The New Renderings,
New Ordering

The Summary Verses

1:1

Now a discussion of yoga.

1:2

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

1:3

So that the Seer, Purusha, comes to know Itself and abide in Its own real, fundamental nature.

1:4

 Whereas in the normal state (of human suffering) the Seer is assimilated with the mind, its transformations and products.

2:1

Yogic activity consists of purification by asceticism (tapah), japa, and devotion to The Lord.
 

The Essence of Yoga

2:32

The yogic observances are purity, contentment, austerities (tapah, tapas), japa,and devotion to the Lord.

2:2

These are practiced for reducing impurities, afflictions, and distractions and acquiring samadhi.

2:44

By svadhyaya is produced communion with the deity in the form favored by the devotee.



The Problem

2:15

Those who develop wisdom come to see all creation, externals, and perceivables as unsatisfactory, containing inherent suffering (such as anxiety). This on account of constant change, conditioning (karma), and due to the unstable, dualistic nature of the natural forces that underly phenomena and the movement of the mind itself. This is the problem that yoga is pursued to solve.

 3:35

Samsara (worldly experience) is the result of inability to distinquish between creation and God though they are absolutely separate. By samyama on God (Purusa) as distinct from even the most attractive aspects of creation one gets knowledge of God.

2:3

The afflictions/distractions are: Ignorance, asmita (the sense of "I exist"), desire, aversion, and attachment.

2:4

Ignorance is the substrate of the other four, whether the four are in a dormant, reduced, controlled, or expanded state.

2:5

Ignorance is taking the non-eternal, impure, evil, and non-atman to be eternal, pure, good, and atman.

2:6

Asmita, or the sense "I exist," arises when Pure Consciousness, the power-of-knowing, gets associated with a body and its senses.

2:10 

The afflictions are to be suppressed by meditation.

1:12

The suppression of distracting vrittis is attained by abhyasa and non-attachment.


2:16

That suffering which has not yet come can be warded off.

 2:17

The cause of that suffering which should be warded off is the entanglement of the Seer with the seen.

10:1 (A.O.)

The problem is solved by getting established in samadhi, which is liberation.

 2:18

The seen consists of the elements and the sense organs. It is of the nature of Prakriti. Its purpose is experience and liberation of the jiva.

2:21

The seen is for the purpose of serving Purusha.


On Preparation

1:15

Vairagya is the self-mastery in which one does not crave for objects, whether seen, unseen, or heard about.

1:33

The mind is assisted towards stillness and samadhi by responding with benignity, compassion, delight, and indifference respectively towards these four types of people: The fortunate, the suffering, the virtuous, and the sinful.

2:29

"Self-restraints, fixed observances, posture, pranayama, abstraction, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi are the eight limbs of yoga.
 
2:30

"The self-restraints are abstention from harming others, from falsehood, from theft, from incontinence, and from greed."

2:38 

The necessary virya is obtained when the devotee gets established in continence.


On Meditation

3:1

Fixing the mind on one thing is dharana.

3:2

Continuous concentration on the object is dhyana.

3:3

When the meditator gets true realization of the meditation object, penetrating and knowing the object's real nature, unconscious of himself as mind or knowledge, it is samadhi.

3:4

The three taken together are called samyama.

3:9

The mind is said to be in the inhibited or intercepted state when moment-by-moment the mind is continuously inhibited (by the meditation object) and a samskara of inhibition is created.

3:10 

The mind's flow becomes steady by samsakaras.

1:13   

Abhyasa is the effort towards becoming established in that state (of suppression).
 
1:14 

Abhyasa becomes firmly-grounded when continued a long time without interruption and with reverence.
 
1:21 

Samadhi comes soonest to those who desire it intensely.

1:22

Even among the ardent, there is the distinction of mild, medium, or intense means.

 2:44 
 
By svadhyaya is produced communion with the deity in the form favored by the devotee.
(Repeat)



On Meditation Objects

1:23 

By bhakti for the Lord (samadhi is attained).

2:45

Perfection of samadhi is attained by God-devotion.

1:24 

The Lord God, Isvara, is a particular purusha (individual soul) in His own category, untouched by afflictions, works, the results of actions, or samskaras. 

1:25 

He is omniscient.

1:26 

Unconditioned by time. All greatness is His.

1:27 

His evidence is the pranava, Aum.  

1:37

Or meditation on the mind of one who is free of desire.

1:35 

In general on the dawning of transcendental perceptions the mind can be brought to stillness by fixing the mind on one of those.

