Acknowledgements for Shankara on the Yoga Sutras

Acknowledgements I am grateful to Dr. Hajime Nakamura, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo and founder of the Eastern Institute, Tokyo, for help with the translation of the First Part. For errors that remain I am entirely responsible. The late Shankaracarya of Sringeri, H.H. Abhinava Vidyatirtha, showed much interest in this Vivaraṇa and encouraged the present translator to tackle this difficult text, which (he said) might be of great importance in the study of Śaṅkara. The trustees of the Trevor Leggett Adhyatma Yoga Trust wish to express their grateful thanks to Dr Kengo Harimoto of Mahidol University,Thailand, who kindly agreed to write a Foreword to this E-book edition of The Complete Commentary by Śaṅkara on the Yoga Sutras, translated by Trevor Pryce Leggett. Dr Harimoto’s most valuable and interesting Foreword reviews and puts in context some of the comments that have been made on the author’s translation since it …

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Foreword to Shankara on the Yoga Sutras

Foreword by Dr Kengo Harimoto When Trevor Leggett published The Complete Commentary by Śaṅkara on the Yoga sūtra-s in 1990, it was the first full translation of the sub-commentary on the Yogasūtras, variously called the Yogasūtrabhāṣyavivaraṇa or the Pātañjalayogaśāstravivaraṇa, etc., into a modern language. The Sanskrit text (henceforth the Vivaraṇa) had attracted some attention from Western scholars from the time it was published in Madras in 1952 as part of the Madras Government Oriental Series, especially because the editors of the edition ascribed it to one of the most famous of Indian philosophers, Śaṅkara. Hajime Nakamura, by translating whose work from Japanese into English Leggett had become known among Indologists, was one of those who were interested in the Vivaraṇa. Nakamura wrote a few articles on the Vivaraṇa in the late 1970s, mainly concerned with its authorship. He also published a Japanese translation of its first chapter from 1979 to …

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Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice

Using Shankara on the Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice You have to know enough theory for a working basis; there is no need immediately to read the subtleties of the intellectual background. (1) Read the Introduction for the General Reader Introduction for the General Reader The text translated here is an historical find: an unknown commentary on the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali by Śaṅkara, the most eminent philosopher of ancient India. Present indications are that it is likely to be authentic, which would date it about AD 700. The many references to Yoga meditation in his accepted works have sometimes been regarded as concessions to accepted ideas of the time, and not really his own views. If he has chosen to write a commentary on Yoga meditation, it must have been a central part of his own standpoint, although he was opposed to some of the philosophical doctrines of the …

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Shankara on the Yoga Sutras Introduction for the general reader

Introduction for the general reader The text translated here is an historical find: an unknown commentary on the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali by Śaṅkara, the most eminent philosopher of ancient India. Present indications are that it is likely to be authentic, which would date it about AD 700. The many references to Yoga meditation in his accepted works have sometimes been regarded as concessions to accepted ideas of the time, and not really his own views. If he has chosen to write a commentary on Yoga meditation, it must have been a central part of his own standpoint, although he was opposed to some of the philosophical doctrines of the official Yoga school. One would expect a tendency to modify those unacceptable doctrines, if this text is really by Śaṅkara. This turns out to be the case. For those familiar with yoga meditation, who want to go straight into the …

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Shankara on the Yoga Sutras Technical introduction

Technical introduction The text This is a pioneer translation of a text on Yoga, a vivaraṇa sub-commentary on the Vyāsa bhāṣya to Patañjali’s Yoga sūtra, claiming to be by Śaṅkara Bhagavat-pāda (definable as the author of the Brahma sūtra bhāṣya). It came to notice as No. 94 in the Madras Government Oriental Series published in 1952, having been put together, with impressive scholarship and patience, from a single defective manuscript. It has been unknown except for publication of a small portion in another context (Madras University Sanskrit Series, No. 6) in 1931, which context however seems to establish that it was already in existence in the fourteenth century. The editing, which involved rearranging, was done by two pandits: P. S. Rama Sastri and S. R; Krishnamurti Sastri, who judged that this was indeed a work by the great Śaṅkara. In 1968, Paul Hacker published an influential article accepting the identification …

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Yoga Sutra 1.01 the exposition of yoga

