Category Archives: Yoga

Patanjali Yoga Sutras Chapter 4

Reference: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Chapter 4: Kaivalya Pada (On liberation)
Verses 4:1—4:34

Reference: The Sun of Sanskrit Knowledge


Sutra 1: Other sources of these powers and attainments
Sutras 2-6: The nature of birth and individuality
Sutras 7-11: The nature of Karma and Vasanas
Sutras 12-24: The origin of unique personalities
Sutras 25-34: How to go beyond individual experience


Summary of Samadhi Pada

All these siddhis need not be born out of samadhi only. They can also be born out of birth, drugs, mantra, and penance. The type of birth one receives is induced by unfilled tendencies. The unfilled tendencies combined with the sense of Individual Self give rises to Individual Minds. But these “minds” are actually one. They appear to be divided because they are engaged in different activities. 

The moment we see that, we realize that the “mind” has no intention of its own. The duality of good and bad, and the variations in between, do not really exist for the enlightened mind. The fact is that karma results in tendencies, which appear to be divided by time, place and birth. These tendencies are determined by memory and Samskaras, that are basically impressions. They are essentially the primal desire to live, which is eternal in nature. We may say that these samskaras (impressions) and vasanas (tendencies) are inherent to life. They are part of a framework of cause, result, recipient and support; and this framework must cease to exist before vasanas can cease to exist.

This present moment contains within it the past and the future because one’s nature can take diverging paths. This past and future can either manifest itself or stay latent, according to the nature of one’s guNas. Due to the uniqueness of these transformations, unique personalities are manifest. Life takes different paths because of the uniqueness of personalities and individuality of minds, even when they all all the same at the core. 

Things are observed only when they can be compared to each other. Therefore, the creation must be varied, and this requires different expressions of the mind. Something is known by the mind only when it is impressed upon it; otherwise, it is not known. The cyclical actions of the mind always remain the same; therefore, they are known to the superior sense of self. 

But that sense of self is not perceived because of the nature of seeing. Mind can either be engaged in seeing; or be established within itself. It cannot be both. If the mind could face itself, it would be like a mirror facing itself. It would result in a chain of perceptions regressing infinitely. This will mix up the memory and create confusion. Because the nature of the mind is always cyclical, the intellect becomes active only when forms are perceived. The mind fulfills all of its purposes when the Seer and the Seen within it become one. This is what the mind is seeking even when countless tendencies are knocking it here and there.

For the person who perceives everything completely, the very sense of self, and the feelings born out of it, cease to exist. It is then, that the mind becomes inclined towards true discernment, and gravitates towards the unity of the Seer and the Seen. Any gap in this discernment, leads to the emergence of thoughts and intentions as projections. This is the source of creation assisted by the storehouse of impressions. We address these gaps the same way that we addressed the obstacles before. 

We then attain a state of discernment where one is not entangled even with the attainments. This realization extinguishes both the causes of suffering and the cycle of cause and effect. Once all the veils and impurities concealing truth are washed away, one’s insight becomes boundless, resulting in very little that is left to know. guNas are there to bring knowledge through transformations. 

Now that their purpose is fulfilled, guNas stop the series of transformations among themselves. One then comes to realize the process of life as consisting simply of these gaps and projections. With the state of Oneness achieved, there are qualities that have absolutely no intentions associated with them. One is simply established in one’s true self enjoying the power of Consciousness (chitishakti).


Sutra 1: Other sources of these powers and attainments

जन्मौषधिमन्त्रतपःसमाधिजाः सिद्धयः॥१॥
Janmauṣadhimantratapaḥsamādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ ||1||

siddhis=‘Attainments’ are born out of janma=‘Birth’, auShadhi=‘Medicinal Herbs’, mantra=‘Incantations’, tapa=‘Penance’, and samAdhi=‘Equanimity’. (1)

All these siddhis need not be born out of samadhi only. They can also be born out of birth, medication, mantra, and penance.


Sutras 2-6: The nature of birth and individuality 

जात्यन्तरपरिणामः प्रकृत्यापूरात्॥२॥
Jātyantarapariṇāmaḥ prakṛtyāpūrāt ||2||

jAti=‘Kind of Birth’ keeps transforming based on one’s unfulfilled tendencies. (2)

As one leaves one body to the next, the kind of birth that keeps transforming is based on one’s unfulfilled tendencies.


निमित्तमप्रयोजकं प्रकृतीनां वरणभेदस्तु ततः क्षेत्रिकवत्॥३॥
Nimittamaprayojakaṁ prakṛtīnāṁ varaṇabhedastu tataḥ kṣetrikavat ||3||

The path these tendencies take are nimitta=‘Inducers’ of birth, and aprayojaka=‘Not the Cause’ of it, similar to how a farmer induces cop production, but is not the cause of it. (3)

Differences in choice of birth and where one is born is determined in the process of fulfilling one’s nature. But these tendencies are not the direct cause of death and birth; instead they simply induce those processes.


Nirmāṇacittānyasmitāmātrāt ||4||

chittAni=‘Individual Minds’ are created merely by identification with asmitA=’Sense of Individual Self’. (4)

Just because of the sense of individual self, individual minds come into existence.


प्रवृत्तिभेदे प्रयोजकं चित्तमेकमनेकेषाम्॥५॥
Pravṛttibhede prayojakaṁ cittamekamanekeṣām ||5||

These individual minds of the many are in fact one, but seem divided due to being employed in different kinds of activity. (5)

The minds that are being individually put to use in different kind of actions and tendencies, are actually one.


तत्र ध्यानजमनाशयम्॥६॥
Tatra dhyānajamanāśayam ||6||

And by meditation upon this truth is born anAshaya=‘Lack of Intentions’. (6)

As soon as we identify the truth that this chitta is one, and that we have captured only a piece of it as our individual chitta, we become equanimous toward all intentions, with no specific intention of our own.


Sutras 7-11: The nature of Karma and Vasanas 

कर्माशुक्लाकृष्णं योगिनस्त्रिविधमितरेषाम्॥७॥
Karmāśuklākṛṣṇaṁ yoginastrividhamitareṣām ||7||

karma=‘Actions’ are ashukla=’Not Bright’ and akRShNa=’Not Dark’ for the yogis; but for others it is of three kinds: Bright, Dark and Gray. (7)

Bright (white) and black represent the duality of characteristics, such as, good-bad, pleasant-unpleasant etc. Such duality, with a mixture of both (gray) in between, may exist for others; but it does not exist for the yogis.


Tatastadvipākānuguṇānāmevābhivyaktirvāsanānām ||8||

In that threefold division of activity, based on the result of those actions, vAsana=‘Tendencies’ are manifest. (8)

Tendencies are manifested based on the ripening of pleasant, unpleasant, or mixed activities.


जातिदेशकालव्यवहितानामप्यानन्तर्यं स्मृतिसंस्कारयोरेकरूपत्वात्॥९॥
Jātideśakālavyavahitānāmapyānantaryaṁ smṛtisaṁskārayorekarūpatvāt ||9||

This manifestation is a continuous process, even if it seems divided by jAti=‘Birth’, desha=‘Location’, and kAla=’Time’. This is due to the unity of form between smRti=‘Memory’ and samskAra=‘Tendencies’. (9)

Both Memory and Samskara are impressions; except that memory is assimilated while samskaras are unassimilated. But both have the same form; and because of this, the various tendencies, though seemingly divided by time, place and birth, have continuity among them.


तासामनादित्वं चाशिषो नित्यत्वात्॥१०॥
Tāsāmanāditvaṁ cāśiṣo nityatvāt ||10||

These tendencies are origin-less, due to the eternal nature of AshiSh=‘Primordial Desire to Live’. (10)

For these tendencies there is no beginning as such. It is not that they are born at one particular time and then go away. They are inherent in the very functioning of the creation. This is so because of the eternal nature of this primal will. This is desire at the fundamental level of two things coming together. At elemental level there is affinity for elements to come together and bond to each other, like electron to the nucleus, or earth to the sun. Life is this affinity or desire. Because of this will to exist at the very fundamental level, these vasanas and samskaras do not have any particular point of origin. They are inherent to life.


हेतुफलाश्रयालम्बनैः सङ्गृहीतत्वादेषामभावे तदभावः॥११॥
Hetuphalāśrayālambanaiḥ saṅgṛhītatvādeṣāmabhāve tadabhāvaḥ ||11||

This framework is held together through hetu=‘Cause’, phala=‘Result’, Ashraya=‘Recipient’, and Alambana=’Support’. Once these cease to exist, the tendencies too cease to exist. (11)

Such tendencies may be without origin but they can stop to exist. There is a cause, and there is an effect. There is a source, and there is a recipient. There is a whole framework of support. When the source stops to exist, the recipient  stops to exist too. If we want these innate tendencies to go away, we simply take away the whole framework made of karma, its nature of being pleasant or unpleasant, its ripening into vasanas (lack of assimilation), that leads to the formation of smriti (memory) and samskaras (latent impressions). The basis of all this is likes and dislikes.