1:36   

Such as meditation on a radiant perception beyond sorrow.

1:38

One can meditate on the knowledge of dream or dreamless sleep.

10:2 (A.O.)

Meditation on akasa.

1:39 

Or even on what appeals to him.

1:28

Samadhi is certainly attained by meditation on the richness of the pranava.

1:29

By mergence in pranava obstacles are destroyed, the consciousness turns inward.

 2:49 

Pranayama is to sit and cut off the flow of inbreath and outbreath. 

2:50

The inbreathing, outbreathing, and held operations, in terms of place, length, and number become progressively longer and more subtle. 

2:51

The fourth kind of pranayama is beyond the sphere of internal and external, and comes when the essential acts of puraka and rechaka have been comprehended. 

2:52 
 
From that is dissolved the covering over light.

 2:53 

And fitness of the mind for dharana.
 

On Samadhi
 
1:16

In the highest vairagya, because of contact with Purusha, there is cessation of the least desire for any experience of the created world.

2:54

Then pratyahara, in which the senses finally imitate and follow the mind, likewise withdrawing themselves from their objects.

2:55

From pratyahara, supreme mastery over the senses.

1:17

Sabija samadhi is accompanied by gross thought, subtle thought, bliss, and the sense of "I am."

1:42

In sabija samadhi exists thought, knowledge related to words, and based on further sense perception, plus divine knowledge in mixed states and the mind alternates between them.

1:18

The other variety is Nirbija samadhi which contains only the subtle impressions (samskaras) of the first.

1:41

In one whose citta-vrittis are almost annihilated, fusion and entire absorption in one another of the cogniser, the cognition and the cognised occurs, as a transparent jewel placed near an object takes on that object's colors.

1:43

In Nirbija samadhi, all forms have vanished, memory is purified, the essence of the object alone shines forth.

1:44

By what has been said, the same two experiences, in the cases of meditation on subtle objects have also been revealed.

1:45

The province of subtle objects extends all the way up to the indissoluble level of prakriti.

1:47

The purity of Nirbija samadhi being attained, one knows pure light and prasad.

1:49

He has direct knowledge of things, different from knowledge based on testimony, inference.

1:48

His consciousness is truth- and right-bearing.

1:50

The samskaras produced by nirvikalpa samadhi overwrite other samskaras.

1:51

With the suppression of even the samskaras of sabija samadhi, one becomes established in Nirbija samadhi.


Metaphysics Of the Yoga-Sutra

2:2

The functions of the mind can always be known because of the constant nature of the Seer, the Lord, Purusha.

4:2

The transformation into another body (for another incarnation) is effected by the flow of prakritis; the jiva gets the body natural and appropriate to it.

4:7

Actions are neither white nor black in the case of sages, in the case of others they are of three kinds.

4:8

Having the three kinds of samskaras, they fruit variously as conditions become appropriate.

 4:9

Even among the samskaras there is relationship
and they affect each other, though they may be
different, and though they may be separated by class, space, or time on account of correspondences.

4:10

And samskaras are without beginning because the will to live and desire for well-being are eternal.

4:11

But as they are bound together by cause, effect, substratum and support, samskaras are destroyed when those are destroyed.


On Siddhis

3:36

By samyama on God as apart from creation, i.e. verse 3:35,  the faculties of divine hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell arise.


2:43
On destruction of impurities in the body and senses by tapas, occult powers arise.

3:49

By getting knowledge-of-the-difference, that is, the difference between God (Purusa) and even the highest aspects of creation (satva), one gets both omniscience and omnipotence over all things.

4:1

Siddhis can arise from birth, from drugs, mantra, tapas, or samadhi.

3:31

By samyama on the pit of the throat, the cessation of hunger and thirst.

3:35

By samyama (perfect meditation) on the heart, knowledge of the mind (of another).

3:43

The Great Bodiless is when the yogi's consciousness can exit the body and function outside of it, this real, not imaginary. From this comes destruction of the covering over the light.

3:38

When the mind's tie to the body is loosened, and he develops knowledge of how his mind moves, he can enter other bodies.

3:30

By samyama on the pit of the throat, the cessation of hunger and thirst.

3:34

By samyama (perfect meditation) on the heart, knowledge of the mind.

3:42

By samyama on the relationship between his body and akasa, then merging with the idea of a light and floating things like feathers, cotton or dandelion tufts, he can move throughout space.

