the yoga sutras of patanjali

71
SACRED TEXTS THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI The Essential Yoga Texts for Spiritual Enlightenment Translation and Introduction by Swami Vivekananda

Upload: sam-collins

Post on 03-Aug-2016

289 views

Category:

Documents


2 download

DESCRIPTION

 

TRANSCRIPT

Page 1: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

S A C R E D T E X T S

THE

YOGA SUTRASOF PATANJALI

The Essential Yoga Texts forSpiritual Enlightenment

Translation and Introduction bySwami Vivekananda

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page i

Page 2: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

This translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali was firstpublished as Raja Yoga or Conquering the Internal Nature by

Advaita Ashrama

This edition produced in 2007 for Sacred Texts,an imprint of Watkins Publishing

Sixth Floor, Castle House, 75–76 Wells Street,London W1T 3QH

Sacred Texts design copyright © Duncan Baird Publishers

All rights reserved in this edition. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in

any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior

permission in writing from the publishers

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Designed in Great Britain by Jerry GoldieTypeset in Great Britain by Dorchester Typesetting Group

Printed and bound in Thailand by Imago

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication data available

ISBN: 978-1-905857-03-6

www.watkinspublishing.com

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page ii

Page 3: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

CONTENTS

Introduction 1

I Concentration: Its Spiritual Uses 10

II Concentration: Its Practice 68

III Powers 124

IV Independence 152

Appendix 177

Notes 185

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page iii

Page 4: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page iv

Page 5: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

INTRODUCTION

Before going into the Yoga aphorisms I shall try todiscuss one great question, upon which rests the

whole theory of religion for the Yogis. It seems theconsensus of opinion of the great minds of the world,and it has been nearly demonstrated by researchesinto physical nature, that we are the outcome andmanifestation of an absolute condition, back of ourpresent relative condition, and are going forward, toreturn to that absolute. This being granted, thequestion is: which is better, the absolute or this state?There are not wanting people who think that thismanifested state is the highest state of man. Thinkersof great calibre are of the opinion that we aremanifestations of undifferentiated being, and the dif-ferentiated state is higher than the absolute. Theyimagine that in the absolute there cannot be anyquality; that it must be insensate, dull, and lifeless;

[ 1 ]

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 1

Page 6: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

that only this life can be enjoyed and, therefore, wemust cling to it. First of all we want to inquire intoother solutions of life. There was an old solution thatman after death remained the same; that all his goodsides, minus his evil sides, remained for ever.Logically stated, that means that man’s goal is theworld; this world carried a stage higher, andeliminated of its evils, is the state they call heaven.This theory, on the face of it, is absurd and puerile,because it cannot be. There cannot be good withoutevil, nor evil without good. To live in a world whereit is all good and no evil is what Sanskrit logicians calla “dream in the air”. Another theory in modern timeshas been presented by several schools, that man’sdestiny is to go on always improving, alwaysstruggling towards, but never reaching the goal. Thisstatement, though apparently very nice, is alsoabsurd, because there is no such thing as motion ina straight line. Every motion is in a circle. If you cantake up a stone, and project it into space, and thenlive long enough, that stone, if it meets with noobstruction, will come back exactly to your hand. Astraight line, infinitely projected, must end in a circle.

[ 2 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 2

Page 7: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Therefore, this idea that the destiny of man is pro-gressing ever forward and forward, and neverstopping, is absurd. Although extraneous to thesubject, I may remark that this idea explains the ethicaltheory, that you must not hate, and must love. Because,just as in the case of electricity, the modern theory isthat the power leaves the dynamo and completes thecircle back to the dynamo, so with hate and love; theymust come back to the source. Therefore do not hateanybody, because that hatred which comes out fromyou, must, in the long run, come back to you. If youlove, that love will come back to you, completing thecircle. It is as certain as can be, that every bit of hatredthat goes out of the heart of a man comes back to himin full force, nothing can stop it; similarly everyimpulse of love comes back to him.

On other and practical grounds we see that thetheory of eternal progression is untenable, fordestruction is the goal of everything earthly. All ourstruggles and hopes and fears and joys, what willthey lead to? We shall all end in death. Nothing is socertain as this. Where, then, is this motion in astraight line—this infinite progression? It is only

[ 3 ]

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 3

Page 8: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

going out to a distance, and coming back to the centrefrom which it started. See how, from nebulae, thesun, moon, and stars are produced; then they dissolveand go back to nebulae. The same is being doneeverywhere. The plant takes material from the earth,dissolves, and gives it back. Every form in this worldis taken out of surrounding atoms and goes back tothese atoms. It cannot be that the same law acts dif-ferently in different places. Law is uniform. Nothingis more certain than that. If this is the law of nature,it also applies to thought. Thought will dissolve andgo back to its origin. Whether we will it or not, weshall have to return to our origin, which is calledGod, or Absolute. We all came from God, and we areall bound to go back to God. Call that by any nameyou like—God, Absolute, or Nature—the factremains the same. “From whom all this universecomes out, in whom all that is born lives, and towhom all returns.” This is one fact that is certain.Nature works on the same plan: what is being workedout in one sphere is repeated in millions of spheres.What you see with the planets, the same will it bewith this earth, with men, and with all. The huge

[ 4 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 4

Page 9: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

wave is a mighty compound of small waves, it may beof millions; the life of the whole world is a compoundof millions of little lives, and the death of the wholeworld is the compound of the deaths of these millionsof little beings.

Now the question arises: is going back to God thehigher state, or not? The philosophers of the Yogaschool emphatically answer that it is. They say thatman’s present state is a degeneration. There is no onereligion on the face of the earth which says that manis an improvement. The idea is that his beginning isperfect and pure, that he degenerates until he cannotdegenerate further, and that there must come a timewhen he shoots upward again to complete the circle.The circle must be described. However low he maygo, he must ultimately take the upward bend and goback to the original source, which is God. Man comesfrom God in the beginning, in the middle he becomesman, and in the end he goes back to God. This is themethod of putting it in the dualistic form. Themonistic form is that man is God, and goes back toHim again. If our present state is the higher one, thenwhy is there so much horror and misery, and why is

[ 5 ]

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 5

Page 10: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

there an end to it? If this is the higher state, whydoes it end? That which corrupts and degeneratescannot be the highest state. Why should it be sodiabolical, so unsatisfying? It is only excusable,inasmuch as through it we are taking a higher groove;we have to pass through it in order to becomeregenerate again. Put a seed into the ground and itdisintegrates, dissolves after a time, and out of thatdissolution comes the splendid tree. Every soul mustdisintegrate to become God. So it follows that thesooner we get out of this state we call “man”, thebetter for us. Is it by committing suicide that we getout of this state? Not at all. That will be making itworse. Torturing ourselves, or condemning theworld, is not the way to get out. We have to passthrough the Slough of Despond, and the sooner weare through the better. It must always be rememberedthat man state is not the highest state.

The really difficult part to understand is that thisstate, the Absolute, which has been called thehighest, is not, as some fear, that of the zoophyte, orof the stone. According to them, there are only twostates of existence, one of the stone, and the other of

[ 6 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 6

Page 11: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

thought. What right have they to limit existence tothese two? Is there not something infinitely superiorto thought? The vibrations of light, when they arevery low, we do not see; when they become a littlemore intense, they become light to us; when theybecome still more intense, we do not see them—it isdark to us. Is the darkness in the end the samedarkness as in the beginning? Certainly not; they aredifferent as the two poles. Is the thoughtlessness ofthe stone the same as the thoughtlessness of God?Certainly not. God does not think; He does notreason. Why should He? Is anything unknown toHim, that He should reason? The stone cannot reason;God does not. Such is the difference. These philoso-phers think it is awful if we go beyond thought; theyfind nothing beyond thought.