Sutras 12-24: The origin of unique personalities

अतीतानागतं स्वरूपतोऽस्त्यध्वभेदाद्धर्माणाम्॥१२॥
Atītānāgataṁ svarūpato’styadhvabhedāddharmāṇām ||12||

The past and the future in fact exist distinctly within the present form, due to the difference in adhva=‘Path’ of their dharmas=‘Properties’. (12)

Because one’s nature can take diverging paths, this present moment contains within it the past and the future. 


ते व्यक्तसूक्ष्मा गुणात्मानः॥१३॥
Te vyaktasūkṣmā guṇātmānaḥ ||13||

They are either manifest or lay subtle, according to the nature of one’s guNas. (13)

The imprints of the past and the future can either manifest in the present moment or they can remain dormant and subtle, according to one’s characteristics. This demonstrates the control one has on this particular moment.


Pariṇāmaikatvādvastutattvam ||14||

Due to the uniqueness of these transformations, unique personalities are manifest. (14)

The transformations we go through are not the same from one individual to the next. They are unique to the person. Therefore, these transformation lead to unique personalities in individuals.


वस्तुसाम्ये चित्तभेदात्तयोर्विभक्तः पन्थाः॥१५॥
Vastusāmye cittabhedāttayorvibhaktaḥ panthāḥ ||15||

These unique personalities and differentiation in Individual minds, result in different life paths, even if they are all the same at the core. (15)

Even if two entities are same; they can take completely different paths because their chitta has different possibilities of manifesting.


न चैकचित्ततन्त्रं वस्तु तदप्रमाणकं तदा किं स्यात्॥१६॥
Na caikacittatantraṁ vastu tadapramāṇakaṁ tadā kiṁ syāt ||16||

The mechanism of creation cannot happen with a single expression of Mind. What could ever happen when there is nothing to be observed in comparison to the other. (16)

What can even happen when chitta remains undivided as just one? As there would be nothing else to compare it with.


तदुपरागापेक्षित्वाच्चित्तस्य वस्तु ज्ञाताज्ञातम्॥१७॥
Taduparāgāpekṣitvāccittasya vastu jñātājñātam ||17||

Something is only known by a Mind it has colored, or made an impression on; otherwise, it is not known. (17)

Only when the mind is impressed by something that it comes to know it.


सदा ज्ञाताश्चित्तवृत्तयस्तत्प्रभोः पुरुषस्यापरिणामित्वात्॥१८॥
Sadā jñātāścittavṛttayastatprabhoḥ puruṣasyāpariṇāmitvāt ||18||

The cyclical actions of the mind are always known to that superior sense of self, due to its nature of being un-transforming. (18)

The activities of chitta are always known by the self within, because that self is unchanging.


न तत्स्वाभासं दृश्यत्वात्॥१९॥
Na tatsvābhāsaṁ dṛśyatvāt ||19||

That is not perceived to one’s own self, due to the nature of external sight. (19)

Because of the nature of seeing, Self cannot perceive itself.


एकसमये चोभयानवधारणम्॥२०॥
Ekasamaye cobhayānavadhāraṇam ||20||

And since, both these perceptions can not be held at once. (20)

Both of these perceptions cannot be held at the same time. Self can either be engaged in the constant activity, or it can be established within itself.


चित्तान्तरदृश्ये बुद्धिबुद्धेरतिप्रसङ्गः स्मृतिसङ्करश्च॥२१॥
Cittāntaradṛśye buddhibuddheratiprasaṅgaḥ smṛtisaṅkaraśca ||21||

If chitta=‘Mind’ which is like a mirror, were possible to be seen by itself, the chain of such perceptions would regress infinitely, mixing up and confusing smRti=‘Memory’. (21)

A perceiving instrument cannot perceive itself because such an attempt would lead to infinite regression that would jumble up all the memory.


चितेरप्रतिसङ्क्रमायास्तदाकारापत्तौ स्वबुद्धिसंवेदनम्॥२२॥
Citerapratisaṅkramāyāstadākārāpattau svabuddhisaṁvedanam ||22||

Due to the apratisankrama=‘Unchanging Nature’ of chitta=‘Mind’ when the perception of forms is born, that is when one feels the activity of buddhi=‘Faculty of Intellect’. (22)

When the activity of chitta comes to a standstill only then its form is perceived. Once that happens one gets to know the form, or even the presence, of one’s intellect.


द्रष्टृदृश्योपरक्तं चित्तं सर्वार्थम्॥२३॥
Draṣṭṛdṛśyoparaktaṁ cittaṁ sarvārtham ||23||

The mind on which both the draShTR=’Seer’ and dRshyam=‘That which is seen’ are imprinted upon, fulfills all of its purposes. (23)

A chitta, which has now come to a standstill, and is colored by both the seer and the seen, fulfills all its purposes. In other words, it reaches its full potential under these circumstances.


तदसङ्ख्येयवासनाभिश्चित्रमपि परार्थं संहत्यकारित्वात्॥२४॥
Tadasaṅkhyeyavāsanābhiścitramapi parārthaṁ saṁhatyakāritvāt ||24||

Even after being imprinted upon by countless latent tendencies, its purpose is something else, due to the nature of being employed by it. (24)

Even when this chitta is being constantly bombarded by innumerable tendencies on a daily basis, it has some other purpose.


Sutras 25-34: How to go beyond individual experience

विशेषदर्शिन आत्मभावभावनाविनिवृत्तिः॥२५॥
Viśeṣadarśina ātmabhāvabhāvanāvinivṛttiḥ ||25||

For the one who perceives everything completely, the very sense of self, and the feelings born out of it, cease to exist. (25)

For one who has this specialized sense of perception, the very sense of individual self (that I am separate from things in my surroundings) ceases to exist.


तदा विवेकनिम्नङ्कैवल्यप्राग्भारञ्चित्तम्॥२६॥
Tadā vivekanimnaṅkaivalyaprāgbhārañcittam ||26||

It is then, that chitta=‘Mind’ becomes inclined towards true discernment, and gravitates towards kaivalya=‘Unity’. (26)

And then by employing that discernment, one’s chitta gravitates towards kaivalyam.


तच्छिद्रेषु प्रत्ययान्तराणि संस्कारेभ्यः॥२७॥
Tacchidreṣu pratyayāntarāṇi saṁskārebhyaḥ ||27||

Any gap in this discernment, lead to the emergence of various thoughts and intentions, from the storehouse of latent impressions. (27)

When chitta is gravitating toward kaivalyam, and there are gaps in that discernment, those latent impressions start to act up again. These obstacles are the very framework of creation itself, and one has to break through them.


हानमेषां क्लेशवदुक्तम्॥२८॥
Hānameṣāṁ kleśavaduktam ||28||

The process to overcome these is similar to the process of overcoming kleshas=‘Obstacles’ as mentioned before. (28)

When Samskaras become kleshas, quelling them is very similar to how we put aside kleshas before.


प्रसङ्ख्यानेऽप्यकुसीदस्य सर्वथा विवेकख्यातेर्धर्ममेघः समाधिः॥२९॥
Prasaṅkhyāne’pyakusīdasya sarvathā vivekakhyāterdharmameghaḥ samādhiḥ ||29||

When one is not entangled with even the highest states of attainment, such distinguished discernment is called as dharma-megha-samAdhi=‘State of Equanimity that Liberates from One’s Very Own Nature.’ (29)

This sutra describes a specialized state of samadhi, which is even beyond the Nirbija samadhi. This is called dharma-megha-samAdhi. In this state one doesn’t feel attached to these exalted states of being, even after attaining them, and is able to put them aside. Then the illumination of the mind happens in all possible ways. One is liberated even from one’s very own nature. One is not human any more.


ततः क्लेशकर्मनिवृत्तिः॥३०॥
Tataḥ kleśakarmanivṛttiḥ ||30||

This realization extinguishes both the causes of suffering and the cycle of cause and effect. (30)

One is now free from all the shackles of klesha, karma and compulsive activities.


तदा सर्वावरणमलापेतस्य ज्ञानस्यानन्त्याज्ज्ञेयमल्पम्॥३१॥
Tadā sarvāvaraṇamalāpetasya jñānasyānantyājjñeyamalpam ||31||

Once all the veils and impurities concealing truth are washed away, one’s insight becomes boundless, resulting in very little that is left to know. (31)

Then all the veils of impurity that surround the self have gone away, resulting in limitless knowing, and hardly anything left to be known. 


ततः कृतार्थानां परिणामक्रमसमाप्तिर्गुणानाम्॥३२॥
Tataḥ kṛtārthānāṁ pariṇāmakramasamāptirguṇānām ||32||

Then, once their purpose is fulfilled, guNas=‘Qualities’ stop the series of transformations among themselves. (32)

Gunas are there to bring knowledge through transformations. Their purpose is now fulfilled with this unbounded awareness. So, their transformations that lead to the performance of activities is now finished.


क्षणप्रतियोगी परिणामापरान्तनिर्ग्राह्यः क्रमः॥३३॥
Kṣaṇapratiyogī pariṇāmāparāntanirgrāhyaḥ kramaḥ ||33||

At the end of these transformations this continuous flow can be grasped as actually being a collection of discrete moments. (33)

This life as we experience it is a continuous process. But when the transformation of gunas stops happening, one realizes that this continuous flow actually comprises of discrete moments. It could be that the discreteness was hidden under automatic mental projections covering the gaps. Now one comes to recognize these projections and the gaps.


