Patanjali Yoga Sutra - Chapter Two

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Sadhana pada: 





Verse 1

tapah-svadhyayesvara-pranidhanani kriya-yogah

tapah – austerity; svadhyaya – study of the psyche; isvarapranhanani = isvara - Supreme Lord + pranidhanani – profound religious meditation; kriyayayoga – dynamic yoga practice


Austerity, study of the psyche, profound religious meditation on the Supreme Lord is the dynamic kriya yoga practice.



     There are many Vaishnava teachers who deride Sri Patanjali as an impersonalist.  This is because they misunderstand these sutras and have a negative bias towards yoga.  Even though Srila Vyasadeva, his son Shuka and others like Narada, themselves being leading Vaishnavas, did perfect the dynamic kriya yoga practice, still today many Vaishnava leaders who hail in their name, denounce the very process as being devoid of bhakti or devotion to Ishvara.  Thus they ridicule it as being useless.


      However it is clear that this dynamic kriya yoga - practice was taught to Uddhava by Sri Krishna in their final conversation. The three aspects mentions, namely austerity, (tapah) study of the psyche (svadhyaya) and profound religious meditation upon the Supreme Lord (Isvarapranidhanani) are absolutely essential for the liberation of a living being.  Whether one cultivates this by long practice, as Sri Patanjali described or one does so effortlessly as Sri Caitanya MahaPrabhu did, it will still be necessary in one way or the other either ( text missing)…natural ability.  There is no avoiding this.  Ultimately it must be done.


     Those who do the dynamic kriya practice and who avoid the profound religious meditation upon the Supreme Lord, must substitute a profound type of religious meditation toward the yogi guru who gives them techniques.  Ultimately, the offering of devotion to that person reaches the Supreme Lord, either directly or through the chain of siddhas, who ultimately must be connected to that ultimate teacher, the spiritual master of the ancient yogis.  The profound religious meditation cannot be avoided in the course of dynamic kriya yoga.  This explains why someone may become a siddha even though he is not an avowed devotee of that Supreme Lord. It is because that person has an indirect but very effective connection to the Godhead.



Paul’s Notation:


Sri Madvacharya asked me the other day about what my position was on this text and what my response to it was. He recounted that initially I had some difficulty, but at that time I could not really put my finger on what it was.  Now, in moving into this second chapter, I see that what I struggle with and what I have always struggled with.  It has to do with the TRUTH of these kinds of writings.  It goes back to what someone said, and the speculation on what the writer  meant.  There is a dissonance for me in this process, it may have to do with the way my own buddhi organ operates and the initial distaste I have for information that is second hand or not based on observable factual experience, but rather that it’s true because someone else said it…then for me, at least, all I am left with is the truth or inference that someone one thousand years ago looked at something and after experiencing it, made such and such a notation.

This particular kind of truth, carries a lot of weight in all fundamentalist traditions and surely the discipline involved in making note that Krishna for example said THIS and not THAT…surely carries a weight, but, for me it’s not enough to know what someone said. My interest is in the experience not in someone’s opinion of THEIR experience, however valuable it might be. It behooves me and escapes me altogether as to why there is SO much emphasis placed upon these personalities who  are masters of detachment and live very impersonal lives.  I wonder if other readers encounter this difficulty…this gap between the actual object and someone’s description of the object.  The only truth I feel left with, when the purport takes that particular direction is that Patanjali said this.  But So what?  


       Beyond this, what I’m talking about here doesn’t really register so much here as in other fundamentalist traditions.. Particularly in the Christian tradition, where you see people quoting the Bible with amazing facility and pride.  But do they actually Know or experience that kingdom of God that was the whole point of what Jesus was talking about.  It’s really great that they took the time to learn and memorize all these things, but what about the  actual experience Jesus was talking about. I don’t think, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind, I don’t think the Kingdom of God He was talking about meant people walking around arguing about what he said or didn’t say or spending all their time quoting this and that, but not really knowing or experiencing what those words actually refer to. 


       It should also be NOTED here that Madhvi is not one of those people even though he does defer in that way often.  Why he does this, I don’t know or understand.  I can only guess that it has to do with

tradition and some kind of spiritual etiquette.



Verse 2

samadhi-bhavanarthah klesa-tanu-karanarthas ca

samadhi – continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force or person; bhavana – producing; arthah - for the value or purposes of; klesa = mento-emotional afflictions; tanu - thinking reducing; karana - cause, causing; arthas = arthah- for the value of purpose; ca – and


It is for the purpose of producing continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force and for causing the reduction of the mental and emotional afflictions.



     Without the reduction of the mental and emotional afflictions, there can be no Samadhi or continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force or person.  This is because the afflictions serves as effective distractions which keep the buddhi organ engaged in lower pursuits, effectively baring it from focusing into higher places of consciousness.  The dynamic kriya yoga is necessary.  It is the only process which systematically reduces the mental and emotional botherations and gradually puts the psyche at a distance from them.  It does not postpone them nor put them into dormancy nor drown them out with sounds and picturations.  It brings them to an end.



Verse 3

avidyasmita-raga-dvesabhinivesah klesah

avidya – spiritual ignorance; asmita –misplaced identity; raga – a tendency of emotional attachment; 

dvesa - impulsive emotional disaffection; abhinivesah – strong focus on mundane existence which is due to an instinctive fear of death; klesah – the mental emotional afflictions


The mental and emotional afflictions are spiritual ignorance, misplaced identity, emotional attachment, impulsive emotional disaffection and the strong focus on mundane existence, which is due to an instinctive fear of death.



     The prime cause of the mental and emotional afflictions is spiritual ignorance (avidya). Unfortunately this ignorance is primeval for many of the living entities who end up in the material creation.  They have no idea of their spiritual whereabouts.  They assume that their existence is mundane.  By not understanding their essential self (sva-bhava), they are subjected to endless mis-identities, on and on and on.  It is by the grace of a guru that one gets some idea about the essential self.  It is by the example of a guru that one makes the endeavor to release the self.


     The misplaced self identity (asmita) causes numerous afflictions in the day to day existence.  By it, one attaches one’s psychological energy to persons and things in a harmful way.  It is by yoga discipline that one develops the power to control the sense of identity, so that it may focus only on higher realities and ultimately cause one to be situated in a permanent non-painful condition.


     The tendency for emotional attachment (raga) is an impulse which is curbed after one has mastered the pratyahar fifth stage of yoga practice, consisting of withdrawing the sensual energies from their external pursuits and conserving that energy within the psyche for application to higher realities.


     The impulsive emotional disaffection occurs on the basis of justified or unjustified biases acquired in the present and past lives.  It is impulsively performed and is hard to control.  By higher yoga, one can bring this to an end.


     The strong focus on mundane existence which is due to an instinctive fear of death (abhinivesah ) is removed by the realization of the self. One must gain mystic experiences whereby one finds oneself in one’s subtle body when it is separated from the gross one.  Gradually by repeated experiences of this sort, one loses the instinctive fear of death and finds that it is no longer necessary to maintain a strong focus on material existence, since one will definitely survive the perishable body.  These five causes of the mental and emotional afflictions must be removed before one can enter Samadhi on a regular basis.



Verse 4

avidya ksetram uttaresam prasupta-tanu-vicchina-udaranam

avidya – spiritual ignorance; ksetram - field, existential environment; uttaresam – of the other afflictions; prasupta – dormant; tanu – reducted; vicchina – alternating, periodic; udaranam – expanded


Spiritual ignorance is the existential environment for the other afflictions, in their dormant, reduced, periodic or expanded stages.



     Spiritual ignorance (avidya) is the root cause of the mental and emotional distresses which come upon a living entity, and which is perceived as an impediment by aspiring yogins.  The other afflictions form on the basis of spiritual ignorance.  These four others arise in the psychological environment of a person who is spiritually-ignorant of his self-identity, due to having not experienced it objectively and due to having a strong focus on gross existence.



Verse 5

anityasuci-dukhanatmasu nitya-suci-sukhatmakhyatir avidya

anitya – not eternal, temporary; asuci - not clean, not pure; duhkha – distress; anatmasu – in what is not the spirit; nitya – eternal; suci – pure; sukha – happiness; atma – spirit; khyatih -  what is known or identified; avidya- spiritual ignorance


Spiritual ignorance is exhibited when what is temporary, impure, distressful and mundane, is identified as being eternal, pure, joyful and spiritual respectively.




     This exhibition is rooted in the strong focus on gross existence which is due to an instinctive fear of death (abhinivesah, verse 3) by that focus one mistakes what is temporary, feeling that it is or can be permanent, if it is maintained  by one’s interest in it.  One feels that what is impure can be purified by external means and by decorations.  One does not recognize what is distressful but instead feels that it is joy-yielding.  One mistakes what is not the spirit for the spirit.  For example, one feels that one’s body is oneself, and that it might be possible for one to live as the body forever.