There are much higher states of existence beyondreasoning. It is really beyond the intellect that thefirst state of religious life is to be found. When youstep beyond thought and intellect and all reasoning,then you have made the first step towards God; andthat is the beginning of life. What is commonly calledlife is but an embryo state.

[ 7 ]

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 7

Page 12: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The next question will be: what proof is there thatthe state beyond thought and reasoning is the higheststate? In the first place, all the great men of the world,much greater than those that only talk, men whomoved the world, men who never thought of anyselfish ends whatever, have declared that this life isbut a little stage on the way towards Infinity whichis beyond. In the second place, they not only say so,but show the way to everyone to explain theirmethods, that all can follow in their steps. In the thirdplace, there is no other way left. There is no otherexplanation. Taking for granted that there is nohigher state, why are we going through this circle allthe time; what reason can explain the world? Thesensible world will be the limit to our knowledge ifwe cannot go farther, if we must not ask for anythingmore. This is what is called agnosticism. But whatreason is there to believe in the testimony of thesenses? I would call that man a true agnostic whowould stand still in the street and die. If reason is allin all, it leaves us no place to stand on this side ofnihilism. If a man is agnostic of everything butmoney, fame, and name, he is only a fraud. Kant has

[ 8 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 8

Page 13: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

proved beyond all doubt that we cannot penetratebeyond the tremendous dead wall called reason. Butthat is the very first idea upon which all Indianthought takes its stand, and dares to seek, andsucceeds in finding something higher than reason,where alone the explanation of the present state is tobe found. This is the value of the study of somethingthat will take us beyond the world. “Thou art ourfather, and wilt take us to the other shore of thisocean of ignorance.” That is the science of religion,nothing else.

[ 9 ]

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 9

Page 14: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

C H A P T E R I

CONCENTRATION: ITS SPIRITUAL USES

1. Now concentration is explained.

2. Yoga is restraining the mind stuff (Chitta)from taking various forms (Vrittis).

A good deal of explanation is necessary here. We haveto understand what Chitta is, and what the Vrittisare. I have eyes. Eyes do not see. Take away the braincentre which is in the head, the eyes will still bethere, the retinae complete, as also the pictures ofobjects on them, and yet the eyes will not see. So theeyes are only a secondary instrument, not the organof vision. The organ of vision is in a nerve centre ofthe brain. The two eyes will not be sufficient.

[ 10 ]

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 10

Page 15: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sometimes a man is asleep with his eyes open. Thelight is there and the picture is there, but a thirdthing is necessary—the mind must be joined to theorgan. The eye is the external instrument; we needalso the brain centre and the agency of the mind.Carriages roll down a street, and you do not hearthem. Why? Because your mind has not attacheditself to the organ of hearing. First, there is theinstrument, then there is the organ, and third themind attached to these two. The mind takes theimpression farther in, and presents it to the determina-tive faculty—Buddhi—which reacts. Along with thisreaction flashes the idea of egoism. Then this mixtureof action and reaction is presented to the Purusha, thereal Soul, who perceives an object in this mixture.The organs (Indriyas), together with the mind(Manas), the determinative faculty (Buddhi), andegoism (Ahankara), form the group called theAntakarana (the internal instrument). They are butvarious processes in the mind stuff, called Chitta. Thewaves of thought in the Chitta are called Vrittis(literally “whirlpool”). What is thought? Thought isa force, as is gravitation or repulsion. From the

[ 11 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 11

Page 16: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

infinite storehouse of force in nature, the instrumentcalled Chitta takes hold of some, absorbs it and sendsit out as thought. Force is supplied to us throughfood, and out of that food the body obtains the powerof motion, etc. Others, the finer forces, it throws outin what we call thought. So we see that the mind isnot intelligent; yet it appears to be intelligent. Why?Because the intelligent soul is behind it. You are theonly sentient being; mind is only the instrumentthrough which you catch the external world. Takethis book; as a book it does not exist outside; whatexists outside is unknown and unknowable. Theunknowable furnishes the suggestion that gives ablow to the mind, and the mind gives out the reactionin the form of a book, in the same manner as when astone is thrown into the water, the water is thrownagainst it in the form of waves. The real universe isthe occasion of the reaction of the mind. A book form,or an elephant form, or a man form, is not outside;all that we know is our mental reaction from the outersuggestion. “Matter is the permanent possibility ofsensations,” said John Stuart Mill. It is only thesuggestion that is outside. Take an oyster for

[ 12 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 12

Page 17: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

example. You know how pearls are made. A parasitegets inside the shell and causes irritation, and theoyster throws a sort of enamelling round it, and thismakes the pearl. The universe of experience is ourown enamel, so to say, and the real universe is theparasite serving as nucleus. The ordinary man willnever understand it, because when he tries to do so,he throws out an enamel, and sees only his ownenamel. Now we understand what is meant by theseVrittis. The real man is behind the mind; the mind isthe instrument in his hands; it is his intelligence thatis percolating through the mind. It is only when youstand behind the mind that it becomes intelligent.When man gives it up, it falls to pieces and isnothing. Thus you understand what is meant byChitta. It is the mind stuff, and Vrittis are the wavesand ripples rising in it when external causes impingeon it. These Vrittis are our universe.

The bottom of a lake we cannot see, because itssurface is covered with ripples. It is only possible forus to catch a glimpse of the bottom, when the rippleshave subsided, and the water is calm. If the water ismuddy or is agitated all the time, the bottom will not

[ 13 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 13

Page 18: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

be seen. If it is clear, and there are no waves, we shallsee the bottom. The bottom of the lake is our owntrue Self; the lake is the Chitta and the waves theVrittis. Again, the mind is in three states, one ofwhich is darkness, called Tamas, found in brutes andidiots; it only acts to injure. No other idea comes intothat state of mind. Then there is the active state ofmind, Rajas, whose chief motives are power andenjoyment. “I will be powerful and rule others.” Thenthere is the state called Sattva, serenity, calmness, inwhich the waves cease, and the water of the mindlake becomes clear. It is not inactive, but ratherintensely active. It is the greatest manifestation ofpower to be calm. It is easy to be active. Let the reinsgo, and the horses will run away with you. Anyonecan do that, but he who can stop the plunging horsesis the strong man. Which requires the greaterstrength, letting go or restraining? The calm man isnot the man who is dull. You must not mistake Sattvafor dullness or laziness. The calm man is the one whohas control over the mind waves. Activity is the mani-festation of inferior strength, and calmness of thesuperior.

[ 14 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 14

Page 19: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Chitta is always trying to get back to itsnatural pure state, but the organs draw it out. Torestrain it, to check this outward tendency, and tostart it on the return journey to the essence of intel-ligence is the first step in Yoga, because only in thisway can the Chitta get into its proper course.

Although the Chitta is in every animal, from thelowest to the highest, it is only in the human formthat we find it as the intellect. Until the mind stuffcan take the form of intellect it is not possible for itto return through all these steps, and liberate thesoul. Immediate salvation is impossible for the cow orthe dog, although they have mind, because theirChitta cannot as yet take that form which we callintellect.

The Chitta manifests itself in the following forms—scattering, darkening, gathering, one-pointed, andconcentrated. The scattering form is activity. Itstendency is to manifest in the form of pleasure or ofpain. The darkening form is dullness which tends toinjury. The commentator says, the third form isnatural to the Devas, the angels, and the first andsecond to the demons. The gathering form is when it

[ 15 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 15

Page 20: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

struggles to centre itself. The one-pointed form iswhen it tries to concentrate, and the concentratedform is what brings us to Samadhi.

