Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1:41—1:51

Reference: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

These notes are derived from the book FOUR CHAPTERS ON FREEDOM by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, First edition 1976, Published by Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India.


Sutra 1:41 Oneness of chitta with object

Ksinavrtterabhijatasyeva manergrahitrgrahanagrahyesu tatsthatadanjanata samapattih II 41 II

Ksinavrtteh: whom the vrittis have weakened; abhijatasya: well-polished, purified; iva: just like; maneh: of the crystal; grahitr: cognizer; grahana: senses; grahyesu: in the objects of cognition; tatstha: on which it stays or rests; tadahjanata: taking the colour of that; samapattih: complete absorption

Samapatti is a state of complete absorption of the mind which is free from vrittis into (the three types of objects such as) cognizer, cognized and the senses, just as a polished crystal takes the colour of that on which it rests. (41)

The word samapatti (समापत्ति) means complete acceptance. It is the immediate end in view before one practices samadhi. In samapatti, all disturbance in consciousness fades away. This gives rise to purely objective consciousness of the object upon which the mind is cast. When you practise trataka (त्राटक) ormeditation on an object like a shivalinga, the vrittis (disturbances in consciousness) diminish slowly. There are six  stages of fusion of your consciousness in relation to the object on which you are meditating. These are called respectively savitarka, nirvitarka, savichara, nirvichara, ananda and asmita. Ultimately there is a sudden flash of consciousness when the mind fuses completely with the object. The three facets of the object, such as, name, form and meaning become one. 


Sutra 1:42 Savitarka samadhi

Tatra sabdarthajnanavikalpaih sankirna savitarka samapattih II 42 II

Tatra: there, in that state; sabda: word, sound: artha: true knowledge; jnana: reasoning; vikalpaih: by alternation; sankirna: mixed up, confused; savitarka: with worded thinking; samapattih: complete absorption 

In that state (of samadhi) on account of alternating consciousness between word, true knowledge and sense perception, the mixed state of mind is known as savitarka samapatti. (42)

Samapatti includes various states. The first state is called savitarka. In it the mind keeps moving between word, knowledge and sense perception. For example, when we think of a rose, we think of its name, properties and concept. Due to impurities caused by past experience, these elements become confused. When we meditate we first visualize the the outer layer, or form; then the deeper qualities; and, finally, the innermost essence. Savitarka is the outer layer and below it are the layers called nirvitarka, savichara and nirvichara. Ultimately it sees the innermost essence, called drashta (seer).

The ultimate basis of consciousness is called the “seed”, which is represented by linga (लिङ्ग). In the practice of japa with linga, the consciousness alternates between shabda, artha and jnana. In japa, you first think about the word; then you may add the form of the object; and then you should think of its various qualities. You separate the three elements of consciousness to arrive at the purpose of the object, and make them fuse into one again.


Sutra 1:43 Nirvitarka samadhi 

Smrtiparisuddhau svarupasunyevarthamatranirbhasa nirvitarka II 43 II

Smrti: memory; pari: complete; suddhau: purification; svarupa: one’s own form; sunya: devoid of; I: as if; artha: object, purpose; matra: only; nirbhasa: shining; nirvitarka: without vitarka 

After the clarification of memory, when the mind is as if devoid of self-awareness and the true knowledge of the object is alone shining within, that is nirvitarka. (43)

Nirvitarka samadhi is without argumentation, and there is no confusion of name, form and meaning of objects. Smriti (memory) becomes the awareness that is absolutely free of past impressions and associations. The subjectivity of the mind is lost, and true knowledge of the object shines within. In other words, the mental matrix becomes totally assimilated. 


Sutra 1:44 Other forms of samadhi

Etayaiva savichara nirvichara cha suksmavisaya vyakhyata II 44 II

Etaya: by this; eva: itself, alone; savichara: samadhi with reflection; nirvichara: samadhi without reflection; cha: and; suksmavisaya: subtle objects; vyakhyata: explained 

By this explanation alone savichara samadhi, nirvichara samadhi and subtler stages of samadhi have been explained. (44)

The savitarka and nirvitarka meditation on form involves language. Even one-pointedness is based on language. The student is aware of an object, its name, form and qualities. In savichara, one does not think of any object in terms of normal understanding. There is no form present. The whole process is through reflection that has no language. In nirvichara, the space, time and idea are taken out but behind that something else remains, and that is called the essential nature of thought. Ananda and asmita are subtle stages of samadhi in which the object of fusion is bliss and awareness respectively. In ananda there is the feeling of absolute peace and absolute bliss, but that bliss is not the state of your sense experience. In asmita, the awareness is absolutely pure, there is no thought, there is no awareness of time or space, and there is complete understanding or realization of that awareness. Only a pattern of ‘I-ness’ remains


Sutra 1:45 Extent of samadhi

Suksmavisayatvam chalirigaparyavasanam II 45 II

Suksmavisayatvam: the subtle stages of samadhi; cha: and; alinga: prakriti; paryavasanam: extension 

The stages of samadhi in respect to subtle objects extend up to alinga. (45)

In the first stage there is the combination of sattva, rajas and tamas (see GUNA). In the second stage sattva grows and rajas and tamas become subservient. In the third stage sattva alone remains, and in the fourth stage sattva, rajas and tamas cannot be differentiated. Your consciousness is seen by you as a mark. In the fourth stage there is no mark; you cannot say where the consciousness is. This occurs when alinga state is reached. The field of experience of ananda and asmita samadhi extends up to alinga. (NOTE: These Sanskrit terms are defined in the Glossary for Patanjali Yoga.)


