Patanjali Yoga Sutras Chapter 2

Reference: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Chapter 2: Sadhana Pada (On practice)
Verses 2:1- 2:55

Reference: The Sun of Sanskrit Knowledge

Sutras (1-2) – What to do as Sadhana
Sutras (3-11) – Obstacles
Sutras (12-15) – Origin of Obstacles
Sutras (16-28) – Removing Obstacles
Sutras (29-39) – Yama
Sutras (40-45) – Niyama
Sutras (46-48) – Asana
Sutras (49-53) – Pranayama
Sutras (54-55) – Pratyahara


Summary of Sadhana Pada

In this chapter Sage Patanjali talks about the methods of attaining yoga. These methods result in the the erosion of obstacles and attainment of samadhi.

The obstacles are ignorance, wrong identification of the self, attraction, aversion, and fixation. Ignorance is the source of all others obstacles. Ignorance is thinking impermanent to be permanent, impure to be pure, unpleasant to be pleasant, and something that is not self to be self. The root of these obstacles is the heap of karmas (actions), which causes suffering in the current birth and in others.

One should work upon resolving the obstacles even before they happen. You can do so by uniting the SEER with the SEEN. The SEER sees because it is being and has the power of sight. The SEEN manifests, acts and continues. It has substance that can be experienced and released. It is specific or generic that can be defined or undefined. The SEEN exists so that it can be seen. That’s its entire purpose.

The realization of true self requires the realization that both creator and creation are one. The apparent identification of body, mind and self exists because of ignorance. As this ignorance is removed through continuous awareness of what is not self (net, neti), one attains to the true sense of unity (kaivalyam). This is the higher self.

This method called Yoga has eight components: yama (self-discipline), niyama (strict-regimen), Asana (posture), prANAyAma (breath control), pratyAhAra (sensory withdrawal), dhAraNa (concentration), dhyAna (meditation), and samAdhi (equanimity)

Yama consists of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, focus on divine, and non-covetousness. Such observance are universally applicable; and they are not modified by one’s country, birth, time, place and circumstances. The illogical thoughts, and practices, such as violence, come from greed and delusion.

Niyama consists of cleanliness, contentment, penance, and abiding in the Divine. By being established in cleanliness, one rises beyond the attachment for one’s own body parts, and over the sexual desire for the other’s. If one is troubled by the thoughts of straying away from yama and niyama, one should remind oneself of the outcome of the alternative choice.

Asana (posture) should be such that it provides a firm foundation for meditation and is pleasant to maintain.

In pranayama, one exercises the separation of the flow of inhalations and exhalations. With this practice the mind becomes eligible to hold concentration.

With pratyahara, the senses are no longer compulsively engaged in reacting to the objects in the environment. So, then they become capable of grasping what lies beyond.

NOTE: The remaining three components of Yoga are described in Chapter 3 of Patanjali Yoga Sutra.


Sutras (1-2) – What to do as Sadhana

तपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः॥१॥
Tapaḥsvādhyāyeśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyāyogaḥ ||1||

tapaH=’penance’, svAdhyAyA=’study of the self’, IshwarapraNidhAna=’Abiding in the Divine’, constitute the process of kriyAyogaH=’Yoga of Internal Action’. (1)

In this chapter Sage Patanjali talks about the methods of attaining yoga. There are three such methods that fall under the category of Kriya Yoga. The first method is penance, where you build up the heat, or energy, in your body. The second method involves the mind to study the self. And the third method is immersing oneself in Ishwara.


समाधिभावनार्थः क्लेशतनूकरणार्थश्च॥२॥
Samādhibhāvanārthaḥ kleśatanūkaraṇārthaśca ||2||

These processes result in the attainment of SamAdhi=’Equanimity of the Mind’, and the erosion of klesha=’Obstacles’. (2)

The purpose of Kriya Yoga is to experience the state of samadhi and reduce afflictions.


Sutras (3-11) – Obstacles

अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशाः पञ्च क्लेशाः॥३॥
Avidyāsmitārāgadveṣābhiniveśāḥ pañca kleśāḥ ||3||

avidyA=’Ignorance’, asmitA=’Wrong identification of the Self’, rAga=’Affection’, dveSha=’Aversion’, and abhinivesha=’Clinging’ are kleshas=’Obstacles’. (3)

There are five kleshas mentioned in this sutra. These are ignorance, wrong identification of the self, affection, aversion, and fixation. All these are obstacles to sAdhana and samAdhi.