3. At that time (the time of concentration) theseer (Purusha) rests in his own (unmodified)state.

As soon as the waves have stopped, and the lake hasbecome quiet, we see its bottom. So with the mind;when it is calm, we see what our own nature is; wedo not mix ourselves but remain our own selves.

4. At other times (other than that ofconcentration) the seer is identified with themodifications.

For instance, someone blames me; this produces amodification, Vritti, in my mind, and I identifymyself with it, and the result is misery.

5. There are five classes of modifications, (some)painful and (others) not painful.

[ 16 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 16

Page 21: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

6. (These are) right knowledge, indiscrimination,verbal delusion, sleep and memory.

7. Direct perception, inference and competentevidence are proofs.

When two of our perceptions do not contradict eachother, we call it proof. I hear something, and if it con-tradicts something already perceived, I begin to fightit out, and do not believe it. There are also three kindsof proof. Direct perception, Pratyaksha, whatever wesee and feel, is proof, if there has been nothing todelude the senses. I see the world; that is sufficientproof that it exists. Secondly, Anumana, inference;you see a sign, and from the sign you come to thething signified. Thirdly, Aptavakya, the directevidence of the Yogis, of those who have seen thetruth. We are all of us struggling towards knowledge.But you and I have to struggle hard, and come toknowledge through a long tedious process ofreasoning, but the Yogi, the pure one, has gonebeyond all this. Before his mind, the past, the present,and the future are alike, one book for him to read; he

[ 17 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 17

Page 22: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

does not require to go through the tedious processesfor knowledge we have to; his words are proof,because he sees knowledge in himself. These, forinstance, are the authors of the sacred scriptures;therefore the scriptures are proof. If any such personsare living now their words will be proof. Otherphilosophers go into long discussions aboutAptavakya and they say, “What is the proof of theirwords?” The proof is their direct perception. Becausewhatever I see is proof, and whatever you see isproof, if it does not contradict any past knowledge.There is knowledge beyond the senses, and wheneverit does not contradict reason and past humanexperience, that knowledge is proof. Any madmanmay come into this room and say he sees angelsaround him; that would not be proof. In the firstplace, it must be true knowledge; and secondly, itmust not contradict past knowledge; and thirdly, itmust depend upon the character of the man whogives it out. I hear it said that the character of theman is not of so much importance as what he may say:we must first hear what he says. This may be true inother things. A man may be wicked, and yet make an

[ 18 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 18

Page 23: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

astronomical discovery, but in religion it is different,because no impure man will ever have the power toreach the truths of religion. Therefore we have firstof all to see that the man who declares himself to bean Apta is a perfectly unselfish and holy person;secondly, that he has reached beyond the senses; andthirdly, that what he says does not contradict the pastknowledge of humanity. Any new discovery of truthdoes not contradict the past truth, but fits into it.And fourthly, that truth must have a possibility ofverification. If a man says, “I have seen a vision”,and tells me that I have no right to see it, I believehim not. Everyone must have the power to see it forhimself. No one who sells his knowledge is an Apta.All these conditions must be fulfilled; you must firstsee that the man is pure, and that he has no selfishmotive: that he has no thirst for gain or fame.Secondly, he must show that he is superconscious. Hemust give us something that we cannot get from oursenses, and which is for the benefit of the world.Thirdly, we must see that it does not contradict othertruths; if it contradicts other scientific truths, rejectit at once. Fourthly, the man should never be

[ 19 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 19

Page 24: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

singular; he should only represent what all men canattain. The three sorts of proof are, then, direct senseperception, inference, and the words of anApta. I cannot translate this word into English. It isnot the word “inspired”, because inspiration isbelieved to come from outside, while this knowledgecomes from the man himself. The literal meaning is“attained”.

8. Indiscrimination is false knowledge notestablished in real nature.

The next class of Vrittis that arises is mistaking onething for another, as a piece of mother-of-pearl istaken for a piece of silver.

9. Verbal delusion follows from words having no(corresponding) reality.

There is another class of Vrittis called Vikalpa. A wordis uttered, and we do not wait to consider its meaning;we jump to a conclusion immediately. It is the sign ofweakness of the Chitta. Now you can understand the

[ 20 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 20

Page 25: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

theory of restraint. The weaker the man, the less hehas of restraint. Examine yourselves always by thattest. When you are going to be angry or miserable,reason it out how it is that some news that has cometo you is throwing your mind into Vrittis.

10. Sleep is a Vritti which embraces the feeling ofvoidness.

The next class of Vrittis is called sleep and dream.When we awake, we know that we have beensleeping; we can only have memory of perception.That which we do not perceive we never can have anymemory of. Every reaction is a wave in the lake. Now,if, during sleep, the mind had no waves, it wouldhave no perceptions, positive or negative, and,therefore, we would not remember them. The veryreason of our remembering sleep is that during sleepthere was a certain class of waves in the mind.Memory is another class of Vrittis which is calledSmriti.

[ 21 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 21

Page 26: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

11. Memory is when the (Vrittis of) perceived subjects do not slip away (and through impressions come back toconsciousness).

Memory can come from direct perception, falseknowledge, verbal delusion, and sleep. For instance,you hear a word. That word is like a stone throwninto the lake of the Chitta; it causes a ripple, and thatripple rouses a series of ripples; this is memory. So insleep. When the peculiar kind of ripple called sleepthrows the Chitta into a ripple of memory, it is calleda dream. Dream is another form of the ripple whichin the waking state is called memory.

12. Their control is by practice and non-attachment.

The mind, to have non-attachment, must be clear, goodand rational. Why should we practise? Because eachaction is like the pulsations quivering over the surfaceof the lake. The vibration dies out, and what is left?The Sanskaras, the impressions. When a large numberof these impressions is left on the mind, they coalesce

[ 22 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 22

Page 27: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

and become a habit. It is said, “Habit is second nature”;it is first nature also, and the whole nature of man;everything that we are is the result of habit. That givesus consolation, because, if it is only habit, we can makeand unmake it at any time. The Sanskaras are left bythese vibrations passing out of our mind, each one ofthem leaving its result. Our character is the sum totalof these marks, and according as some particular waveprevails, one takes that tone. If good prevails, onebecomes good; if wickedness, one becomes wicked; ifjoyfulness, one becomes happy. The only remedy forbad habits is counter habits; all the bad habits thathave left their impressions are to be controlled by goodhabits. Go on doing good, thinking holy thoughts con-tinuously; that is the only way to suppress baseimpressions. Never say any man is hopeless, becausehe only represents a character, a bundle of habits,which can be checked by new and better ones.Character is repeated habits, and repeated habits alonecan reform character.

[ 23 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 23

Page 28: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

13. Continuous struggle to keep them (the Vrittis)perfectly restrained is practice.

What is practice? The attempt to restrain the mind inChitta form, to prevent its going out into waves.

14. It becomes firmly grounded by long constantefforts with great love (for the end to beattained).

Restraint does not come in one day, but by longcontinued practice.

15. That effect which comes to those who havegiven up their thirst after objects, either seenor heard, and which wills to control theobjects, is non-attachment.

