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Yoga Sutras of Patañjali Chapter 1- Notes

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali - Edwin F. Bryant

These are notes taken from verbatim the book, for my own amusement. Sometimes I follow the reasoning, others highlight point I find interesting or unknown. I also like stories. Buy the book! David Lloret

I.1 Now, the teachings of yoga are presented.

The popular term of yoga as union or join should be avoided in the context of Patañjali, as the goal actually is to unjoin purusa from prakrti.

Patañjali is not the founder of the practice of yoga, which is an ancient practice. He has systematized a method from preexisting set of teaching.

The soul is enveloped in two external and separable bodies in yoga metaphysics: the gross material body consisting of the senses, and the subtle body consisting of the mind, intellect, ego. At death, the soul discards the gross body but remains encapsulated in the subtle body.

Samsâra: cycle of repeated birth and death

Yoga: uncouple the soul purusa from the mind citta to avoid samsâra.

Yoga is based not on the mere logical reasoning of the intellect but on direct experience. Since the ultimate truth of the soul, attained in asamprajñata-samadhi, is by definition beyond the intellect, the primary purpose of the text is to point the reader towards the actual practice of yoga.

I.2 Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.

Yoga was referred to a cluster of practices featuring various forms of discipline and mind control practiced by many differing ascetics and communities on the landscape of ancient India with a view to liberation from the suffering of the embodied life. It was not a distinct school until much later, well into the CE.

Citta is composed of Buddhi, intelligence, ahankara or ego, and manas or sensory mind. We refer to citta as mind to group the three parts.

Vrtti: any permutation or activity of the mind. Any sequence of thoughts, ideas, mental imaging or cognitive act performed by either the mind, intellect or ego. If the mind is the sea, vrttis are the waves.

The soul appears to undergo the experiences of the body and mind. The permutations of the gross and subtle matter external to the soul, that are pervades by the soul’s awareness. The mind misidentifies the pure self with them and considers the pure self to be subject to birth and death etc. This misidentification, or ignorance, is therefore the root of bondage to the world.

Three gunas or qualities: sattva or lucidity, rajas or action, tamas or inertia. They are present in varying proportions in all manifest reality.

One of the goals of yoga meditation is to maximize the presence of the guna of sattva in the mind. A certain amount of rajas and tamas is indispensable for life, however.

When freed from these debilitating gunas, the pure sattva nature of the mind redirects consciousness inward toward the inner self. Like a mirror that, freed from the covering of dirt, can now reflect things clearly, the true nature of the soul back to itself without distortion. The ensuing state of contemplation is known as samprajñâta-samádhi. But even this state connects the soul to the matter and therefore it must be trascended for full liberation into a state called asamprajñáta.

Objection: when the purusa becomes liberated from the mind and body, it ceases to be conscious. It requires contact with the mind as en external object to manifest.

I.3 When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature.

Hint: seer is the same as soul, in sanskrit we use atman in general and purusa in yoga, but here we find drastuh, the seer, in the sense of being conscious.

What happens one all vrittis have been removed?

1) purusa remains conscious only to itself

2) it becomes unconscious like a piece of wood

3) it ceases to exist, like a lamp on the destruction of the wick

Yoga states for the first case.

Beautiful image: soul is like a transparent crystal. When a red flower is placed next to it, the color is reflected in the crystal which appears to be red. But it is not affected. Similarly the soul appears to be affected by the fluctuations of the mind, but it remains pure.

I.4 Otherwise, at other times, the seer is absorbed in the changing states of the mind.

The mind serves its master, the soul, by presenting objects of the experience in the form of vrttis. The soul mistakenly identifies with them = avidya or ignorance, the soul’s bondage to the matter.

Although the mind is actually inert and unconscious, it is permeated by the conscious of the soul so its experiences and fluctuations are as if experienced by the self.

The moon appears to be fluctuating on the water, but it is the river that moves, not the moon.

1.5 There are five kinds of changing states of the mind, and they are either detrimental or nondetrimental to the practice of yoga.