Paul’s Notation: 

What is interesting here is that he is not talking about not having a lot of scholarly information, or a college degree.  A person can have all those kinds of literacy and vast amounts of education and yet still be SPIRITUALLY  ignorant.



Verse 6

drg-darsana-saktyor ekatmatevasmita

drg = drk - supernatural vision; darsana – what is seen; saktyoh - of the two potencies; ekatmata – having one nature, identical; iva – as if, seems to be; asmita- mistaken identity


Mistaken identity occurs when the supernatural vision and what is seen through it seems to be identical.



     The drg shakti or drk shakti is the supernatural visionary power which emits from the spirit itself.  It is not what is seen, even though it is the medium which is used directly or in the conjunction with other perceiving instruments.  Hence it is mistaken identity when one feels that what is seen is identical to his own vision.


     First of all, the supernatural vision is experienced as one’s attention on this level of existence.  On this level one uses a subtle and gross instrument for focusing one’s attention.  The subtle instrument is the buddhi which is the brain of the subtle body.  The gross instrument is the brain, and it’s auxiliary nerves.  When the attention is focused through the subtle reality, it suffers from inaccuracy.  Therefore it is a mistake to think that it is true vision or direct perception.


Paul’s Notation:  

Some commentators say this simply as “aversion means clinging to pain”.




                               Verse 7

sukhanusayi ragah

sukha – happiness; anusayi – connected to, devotedly attached to; ragah – craving


Craving results from a devoted attachment to happiness



     A yogin must study his own psychology to see how it operates.. He should take steps to curb it for success in yoga.  Every yogi is required to pay attention to his own nature, to find its defects and to alter it in the interest of progress.  


     Human nature develops cravings by being devotedly attached to happiness. Happiness is derived from sensual contact in terms of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching and hearing.  In the pratyahar sensual withdrawal stages, a yogi gets to understand how he becomes attached to various types of happiness and how his attachments develops into craving, which forms compulsive habits.  Each yogi must systematically review his own conduct to understand this.  Then he should correct himself.


Paul’s Notation:  

Some commentators give; Attachment is clinging to pleasure.  



Verse 8

dukhanusayi dvesah

duhkha – distress; anusayi – connected to, devotedly attached to; dvesah- impulsive emotional disaffection


Impulsive emotional disaffection results from a devoted attachment to distress.



     Impulsive emotional disaffection is manifest as an instinctive dislike for something or someone.  One can become habituated to such disaffection.  This results in a cynical attitude and an abhorrence towards one object or the other.  It destroys yoga practice.


     Distress, though painful  on the emotional level, may be liked by someone.  Thus the person is drawn into distressful situations again and again to derive the emotional satisfaction causes by linking the emotions to painful situations.  All this should be discovered by a yogin, so that he can wean himself from distress and its causes.



Verse 9

svarasa-vahi viduso’ pi tatha rudho bhinivesah

svarasavahi = sva - own + rasa – essence + vahi – flow current, instinct for self preservation(svarasavahi - it’s own flow of energy of self  preservation); vidus = vidusah – the wise man; ‘pi – api – also; tatha – just as, so it is; rudho – rudhah - developed produced; ‘bhinivesah = abhinivesah – strong focus on mundane existence which is due to instinctive fear of death


As it is, the strong focus on mundane existence, which is due to the instinctive fear of death, and which is sustained by its own potencies, which operates for self preservation, is developed even in the wise man



     Even though wise, a person has to curb his instinctive life force.  This is why the mastership of kundalini yoga is necessary before one can attain salvation.  It is due to the natural sense of self preservation, which is present in the subtle body, which is instinctively fearful of not having a gross form and of having to leave such a form permanently.


     Unless on effectively resists the life force in the subtle body, his wisdom or knowledge can do nothing to remove the strong fear of death.  The  resistance is acquired by intake of  higher pranic energies, through pranayama and other methods which form parts of the kriya yoga practice..


     Mastery of the life force, the kundalini chakra, gives the yogin the ability to infuse the subtle body with a lack of fear, due to its conscious experiences in the subtle world.  When the subtle body takes a footing in the subtle existence it releases itself from dependence on this gross manifestation, and the fear of death (abhinivesah) departs from it.


     In his translation, the Raj Yogi I.K. Taimni gave riding and dominating as the meaning of rudhah.  His translation reads that abhinivesa is the strong desire for life which dominates even the learned (or the wise).  In his purport, he stated that the universality of abhinivesah shows that there is some constant and universal force inherent in life which automatically find expression in this “desire to live”.


     In higher yoga one realizes this when one traces that urge to the life force in the subtle body and then to the cosmic life force which dominates or rides on the back of the psyche, dictating by urges and motivations, how it should procure gross existences, maintain these and fight to remain rooted in these.


    It is only when a yogin has developed a yoga siddha body that he becomes totally free of that life force impulse which forces him to procure a foot hole in the gross existences for participation in the struggle for survival in lower worlds.


Paul’s Notation: 

We see this clinging to life found and celebrated throughout every species of life we look at.  Why else would life feed on life?  The nature of Life is to live and continue living.  Part of the impulse towards religion and yoga is motivated by this same survival instinct.  And yet from this survival instinct comes a host of other complications .  Still a law of physics is stated as: “A body in motion tends to stay in motion”.  Is this in any way different from that?  It’s the very nature of matter or energy to continue, but what does this mean to the yogi?  How will a man transcend death?



Verse 10

te pratiprasava-heyah suksmah

te – these, they; prati – opposing, reverting back; prasava- expressing, going outwards; heyah- what is fit to be left or abandoned; suksmah – subtle energies


These subtle motivations are to be abandoned by reverting their expressions backwards.



     This means the practice of raja yoga or mystic actions which effectively curb and end off what is unwanted in the psyche and what deters the objectives of yoga.


     Pratiprasava is known otherwise as the fifth stage of yoga which is pratyahara (pratiahara) reverting the sensual expressions back into the psyche, so that they do not express themselves outwards.  This causes conservation of valuable psychic energy through which one develops supernatural perception.


     There are many subtle motivations which are quite fit to be abandoned or left aside, to be made powerless so that they do not motivated the psyche of the yogi in a counter productive way.  However one must develop the power to shut down or squelch such energies, otherwise one can say what he likes and believe whatever suits his fancy and he will still be motivated by these energies to his detriment.



Verse 11

dhyana-heyas tad-vrttayah

dhyana - effortless linking of the attention to the higher concentration force or person; heyah – what is fit to be abandoned or left aside; tad = tat-that; vrttayah - vibrational modes of the mento-emotional energies 


Their vibrational modes are to be abandoned or ceased by the effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force or person.



     This advice is direct.  It does not state that there are alternate methods for dealing with the vibrational motivations which spring from the abhinivesha urges which cause a yogi and others to pursue mundane life with a wanton passion which usually cannot be controlled.  This is because there are no other methods but the attempt at effortless linkage of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons.  This is the only method that reveals to the yogin the various parts of the psyche and the complications he faces in trying to purify his nature.  The vibrational modes which apply to the lower psychic level and to the physical planes, are not to be silenced except by causing the mind to abandon those lower planes.  The techniques are realized by practicing higher yoga.



Verse 12

klesa-mulah karmasayah drstadrsta-janma-vedaniyah

klesa –mento emotional distress; mulah – root – cause ; karma- cultural activities ; asayah- storage, reservoir; drsta- perceived, realized; adrsta- not perceived, not realized; janma – birth; vedaniyah – what is experienced or realized


The psychological storage of the impressions left by performance of cultural activities which is itself the cause of the mental and emotional distress, is experienced in realized and non-realized births.



     This karma asayah or psychological storage-compartment which holds the compacted impressions which are left by the performance of cultural activities, is manifested to us in meditation as memory.  It is very troublesome and stalls the yogi in his attempts to master pratyahar, dharana and dhyana.  A yogi may be stalled for years by  motivations which come out of the memory compartment.  When the memory emits impressions, they are translated when they hit the mento-emotional  energy, the citta.  Then the buddhi organ takes possession of the pictures and sounds and creates further impressions, causing the psyche to create desires and motivations to act.  This is the bane of higher yoga.  Until a yogin can control this, he does not progress in the dharana and dhyana practice.