The two motive powers of our actions are (1) what wesee ourselves, (2) the experience of others. These twoforces throw the mind, the lake, into various waves.Renunciation is the power of battling against theseforces and holding the mind in check. Their renuncia-tion is what we want. I am passing through a street, and

[ 24 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 24

Page 29: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

a man comes and takes away my watch. That is my ownexperience. I see it myself, and it immediately throwsmy Chitta into a wave, taking the form of anger. Allownot that to come. If you cannot prevent that, you arenothing; if you can, you have Vairagya. Again, theexperience of the worldly minded teaches us that senseenjoyments are the highest ideal. These are tremendoustemptations. To deny them, and not allow the mind tocome to a wave form with regard to them, is renuncia-tion; to control the twofold motive powers arising frommy own experience and from the experience of others,and thus prevent the Chitta from being governed bythem, is Vairagya. These should be controlled by me,and not I by them. This sort of mental strength is calledrenunciation. Vairagya is the only way to freedom.

16. That is extreme non-attachment which givesup even the qualities, and comes from theknowledge of (the real nature of) the Purusha.

It is the highest manifestation of the power ofVairagya when it takes away even our attraction

[ 25 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 25

Page 30: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

towards the qualities. We have first to understandwhat the Purusha, the Self is, and what the qualitiesare. According to Yoga philosophy, the whole ofnature consists of three qualities or forces; one iscalled Tamas, another Rajas, and the third Sattva.These three qualities manifest themselves in thephysical world as darkness or inactivity, attraction orrepulsion and equilibrium of the two. Everythingthat is in nature, all manifestations, are combinationsand recombinations of these three forces. Nature hasbeen divided into various categories by the Sankhyas;the Self of man is beyond all these, beyond nature. Itis effulgent, pure and perfect. Whatever of intelli-gence we see in nature is but the reflection of this Selfupon nature. Nature itself is insentient. You mustremember that the word nature also includes themind; mind is in nature; thought is in nature; fromthought, down to the grossest form of matter,everything is in nature, the manifestation of nature.This nature has covered the Self of man, and whennature takes away the covering, the Self appears in Itsown glory. The non-attachment, as described inaphorism 15 (as being control of objects or nature) is

[ 26 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 26

Page 31: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

the greatest help towards manifesting the Self. Thenext aphorism defines Samadhi, perfect concentra-tion, which is the goal of the Yogi.

17. The concentration called right knowledge isthat which is followed by reasoning,discrimination, bliss, unqualified egoism.

Samadhi is divided into two varieties. One is calledthe Samprajnata, and the other the Asamprajnata. Inthe Samprajnata Samadhi come all the powers of con-trolling nature. It is of four varieties. The first varietyis called the Savitarka, when the mind meditates uponan object again and again by isolating it from otherobjects. There are two sorts of objects for meditationin the twenty-five categories of the Sankhyas: (1) thetwenty-four insentient categories of nature, and (2)the one sentient Purusha. This part of Yoga is basedentirely on Sankhya philosophy, about which I havealready told you. As you will remember, egoism andwill and mind have a common basis—the Chitta orthe mind stuff—out of which they are all manufac-tured. The mind stuff takes in the forces of nature,

[ 27 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 27

Page 32: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

and projects them as thought. There must besomething, again, where both force and matter areone. This is called Avyakta, the unmanifested state ofnature before creation, and to which, after the end ofa cycle, the whole of nature returns, to come out againafter another period. Beyond that is the Purusha, theessence of intelligence. Knowledge is power, and assoon as we begin to know a thing, we get power overit; so also when the mind begins to meditate on thedifferent elements, it gains power over them. Thatsort of meditation where the external gross elementsare the objects is called Savitarka. Vitarka meansquestion; Savitarka, with question, questioning theelements, as it were, that they may give their truthsand their powers to the man who meditates uponthem. There is no liberation in getting powers. It is aworldly search after enjoyments, and there is noenjoyment in this life; all search for enjoyment is vain;that is the old, old lesson which man finds so hard tolearn. When he does learn it, he gets out of theuniverse and becomes free. The possession of whatare called occult powers is only intensifying theworld, and in the end, intensifying suffering. Though

[ 28 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 28

Page 33: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

as a scientist, Patanjali is bound to point out the pos-sibilities of this science, he never misses anopportunity to warn us against these powers.

Again, in the very same meditation, when onestruggles to take the elements out of time and space,and think of them as they are, it is called Nirvitarka,without question. When the meditation goes a stephigher, and takes the Tanmatras as its object, andthinks of them as in time and space, it is calledSavichara, with discrimination; and when in the samemeditation one eliminates time and space, and thinksof the fine elements as they are, it is calledNirvichara, without discrimination. The next step iswhen the elements are given up, both gross and fine,and the object of meditation is the interior organ, thethinking organ. When the thinking organ is thoughtof as bereft of the qualities of activity and dullness,it is then called Sananda, the blissful Samadhi. Whenthe mind itself is the object of meditation, whenmeditation becomes very ripe and concentrated,when all ideas of the gross and fine materials aregiven up, when the Sattva state only of the egoremains, but differentiated from all other objects, it

[ 29 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 29

Page 34: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

is called Sasmita Samadhi. The man who has attainedto this has attained to what is called in the Vedas“bereft of body”. He can think of himself as withouthis gross body; but he will have to think of himselfas with a fine body. Those that in this state getmerged in nature without attaining the goal are calledPrakritilayas, but those who do not stop even therereach the goal, which is freedom.

18. There is another Samadhi which is attained bythe constant practice of cessation of all mentalactivity, in which the Chitta retains only theunmanifested impressions.

This is the perfect superconscious AsamprajnataSamadhi, the state which gives us freedom. The firststate does not give us freedom, does not liberate thesoul. A man may attain to all powers, and yet fallagain. There is no safeguard until the soul goesbeyond nature. It is very difficult to do so, althoughthe method seems easy. The method is to meditateon the mind itself, and whenever thought comes, tostrike it down, allowing no thought to come into

[ 30 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 30

Page 35: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

the mind, thus making it an entire vacuum. Whenwe can really do this, that very moment we shallattain liberation. When persons without trainingand preparation try to make their minds vacant,they are likely to succeed only in coveringthemselves with Tamas, the material of ignorance,which makes the mind dull and stupid, and leadsthem to think that they are making a vacuum of themind. To be able to really do that is to manifest thegreatest strength, the highest control. When thisstate, Asamprajnata, superconsciousness, is reached,the Samadhi becomes seedless. What is meant bythat? In a concentration where there is conscious-ness, where the mind succeeds only in quelling thewaves in the Chitta and holding them down, thewaves remain in the form of tendencies. Thesetendencies (of seeds) become waves again, when thetime comes. But when you have destroyed all thesetendencies, almost destroyed the mind, then theSamadhi becomes seedless, there are no more seedsin the mind out of which to manufacture again andagain this plant of life, this ceaseless round of birthand death.

[ 31 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 31

Page 36: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

You may ask, what state would that be in whichthere is no mind, there is no knowledge? What we callknowledge is a lower state than the one beyondknowledge. You must always bear in mind that theextremes look very much alike. If a very lowvibration of ether is taken as darkness, an intermedi-ate state as light, very high vibration will be darknessagain. Similarly, ignorance is the lowest state,knowledge is the middle state, and beyondknowledge is the highest state, the two extremes ofwhich seem the same. Knowledge itself is a manufac-tured something, a combination; it is not reality.