3:39

By mastering the udana he can float over water, mud, thorns, the earth, etc.


3:33

By samyama (perfect meditation) on the light in the head (bindu), the yogi gets the vision of the Siddhas.

3:21

By samyama on one's own bodily form, invisibility, because the connection between light and the body is disjoined.

3:33

His intuition develops and with it he can know anything.

2:36

When he is established in speaking constant truth his mere words get the power to actualize.

3:38

These are obstacles in the way of samadhi, powers when the mind is  outward-turned.

10:3

Siddhis are a fruit of samskaras, are endlessly varied, and are experienced in the realm of karma.












Religious Knowledge, Spiritual Vision
 
Julian C. Lee Mickunas

 
   


















Introduction |  The YS: Path To God-Knowledge  |  The Summary Verses
Western Confusion About Yoga  |  On Brahmacharya
The Essence of Yoga |  The Problem  |  On Preparation
On Meditation  |   On Meditation Objects |  On Inner Divine Light
On Aum  |   On the 4th Pranayama
 |   On Samadhi  |  On Siddhis |  The State Of The Sage  |  Yoga-Sutra Metaphysics  |  APPENDIXES

   The Essence Of Yoga  

Now the most important verses in the Yoga-Sutra, from which one can attain all Good. These verses, almost alike, expose yogic work at the core, the middle, and at the end. These three are the essential yogic work. Music, please. Drums. An hundred new chants and 300 new bhajans and chorales, in thanks for these verses! First, to repeate 2:1 from the last section and set it beside 2:32:
 
   
2:1

  Tapah-svādhyāyeśvara-pranidhānāni-kriyā-yogah.    

Yogic activity consists of purification by asceticism (tapah), japa, and devotion to The Lord.

 
2:32


 Sauca-samtosa-tapah-svadhyayes'vara-pranidhanani niyamah.  

The yogic observances are purity, contentment, austerities (tapah, tapas), japa,and devotion to the Lord.

The first, 2:1, is repeated from the Introductory Summary partly for its basic importance and essentiality, and partly because I wanted to make it plain that two separate verses exist in the Yoga-Sutra which basically say the same thing, and that this is a phenomenon for the Sutra. They are placed side-by-side so you can easily see it. This allowed me to "borrow" as it were one of them to be used in the Introductory Summary. Verses 2:1 and it's redundant amplifier 2:32 can be considered the heart of the Yoga-Sutra. So the content of the two deserves a great deal of emphasis. Yet how much it is ignored!

Lack of registration and comprehension of these verses, by both commentators and westerners generally, has led to a collapse of understanding of the Yoga-Sutra and yoga in the west. Or I should say: That understanding never got rooted here in a robust way. 

In particular, the term svadhyayesvara has been repeatedly misrepresented in English translations. I mean to correct that. I render it as japa for basic and sound reasons which will be explained. There is nothing original about that rendering. Rather, it returns the word to its straightforward, original Indic content and clears away obscurations created by early Theosophical translators.


It is beautiful to note that Patanjali gives emphasis to the above three items by including a second verse downstream that is a virtual duplicate of 2:1:

Both verses specify tapas (austerities). You can easily see the word up in the white-highlighted Sanksrit ("Tapah"). I have directly translated it as it should be translated: Asceticism or austerities for purification. Both specify svadhyaya. And devotion to God , termed "the Lord" in most translations. "The Lord," in Hindu scriptures, usually refers to the yogic conception of Saguna Brahman, or the knowable creator-God with attributes. (The ideas of God-devotion and austerities appear elsewhere in the Sutra too, not just here.) "The Lord" in the Yoga-Sutra is a match to God as conceived in Christianity: A creator-God and lawgiver with feeling, desire, personality, and power.

The Yoga-Sutra is minimalist to an almost dire degree. It rarely refers to a yogic item twice. In the entire work there are only three instances in which the same subject is even glancingly referred to more than once. But verse 2:32 goes beyond a mere reference to earlier items: It is a near perfect repetition of Verse 2:1! Let's take serious notice then and draw solid understanding from this!  It is logical to suspect, therefore, that the content of these two verses is definitely true from the point-of-view of the author, plus of vital importance in yoga. From this repetition we can logically infer that God-devotion (bhakti), austerities, and svadhyaya -- are important to yoga.


Yoga is really essential religion. Conversely, most of the religions contain a great deal of real yoga.