पुरुषार्थशून्यानां गुणानां प्रतिप्रसवः कैवल्यं स्वरूपप्रतिष्ठा वा चितिशक्तिरिति॥३४॥
Puruṣārthaśūnyānāṁ guṇānāṁ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpapratiṣṭhā vā citiśaktiriti ||34||

The outcome of qualities that have absolutely no intentions associated with them, is called as kaivalya, and establishment in one’s true self, is called as chitishakti=‘The Power of Consciousness’. (34)

Gunas, which no longer have any purpose, and have no pursuit left, come from the state of oneness with the power of creation. Such a state of being established in oneself is called chiti-shakti. The divinity within oneself finds its fullest expression in this state of kaivalya.


Patanjali Yoga Sutras Chapter 3

Reference: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Chapter 3: Vibhooti Pada (Supernatural powers)
Verses 3:1- 3:55

Reference: The Sun of Sanskrit Knowledge

Sutras (1-3) – Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi
Sutras (4-8) – The Nature of Samyama
Sutras (9-16) – Series of Transformations
Sutras (17-55) – Enhanced States of Being


Summary of Vibhooti Pada

The first three sutras of this chapter describe the concentration of attention, deepening with contemplation and meditation, such that it becomes like a laser beam that may be directed at anything. Samyama is the generation of this laser beam-like focused attention. When this attention is directed at things it gives rise to pure perception and super experiences.

The first effect of samyama is the gradual decay of impressions that have existed in the mind for a long time. This makes the fluctuations in mental state disappear, which then becomes equanimous. This is accompanied by many internal transformations at a fundamental level. This simplifies the personality and one becomes increasingly enlightened.

Practice of samyama on name, meaning and reality of things brings about true understanding of them. Samyama on long existing impressions brings their contents to awareness. With samyama on the state of being, one obtains the knowledge about the nature of other minds.

Samyama on a physical forms is like “looking through” that form. It makes that form disappear because one perceives what is there at a more fundamental level. One can bring this about in others. Samyama on actions bring to awareness their immediate and long-term consequences. This awareness extends to the knowledge of oncoming difficulties and what lies beyond this life. Essentially, when you apply samyama to something, it enables you to acquire knowledge and understanding with which to develop inner abilities, much like gaining external comforts through science. 

The ultimate samyama is on the nature of self, which brings one to the realization of true Self. This leads to heightened senses. One’s mind can enter another body. One can walk over water, sludge, thorns, etc. One can travel through space. Here we seem to be looking at an extension of some subtle aspects of the mind-body system.

Soon one transcends all concerns of the body-mind system and becomes concentrated entirely on the cyclical tendencies coming down from generations. Thus, one gains mastery over the elements of creation. One then attains to the knowledge of everything, and supremacy over all states of being.

When one no longer has attention on even these two highly coveted attainments, the very seeds of afflictions dissipate. This propels one to the state of true unity, where one grasps the continuity among all things. This is the state of kaivalyam.


Sutras (1-3) – Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi

देशबन्धश्चित्तस्य धारणा॥१॥
Deśabandhaścittasya dhāraṇā ||1||

dhAraNA=‘Concentration’ is binding the chitta=‘Mind’ fixedly in one place. (1)

Dharana means confinement of the mind to one place, whether physical, mental, objective, subjective or visionary. When the mind is concentrated on one place, perception of that place becomes intense.


तत्रप्रत्ययैकतानता ध्यानम्॥२॥
Tatra pratyayaikatānatā dhyānam ||2||

In such state of concentration, steady one-pointedness of being is dhyAna=‘Meditation’. (2)

Dharana turns into dhyana when there is no break or interruption in one’s concentration, and it has become continuous. In dhyana, you are conscious of just an idea, a sound, or any object, subtle or gross, which is called pratyaya, but there is also the consciousness of “I”—that I am in dhyana.  


तदेवार्थमात्रनिर्भासं स्वरूपशून्यमिव समाधिः॥३॥
Tadevārthamātranirbhāsaṁ svarūpaśūnyamiva samādhiḥ ||3||

That state, where only the essence of the being shines forth as if there is no form, is called as samAdhi=‘Equanimity’. (3)

Dhyana turns into samadhi when the consciousness of self disappears, and only an unbroken, continuous concentration on the object of focus remains. This object becomes clearer and clearer, as the filters in the mind fall away with deeper stages of samadhi. 


Sutras (4-8) – The Nature of Samyama

त्रयमेकत्र संयमः॥४॥
Trayamekatra saṁyamaḥ ||4||

All these three at once, is called as samyama. (4)

Samyama (संयम) means “control of the senses, self-control.” It consists of dhāranā (concentration), dhayāna (meditation) and samadhi (absorption). The application of samyama to different objects or thoughts gives rise to psychic powers called vibhootis. In this state, one is able to see things as they are in real time without any filters of the mind or self.


Tajjayātprajñālokaḥ ||5||

Through the mastery of samyama, one enters the realm of prajnA=‘Pure Perception’. (5)

Prajna (प्रज्ञा) refers to intuition; revelation; intuitive knowledge, and Aloka means, of what you see. prajñālokaḥ means oerception that is empowered by true knowledge. You acquire it, as you master samyama.


तस्य भूमिषु विनियोगः॥६॥
Tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ ||6||

The application of this prajnA is done in stages. (6)

The perception empowered by true knowledge finds application in multiple fields. You can penetrate any field of study with that perception.


त्रयमन्तरङ्गं पूर्वेभ्यः॥७॥
Trayamantaraṅgaṁ pūrvebhyaḥ ||7||

These three components of yoga are inward oriented, compared to the previous five, among the eight components of yoga. (7)

The first five parts of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama and pratyahara) belong to our personal habits; they are considered external disciplines. But dharana, dhyana and samadhi together constitute the internal disciplines.


तदपि वहिरङ्गं निर्वीजस्य॥८॥
Tadapi vahiraṅgaṁ nirvījasya ||8||

But even these are considered outward compared to the state of nirbIja-SamAdhi=’State of Causeless Equanimity’. (8)

To one who is in nirbIja-SamAdhi, even these there stats of dharana, dhyana and samadhi feel like external activities.


Sutras (9-16) – Series of Transformations

व्युत्थाननिरोधसंस्कारयोरभिभवप्रादुर्भावौ निरोधक्षणचित्तान्वयो निरोधपरिणामः॥९॥Vyutthānanirodhasaṁskārayorabhibhavaprādurbhāvau nirodhakṣaṇacittānvayo nirodhapariṇāmaḥ ||9||

As a result of the practice of control over the mind, inherent tendencies of thought-generation and thought-suppression alternate rapidly during the moments of control. (9)

When the eight limbs of yoga are practiced a certain transformation starts to occur. There is a profound change in the mental states at that moment. The impressions of these compulsive cycles appear and disappear rapidly. For example, a latent impression appears; but the moment it is perceived in its totality, it disappears. Then another impression appears, and the cycle repeats. This happens until all latent impressions are exhausted.


तस्य प्रशान्तवाहिता संस्कारात्॥१०॥
Tasya praśāntavāhitā saṁskārāt ||10||

This process becomes a calm flow, by internalizing it through repeated practice.(10)

As that cycle of appearance and disappearance of impressions becomes rapid fluctuations, it ultimately turns into a calm flow.


सर्वार्थतैकाग्रतयोः क्षयोदयौ चित्तस्य समाधिपरिणामः॥११॥
Sarvārthataikāgratayoḥ kṣayodayau cittasya samādhipariṇāmaḥ ||11||

As a result of the decline of sarvArtha=‘Interest in All Worldly Nature’ and the onset of aikAgrya=‘One-Pointedness’, the state of samAdhi=‘Equanimity’ sets into the chitta=‘Mind’. (11)

The transformation that comes about through samadhi is the decay of interest in all worldly nature, and the rising of one-pointedness.


ततः पुनः शान्तोदितौ तुल्यप्रत्ययौ चित्तस्यैकाग्रतापरिणामः॥१२॥
Tataḥ punaḥ śāntoditau tulyapratyayau cittasyaikāgratāpariṇāmaḥ ||12||

And then again, as a result of the onset of the aikAgrya=‘One-Pointedness’ of chitta=‘Mind’, various states-of-being that rise and fall, become equanimous. (12)

In samAdhi, the transformation results in one-pointedness; and, in one-pointedness, the transformation results in equanimity of the states of being.


एतेन भूतेन्द्रियेषु धर्मलक्षणावस्थापरिणामा व्याख्याताः॥१३॥
Etena bhūtendriyeṣu dharmalakṣaṇāvasthāpariṇāmā vyākhyātāḥ ||13||

Due to these, the internal transformations of dharma=‘Nature’, lakShaNa=‘Behavior’, and avasthA=‘Conditions’ occur at the very level of bhUta=‘Elements’ and indriya=‘Senses’. (13)

Through the equanimity of the states of being, transformations in one’s nature, behavior and state are brought about at the very fundamental genetic level.


