The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Problem of Union
1. AUM. The following instruction concerneth the Science of Union.
2. This Union (or Yoga) is achieved through the subjugation of the psychic nature, and the restraint of the chitta (or mind).
3. When this has been accomplished, the Yogi knows himself as he is in reality.
4. Up till now the inner man has identified himself with his forms and with their active modifications.
5. The mind states are five, and are subject to pleasure or pain; they are painful or not painful.
6. These modifications (activities) are correct knowledge, incorrect knowledge, fancy, passivity (sleep) and memory.
7. The basis of correct knowledge is correct perception, correct deduction, and correct witness (or accurate evidence).
8. Incorrect knowledge is based upon perception of the form and not upon the state of being.
9. Fancy rests upon images which have no real existence.
10. Passivity (sleep) is based upon the quiescent state of the vrittis (or upon the non-perception of the senses.)
11. Memory is the holding on to that which has been known.
12. The control of these modifications of the internal organ, the mind, is to be brought about through tireless endeavour and through non-attachment.
13. Tireless endeavour is the constant effort to restrain the modifications of the mind.
14. When the object to be gained is sufficiently valued, and the efforts towards its attainment are persistently followed without intermission, then the steadiness of the mind (restraint of the vrittis) is secured.
15. Non-attachment is freedom from longing for all objects of desire, either earthly or traditional, either here or hereafter.
16. The consummation of this non-attachment results in an exact knowledge of the spiritual man when liberated from the qualities or gunas.
17. The consciousness of an object is attained by concentration upon its fourfold nature: the form, through examination; the quality (or guna), through discriminative participation; the purpose, through inspiration (or bliss) ; and the soul, through indentification.
18. A further stage of samadhi is achieved when, through one pointed thought, the outer activity is quieted. In this stage, the chitta is responsive only to subjective impressions.
19. The samadhi just described passes not beyond the bound of the phenomenal world; it passes not beyond the Gods, and those concerned with the concrete world.
20. Other yogins achieve samadhi and arrive at a discrimination of pure Spirit through belief, followed by energy, memory, meditation and right perception.
21. The attainment of this state (spiritual consciousness) is rapid for those whose will is intensely alive.
22. Those who employ the will likewise differ, for its use may be intense, moderate, or gentle. In respect to the attainment of true spiritual consciousness there is yet another way.
23. By intense devotion to Ishvara, knowledge of Ishvara is gained.
24. This Ishvara is the soul, untouched by limitation, free from karma, and desire.
25. In Ishvara, the Gurudeva, the germ of all knowledge expands into infinity.
26. Ishvara, the Gurudeva, being unlimited by time conditions, is the teacher of the primeval Lords.
27. The Word of Ishvara is AUM (or OM). This is the Pranava.
28. Through the sounding of the Word and through reflection upon its meaning, the Way is found.
29. From this comes the realisation of the Self (the soul) and the removal of all obstacles.
30. The obstacles to soul cognition are bodily disability, mental inertia, wrong questioning, carelessness, laziness, lack of dispassion, erroneous perception, inability to achieve concentration, failure to hold the meditative attitude when achieved.
31. Pain, despair, misplaced bodily activity and wrong direction (or control) of the life currents are the results of the obstacles in the lower psychic nature.
32. To overcome the obstacles and their accompaniments, the intense application of the will to some one truth (or principle) is required.
33. The peace of the chitta (or mind stuff) can be brought about through the practice of sympathy, tenderness, steadiness of purpose, and dispassion in regard to pleasure or pain, or towards all forms of good or evil.
34. The peace of the chitta is also brought about by the regulation of the prana or life breath.
35. The mind can be trained to steadiness through those forms of concentration which have relation to the sense perceptions.
36. By meditation upon Light and upon Radiance, knowledge of the Spirit can be reached and thus peace can be achieved.
37. The chitta is stabilized and rendered free from illusion as the lower nature is purified and no longer indulged.
38. Peace (steadiness of the chitta) can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give.
39. Peace can also be reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart.
40. Thus his realization extends from the infinitely small to the infinitely great, and from annu (the atom or speck) to atma (or spirit) his knowledge is perfected.