Notice too that the three are listed in the same order: Tapas (austerities) is the very first. Then japa. Then God-devotion or bhakti. This is one of the cases where the ordering of ideas in the Sutra has sure significance.

Because verses 2:2 and 2:32 are so much alike, it is suitable to comment on them together. Both renderings above are mine. In case the reader might think I am turning the verses 'my way,' the only thing unusual about my rendering -- in the context of modern available versions is my use of japa for "svadhyaya" where many have begun to report "study." I will soon show that japa is correct. Otherwise, my rendering is very like most others. For your assurance here are the two verses rendered by Trevor Leggett, an Englishman and orientalist who tried to be spare and clinical in his renderings:


 
Trevor Leggett, 2:1
"Tapas, self-study, devotion to the Lord, are the yoga of action."

Trevor Leggett, 2:32
 
"Purity, contentment, tapas, self-study, and devotion to the Lord are the observances."
 
Most other translations are similar to these. (Leggett picked up the error of reducing svadhyaya to "study" or "self-study," discussed later. )

So we see that yoga is actually religion and religion is yoga. What a surprise. Volumes could be written about this one verse of the Yoga-Sutra. The verse bespeaks the storied lives of centuries of Christian and yogic saints. How much there is to asceticism! How much to the word "japa." Then when we arrive at bhakti or "devotion to God" -- we have reached the sea. I will spend a great deal of time on this verse. First we need to dispel a misunderstanding created by one of the early sutra translators, M.N. Dvivedi, that these activities are merely "preliminary yoga."

The Sutra states that these three -- tapas, svadhyaya, and devotion to God are  kriya-yogah. Leggett chose to render kriya-yoga as "the yoga of action." But the first-chair Sanskrit word for action is karma. "Yoga of action" translated back to Sanskrit would be "Karma-yoga." Karma-yoga is a different idea entirely than tapas, svadhyaya, and God-devotion. Karma-yoga as such is not even taken up in the Sutra. Thus that rendering by Leggett and others is flawed.

Kriya is a shade removed from karma and means activity, process. So kriya-yogah in the sutra refers to the activities and processes that constitute yoga.

The two nearly identical verses state that austerities, japa, and the cultivation of the devotional attitude toward God are the main activities and processes of yoga.

Kriya-yogah

Influential translators have sadly mishandled this verse by translating kriya-yoga as "preliminary yoga." This is incorrect and misleading. No, these activities go right up to the end. There is nothing merely "preliminary" about austerities. The final entry into samadhi, in which the mind is finally given up, is nothing less than the act of ultimate renunciation.

Neither can japa be labeled as "preliminary. Japa or repetition is at the heart of all meditation and remains loved by a yogi till the end, growing in fruitfulness.

Nor is devotion, which must be there from start to finish, a mere "preliminary." It only grows greater. It is the most ultimate efflorescence of sadhana. All three of these become more indispensable as one goes along.


The notion of austerities, japa, and devotion as preliminaries appears to have been started by Theosophical hire M.N. Dvivedi in his 1890 Sutra translation. Later I.K.Taimni, another Theosophist, carried forward the same ideas -- even many phrases of Dvivedi word-for-word -- in his well-circulated "Science of Yoga."Here is the original unfortunate rendering by Dvivedi containing the two errors:

"Mortification, study, and resignation to Isvara constitute preliminary yoga."

Now, in his commentary that follows Dvivedi contradicts himself. Apparently aware that he had just minimized three grand and culturally established spiritual imperatives, he qualifies and hedges the statement:

"These constitute the whole of the preliminary side of Yoga, and are sufficient, if carefully and sincerely practiced, to lead to Samadhi."

'So if you're boring enough to want to do those things, I guess, it's O.K. You can still get samadhi from them. But penances and bhakti, are, possibly just for the simpletons and slow-track people. Not exotic or mental enough for us Theosophists.'

Adding later to Dvivedi's "preliminary" notion, Taimni clucked that the three were "practical yoga." Sort of like some kids in school end up taking Shop, but the more elite fellows take Literature 103. These "preliminaries" are something for children, or grunt laborers. The Theosophist flies higher, in the skies of mental speculation.

Hey, practical means: It works, it gets the job done; it is what one practices. These three are, indeed, the basic activities of yoga and will take you to the end. In yoga the practical becomes nectarine.