What is the result of constant practice of this higherconcentration? All old tendencies of restlessness anddullness will be destroyed, as well as the tendenciesof goodness too. The case is similar to that of thechemicals used to take the dirt and alloy off gold.When the ore is smelted down, the dross is burntalong with the chemicals. So this constant controllingpower will stop the previous bad tendencies, andeventually, the good ones also. Those good and eviltendencies will suppress each other, leaving alone theSoul in its own splendour, untrammelled by either

[ 32 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 32

Page 37: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

good or bad, the omnipresent, omnipotent, andomniscient. Then the man will know that he hadneither birth nor death, nor need of heaven or earth.He will know that he neither came nor went, it wasnature which was moving, and that movement wasreflected upon the Soul. The form of the light reflectedby the glass upon the wall moves, and the wallfoolishly thinks it is moving. So with all of us; it is theChitta constantly moving making itself into variousforms, and we think that we are these various forms.All these delusions will vanish. When that free Soulwill command—not pray or beg, but command—thenwhatever it desires will be immediately fulfilled;whatever it wants it will be able to do. According tothe Sankhya philosophy, there is no God. It says thatthere can be no God of this universe, because if therewere one, He must be a soul, and a soul must be eitherbound or free. How can the soul that is bound bynature, or controlled by nature, create? It is itself aslave. On the other hand, why should the Soul that isfree create and manipulate all these things? It has nodesires, so it cannot have any need to create. Secondly,it says the theory of God is an unnecessary one; nature

[ 33 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 33

Page 38: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

explains all. What is the use of any God? But Kapilateaches that there are many souls, who, though nearlyattaining perfection, fall short because they cannotperfectly renounce all powers. Their minds for a timemerge in nature, to re-emerge as its masters. Such godsthere are. We shall all become such gods, andaccording to the Sankhyas, the God spoken of in theVedas really means one of these free souls. Beyondthem there is not an eternally free and blessed Creatorof the universe. On the other hand, the Yogis say, “Notso, there is a God, there is one Soul separate from allother souls, and He is the eternal Master of allcreation, the ever free, the Teacher of all teachers.”The Yogis admit that those, whom the Sankhyas call“the merged in nature”, also exist. They are Yogis whohave fallen short of perfection, and though, for a timedebarred from attaining the goal, remain as rulers ofparts of the universe.

19. (This Samadhi when not followed by extremenon-attachment) becomes the cause of theremanifestation of the gods and of those thatbecome merged in nature.

[ 34 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 34

Page 39: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

20. To others (this Samadhi) comes through faith,energy, memory, concentration, anddiscrimination of the real.

These are they who do not want the position of godsor even that of rulers of cycles. They attain toliberation.

21. Success is speedy for the extremely energetic.

22. The success of Yogis differs according as themeans they adopt are mild, medium, orintense.

23. Or by devotion to Ishvara.

24. Ishvara (the Supreme Ruler) is a specialPurusha, untouched by misery, actions, theirresults, and desires.

[ 35 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 35

Page 40: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

We must again remember that the Patanjali Yogaphilosophy is based upon the Sankhya philosophy;only in the latter there is no place for God, whilewith the Yogis God has a place. The Yogis, however,do not mention many ideas about God, such ascreating. God as the Creator of the universe is notmeant by the Ishvara of the Yogis. According to theVedas, Ishvara is the Creator of the universe; becauseit is harmonious, it must be the manifestation of onewill. The Yogis want to establish a God, but theyarrive at Him in a peculiar fashion of their own. Theysay:

25. In Him becomes infinite that all-knowingnesswhich in others is (only) a germ.

The mind must always travel between two extremes.You can think of limited space, but that very ideagives you also unlimited space. Close your eyes andthink of a little space; at the same time that youperceive the little circle, you have a circle round it ofunlimited dimensions. It is the same with time. Tryto think of a second; you will have, with the same act

[ 36 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 36

Page 41: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

of perception, to think of time which is unlimited. Sowith knowledge. Knowledge is only a germ in man,but you will have to think of infinite knowledgearound it, so that the very constitution of our mindshows us that there is unlimited knowledge, and theYogis call that unlimited knowledge God.

26. He is the Teacher of even the ancient teachers,being not limited by time.

It is true that all knowledge is within ourselves, butthis has to be called forth by another knowledge.Although the capacity to know is inside us, it mustbe called out, and that calling out of knowledge canonly be done, a Yogi maintains, through anotherknowledge. Dead, insentient matter never calls outknowledge, it is the action of knowledge that bringsout knowledge. Knowing beings must be with us tocall forth what is in us, so these teachers were alwaysnecessary. The world was never without them, and noknowledge can come without them. God is the Teacherof all teachers, because these teachers, however greatthey may have been—gods or angels—were all bound

[ 37 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 37

Page 42: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

and limited by time, while God is not. There are twopeculiar deductions of the Yogis. The first is that inthinking of the limited, the mind must think of theunlimited; and that if one part of that perception istrue, so also must the other be, for the reason thattheir value as perceptions of the mind is equal. Thevery fact that man has a little knowledge shows thatGod has unlimited knowledge. If I am to take one,why not the other? Reason forces me to take both orreject both. If I believe that there is a man with a littleknowledge, I must also admit that there is someonebehind him with unlimited knowledge. The seconddeduction is that no knowledge can come without ateacher. It is true as the modern philosophers say, thatthere is something in man which evolves out of him;all knowledge is in man, but certain environments arenecessary to call it out. We cannot find any knowledgewithout teachers. If there are men teachers, godteachers, or angel teachers, they are all limited; whowas the teacher before them? We are forced to admit,as a last conclusion, one teacher, who is not limitedby time; and that One Teacher of infinite knowledge,without beginning or end, is called God.

[ 38 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 38

Page 43: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

27. His manifesting word is Om.

Every idea that you have in the mind has a counter-part in a word; the word and the thought areinseparable. The external part of one and the samething is what we call word, and the internal part iswhat we call thought. No man can, by analysis,separate thought from word. The idea that languagewas created by men—certain men sitting togetherand deciding upon words, has been proved to bewrong. So long as man has existed there have beenwords and language. What is the connection betweenan idea and a word? Although we see that there mustalways be a word with a thought, it is not necessarythat the same thought requires the same word. Thethought may be the same in twenty differentcountries, yet the language is different. We must havea word to express each thought, but these words neednot necessarily have the same sound. Sounds willvary in different nations. Our commentator says,“Although the relation between thought and word isperfectly natural, yet it does not mean a rigidconnection between one sound and one idea.” Thesesounds vary, yet the relation between the sounds and

[ 39 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 39

Page 44: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

the thoughts is a natural one. The connectionbetween thoughts and sounds is good only if there bea real connection between the thing signified and thesymbol; until then that symbol will never come intogeneral use. A symbol is the manifester of the thingsignified, and if the thing signified has already anexistence, and if, by experience, we know that thesymbol has expressed that thing many times, thenwe are sure that there is a real relation between them.Even if the things are not present, there will bethousands who will know them by their symbols.There must be a natural connection between thesymbol and the thing signified; then, when thatsymbol is pronounced, it recalls the thing signified.The commentator says the manifesting word of Godis Om. Why does he emphasize this word? There arehundreds of words for God. One thought is connectedwith a thousand words; the idea “God” is connectedwith hundreds of words, and each one stands as asymbol for God. Very good. But there must be a gen-eralization among all these words, some substratum,some common ground of all these symbols, and thatwhich is the common symbol will be the best, and

[ 40 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 40

Page 45: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

will really represent them all. In making a sound weuse the larynx and the palate as a sounding board. Isthere any material sound of which all other soundsmust be manifestations, one which is the most naturalsound? Om (AUM) is such a sound, the basis of allsound. The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key,pronounced without touching any part of the tongueor palate; M represents the last sound in the series,being produced by the closed lips, and the U rollsfrom the very root to the end of the sounding boardof the mouth. Thus, Om represents the wholephenomena of sound producing. As such, it must bethe natural symbol, the matrix of all the varioussounds. It denotes the whole range and possibility ofall the words that can be made. Apart from thesespeculations, we see that around this word Om arecentred all the different religious ideas in India; allthe various religious ideas of the Vedas have gatheredthemselves round this word Om. What has that to dowith America and England, or any other country?Simply this, that the word has been retained at everystage of religious growth in India, and it has beenmanipulated to mean all the various ideas about God.