     Some translators have innocently translated drsta adrsta janma as present and future births, but this is a mistake.  Drsta does not mean what is present in terms of time and adrsta does not mean what is not present today.  Drsta means observing or seeing, perceiving.  Adrsta is the opposite meaning births that do not objectively realize.  In other words, in some births one can realize that it is a temporary circumstance one has entered into and in other births due to limited perception one does not realize this.  As for instance, in the case of souls who take animal or vegetative forms.  They have no idea that they are in a birth for a limited amount of time.  Still, as Sri Patanjali stated, the person will experience the impressions which were in his psyche, and which were left behind by his past acts in the cultural worlds.  He cannot avoid those experiences even though he may not make any sense of why the impressions go through his mind.


     The impressions are experienced even by animals and trees but they do not understand what they perceive.  The spiritually-ignorant human beings do not understand the impression  either.  They try to rationalize all of it in terms of what they remember in the present life.  A yogi, by higher practice, has a big advantage, because according to his level of advancement, he may understand the impressions to a lesser or greater degree.  He may also get help from his teachers, who are conversant with the forces in the psyche.




Paul’s Notation:  

So here what were are hearing more and more about is this sense of objectivity, being able to step outside the cultural conditionings and trappings and see thing from a larger perspective.  But in doing this, do we merely reach a level of “right perception” and cultivate more vrittis in the process?  Lets read on and find out.



Verse 13

sati mule tad-vipako jaty-ayur-bhogah

sati- there is existing; mule – in the cause; tat – that, it; vipakah – what is resulting; jati – species, status of life; ayuh – duration of life; bhogah- type of experience


In the case aforementioned, there exists  the resulting effects which manifest as a particular species of life with certain duration of body and type of experiences gained in that form.



     One develops a certain type of body with a duration for it’s existence along with the experience gained through that form, on the basis of the impressions which were formed before the performance of cultural activities.  All  species of life are engaged in cultural acts.  The human is more deliberate.  This is his only advantage.  Even though on forgets the cultural acts from past lives still one’s life is to a greater degree, determined by the type of cultural acts one performed previously.  The psychological storage compartment holds the impressions of the past cultural acts, as motivations to take advantage of certain situations.  This is done impulsively.



Verse 14

te hlada-paritapa-phalah punyapunya-hetutvat

te- they; hlada- happiness; paritapa- distress; phalah- results; punya – merits; apunya- demerits; hetutvat – that which causes


They produce happiness and distress as results, on the basis of merit and demerits.



     The impressions from previous cultural activities form happy or unhappy times according to the laws of nature, not according to what human beings believe.  The rationalization of human beings, particularly the fundamental religious ones, do not necessarily tally with the laws of nature.


     The merits are those which are approved by nature.  The demerits form from Her disapproval.  However, a living being must sometimes wait for many years, or even many thousands of years before he can enjoy or suffer for breaking or confirming to a law of nature.

     His past cultural acts which left impressions in his subconscious memory (karmasayah) remains there until it senses a favorable circumstance from its meritorious or demeritorious reaction.



Verse 15

parinama-tapa-samskara-dukhair guna-vrtti-virodha ca dukham   eva sarvam vivekinah

parinama -circumstantial change; tapa - strenuous endeavor; samskara - impulsive motivations; duhkhaih - with distress; guna - quality, features of material nature; vrtti - vibrational mode of the mento-emotional energy; virodhat - resulting from confrontation or clashing aspects; ca -  and; duhkham – distress; eva – indeed; sarva -  all; vivekinah – the discriminating person                                                                                


The discriminating person knows that all conditions are distressful because of circumstantial changes, strenuous endeavor, impulsive motivations, clashing aspects and the vibrational modes of the mento-emotional energy.



     This is discrimination gained by virtue of yoga practice. It is an insight into the nature of the material world and is not a theoretical understanding of it. By this, a yogi sees the complications in the cultural activities. Thus he becomes reluctant to participate. One cannot control the features of material nature.  If one does not advance into higher yoga, one cannot control the vibrational modes of  one’s mental and emotional energies.


     Therefore a yogi has no alternative but to back away from the cultural world and harden-up himself by performing higher yoga, mastering it and then applying it while performing any remaining cultural obligations efficiently, and in a way that causes a breaking off from the cultural circuit.


     The conditions in these lower existences, are always distressful either in the short or  long range. That is the nature of it. There are too many 

circumstantial changes which a  limited being has no control over.  He cannot at all times regulate his mind's entry into or admittance of emotional distresses.  And he cannot always side-step the involuntary motivations which lead to further distress. Therefore there is no alternative but to perfect the higher yoga practice of dhyana effortless linkage of his attention to  higher concentration forces and persons. That is the method for getting rid of the psychological disturbances which cause instability, anxiety and 

emotional distress.



Verse 16

heyam dukham anagatam

heyam- that which is to be avoided; duhkham- distress; anagatam- what has not manifested


Distress which is not manifested is to be avoided.




     For liberation, a yogin will have to reach a stage where he can sidestep all the merits and demerits which are due to him from providence but which he may sidestep.   Both happiness and distress which are coming on the basis of cultural activities from the past are to be avoided at all costs.  However a yogin has to advance sufficiently before he can side-step these.  It requires insight as to the psychological receptacles which are submissive towards the manifestation of the merits and demerits.  A yogin has to close off the opening to such receptacles by practicing kriya yoga.



Verse 17

drastr-drsyayoh samyogo heya-hetuh

drastr- the observer; drsyayoh –of what is perceived; samyogo- the indiscriminate association; heya- that which is to be avoided; hetuh-  the cause


The cause which is to be avoided is the indiscriminate association of the observer and what is perceived.



     When we identify wholly and solely with what we perceive, we loose objectivity and become attached, rather than detached.  This causes a misplaced identity with things which are not in our interest and which make us lose objectivity.  Then we experience an impulsive interaction between the new impressions received through the senses and the old impressions stored in the memory (karmasayah).  The analytical part of the buddhi organ then hashes over the matter and comes to a conclusion which is shown to us internally in the mind through the magical imagery of the imagination orb.  Thus we again come under the spell of the function of that imagination.


     If a yogi reaches a stage of control, whereby he stops the impulsive sensual intakes or puts a damper on them as soon as they enter the psyche,  he realizes himself as being the perceiver or observer.  Then he sees the operations of the senses and the machinations of his memory as being counterproductive.  These interact to produce new images which he usually identifies with, to his detriment.


     In higher yoga, one is trained in how to distinguish the various parts of the buddhi organ subtle mechanism and the citta mento-emotional energy gyrations.  Then one puts an end to the impressions and their varied motivations which destroys one’s ability to see beyond the material world.


Paul’s Notation: 

I would suggest interjecting some or all of the “Some Categories of Identify” book here.





Verse 18

prakasa-kriya-sthiti-silam bhutendriyatmakam bhogapavargartham drsyam

prakasa – clear perception; kriya- action; sthiti- stability; silam- form, disposition; bhuta- mundane elements; indriya- sense organs; atmakam- self, nature; bhoga- experience; apavarga – liberation; artham- value or purpose; drsyam – what is perceived


What is perceived is of the nature of the mundane elements and the sense organs and is formed in clear perception, action or stability.  Its purpose is to give experience or to allow liberation.



     Whatever we perceive in the subtle or gross mundane energy depends on the condition of the seeing instrument, which is the buddhi organ in the subtle body.  According to how it is influenced by and powered by the modes of material nature, it allows either clear perception, impulsive action, or inertia.  The purpose behind the interaction of the seer and what is seen, is experience for involvement or experience which results in either bhoga or apavarga.


     Material nature has a purpose, either to give more and more varied experiences or pleasurable or harmful experiences or to allow liberation from both. While others hustle after what is pleasurable and try to avoid what might render pain, the yogin strives for liberation by curbing his intellect organ so that he can remain in a clear perception (prakasa).


Paul’s Notation:   

This is what I was talking about earlier when I had difficulty with the word perception rather than words like “understanding, cognition, which are the words which are normally given….so now I would ask if there are three categories of what is called perception.

Right perception

Wrong perception, and 

Clear perception?



Verse 19

visesavisesa-lingamatralingani guna-parvani

visesa- that which is specific; avisesa – what is regular; lingamatra –a mark, that which is indicated; alingani – that which has no indication; guna – influences of material nature; parvani- phases stages parts


The phases of the influences of material nature are those which are specific, regular, indicated or not indicated.




     By higher yoga, a yogin gets to see all this clearly:  how material nature has certain over-riding phases which it shifts into by its own accord, and which the yogi can enter once he mastered dharana linkage of his attention to higher concentration force, either in or beyond material nature.


     The specific objects are those which are perceivable on the gross plane of existence and which are highlighted to our senses because of strong attraction.  The non-specific are those gross objects which exhibit mild attraction.


     These are regular items like dirt.  Even though a gem is a form of dirt, still it is specific.  While a speck of mud or a grain of sand are regular, being non-specific.  These all have subtle counterparts, which are categorized in the same way and which can be seen through the perception of the subtle body when it is separated from the gross form.   