शान्तोदिताव्यपदेश्यधर्मानुपाती धर्मी॥१४॥
Śāntoditāvyapadeśyadharmānupātī dharmī ||14||

dharmI=‘A Subject of Change’ undergoes transformation which follow the rise, fall or constancy of one’s dharma=‘Nature’. (14)

The dharmI is that which undergoes the transformations in nature. In other words, the rise, fall or constancy of personality is being transformed.


क्रमान्यत्वं परिणामान्यत्वे हेतुः॥१५॥
Kramānyatvaṁ pariṇāmānyatve hetuḥ ||15||

Any difference in the sequence of practices, results in a difference in the sequence of transformations. (15)

Not everybody goes through the same series of transformations in Yoga. They are different for different people. This happens because of the difference in the sequence one performs the practices of Yoga.


Pariṇāmatrayasaṁyamādatītānāgatajñānam ||16||

Once these three transformations occur, one attains to the knowledge of the beyond, that is not yet in one’s reach. (16)

Because of the three transformations in nature, characteristics, and state, one gains the knowledge of the past and the future. It is noted that different kind of self-control over senses brings about different kind of transformations (attainments and powers). But such attainments should not be the goal of the practice of Yoga.


Sutras (17-55) – Enhanced States of Being

शब्दार्थप्रत्ययानाचमतरेतराध्यासात् सङ्करस्तत्प्रचवभागसांयमात्सवथभूतरुतज्ञानम्॥१७॥
Śabdārthapratyayānāmitaretarādhyāsātsaṅkarastatpravibhāgasaṁyamātsarvabhūtarutajñānam ||17||

By separating the jumbled up nature of sound, meaning and perception, and focusing on these three, one attains to the knowledge of the sounds pertaining to all creation. (17)

There are three characteristics of any entity—it exists, it is denoted by a sound, and there is a meaning attached to that sound. All of these three, seeming to be distinct from each other, get mixed up. By separating them and then doing samyama on on each one of them, the knowledge of the sounds of all creation is gained.


Saṁskārasākṣātkaraṇātpūrvajātijñānam ||18||

By realizing one’s latent tendencies, one attains to the knowledge of previous lifetimes. (18)

When one confronts the impressions in one’s mind, which have come from previous lifetimes, one come’s to know their content.


प्रत्ययस्य परचित्तज्ञानम्॥१९॥
Pratyayasya paracittajñānam ||19||

By realizing the nature of one’s thoughts, one attains to the knowledge of other minds as well. (19)

By realizing or perceiving the state of being, one gains the knowledge of other minds.


न च तत्सालम्बनं तस्याविषयीभूतत्वात्॥२०॥
Na ca tatsālambanaṁ tasyāviṣayībhūtatvāt ||20||

But that knowledge doesn’t convey the object of thought in one’s mind, since they do not have a separate existence of their own. (20)

That knowledge of other mind is limited to what the thoughts are. The object of their thoughts is not perceived, because the thoughts are not exactly dependent upon what they are directed towards. It is like knowing the program but not what that program is being applied to at any moment.


कायरूपसंयमात्तद्ग्राह्यशक्तिस्तम्भे चक्षुःप्रकाशासम्प्रयोगेऽन्तर्धानम्॥२१॥
Kāyarūpasaṁyamāttadgrāhyaśaktistambhe cakṣuḥprakāśāsamprayoge’ntardhānam ||21||

Through samyama on one’s physical form, suspending the energy thus generated, and uncoupling it with the light perceived through the eyes, one attains the ability to suspend vision. (21)

By performing samyama on the physical form of the body, holding that energy and thickening it, and not letting eyes and light work together, invisibility comes about.


सोपक्रमं निरुपक्रमं च कर्म तत्संयमादपरान्तज्ञानमरिष्टेभ्यो वा॥२२॥
Sopakramaṁ nirupakramaṁ ca karma tatsaṁyamādaparāntajñānamariṣṭebhyo vā ||22||

Through samyama over the two types of karma=‘Actions’, which are sopakrama=‘Which are immediately manifest’, and nirupakrama=‘Which are not immediately manifest’, one attains to the knowledge beyond the end of life, and of the bad omens and signs. (22)

This is the samyama on active and dormant actions that leads to the knowledge of beyond the end, and bad omens (signs of oncoming difficulties).


मैत्र्यादिषु बलानि॥२३॥
Maitryādiṣu balāni ||23||

Through samyama over qualities like friendliness, one is imbued with many strengths. (23)

Samyama may be applied to different things. Here it is being applied to friendliness.


बलेषु हस्तिबलादीनि॥२४॥
Baleṣu hastibalādīni ||24||

Through samyama over these strengths one attains to the strength like that of an elephant and so on. (24)

Among those many strengths, you get the strength of that, such as, an elephant, on which samyama is being performed.


Pravṛttyālokanyāsātsūkṣmavyavahitaviprakṛṣṭajñānam ||25||

Through samyama over the origin and purview of action, one attains to the knowledge of that which is SUkShma=’Subtle’, vyavahita=‘Hidden’, and viprakRShTa=‘Distant’. (25)

Here samyama is putting (nyAsa न्यास) an activity (Pravṛtti प्रवृत्ति) under close supervision (Aloka आलोक). This leads to subtle knowledge about what is hidden and distant.


भुवनज्ञानं सूर्ये संयमात्॥२६॥
Bhuvanajñānaṁ sūrye saṁyamāt ||26||

Through samyama over sUrya=’Sun’, one attains to the knowledge of the entire World. (26)

This is self-explanatory.


चन्द्रे ताराव्यूहज्ञानम्॥२७॥
Candre tārāvyūhajñānam ||27||

Through samyama over chandra=‘Moon’, one attains to the knowledge of the layout of the stars. (27)

This is self-explanatory.


ध्रुवे तद्गतिज्ञानम्॥२८॥
Dhruve tadgatijñānam ||28||

Through samyama over dhruva=‘Pole Star’, one attains to the knowledge of the movement of the stars. (28)

This is self-explanatory.


नाभिचक्रे कायव्यूहज्ञानम्॥२९॥
Nābhicakre kāyavyūhajñānam ||29||

Through samyama over nAbhi-chakra=’Naval Chakra’, which is the maNipUraka, one attains to the knowledge of the layout of the physical body. (29)

This is self-explanatory.


कण्ठकूपे क्षुत्पिपासानिवृत्तिः॥३०॥
Kaṇṭhakūpe kṣutpipāsānivṛttiḥ ||30||

Through samyama over KaNTha-kUpa=‘Pit of the Throat’, which is the vishuddhi chakra, hunger and thirst are stopped. (30)

This is self-explanatory.


कूर्मनाड्यां स्थैर्यम्॥३१॥
Kūrmanāḍyāṁ sthairyam ||31||

Through samyama over kUrmanADi, which is one of the major energy pathways in the body, one attains to stability. (31)

This is self-explanatory.


मूर्धज्योतिषि सिद्धदर्शनम्॥३२॥
Mūrdhajyotiṣi siddhadarśanam ||32||

Through samyama over the light in the center of the forehead, visions of the siddhas manifest. (32)

This is self-explanatory.


प्रातिभाद्वा सर्वम्॥३३॥
Prātibhādvā sarvam ||33||

Or, all these attainments may happen in a flash of spontaneous illumination. (33)

This is self-explanatory.


हृदये चित्तसंवित्॥३४॥
Hṛdaye cittasaṁvit ||34||

Through samyama on hRdaya=‘Heart’, which corresponds to the anAhata chakra, one understands the true nature of chitta=‘Mind’. (34)

This is self-explanatory.


सत्त्वपुरुषयोरत्यन्तासङ्कीर्णयोः प्रत्ययाविशेषो भोगः परार्थत्वात्स्वार्थसंयमात्पुरुषज्ञानम्॥३५॥
Sattvapuruṣayoratyantāsaṅkīrṇayoḥ pratyayāviśeṣo bhogaḥ parārthatvātsvārthasaṁyamātpuruṣajñānam ||35||

bhoga=‘Experience’ is a generic state, which is an outcome of utter non-unity between sattva=‘Fundamental essence of nature’ and puruSha=’True sense of Self’. By shifting this outward focus of the self inwards, and through samyama over it, one attains to the true knowledge of puruSha. (35)

The experience (taking in sensory inputs) and the true knowledge of self is being described here. Experience is the generic state of being, which is an outcome of extreme separation of the sense of nature and the sense of self. By moving that experience from belonging to other things to being part of the self through samyama, one attains to the knowledge of true self.


ततः प्रातिभश्रावणवेदनादर्शास्वादवार्ता जायन्ते॥३६॥
Tataḥ prātibhaśrāvaṇavedanādarśāsvādavārtā jāyante ||36||

And from there arise brightened senses of shrAvaNa=‘Hearing’, vedana=’Touch’, Adarsha=Sight’,AsvAda=‘Taste’ and vArtta=’Smell’. (36)

When the knowledge of true self is attained, these five senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell) become heightened and illuminated.


ते समाधावुपसर्गा व्युत्थाने सिद्धयः॥३७॥
Te samādhāvupasargā vyutthāne siddhayaḥ ||37||

These enhanced senses are obstacles when one is in the state of samAdhi, and are attainments when one is out of it. (37)

When these siddhis (psychic powers) come about (as byproducts), they only act as obstacles in one’s samAdhi.