Since the mind is never static vrttis or fluctuations of the mind are constantly produced. However they can be:

1) detrimental o klista, caused by the five klesa (ignorance, ego, attachment, aversion and klinging to life). They are the seeds of karma sprout and bound us to samsara, the cycle of action and reaction

2) nondetrimental or aklista are produced by the sattvic faculty of discrimination and help to control the influence of rajas and tamas. In time these seeds accumulate and transform the nature of the mind, which becomes more sattvic (illuminated or contemplative)

Samskaras: every vrtti (sensual experience or thought) leave a copy on the citta before fading away in the form of samskara, which remain active in the mind consciously or subliminally, eventually producting further vrttis. Samskaras also account for personality traits, habits, addictions etc. But there are also sattvic samskaras that conduce to liberation. Ultimately all vrittis, including sattvic, must cease.

1.6. These five vrttis are right knowledge, error, imagination, sleep and memory. (7-11)

According to yoga, all possible mental states can be categorizes as these.

1.7 Right knowledge consists of sense perception, logic and verbal testimony.

Pramana = epistemology = source of right knowledge: what sources constitute valid knowledge of an object.

Types of pramana:

1) pratyaksa or sense perception: we experience it through one or more sense. We know a book because we see and feel it. It is the most important.

We apprehend the specific (visesa) of the object- the book in particular-and the generic (samanya) – the set of books.

Several types: bahya-pratyaksa or external, abahya-pratyaksa or internal. Apara or conventional, para or supernormal.

2) anumana or inference: if we see smoke, we know there is fire.

3) agama, verbal testimony: the accurate information is transmitted by words by a trustworthy person. The most important source is sruti or divine scripture.

1.8 Error is false knowledge stemming from the incorrect apprehension of something.

We consider something to be what is not. Ex: mistaking a rope for a snake.

1.9 Imagination consists of the usage of words that are devoid of an actual object.

Vikalpa = Imagination or conceptual thought: represents a meaningful expression that yet has no actual reality in the world.

Commentators do not direct specific attention to more common aspects of imagination such as daydream, fantasy etc, which depend on the activation of samskaras, imprints of real things and overlap with the function of memory (5rh vrtti)

1.10 Deep sleep is that state of mind which is based on an absence of any content.

Dream sleep corresponds to the state of memory, since involves the activation of samskaras.

In deep sleep, rajas is inactive, and so the mind is not stimulated to assume the form of the objects of knowledge. There is a preponderance of tamas, which suppresses other vrittis. Although it may be an absence of thought, because of the lack of sattva, it is not a samadhi state.

Consciousness is eternal, and in deep sleep it remains fully aware, but the objects of aware are pure tamas.

Technical terms:

pratyaya: imprint of and object grasped by the sense into the mind. Different from vrtti as it represents a singular momentary imprint.

Alambana: support for the mind to meditate upon.

1.11 Memory is the retention of images of sense objects that have been experienced.

Memory is generated by the previous other types of vrttis.

A pratyaya is a specific content of the mind (eg image). Once it is no longer of interest of the mind, it becomes latent samskara. Vrttis and their pratyaya contents are retained as samskaras when they fade.

There are unlimited samskaras embedded in the citta. Memory retrieves them and reactivates the imprints of the sense objects that one has experienced in the past.

Citta can be compared to a lake, samskara memories to the pebbles at the bottom. If the lake is peaceful pebbles are easily visible; if choppy (rajasic) less so; if murky (tamasic), impossible to perceive.

Memories can be real, recollection of things that actually happened, and imagined, as in dreams, which involve the random activation of samskaras.

1.12 The vrtti states of mind are stilled by practice (abhyasa) and dispassion (vayragyam). (13, 14)

How are the vrttis to be restrained? By abhyasa or practice and vairagyabhyam or renunciation.

The stream of the citta, mind, can flow towards upliftment or downfall.

1.13 Practice is the effort to be fixed in the concentration of the mind.

Concentration is the peaceful flow of the mind when it has become freed from its fluctuating states or vrttis. The effort to secure this state is practice. That only happens when the rajasic and tamasic states of the mind are under control.

Sâdhana – One’s specific daily spiritual practice.

1.14 Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a prolonged period of time.

What consists the effort?

1) nairantarya, without interruption. Don’t take breaks!

