Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2:41—2:55

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.

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Sutra 2:41 Purity of internal being

Sattvasuddhisaumanasyaikagryendriyajayatmadarsanayogyatvani cha II 41 II

Sattvasuddhi: purity of internal being; saumanasya: cheerfulness; ekagrya: one-pointedness; indriyajaya: control of senses; atmadarsana: vision of the self; yogyatvani: fitness; cha: and

By the practice of mental purity one acquires fitness for cheerfulness, one-pointedness, sense control and vision of the self. (41)

When the mind is purified or when mental purity is practiced, one becomes cheerfulness, and acquires concentration and sense control. One is able to see the vision of one’s self because of mental cleanliness.

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Sutra 2:42 Fruits of (vii) contentment

Santosadanuttamasukhalabhah II 42 II

Santosat: from contentment; anuttamah: unexcelled; sukha: pleasure, happiness; labhah: gain 

Unexcelled happiness comes from the practice of contentment. (42)

One who wants to attain meditation must practice yama and niyama. The awareness in meditation must be made free of all the mental errors, veils and complexes; therefore, one must practise santosha (contentment). The happiness that comes from it is unparalleled. As a result one can go very deep in meditation.

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Sutra 2:43 Fruits of (viii) austerity

Kayendriyasiddhirasuddhiksayattapasah II 43 II

Kaya: the body; indriya: sense organ; siddhi: perfection; asuddhi: impurity; ksayat: destruction; tapasah: by austerities 

By practicing austerities, impurities are destroyed and there comes perfection in the body and sense organs. (43)

It is necessary to have perfection in the body and sense organs. This will also help the practice of meditation. Therefore, one must undergo austerities to have a healthy body free of toxins.

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Sutra 2:44 Fruits of (ix) self-study

Svadhyayadistadevatasamprayogah II 44 II

Svadhyayak: by self-awareness, self-observation; istadevata: the deity of choice; samprayogah: communion 

By self-observation, union with the desired deity is brought about. (44)

By closing one’s eyes and observing one’s own self, comes intimate rapport with one’s cherished divinity.

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Sutra 2:45: Fruits of (x) Resignation to God

Samadhisiddhirisvarapranidhanat II 45 II

Samadhi: trance; siddhi: perfection, isvara: God; pranidhanat: self-surrender 

Success in trance comes by complete resignation to God. (45)

By complete resignation to God one is able to develop a state of complete tranquillity and union. Here God refers to the Inner Self.

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Sutra 2:46 Meditation posture 

Sthirasukhamasanam II 46 II

Sthira: steady; sukham: comfortable; asanam: posture 

Steady and comfortable should be the posture. (46)

The asanas (postures) that bring about a state of equilibrium in the body should be practised.

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Sutra 2:47 How to master posture

Prayatnasaithilyanantasamapattibhyam II 47 II

Prayatna: effort; saithilya: looseness; ananta: endless, the serpent called ananta; samapattibhyam: by meditation 

By loosening of effort and by meditation on the serpent ananta, asana is mastered. (47)

The loosening of effort means relaxation. In order to master one’s posture, take up that posture in meditation in which you feel completely relaxed, and you can fix your mind on infinity. 

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Sutra 2:48 Result of this mastery

Tato dvandvanabhighatah II 48 II

Tatah: from that; dvandva: pairs of opposites; anabhighatah: no impact 

Thereby the pairs of opposites cease to have any impact. (48)

The pairs of opposites, such as, heat and cold, or happiness and sorrow, exist both on physical and mental planes. They actually are scales to measure the impact of various conditions. One is no longer subject to such impacts, when, after mastering posture, one gets established in meditation.

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Sutra 2:49 Pranayama

Tasminsati svasaprasvasayorgativichchhedah pranayamah II 49 II

Tasmin: on that; sati: having been; svasaprasvasayah: inhalation, exhalation; gati: movement; vichchhedah: break, cessation; pranayamah: breath control

The asana having been done, pranayama is the cessation of the movement of inhalation and exhalation. (49)

Prana means breath, ayama is lengthening or widening through control. When breathing is controlled so as to retain the breath, it is pranayama. The ultimate aim of pranayama is to be able to retain the breath. Thus, if we breathe normally fourteen times per minute, in pranayama we breathe only once or twice per minute. There are three types of pranayama, namely, puraka, rechaka and kumbhaka. 

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Sutra 2:50 Three kinds of pranayama

Bahyabhyantarastambhavrttirdesakalasarikhyabhih paridrsto dirghasuksmah II 50 II

Bahyah: outer; abhyantara: internal; stambhavrttih: suppressed stage; desa: place; kala: time; sankhyabhih: number; paridristah: measured; dirgha: prolonged; suksmah: subtle 

Pranayama is external, internal or suppressed, regulated by place, time and number and becomes prolonged and subtle. (50)

Pranayama has three stages called puraka (filling), kumbhaka (retaining) and rechaka (emptying). It is regulated by the climate and diet of the place; the time of the year or the season; and the number of times you practice it. The pranas are prolonged and retention is increased, thus the process becomes subtle.

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Sutra 2:51 Fourth kind of pranayama 

Bahyabhyantaravisayaksepi chaturthah II 51 II

Bahya: external; abhyantara: internal; visaya: object; aksepi: transcending; chaturtha: fourth 

The fourth pranayama is that which transcends the internal and external object. (51)

In this fourth type of pranayama, you do not have to do either internal or external retention of breath. The ingoing breath is joined with the outgoing breath. The internal and external experiences of objects are separated.

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Sutra 2:52 Removal of the veil

Tatah ksiyate prakasavaranam II 52 II

Tatah: thereby; ksiyate: disappears; prakasa: light; avaranam: covering 

Thereby the covering of light disappears. (52)

By the practice of pranayama the covering of sense experiences disappears and the inherent psychic faculties are released.

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Sutra 2:53 Mind becomes fit for concentration

Dharanasu cha yogyata manasah II 53 II

Dharanasu: in dharana; cha: and; yogyata: fitness; manasah: of the mind 

And fitness of the mind for concentration (develops through pranayama). (53)

By doing pranayama, a capacity for concentration develops in the mind. This is because the veil covering the awareness is removed.

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Sutra 2:54 Pratyahara

Svavisayasamprayoge chittasyasvarupanukara ivendriyanam pratyaharah II 54 II

Sva: one’s own; visaya: object; asamprayoge: not coming into contact; chitta: mind; svarūpa: own form; anukarah. imitating; iva: as if; indriyanam: of the senses; pratyaharah: withdrawal 

Pratyahara is, as it were, the imitation by the senses of the mind by withdrawing them from their respective objects. (54)

Pratyahara means withdrawing the mind from the objects of sense experience, then the senses begin to follow the mind inward and not outward.

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Sutra 2:55 Mastery over the senses

Tatah parama vasyatendriyanam II 55 II

Tatah: thereby; parama; highest; vasyate: mastery; indriyanam: of the senses 

There is highest mastery over the sense organs (by pratyahara). (55)

Pratyahara is purifying the sense awareness and making it turn inward. One of the most common practices is bringing the attention inwards towards the breath, observing it without trying to control it, as connection with the external senses and stimuli are all gradually severed. Another method is to concentrate on the point between the eyebrows. Another common technique is to first reduce physical stimuli, then concentrate on one sense, such as hearing. When the mind gets tired of hearing, it is forced to turn inward. This ultimately leads to leads to mastery over the senses. When we turn our minds from the outer world to the inner world, we come to know that there is an infinite facet of existence in us, which is not approachable through the intellect.

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