[ 41 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 41

Page 46: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Monists, dualists, monodualists, separatists, and evenatheists took up this Om. Om has become the onesymbol for the religious aspiration of the vastmajority of human beings. Take, for instance, theEnglish word God. It covers only a limited function,and if you go beyond it, you have to add adjectives,to make it personal, or impersonal, or Absolute God.So with the words for God in every other language;their signification is very small. This word Om,however, has around it all the various significances.As such it should be accepted by everyone.

28. The repetition of this (Om) and meditating onits meaning (is the way).

Why should there be repetition? We have notforgotten the theory of Sanskaras, that the sum totalof impressions lives in the mind. They become moreand more latent but remain there, and as soon as theyget the right stimulus, they come out. Molecularvibration never ceases. When this universe isdestroyed, all the massive vibrations disappear; thesun, moon, stars, and earth, melt down; but the

[ 42 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 42

Page 47: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

vibrations remain in the atoms. Each atom performsthe same function as the big worlds do. So even whenthe vibrations of the Chitta subside, its molecularvibrations go on, and when they get the impulse,come out again. We can now understand what ismeant by repetition. It is the greatest stimulus thatcan be given to the spiritual Sanskaras. “One momentof company with the holy makes a ship to cross thisocean of life.” Such is the power of association. So thisrepetition of Om, and thinking of its meaning, iskeeping good company in your own mind. Study, andthen meditate on what you have studied. Thus lightwill come to you, the Self will become manifest.

But one must think of Om, and of its meaning too.Avoid evil company, because the scars of old woundsare in you, and evil company is just the thing that isnecessary to call them out. In the same way we aretold that good company will call out the good impres-sions that are in us, but which have become latent.There is nothing holier in the world than to keepgood company, because the good impressions willthen tend to come to the surface.

[ 43 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 43

Page 48: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

29. From that is gained (the knowledge of)introspection, and the destruction of obstacles.

The first manifestation of the repetition and thinkingof Om is that the introspective power will manifestmore and more, all the mental and physical obstacleswill begin to vanish. What are the obstacles to the Yogi?

30. Disease, mental laziness, doubt, lack ofenthusiasm, lethargy, clinging to senseenjoyments, false perception, non-attainingconcentration, and falling away from the state when obtained, are the obstructingdistractions.

Disease. This body is the boat which will carry us tothe other shore of the ocean of life. It must be takencare of. Unhealthy persons cannot be Yogis. Mentallaziness makes us lose all lively interest in the subject,without which there will neither be the will nor theenergy to practise. Doubts will arise in the mindabout the truth of the science, however strong one’sintellectual conviction may be, until certain peculiar

[ 44 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 44

Page 49: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

psychic experiences come, as hearing or seeing at adistance, etc. These glimpses strengthen the mindand make the student persevere. Falling away . . .when obtained. Some days or weeks when you arepractising, the mind will be calm and easily concen-trated, and you will find yourself progressing fast. Allof a sudden the progress will stop one day, and youwill find yourself, as it were, stranded. Persevere. Allprogress proceeds by such rise and fall.

31. Grief, mental distress, tremor of the body,irregular breathing accompany non-retentionof concentration.

Concentration will bring perfect repose to mind andbody every time it is practised. When the practice hasbeen misdirected, or not enough controlled, thesedisturbances come. Repetition of Om and self-surrender to the Lord will strengthen the mind, andbring fresh energy. The nervous shakings will cometo almost everyone. Do not mind them at all, but keepon practising. Practice will cure them, and make theseat firm.

[ 45 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 45

Page 50: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

32. To remedy this, the practice of one subject(should be made).

Making the mind take the form of one object for sometime will destroy these obstacles. This is generaladvice. In the following aphorisms it will beexpanded and particularized. As one practice cannotsuit everyone, various methods will be advanced, andeveryone by actual experience will find out thatwhich helps him most.

33. Friendship, mercy, gladness, and indifference,being thought of in regard to subjects, happy,unhappy, good, and evil respectively, pacifythe Chitta.

We must have these four sorts of ideas. We must havefriendship for all; we must be merciful towards thosethat are in misery; when people are happy, we oughtto be happy; and to the wicked we must be indiffer-ent. So with all subjects that come before us. If thesubject is a good one, we shall feel friendly towards it;if the subject of thought is one that is miserable, wemust be merciful towards it. If it is good, we must be

[ 46 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 46

Page 51: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

glad; if it is evil, we must be indifferent. These attitudesof the mind towards the different subjects that comebefore it will make the mind peaceful. Most of our dif-ficulties in our daily lives come from being unable tohold our minds in this way. For instance, if a man doesevil to us, instantly we want to react with evil, andevery reaction of evil shows that we are not able tohold the Chitta down; it comes out in waves towardsthe object, and we lose our power. Every reaction in theform of hatred or evil is so much loss to the mind; andevery evil thought or deed of hatred, or any thoughtof reaction, if it is controlled, will be laid in our favour.It is not that we lose by thus restraining ourselves; weare gaining infinitely more than we suspect. Each timewe suppress hatred, or a feeling of anger, it is so muchgood energy stored up in our favour; that piece ofenergy will be converted into the higher powers.

34. By throwing out and restraining the breath.

The word used is Prana. Prana is not exactly breath.It is the name for the energy that is in the universe.

[ 47 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 47

Page 52: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Whatever you see in the universe, whatever moves orworks, or has life, is a manifestation of this Prana. Thesum total of the energy displayed in the universe iscalled Prana. This Prana, before a cycle begins,remains in an almost motionless state; and when thecycle begins, this Prana begins to manifest itself. Itis this Prana that is manifested as motion—as thenervous motion in human beings or animals; and thesame Prana is manifesting as thought, and so on. Thewhole universe is a combination of Prana andAkasha; so is the human body. Out of Akasha you getthe different materials that you feel and see, and outof Prana all the various forces. Now this throwingout and restraining the Prana is what is calledPranayama. Patanjali, the father of the Yogaphilosophy, does not give very many particulardirections about Pranayama, but later on other Yogisfound out various things about this Pranayama, andmade of it a great science. With Patanjali it is one ofthe many ways, but he does not lay much stress onit. He means that you simply throw the air out, anddraw it in, and hold it for some time, that is all, andby that, the mind will become a little calmer. But,

[ 48 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 48

Page 53: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

later on, you will find that out of this is evolved aparticular science called Pranayama. We shall hear alittle of what these later Yogis have to say.

Some of this I have told you before, but a littlerepetition will serve to fix it in your minds. First,you must remember that this Prana is not the breath;but that which causes the motion of the breath, thatwhich is the vitality of the breath is the Prana. Again,the word Prana is used for all the senses; they are allcalled Pranas, the mind is called Prana; and so we seethat Prana is force. And yet we cannot call it force,because force is only the manifestation of it. It is thatwhich manifests itself as force and everything else inthe way of motion. The Chitta, the mind stuff, is theengine which draws in the Prana from the surround-ings, and manufactures out of Prana the various vitalforces—those that keep the body in preservation—and thought, will, and all other powers. By the above-mentioned process of breathing we can control all thevarious motions in the body, and the various nervecurrents that are running through the body. First webegin to recognize them, and then we slowly getcontrol over them.