     That which is indicated is the subtle matter which we may detect with electronic instruments or discover by mystic techniques in higher yoga.  That which has no indication at all is the material energy in it’s quiescent stage where it has no differentiation. It is as it were, just nothing at that stage.  In higher meditation, one perceives each of these.


Paul’s Notation: 

The yogi stops the tracking process. This is a note to myself on the second sutra…”Yoga is the  full cessation of the tracking process”.



Verse 20

drasta drsimatrah suddho 'pi pratyayanupasyah

drasta – the perceiver; drsi – perception, consciousness; matrah – measure or extent; suddah – purity; api – but; pratyaya- conviction or belief as mental content; anu – following along, patterning after; pasyah – what is perceived


The perceiver is the pure extent of his consciousness but his conviction is patterned by what is perceived.



     In actuality the drsi or consciousness which spiritually emanates from the individual self, is itself that self and that self alone.  However due to it’s absorbent nature, the self loses tract of himself and instead adopts patterns which form in his consciousness as conviction.  On the assumption of these convictions one is motivated into cultural activities endlessly.


     Sri Patanjali Maharsi used the technical term matra which means a  measure of or to an extent.  The individual soul is limited.  His consciousness radiates only to a certain extent, before it becomes attenuated or is linked to lower or higher concentration forces which help to off-set its limited range.   


     In the material creation, with a psychic body, the perceiver, the individual self, is itself the pure extent of it’s own consciousness.  That is its very form.  However it functions following along behind what is perceived, thus it is influenced not to realize itself by itself, but to accept itself as its perceptions.  These perceptions occur when its pure consciousness is linked to a sending mechanism. The spirit derives a correct or erroneous notion by what he is influenced.  By that he transmigrates from one situation to another and is implicated.


Paul’s Notation:  

This would mean that he is not only different from his body, mind, senses and emotions but from his consciousness as well.  



Verse 21

tad-artha eva drsyaya-atma

tad = tat-that; arthah- purpose; eva- only; drsyaya – of what is seen; atma- individual spirit


The individual spirit  who is involved in what is seen exists here for that purpose only.



     As it is, as we experience it in ourselves, and as we hear from others, this existence is meant for experiencing either ourselves as we are or ourselves as we are connected to various other seeing mechanisms. Basically speaking, a person transmigrates perceiving this or that in the material world.  A persons existence here is reduced to that.


Paul’s Notation:

Is this a bleak and over simplistic view of life or is this actually what we are faced with?  There have to be as many views of life as there are hearts of men.  This particular view is astonishing in the way it reduces human experience to the starkest possible perspective. Black and white with no shades no color and nothing else.



Verse 22

krtartham prati nastam apy anastam tad-anya-sadharanatvat


krt- fulfilled done; artham- purpose; prati – toward; nastam- destroyed, nonexistent, non effective; api – although, but; anastam- not finished, still existing, effective; tat- that; anya- others; sadharanatvat- common, normal, universal


It is not effective for one to whom its purpose is fulfilled but it has a common effect on the others.



     The material world loses its effectiveness on a realized yogin.  For him its purpose is fulfilled.  It no longer operates on him.  He no longer reacts to it as others do.  For the others however it remains in effect.  The others agree on its potency and place stress on it.  They accept the convictions derived from it and carry on their social lives.


     In a sense this statement of Sri Patanjali is a denial about mass liberation.  Here the liberation is individual and only for those who have retracted their spiritual energy from linkage into the subtle mundane sensing energy.    

     Others will remain in the material world, because its effects hold them here, utilizing their attention.


     Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita did not profess any mass liberation of many living entities, neither by an act of faith nor by belief or confidence.  He too singled out individual yogis for liberation.  This is what he said:   


manusyanam sahasresu

kascid yatati siddhaye

yatatam api siddhanam

kascin mam vetti tattvatah


Someone, in thousands of human beings, strives for psychological perfection. Of those who endeavor, even of those who are perfected, someone knows Me in truth. (Gita 7.3)



Verse 23

sva-svami-saktyoh svarupa-upalabdhi-hetuh samyogah

sva – own nature, own psyche; swami- the master, the individual self; saktyoh – of the potency of the two; svarupa- own form; upalabdhi- obtaining experience; hetuh – cause, reason; samyoga-conjunction


There is a reason for the conjunction of the individual self and his psychological energies.  It is for obtaining the experience of his own form.



     This states indirectly that the living entity who has a psychological make-up can only realize his essential or spiritual nature, by first coming in contact with the subtle material nature and then differentiating himself from that mundane power.


     The conjunction (samyoga) is enforced, because no limited being has the power to join himself with material nature nor to disconnect himself with it.  This is why Sri Patanjali acknowledged that special person who taught even the ancient yogis.


klesa karma vipaka 'sayair aparam-rstah purusa visesa isvarah

The Supreme Lord is that special person who is not affected by troubles, actions, development or by subconscious   motivations. (Yoga Sutra 1:24)

tatra niratisayam sarvajna bijam

There, in Him, is found the unsurpassed origin of all knowledge. (Yoga Sutra 1:25)


purvesam api guruh kalena navacchedat

He, that that this particular person, being unconditioned by time is the guru even of the ancient teachers, the authorities from before. (Yoga Sutra 1:26)


tasya vacakah pranavah

Of Him, the sacred syllable Aum (Om) is the designation. (Yoga Sutra 1:27)


     The ultimate purpose of the conjunction is for the limited beings to objectively realize their spiritual selves, apart from and distinct from the subtle material nature which they accept initially as their personal psychology.   


     The individual self is supposed to be the master, the swami of his psychological powers but initially he is overtaken, influenced and dominated by them.  Thus he has the task of realizing what happened to his autonomy.



Verse 24

tasya hetur avidya

tasya – of it; hetuh – cause; avidya – spiritual ignorance


The cause of the conjunction is spiritual ignorance.



     Besides the fact that there is a forced conjunction between the individual limited spirits and the mundane sensing energies, there is also an underlying reason for this, which is innate spiritual ignorance of the limited beings.  They did not understand themselves to be begin with.  The Supreme Being may be blamed for putting the limited beings in peril by forcing them into conjunction with the mundane psychology, but the reason for His action is stated in this verse; being the spiritual ignorance of these limited dependents of His.


     As far as the Supreme Being was concerned, the only way to free us from that ignorance was to put us in conjunction with the mundane psychology.  From that position we may derive disgust (nirvedah) with that energy and then through introspection study ourselves and our linkage with it and with His assistance, work for emancipation.  


     The blame placed on the Supreme Being is lifted from Him as soon as we understand we were with an innate and primeval spiritual ignorance of our true nature.  The contrast between ourselves and the mundane energy is the only aspect that motivates us to realize ourselves.



Paul’s Notation:  

I need to admit that this explanation of this verse makes no sense whatsoever to me except as rationalization.  Apart from that it seems the same as saying that a man is placed in prison in order to realize he is in prison in order to work to get out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit.  It says nothing about why he needs to be in there to begin with, but let’s read on.



Verse 25

tad-abhavat samyoga abhavo hanam tad drseh kaivalyam

tad= tat- that spiritual ignorance; abhavat- resulting from the elimination; samyoga – conjunction; 

abhavah – disappearance, elimination; hanam – withdrawal, escape; tad = tat- that; drseh- of the perceiver; kaivalyah- total separation from the mundane psychology


The elimination of the conjunction which results from the elimination of that spiritual ignorance is the withdrawal that is the total separation of the perceiver from the mundane psychology.



     Yogis should take care in studying this verse, to get Sri Patanjali’s definition of kaivalyam.  This term has come down to us as meaning various forms of liberation, all depending on the spiritual sect which advocated it.  However, to understand Sri Patanjali, we must stick to his definitions.  Clearly, kaivalya is defined in this verse, within the context of what Sri Patanjali spoke of, which is the samyoga or conjunction between the individual spirit and his subtle mundane psychology (sva).  This psychology is hinted at in the second verse of chapter one, as operational vrittis: 



yogas citta vrtti nirodhah

“The skill of yoga demonstrated by the conscious non-operation of the vibrational modes of the mento-emotional energy.”(Yoga Sutra 1:2)


     There is no definition here of kaivalyam being union with God or oneness with God or anything like that.  It does not mean here that one has become God or that one has merged into the Absolute Truth.  Sri Patanjali in the context, spoke of the complete isolation of the individual limited spirit from his psychological sensing mechanisms which are derived from material nature and his situating himself and realizing himself as his own spiritual nature in its purity by restricting himself to it and to its pure extent.  


drasta drsimatrah suddho `pi pratyaya 'nupasyah

”The perceiver is the pure extent of his consciousness but his conviction is patterned by what is perceived.”(Yoga Sutra 2:20)



Verse 26

viveka-khyatir aviplava hanopayah

viveka – discrimination; khyatih – insight; aviplava – unbroken, continuous; hanopaya = hana - avoidance + upayah – means, method


The method for avoiding that spiritual ignorance is the establishment of continuous discriminative insight.