Sūtra I.1 Now the exposition of yoga (Vyāsa) The word Now means here a beginning, and the topic now begun is understood to be an exposition of yoga. (Śaṅkara:) In whom are neither karma nor its fruition but from whom they come about, Whom the taints of humanity can never withstand nor touch, Whom the eye of Time that reckons all cannot encompass, That Lord of the world, slayer of the demon Kaiṭabha – to him I bow. Who is omniscient, all-glorious and all-powerful, Who is without taint, and who requites actions with their fruits, The Lord who is the cause of the rise, end, and maintenance of every thing, To him, that teacher even of teachers, be this bow. A sub-commentary is here begun on the yoga classic of Patañjali, from its first word Now. No one will follow through the practices and restrictions of yoga unless the goal …

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Yoga Sutra 1.02 Yoga is inhibition of the mental processes

Sūtra I.2 Yoga is inhibition of the mental processes (Opponent) If the sūtra has been presented to give this definition, it should have been ‘Yoga has inhibition of the mental processes’; to put them in apposition is not right, for a definition should not be simply the thing defined. Or at any rate it should have been said, ‘The definition is, inhibition of the mental processes.’ (Answer) A definition is projected (adhyas) on to the thing defined. When we say ‘This person is Devadatta’ there is a projection (adhyāsa) of the definition on to the thing defined. So there is no fault. The omission of the word All shows that the cognitive (samādhi) too is yoga. (Opponent) (The commentator’s previous gloss) But the ultra-cognitive is when there is inhibition of all mental processes is also a definition of it, so the sūtra should have been ‘Yoga is inhibition of all …

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Yoga Sutra 1.03 the Seer is established in his own nature

Sūtra I.3 Then the Seer is established in his own nature Then the power-of-consciousness rests in its own nature, as in the state of release. But when the mind is extraverted, though it is so, it is not so. It has been said that yoga is inhibition of the mental processes, by which inhibition the true being of Puruṣa as the cognizer (boddhṛ) is realized. In which case some might suppose that with inhibition of the thoughts of objects, there would be inhibition of the subject, the cognizer, the Puruṣa, also. Then they would assume that it would not be sensible to try to attain Knowledge-of-the-difference, the means to release, and that the exposition of yoga, which aims at that Knowledge, would be futile. To show that inhibition of the mental process is not inhibition of Puruṣa, and to point directly to the result of Knowledge, the commentator says: What …

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Yoga Sutra 1.04 there is only one sight, and the sight is knowledge alone.

Sūtra I.4 Otherwise, it conforms itself to the mental process In the extraverted state, whatever the process in the mind, Puruṣa has a process not distinguished from it. As a sūtra says: There is only one sight, and the sight is knowledge alone. (Opponent) If though it is so means that power-of-consciousness does rest in its own nature even when mind is extraverted, and not so denies that it so rests, there is the contradiction that the same thing both is so and is not so, and our side asks in bewilderment, How can this be? (Answer) The answer from our side is, Otherwise, it conforms itself to the mental process. (Opponent) Well, why does it conform to it? (Answer) Because objects have been displayed to it. Though in the two cases there is no distinction as to the resting in its own nature, still there is a distinction according …

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Yoga Sutra 1.05 the mental processes are of five kinds

Sūtra I.5 The mental processes are of five kinds; they are tainted or pure The tainted are caused by the five taints (kleśa); they become the seed-bed for the growth of the accumulated karma seed-stock. The others are pure and are the field of Knowledge. They oppose involvement in the guṇa-s. They remain pure even if they occur in a stream of tainted ones. In gaps between tainted ones, there are pure ones; in gaps between pure ones, tainted ones. It is only by mental processes that saṃskāra-s corresponding to them are produced, and by saṃskāra-s are produced new mental processes. Thus the wheel of mental process and saṃskāra revolves. Such is the mind. But when it gives up its involvement, it abides in the likeness of self (ātman) or else dissolves. The mental processes are to be inhibited, though they are many. In the extraverted state, Puruṣa conforms to …

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Yoga Sutra 1.07 right knowledge is either direct perception, inference, or authority