[ 49 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 49

Page 54: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Now, these later Yogis consider that there are threemain currents of this Prana in the human body. Onethey call Ida, another Pingala, and the thirdSushumna. Pingala, according to them, is on the rightside of the spinal column, and the Ida on the left,and in the middle of the spinal column is theSushumna, an empty channel. Ida and Pingala,according to them, are the currents working in everyman, and through these currents, we are performingall the functions of life. Sushumna is present in all,as a possibility; but it works only in the Yogi. Youmust remember that Yoga changes the body. As yougo on practising, your body changes; it is not thesame body that you had before the practice. That isvery rational, and can be explained, because everynew thought that we have must make, as it were, anew channel through the brain, and that explains thetremendous conservatism of human nature. Humannature likes to run through the ruts that are alreadythere, because it is easy. If we think, just forexample’s sake, that the mind is like a needle, and thebrain substance a soft lump before it, then eachthought that we have makes a street, as it were, in the

[ 50 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 50

Page 55: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

brain, and this street would close up, but for the greymatter which comes and makes a lining to keep itseparate. If there were no grey matter, there wouldbe no memory, because memory means going overthese old streets, retracing a thought as it were. Nowperhaps you have marked that when one talks onsubjects in which one takes a few ideas that arefamiliar to everyone, and combines and recombinesthem, it is easy to follow because these channels arepresent in everyone’s brain, and it is only necessaryto refer to them. But whenever a new subject comes,new channels have to be made, so it is not understoodreadily. And that is why the brain (it is the brain, andnot the people themselves) refuses unconsciously tobe acted upon by new ideas. It resists. The Prana istrying to make new channels, and the brain will notallow it. This is the secret of conservatism. The fewerchannels there have been in the brain, and the lessthe needle of the Prana has made these passages, themore conservative will be the brain, the more it willstruggle against new thoughts. The more thoughtfulthe man, the more complicated will be the streets inhis brain, and the more easily he will take to new

[ 51 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 51

Page 56: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

ideas, and understand them. So with every fresh idea,we make a new impression in the brain, cut newchannels through the brain stuff, and that is why wefind that in the practice of Yoga (it being an entirelynew set of thoughts and motives) there is so muchphysical resistance at first. That is why we find thatthe part of religion which deals with the world sideof nature is so widely accepted, while the other part, the philosophy, or the psychology, which dealswith the inner nature of man, is so frequentlyneglected.

We must remember the definition of this world ofours; it is only the Infinite Existence projected intothe plane of consciousness. A little of the Infinite isprojected into consciousness, and that we call ourworld. So there is an Infinite beyond; and religion hasto deal with both—with the little lump we call ourworld, and with the Infinite beyond. Any religionwhich deals with one only of these two will bedefective. It must deal with both. The part of religionwhich deals with the part of the Infinite which hascome into the plane of consciousness, got itselfcaught, as it were, in the plane of consciousness, in

[ 52 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 52

Page 57: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

the cage of time, space, and causation, is quitefamiliar to us, because we are in that already, andideas about this world have been with us almost fromtime immemorial. The part of religion which dealswith the Infinite beyond comes entirely new to us,and getting ideas about it produces new channels inthe brain, disturbing the whole system, and that iswhy you find in the practice of Yoga ordinary peopleare at first turned out of their grooves. In order tolessen these disturbances as much as possible, allthese methods are devised by Patanjali, that we maypractise any one of them best suited to us.

35. Those forms of concentration that bringextraordinary sense perceptions cause perseverance of the mind.

This naturally comes with Dharana, concentration;the Yogis say, if the mind becomes concentrated on thetip of the nose, one begins to smell, after a few days,wonderful perfumes. If it becomes concentrated at theroot of the tongue, one begins to hear sounds; if onthe tip of the tongue, one begins to taste wonderful

[ 53 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 53

Page 58: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

flavours; if on the middle of the tongue, one feels asif one were coming in contact with something. If oneconcentrates one’s mind on the palate, one begins tosee peculiar things. If a man whose mind is disturbedwants to take up some of these practices of Yoga, yetdoubts the truth of them, he will have his doubts setat rest when, after a little practice, these things cometo him, and he will persevere.

36. Or (by the meditation on) the Effulgent Light,which is beyond all sorrow.

This is another sort of concentration. Think of thelotus of the heart, with petals downwards, andrunning through it, the Sushumna; take in the breath,and while throwing the breath out imagine that thelotus is turned with the petals upwards, and insidethat lotus is an effulgent light. Meditate on that.

37. Or (by meditation on) the heart that has givenup all attachment to sense objects.

[ 54 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 54

Page 59: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Take some holy person, some great person whom yourevere, some saint whom you know to be perfectlynon-attached, and think of his heart. That heart hasbecome non-attached, and meditate on that heart; itwill calm the mind. If you cannot do that, there is thenext way.

38. Or by meditating on the knowledge that comesin sleep.

Sometimes a man dreams that he has seen angelscoming to him and talking to him, that he is in anecstatic condition, that he has heard music floatingthrough the air. He is in a blissful condition in thatdream, and when he wakes, it makes a deepimpression on him. Think of that dream as real, andmeditate upon it. If you cannot do that, meditate onany holy thing that pleases you.

39. Or by the meditation on anything that appealsto one as good.

[ 55 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 55

Page 60: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

This does not mean any wicked subject, but anythinggood that you like, any place that you like best, anyscenery that you like best, any idea that you like best,anything that will concentrate the mind.

40. The Yogi’s mind thus meditating, becomesunobstructed from the atomic to the infinite.

The mind, by this practice, easily contemplates themost minute, as well as the biggest thing. Thus themind waves become fainter.

41. The Yogi whose Vrittis have thus becomepowerless (controlled) obtains in thereceiver, (the instrument of) receiving, andthe received (the Self, the mind, and externalobjects), concentratedness and sameness, likethe crystal (before different colouredobjects).

What results from this constant meditation? We mustremember how in a previous aphorism Patanjali went

[ 56 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 56

Page 61: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

into the various states of meditation, how the firstwould be the gross, the second the fine, and fromthem the advance was to still finer objects. The resultof these meditations is that we can meditate as easilyon the fine as on the gross objects. Here the Yogi seesthe three things—the receiver, the received, and thereceiving instrument—corresponding to the Soul,external objects, and the mind. There are threeobjects of meditation given us. First, the gross things,as bodies, or material objects; second, fine things, asthe mind, the Chitta; and third, the Purushaqualified, not the Purusha itself, but the egoism. Bypractice, the Yogi gets established in all these medi-tations. Whenever he meditates he can keep out allother thoughts he becomes identified with that onwhich he meditates. When he meditates, he is like apiece of crystal. Before flowers the crystal becomesalmost identified with the flowers. If the flower isred, the crystal looks red, or if the flower is blue, thecrystal looks blue.

[ 57 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 57

Page 62: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

42. Sound, meaning, and resulting knowledge,being mixed up, is (called) Samadhi withquestion.

Sound here means vibration, meaning the nervecurrents which conduct it; and knowledge, reaction.All the various meditations we have had so far,Patanjali calls Savitarka (meditation with question).Later on he gives us higher and higher Dhyanas. Inthese that are called “with question,” we keep theduality of subject and object, which results from the mixture of word, meaning, and knowledge. There is first the external vibration, the word. Thiscarried inward by the sense currents, is the meaning.After that there comes a reactionary wave in theChitta, which is knowledge, but the mixture of these three makes up what we call knowledge. In allthe meditations up to this we get this mixture as objects of meditation. The next Samadhi is higher.