अविद्या क्षेत्रमुत्तरेषां प्रसुप्ततनुविच्छिन्नोदाराणाम्॥४॥
Avidyā kṣetramuttareṣāṁ prasuptatanuvicchinnodārāṇām ||4||

avidyA=’Ignorance’ is the source of all the others, which are of the levels of prasupta=’Dormant’, tanu=’Feeble’, vichChinna=’Intermittent’ and udAra=’Profuse’. (4)

All these obstacles stem from the same source, which is avidyA. If avidyA is absent, all other obstacles will also not be there. These obstacles can be in four forms: dormant, feebly active, intermittently active, or fully active.


अनित्याशुचिदुःखानात्मसु नित्यशुचिसुखात्मख्यातिरविद्या॥५॥
Anityāśuciduḥkhānātmasu nityaśucisukhātmakhyātiravidyā ||5||

avidyA=’Ignorance’ is thinking anitya=’Impermanent’ to be nitya=’Permanent’; ashuchi=’Impure’ to be shuchi=’Pure’; duHkha=’Unpleasantness’ to be sukha=’Pleasantness’; and anAtma=’Not the Self’ to be Atma=’Self’. (5)

This sutra defines avidyA itself. avidyA (ignorance) is mistaken perception. Everything that is physical in this world is impermanent. Thinking of them as permanent is ignorance. Similarly, thinking of things that are unclean as clean; mistaking the state of misery to be a desired state; and looking at that which is not the self as the knowledge of the self—all this wrong knowledge is avidyA. On a cosmic scale, avidya is called maya.


Dṛgdarśanaśaktyorekātmatevāsmitā ||6||

asmitA=’Wrong identification of the Self’ is the apparent unity between drk=’Seer’ and darshana-shakti=’The power of sight’. (6)

From avidyA springs asmitA, which is the wrong identification of the Self. This is problematic for those who are in pursuit of Yoga. One is confusing the power to experience that lies within as oneself. The true self is much more basic or fundamental than just the power to experience. We see that there is an experience present; and as we think of the cause of that experience, and try to identify the true sense of self, we might get stuck and limited at the level of just identifying the ability to experience as ME. That ignorance where we get stuck at one level and do not go beyond to identify the true sense of self is asmitA.


सुखानुशयी रागः॥७॥
Sukhānuśayī rāgaḥ ||7||

rAga=’Affection’ is an outcome of sukha=’Pleasantness’. (7)

rAga is passion or affection. It might be pleasant but still it is an obstacle. If an experience is pleasant, it leads to a craving for it. Such craving is the obstacle  of rAga. 


दुःखानुशयी द्वेषः॥८॥
Duḥkhānuśayī dveṣaḥ ||8||

dveSha=’Aversion’ is an outcome of duHkha=’Unpleasantness’. (8)

If something is unpleasant, aversion builds up towards it. This also becomes an obstacle to sadhanA. Thus, clinging to pleasantness and unpleasantness—both of them are obstacles.


स्वरसवाही विदुषोऽपि तथारूढोऽभिनिवेशः॥९॥
Svarasavāhī viduṣo’pi tathārūḍho’bhiniveśaḥ ||9||

abhinivesha=’Clinging’ flows out of svarsa=’Interest in one’s own Self’, and is established even among viduShas=’The knowledgable ones’. (9)

The final obstacle is abhinivesha, which means ‘clinging’ or ‘being invested in’ or ‘strongly attached’ to something. It is an obstacle even for those who are knowledgable and know better. It flows out of one’s own self-interest and the basic instincts for survival. It is best understood by looking at one’s own self-interests. It is different for different people.


ते प्रतिप्रसवहेयाः सूक्ष्माः॥१०॥
Te pratiprasavaheyāḥ sūkṣmāḥ ||10||

These above mentioned kleshas are sUkShma=‘Subtle’, and need to be reduced by attending to the roots of their origin. (10)

These are very subtle internal states and difficult to withdraw from. They have to be handled once and for all, such that they do not recur.


Dhyānaheyāstadvṛttayaḥ ||11||

Their manifestations can be reduced through dhyAna=‘Meditation’. (11)

Through dhyAna, these compulsive, cyclical obstacles can be removed once and for all.


