eyes will still be there, the retinae complete, as also the pictures of objects on them, and yet the eyes will not see. So the eyes are only a secondary instrument, not the organ of vision. The organ of vision is in a nerve centre of the brain. The two eyes will not be sufficient. Sometimes a man is asleep with his eyes open. The light is there and the picture is there, but a third thing is necessary — the mind must be joined to the organ. The eye is the external instrument; we need also the brain centre and the agency of the mind. Carriages roll down a street, and you do not hear them. Why? Because your mind has not attached itself to the organ of hearing. First, there is the instrument, then there is the organ, and third, the mind attached to these two. The mind takes the impression farther in, and presents it to the determinative faculty — Buddhi — which reacts. Along with this reaction flashes the idea of egoism. Then this mixture of action and reaction is presented to the Purusha, the real Soul, who perceives an object in this mixture.

The mind takes the impression farther in, and presents it to the determinative faculty — Buddhi — which reacts. Along with this reaction flashes the idea of egoism. Then this mixture of action and reaction is presented to the Purusha, the real Soul, who perceives an object in this mixture.

The organs (Indriyas), together with the mind (Manas), the determinative faculty (Buddhi), and egoism (Ahamkâra), form the group called the Antahkarana (the internal instrument). They are but various processes in the mind-stuff, called Chitta. The waves of thought in the Chitta are called Vrittis (literally “whirlpool”). What is thought? Thought is a force, as is gravitation or repulsion. From the infinite storehouse of force in nature, the instrument called Chitta takes hold of some, absorbs it and sends it out as thought. Force is supplied to us through food, and out of that food the body obtains the power of motion etc. Others, the finer forces, it throws out in what we call thought. So we see that the mind is not intelligent; yet it appears to be intelligent. Why? Because the intelligent soul is behind it. You are the only sentient being; mind is only the instrument through which you catch the external world. Take this book; as a book it does not exist outside, what exists outside is unknown and unknowable. The unknowable furnishes the suggestion that gives a blow to the mind, and the mind gives out the reaction in the form of a book, in the same manner as when a stone is thrown into the water, the water is thrown against it in the form of waves. The real universe is the occasion of the reaction of the mind. A book form, or an elephant form, or a man form, is not outside; all that we know is our mental reaction from the outer suggestion. “Matter is the permanent possibility of sensations,” said John Stuart Mill. It is only the suggestion that is outside. Take an oyster for example. You know how pearls are made. A parasite gets inside the shell and causes irritation, and the oyster throws a sort of enamelling round it, and this makes the pearl. The universe of experience is our own enamel, so to say, and the real universe is the parasite serving as nucleus. The ordinary man will never understand it, because when he tries to do so, he throws out an enamel, and sees only his own enamel. Now we understand what is meant by these Vrittis. The real man is behind the mind; the mind is the instrument in his hands; it is his intelligence that is percolating through the mind. It is only when you stand behind the mind that it becomes intelligent. When man gives it up, it falls to pieces and is nothing. Thus you understand what is meant by Chitta. It is the mind-stuff, and Vrittis are the waves and ripples rising in it when external causes impinge on it. These Vrittis are our universe.

Thus you understand what is meant by Chitta. It is the mind-stuff, and Vrittis are the waves and ripples rising in it when external causes impinge on it. These Vrittis are our universe.

The bottom of a lake we cannot see, because its surface is covered with ripples. It is only possible for us to catch a glimpse of the bottom, when the ripples have subsided, and the water is calm. If the water is muddy or is agitated all the time, the bottom will not be seen. If it is clear, and there are no waves, we shall see the bottom. The bottom of the lake is our own true Self; the lake is the Chitta and the waves the Vrittis. Again, the mind is in three states, one of which is darkness, called Tamas, found in brutes and idiots; it only acts to injure. No other idea comes into that state of mind. Then there is the active state of mind, Rajas, whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. “I will be powerful and rule others.” Then there is the state called Sattva, serenity, calmness, in which the waves cease, and the water of the mind-lake becomes clear. It is not inactive, but rather intensely active. It is the greatest manifestation of power to be calm. It is easy to be active. Let the reins go, and the horses will run away with you. Anyone can do that, but he who can stop the plunging horses is the strong man. Which requires the greater strength, letting go or restraining? The calm man is not the man who is dull. You must not mistake Sattva for dullness or laziness. The calm man is the one who has control over the mind waves. Activity is the manifestation of inferior strength, calmness, of the superior.

Activity is the manifestation of inferior strength, calmness, of the superior.

The Chitta is always trying to get back to its natural pure state, but the organs draw it out. To restrain it, to check this outward tendency, and to start it on the return journey to the essence of intelligence is the first step in Yoga, because only in this way can the Chitta get into its proper course.

Although the Chitta is in every animal, from the lowest to the highest, it is only in the human form that we find it as the intellect. Until the mind-stuff can take the form of intellect it is not possible for it to return through all these steps, and liberate the soul. Immediate salvation is impossible for the cow or the dog, although they have mind, because their Chitta cannot as yet take that form which we call intellect.