     Vivekakathyatih is discriminative insight, gained through higher yoga practice or naturally occurring as a result of actively using a yoga siddha form or a spiritual body.  It is not book knowledge nor concepts derived from authorative teachers.  Most person will have to do yoga to develop this, even though a rare few might have this naturally occurring in their yoga siddha or spiritual forms.


     Spiritual  ignorance (avidya) which is the ignorance of the difference between one’s  spiritual  energy and its linkage or mixture with mundane psychology, is removed by no other method besides the development of the discriminative insight.


Paul’s Notation:  

Over time we come to understand with Sri Patanjali that when he uses the word “method” it means something far different than what we in the west mean by that word. We think of a method as a formula for action; something laid out in some kind of sequential fashion that one can follow in an A, B, C, kind of way…but this is different.  The method is here no doubt but if we look for it in our conditioned way we will surely miss it.  So here he introduces the term “discriminative insight”, and prefaces it with the word “continuous “.  How is this different from the discrimination of the Buddhi Organ, which has been our problem all along and what checks and balances are there to prevent us from engaging in discrimination using that same  equipment and deluding ourselves into thinking we are using something else.  And by what means will we make THAT discrimination and then the next? and at what point do we abandon the whole discriminative process all together?



Verse 27

tasya saptadha pranta-bhumih prajna

tasya – of his, khyati vivekakhyati – discriminative insight; saptadha – seven fold; pranta- boundary or edge +bhumih –territory, range; prantabhumih – stage; prajna – insight


Concerning the development of his discriminative insight, there are seven stages.




      Sri Patanjali clarified that in developing the discriminative insight, one moves through seven stages.  It does not come overnight.  One develops it step by step.



Verse 28

yoga-anga-anusthanad asuddhi-ksye jnana-diptir a viveka-khyateh

yoganganusthanat = yoga- yoga process + anga-part + anusthanat-from consistent practice; asuddhih – impurities; ksaye – on the elimination; jnanadiptih- radiant organ of perception; avivekakhyateh = a- till, until, up to + viveka- discrimination + khyateh – insight


From the consistent practice of the parts of the yoga process, on the elimination of the impurity, the radiant organ of perception becomes manifest, until there is steady discriminative insight.



     There is really no short cut, except to practice steadily and persistently with attention from day to day.  From that, the impurities gradually diminish, until they fade altogether.  Then the organ of perception, the buddhi organ in the subtle body, becomes radiant.  It emits a light and sees super-naturally and spiritually.  This is the jnana dipah or jnanadiptih.  It is also called jnanachakshuh.  When there is consistent practice in using this vision in dhyana and Samadhi yoga, then there is steady consistent discriminative insight for the yogi, not otherwise.



Verse 29


yama- moral restrains; niyama – recommended behaviors; asana- body postures; pranayama- breath enrichment of the subtle body; pratyahar- sensual energy withdrawal; dharana- linking of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons; dhyana- effortless linkage of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons; samdhayah- continuous effortless linkage of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons; astau- eight; angani- parts of a thing


Moral restrains, recommended behaviors, body posture, breath enrichment, sensual energy withdrawal, linking of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons, effortless linkage of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons, continuous linkage of the attention to higher concentration forces or persons are the eight parts of the yoga system.



     Sri Goraksnath in his writings gave six parts to yoga, leaving out the preliminary parts of yama, moral restraints and niyama, recommended behaviors.  This is because those two are very preliminary.  A person who has not integrated those, must instill them in himself as he practices the other more advanced portions.   I experienced many students who are not masterful at the preliminary stages.  They should master these as they proceed and find that their lack of skill in cultural dealings causes impediments.  According to the advisories and warnings issued by Sri Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, a person who does not have an exemption from cultural activities, cannot succeed fully in yoga.  Actually the sooner that a yogi can realize this, the better and more advanced he will be.  If he does not cooperate with the central person in the Universal Form, with Sri Krishna, he will not be able to get to the Samadhi stage.  It will be impossible.


     Sri Gorakashnath did not want the Hatha yogis, his students, to waste their time and energy in the moral field, in trying to perfect righteous living, but nevertheless, if one does not work his way cautiously through the cultural world, one will  fail at yoga practice.  We must understand that Sri Gorakshnath is a birth taken by Sri Skanda Kumara, the celibate son of Lord Shiva.  As such he never advocates grhasta ashram but that does not mean that is has no value.  We have to understand its value, just in case we require another human form.  The moral restraints and recommended behaviors have their usage to keep us on the good side of King Dharma, the supernatural person who sponsors righteous life style.



Verse 30

ahimsa-satya-asteya-brahmacarya-aparigraha yamah

ahimsa - non violence ; satya- realism ; asteya - non stealing; brahmacarya = sexual non-expressiveness which results in the perception of spirituality; aparigrahah= non – possessiveness; yamah- moral restraints


Non-violence, realism, non-stealing, sexual non-expressiveness which results in the perception of spirituality (Brahman) and non-possessiveness are the moral restraints.



     Some authorities list other moral restraints, but these given by Sri Patanjali cover the entire listing of the negative qualities which are to be avoided.  This is the list of qualities which should be cultivated if they are not innate to one’s character.


     Ahimsa is the attitude of genuine harmlessness towards other creatures, not just human beings.  Of course a yogi has to know that the human form of life is comparatively more valuable than other species, but he should know as well that creatures who are in other life forms must fulfill their gratifications there before they could be permanently transformed to higher forms.  Their lives should not be under-rated.  A yogi should not assume a master-of-the-species attitude.  He should not harm any other creature willfully.  He should situate himself circumstantially so that occasions for killing do not arise.


     According to Lord Mahavira and other Tirthankaras in the Jain disciplic succession, we have no business killing other creatures.  A yogin should be non-violent.  If one finds that he has a violent nature or that a part of his psyche takes pleasure in harming others or in seeing others being hurt, then he should work to purify that part.  Each yogin has to realize defects and work to remove them by the relevant yoga kriyas.


     Satya or realism includes truthfulness, but for the yogin it is more than conventional honesty.  It has to do with developing the deep insight described by Sri Patanjali in the previous verse as jnana-diptih and as vivekakhyatih.  This gives one deep insight into reality, even to perceive past lives and to properly interpret the samskara subconscious impressions which are buried deep in memory and which surface from time to time.


     Asteya or non-stealing is a must for a yogin.  The tendency for stealing is innate in the subtle body.  A yogin has to work with himself to eliminate it.  This requires vigilance.


     Brahmacarya has a conventional meaning as celibacy but it is more than that.  It is an active or dynamic celibacy which is assisted by yoga practice and which results in the perception of Brahman or spiritual reality.  This means mastership of celibacy yoga, so that even in an adult body, the sexual urge is sublimated and does not arise to disturb the psyche.  A celibate yogi should not have sexual intercourse unless he or she desires to have a child.  He should ideally only have as many intercourses as there are children produced from his or her body.  This is the ideal behavior.  Failing in this a yogin has to work with his psyche to improve its sexual outlook, so that eventually its sexual needs are eliminated by the practice of celibacy yoga and kundalini yoga.  Without attaining celibacy one cannot become liberated.  It is not possible, because the energy of the subtle body will not be efficiently used if sexual expression continues through it.  Thus one will not realize the subtle mundane existence which is preliminary for spiritual seekers.


     Aaparigrahah or non-possessiveness has to do with understanding that whatever we encounter in the gross or subtle existence is the property of more powerful beings.  The only real possession we have is the task of our purification.  The critical nature within us which usually seeks external expression should be directed backward into the psyche.  This redirected critical force improves our condition by the application of corrective tendencies.


     Overall these moral restraints are necessary for a yogi, but he does not master these initially , even though this is listed as the first stage of yoga.  He masters this a little and then he continues to get more control of his nature as he advances and sees more and more how subtle the defects are and how mystic and specific he must be to root them out.



Verse 31

jati-desa-kala-samaya-anavacchinnah sarva-bhauma maha-vratam

jati – status; desa – location; kala – time; samya- condition; anavacchinnah- not restricted by, not  adjusted by; sarvabhaumah- relating to all standard stages, being standard; mahavratam- great commitment


Those moral restraints are not to be adjusted by the status, location, time and condition, they are related to all stages of yoga, being the great commitment.