41. To him whose vrittis (modifications of the substance of the mind) are entirely controlled, there eventuates a state of identity with, and similarity to that which is realized. The knower, knowledge and the field of knowledge become one, just as the crystal takes to itself the colours of that which is reflected in it.
42. When the perceiver blends the word, the idea (or meaning) and the object, this is called the mental condition of judicial reasoning.
43. Perception without judicial reasoning is arrived at when the memory no longer holds control, the word and the object are transcended and only the idea is present.
44. The same two processes of concentration, with and without judicial action of the mind, can be applied also to things subtle.
45. The gross leads into the subtle and the subtle leads in progressive stages to that state of pure spiritual being called Pradhana.
46. All this constitutes meditation with seed.
47. When this super-contemplative state is reached, the Yogi acquires pure spiritual realisation through the balanced quiet of the chitta (or mind stuff).
48. His perception is now unfailingly exact (or his mind reveals only the Truth).
49. This particular perception is unique and reveals that which the rational mind (using testimony, inference and deduction) cannot reveal.
50. It is hostile to, or supersedes all other impressions.
51. When this state of perception is itself also restrained (or superseded), then is pure Samadhi achieved.
The Steps to Union
1. The Yoga of action, leading to union with the soul is fiery aspiration, spiritual reading and devotion to Ishvara.
2. The aim of these three is to bring about soul vision and to eliminate obstructions.
3. These are the difficulty producing hindrances: avidya (ignorance) the sense of personality, desire, hate and the sense of attachment.
4. Avidya (ignorance) is the cause of all the other obstructions whether they be latent, in process of elimination, overcome, or in full operation.
5. Avidya is the condition of confusing the permanent, pure, blissful and the Self with that which is impermanent, impure, painful and the not-self.
6. The sense of personality is due to the identification of the knower with the instruments of knowledge.
7. Desire is attachment to objects of pleasure.
8. Hate is aversion for any object of the senses.
9. Intense desire for sentient existence is attachment. This is inherent in every form, is self-perpetuating, and known even to the very wise.
10. These five hindrances, when subtly known, can be overcome by an opposing mental attitude.
11. Their activities are to be done away with, through the meditation process.
12. Karma itself has its root in these five hindrances and must come to fruition in this life or in some later life.
13. So long as the roots (or samskaras) exist, their fruition will be birth, life, and experiences resulting in pleasure or pain.
14. These seeds (or samskaras) produce pleasure or pain according as their originating cause was good or evil.
15. To the illuminated man all existence (in the three worlds) is considered pain owing to the activities of the gunas. These activities are threefold, producing consequences, anxieties and subliminal impressions.
16. Pain which is yet to come may be warded off.
17. The illusion that the Perceiver and that which is perceived are one and the same is the cause (of the pain-producing effects) which must be warded off.
18. That which is perceived has three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas (rhythm, mobility and inertia); it consists of the elements and the sense organs. The use of these produces experience and eventual liberation.
19. The divisions of the gunas (or qualities of matter) are fourfold; the specific, the non-specific, the indicated and the untouchable.
20. The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis). Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.
21. All that is exists for the sake of the soul.
22. In the case of the man who has achieved yoga (or union) the objective universe has ceased to be. Yet it existeth still for those who are not yet free.
23. The association of the soul with the mind and thus with that which the mind perceives, produces an understanding of the nature of that which is perceived and likewise of the Perceiver.
24. The cause of this association is ignorance or avidya. This has to be overcome.
25. When ignorance is brought to an end through non-association with the things perceived, this is the great liberation.
26. The state of bondage is overcome through perfectly maintained discrimination.
27. The knowledge (or illumination) achieved is sevenfold and is attained progressively.
28. When the means to yoga have been steadily practised, and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place, leading up to full illumination.
29. The eight means of yoga are, the Commandments or Yama, the Rules or Nijama, posture or Asana, right control of life-force or Pranayama, abstraction or Pratyahara, attention or Dharana, Meditation or Dhyana, Contemplation or Samadhi.