The Chitta manifests itself in the following forms — scattering, darkening, gathering, one-pointed, and concentrated. The scattering form is activity. Its tendency is to manifest in the form of pleasure or of pain. The darkening form is dullness which tends to injury. The commentator says, the third form is natural to the Devas, the angels, and the first and second to the demons. The gathering form is when it struggles to centre itself. The one-pointed form is when it tries to concentrate, and the concentrated form is what brings us to Samâdhi.

The one-pointed form is when it tries to concentrate, and the concentrated form is what brings us to Samâdhi.

~ Swami Vivekananda

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Comments

  • vinaire  On June 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    The steps involved in perception seems to be:
    (1) The external instrument that receives the stimulus (such as eye)
    (2) The internal instrument (Antahkarana) has
    — brain center that coverts stimulus to a signal (indriya)
    — mind that imparts attention to that signal (manas)
    — Discriminating faculty that decodes the signal (buddhi)
    — Egoism that adds itself as reaction to the signal (ahamkara)
    (3) The mixture of decoded data and reaction to it, is then finally examined (Purusha)

    All this is said to be happening in the mind-stuff called Chitta. All these happenings are identified as Vrittis (literally “whirlpool”)

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    “Thought is a force, as is gravitation or repulsion. From the infinite storehouse of force in nature, the instrument called Chitta takes hold of some, absorbs it and sends it out as thought.”

    .

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    “Force is supplied to us through food, and out of that food the body obtains the power of motion etc. Others, the finer forces, it throws out in what we call thought.”

    .

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    “The bottom of the lake is our own true Self; the lake is the Chitta and the waves the Vrittis.”

    .

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    “Again, the mind is in three states, one of which is darkness, called Tamas, found in brutes and idiots; it only acts to injure. No other idea comes into that state of mind. Then there is the active state of mind, Rajas, whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. “I will be powerful and rule others.” Then there is the state called Sattva, serenity, calmness, in which the waves cease, and the water of the mind-lake becomes clear. It is not inactive, but rather intensely active. It is the greatest manifestation of power to be calm. It is easy to be active. Let the reins go, and the horses will run away with you. Anyone can do that, but he who can stop the plunging horses is the strong man. Which requires the greater strength, letting go or restraining? The calm man is not the man who is dull. You must not mistake Sattva for dullness or laziness. The calm man is the one who has control over the mind waves.”

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    If we consider Scientology in light of these definitions of the three Gunas, the primary chracteristic of Scienytology is RAJAS.
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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    “Until the mind-stuff can take the form of intellect it is not possible for it to return through all these steps, and liberate the soul.”

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    RK Dixit wrote on June 17, 2013:

    Constantly trying to calm the vrittis –waves but mind is a big ocean not a pond and find it so difficult to calm it and see the bottom –the self .Some time feel that the short time left ,I should not tax myself and let it go –flow as it is , Great effort on your part to disseminate knowledge .Thanks .Beautiful that you are trying to refocus on these issues . Great sages left their imprints and we need to follow .I am reading and rereading . Not able to post from your blog since it says that email address not valid –well I do not know . RKDIXIT

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    RK, I am concentrating my efforts to spotting inconsistencies in my own thoughts as i read great scriptures. Resolving these inconsistencies is where real learning is taking place for me.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    “Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind. Then there is abiding in the Seer’s own form.”

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  • vinaire  On June 19, 2013 at 5:45 AM

    From http://www.swamij.com/pdf/yogasutrasinterpretive.pdf

    Yoga means union of the parts of ourselves, which were never divided in the first place. Yoga literally means to yoke, from the root yuj, which means to join; it is the same as the absorption in the state of samadhi. Sutra means thread, and this thread, or multiple threads weave a tapestry of insight and direct experience.

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    To me, Yoga would be getting rid of all inconsistencies.

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  • vinaire  On June 19, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    1.1 Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.
    (atha yoga anushasanam)

    atha = now, at this auspicious moment; implying the transition to this practice
    and pursuit, after prior preparation; implying a blessing at this moment of
    transition

    yoga = of yoga, union; literally, to yoke, from the root yuj, which means to
    join or to integrate; same as the absorption in samadhi

    anu = within, or following tradition; implies being subsequent to something
    else, in this case, the prior preparation

    shasanam = instruction, discipline, training, teaching, exposition, explanation;
    Shas implies the imparting of teaching that happens along with discipline

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  • vinaire  On June 19, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    1.2 Yoga is the control (nirodhah, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, stilling, quieting, setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought patterns) of the mind field.
    (yogash chitta vritti nirodhah)

    * yoga = of yoga, union; literally, to yoke, from the root yuj, which means to join; same as the absorption in samadhi

    * chitta = of the consciousness of the mind-field

    * vritti = operations, activities, fluctuations, modifications, changes, or various forms of the mind-field

    * nirodhah = control, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, understanding, stilling, quieting, setting aside of

    .

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