     Sarvabhauma means relating to all the earth.  However bhauma, as a synonym, also means stage or foreground, as explained in verse 27 with the term prantabhumih.  In all the stages of yoga, the first stages maintain relevance.  Thus the yogi never reaches a stage where he can completely ignore moral restraints, except when he is released from the material world completely.  


     Sri Patanjali accredited those moral restraints as the great commitment (mahavrata).



Verse 32

sauca-samtosa-tapah-svadhyaya-isvara-pranidhanani niyamah

sauca- purification; santosa- contentment; tapah- austerity; svadhyaya – study of the psyche; isvara- Supreme Lord; pranidhanani- profound religious meditation; niyamah- recommended behaviors


Purification, contentment, austerity and profound religious meditation on the Supreme Lord are the recommended behaviors.



     Many religious leaders ridicule Sri Patanjali because he classified profound religious meditation to the Supreme Lord as part of an elementary stage in yoga practice, but just as the first stage remains relevant throughout the practices (sarva-bhaumah  verse 31), so also every other stage remains in place, and is improved upon as the yogi moves to higher levels.


     According to some critics, Sri Patanjali hawked too much about yoga and neglected the bhakti or bhakti-yoga, giving it an insignificant  place in the layout of spiritual disciplines.  However if one checks the Bhagavad-Gita carefully, he will discover that Sri Krishna, who declared Himself as the Supreme Lord, gave high precedence to yoga.


     The other aspect of Sri Patanjali’s treatment of devotion to God, is understood when we consider the term pranidhanani. Sri Patanjali spoke of profound religious meditation.  This is a mystic process of internal focus upon the Supreme Lord, to reach the Divinity in a totally different dimension.  But why one may ask did Sri Patanjali not place this as the foremost aspect of yoga practice?  The reason is simple: One cannot do this unless one first masters yoga.  The skill to do this comes only by perfecting the yoga austerities.


     In the Bhagavad-Gita, the purpose of yoga is defined by Sri Krishna in the following terms:  

tatrai'kagram manah krtva


upavisya'sane yunjyad

yogam atmavisuddhaye


…being there, seated in a posture, having the mind focused, the person who controls his thinking and sensual energy, should practice the yoga discipline for self-purification. (Gita 6:12)

Sri Krishna also explained that a yogi should commit himself to cultural activities for the sake of psychic purification: 

kayena manasa buddhya

kevalair indriyair api

yoginah karma kurvanti

sangam tyaktva'tmasuddhaye


With the body, mind and intelligence, or even  with the senses alone,  the yogis, having discarded attachment, perform cultural acts for self-purification. (Gita 5:11)


Sri Patanjali does not contradict Sri Krishna.  In fact he reinforces what Sri Krishna said.



Verse 33

vitarka-badhane pratipaksa-bhavanam

vitarka- doubt, argument; bandhane- in annoyance or disturbance; pratipaksa – what is opposite or contrary; bhavanam- manifesting, imagining, conceiving, considering


In the case of the annoyance produced by doubts, one should conceive of what is opposite.



     When there are any doubts regarding the moral restraints and the recommended behavior, a yogi should counteract that state of mind by conceiving of the opposite.  In other words, sometimes a yogi is pressured by the same status, location, time or condition mentioned in verse 31.  Then he may cast aside the five great commitments, feeling that he is allowed to do so because of a particular status he is awarded by providence, or because of a location which he is in, or through the time of an occurrence, or because he was pressured by certain conditions.  However Sri Patanjali objects and states that the yogi should not give in but should hold to the principles by considering and contemplating the opposite type of actions which correspond with the five great commitments.


     If a yogi remembers this instruction his course into higher yoga would be accelerated, otherwise he will be stalled in lower stages for a very long time.  Sometimes a yogi gets an idea to do something which jeopardizes his practice. He may feel that he must do it to comply with a pressure of providence which is forced into his mind.  Usually, such a situation will pass on even if the yogi does not satisfy the urges, but if he is rash, he will act in the wrong way and forestall his  practice.  Thus Sri Patanjali ask that there be considerations to the contrary, anytime we get some idea to do something that is against the moral principles.  


     Sometimes in the astral world and in parallel dimensions a yogi is circumstantially positioned for breaking moral rules, but when he gets back into this material body and recalls the incident, he regrets it or he thinks that for some reason he was unable to use his discrimination.   Sri Patanjali mentioned this discriminative  insight before under the terms of vivekakhyatih.  Unless this is developed to the extent that it is carried everywhere the yogi may go through this and into other dimensions, he will of necessity break the moral restraints here or there, whenever his discriminative insight vanishes or is weakened.



Verse 34

vitarka himsadayah krta-karita-anumodita lobha-krodha-moha-purvaka mrdu-madhya-adhimatra dukha-ajnana-ananta-phala iti pratipaksa-bhavanam

vitarkah- doubts; himsa- violence; adayah- and related matters; krta – done; karita – cause to be done; anumoditah- endorsed, approved; lobha- greed; krodha- anger; moha- delusion; purvakah- caused by, proceeded by; mrdu – minor; madhya- mediocre; adhimatrah- substantial; duhkha – distress; ajnana – spiritual ignorance; ananta- endless; phalah- results; iti – thus; pratipaksa – opposite type; bhavanam – considerations


Doubts which produce violence and related actions, which are performed, caused to be done or endorsed, and which are caused by greed, anger and delusion, even if minor, mediocre or substantial, cause endless distress and spiritual ignorance as the results.  Therefore, one should consider the opposite features.



     Violence and related actions are those which run contrary to the moral restraints of non-violence, realism, non-stealing, sexual non-expressiveness and non-possessiveness. Any ideas which run contrary to morality and which seem to justify such immoral acts are to be abandoned.  If a yogin finds that he does not have the power to abandon immoral acts, then he should deeply think of the benefit of morality.  This may give him the required detachment and invoke in him sufficient patience so that he restrains from the vices until the impulsions pass out of his mind or loose their impulsive force.


     If a moral code is to be broken at a certain time, it will be done by someone somehow because if the energy or motivation for that act, finds the yogi to be an unwilling subject, it will move away from him and influence some other person to act.  A yogi should understand this.  A yogi may be tricked again and again by those compulsions to do immoral acts but then after a time, he will begin to develop a resistance to those forceful motivations, which cause him to deviate.  Sri Arjuna questioned Sri Krishna about this in the Bhagavad-gita: 

arjuna uvaca

atha kena prayukto'yam

papam carati purusah

anicchann api varsneya

balad iva niyojitah


Arjuna said:   Then explain, O family man of the Vrsnis, by what is a person forced to commit an evil even unwillingly, just as if he were compelled to do so? (Gita 3.36)



Verse 35

ahimsa-pratisthayam tat-sannidhau vaira-tyagah

ahimsa = non – violence; pratisthayam – on being firmly established; tat- his; sannidhau – presence, vicinity; vaira – hostility; tyagah – abandonment


On being firmly estsablished in non-violence, the abandonment of hostility occurs in his presence.



     This charm over the violent nature of others, is sometimes exhibited by great yogins.  Sometimes haphazardly it is manifested in the life of student yogins.  It begins in human society where people who are normally hostile to each other exhibit undue kindness even to their enemies, when they are in a presence of a yogin.


      The force of the non-violent nature of the yogi disarms and temporarily disintegrates the hostile nature of others.  Sometimes this is shown when a fish-eating human being is in the presence of a great yogin.  The fish-eater feels as if he cannot eat fish but must eat vegetarian or fruitarian meals.  But that violent nature is again manifested when the person gets out of the range of the yogin.  On the contrary however, sometimes it is seen that a great yogin has no effect on a cannibal, or flesh-eater.  This is because the lower tendencies may be so strong as to resist saintly influence or it may be that the yogin assumes a sensual withdrawal attitude, intending not to adjust the evolutionary development of others.


Paul’s Notation: 

Another reason for this response from people could be that the vast reservoir of power is felt in the great yogi and feeling this power, even on an unconscious level puts others in a state of calm fear, or respect or even awe…like when a man stands next to an ocean and feels it’s magnitude, one can’t help be quelled by that.



Verse 36

satya-pratisthayam kriya-phalasrayatvam

satya – realism; pratisthayam- on being established; kriya- actions; phala- results; asryatvam- what serves as a support for something else


On being established in realism, his actions serve as a basis for results.





     It may be contested that in all cases, a person’s action serve as the basis of the results he will be afforded by providence, either for good or bad, according to what was committed .  However the yogi is more conscious of his actions and their potential results than others.  This is because of mystic perception in the truths of how this world operates.  Thus a yogi’s actions, particularly his mystic actions do confirm with reality and are consistent with realism.


     In these verses instead of using the term tishta, Sri Patanjali uses pratishtha which means to be firmly established, not just to be initially or haphazardly established.  This comes after sufficient practice or in the case of the divine beings, it is from their superior nature.  