Sūtra I.7 Right knowledge is either direct perception, inference, or authority The right knowledge called direct perception is the process when the mind is coloured by an external thing through a sense-channel, and takes as its field the determination mainly of the particular nature of the thing, which has however also the nature of a universal. What then are the five kinds of mental process, tainted or pure? They are right knowledge, illusion, logical construction, sleep, memory. All the mental processes are included in these. Right knowledge is either direct perception, inference, or authority. The process called right knowledge (pramāṇa, also proof) is divided into just these three, the first division of right knowledge being direct perception. Now the definition of direct perception is given. It is put first because the other two presuppose it. By a sense channel: the sense referred to is one of the five senses of …

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Yoga Sutra 1.08 Illusion is false knowledge based on an untrue form

Sūtra I.8 Illusion is false knowledge based on an untrue form Illusion (viparyaya) is false knowledge (mithyā-jñāna) based on an untrue form. Having explained right knowledge, now is described the mental process called illusion: it is false knowledge based on an untrue form. (Opponent) Our subject is inhibition, and furthermore the release which comes from it, and furthermore the bondage to be escaped from, and furthermore the Ignorance (avidyā) which is the root of bondage. Ignorance is illusion, so this is the main thing to be inhibited. For it is the cause of bondage, and when the cause is inhibited, it follows that its effect is inhibited also. So illusion is the principal thing and should have been explained before right knowledge. (Answer) Certainly illusion is the first thing as regards needing inhibition. But human efforts at inhibition are based on knowledge of what is correct and what is faulty, …

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Yoga Sutra 1.09 logical construction is something that follows on verbal knowledge

Sūtra I.9 Logical construction is something that follows on verbal knowledge but has no real object This (vikalpa) does not amount to right knowledge. Now he describes logical construction. Verbal knowledge means knowledge from words, and something that follows on verbal knowledge means something whose nature is to follow from the verbal knowledge, good or bad, which comes from the fixed relation between words and their meanings; but has no real object means that nothing is actually expressed, inasmuch as there is no actual (yathābhūta) thing as the meaning of those words from which that knowledge follows. Logical construction is thinking without reference to any actual thing. (Opponent) If it follows on verbal knowledge, it should be taken as authority. (Answer) It does not amount to right knowledge. It does not fall under authority because it has no real object. Authority does arise from verbal knowledge, but it relates to …

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Yoga Sutra 1.10 the mental process which rests on the notion of non-existence is sleep

Sūtra I.10 The mental process which rests on the notion of non-existence is sleep This is a special notion arising from the recollection on waking in the form of ‘I slept well; my mind is calm and has cleared up my understanding’, or else ‘I slept badly, my mind is dull and wanders aimlessly’ or again ‘I slept sunk in stupor; my limbs seem heavy and my mind is limp and faint, as if some force had seized control of it.’ There would be no recollection on waking unless caused by an experience; without an experience there would be no memories based on it and corresponding to it. Therefore sleep is a particular notion, and like all the others it is to be inhibited in samādhi. Now the sūtra describes sleep: The mental process which rests on the notion of nonexistence is sleep (nidrā). Right knowledge, illusion, and logical construction, …

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Yoga Sutra 1.11 memory is not letting slip away an object experienced

Sūtra I.11 Memory is not letting slip away an object experienced Now he explains memory. Memory is not letting slip away an object experienced. Memory is described at the end because it is the effect of all the other mental processes, beginning with right knowledge. The compound object-experienced means both what has been experienced and a particular object. That alone is the object which has been experienced, but what has been experienced is not necessarily an object. Otherwise a memory of another memory would be no memory, because a memory has no qualities like sound (as objects have). And since memory is intelligible to itself, it is necessary to have also memory of other memories. Not letting slip away means that there is no stealing away or disappearance (of any of it). Though the object itself is not present, memory is, by reason of similarity to it, an appearance as …

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Yoga Sutra 1.12 inhibition is by practice and detachment

Sūtra I.12 Their inhibition is by practice and detachment Flowing both ways, the so-called stream of the mind flows to good or flows to evil. When it is borne on to release, down into the field of discrimination, that is the flow towards good: when it is borne on to saṃsāra, down into the field of failure to discriminate, that is the evil flow. By detachment the current towards objects is dammed, and by practice of discriminating vision the auspicious current of discrimination is made to flow. Thus inhibition of the mental process depends on both. He explains the means for their inhibition: Their inhibition is by practice and detachment. The characteristics of practice and detachment will be described in the coming sūtra-s. By these two the mental processes already described are inhibited, because they are opposed to them. Inhibition (nirodha) means cessation (upaśama). To show discrimination as the object …