2) dirgha-kala, for a long time. Months, years, even lives. A lifelong commitment

3) with respect and devotion

4) accompanied by austerity, celibacy, knowledge and faith

We must cultivate our practice knowing that any time the latent subconscious states samskaras of raja or tamas can overwhelm us.

1.15 Dispassion (vairagyam) is the controlled consciousness of one who is without craving for sense objects, whether these are actually perceived, or described in scripture.

Real detachment is indifference to sense objects whether in their absence or presence. Not craving for objects not available doesn’t count.

Renunciation arises from reflection, specifically from perceiving the defects of indulging in the objects of the senses. Sensual gratification is temporary, and then one experiences frustration. And there is a karmic price for these pleasures! Simply put, we become exhausted, we have ‘enough’ of this gratification.

Fun story of a sage meditating under water to eliminate the distractions of the world. He opens the eyes and sees two fish mating, becomes overwhelmed with fantasies and returns to worldly life.

Stages of detachment:

1) making an effort to break attachment

2) effort has succeeded upon only certain objects

3) upon success on external objects of the senses, one begins to target internal attachments

These include attachment to honor and respect, or the opposite, the dislike.

In this way, one starves the karmasaya, the storehouse of karma.

Detachment not only to the world objects, but also to the heavenly enticements of other worlds, as described in literature. This includes vedic rituals performed with a benefit. Critic to materialistic religiosity.

Principle: in a list of items, the first is the most important.

1.16 Higher than renunciation is indiference to the gunas themselves. This stems from perception of the purusa, soul.

Two levels of renunciation: 1) to the sensual objects of the world 2) to the gunas themselves.

Once raja and tamas have been mastered, sattva makes us happy and helps to keep our goal towards purusa. But ultimately the yogi must transcend also the sattva state, we must abandon also this knowledge.

Fun story page 59 Jada Bharata.

From the discrimination born from the last two sutras of the distinction between the gunas and purusa.

We miss the definition of citta, but can actually just work on eliminating the vrttis.

1.17 Samprajñata samadhi consists of the consecutive mental states of absorption with physical awareness, absorption with subtle awareness, with bliss, and with the sense of I-ness.

Here we start we examine the two main categories of samadhi: samprajñata and asamprajñata. Warning: the English translation doesn't convey a proper meaning, and actually even the Sanskrit term should be understood as a 'map' or note for the actual state, which is beyond description.

The states described here are with support, álambana. The mind is still focused on the matter. In this four level, each includes the previous.

1) vitarka-samádhi. Contemplation on a gross physical object. E.g. a statue of Vishnu

2) vicára samádhi Absortion on this more subtle aspect of the object of meditation, perceiving the object as actually consisting of these more subtle ingredients.

Most bhakti traditions will see this culminating in direct perception of purusa.

Now there is not consense as the exact meaning of the next samádhi.

3) ánanda-samádhi the yogi transfers awareness from the object of the senses (gráhya) to the organs of the sense themselves (grahana). The mind focuses on its own cognitive nature. Sattva, bliss, is predominant so we get ánanda.

4) asmita samádhi One transcends even the instruments of knowledge and arrives at the closest prakrtic coverings to the purusa itself.

Schema: Having penetrated the constituents fo the external object of meditation through its gross and subtle elements consecutively in the first two stages of samádhi, and having withdrawn itself from external cognition and into a state of contemplating the powers behind the very organs of cognition in the third, awareness penetrates the citta further, absorbing itself in the citta's feature of buddhi, the grahitr, the grasper, the closest prakrtic covering to the purusa itself.

Buddhi, in this highly sattvic state, is so pure it can reflect the consciousness of purusa back to itself. The buddy now experiments "the source of my awareness is purusa".

But it is still connected with prakrti, citta is still used as a channel.

There is a relation between the four states of samadhi and the four jhánas (dhyána in Sanskrit) in Buddhist meditation.

1.18 The other samádhi (asamprajñata-samádhi) is preceded by cultivating the determination to terminate all thoughts. In this state, only latent impressions remain.

The awareness of purusa is no longer aware of any external entity. The vrttis of the mind exist only as potential,; latent seeds or samskaras will not sprout into active thoughts.

There must be, in principal, some kind of thought before the mind enters the state of complete inactivity: the thought of terminating all thoughts - terminator thought!