Sutra 1:46 Samadhi with seed

Ta eva sabijah samadhih  II 46 II

Tah: those; eva: only; sabijah: with seed; samadhih: samadhi 

Those (stages which have been explained before) are only samadhi with seed. (46)

The whole process from savitarka to asmita is sabeeja samadhi. There, the superconsciousness has a basis to rest upon. Asmita is the highest stage of consciousness with a basis. After this it is nirbeeja (without seed) consciousness. It is simply experience. There is no word, no idea, nothing. 


Sutra 1:47 Then spiritual light dawns 

Nirvicharavaisaradye’dhyatmaprasadah II 47 II

Nirvichara: nirvichara samadhi; vaisaradye: after becoming absolutely expert; adhyatma: spiritual; prasadah: illumination, or purity 

After becoming absolutely perfect in nirvichara samadhi the spiritual light dawns. (47)

When the nirvichara stage is perfected, a different aspect of awareness is born. There is an end of consciousness where intellectual functioning ceases completely; and a different consciousness overtakes the aspirant. It is a special form of consciousness, which is called atmadrashta (perceivers of the self).


Sutra 1:48 Cosmic experience

Rtambhara tatra prajna II 48 II

Rtambhara: full of experience; tatra: there; prajna: superconsciousness 

There (at the borderline of nirvichara samadhi) the superconsciousness becomes full with cosmic experience. (48)

The entire universe (sat सत) is a process of evolution. It has two aspects called ritam (ऋतम् absolute, cosmic) and satyam  (सत्यम् relative). Ritam is  changeless; whereas, satyam is changing and interdependent—it is perceptible by the senses and understandable by the mind. The world of planets and stars is satyam because it is relative, but the absolute, ritam, is beyond energy and change. After nirvichara, the superconsciousness of the spiritual aspirant becomes full of ritam, absolute knowledge. It appears to be still and void (shoonya शून्य). It is not seen and so it is said to be cosmic – ritam.

The creation of the universe began with ritam and satyam. Satyam ultimately becomes part of ritam. It is believed in Indian philosophy that creation is eternal. There can be no creator. As the universe cannot arise from nothing, how can there be nothing? As it is without beginning, the universe must be without end also. Matter and energy will be undergoing change in name and form, but this cosmic law can be understood only through spiritual consciousness.


Sutra 1:49 Characteristics of this experience 

Srutanumanaprajnabhyamanyavisaya visesarthatvat II 49 II

Sruta: heard; anumana: inference; prajnabhyam: from the two types of consciousness; anyavisaya: another object; visesarthatvat: because of having a particular object 

This knowledge is different from the knowledge acquired through testimony and inference because it has a special object. (49)

Consciousness or Knowledge is of two types: lower and higher. The lower knowledge consists of shruti (testimony) and anumana (inferences). This is indirect knowledge. It depends upon the senses and the intellect. You hear about atman from the guru or from the scriptures. Through inference we know that there should be a creator of this world.

The higher knowledge comes from seeing things directly as they are. It is actual knowledge. He who has seen the self cannot explain it because it is not a subject of speech and mind. 


Sutra 1:50 Dynamic form of consciousness in samadhi 

Tajjah samskaro’nyasamkarapratibandhi II 50 II

Tajjah: born of that; samskarah: dynamic consciousness; anya: of other; samskara: dynamic consciousness; pratibandhi: that which prevents 

Dynamic consciousness born of that (sabeeja samadhi) prevents other states of consciousness. (50)

A samskara is an unassimilated impression (seed) that modifies the dynamic display of consciousness so much so that other states of consciousness are suppressed. This is the case when sense perceptions dominate. Through samyama (control of the senses), when ritambhara prajna (assimilation of impressions) takes place, the highest state of sabeeja samadhi is attained. However, there is still a state of concentration that suppresses other states of consciousness.


Sutra 1:51 Then one attains samadhi without seed

Tasyapi nirodhe sarvanirodhannirbijah samadhih II 51 II

Tasya: of that; api: also; nirodha: by blocking; sarva: all; nirodhān: by blocking; nirbijah: seedless; samadhih: samadhi 

After blocking of even that due to blocking of all chitta vrittis, seedless samadhi is attained. (51)

In the highest state of sabeeja samadhi, there is still a seed that needs to be eliminated, even when that seed has the form of purusha, Shiva,  or Aum. For that you need a different consciousness called ritambhara prajna and that does all the work. Ritambhara means “bearing the truth in itself”. It refers to the cosmic harmony, or to the mental matrix in which all impressions are assimilated. It comes from Ritam, which is the absolute, cosmic or changeless aspect of this universe. It appears to be still and void (shoonya शून्य). But this ultimate state is peaceful, yet dynamic. That particular light which was illuminating the objects is withdrawn; that is the only process. It is withdrawn from the outer world and goes inside, and while it goes inside, it keeps on illuminating the inner passages, the inner chambers of vitarka, vichara, ananda and asmita.


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