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Yoga Sutra 1.13 practice is the effort at steadiness

Sūtra I.13 Practice is the effort at steadiness in it Steadiness is the tranquil flow of the mind without mental processes. Practice is the effort thereto, the vigour, the enthusiasm, in undertaking the discipline to that end. To explain the practice for it, he says, Practice is the effort at steadiness in it. in it means in their inhibition. The word steadiness is in the locative case, to show causality. The steadiness which is the cause of the inhibition of the mind is the result of effort, and the effort which is its cause is practice, the tranquil flow as it were of a stream free from mud is a transformation into a pure form of a mind without mental processes, which have been inhibited. Effort: vigour, enthusiasm, are synonyms. Practice is undertaking the discipline, the yoga discipline of restraints and observances and the others listed in sūtra II.29, to …

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Yoga Sutra 1.14 practised for a long time, uninterruptedly and with reverence, it becomes firmly grounded

Sūtra I.14 But practised for a long time, uninterruptedly and with reverence, it becomes firmly grounded Practised for a long time, practised uninterruptedly, practised with reverence – carried through with austerity, with brahmacarya, with knowledge and with faith, in reverence, it becomes firmly grounded. The meaning is that the purpose is not suddenly overwhelmed by an extravertive saṃskāra. But how does this become firm? He says, Practised for a long time, uninterruptedly. Unless it is for a long time, and unless it is uninterrupted, the practice does not become firmly grounded, and therefore both are mentioned. The practice is also specified as to be done with reverence. He explains that firmly grounded means that it is not overwhelmed by an extravertive saṃskāra suddenly in a rush.

Yoga Sutra 1.15 detachment is consciousness of self-mastery

Sūtra I.15 Detachment is consciousness of self-mastery, of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about Detachment is the consciousness of self-mastery of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about. It is that consciousness in one who is unmoved by visible objects like women, food and drink, or power, who is without thirst for objects heard about such as attainment of heaven or the state of the gods or of those absorbed into prakṛti, is inwardly aware of the defects in them by the power of his meditation, and who is wholly impassive – that consciousness of self-mastery which has nothing to avoid and nothing to accept, is detachment. To describe detachment (vairāgya) he says, Detachment is the consciousness of self-mastery of one who has no thirst for any object either seen or heard about. The word object has …

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Yoga Sutra 1.16 from knowledge of Purusa there is no thirst for the gunas

Sūtra I.16 It is the higher detachment when from knowledge of Puruṣa there is no thirst for (even) the guṇa-s One who is aware of the defects in objects visible or heard about is detached from objects, but one who from practising the vision of Puruṣa has his mind pure like it and clear-seeing, is detached from even the guṇa-s, with their qualities manifest or unmanifest. Thus detachment is of two kinds. The second, higher one is nothing but pure Knowledge. When it rises, the yogin in whom this Knowledge has dawned thinks, ‘Attained is what was to be attained, destroyed are the taints which were to be destroyed; broken is the continuous chain of the cycle of being, bound by which men born will die, and having died will be born.’ Detachment is the highest peak of Knowledge: it borders on Transcendental Aloneness. Detachment is of two kinds, higher …

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Yoga Sutra 1.17 something physical as the mind’s object of meditation

Sūtra I.17 It is cognitive because accompanied with verbal associations (vitarka), with subtle associations (vicāra), with joy (ānanda), and the form of I-am-ness (asmitā) The first (with vitarka) is an experience of something physical as the mind’s object of meditation. It is with subtle associations (vicāra) when the object of meditation is subtle. Joy means delight. I-am-ness is the feeling of being an individual self. It was explained under the second sūtra that inhibition is not the definition of cognitive samādhi. When the mental process has been inhibited by the two means described, namely practice and detachment, how is the resulting samādhi to be described? It is cognitive, because accompanied with verbal associations, with subtle associations, with joy, and the form of I-am-ness. The word accompanied goes with each of them, so it means that it is accompanied with experience of the physical, with experience of the subtle, with experience …

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Yoga Sutra 1.18 samadhi follows on practice of the idea of stopping, and consists of samskaras alone