Sutras (12-15) – Origin of Obstacles

क्लेशमूलः कर्माशयो दृष्टादृष्टजन्मवेदनीयः॥१२॥
Kleśamūlaḥ karmāśayo dṛṣṭādṛṣṭajanmavedanīyaḥ ||12||

The root of these kleshas is the heap of karmas=‘Actions’ which causes suffering in the current birth and in others. (12)

Patanjali now looks at the origin of these kleshas. The consequences of karma (actions) that one has engaged in the past, consciously or unconsciously, must be suffered eventually. This suffering occurs in the present life and in future lives too. So, the root cause of these kleshas is this heap of karmas.


सति मूले तद्विपाको जात्यायुर्भोगाः॥१३॥
Sati mūle tadvipāko jātyāyurbhogāḥ ||13||

As long as this root exists, it results in the fruits of jAti=“Birth’, AyuH=‘Life Span’, and bhogAH=‘Experiences’. (13)

karmAshaya (heap of karmas) exists in the form of impressions in the mind that are yet to be fully assimilated. Until they are fully assimilated these impressions cause the cycle of birth, life span and experiences to continue again and again.


ते ह्लादपरितापफलाः पुण्यापुण्यहेतुत्वात्॥१४॥
Te hlādaparitāpaphalāḥ puṇyāpuṇyahetutvāt ||14||

They in-turn result in the fruits of AhlAda=‘Delight’, and paritApa=‘Dejection’ due to the causes of puNya=‘Virtue’ and apuNya=‘Vice’ respectively. (14)

The heap of karmas result in both pleasantness and unpleasantness because of the virtues and vices associated with them. Such variations alternate as in waves and keep the life going.


परिणामतापसंस्कारदुःखैर्गुणवृत्तिविरोधाच्च दुःखमेव सर्वं विवेकिनः॥१५॥
Pariṇāmatāpasaṁskāraduḥkhairguṇavṛttivirodhācca duḥkhameva sarvaṁ vivekinaḥ ||15||

Those who are driven by the intellect, perceive everything as unpleasant since everything has an intrinsic nature of change, which leads to afflictions and misery, and due to the conflicting nature of the actions born out of the three guNas. (15)

One who can discern the nature of these cyclical actions, sees duHkha (suffering) in everything. They can see that they are eternally stuck in a loop, and anything pleasant is just fleeting and momentary as it changes. That heap of karmas, which are at the root of all afflictions, are born of conflicting guNas within us and become impressions that continually impress upon us generating suffering.


Sutras (16-28) – Removing Obstacles

हेयं दुःखमनागतम्॥१६॥
Heyaṁ duḥkhamanāgatam ||16||

Unpleasantness which has not yet come about, needs to be avoided. (16)

Patanjali now talks about how to remove these kleshas (obstacles). He says—don’t wait for sorrow to come; avoid it. In other words, work upon avoiding sorrow even before it approaches you. For example, don’t wait for thirst to dig a well; dig a well before you feel thirsty.


द्रष्टृदृश्ययोः संयोगो हेयहेतुः॥१७॥
Draṣṭṛdṛśyayoḥ saṁyogo heyahetuḥ ||17||

Uniting the draShTA=‘The one who sees’, and the dRShyam=‘That which is seen’ is the cause which helps one avoid it. (17)

Usually there is this distinction between ‘me’ and the ‘other’, and the ‘other’ is always the issue. When you eliminate that distinction between ‘me’ and ‘not me’, you are fully prepared to handle any sorrow even before it approaches. 


प्रकाशक्रियास्थितिशीलं भूतेन्द्रियात्मकं भोगापवर्गार्थं दृश्यम्॥१८॥
Prakāśakriyāsthitiśīlaṁ bhūtendriyātmakaṁ bhogāpavargārthaṁ dṛśyam ||18||

dRShyam=‘That which is seen’ has the tendencies of prakAsha=‘Manifestation’, kriyA=‘Action’, and stithi=‘Continuation’; is of the nature of bhUta=‘Elements’, and indriya=’Senses’; and serves the purpose of bhoga=‘Experience’ and apavarga=‘Release’. (18)

Patanjali now describes the nature of our experience and its various attributes. What we experience has the tendencies of manifestation, activity, and the stability of that activity. It consists of the five elements, and the senses. It serves the purpose of taking in (experience), and releasing outwards (liberation).  