When we study Sage Vyasa's commentary on Verse 2:1 it is clear these are not mere preliminaries and the Theosophical translators were treating the very gold of the Yoga-Sutra as trash, and delaying the day when Westerners would penetrate to the core mysteries of religion, yoga, and Divine Plenitude. I have added bracketed explanations of certain words used by Sage Vyasa so the paragraph would be readable for those uninitiated to the terms:

"When Kriya-yoga is properly performed, it conduces to the state of Samadhi considerably attenuates all the Klesas [distractions, afflictions]. The fire of Prasamkhyana or discriminative knowledge sterilizes the attenuated Klesas like roasted seeds. When they are attenuated, they cannot obscure the realization of the distinction between Buddhi [satva, the most pleasurable aspect of Nature] and Purusa [God]. Such realization then lapses in [turns into] the absence of the manifestation of the Gunas [the disappearance of the dualistic natural forces or Maya]."
Sage Vyasa's commentary on 2:1, from "Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali," Swami Hariharananda Aranya

This is the ancient sage Vyasa's commentary on this very "kriya-yoga" verse. Note that he associates kriya-yoga itself -- these very three activities of austerities, japa, and God-devotion -- with the most dramatic and final attainments of yoga. This includes:

-- Destruction of the klesas (afflictions/taints)

-- The final attainment of yoga which is 'perception of the difference between satva and Purusha,' leading to the final state called kaivalya

-- Even the disappearance of fundamental nature (Prakriti and the Gunas).


Vyasa speaks of kriya-yoga as something performed right up to these culminations. Thus austerities, japa, and bhakti are the fundamental activities of yoga, not preliminary yoga.

I believe that Dvivedi, Taimni, and others chose to call these three "preliminary yoga" for  psychological reasons having to do their times and the common human foible of devaluing the familiar things in one's own culture. Their desire was to present a more "sophisticated" view of the Sutra different from the cultural commonplaces that both bored and embarrassed them as Indian men. And better, too, to please Theosophical Society sponsors who specialized in spinning theatrical spiritual hornswaggle. And then there is the matter of realization. These particular Indians, disdaining their familiar culture and over-impressed with the "otherness" and modern aspects of the west, did not realize how cosmically potent are austerities, chanting, and simple devotion-to-the-Lord. They had not dug into their own meat.
Later I show that svadhyaya, which appears in the verse and definitely entails japa, is also mistranslated by these same men as "scriptural study." The meaning of svadhyaya will be discussed in detail below.
There is one sense in which those three could be called "preliminary," and only this sense: That they are a very good foundation to set for one day attaining the bliss of samadhi and the fulfillment of religion: The kingdom of heaven known here-now. That means the earlier a child begins to practice austerities (such as my kneeling long in church as a boy), the better. The earlier one begins cultivating the devotional attitude, the deeper this becomes rooted in you for cosmic fruits later. I was blessed to be induced to do the anjoli mudra early, as a boy in church. And the earlier one begins to study the question of God, to study scriptures, and develop concentration the better he or she can take to this profound yoga as an adult. However, the point is the renunciation impulse (austerities) remains necessary right up to the highest attainment, because renunciation of the very ego-mind in samadhi is the greatest austerity of all. The devotional attitude, as well, is needed at that time more than at any other.

Tapah

Interested in real yoga? Then you shouldn't be afraid of austerities. Did you know that the very act of trying to hold a yogic posture is a kind of austerity? And intended to become painful? Now, tapas is listed first, japa second, then God-devotion or Isvara-pranidhana. This order of listing occurs in two separate verses. Might there be a reason for it? Yes, indeed! Austerities are the first thing that anybody can get a handle on, and usually the first thing beings instinctively pursue when turning away from samsara and seeking spiritual reality.


A basic purpose of austerities is to reduce body consciousness and bodily attachment. Then the mind becomes free to both concentrate and pick up subtle perceptions. God within and the inner bliss are subtle perceptions. If you can finally pick them up through purity, they will feel very big in you. But you can't have static and you must not be distracted by the body and sensual desires. By renouncing bodily comforts and addictions gradually, tapas and austerities cut the addiction to the senses. This is like getting the BBQ potato chips out of your mouth so you can taste the fine French custard, or like turning down the heavy metal so you can hear the Mozart. Practicing austerities reduces the distractibility of the mind and give greater power of concentration for meditation or dharana, which is the central and hardest work of yogah. Austerities come in many forms, and you can choose the ones you feel most capable of doing. All effort at austerities yields spiritual fruit.