Sūtra I.18 The other (samādhi) follows on practice of the idea of stopping, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone The words follows on practice of the idea of stopping show the relation to the discipline, but consists of saṃskāra-s alone explains its nature. They both go with The other, which therefore follows on the practice, and consists of saṃskāra-s alone. It is the seed-less ultra-cognitive samādhi, which is other than the cognitive samādhi which has just been defined in the previous sūtra. When all the mental processes have stopped and only saṃskāra-s remain, the samādhi of the mind thus inhibited is ultra-cognitive. The means to it is the higher detachment. No meditation on an object can be a means to it, so the meditation is made on the idea of stopping, which is absence of anything. It is void of any object. The practice of this finally leads to a state …

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Yoga Sutra 1.19 samadhi is of two kinds

Sūtra I.19 It results from birth in the case of gods discarnate, and in the case of those who absorb themselves into prakṛti In the case of the gods free from a physical body, they experience a state of seeming release by the mental experience of their own saṃskāra-s alone. And they pass beyond this state when the saṃskāra-s causing it have finished maturing. So also those who merge themselves into prakṛti; a commitment still remains in their mind in spite of the absorption, and though they experience a state of seeming release, it is only so long as their mind is not set whirling again by the force of that commitment. This without-seed samādhi is of two kinds: the result of a means, or the result of birth. The first is a result of, is attained by, a means, and it is for yogin-s. Though the gods discarnate are …

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Yoga Sutra 1.20 faith, energy, memory, samadhi, and knowledge

Sūtra I.20 For the others, it comes after faith, energy, memory, (cognitive) samādhi, and knowledge The one resulting from a means is for yogin-s. Faith is a settled clarity of the mind: like a good mother, it protects a yogin. When he has that faith, and is seeking knowledge, there arises in him energy. When energy has arisen in him, his memory stands firm. When memory stands firm, his mind is undisturbed and becomes concentrated in samādhi. To the mind in samādhi comes knowledge by which he knows things as they really are. From practice of these means, and from detachment from the whole field of mental process, arises ultra-cognitive samādhi. The ultra-cognitive samādhi resulting from a means is that of the yogin-s, and it follows from faith, energy, memory, samādhi, and knowledge (prajñā). What is called faith is a settled clarity of the mind in regard to attaining release, …

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Yoga Sutra 1.21 the yogis are of nine kinds

Sūtra I.21 For those who practise with ardent energy, it is near They soon attain samādhi and the fruit of samādhi. The yogin-s, who practise the four methods beginning with faith, are of nine kinds. As he explains, they are divided according to the methods which they follow, either mild or moderate or intense. Each of these classes is sub-divided into three. Progress in the application of the method may be slow, or it may be moderate, or it may be energetic, and so it is with each of the three methods without exception. For those who practise the intense methods with ardent energy, samādhi and the fruit of samādhi are near at hand.

Yoga Sutra 1.22 samadhi and the fruit of samadhi

Sūtra I.22 Even among the ardent, there is a distinction of mild or moderate or intense They may be mild or moderate or intense in their ardent energy, and so there is a further distinction. For the mildly ardent it is near: for the moderately ardent it is nearer: for the intensely ardent yogin who is practising intense methods, samādhi and the fruit of samādhi is nearest of all. Even among these ardent yogin-s there are distinctions corresponding to whether their progress is slow or moderate or ardent, and this is a distinction of the saṃskāra-s created by their previous practice of the discipline. For the highest of them, the attainment of samādhi is nearest at hand. The purpose of the sūtra is to fortify the enthusiasm of yogin-s in their practice. It is as in the world, where the prize goes to the one who runs fastest in the …

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Yoga Sutra 1.23 special devotion to the Lord

Sūtra I.23 Or by special devotion to the Lord As a result of the special devotion which is bhakti (love of God), the Lord bends down to him and rewards him according to what he has meditated on. If the yogin has meditated on it, the attainment of samādhi and its fruit is near at hand. He explains that there is another way, Or by special devotion to the Lord. The meaning of the word Lord will be given later; here he describes devotion. It is the devotion which is bhakti, and the Lord bends down to him and rewards him. The Lord comes face to face with him and gives his grace to the yogin who is fully devoted to him, according to what the yogin has meditated upon; the grace is effortless, by the mere omnipotence of the supreme Lord. By that grace of the Lord, samādhi and …

