Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2:41—2:55

Reference: The Sun of Sanskrit Knowledge

Chapter 2: Sadhana Pada (On practice)
Verses 2:41- 2:55


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)

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.


Santoṣādanuttamasukhalābhaḥ ||42||

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


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)

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.


Svādhyāyādiṣṭadevatāsamprayogaḥ ||44||

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

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


Samādhisiddhirīśvarapraṇidhānāt ||45||

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


Sthirasukhamāsanam ||46||

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

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


Prayatnaśaithilyānantasamāpattibhyām ||47||

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


ततो द्वन्द्वानभिघातः॥४८॥
Tato dvandvānabhighātaḥ ||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.


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)

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. 


वाह्याभ्यन्तरस्तम्भवृत्तिः देशकालसङ्ख्याभिः परिदृष्टो दीर्घसूक्ष्मः॥५०॥
Vāhyābhyantarastambhavṛttirdeśakālasaṅkhyābhiḥ 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)

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.


वाह्याभ्यन्तरविषयाक्षेपी चतुर्थः॥५१॥
Vāhyābhyantaraviṣayākṣepī caturthaḥ ||51||

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


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

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

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


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. This is because the veil covering the awareness is removed.


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)

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


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

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