When I was young I was lucky to be part of a Catholic family that went to church. We had to kneel and stand for portions of the service. I found it difficult and tedious at times to stand so long, or kneel so long. But this was an austerity. I was doing yogic tapas right there already in Church. I might be hungry, and wish I could eat, but could not. My father thought we should not have breakfast until after church, though I normally ate first thing on waking. Learning to accept that hunger in church was tapas. When children are asked to be silent, even though they feel like talking and being rowdy, this is tapas for them. Manning your station at any task as duty, despite discomfort, hunger, or impatience -- is tapas. Attending to any job to the finish, though you would rather give in to distraction, is tapas. Walking a long way, not giving in to the slightest discomfort of cold or heat -- these are tapas. A soldier doing his hard duty is doing tapas. Tapas involves the destruction of addictions. Any tapas you do in one area of life, or with one attachment, will help you master others.


Austerities have even more spiritual effect if done for God and God-directed. In yoga and religious life austerities are meant to bring purification which finally helps the mind to become still, by which stillness it experiences God in samadhi.

We Instinctively Pursue Austerities When We
Grieve and When We Seek the Transcendental


A disconsolate person stops eating, a form of austerity, when life becomes too sorrowful. His soul-instinct tells him that this tapas could destroy his sorrows. When a woman renounces a man or has a broken heart she often cuts her hair, another kind of renunciation and austerity. When people see emptiness in the world and get a longing for spiritual knowledge they begin to seek solitude. This also is tapas. It is interesting that when a child is upset and terribly frustrated, wishing to work his will with his parents, he may try to coerce them by holding his breath. The holding of the breath in pranayama is another austerity. The "breath holding" child may in fact have an instinctive understanding that his breath is part of the cause of his dualistic suffering, which is correct. The sage Vyasa agrees with that child, saying "There is no tapas (purifier) like pranayama." That childish gambit may come from an instinct to engage in profound austerity, remove obstacles and samsara, and return to his primordial breathless and unconstrained state by ceasing from the dualistic breath, this same goal being the central goal of yogic pranayama!

Famously, the first act of Prince Siddhartha when comprehending the unsatisfactory nature of conventional life was to do tapas. Jesus Christ, in preparing to do a difficult teaching ministry, did tapas. This included a 40-day fast. He even stated that spiritual power for the performance of siddhis (miracles) requires fasting, that is, austerities. (He likely had done many fasts and other austerities up to that point.) Indeed, the mind is empowered by austerities, in part because the weakening of the mind's tie to the body corresponds to a strengthening of the mind's tie to Purusha (God) and Pure Consciousness. (God as Brahman.) Christian monastics also fasted in their supplication to God, and although little developed in them, fasting is a powerful form of tapas mentioned in Hindu scriptures. 

So tapas is a soul-instinct of all who reach out for a solution to suffering or who seek to find the More Satisfactory. Even women who break up with a suitor try to destroy grief with tapas! Meanwhile, it is the best ground for the other three to grow. The ground purified and cultivated by tapas is the ground where the fruit of japa (meditation) and devotion (bhakti) can grow. Those who get the hunger for spiritual knowledge turn to tapas even without reading the Yoga-Sutra, and those who wish to learn meditation and cultivate bhakti do it best along with tapas. Thus it is listed first. Austerities are accessible to all. Austerities are something that anyone can do, right now, using them to both prepare himself and make a loud call-out to God!


The easiest forms of tapas are these:

-- Silence
-- Seclusion
-- Giving up unnecessary or harmful food and drink
-- Giving up entertainments such as television, movies, and non-devotional music.
-- Giving up addiction to going places and seeing things. (Later the inner vision that comes with yoga will make this very easy to do and you won't miss any of it.)

The most powerful and effective forms of austerities are these:

-- Chastity
-- Fasting
-- Meditation
And these are very difficult austerities, but very important to pursue God-meditation and yoga:
-- Giving up addictions to drugs, drink, and sex.

Sunday Is Tapas
The White Europeans have traditionally practiced tapas every Sunday. All traditions surrounding Sunday involved renunciation, austerity, and the turning within to God, as well as bhakti-yoga in the churches. (Religious singing, stories about God, guru-devotion, etc.) All business activities were suspended.
Later all these austerities will be explored further.

Tapas is translated
as "concentration" in a great many Hindu texts. One Upanishad states that God as Brahma created the universe through his tapas, or mental concentration. So tapas has implications of both penances/mortification, plus concentration. The act of meditation (dharana) is seen as the ultimate form of austerity because it is a renunciation of the mind itself, enjoyer of all enjoyments. So austerity has an element of concentration. 