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Yoga Sutra 1.24 the Lord is a special kind of Purusa

Sūtra I.24 Untouched by taints or karma-s or their fruition or their latent stocks is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa The taints are Ignorance, I-am-ness, desire, hate, and clinging to life. Karma-s are good and bad. Their fruition is the results they bring. The corresponding latent impulses (vāsanā) are the latent stocks. All these exist in the mind but are attributed to Puruṣa, for he is the experiencer of their results. It is as when victory or defeat, which are events on the battle-field, are attributed to the ruler. Untouched by such experience is the Lord, who is a special kind of Puruṣa. Who is this Lord who is neither pradhāna nor Puruṣa? In the Sāṅkhya classics no proof of God is given, and one asks for some proof of the Lord, that he really exists, and again what is the special nature of this Lord …

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Yoga Sutra 1.25 the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent

Sūtra I.25 In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent All certain knowledge, of past or future or present or a combination of them, or from extra-sensory perception, whether that knowledge be small or great, is the seed of omniscience. He in whom it becomes transcendent is omniscient. The seed of omniscience attains the ultimate, because it is something which has degrees, like any measurable. He in whom knowledge attains the ultimate, is omniscient. And he is a special Puruṣa. A proof is added in demonstration of the Lord who has been described: In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent. In whom in that Lord as described, it is proper that it should become transcendent. What should become transcendent? All certain knowledge whether from perception or from inference, with its field the past, with its field the future, or with its field the present, or with its field a …

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Yoga Sutra 1.26 time as a measure does not apply to the Lord

Sūtra I.26 This teacher of even the first teachers, because not particularized by time The first teachers are particularized by time. But with the Lord, time as a measure does not apply to him who is the teacher of even the first teachers. It is to be understood that as he is proved to be in the state of perfection at the beginning of this creation, so too at the beginning of past creations. This highest Lord who has been described is the teacher of even the first teachers, those who teach all the related means and ends for material results and for the highest bliss (niḥśreyasa). The meaning is that he creates the knowledge and instruction which they give. For all the kinds of knowledge arise from him, as sparks of fire from a blaze or drops of water from the sea. We have mentioned that he is the …

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Yoga Sutra 1.27 pranava

Sūtra I.27 Of him, the expression is praṇava (OM) What is expressed by praṇava is the Lord. It has been said Or from devotion to the Lord (sūtra I.23). How should one perform devotion to him, and what is the means of that devotion? To explain the form in which the devotee contemplates on him, the sūtra says Of him, the expression is praṇava (OM). Of the Lord who has been described, the expression the expressing word, is praṇava. In the same way the word cow expresses something which has a dewlap and horns and so on. Now the word praṇava is variously explained etymologically: pra stands for prakarśena, perfectly; nu (= nava) stands for nūyate, he is praised; praṇava the word OM, praises (praṇauti) the Lord; the Lord is devoutly worshipped (praṇidhīyate) through it by his devotees; they bow down (praṇam) to him through it; through it they worship …

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Yoga Sutra 1.28 japa and bhavana on the Lord

Sūtra I.28 Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning Repetition (japa) of it and meditation (bhāvanā) on the Lord who is signified by OM. When the yogin thus repeats OM and meditates on its meaning, his mind becomes one-pointed. So it has been said: After OM repetition, let him set himself in yoga, After yoga, let him set himself to repetition. When OM repetition and yoga come to perfection The supreme self (paramātman) shines forth. When the yogin has thus understood the relation of the expression OM and its meaning, how does he attract the grace of the supreme Lord? The sūtra says, Repetition of it and meditation on its meaning. Practice of repetition of OM, which is the expression of the Lord, taken as consisting of three-and-a-half measures (mātra) or of three measures, is called japa; the repetition is either mental or in a low voice (upāṃśu). meditation …

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Yoga Sutra 1.29 realization of the separate consciousness

Sūtra I.29 From that, realization of the separate consciousness, and absence of obstacles As a result of devotion to the Lord, there are none of the obstacles like illness, and he has a perception of his own true nature. As the Lord is a Puruṣa, pure, radiant, alone, and beyond evil, so the Puruṣa in him, witness of the buddhi, knows himself to be. The commentary introduces this sūtra with the words And what happens to him? The word And refers to the fact that one result, namely attainment of one-pointedness of mind, has already been mentioned in the previous sūtra. And is there some other result for him, or is it perhaps one-pointedness alone? The sūtra now says From that, realization of the separate consciousness and absence of obstacles. From that devotion to the Lord, there is realization of the separate consciousness: it is conscious of its own buddhi …