विशेषाविशेषलिङ्गमात्रालिङ्गानि गुणपर्वाणि॥१९॥
Viśeṣāviśeṣaliṅgamātrāliṅgāni guṇaparvāṇi ||19||

guNas=‘Qualities’ of the dRShyam can take up all possible states of being visheSha=’Specific’ or avisheSha=‘Generic’, and linga-mAtra=‘Defined’ or alinga=‘Undefined’. (19)

These attributes and qualities of that which is experienced, can take on many states. For example, they can be very specific or generic; or they can have a concrete form or be abstract. 


द्रष्टा दृशिमात्रः शुद्धोऽपि प्रत्ययानुपश्यः॥२०॥
Draṣṭā dṛśimātraḥ śuddho’pi pratyayānupaśyaḥ ||20||

draShTA=‘The one who sees’ is nothing but the power of sight, who even being pure, sees only through the perspective of pratyaya=‘The State of Being’. (20)

Patanjali now talks about the nature of that which experiences. The witness within is unblemished and free from all that is experienced; but, still, it is identified with the power of experience that it is using. 


तदर्थ एव दृश्यस्यात्मा॥२१॥
Tadartha eva dṛśyasyātmā ||21||

It is for this purpose that dRShyam=‘That which is seen’ exists. (21)

And because draShTA is using that power of experience, the nature of dRShyam exists for that purpose. In other words the Atma (nature) of dRShyam exists because draShTA is perceiving it.


कृतार्थं प्रति नष्टमप्यनष्टं तदन्यसाधारणत्वात्॥२२॥
Kṛtārthaṁ prati naṣṭamapyanaṣṭaṁ tadanyasādhāraṇatvāt ||22||

Even when its purpose is served, once the draShTA=‘Seer’ becomes one with dRShyam=‘That which is seen’, it does not cease to exist due to its general relevance to all other beings. (22)

The purpose of dRShyam existing is served when it unites with draShTA, and so it does not exist any more as something separate. But it is not gone completely because of its generic relevance in creation at large.


स्वस्वामिशक्त्योः स्वरूपोपलब्धिहेतुः संयोगः॥२३॥
Svasvāmiśaktyoḥ svarūpopalabdhihetuḥ saṁyogaḥ ||23||

The cause for realizing the true self, and the potential of both the creation and the creator, is this apparent unity between the body, mind and self. (23)

The self is identifying itself with the body and the mind because it wants to realize the true form of what animates us from within and what brings about this creation.


तस्य हेतुरविद्या॥२४॥
Tasya heturavidyā ||24||

And the cause for this apparent unity is avidyA=‘Ignorance’. (24)

And the reason for this identification is avidyA.


तदभावात्संयोगाभावो हानं तद्दृशेः कैवल्यम्॥२५॥
Tadabhāvātsaṁyogābhāvo hānaṁ taddṛśeḥ kaivalyam ||25||

In the absence of this ignorance, the apparent unity is also gone, and one attains to the state of kaivalyam. (25)

When that avidyA is not there, the identification of self with mind and body ceases, and one attains to the state of kaivalyam (just one, there is no other). Everything is just self; there is no sense of other than self.


विवेकख्यातिरविप्लवा हानोपायः॥२६॥
Vivekakhyātiraviplavā hānopāyaḥ ||26||

The method to destroy ignorance is through aviplava=‘uninterrupted knowledge’ of vivekakhyAti=‘Distinction between what is self, and what is not’. (26)

The method to reduce avidyA is making the distinction between what is self and what is not, but this ‘knowing’ should not be intermittent. So, when that sense of distinction is continuously present, that destroys ignorance.


तस्य सप्तधा प्रान्तभूमिः प्रज्ञा॥२७॥
Tasya saptadhā prāntabhūmiḥ prajñā ||27||

The seven-step process in which this vivekakhyAti comes about, is called as prajnA=‘True Knowledge’. (27)

prajnA is awareness or true perception. The path of prajnA consists of seven different stages, by which one  removes that apparent unity (identification) with one’s own faculties and physiology; and finally arrives at the sense of uninterrupted distinction between what is self, and what is not. 