1.19 For some, those who are unembodied and those who are merged in matter, the state of samprajñata is characterized by absorption in subtle states of prakrti.

Two categories of beings mentioned here. Both mantain notions of self-identity connected with material existence.

1) Videhas celestial beings

2) prakrti-layas: not identified as being the gross material body made of the five gross elements, but still identifies as being some other, more subtle, aspect of prakrti.

These yoguis may have trascended the identity with gross matter, but still keep identifying with finer aspects of matter. They are free from citta-vrttis and their minds consist only of samskaras, subsconscious impressions. When they reactivate, they are pulled backed into mundane life (oh).

1.20 But for others, the state where only subconscious impressions remain is preceded by faith, vigor, memory, samadhi absorption, and discernment.

The proper means to attain this state (using upáya-pratyaya, the practice) are:

sraddhá – faith, clarity of mind

vírya – vigor, energetic endevour

smrti – memory, undisturbed mind

Using these, the focused state of mind passes into samprajñáta-samádhi (undeviated concentration on an object). Then prajña, discernment, manifests and we get to asamprajñata-samádhi.

1.21 This state of samprajñata is near for those who apply themselves intensely.

The intensity of our practice determines the speed at which the goal is attained.

1.22 Even amongst there, there is further differentiation into mild, mediocre and extreme.

1.23 Or, the previously state is attainable from devotion to the Lord.

Here is the first theistic element of the sutras. We attain a vision of the self by the grace of God. It is the fast way, through devotion to God. The Bhakti way.

However devotion to Isvara is optional rather than obligatory.

The Lord is a special purusa, soul, untouched by the deposits of samskaras.

Isvara appears on three contexts:

  1. I.24-28: How can we meditation upon? By the repetition and contemplation of the mystical syllable om. If Isvara can lead us to the highest samadhi, it suggests that he has the power to manipulate the laws of nature and remove the practitioner's obstacles to yoga.
  2. 2.1 Kriyá-yoga, the path of action, consists of self-discipline, study, and dedication to the Lord (which is mandatory)
  3. 2.32 List of niyamas: Isvara-pranidhana, devotion to Isvara.

So we could say that any object can serve as the focus to meditation, but only one object can, in addition to this function, accelerate the attainment of samadhi. So we not pick up Isvara? We can attain the átman by self-effort, but God is faster.

1.24 The Lord is a special soul. He is untouched by the obstacles (to the practice of yoga), karma, the fructification (of karma) and subconscious predispositions.

Isvara is a purusa but he is visesa, special. He has never had samskaras, never bound and never will be. He is free from the four conditions of samsara. The cause of samsara is the klesas, obstacles: ignorance, ego, attachment, aversion and the will to live.

Vásanás: latent samskáras from past lives, samskáras are from this life.

There are two types of creatorship: God as a material cause – the matter of the world emanates from God – and as efficient cause – he manipulates the matter to create the world. The second seems to be the choice here, as Om is the designation for Brahman in the upanishads. Even if he doesn’t mention God as creator, he simply assumes it as all traditions in his time do.

He could even take Isvara as a personal God, like Krsna in the Gita. We can see Patañjali is related to the Vishnu tradition, like Krishnamacharya, Desikachar, Iyengar and lineage (associated with Ramanuja).

How is Isvara’s personality? Why does he act upon seeing someone’s devotion? He appears to assume a personality out of freedom, like an actor, but he doesn’t forget his own nature.

Is there one or multiple purusa? Depends on the school. If there is only one liberated atman, then when liberates, what happens to the other purusas that are not liberated yet?

1.25 In him, the seed of omniscience is unsurpassed.

Omniscience is the ability to understand everything, large or small, in the future or past. It has degrees: Isvara has always been omniscient, he hasn’t attained it, it is from another category from other enlightened beings.

Image: a light inside a clay jar with holes in it. Awareness can penetrate outside reality only through the holes, which are the sense. But if we remove the jar, the awareness can perceive everything at the same time.

1.26 Isvara was also the teacher of the ancients, because he is not limited by Time.

Note: issue of whether the soul retains its individuality in the liberated state. Advaita holds that individuality is a feature of samsara only; upon liberation, the souls becomes one with the absolute.