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Yoga Sutra 1.30 distractions of the mind are the obstacles

Sūtra I.30 Illness, apathy, doubt, carelessness, laziness, failure to withdraw, misconceptions, failure to attain a state, instability (in the state) – these distractions of the mind are the obstacles There are nine obstacles which distract the mind. They appear only in conjunction with the mental processes described previously, and without the obstacles, the latter do not arise. Illness is loss of balance in the humours (dhātu), secretions (rasa) or organs. Apathy is mental ineffectiveness. Doubt is an idea embracing both alternatives, in the form ‘This might be so, or it might not be so’. Carelessness is lack of devotion to the means to samādhi. Laziness is inertia from heaviness physical and mental. Failure to withdraw is a hankering caused by past addiction to objects. Misconceptions are illusory knowledge (viparyaya jñāna). Failure to attain a state is not attaining any stage of samādhi. Instability is when a state has been attained …

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Yoga Sutra 1.31 pain is that by which living beings are struck down,

Sūtra I.31 Pain, frustration, restlessness of the body, spasmodic breathing in or out are the accompaniments of these distractions The pain is that proceeding from the self, or proceeding from living creatures, or proceeding from the gods. Pain is that by which living beings are struck down, and which they struggle to end. Frustration is the mental agitation when a desire is obstructed. Restlessness of the body is what makes it unsteady and trembling. Spasmodic breathing is inhaling the air from outside, or exhaling the abdominal air. These are the accompaniments of the distractions; they occur in one whose mind is distracted, and do not occur in one whose mind is concentrated in samādhi. Pain is that by which living beings are struck down, and to end which they struggle, they strive. It is of three kinds, the first being that proceeding from the self (ādhyātmika). What is related (adhy) …

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Yoga Sutra 1.32 practise meditation on one principle

Sūtra I.32 To prevent them, practice on one principle To prevent the distractions, let the mind practise meditation on one principle. It has been said that they are inhibited by detachment and practice; the first has been described, and now he deals with practice. To prevent them, these distractions practice on one principle, on a single truth. (Opponent) That one principle cannot be the object of meditation practice, because it is a real thing, and the fullness of real things like self (ātman) cannot even be spoken. They are established in their own greatness and not simply mental. He is going on to deny that such real things have any dependence on the mind, for instance in sūtra IV.16, A thing is not dependent on a single mind. (Answer) With this doubt in mind the commentator says, let the mind practise meditation on one principle. Here he is showing how …

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Yoga Sutra 1.33 the mind is made clear by meditation

Sūtra I.33 The mind is made clear by meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful Let him practise friendliness towards all beings experiencing happiness, compassion to those in pain, goodwill to the habitually virtuous, and disinterest in habitual sinners. Such devoted meditations produce pure dharma, and thereby the mind becomes clear. When it is clear, it attains steadiness in one-pointedness. How is the mind to be trained? Practice on one principle has been taught; what is the one principle which is to be the object of the practice? He says, meditation on friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards the virtuous, and disinterest in the sinful. Friendliness is meditation on being a friend, one who rejoices in happiness when he sees it without anything like envy. So towards suffering, a kindly sympathy, and to the …

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Yoga Sutra 1.34 expulsion and retention of prana

Sūtra I.34 Or by expulsion and retention of prāṇa Expulsion is emission of the abdominal air through the two nostrils by a conscious effort; retention refers to the process of prāṇāyāma. By these two means one can attain steadiness of the mind. The word Or means an alternative, so this is a means to steadiness other than meditations on friendliness, etc. The sense is that one should attain steadiness by some one of the means beginning with meditation on friendliness; a number of means are given, with the idea that one of them will be easier to a particular person and time and place. Expulsion and retention separately or together. The first is emission of the abdominal air up to the limit through the nostrils, not by the mouth. Retention is the full process of prāṇāyāma, to the limit. Though prāṇa is to some extent restrained even by expulsion (alone), …

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