Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Jul 19, 2010

THE READER: The basis of all yoga practices in the world...

I have been going through lot of intersting stuff claiming to be Yoga, including hot yoga, power yoga, chilly yoga, cat yoga, 10+1 yoga, one on one yoga etc. You think of words what you can and there will be an yoga by that name in the west and now its happening in India too. My wife is currently doing "Power Yoga", my brother advised me to start with some stylish dance yoga as I enjoy dancing but I am sure there is some one doing that, if not in India, atleast in west.
After thoroughly getting distraught with this kind of things I dusted off my book of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra and read it again with a view to share some important points with you, so that you, my friends, are atleast aware of what actually yoga is all about. So here I am producing some of the very important sutra's of Patanjali's "Yoga Sutra's" translated from Sanskrit with commentary by SHYAM RANGANATHAN. I have chosen this one book and translation becuase it touched me more. 

In the Yoga Sutra, the word primarily stands for meditation or austerities of the mind and secondarily for physical austerities. In Katha Upanishad, the oldest Upanishad to deal with yoga (5BCE), the definition is given as a restraint of the mind and the holding back of the senses. (
Patanjali’ notion that self knowledge is meditated has many implications. If self can only know itself through nature, the self can also misunderstood itself through nature.. Yoga for Patanjali is our effort to make Nature into our shape so that we can know ourselves. This basically means that if we wish to undo our false understanding, we must work with Nature. And since our false understanding is mediated through a turbulent and confused mind, we need to look to the rules of the mind – that is psychology. Patanjali is perhaps first proponent of psychoanalysis. For Patanjali, our pathologies are a result of Samskara-s or tendency – impressions that we acquire from past actions and reactions in light of experiences. If we wish to overcome present pathologies, we need to trace back our Samskara-s to their historical root and abandon events of the type that caused our trauma from our personal narrative, (Yoga Sutra II.7 – 14). Realizing this that its easier said than done, Patanjali provides a broad system and several practical strategies to aid the practitioner overcome their Samskara, including the eight limbs of Yoga.

One can down load the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s at the following place, but here I have listed some of the thoughts and sutra’s that caught my imagination. I am listing them out as the Sutra Nos in the brackets and then the english pronunciations and then the basic meaning. After that some of the Sutra's I have elaborated taking commentaries from Shyam Ranganathan.

Book 1 – Samadhi Pada

(2)  Yogas-citti-vritti-nirodhah
Yoga is the control of the (moral) character of thought.

(5) vrttayah pancatayyah klistaklistah
There are five characters of thought -  some afflicted some not afflicted

(6) Pramanam-viprayaya-vikalpa-nidra-smrtayah
The five epistemic states are; Knowledge, Illusion, verbal delusion, sleep and memory.

(11) Anubhuta-visayasampramosah smrtih
Memory is the prevention of loss of experienced content
For Patanjali, memory is not a passive affair but a result of active effort of the person to hold on to or retain past experiences as part of self understanding. Patanjali later in the Yoga Sutra’s explains that our karmic dispositions (Dispositions to act and manifest life experiences), are barely distinguishable from memories and thus form one category of phenomenon. THIS IS IMPORTANT. It implies that we put effort into defining ourselves through past events that we hold on to, and thus we can also thereby renounce our connection to fixations, attachments and traumas, and REDEFINE ourselves.

(12)Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah
Continuous endeavor and non-attachment are both required to constrain that (i.e  mentality or memory)
IN order to sever the cord with past events that we carry around with us as an emotional and karmic baggage, we must continuously strive to check it and also attempt to detach ourselves from all that is related to it. This is important; for if memory is a result of our effort, it would seem that we could easily disown memory by ceasing to hold on to it. Patanjali reminds us that it is not so easy to do away with memory. According to Patanjali, we form memories and Samskara as a result of our reactions to the past experiences. This formation sets up psychological disposition that mature in time, to which we react again, often reinforcing the original memory and Samskara. To practice yoga is to constrain the turbulence of mind and to bring it into line with our transcendent nature. When we practice yoga, we dictate terms under which our mind shall operate. Failing this, we play our part in pathological patterns that we reaffirm by setting up and not resisting the feedback mechanism that aid in the retention of past experiences. Failure to take full control of our mind, we are nonetheless complicit in the pathologies of our mind, for we facilitate our pathologies through our reactions to feedback mechanism and stimuli. For this reason, memory is something we do, as previous sutra noted, but its not something that we always do in our best interest. Our long term interest is in setting up resistance to the forces of the mind and the practical means of doing this is the substance of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.

(13) tatra sthitau yatnobhyasah
Abiding (in the true nature of the self) is the result of wills determination to stay in that stillness.

(14) Sa tu dirgha-kala-nairantarya-satkarasevito drdha-bhumih
(The abiding is) verily procured when it is cultivated assiduously for a long time without interruption, and with reverence for it is then resolute and grounded.