बन्धकारणशैथिल्यात्प्रचारसंवेदनाच्च चित्तस्य परशरीरावेशः॥३८॥
Bandhakāraṇaśaithilyātpracārasaṁvedanācca cittasya paraśarīrāveśaḥ ||38||

By relaxing one’s bondage with the physical body, and enhancing one’s mobility within, one’s chitta=‘Mind’ can enter another physical body. (38)

One’s mind can enter another body. This is done by loosening the ties of that which ties up one’s own self with the body, and by enabling that movement.


उदानजयाज्जलपङ्ककण्टकादिष्वसङ्ग उत्क्रान्तिश्च॥३९॥
Udānajayājjalapaṅkakaṇṭakādiṣvasaṅga utkrāntiśca ||39||

By mastering udAna=‘The buoyant aspect of prANa’, one can move untouched over jala=‘Water’, panka=’Sludge’, kaNTaka=‘Thorns’ etc. (39)

One’s physical body can pass over these obstacle (water, sludge, thorns, etc.) through mastery over the buoyancy aspect of prAna.


Samānajayājjvalanam ||40||

By mastering SamAna=‘The assimilative aspect of prANa’, one attains to radiance. (40)

SamAna is the transactory prAna, which moves energy from one part to the other. It is the vehicle of movement. By mastery over samAna one begets radiance.


श्रोत्राकाशयोः सम्बन्धसंयमाद्दिव्यं श्रोत्रम्॥४१॥
Śrotrākāśayoḥ sambandhasaṁyamāddivyaṁ śrotram ||41||

Through samyama over the relationship between shrotra=’Sense of Hearing’ and AkAsha=’Space’, one attains to a divine faculty of hearing. (41)

There is a very basic, inherent relationship between the sense of hearing and space. By samyama over those two one begets a divine sense of hearing.


कायाकाशयोः सम्बन्धसंयमाल्लघुतूलसमापत्तेश्चाकाशगमनम्॥४२॥
Kāyākāśayoḥ sambandhasaṁyamāllaghutūlasamāpatteścākāśagamanam ||42||

Through samyama over the relationship between kAya=‘Physical Body’ and AkAsha=’Space’, one attains to extreme lightness and an ability to travel through Space. (42)

One can make this to be a mysterious process, but it does not have to be so. This is similar to what a scientist does in his research, except there is a deeper involvement in samyama. It is not the entire physical body that becomes light and travels through space, but a subtle aspect of that body.


वहिरकल्पिता वृत्तिर्महाविदेहा ततः प्रकाशावरणक्षयः॥४३॥
Vahirakalpitā vṛttirmahāvidehā tataḥ prakāśāvaraṇakṣayaḥ ||43||

When one’s cyclical tendencies of the mind are greatly beyond the realm of the physical body and external circumstances, then the veil over the light within starts to thin. (43)

The cover (over the light within) starts to decay when the activities of the mind start to outgrow the realm of the body, and external circumstances. In other words, one starts on the path of enlightenment as one’s attention expands beyond the concerns of the body and the ego, and becomes concentrated entirely on the cyclical tendencies coming down from generations.


Sthūlasvarūpasūkṣmānvayārthavattvasaṁyamādbhūtajayaḥ ||44||

One attains to mastery over the elements through samyama over the functional relationship between sthUlasvarUpa=‘The gross physical form’ and sUkShmatva=‘The subtle nature’. (44)

We have a gross physical form and also a subtle nature. They are part of the same system. As we deeply meditate over this system our understanding of the elements of creation increases to the point of mastery.


ततोऽणिमादिप्रादुर्भावः कायसम्पत्तद्धर्मानभिघातश्च॥४५॥
Tato’ṇimādiprādurbhāvaḥ kāyasampattaddharmānabhighātaśca ||45||

And from there arise the external attainments like aNimA=‘Ability to transform to a minute size’, kAya-sampat=‘Attainments of the physical body’, and dharma-anabhighAta=‘Insulation from external forces’. (45)

As one attains mastery over the elements of creation, one is able to transforms one’s body in various ways. One is also unaffected by external forces. In may opinion, this refers to the aspects of the body that are not just solidly physical.


रूपलावण्यबलवज्रसंहननत्वानि कायसम्पत्॥४६॥
Rūpalāvaṇyabalavajrasaṁhananatvāni kāyasampat ||46||

kAya-sampat=‘Attainments of the physical body’ constitute rUpa=‘Perfection of form’, lAvaNya=‘Gracefulness’, bala=’Strength’, and vajrasanhanatvA=‘Firmness of a Diamond’. (46)

Attainment of the physical body are made up of perfection of form, gracefulness, strength and firmness like that of a diamond.


Grahaṇasvarūpāsmitānvayārthavattvasaṁyamādindriyajayaḥ ||47||

One attains to mastery over the senses through samyama over the functional relationship between grahaNasvarUpa=‘Nature of consumption’, and asmitA=’The sense of identity’. (47)

As one deeply contemplates over the functional relationship between the nature of consumption and the sense of identity, one attains mastery over the senses.


ततो मनोजवित्वं विकरणभावः प्रधानजयश्च॥४८॥
Tato manojavitvaṁ vikaraṇabhāvaḥ pradhānajayaśca ||48||

And then, the senses attain to manojavitva=’Swiftness of the Mind’, vikaraNabhAva=‘The ability of function outside the ambit of the body’, and pradhAnajaya=‘Mastery over the very foundations’. (48)

By mastery over one’s senses one attains swiftness of mind, ability to function with no attention on the body, and mastery over the very foundations of birth and death.


सत्त्वपुरुषान्यताख्यातिमात्रस्य सर्वभावाधिष्ठातृत्वं सर्वज्ञातृत्वं च॥४९॥
Sattvapuruṣānyatākhyātimātrasya sarvabhāvādhiṣṭhātṛtvaṁ sarvajñātṛtvaṁ ca ||49||

Once one just sees the distinction between sattva=‘Fundamental essence of nature’ and puruSha=’True sense of Self’, one attains to sarvabhAvAdhiShThAtRtvaM=’Supremacy over all states of existence’ and SarvajnAtRtvaM=’The knowledge of everything’. (49)

This sutra talks about the attainment of the knowledge of everything, and supremacy over all states of being. This is attained by just knowing the difference between fundamental essence of nature and the true sense of self.


तद्वैराग्यादपि दोषबीजक्षये कैवल्यम्॥५०॥
Tadvairāgyādapi doṣavījakṣaye kaivalyam ||50||

When one is disentangled with even this level of mastery, the seeds of imperfection wither away, and one attains to kivalyam=‘True Unity’. (50)

When one no longer has attention on even these two highly coveted attainments, the seeds of afflictions within are gone. This propels one to the state of true unity.


स्थान्युपनिमन्त्रणे सङ्गस्मयाकरणं पुनरनिष्टप्रसङ्गात्॥५१॥
Sthānyupanimantraṇe saṅgasmayākaraṇaṁ punaraniṣṭaprasaṅgāt ||51||

When one invokes and employs these powers situated within oneself, one is drawn toward entanglement once again, due to one’s involvement with that which is not conducive for growth. (51)

The very fact of invoking siddhis is deviating from the ultimate state of kaivalya (true unity).


क्षणतत्क्रमयोः संयमाद्विवेकजं ज्ञानम्॥५२॥
Kṣaṇatatkramayoḥ saṁyamādvivekajaṁ jñānam ||52||

Through samyama over each moment and its passage into the next, one attains to the knowledge born out of discernment. (52)

It takes discrimination to differentiate between two moments in time.


जातिलक्षणदेशैरन्यतानवच्छेदात्तुल्ययोस्ततः प्रतिपत्तिः॥५३॥
Jātilakṣaṇadeśairanyatānavacchedāttulyayostataḥ pratipattiḥ ||53||

And from that knowledge, one attains to the understanding of the similarity between seemingly different entities, due to non-separation between the seemingly separate factors of jAti=‘Birth’, lakShaNa=‘Characteristics’ and desha=‘Location’. (53)

There is continuity of moments. As one differentiates between these moments, one starts to understand the continuity between them as well, and thus, the continuity between seemingly different factors of birth, characteristics and location.


तारकं सर्वविषयं सर्वथाविषयमक्रमं चेति विवेकजं ज्ञानम्॥५४॥
Tārakaṁ sarvaviṣayaṁ sarvathāviṣayamakramaṁ ceti vivekajaṁ jñānam ||54||

The knowledge born out of discernment is that ‘All objects of the senses are not properly perceived in all sort of ways, and  need to be transcended’. (54)

We don’t get a complete picture of the objects of the senses; and we must perceive them in their actual continuity. This is the knowledge born out of discernment.


सत्त्वपुरुषयोः शुद्धिसाम्ये कैवल्यमिति॥५५॥
Sattvapuruṣayoḥ śuddhisāmye kaivalyamiti ||55||

Upon shuddhi=‘Purification’ and sAmya=‘Perception of equality’ between sattva=‘Fundamental essence of nature’ and puruSha=’True sense of Self’, one attains to  a state called kaivalyam=‘True Unity’. (55)

The fundamental essence of nature and the true sense of self are essentially one and the same. To experience this one must deeply contemplate and meditate on the perception of equality in its purity.