[ 58 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 58

Page 63: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

43. The Samadhi called “without question”(comes) when the memory is purified, ordevoid of qualities, expressing only themeaning (of the meditated object).

It is by the practice of meditation of these three thatwe come to the state where these three do not mix.We can get rid of them. We will first try tounderstand what these three are. Here is the Chitta;you will always remember the simile of the mind stuff to a lake and the vibration, the word, the sound,like a pulsation coming over it. You have that calmlake in you, and I pronounce a word, “cow”. As soonas it enters through your ears there is a waveproduced in your Chitta along with it. So that waverepresents the idea of the cow, the form or themeaning as we call it. The apparent cow that youknow is really the wave in the mind stuff that comesas a reaction to the internal and external soundvibrations. With the sound, the wave dies away; itcan never exist without a word. You may ask how itis, when we only think of the cow, and do not heara sound. You make that sound yourself. You are saying“cow” faintly in your mind, and with that comes a

[ 59 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 59

Page 64: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

wave. There cannot be any wave without this impulseof sound; and when it is not from outside, it is frominside, and when the sound dies, the wave dies. Whatremains? The result of the reaction, and that isknowledge. These three are so closely combined inour mind that we cannot separate them. When thesound comes, the senses vibrate, and the wave risesin reaction; they follow so closely upon one anotherthat there is no discerning one from the other. Whenthis meditation has been practised for a long time,memory, the receptacle of all impressions, becomespurified, and we are able clearly to distinguish themfrom one another. This is called Nirvitarka, concen-tration without question.

44. By this process, (the concentrations) withdiscrimination and without discrimination,whose objects are finer, are (also) explained.

A process similar to the preceding is applied again;only, the objects to be taken up in the former medi-tations are gross; in this they are fine.

[ 60 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 60

Page 65: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

45. The finer objects end with the Pradhana.

The gross objects are only the elements andeverything manufactured out of them. The fineobjects begin with the Tanmatras or fine particles.The organs, the mind,1 egoism, the mind stuff (thecause of all manifestation), the equilibrium state ofSattva, Rajas, and Tamas materials—called Pradhana(chief), Prakriti (nature), or Avyakta (unmanifest)—are all included within the category of fine objects,the Purusha (the Soul) alone being excepted.

46. These concentrations are with seed.

These do not destroy the seeds of past actions, andthus cannot give liberation, but what they bring tothe Yogi is stated in the following aphorism.

47. The concentration “without discrimination”being purified, the Chitta becomes firmlyfixed.

[ 61 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 61

Page 66: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

48. The knowledge in that is called “filled withTruth”.

The next aphorism will explain this.

49. The knowledge that is gained from testimonyand inference is about common objects.That from the Samadhi just mentioned is of a much higher order, being able topenetrate where inference and testimonycannot go.

The idea is that we have to get our knowledge ofordinary objects by direct perception, and byinference therefrom, and from testimony of peoplewho are competent. By “people who are competent”,the Yogis always mean the Rishis, or the seers of thethoughts recorded in the scriptures—the Vedas.According to them, the only proof of the scripturesis that they were the testimony of competent persons,yet they say the scriptures cannot take us to realiza-tion. We can read all the Vedas, and yet will notrealize anything, but when we practise theirteachings, then we attain to that state which realizes

[ 62 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 62

Page 67: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

what the scriptures say, which penetrates whereneither reason nor perception nor inference can go,and where the testimony of others cannot avail. Thisis what is meant by the aphorism.

Realization is real religion, all the rest is onlypreparation—hearing lectures, or reading books, orreasoning is merely preparing the ground; it is notreligion. Intellectual assent and intellectual dissentare not religion. The central idea of the Yogis is thatjust as we come in direct contact with objects of thesenses, so religion even can be directly perceived ina far more intense sense. The truths of religion, asGod and Soul, cannot be perceived by the externalsenses. I cannot see God with my eyes, nor can Itouch Him with my hands, and we also know thatneither can we reason beyond the senses. Reasonleaves us at a point quite indecisive; we may reasonall our lives, as the world has been doing forthousands of years, and the result is that we find weare incompetent to prove or disprove the facts ofreligion. What we perceive directly we take as thebasis, and upon that basis we reason. So it is obviousthat reasoning has to run within these bounds of

[ 63 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 63

Page 68: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

perception. It can never go beyond. The whole scopeof realization, therefore, is beyond sense perception.The Yogis say that man can go beyond his direct senseperception, and beyond his reason also. Man has inhim the faculty, the power of transcending hisintellect even, a power which is in every being, everycreature. By the practice of Yoga that power isaroused, and then man transcends the ordinary limitsof reason, and directly perceives things which arebeyond all reason.

50. The resulting impression from this Samadhiobstructs all other impressions.

We have seen in the foregoing aphorism that the onlyway of attaining to that superconsciousness is by con-centration, and we have also seen that what hinder themind from concentration are the past Sanskaras,impressions. All of you have observed that, when youare trying to concentrate your mind, your thoughtswander. When you are trying to think of God, that isthe very time these Sanskaras appear. At other timesthey are not so active, but when you want them not,

[ 64 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 64

Page 69: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

they are sure to be there, trying their best to crowd inyour mind. Why should that be so? Why should theybe much more potent at the time of concentration? Itis because you are repressing them, and they react withall their force. At other times they do not react. Howcountless these old past impressions must be, all lodgedsomewhere in the Chitta, ready, waiting like tigers, tojump up! These have to be suppressed so that the oneidea which we want may arise, to the exclusion of theothers. Instead they are all struggling to come up at thesame time. These are the various powers of theSanskaras in hindering concentration of the mind. Sothis Samadhi which has just been given is the best tobe practised, on account of its power of suppressing theSanskaras. The Sanskara which will be raised by thissort of concentration will be so powerful that it willhinder the action of the others, and hold them in check.

51. By the restraint of even this (impression,which obstructs all other impressions), allbeing restrained, comes the “seedless”Samadhi.

[ 65 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 65

Page 70: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

You remember that our goal is to perceive the Soulitself. We cannot perceive the Soul, because it has gotmingled up with nature, with the mind, with thebody. The ignorant man thinks his body is the Soul.The learned man thinks his mind is the Soul. Butboth of them are mistaken. What makes the Soul getmingled up with all this? Different waves in theChitta rise and cover the Soul; we only see a littlereflection of the Soul through these waves; so, if thewave is one of anger, we see the Soul as angry; “I amangry”, one says. If it is one of love, we see ourselvesreflected in that wave, and say we are loving. If thatwave is one of weakness, and the Soul is reflected init, we think we are weak. These various ideas comefrom these impressions, these Sanskaras covering theSoul. The real nature of the Soul is not perceived aslong as there is one single wave in the lake of theChitta; this real nature will never be perceived untilall the waves have subsided. So, first, Patanjaliteaches us the meaning of these waves; secondly, thebest way to repress them; and thirdly, how to makeone wave so strong as to suppress all other waves,fire eating fire as it were. When only one remains, it

[ 66 ]

T H E YO G A S U T R A S O F PATA N J A L I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 66

Page 71: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

will be easy to suppress that also, and when that isgone, this Samadhi or concentration is called seedless.It leaves nothing, and the Soul is manifested just asit is, in its own glory. Then alone we know that theSoul is not a compound; it is the only eternal simpleSoul in the universe, and as such, it cannot be born,it cannot die; it is immortal, indestructible, the ever-living essence of intelligence.

[ 67 ]

C O N C E N T R AT I O N I

Yoga Sutras pages UK 7/11/06 4:35 pm Page 67