30. Harmlessness, truth to all beings, abstention from theft, from incontinence and from avarice, constitute yama or the five commandments.
31. Yama (or the five commandments) constitutes the universal duty and is irrespective of race, place, time or emergency.
32. Internal and external purification, contentment, fiery aspiration, spiritual reading and devotion to Ishvara constitutes nijama (or the five rules).
33. When thoughts which are contrary to yoga are present there should be the cultivation of their opposite.
34. Thoughts contrary to yoga are harmfulness, falsehood, theft, incontinence, and avarice, whether committed personally, caused to be committed or approved of, whether arising from avarice, anger or delusion (ignorance) ; whether slight in the doing, middling or great. These result always in excessive pain and ignorance. For this reason, the contrary thoughts must be cultivated.
35. In the presence of him who has perfected harmlessness, all enmity ceases.
36. When truth to all beings is perfected, the effectiveness of his words and acts is immediately to be seen.
37. When abstention from theft is perfected, the yogi can have whatever he desires.
38. By abstention from incontinence, energy is acquired.
39. When abstention from avarice is perfected, there comes an understanding of the law of rebirth.
40. Internal and external purification produces aversion for form, both one's own and all forms.
41. Through purification comes also a quiet spirit, concentration, conquest of the organs, and ability to see the Self.
42. As a result of contentment bliss is achieved.
43. Through fiery aspiration and through the removal of all impurity, comes the perfecting of the bodily powers and of the senses.
44. Spiritual reading results in a contact with the soul (or divine One).
45. Through devotion to Ishvara the goal of meditation (or samadhi) is reached.
46. The posture assumed must be steady and easy.
47. Steadiness and ease of posture is to be achieved through persistent slight effort and through the concentration of the mind upon the infinite.
48. When this is attained, the pairs of opposites no longer limit.
49. When right posture (asana) has been attained there follows right control of prana and proper inspiration and expiration of the breath.
50. Right control of prana (or the life currents) is external, internal or motionless; it is subject to place, time and number and is also protracted or brief.
51. There is a fourth stage which transcends those dealing with the internal and external phases.
52. Through this, that which obscures the light is gradually removed.
53. And the mind is prepared for concentrated meditation.
54. Abstraction (or Pratyahara) is the subjugation of the senses by the thinking principle and their withdrawal from that which has hitherto been their object.
55. As a result of these means there follows the complete subjugation of the sense organs.
Union achieved and its Results
1. Concentration is the fixing of the chitta (mind stuff) upon a particular object. This is dharana.
2. Sustained concentration (dharana) is meditation (dhyana).
3. When the chitta becomes absorbed in that which is the reality (or idea embodied in the form), and is unaware of separateness or the personal self, this is contemplation or samadhi.
4. When concentration, meditation and contemplation form one sequential act, then is sanyama achieved.
5. As a result of sanyama comes the shining forth of the light.
6. This illumination is gradual; it is developed stage by stage.
7. These last three means of yoga have a more intimate subjective effect than the previous means.
8. Even these three, however, are external to the true seedless meditation (or samadhi) which is not based on an object. It is free from the effects of the discriminative nature of the chitta (or mind stuff).
9. The sequence of mental states is as follows: the mind reacts to that which is seen; then follows the moment of mind control. Then ensues a moment wherein the chitta (mind stuff) responds to both these factors. Finally these pass away, and the perceiving consciousness has full sway.
10. Through the cultivation of this habit of mind there will eventuate a steadiness of spiritual perception.
11. The establishing of this habit, and the restraining of the mind from its thought-form-making tendency, results eventually in the constant power to contemplate.
12. When mind control and the controlling factor are equally balanced, then comes the condition of onepointedness.
13. Through this process the aspects of every object are known, their characteristics (or form), their symbolic nature, and their specific use in time-conditions (stage of development) are known and realised.
14. The characteristics of every object are acquired, manifesting or latent.
15. The stage of development is responsible for the various modifications of the versatile psychic nature and of the thinking principle.