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.


Patanjali Yoga Sutras Chapter 1

Reference: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Chapter 1: Samadhi Pada (On concentration)
Verses 1:1- 1:51

Reference: The Sun of Sanskrit Knowledge

Sutras (1-4) – What is Yoga, and Why?
Sutras (5-11) – Five Compulsive States
Sutras (12-16) – Means of Control
Sutras (17-22) – Subtle States of Meditation
Sutras (23-29) – Definition of God
Sutras (30-39) – Calming the Mind
Sutras (40-50) – Deeper States of Meditation
Sutra (51) – Going Beyond


Summary of Samadhi Pada

When a person starts on Yoga, he has his life experiences made of compulsive, cyclical actions. Yoga is essentially the stopping of the compulsive, cyclical actions. When one accomplishes that he reduces to a witness to all that is happening. Otherwise, he remains subject to compulsive, cyclical actions. 

Such compulsive, cyclical actions can be pleasant also. They result in automatic judgment, misjudgment, imagination, sleep and remembrance. The judgement may be formed from how things are perceived and inferred, or they may simply be acquired. Misjudgment is skewed or illusory perspective of what is there. Imagination is assuming to fill in an incomplete picture. Sleep is cyclical lack of consciousness. And remembrance is formed out of old retained experiences.

Such compulsions are handled through any continuous, long-term practice that brings about a controlled state, and through detachment, which means disentangling oneself from all fixations. This leads to experiencing the true self that takes one beyond even the deep-seated inherent drives.

As you look at how life functions around you, and contemplate over it deeply, there is pure state of bliss in that contemplation that is enjoyed by the sense of ‘I’. When this leads to a deep meditative state it is called the samprajnAta-samAdhi. But when, with continuous practice, one gives rest to even this refined mental activity and only the latent tendencies remain, one enters the asamprajnAta-samAdhi. Those who are not fixated on their body, and who are simply immersed in their natural self, the asamprajnAta-samAdhi is brought about as a natural consequence of simply being. In others, this state is brought through continuous practice of focus, vigour, remembrance, equanimity and pure perception.

The attainment of asamprajnAta-samAdhi may be accelerated by intense resolve, or by immersing oneself in Ishwara. Ishwara is the sense of ideal self untouched by afflictions, actions, results and intentions. From this sense of Ishwara sprouts all knowledge. It is described by the primordial sound A-U-M. It has to be chanted repeatedly, and constantly contemplated upon. From the sense of Ishwara arises the knowledge of individual consciousness and dissolution of obstacles.

The obstacles that scatter the mind are: illness, procrastination, doubt, negligence, laziness, fixation, hallucination, lack of faith in oneself and unsteadiness. The scattering of mind leads to suffering, depression, lack of control over one’s limbs, and labored breathing. The only way to overcome these obstacles is focusing the mind on a single principle.

The mind gets clear and pleasant through the feelings of friendliness, compassion, joy and neutrality towards the dualities, such as, pleasantness and unpleasantness, virtue and vice; or, through controlled inhalation and exhalation of breath. It can also be accomplished simply by being one’s own intrinsic nature.  Still one can attain that pleasant state of chitta by maintaining a bright disposition, which is free of sorrow; or by keeping the mind devoid of entanglement with the objects of the senses. The vivid recollection of what happened in the dream and how it was caused can also make the chitta pleasant. But this can be tricky. The most freeing of all actions, however, is meditating upon any object of one’s choice. 

A person, who has gained complete control over one’s compulsive, cyclical actions, gains the ability to grasp all things from the tiniest to the most enormous. His mind has become clear like a crystal, and he has become one with the receiver, the act of receiving, and the object received. The sound, its essence and the knowledge of it has become one for him. This is the state of Savitarka samAdhi. When even the imprints of memory clear up, and it feels like one’s own form is absent, such as state where only the essence shines through, is the state of Nirvitarka samAdhi. It is by these two samAdhis that the subtle concepts of ‘thoughtfulness’ and ‘thoughtlessness’ are described.

These subtle states only remain as long as there is the perception of a form (linga), and cease to exist beyond that. They are called Sabija samAdhi. Through skill and competence in Nirvitarka samAdhi, one enters the realm of true spirituality. In that realm, one’s perception opens up to the truths of existence, and that is when you realize things. The knowledge of this reality is unique and all-encompassing. It is different from that which is normally perceived through one’s senses and logic, The impressions born out of this perception, prevents other inherent compulsive tendencies of all kinds. Thus, beyond five physical sense perceptions, and the sixth mental perception of intellect, there is the seventh cosmic perception. 

When even this seventh perception is brought under one’s conscious control, such as state is called Nirbija SamAdhi. At this level, one’s mental matrix is totally assimilated and has become one with the Universal matrix.


Sutras (1-4) – What is Yoga, and Why?

अथ योगानुशासनम्॥१॥
Atha yogānuśāsanam ||1||

And now, the self-discipline of Yoga. (1)

Now that you have experienced all sort of things; and, have arrived at the present point in life, we shall start with the discipline of Yoga.


Yogaścittavṛttinirodhaḥ ||2||

Yoga is the control over the compulsive cyclical actions of one of the aspects of the mind, called chitta. (2)

Yoga is essentially the stopping of the compulsive, cyclical actions. Many such actions are a reaction to the environment due to the unassimilated impressions from past experiences.


तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम्॥३॥
Tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe’vasthānam ||3||

It is then, that one is established in the true sense of the seer, called self. (3)

Somewhere in the background there is a sense of being a witness to all the events that are happening. With the practice of yoga one gets established in that.


Vṛttisārūpyamitaratra ||4||

Otherwise, one is verily identified with the cyclical actions of the mind. (4)

When these compulsive, cyclical actions are there, the sense of witness gets caught up in them, much like being caught up in the emotions of a movie or a play that one is watching.


Sutras (5-11) – Five Compulsive States

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टा अक्लिष्टाः॥५॥
Vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā akliṣṭāḥ ||5||

These cyclical actions are of five kinds, some complex and some simple. (5)

These cyclical actions need not be so complicated that lead only to suffering; they can also be simple and pleasant yet compulsive. Such compulsions are of five kinds.


Pramāṇaviparyayavikalpanidrāsmṛtayaḥ ||6||

These five are: pramANa=judgment, viparyaya=misjudgment, vikalpa=imagination, nidrA=sleep, and smRti=remembrance. (6)

The first kind of compulsive, cyclical action is the judgment, which the mind is doing all the time automatically. The second kind is mistaking one thing for another. The third kind is filling gaps in data with imagination or assumptions. The fourth kind is the state of unconsciousness, as in sleep. The fifth kind are the impressions from previous experiences that may take over one’s consciousness.


प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि॥७॥
Pratyakṣānumānāgamāḥ pramāṇāni ||7||

pramANa=judgment, is through pratyakSha=direct experience, anumAna=inference, and Agama=acquisition. (7)

Judgement depends on data experienced directly, or inferred from various observations, or acquired from elsewhere, such as, from the scriptures, guru, or elders.


विपर्ययो मिथ्याज्ञानमतद्रूपप्रतिष्ठम्॥८॥
Viparyayo mithyājñānamatadrūpapratiṣṭham ||8||

viparyaya=misjudgment, is illusory and false knowledge, which is rooted in the misidentification of truth. (8)

In viparyaya, one does not discern something exactly for what it is; but rather has a skewed perspective of it. For example, mistaking a rope for a snake. 


शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः॥९॥
Śabdajñānānupātī vastuśūnyo vikalpaḥ ||9||

vikalpa=imagination, is a result of knowing something at the surface, without a complete picture. (9)

When there are blanks in the data, one may fill it up with assumptions or imagination. For example, some people fill up up the gap about the origin of this universe with the idea of a humanlike God. This is vikalpa.


अभावप्रत्ययालम्बना वृत्तिर्निद्रा॥१०॥
Abhāvapratyayālambanā vṛttirnidrā ||10||

nidrA=sleep, is a cyclical activity of rest which is supported by the state of non-being. (10)

In each of the previous cyclical activities, the consciousness is not under control and it gets altered one way or another. However, in the cyclical activity of sleep, the consciousness actually shuts down completely, and a state of unconsciousness ensues. 


अनुभूतविषयासम्प्रमोषः स्मृतिः॥११॥
Anubhūtaviṣayāsampramoṣaḥ smṛtiḥ ||11||

smRti=remembrance, is retaining old experiences without letting them pass. (11)

The cyclical aspect of memory is the unassimilated impressions from previous experiences that take over one’s consciousness. A person then, unconsciously, acts out such impressions.


Sutras (12-16) – Means of Control

अभ्यासवैराग्याभ्यां तन्निरोधः॥१२॥
Abhyāsavairāgyābhyāṁ tannirodhaḥ ||12||

These are controlled through abhyAsa=practice and vairAgya=dis-identification (12)

In next four sutras, Patanjali talks about means to stop these compulsive, cyclical actions. These means are: abhyAsa and vairAgya. Here we have dual means that are mutually complementary to each other. You do one thing, the other naturally comes along. When you are established in abhyAsa, vairAgya develops; and being in a constant state of vairAgya itself is abhyAsa. 