1.27 The name designating him is the mystical syllable om.

Om has been understood as a sonal incarnation of Brahman.

Is the relation between Om and Isvara conventional (agreed upon usage) or eternal? Eternal? Upon every creation, Isvara invests this phoneme with his power.

Om similar to an iron ball in a fire. It burns, but still is made of iron. Om illuminates and purifies from Isvara, but still is made of prakrti.

1.28 Its repetition and the contemplation of its meaning should be performed.

This is the practical way to attain Isvara.

Japa: repetition of Om.

Stages of samadhi on Om:

  • Savitarka: om is mixed up with the conventional meanings and ideas associated, the habitual ways of conceiving Isvara.
  • Nirvitarka: these ways of thinking are weakened and Isvara appears in its own pure nature.
  • Savicara: We start perceiving Isvara’s body made of pure sattva. The yogi is no longer aware of its own separate existence, he is completely identified with Isvara.

Story (113) Dhruva after meditation and austerities externally sees Visnu. Another type of epiphany is internal: the yogi’s awareness is transported to another non-prakrtic plane of consciousness.

1.29 From this comes the realization of the inner consciousness and freedom from all disturbances.

As a result of submission to the Lord, the disturbances or antaráya do not manifest, and the yogi is granted a vision of his own purusa.

1.30 These disturbances are disease, idleness, doubt, carelessness, sloth, lack of detachment, misapprehension, failure to attain a base for concentration, and instability. They are distractions for the mind.

Disturbances or antaráya are not klesas, more permanent and deep-rooted.

  • Vyadhi, desease, imbalance of the body fluids or dosa (kapha, vata, pitta)
  • Styána, idleness, disinclination of the mind towards work.
  • Pramáda, carelessness lacking the foundations to practice samádhi (neglecting the eight limbs of yoga)
  • Álasya, sloth, lack of effort in mind and body
  • Avirati, mental greed as the mind contemplates the sense objects.
  • Bhránti-darsana, mistaken knowledge
  • alabdha-bhumikatva, failure to attain a state of samadhi
  • an-avasthitatva, inability to maintain any such state that one might attain.

Antara, gapa, aya, move. The disturbances move and make a gap in one’s practice.

I.31 Suffering, dejection, trembling, inhalation and exhalation accompany the distractions.

These set of disturbances to the practice of yoga are produced by the previous.

I.32 Practice of fixing the mind on one object should be performed in order to eliminate these disturbances.

This sutra concludes Patañjali’s discussion on practice. By fixing the mind on om in a devotional mood, the obstacles to yoga are removed.

Commentary on relation to Buddhism:

Ksanikaváda: the view that all reality is momentary. Nothing in reality has inherent, independent, and essential existence.

Yoga states that purusa and prakrti are so. Buddhism doesn’t accept a constant substratum of mind. Cognition consists of a collection of momentary perceptions or ideas strung together, each one unique and distinct. This flow rests on a point, then exhausts itself, followed in the next moment by another distinct mental idea. Then, how the thought of one instant remember the experience of the previous thought? The experience is recorded on the mind, citta, as a samskara. When this samskara activates, memory occurs.

I.33 By cultivating an attitude of friendship (maitri) towards those who are happy, compassion (karuna) towards those in distress, joy (mudita) toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity (upeksa) towards those who are nonvirtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.

These four virtues are the same as in buddhism. By following them the mind becomes lucid, the nature of sattva.

  1. By being a well-wisher towards those who are happy, envy is removed
  2. compassion towards miserable, the desire to inflict harm on others is removed
  3. equanimity towards the impious, the intolerance is removed.
  4. practice feeling happy when other are happy, not just our friends but also enemies.

Then natural sattva can manifest. Yoga is not to be perceived as a world-renouncing tradition but perfectly compatible with social action in the world.

I.34 Or stability of the mind is gained by exhaling and retaing the breath.

So far Patañjali has clearly prioritized an Isvara-centered form of meditation. Now, in the sutras up to 39 he presents alternative and optional techniques for fixing the mind and eliminate the distrations to yoga.