Paul’s Notation:  

He is still talking about violence or non-violence here and how when a yogin reaches a certain stage, those who are in his sphere of influence, set aside (at least temporarily ) their violent nature. and now “being established in realism” (whatever that means), his actions serve as a basis for the results which follow”.  The word for actions here is kriya, so it must point to a specific kind of action, rather than ordinary karma.  and so it is this Kriya (action) that serves as the basis for the results he alludes to.



Verse 37

asteya-pratisthayam sarva-ratnopasthanam

asteya= non-stealing; pratisthayam- on firmly establishing; sarva- all; ratna- gems, precious things; upasthanam- approaching, waiting upon


On being firmly established in non-sealing, all precious things wait to serve a yogin.



     Still, usually a yogin is not concerned about these things.  This is because his mind is fixed on the most precious thing with is his yoga practice.  Thus many opportunities for exploitation come to a yogin but he does not take advantage of them.  People often wonder why a great yogi wastes his life away, and why he does not exploit all the people and resources which are in a position to be used by him.  The answer is that a yogi is too preoccupied with yoga practice.  A great yogin is easily  discovered if one searches for the person around whom, all sorts of wealth manifest but who does not use any of that wealth and who is indifferent to it, seemingly stupid, seemingly not realizing the worth in valuables and in the cheap labor which could be derived from others.


Paul’s Notation:  

There is another implication here.  If all precious things wait to serve a yogi or one who has become established in “NON_ STEALING”…this implies that people are stealing all the time in ways they don’t even realize and when this  stealing process comes to a halt, then this other thing happens.



Verse 38

brahmacarya-pratishayam virya-labah

brahmacarya - sexual non-expressiveness which results in the perception of spirituality; pratisthayam- being firmly established; virya- vigor; labhah- what is gained


On being firmly established in the sexual non-expressiveness which results in the perception of spirituality, vigor is gained.



     This means dynamic celibacy established by virtue of yoga practice in terms of asana postures and pranayama breath nutrition methods which will be mentioned forthwith by Sri. Patanjali.


     This is the urdhvareta stage where the yogi masters kundalini yoga and celibacy yoga.



Verse 39

aparigraha-sthairye janma-kathamta-sambodhah

aparigraha - non-possessiveness; sthairaya- in the consistent; janma- birth; kathamta- how, the reason for; sambodhah- full or correct perception regarding something


In being consistent in non possessiveness, there is manifested  the reason and the correct perception regarding one’s birth.



     When a yogi has mastered the quality of non-possessiveness in relation to this gross level of reality, his energy of appreciation shifts to the subtle reality.  Thus he perceives the reason for the births he recently took.  If he develops that clairvoyant skill, he comes to understand why others took up a certain body.  He can know his past lives and that of others.  However, if realizing that he has this skill, he becomes attracted to popularity and wants to be endearing and beloved, he might abuse himself.  Thus, the skill will gradually leave him as he becomes more and more in the habit of appropriating fame in the material world.



Verse 40

saucha svanga-jugupsa parair asamsargah

saucat- from purification; svanga= sva-oneself+ anga- limbs; jugupsa – aversion, disgust; parair = pariah – with others; asamsargah = non- association, lack of desire to associate


From purification comes a disgust for one’s own body and a lack of desire to associate with others.



     True purification comes after long and hard yoga austerities.  Thus the student yogi once he has earned purity of his psyche, develops a disgust for the same material body through which he worked hard to develop that purity.  This is because the material body  and the subtle one which caused it, has an innate tendency to absorb the pollutions which pull an ascetic down from yoga practice.  As soon as a student yogi stops practice, he regresses.  Even though the material body is an asset, still it always remains as a liability so  long as it exists.  Worse, still, is the lower subtle body, because until one can shed it off and take on a yoga siddha form, one is in danger of being degraded.  The lower subtle body is worse than the gross form when it comes to adaptation and acceptance of vices.


     A yogi develops a lack of desire to associate with others, except for his advanced teachers.  This is because in such association he or she always runs the risks of degradation, due to susceptibility to the habits of others.  People think that a yogi hates them or avoids them.  Actually a yogi has no time to hate anyone because he has to attend to his practice and the energy which would be used to hate others is needed to accelerate the progress.  But he develops a desire not to associate with others.  This happens as a matter of course.  It is a result of higher yoga practice.



Verse 41

sattvasuddhi-saumanasyaikagryendriya-jayatma-darsana-yogyatvani ca

sattva – being, nature, psyche; suddhi – purification; saumanasya – concerning benevolence; ekagra- ability to link the attention to one concentration force or person; indriya- sensual energy; jaya – conquest; atma – spirit; darsana- sight, vision; yogyatvani – being fit for yoga or abstract meditation; ca- and


Purification of the psyche results in benevolence, the ability to link the attention to one concentration force or person, conquest of the sensual energy, vision of the spirit and fitness for abstract meditation.



     Purification of the psyche (sattva-suddhi) is possible only after celibacy yoga is mastered.  Then the student yogi develops benevolence towards everyone.  This is a type of detachment but in its social application it functions as benevolence or good will towards one and all.


      This student yogi develops the ability to link his mind to one concentration force in the dharana sixth stage of yoga practice.  He masters the sensual energy by perfecting the pratyahar fifth stage, and is able to begin the dhyana seventh stage, to have the vision of the spirit and a fitness for abstract meditation.  This is not impersonal meditation as some profess, but it is rather meditation on levels above this physical world and above the lower astral regions.



Verse 42

santosad anuttamah sukha-labhah

santosat- from contentment; anuttamah – supreme, the very best; sukha – happiness; labhah – obtained


From contentment, the very best in happiness is obtained.



      This is a calm type of happiness devoid of the excitations which come from the pursuit of cravings and vices.  A yogi appreciates this contentment which others dislike because it lacks excitement.



Verse 43

kayendriya-siddhir asuddhi-ksayat tapasah

kaya – body; indriya- sensual energy; siddhih- skill, perfection; asuddhi- impurity; ksayat- from the elimination; tapasah- austerity


Austerity, resulting in the elimination of impurity produces perfection of the body and sensual energy.



     This is the basic of result gained in the gruesome austerities of asana and pranayam, the third and fourth stages of yoga practice.  When the impurities in the subtle body are removed, one gains a skill in controlling the gross and subtle bodies as well as the sensual energy which is housed in them.  This is mastered in Kundalini yoga, celibacy yoga and purity-of-the-psyche yoga (sattvasuddhi (verse 41), (atmasuddha bhg. 6:12).


     Tapasah means austerity.  One may ask which austerity?  This question is answered in the term asuddhiksayat, which means the austerities which result in the elimination of ksayat or impurities.



Verse 44

swadhyaya ista-devata-samprayogah

svadhyayat- from study of the psyche; istadevata – cherished divine being; samprayogah- intimate contact


From study of the psyche, comes intimate contact with the cherished divine being.



     Sri Patanjali has not named the istadevata, the cherished divine personality, who the student yogi aspires to be with.  However for the yogi, that person might be different than He is for some other ascetic.  There are many of these divine beings who serve as cherished Lords of the limited entities.


     However, when the yogi has achieved complete purity of the psyche, he gets a divine vision through which he meets the cherished deity face to face and can relate with that Personality of Godhead.



Verse 45

samadhisiddhih isvarapranidhanat

samadhi – continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a highter concentration force or person; 

siddhih – perfection, skill; isvara – supreme lord; pranidhanat – from the profound religious meditation


From the profound religious meditation upon the Supreme Lord comes the perfection of continuous effortless linkage of the attention to that Divinity.



     Now all accusations upon Sri Patanjali regarding his alleged ideas of impersonalism and atheism are totally denied.  Sri Patanjali Maharshi was undoubtedly a theist of the first order.  Sri B.K. S. Iyengar in his translation and commentary on the sutras explained that Patanjali was an incarnation of Lord Adishesha, the divine serpentine bedstead of Lord Vishnu.  Patanjali’s mother was named Gonika.