तत्र स्थितौ यत्नोऽभ्यासः॥१३॥
Tatra sthitau yatno’bhyāsaḥ ||13||

abhyAsa=practice is an attempt to continuously be in such a state of control. (13)

abhyAsa is continuously putting in an effort to stay in a controlled state wherein no compulsive, cyclical actions exist. It is not some specified practice but any kind of effort that brings about such a controlled state. In abhyasa, the effort becomes a part of your nature; and firmly rooted in you.


स तु दीर्घकालनैरन्तर्यसत्कारासेवितो दृढभूमिः॥१४॥
Sa tu dīrghakālanairantaryasatkārāsevito dṛḍhabhūmiḥ ||14||

It is strengthened by prolonged, uninterrupted and well-performed application of action. (14)

The nature of abhyAsa is that you get established in it firmly when you perform it efficiently for a long time, without breaks or interruptions.


दृष्टानुश्रविकविषयवितृष्णस्य वशीकारसञ्ज्ञा वैराग्यम्॥१५॥
Dṛṣṭānuśravikaviṣayavitṛṣṇasya vaśīkārasañjñā vairāgyam ||15||

vairAgya=dis-identification is control over the thirst for objects of senses, which have either been perceived or just been heard about. (15)

vairAgya (not being entangled) is defined as keeping under control the craving not only for things you have already experienced, but also for the things you have only heard about. The state of vairAgya is more than just being disinterested. It is being disentangled. You can be interested, and even involved, in anything you want to, but you are not stuck in it.


तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेर्गुणवैतृष्ण्यम्॥१६॥
Tatparaṁ puruṣakhyāterguṇavaitṛṣṇyam ||16||

It is a state of the beyond, born out of the true knowledge of the self, when one is beyond the thirst of even the guNas=qualities themselves. (16)

That vairAgya is going beyond even the primeval urges built in us and getting established in that which drives us from within. PuruSha is that which drives us from within. guNas are the inherent qualities within us. See The Static Viewpoint.


Sutras (17-22) – Subtle States of Meditation

Vitarkavicārānandāsmitārūpānugamātsamprajñātaḥ ||17||

samprajnAta-samAdhi=’Equanimous-Mind which still discerns’, is a state which is a consequence of vitarka=spiritual reasoning, vichAra=deep thought, Ananda=pure bliss, and asmitA=being in the sense of ‘I’. (17)

Patanjali now talks about deeper and deeper states of meditativeness. One does not have to go through them in that particular order, but Patanjali covers them all. The first of those meditative states is samprajnAta-samAdhi. It is a consequence of spiritual reasoning that you do as you look at how life functions around you, and then contemplate over it deeply. There is pure state of bliss in that contemplation that is enjoyed by the sense of ‘I’. This is a good application of Jnana (knowledge) that leads to deep meditative state. Therefore, it is called samprajnAta-samAdhi. 


विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषोऽन्यः॥१८॥
Virāmapratyayābhyāsapūrvaḥ saṁskāraśeṣo’nyaḥ ||18||

The other state, asamprajnAta-samAdhi=’Equanimous-Mind beyond discernment’ is a consequence of the continuous practice of giving rest to the mental activity, where only one’s samskAras=’latent-tendencies’ remain. (18)

The state which is beyond that (samprajnAta-samAdhi) is the consequence of continuous practice where all thought processes are no longer compulsive and only one’s deepest tendencies are operative on their own. 


भवप्रत्ययो विदेहप्रकृतिलयानाम्॥१९॥
Bhavapratyayo videhaprakṛtilayānām ||19||

For those who are videha=’without a body’ and prakRtilaya=’immersed in one’s own nature’, this state is caused by just bhava=’simply being’. (19)

Those who are without a body (not fixated on their body), and those who are totally immersed in their own self, the asamprajnAta-samAdhi is brought about as a natural consequence of simply being.


श्रद्धावीर्यस्मृतिसमाधिप्रज्ञापूर्वक इतरेषाम्॥२०॥
Śraddhāvīryasmṛtisamādhiprajñāpūrvaka itareṣām ||20||

And for all others, this state is caused as a consequence of shraddhA=’steadfast focus’, vIrya=’high energy’, smRti=’constant remembrance’, samAdhi=’equanimity’, and prajnA=’pure perception’. (20)

Others, who have a body and who are not immersed in their own nature, attain this state (beyond samprajnAta-samAdhi), through steadfast focus, high energy, constant remembrance, equanimity and pure perception.


Tīvrasaṁvegānāmāsannaḥ ||21||

It is easily attainable to those who approach it with a keen resolve. (21)

But those who are filled with intense resolve, can attain this state relatively easily.


मृदुमध्याधिमात्रत्वात्ततोऽपि विशेषः॥२२॥
Mṛdumadhyādhimātratvāttato’pi viśeṣaḥ ||22||

This resolve is of three kinds again, mRdu=’mild’, madhya=’medium’, and adhimAtra=’intense’. (22)

Even here the resolve may be categorized as mild, medium and intense; though Patanjali wants people to be intense in their resolve.


Sutras (23-29) – Definition of God

Īśvarapraṇidhānādvā ||23||

It can also be attained through praNidhAna=’abiding in’ Ishwara. (23)

Patanjali is quite scientific in his rendition. This is the only sutra where he mentions bhakti (devotion) as an alternative—you can meditate and just immerse yourself in Ishwara. He then goes on to give a technical description to what Ishwara is. Also see Can God be Defined?


क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः॥२४॥
Kleśakarmavipākāśayairaparāmṛṣṭaḥ puruṣaviśeṣa īśvaraḥ ||24||

Ishwara is that distinguished sense of self beyond and untouched by the realms of klesha=’afflictions’, karma=’actions’, vipAka=’results’ and Ashaya=’intentions’. (24)

Ishwara is not somewhere up there; it is actually an exalted sense of self within, which is beyond and not sullied by afflictions, actions and their results, not even by the intent of performing actions. This definition may be applied to your perception of Rama, Krishna and other Gods. 


तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञवीजम्॥२५॥
Tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajñavījam ||25||

In that Ishwara, is contained the seed of all knowledge. (25)

That exalted sense of self (Ishwara) is within you; and there itself is the seed of all knowledge. Whatever there is to know as knowledge about life; whenever you want to understand something about a field of knowledge, you just calm yourself to that state of meditativeness and that meaning dawns upon you.


पूर्वेषामपि गुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात्॥२६॥
Pūrveṣāmapi guruḥ kālenānavacchedāt ||26||

That Ishwara is the guru=’illuminator’ of all who came before, due to the unending nature of time. (26)

Because of the cyclical and unending nature of time, that Ishwara, which dwells within, illuminated all those hundreds and thousands of great masters who came before. All this knowledge has originated from within us only.


तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः॥२७॥
Tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ ||27||

The descriptor of Ishwara is praNava=’the first sound’. (27)

The definition of praNava is that it is a name given to Ishwara (the exalted sense of self and the source of all knowledge within). praNava is the primordial sound whose components are A, U, and M. 


Tajjapastadarthabhāvanam ||28||

It is that to be chanted repeatedly, and it’s essence which is to be contemplated upon. (28)

That praNava is a descriptor of Ishwara (the exalted sense of self within and the source of all knowledge), that has to be constantly contemplated, meditated. And chanted, upon. That is the practice.


ततः प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमोऽप्यन्तरायाभावश्च॥२९॥
Tataḥ pratyakcetanādhigamo’pyantarāyābhāvaśca ||29||

From that arises the knowledge of individual consciousness, and the absence of antarAya=’obstacles’. (29)

By constant meditation and contemplation over the essence of praNava (primordial sound) the knowledge of individual consciousness arises and any obstacles are dissolved.


Sutras (30-39) – Calming the Mind

व्याधिस्त्यानसंशयप्रमादालस्याविरतिभ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपास्तेऽन्तरायाः॥३०॥
Vyādhistyānasaṁśayapramādālasyāviratibhrāntidarśanālabdhabhūmikatvānavasthitatvāni cittavikṣepāste’ntarāyāḥ ||30||

antarAya=’obstacles’ are those which scatter the mind. They are vyAdhi=’illness’, styAna=’procrastination’, samshya=’doubt’, pramAda=’negligence’, Alasya=’laziness’, avirati=’failure to not-cling’, bhrAnti-darshana=’hallucination’, alabdha-bhUmikatva=’inability to gain grounding’, and anavasthitava=’unsteadiness’. (30)

This group of sutras lists the obstacles that scatter the chitta; but get dissolved by japa of praNava.


दुःखदौर्मनस्याङ्गमेजयत्वश्वासप्रश्वासा विक्षेपसहभुवः॥३१॥
Duḥkhadaurmanasyāṅgamejayatvaśvāsapraśvāsā vikṣepasahabhuvaḥ ||31||

When the mind is scattered, it leads to duHkha=’suffering’, daurmanasya=’depression’, angamejayatva=’losing control over the limbs’, and shvAsaprashvAsA=’labored breathing’. (31)

This sutra talks about the symptoms that occur when the chitta is scattered. 