16. Through concentrated meditation upon the triple nature of every form, comes the revelation of that which has been and of that which will be.
17. The Sound (or word), that which it denotes (the object) and the embodied spiritual essence (or idea) are usually confused in the mind of the perceiver.. By concentrated meditation on these three aspects comes an (intuitive) comprehension of the sound uttered by all forms of life.
18. Knowledge of previous incarnations becomes available when the power to see thought-images is acquired.
19. Through concentrated meditation, the thought images in the minds of other people become apparent.
20. As, however, the object of those thoughts is not apparent to the perceiver, he sees only the thought and not the object. His meditation excludes the tangible.
21. By concentrated meditation upon the distinction between form and body, those properties of the body which make it visible to the human eye are negated (or withdrawn) and the yogi can render himself invisible.
22. Karma (or effects) are of two kinds: immediate karma or future karma. By perfectly concentrated meditation on these, the yogi knows the term of his experience in the three worlds. This knowledge comes also from signs.
23. Union with others is to be gained through one-pointed meditation upon the three states of feeling-compassion, tenderness and dispassion.
24. Meditation, one-pointedly centred upon the power of the elephant, will awaken that force or light.
25. Perfectly concentrated meditation upon the awakened light will produce the consciousness of that which is subtle, hidden or remote.
26. Through meditation, one-pointedly fixed upon the sun, will come a consciousness (or knowledge) of the seven worlds.
27. A knowledge of all lunar forms arises through one-pointed meditation upon the moon.
28. Concentration upon the Pole-Star will give knowledge of the orbits of the planets and the stars.
29. By concentrated attention upon the centre called the solar plexus, comes perfected knowledge as to the condition of the body.
30. By fixing the attention upon the throat centre, the cessation of hunger and thirst will ensue.
31. By fixing the attention upon the tube or nerve below the throat centre, equilibrium is achieved.
32. Those who have attained self-mastery can be seen and contacted through focussing the light in the head. This power is developed in one-pointed meditation.
33. All things can be known in the vivid light of the intuition.
34. Understanding of the mind-consciousness comes from one-pointed meditation upon the heart centre.
35. Experience (of the pairs of opposites) comes from the inability of the soul to distinguish between the personal self and the purusa (or spirit). The objective forms exist for the use (and experience) of the spiritual man. By meditation upon this, arises the intuitive perception of the spiritual nature (the purusa).
36. As the result of this experience and meditation, the higher hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell are developed, producing intuitional knowledge.
37. These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realisation, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds.
38. By liberation from the causes of bondage through their weakening and by an understanding of the mode of transference (withdrawal or entrance), the mind stuff (or chitta) can enter another body.
39. By subjugation of the upward life (the udana) there is liberation from water, the thorny path, and mire, and the power of ascension is gained.
40. Through subjugation of the samana, the spark becomes the flame.
41. By the means of one-pointed meditation upon the relationship between the akasha and sound, an organ for spiritual hearing will be developed.
42. By one-pointed meditation upon the relationship existing between the body and the akasha, ascension out of matter (the three worlds) and power to travel in space is gained.
43. When that which veils the light is done away with, then comes the state of being called discarnate (or disembodied), freed from the modification of the thinking principle. This is the state of illumination.
44. One-pointed meditation upon the five forms which every element takes, produces mastery over every element. These five forms are the gross nature, the elemental form, the quality, the pervasiveness and the basic purpose.
45. Through this mastery, minuteness and the other siddhis (or powers) are attained, likewise bodily perfection and freedom from all hindrances.
46. Symmetry of form, beauty of colour, strength and the compactness of the diamond, constitute bodily perfection.
47. Mastery over the senses is brought about through concentrated meditation upon their nature, peculiar attributes, egoism, pervasiveness and useful purpose.
48. As a result of this perfection, there comes rapidity of action like that of mind, perception independent of the organs, and mastery over root substance.
49. The man who can discriminate between the soul and the spirit achieves supremacy over all conditions and becomes omniscient.