I want to point out here an interesting usage of tapas found in Sankara's "The Quintessence of Vedanta," translated by Swami Agamananda. In this text the word tapas is repeatedly translated as "devotion." This is an unusual occurrence in English translations of Indian texts. The two things are different. However, a religious person (pursuer of spiritual knowledge) will often do austerities as an expression of devotion for God. Further a "devoted" approach to  austerities makes them more successful. Third, God-devotion will grow as a result of tapas because through it the experience of the divine is further unfolded within. Thus there is some sense to the translation. If tapas really included devotion in its meaning, verse 1:2 might only need to say "Yogic activity consists of tapas and japa." I think it's much better that the two ideas -- tapas and bhakti -- are distinguished and considered separately. One can do tapas very dryly, like a mechanic or a health freak with his focus on his body and health, and lacking devotion. And devotional person or natural bhakta may be quite dissolute, undisciplined, and besotted by sense pleasures. Both of these get less from their efforts religious effort (their pursuit of spirituality). 

It is my opinion that man, more Shiva-like, takes more naturally to austerities but is less developed in emotional expression and devotion; the woman is a more natural bhakta and weaker in the pursuit of austerities. In the ideal life, the woman teaches the man about the nature of devotion; the male teaches the female about the power and need for tapas. One of the profoundest ways she teaches him about devotion and the ways of the heart are through their children, and the example of motherly compassion and devotion she sets there. A beautiful story illustrating these differences is found in "The Sage in the Rock" from the Yoga-Vasistha. In the story, a devoted wife saddened by her husband's turn away from the world and embrace of austerities follows him on his path anyway, because of her loyalty and devotion. Through her sheer attunement with her husband and devotion, she gets all his siddhis and tapas naturally without little effort, and is found flying about the cosmos in her astral body, conversing with cosmic sages in far away corners of worlds, etc. It is a charming story, especially as she tells of her former woes and sorrows in seeing her husband become Shiva-like and renounce the world. Oh! how much she suffers at first, being a true woman and a full enjoyer of the world. Yet he leads her into the higher life of God. It comes out that through her devotional nature as a woman, her loyalty, and continued attunement to her husband -- she attained everything he did and perhaps more. The secret of bhakti is that devotion gives everything.

Now commences a greater discussion of austerities, the prime technique of religion and yoga.

Chastity

This is the king of all austerities, especially for men who, in this day, whose spiritual interiors are revolutionized by it immediately. Chastity is not really an austerity because it immediately brings gain to the body and mind, and reduces the suffering of creative loss in the male, immediately. In most austerities, something is renounced or done without. In chastity, the male immediately becomes filled and fed by his own growing inner creative surfeit, which transmutes itself through his body and mind. Though chastity is not harsh like other austerities, it's importance is such that it should be listed as an austerity, and the very first.

Meditation

Meditation is the queen of all austerities. In meditation one is actually renouncing the very mind, root of all worldly pleasures and experiences. The Yoga-Sutra, the ancient text summarizing the techniques for God-knowledge, primarily addresses the disciplines preparatory to meditation, the techniques of meditation itself, and the results of meditation. Relevant Yoga-Sutra verses will be presented in this work with my commentaries, which I hope will be a lasting contribution to religious knowledge for the White Europeans, the India to which I owe much, and the world.

Solitude

The man who loves God best comes to love solitude more than company.
When you want to make God your beloved and best friend, you make a place for He and you alone, with no other. God prefers to visit the one who places himself in solitude. All beings normally prefer fellowship and company. And all beings suffer in the dualistic samsara.

Fasting

Fasting is a very effective austerity. It is listed here right after meditation, which is a more esoteric subject, because it is simple, available to all, and a powerful purifier. Fasting also has a special place in the Christian tradition. Christ fasted 40 days and nights. The yogic scriptures also affirm fasting as a valid austerity. Though it is not explicitly named in the Yoga-Sutra, "austerities" generally are named as the first basic action of yoga. And certainly fasting is a mainline and classic austerity.

Fasting destroys impurities in the body and even the astral body. It increases your intake of prana naturally, sloughs off bad karma that creates unhappy world conditions, and opens up the spiritual senses and vision. Fasting over time actually makes your body less material and more astral. The only reason fasting even works and can be done often with tremendous energy and clear headedness -- is because the body and brain learn naturally to live on prana and absorb it. Fasting opens the inner "mouth of prana" and makes a person less dependent on food subsequent to the fast.