Paul’s Notation: 

Sometimes the translator digresses from the commentary to help out those particular persons who have issues with having been affected by the indoctrination of a fanatical religious institution.  The distinct sense I get is that he is trying to help these particular individuals out who were conditioned to think in terms of Personalist and Impersonalist…Us and Them/Either Or ..and all the dualities that arise from this particular and isolated form of fundamentalist thought.  Sri Madhavacharya helps these souls and continues to make special efforts to help them understand that there is in fact life experience outside the confines of a fanatical religious paradigm and in my opinion it is this very paradigm that creates more problems for mankind than any other world view.  Why do people feel that they can limit or reduce life to the most obvious and simplistic terms imaginable and try to turn the vast spectrum of existence into this  reductive black and white reality?  Many circles in these modern times do not give a hoot whether or not Patanjali was a so-called Personalist or not.  There are several other translations that subtitle the Yoga Sutras as “How to Know God”.  I think this is important to mention here in that this is a very different approach than most religions which basically teach “how to believe in God” or “how to believe in the God I believe in” but Sri Patanjali goes beyond that by giving a method by which one gets the experience…the Knowing of God.  What then is the value of ideas of personalism and impersonalism?  What need then is there for this incessant tedious argument, when one, according to Sri Patanjali, can get the experience and decide for himself what this thing we call God is. One can and will believe what one will, and argue that to the death, but Patanjali cuts through all of that by offering a way to Know rather than just believe.  Faith and belief have some importance, no doubt, but with realism one can understand that faith and belief are really an interval between Ignorance and Knowing, between not knowing and experiencing.  In this sense Sri Patanjali can be called a scientist of the highest order.



Verse 46

sthira-sukham asanam

sthira – steady; sukham – comfortable; asanan – bodily posture


The posture should be steady and comfortable.



     The yoga asana for meditation should one that is steady and comfortable.  Ideally, one should sit for meditation in the lotus posture, the padmasana, if that posture is unsteady and uncomfortable, one should practice to improve it.  During meditation one should use a posture that keeps the body steady and mind at ease.  As one practices more and more, the difficult postures become easier and easier to perform.



Verse 47


prayatna – effort; saithilya – relaxation; ananta- endless, infinite; samapattibhyam – meeting, encounter


It results in relaxation of effort and the meeting with the infinite.



     Asana is perfected when it becomes steady and comfortable, so much so that the yogin relaxes his efforts to hold the body in the posture.  He shifts his attention to link it with the infinite.



Verse 48

tato dvandvanabhighatah

tatah – then; dvandvah -  the dualities of happiness and distress, heat and cold; anabhighatah – not shrinking, no attacking, not botheration


From then on, there are no botherations from the dualities like happiness and distress, heat and cold.



     When there is perfect posture of body in which the yogin attains continuous effortless linkage of his attention to a higher concentration force, or divine person, then the botheration of the mento-emotional energy which concerns happiness and distress cease for him.  These continue in the life of the student yogins who are on a lower level of practice.  They should master themselves through a more consistent practice.


Paul’s Notation:  

Dualities take many forms and each and every one of them fuel the mento-emotional fluctuations in the mind/body systems.  Either – Or  games of trying to measure “the infinite”, trying to reduce the infinite to something the mind can deal with; these types of duality along with the positive or negative agitations in the mind such as heat and cold constitute the botherations.


Verse 49

tasmin sati svasa-prasvasayor gati-vicchedah pranayamah

tasmin – on this; sati – being accomplished; svasa- inhalation; prasvasayoh – of the exhalation; gati – the flow; vicchedah –the separation; pranayama – breath regulation


Once this is accomplished, breath regulation, which is the seperation of the flow of inhalation and exhalation, is attained. 



     The pranayama cannot be mastered properly until one has mastered postures or asanas but that does not mean that preliminary pranayama cannot be learned before hand.  All the stages of yoga are learned one by one or even haphazardly according to one’s destiny regarding availability of knowledgeable teachers.  One cannot focus properly on the vital force until one has mastered a suitable posture.  This is the point but one can become familiar with the various pranayamas before hand.


     A yogin has to learn how to separate the flow of the breath, so that the inhalation is distinct from the exhalation, so that there is a pause between these.  This is why the word vicchedah was used.  It means separation, cleavage, or gap.  Generally, mammals breath in and out without pause because their breath is not complete or sufficient.  It is usually shallow.  The out breath is rushed in to speed up the next intake of air.  When one reconditions his lung apparatus, so that the intake is complete, this rush for exhalations in order to inhale again, ceases.  And the separation of the intake and out breath becomes evident, along with the benefits of that for meditation.


Verse 50

bahyabhyantara-stambha-vrttir desakala-samkhyabhih paridrsto dirgha-suksmah

bahya – external; abhyantara- internal; stambha- restrained, suppressed, restrictive; vrttih- activity, movement operation; desa – place; kala- time; samkhyabhih – with numbering accounting; paridrstah- measured, regulated; dirgha – prolonged; suksmah – subtle, hardly noticeable


It has internal, external and restrictive operations, which are regulated according to the place, time and accounting, being prolonged or hardly noticeable.



     Ideally, pranayama is learned from a teacher who practiced to proficiency.  Such teachers are hard to find.  The first accomplishment of a student yogi is to learn how to fill the nadis in the subtle form.  When that is achieved, he will discover other pranayamas automatically by the grace of the force of prana and by the awakening of the kundalini chakra.


     Pranayama teachers usually stress a count for alternate breathing in the ration of 1:4:2, meaning that one should inhale through one nostril for one count, then retain the air for four counts and then exhale all air through the other nostril during two counts, such that if one starts inhaling through the right nostril alone, one will hold the air, then expel it through the left nostril.  Then begin the cycle by inhaling through the left nostril, holding and expelling the air through the right nostril.  Eventually one should increase the duration, so that the time for a count increase.  This is done without straining the lung system.  If the nadies are not fully charged before one begins, and if one is not a celibate yogi, one will not be successful with this practice.  There are many preliminary practices required for success in yoga.  One would be fortunate if he or she could learn these from an accomplished teacher.


Paul’s Notation:  

Herein lies yet another bottleneck in the yoga process.  Fortunate are they who have found such a teacher, and for others such a great deal of the process remains in the imagination alone.   



Verse 51

bahy-abhyantara-visaya-aksepi caturthah

bahya – external; abhyantara – internal; visaya – objective; aksepi – transcending; caturthah – the fourth


That which transcends the objective external and internal breath regulation is the fourth type of pranayama.



     In the previous sutra, Sri Patanjali listed three types of operations, relating to internal, external and restrictive operations of the breath.  Then he gave a fourth operating having to do with transcending the objective of the preliminary three operations.



Verse 52

tatah ksiyate prakasa-avaranam

tatah – thence, from that; ksiyate – is dissipated; prakasa – light; avaranam – covering, mental darkness


From that is dissipated, the mental darkness which veils the light.



     The advanced pranayama is done after much practice.  It’s mastership does not come easy.  The result of it, is clear to a yogi because the dark mind space is cleared off and a brilliant light is perceived.  This light is illuminating (prakasa).


Verse 53

dharanasu ca yogyata manasah

dharanasu- for linking the attention to a higher concentration force or person; ca – and; yogyata- being conducive for abstract meditation; manasah- of the mind


. . . and the state of the mind for linking the attention to a higher concentration force or person.



     Dharana practice requires a preliminary mastership in certain aspects of prana energy control.  This is why when someone sits to meditate without first doing pranayama , he cannot be successful even though he may imagine for himself in peace happiness and light.  One has to make the mind fit for yoga practice (yogyata manasah).  The mind will prevent the attention from linking to a higher concentration force or person if the mind itself is not surcharged with a higher grade of pranic energy.  It will be unable to make a higher linkage, except now and again, by a fluke, haphazardly.  For consistent practice one must do the asana with pranayama daily before meditation practice.


Verse 54

sva-visaya-asamprayoge cittasya-svarupa-anukara ivendriyanam pratyaharah

sva –their own; visaya – objects of perception; asamprayoge – in not contacting; cittasya-  of the mento-emotional energy; svarapa –own form; anukarah – imitation, patterning, assuming; iva – as if, as it were; indriyanam – senses; pratyaharah – withdrawal of sensual energy and its focus on the mind


The withdrawal of the senses, is as it were, their assumption of the form of mento- emotional energy when not contacting their own objects of perception.



     In his word for word meanings, Sri B.K.S. Iyengar gave as the root word for pratyaharah.  He gave the basic parts of that Sanskrit word as follows:

prati+ang+hr  meaning to draw towards the opposite.


      When the mento-emotional energy, the citta, is outward bound, it is called sensual energy or indriyani.  But when it is inward bound it is called citta or emotional force.  A yogin has to master that citta energy and reorient it so that it gives up it’s outward bound habit.


Paul’s Notation:  

The way Mr. Iyengar translated the full verse was like this:  “Withdrawing the senses, mind and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards towards the seer is pratyahara.”


Verse 55

tatah parama vasyatendriyanam

tatah – then, from that accomplishment; parama – highest, greatest; vasyata – subdued, subjugation, control; indriyanam -  of the sense


From that accomplishment, comes the highest degree of control of the senses.



      Pratyahar practice when mastered, gives the student yogin, the qualification to practice higher yoga, which are mainly actions on the mystic plane.


Paul’s Notation:

Mastery of the senses comes about by learning to withdraw them.



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