50. By a passionless attitude towards this attainment and towards all soul-powers, the one who is free from the seeds of bondage, attains the condition of isolated unity.
51. There should be entire rejection of all allurements from all forms of being, even the celestial, for the recurrence of evil contacts remains possible.
52. Intuitive knowledge is developed through the use of the discriminative faculty when there is one-pointed concentration upon moments and their continuous succession.
53. From this intuitive knowledge is born the capacity to distinguish (between all beings) and to cognize their genus, qualities and position in space.
54. This intuitive knowledge, which is the great Deliverer, is omnipresent and omniscient and includes the past, the present and the future in the Eternal Now.
55. When the objective forms and the soul have reached a condition of equal purity, then is At-one-ment achieved and liberation results.
. 1. The higher and lower siddhis (or powers) are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense desire or by meditation.
2. The transfer of the consciousness from a lower vehicle into a higher is part of the great creative and evolutionary process.
3. The practices and methods are not the true cause of the transfer of consciousness but they serve to remove obstacles, just as the husbandman prepares his ground for sowing.
4. The "I am" consciousness is responsible for the creation of the organs through which the sense of individuality is enjoyed.
5. Consciousness is one, yet produces the varied forms of the many.
6. Among the forms which consciousness assumes, only that which is the result of meditation is free from latent karma.
7. The activities of the liberated soul are free from the pairs of opposites. Those of other people are of three kinds.
8. From these three kinds of karma emerge those forms which are necessary for the fruition of the effects.
9. There is identity of relation between memory and the effect-producing cause, even when separated by species, time and place.
10. Desire to live being eternal, these mind-created forms are without known beginning.
11. These forms being created and held together through desire, the basic cause, personality, the effective result, mental vitality or the will to live, and the support of the outward going life or object, when these cease to attract then the forms cease likewise to be.
12. The past and the present exist in reality. The form assumed in the time concept of the present is the result of developed characteristics and holds latent seeds of future quality.
13. The characteristics, whether latent or potent, partake of the nature of the three gunas (qualities of matter).
14. The manifestation of the objective form is due to the one-pointedness of the effect-producing cause (the unification of the modifications of the chitta or mind stuff).
15. These two, consciousness and form, are distinct and separate; though forms may be similar, the consciousness may function on differing levels of being.
16. The many modifications of the one mind produce the diverse forms, which depend for existence upon those many mind impulses.
17. These forms are cognised or not, according to the qualities latent in the perceiving consciousness.
18. The Lord of the mind, the perceiver, is ever aware of the constantly active mind stuff, the effect-producing cause.
19. Because it can be seen or cognised it is apparent that the mind is not the source of illumination.
20. Neither can it know two objects simultaneously, itself and that which is external to itself.
21. If knowledge of the mind (chitta) by a remoter mind is postulated, an infinite number of knowers must be inferred, and the sequence of memory reactions would tend to infinite confusion.
22. When the spiritual intelligence which stands alone and freed from objects, reflects itself in the mind stuff, then comes awareness of the Self.
23. Then the mind stuff, reflecting both the knower and the knowable, becomes omniscient.
24. The mind stuff also, reflecting as it does an infinity of mind impressions, becomes the instrument of the Self and acts as a unifying agent.
25. The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.
26. The mind then tends towards discrimination and increasing illumination as to the true nature of the one Self.
27. Through force of habit, however, the mind will reflect other mental impressions and perceive objects of sensuous perception.
28. These reflections are of the nature of hindrances, and the method of their overcoming is the same.
29. The man who develops non-attachment even in his aspiration after illumination and isolated unity, becomes aware, eventually, through practised discrimination, of the overshadowing cloud of spiritual knowledge.
30. When this stage is reached then the hindrances and karma are overcome.
31. When, through the removal of the hindrances and the purification of all the sheaths, the totality of knowledge becomes available, naught further remains for the man to do.
32. The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter) through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.
33. Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.
34. The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self. The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.
© Audrius Dzikevicius 1998-1999.