Pracchardana – expulsion of the air by means of special techniques

vidharana – restraint of the breath

Techniques: slowing the exhalation and lengthening the retention. Chest and body should be kept still so that the process of breath control is undertaken by the abdominal muscles. If the breath is subdued, the mind also becomes so because they are intimately connected.

I.35 Or else, focus on a sense object arises, and this causes steadiness of the mind.

A sense object can be used as alambana, support, for the mind.

By concentrating in the following, we get supernormal senses:

  • the tip of the nose: smell
  • on the palate: color
  • on the tip of the tongue: taste
  • middle of the tongue: touch
  • root of the tongue: sound

These experiences fix the manas, the part of citta related to the senses and eliminate doubt.

Even though the true nature of reality can be revealed by the scripture, one needs to experience it to become valid.

I.36 Or steadiness of the mind is gained when the mind is pain free and luminous.

The experience of a mind pain free and luminous is gained from the previous sutra.

One means of atttaining stability of mind is to concentrate intelligence on the lotus cakra in the heart. Upon skill on that, one’s sense activities attain luminosity like that of the sun, moon and gems.

I.37 Or the mind becomes steady when it has one who is free from desire as its objects.

When contemplating the minds of those who are free from desire, vita-raga, one’s own mind becomes tinged by the purity of their minds.

Beautiful story in Gita, how to recognize such a person.

Being free from desire and anger is not negotiable.

I.38 Or the mind can become steady when it has the knowledge attained from dreams and sleep as its support.

Different interpretations. The yogi dreams of Isvara, and then awakes full of joy.

Or: during deep sleep, citta is free from all thought, a type of nirodha. When awake, by meditating one tries to reach this state.

I.39 Or steadiness of the mind is attained from meditation upon anything of one’s inclination.

This is an extraordinary undogmatic position. Whatever the object, the point is to fix the mind.

Here explains Iyengar’s view of asana as a self-contained object of meditation. But it must be approached with the goal of fixing the mind, not superficial motives.

Once the mind has attained steadiness in one area, it is transferred to other areas and its sattvic nature can manifest. When sattva gains prominence, the inclination to cultivate wisdom and enlightenment manifests automatically.

I.40 The yogi’s mastery extends from the smallest particle of matter to the ultimate totality of the matter.

Since the mind is potentially all-pervading and underpins all physical forms, it can pervade any form of any dimension.

Once the mind has been fixed by any of the previous methods, what is next?

I.41 Samapatti, complete absorption of the mind when it is free from its vrttis, occurs when the mind becomes just like a transparent jewel, taking the form of whatever object is placed before it, whether the object be the knower, the instrument of knowledge, or the object of knowledge.

Just as a crystal exactly reflects the color of whatever object is placed adjacent to it, so the peaceful and fixed mind is colored by any object presented to it and actually assumes the form of the object.

The mind can assume the form of:

  1. any object
  2. the instruments of knowledge themselves such as the sense organs
  3. the knower, the intelligence, grahitr.

But how can we know the knower? The mind can redirect awareness back to its original source, purusa, who then becomes aware of itself.

Samadhi is overall state of the stilled mind, samapatti the more specific content or object upon which the mind has settled.

I.42 In this stage, savitarka-samapattih, «samadhi absoption with physical awareness» is intermixed with the notions of word, meaning, and idea.

The vitarka samadhi is the first of four stages listed in I.17. Here we see sa-vitarka, with-phisical awareness. Next sutra is nir-vitarka, without.

The meditation of a cow is still conflated with the word for and the concept of the cow.

I.43 Nirvitarka samapatti, «absorption without conceptualization» occurs when memory has been purged and the mind is empty, as it were, of its own reflective nature. Now only the object of meditation shines forth in its own right.

The object stands out in its own right without being conflated with the language or any idea or meaning it might generate. Just the object, no cognitive analysis.

This process is reverse to the actual cognition, when first we see, then recognize and object.

I.44 The states of samadhi with «subtle awareness» and without «subtle awareness», whose objects of focus are the subtle nature of thing, are explained in the same manner.

Vicara-samadhi is the second samadhi explained in I.17: now we focus on the components of the object.

Sa-vicara: the yogi penetrates its gross externalization and experiences the object as consisting of subtle elements, but circumscribed as existing in time and space.