योगाङ्गानुष्ठानादशुद्धिक्षये ज्ञानदीप्तिराविवेकख्यातेः॥२८॥
Yogāṅgānuṣṭhānādaśuddhikṣaye jñānadīptirāvivekakhyāteḥ ||28||

Through the practice of the components of Yoga, the impurities are destroyed, resulting in the dawning of the light of True Knowledge. (28)

The impurity of the mind (identification) is destroyed by the practice of yoga. This gives rise to spiritual illumination, which results in deeper awareness of reality. This is the higher self.


Sutras (29-39) – Yama

Yamaniyamāsanaprāṇāyāmapratyāhāradhāraṇādhyānasamādhayo’ṣṭāvaṅgāni ||29||

The eight components of Yoga are yama=’Self-Discipline’, niyama=’Strict-Regimen’, Asana=‘Posture’, prANAyAma=‘Breath Control’, pratyAhAra=’Sensory Withdrawal’, dhAraNa=‘Concentration’, dhyAna=‘Meditation’, and samAdhi=‘Equanimity’. (29)

The raja yoga of Patanjali is divided into eight limbs. Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama and pratyahara form the external means of yoga. Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi form the internal means. The external and internal means are interdependent. Every stage of raja yoga makes way for the next higher stage. 


अहिंसासत्यास्तेयब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहा यमाः॥३०॥
Ahiṁsāsatyāsteyabrahmacaryāparigrahā yamāḥ ||30||

AhinsA=‘Non-Violence’, satya=‘Truthfulness’, asteya=’Non-Stealing’, brahmcharya=‘Being on the Path of the Divine’, aparigraha=’Non-Covetousness’, are the practices of yama=’Self-Discipline’. (30)

Both yama and niyama mean discipline, but yama is more internal, and niyama is something that you do outwardly. Yama (self-discipline) is non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, focus on divine, and non-covetousness.


जातिदेशकालसमयानवच्छिन्नाः सार्वभौमा महाव्रतम्॥३१॥
Jātideśakālasamayānavacchinnāḥ sārvabhaumā mahāvratam ||31||

These practices hold true everywhere, and are not disturbed by jAti=‘One’s Birth’, desha=‘One’s place’, kAla=‘The Times One lives in’ and samaya=‘One’s Circumstances’. (31)

Yamas are great observances that are universally applicable. They are not modified by one’s country, birth, time, place and circumstances. 


शौचसन्तोषतपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः॥३२॥
Śaucasantoṣatapaḥsvādhyāyeśvarapraṇidhānāni niyamāḥ ||32||

shaucha=‘Cleanliness’, santoSha=‘Contentment’, tapaH=‘Penance’, svAdhyAya=’Study of the Self’, and IshvarapraNidhAna=‘Abiding in the Divine’ are the practices of niyama=’Strict-Regimen’. (32)

Niyama’s are regimens according to which one conducts oneself. These are cleanliness, contentment, penance to raise energy level, and abiding in the Divine.


वितर्कबाधने प्रतिपक्षभावनम्॥३३॥
Vitarkabādhane pratipakṣabhāvanam ||33||

If one is troubled by vitarka=‘Illogical thoughts’ of straying away from yama and niyama, one should remind oneself of the outcome of the alternative choice. (33)

Vitarka is dreaming up justifications to not follow yama and niyama.  When one is troubled by such justifications, one should simply remind oneself of the alternatives.


वितर्का हिंसादयः कृतकारितानुमोदिता लोभक्रोधमोहपूर्वका मृदुमध्याधिमात्रा दुःखाज्ञानानन्तफला इति प्रतिपक्षभावनम्॥३४॥
Vitarkā hiṁsādayaḥ kṛtakāritānumoditā lobhakrodhamohapūrvakā mṛdumadhyādhimātrā duḥkhājñānānantaphalā iti pratipakṣabhāvanam ||34||

These illogical thoughts, and practices such as violence, either directly done, made to be done, or encouraged, due to the feelings of lobha=‘Greed’ and moha=‘Delusion’, performed either mildly, moderately or intensely, result in unbounded duHkha=‘Unpleasantness’ and ajnAna=‘Ignorance’. Thus, one should remind oneself of the outcome of the alternative choices. (34)

These illogical thoughts are about actions that go against yama and niyama. These actions may have been done directly, or through others, or simply approved. Such actions occur because of greed, rage and delusion. They may be performed to a mild, moderate or intense effect. Such actions inevitably lead to sorrow and stupidity in immense measure. This is how you remind yourself of the alternative.


अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायां तत्सन्निधौ वैरत्यागः॥३५॥
Ahiṁsāpratiṣṭhāyāṁ tatsannidhau vairatyāgaḥ ||35||

By being established in AhimsA=’Non-Violence’, enmity is given up in the presence of such a person. (35)

Patanjali now looks at the benefits of yama and niyama. In the presence of one who is established in non-violence, the feeling of enmity naturally goes away because there are no harmful intentions whatsoever.


सत्यप्रतिष्ठायां क्रियाफलाश्रयत्वम्॥३६॥
Satyapratiṣṭhāyāṁ kriyāphalāśrayatvam ||36||

By being established in satya=‘Truthfulness’, one attains to the power of ever fruitful action. (36)

When somebody is established in truth, the activities that are performed are always fruitful.


अस्तेयप्रतिष्ठायां सर्वरत्नोपस्थानम्॥३७॥
Asteyapratiṣṭhāyāṁ sarvaratnopasthānam ||37||

By being established in asteya=’Non-Stealing’, one attains to all the wealth of precious jewels. (37)

When somebody is established in asteya (non-stealing), he develops a clean life by which he has direct access to wealth.


ब्रह्मचर्यप्रतिष्ठायां वीर्यलाभः॥३८॥
Brahmacaryapratiṣṭhāyāṁ vīryalābhaḥ ||38||

By being established in brahmcharya=‘Being on the Path of the Divine’, one begets vIrya=‘Vigour’. (38)

vIrya literally means the vital (genetic) fluids of the body for both men and women. When one’s path is firmly established in the source of creation, one gains that vitality and vigor. By not wasting the life force within, one builds up energy and radiance.


अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथन्तासम्बोधः॥३९॥
Aparigrahasthairye janmakathantāsambodhaḥ ||39||

By being established in aparigraha=’Non-Covetousness’, one understands how one’s process of birth and death has been and will be. (39)

When one has renounced all possession except those objects that are essential for living, one gains the knowledge of how birth happened and all the previous births.


Sutras (40-45) – Niyama

शौचात्स्वाङ्गजुगुप्सा परैरसंसर्गः॥४०॥
Śaucātsvāṅgajugupsā parairasaṁsargaḥ ||40||

By being established in shaucha=‘Cleanliness’, one rises beyond the attachment for one’s own body parts, and over the sexual desire for the other’s. (40)

From this sutra begins the discussion of the niyamas. The benefit of being clean is that one overcomes the aversion for one’s own body and covetousness for the bodies of others. 


सत्त्वशुद्धिसौमनस्यैकाग्र्येन्द्रियजयात्मदर्शनयोग्यत्वानि च॥४१॥
Sattvaśuddhisaumanasyaikāgryendriyajayātmadarśanayogyatvāni ca ||41||

One also attains to sattva=‘Vitality’, shuddhi=“Purity’, saumnasya=‘Pleasantness of the mind’, aikArgya=‘Intent Focus’, indriyajaya=Victory over the Senses’, and youyatva=‘Eligibility’ for Atmadarshana=‘Perception of the True Self’. (41)

There are further benefits of being clean, such as, vitality, purity, cheerfulness, close attention, control over senses. One also becomes capable to perceive one’s true self. Thus, yama and niyama are the foundations on which you build the practice of other limbs of Yoga.


Santoṣādanuttamasukhalābhaḥ ||42||

By being established in SantoSha=‘Contentment’, one gains unparalleled bliss. (42)

One must practice santosha (contentment). The happiness that comes from it is unparalleled. As a result one can go very deep in meditation.


Kāyendriyasiddhiraśuddhikṣayāttapasaḥ ||43||

By being established in tapaH=‘Penance’, one’s impurities are washed away, and one gains attainments corresponding to the Physical Body and the Senses. (43)

Through Tapas one attains mastery over one’s body and the senses, and removes the impurities within.


Svādhyāyādiṣṭadevatāsamprayogaḥ ||44||

By being established in svAdhyAya=’Study of the Self’, one attains the practical utility of one’s deity of worship. (44)

Through the study of the self and knowing self clearly, one gains the ability to activate one’s own deity of worship. It is understood that such deities of worship are our own creation, and we can make them work for our well-being.