(17) Vitarka-vicaranandasmita-rupanugamat samprajnatah
The cognitive stat4e focusing on the single object (for example, the person) can be brought about by logical analysis, introsp3ctive inquiry, bliss or the keen awareness of individuality.
According to this Sutra, it is possible for some one to be in a state of engrossment with one’s true self as a result of philosophical debate, introspections, a good feeling or attention to one’s individuality. Some call it Samadhi but according to Patanjali its not.

(21) tivra-samveganam-asannah
(Success in yoga is ) near for those who are intense.

(27) Tasya vacakah pranavah
The syllable “OM” is its significator.
This tells us that Sacred Mantra OM refers to Isvara

(28) taj-japas-tad-artha- bhavanam
through repetition, the meaning of OM comes to life
The meaning of OM comes to live in our lives, thus allowing Isvara to be our teacher.

(29) Tatah pratyak-cetanadhigamo’pyantarayabhavas-ca
Hence (one is lead) inward to the knowledge of consciousness, intelligence and volition (the characteristics of Purusa), and also the nullification of the impediments to that knowledge.
Submitting to Isvara has a particular effect, according to Patanjali, it redirects our attention from external matters to knowledge of the three characteristics of the purusas – captured in the Sanskrit term Cetna – which are consciousness, intelligence and volition. It also has the effect of getting rid of impediments to knowledge.
The person have free will is significant, for it means that they are not only responsible for their present state of bondage, but they have the power to become free under the right conditions too.

(32) Tat-pratisedhartham eka-tattvabhyasah
One can avoid the significance of these obstacles (to the practice of Yoga) by the implementation of just one of the following truths.
With this sutra, Patanjali gives seven sutra, for the remedy to the obstacles to the practice of yoga, which is as given below.

(33) Maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukha-dukha-punyapunya-visayanam bhavanatas-citta-prasadanam
Mentality brightens,and gets to be of a serene disposition and good humor, when one takes on an attitude of friendliness towards the pleasantm of compassion for those who suffer, of joy for the meritorious, and of equanimity towards the unmeritorious.
First consists of four practices: friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity

(34) Pracchardana-vidharanabhyam va pranasya
Or by the expulsion and retention of breath – Pranayam

(35) visyavati va pravrttir-utpanna manasah sthiti-nibandhani
By binding the mind into stillness to observe the contents of the mind as they arise.

(36) Visoka va jyotismati
By setting the heart on being luminescent and free from sorrow. (Be positive)

(37) Vitragavisayam na cittam
By thoughts free from objects of desire

(38) Svapana-nidra-jnanalambanam va
By insights gained from sleep and dream states

(39) yathabhimata-dhyanad-va
Or in the manner of deep spiritual meditation upon a spiritual symbol or object that one find agreeable.

Book II
(1) Tapas svadhyayesvara-pranidhanani kriya-yogah
Action in yoga consists of penance, study (of the Vedas or self) and surrendering to the Lord
Yoga consists of three general practices: Tapas, Svadhyaya and Isvara Pranidhana

(7) Sukhanusayi ragah
Attachment is a residue of pleasant experience

(11) Dhyana-heyas-tad-vrttayah
Thoughts of these (attachments and aversions) can be abandoned through meditation or a spiritual character (Dhyana)
Patanjali has a very realistic view of the promise of psychoanalysis. He believes that to deal with lingering effects of past trauma, one should resort to meditation of a spiritual character like Isvara or any native spiritual practice

(12) Klesa-mulah kramasayo drstadrsta-janma-vedaniyah
Root of affliction is past action. It’s latent, seen or unseen, and stays with us through births in the form of experiences that produce further karma.
If we wish to be rid of our present afflictions, we must find a way to sever the root that nourishes such afflictions, and yoga is the means.

(29) Yama-niyamsana-pranayama-pratyahara- dharana-dhyana-samadhayo’stav-angani
The eight limbs of yoga are:
            1) Moral conduct
            2) Observance
            3) Posture
            4) Control of breath
            5) Withdrawal of the sense from their objects
            6) Fixed Concentration
            7) Abstract spiritual meditation, and
            8) Trance states of absolute absorption

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shashi,

    Really nice. I think you were right in one of our discussion that Mankind hasn't progress much in spirituality domain compared to science. What patanjali has said is still somehow true in today's world ? or may be we are going in reverse directions. I have attended some of the corporate classes for management in USA. One thing I am sure that India is really far ahead in spirituality. What USA is teaching in corporate world, India already knew about it thousands of years back. Somehow we are bad in marketing. Anyway, Sometimes I wonder why spirituality is so advance in India ? Even when I was in India, it looks very important to me compared to when I was in USA. Age and time might be the factor, but I also believe that India also rate high in emotions, corruption, joint living and double standards. Doctors will flourish where there are lots of diseases. Hence, In India one has to take spirituality seriously otherwise it is difficult to live.
    Also meditation is on my radar from a long time but hasn't started yet and somehow I am getting inclined towards it. May be it still takes years to start. I don't want to rush things as I only start things when I want to. So please advise me about this ? Books , material and whatever ?


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