Nir-vicara: he can trascend space and time and perceive that these subtle essences pervade and underpin all things at all times. The yogi is no longer aware of dimensionality and temporality.

Example with the sun:

Savitarka-samadhi is analogous to focusing without distraction on the sun, object of certain shape composed of fire atoms. Nirvitarka-samadhi deepens one’s focus until one sees the sun as a luminous object in heavens but without awareness of its name, size, distance, etc. Savicara corresponds to perceiving that the fire element is actually the subtle element of light, but the awareness is circumscribed by the specific location of the sun. In nirvicara, all awareness of Space and Time dissolves and one sees the pure light, devoid of color, pervading not just the sun but all things at all times.

I.45 The subtle nature of things extends all the way up to prakrti.

Yogi’s mind focusses from the five gross elements to more and more subtle elements: tanmatras, ahankara, buddhi, prakrti (the subtlest). As he penetrates more subtle levels, the sattva element becomes more dominant or joy appears. Finally the yogi encounters pur buddhi, and now only purusa remains as object of contemplation. Contemplating purusa, reflecting consciouness back to its source, the pure citta of the yogi experiences I-am-ness, asmita.

I.46 These above-mentioned samapatti states are known as samadhi meditative absorption «with seed»

Sa-bija, with seed, samadhi, is synonymous of samprajñata samadhi as stated in I.17. In this state as the object exists in the mind, seeds of samskaras are deposited. In nir-bija, without seed, without object, no seeds are deposited.

I.47 Upon attaining the clarity of nirvicara-samadhi, there is lucidity of the inner self.

Recall: nirvicara-samadhi is the type of vicara-samadhi where the yogi is no longer aware of space and time.

All impure coverings have been removed and the yogi gains lucidity of the inner-self, adhyatma-prasáda. This occurs as a flash of illuminating wisdom. One is aware of prakrti and purusa. Sees all beings as suffering.

I.48 In that state, there is truth-bearing wisdom.

There is such lucidity that one can come to the point of actual realized insight, rather than purely theoretical knowledge.

I.49 Seedless samadhi has a different focus from that of inference and sacred scripture, because it has the particularity of things as its objects.

Sámánya: refers to general category of an object, e.g. a cow

Visesa: particular object with specific properties, e.g. the cow Ahimsa.

The three forms of knowledge accepted in I.7 agama (scripture), anumana (inference) and pratyaksa (sense perception) are all limited because they can’t provide information about the specifics.

Only through the clear, unobstructed insight of samadhi can one fully grasp the visesa of an object, its subtle substructure of distinct atoms and essences. The mind merges into the common substratum of all things. In the higher stages of samadhi, the yogi becomes essentially omniscent since awareness can radiate out infinitely.

I.50 The samskaras born out of that (truth-bearing wisdom) obstruct other samskaras from emerging.

Now this wisdom starts producing special samskaras: they are blocking (pratibandhi) the emergence of other conventional samskaras that lie dormant in the deposit of citta. When they are blocked, samadhi is enhanced. These samskaras are positive, aklista, for the liberation.

Samadhi destroys all the dormant karma. But the manifested karma, prárabdha, is terminated only upon the manifestation of nirbija-samadhi.

I.51 Upon the cessation of even those truth-bearing samskaras, nirbija-samadhi, seedless meditative absorption, ensues.

In the previous state, sabija-samadhi, the consciousness of the purusa is still emanating out and being channeled through citta, which is like a luminous mirror.

Now it comes a last nirodha-samskara that produces absolute citta-vrtti-nirodha. There is absolutely no frame of reference leaving its imprint on the mind. The mind is completely inactive. Now Purusa is simply aware of itself. The experience of atman is beyond words.

Now that the mind, that has lead the soul to its liberation, ceases all action, dissolves back into its matrix as a clay pot goes back to earth. Samsara ceases. Now Purusa can exist in its own right. Purusa has always been free, but it thought to be attached to the mind. But now all vestiges of association with the citta have been discontinued, and the final and ultimate goal of yoga has been attained – purusa’s unmediated absorption in its own conscious eternal essential nature. One refers to the purusa as suddha, pure, kevala, self-contained, and mukta, liberated.


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