Samādhisiddhirīśvarapraṇidhānāt ||45||

By being established in IshvarapraNidhAna=‘Abiding in the Divine’, one attains to samAdhi=‘Equanimity’. (45)

By abiding in Ishwara, we attain the state of samAdhi. 


Sutras (46-48) – Asana

Sthirasukhamāsanam ||46||

Asanam=‘Posture’ is that which is sthiram= ‘Firm’ and Sukham=‘Pleasant’. (46)

Patanjali now talks about Asana. Asana (posture) should be such that it provides a firm foundation for meditation and is pleasant to maintain. It has nothing to do with twisting the body in complex ways.


Prayatnaśaithilyānantasamāpattibhyām ||47||

It is attained once the struggle in practice reduces, and one reaches the experience of the boundless. (47)

When there is no longer any effort in your Asana, that is when it leads to the state of boundlessness. 


ततो द्वन्द्वानभिघातः॥४८॥
Tato dvandvānabhighātaḥ ||48||

And then one’s dualities are destroyed.

When one is in that state of ease and boundlessness, the sense of dualities is no longer there.


Sutras (49-53) – Pranayama

तस्मिन्सति श्वासप्रश्वासयोर्गतिविच्छेदः प्राणायामः॥४९॥
Tasminsati śvāsapraśvāsayorgativicchedaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ ||49||

In that state, the separation of the flow of Inhalations and Exhalations is called as prANAyAma. (49)

Patanjali now talks about prANAyAma. In that state of boundless ease and freedom from duality, working on separating the inhalations and the exhalations, and noticing their flow and movement, is prANAyAma.


बाह्याभ्यन्तरस्तम्भवृत्तिः देशकालसङ्ख्याभिः परिदृष्टो दीर्घसूक्ष्मः॥५०॥
bāhyābhyantarastambhavṛttirdeśakālasaṅkhyābhiḥ paridṛṣṭo dīrghasūkṣmaḥ ||50||

It becomes long and subtle, with a practice of holding the breath inside and outside, being conscious of the three factors of desha=‘Place of Holding’, kAla=‘Time of Holding’ and Sankhya=’Number of Repetitions’. (50)

The breath becomes long and subtle as one notices it inside and outside, while holding in consciousness the sense of its location, duration and the count.


बाह्याभ्यन्तरविषयाक्षेपी चतुर्थः॥५१॥
bāhyābhyantaraviṣayākṣepī caturthaḥ ||51||

The fourth factor of prANAyAma is beyond the purview of Inside or Outside. (51)

Beside its location, duration and count, there is a fourth aspect of prANAyAma that is beyond the scope of inward and outward breath.


ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम्॥५२॥
Tataḥ kṣīyate prakāśāvaraṇam ||52||

It is there, that the veil that covers the light of consciousness starts thinning. (52)

Through the practice of prANAyAma, the light within starts to become brighter and brighter, and the veil of illusion starts thinning.


धारणासु च योग्यता मनसः॥५३॥
Dhāraṇāsu ca yogyatā manasaḥ ||53||

And the mind becomes eligible to hold dhAraNA=‘Concentration’. (53)

By doing pranayama, a capacity for concentration develops in the mind. 


Sutras (54-55) – Pratyahara

स्वविषयासम्प्रयोगे चित्तस्य स्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहारः॥५४॥
Svaviṣayāsamprayoge cittasya svarūpānukāra ivendriyāṇāṁ pratyāhāraḥ ||54||

When the mind is withdrawn from the objects of the senses, the sense-organs also follow suit, and withdraw into themselves. This is known as pratyAhAra. (54)

Patanjali now talks about pratyAhAra. pratyAhAra is a state of sense-organs. When mind is not fixated on the object of the senses, and has withdrawn into itself; then, the sense organs, too, stop reacting to those objects and withdraw into themselves. This is pratyAhAra.


ततः परमा वश्यतेन्द्रियाणाम्॥५५॥
Tataḥ paramā vaśyatendriyāṇām ||55||

And then, the senses are pervaded by the supreme nature of the beyond. (55)

Sense-organs are faculties that help us engage with the world around us. With pratyAhAra, they are no longer compulsively engaged in reacting to the objects in the environment. So, then they become capable of grasping what lies beyond.


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