Tatpratiṣedhārthamekatattvābhyāsaḥ ||32||

The only way to overcome these, is through focused practice on attaining to one-truth. (32)

This sutra talks about how to overcome these symptoms.  This can be done by concentrating the mind on a single tattva (axiom or principle). 


मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम्॥३३॥
Maitrīkaruṇāmuditopekṣāṇāṁ sukhaduḥkhapuṇyāpuṇyaviṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaścittaprasādanam ||33||

The mind gets clear and pleasant through the feelings of maitrI=’friendliness’, karuNA=’compassion’, muditA=’joy’, and upekShA=’neutrality’ towards the objects of sukha=’pleasantness’, duHkha=’unpleasantness’, puNya=’virtue’ and apuNya=’vice’. (33)

This sutra talks about the pleasant states of chitta, and how they come about. It is achieved by staying friendly, compassionate, joyful and neutral toward the dualities in life.


प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य॥३४॥
Pracchardanavidhāraṇābhyāṁ vā prāṇasya ||34||

Or through the controlled inhalation and exhalation of one’s prAna=’life airs’. (34)

An alternative method of achieving the same results is through pranAyama, which is a science in itself.


विषयवती वा प्रवृत्तिरुत्पन्ना मनसः स्थितिनिबन्धिनी॥३५॥
Viṣayavatī vā pravṛttirutpannā manasaḥ sthitinibandhinī ||35||

Or the states of the mind are also steadied by sensations caused by one’s own intrinsic nature. (35)

The same can be accomplished through in one’s intrinsic nature (simply by being oneself); even when the mind is involved in all these dualities.


विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती॥३६॥
Viśokā vā jyotiṣmatī ||36||

Or by a bright state of mind, free of sorrow. (36)

Still one can attain that pleasant state of chitta by maintaining a bright disposition, which is free of sorrow.


वीतरागविषयं वा चित्तम्॥३७॥
Vītarāgaviṣayaṁ vā cittam ||37||

Or by keeping the mind devoid of entanglement with the objects of the senses. (37)

Another way is to keep the mind free of entanglements with the objects of the senses. 


स्वप्ननिद्राज्ञानालम्बनं वा॥३८॥
Svapnanidrājñānālambanaṁ vā ||38||

Or by seeking support in the knowledge of dream and sleep-states. (38)

The vivid recollection of what happened in the dream and how it was caused can also make the chitta pleasant. But this can be tricky.


Yathābhimatadhyānādvā ||39||

Or through meditation upon any object of one’s choice. (39)

This is the most freeing of all the sutras. Pick something, anything that interests you and meditate upon that.


Sutras (40-50) – Deeper States of Meditation

परमाणुपरममहत्त्वान्तोऽस्य वशीकारः॥४०॥
Paramāṇuparamamahattvānto’sya vaśīkāraḥ ||40||

Even the tiniest and the most enormous, are within the grasp of such a person. (40)

Patanjali now talks about the states one may achieve once the chitta has been pacified and one has gained complete control over one’s compulsive, cyclical action. Such a person gains the ability to grasp all things from the tiniest to the most enormous.


क्षीणवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनता समापत्तिः॥४१॥
Kṣīṇavṛtterabhijātasyeva maṇergrahītṛgrahaṇagrāhyeṣu tatsthatadañjanatā samāpattiḥ ||41||

The one whose compulsive cyclical activities are subdued, and the mind is clearing up like a crystal, attains to the capability of being established as one with all the activities of being the grahItR=’the consumer’, grahaNa=’the act of consumption’, and grAhya=’the consumed’. (41)

Such a person also gains the state of samApatti (coming together to the original form) where the receiver, the act of receiving and what is received become one. 


शब्दार्थज्ञानविकल्पैः सङ्कीर्णा सवितर्का समापत्तिः॥४२॥
Śabdārthajñānavikalpaiḥ saṅkīrṇā savitarkā samāpattiḥ ||42||

There comes the capability of savitarka-samAdhi, which unites the three factors of shabda=’the sound’, artha=’its essence’ and jnAna=’the knowledge of it’. (42)

There comes about savitarka-samAdhi in which the three factors of shabda, artha and jnAna are united. These factors are actually three different manifestations of the same thing.


स्मृतिपरिशुद्धौ स्वरूपशून्येवार्थमात्रनिर्भासा निर्वितर्का॥४३॥
Smṛtipariśuddhau svarūpaśūnyevārthamātranirbhāsā nirvitarkā ||43||

When even the imprints of memory clear up, and it feels like one’s own form is absent, such a state where only artha=’the essence’ shines through is called as nirvitarka-samAdhi. (43)

One step deeper is the nirvitarka-samAdhi in which the sound and any specific knowledge dissolve and only the essence remains. There is no longer any identify with any form, which was the consequence of memory. Memory clears up and so does the form. These deeper states are experiential states. The only way to know them is to be in them. 


एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता॥४४॥
Etayaiva savicārā nirvicārā ca sūkṣmaviṣayā vyākhyātā ||44||

It is by these two samAdhis that the subtle concepts of savichAra=’thoughtfulness’ and nirvichAra=’thoughtlessness’ are described. (44)

These two states—savitarka and nirvitarka—are the subtle states of being. These subtle states were talked about in Patanjali’s time. They are also referred to as savichArA and nirvichArA samAdhi in this sutra. These two states are much subtler compared to the samprajnAta and asamprajnAta samAdhis. 


सूक्ष्मविषयत्वं चालिङ्गपर्यवसानम्॥४५॥
Sūkṣmaviṣayatvaṁ cāliṅgaparyavasānam ||45||

These subtle states only remain as long as there is the perception of a form, and cease to exist beyond that. (45)

The literal meaning of linga (लिङ्ग) is ‘form’. It is because the essence of this form still remains in nirvitarka samAdhi (though its sound and knowledge are dissolved) we call it a subtle state.


ता एव सवीजः समाधिः॥४६॥
Tā eva savījaḥ samādhiḥ ||46||

It is these states, which are called as sabIja-samAdhi=’states of causal equanimity’. (46)

In these subtle states, the cause (seed) of the compulsive, cyclical actions is still alive; therefore, they are categorized as sabIja-samAdhi.


Nirvicāravaiśāradye’dhyātmaprasādaḥ ||47||

Through skill and competence in nirvichArA=’thoughtless states of meditation’, one enters the realm of adhyAtma=’spirituality’. (47)

By continuously staying in the state of nirvitarka or nirvichArA samAdhi, you become skilled and competent in it, and you enter the realm of adhyAtma (spirituality). Before that point ‘spirituality’ is rather unreal.  ‘adhyAtma’, which means “own, belonging to self, Supreme Spirit“ is the best word to describe the realm of spirituality. 


ऋतम्भरा तत्र प्रज्ञा॥४८॥
Ṛtambharā tatra prajñā ||48||

In that realm, one’s perception is filled with Rta=’the true reality of existence’. (48)

Once you enter the realm of spirituality, there the state of perception is filled with the truth of cosmos. The universe has two aspects—satyam  (सत्यम् relative) is the reality as we experience it in the physical world; and rtam (ऋतम् absolute, cosmic) is the cosmic truth, which is unchanging. One’s perception opens up to the truths of the cosmos, and that is when you realize things. 


श्रुतानुमानप्रज्ञाभ्यामन्यविषया विशेषार्थत्वात्॥४९॥
Śrutānumānaprajñābhyāmanyaviṣayā viśeṣārthatvāt ||49||

The knowledge of this reality is unique, and different from that which is normally perceived through one’s senses and logic, due to its nature of being all-encompassing. (49)

The reality of the physical world (satyam सत्यम् ) can be known by contemplating over it, but when you perceive truth which is not known, that is the true reality of existence (rtam ऋतम्). The knowledge through rtam is enormously empowering, so that you do not have to rely on books or inferred knowledge anymore. You just perceive the truth there is, for what it is


तज्जः संस्कारोऽन्यसंस्कारप्रतिबन्धी॥५०॥
Tajjaḥ saṁskāro’nyasaṁskārapratibandhī ||50||

The impressions born out of this perception, prevents other inherent compulsive tendencies of all kinds. (50)

The impressions that are born from the realization through rtam take precedence over impressions born from all other sense perceptions. One then becomes truly cultured. Thus, there are five physical sense perceptions, the sixth is the logical, or intellectual perception, and now seventh is the rtam (cosmic) perception. 


Sutra (51) – Going Beyond

तस्यापि निरोधे सर्वनिरोधान्निर्वीजः समाधिः॥५१॥
Tasyāpi nirodhe sarvanirodhānnirvījaḥ samādhiḥ ||51||

When even this perception and everything else is stopped under one’s control, such a state is called nirbIja-samAdhi=’a state of causeless equanimity’. (51)

When even this deepest impression through rtam is also brought under control (meaning it is no longer automatic), one enters the state of nirbIja-samAdhi. Here even the seed (in the form ritambhara prajna) is dissolved. Ritambhara means “bearing the truth in itself”. It refers to the cosmic harmony, or to the mental matrix in which all impressions are assimilated. Now there is complete absence of any compulsive, cyclical actions.