When people have heavy sorrows they stop eating. The reason they do this is instinctive knowledge that a fast can destroy their sorrows. Indeed, the sorrows are because of grossness and sin in the life-projector, the body, and the sorrows that their body is projecting will be indeed attenuated and purified by fasting.

During fasting we get nearer to the astral planes, the "heaven" planes just above this one. Often we see, hear, or feel astral phenomena. One sign of this is that our dreams become more vivid and beautiful. During the fast we have special visions both during the sleep and waking state, often containing information and wisdom. This was understood by many indigenous religious people (shamans). They often undertook fasts in order to solve a problem, get knowledge, or get a vision.

A true fast is water only. Drinking juices is a form of food. Remember, the body turns solid food into liquid immediately. On a "juice fast" the body thinks you're still eating just the same and it does not start fasting. The body has an inner "fasting program" and it recognizes a fast. It only kicks into its real fasting program when it's water-only. Then the body begins to do it's real housekeeping and purification routines, well-pleased to finally be able to do so. Of course, there is normally much suffering in the first 1-3 days of a fast.

Christian adults should learn to fast at least one Sunday a month. Not eating that morning or night, but only breaking it the next morning. After practice, 2-day and 3-day fasts should be done as inspired.

Now back to Verse 1:2 itself.


Svadhyayes'vara

Svadhyayesvara
comes off as a problematic word in these texts. It gets translated variously. The "esvara" part of that word refers to God, or Isvara. Based on the way some translators like to render this word one would think it literally meant "study of God." Then Dvivedi/Taimni turned it into "study of scriptures." This is an error. And the "self study" renderings of Leggett and others are problematic. Does it mean "studying the Self" or "studying by yourself"? Everyone studies by himself, not in tandem with another. So they must intend the first idea. 


Application of one's self to God can be said to be taking place also during study of scriptures, but this word does not specify book-study. Doesn't everyone read books? Does that make them sadhakas and yogis? Yet many give it as "scriptural study." Others use "self-study," including the careful Leggett. Yet neither Leggett nor Taimni capitalize "self," though that is normative when referring to the Supreme Self. "Study of the Self" or "study of God," moreover, seems too broad, too nebulous, and too superlative for a verse that they claim  introduces "basic" or "introductory" activity.

Note that austerities are very particular. Devotion or bhakti is a simple, direct concept. How can one know when one is "studying the Self"? Is this why some tried to solve the dilemma by offering it as "scriptural study"? Because study of scripture is like a study of God? No, it turns out that the legitimate meaning of svadhyaya is application of one's self to God in a particular way: By japa which is repetition of mantra and chanting, the central activity of meditation.

Hariharananda, indeed, translated svadhyayes'vara as "repetition of sacred mantras or study of sacred literature." Swami Muktananda used to hold great events he called Svadhyaha that consisted of nothing but chanting the Guru Gita for days. He seemed to consider svadhyayes'vara to mean chanting or japa. Muktananda was well-versed in yogic literature and culture. More tellingly, Verse 2:44 of the Sutra states that svadhyaya brings communion with the deity. Felt communion with the Deity is an altered state different from the normal state of consciousness. Book-reading is not associated with such altered states of communion; japa certainly is.


2:44

 Svādhyāyād işţa-devatā-samprayogah.    

By svadhyaya is produced communion with the deity in the form favored by the devotee.
 
This could be cited as an essential verse or even a summation of the entire Yoga-Sutra. If one were to ask "Which single verse most capsulizes  the essence of the Yoga-Sutra?" — it would be this one. By japa-meditation on any thing, one merges with it. Should one choose God, he merges with God and his suffering is ended.


This very verse is one of the proofs of the meaning of svadhyaya. As explored above, many writers render it with terms like "self-study" or "scriptural study." But does scriptural study give communion with the desired deity? The experience of communion with an object, verily, cometh from chanting and meditation on that object. Not as securely by pondering the multifarious ideas that teem in religious scriptures.

An opponent could argue that meditation is mentioned elsewhere in the Sutra as dharana and dhyana, so svadhyaya must mean something else separate from meditation. Answer: The Sutra, being primarily about meditation, contains a number of words related to meditation just as the Bhagavad-Gita contains a great many names for God.

Japa

Japa
is the most commonplace and simple term for meditation. It is usually associated with the counting of beads and has both out-loud and quiet forms. Japa has a commonplace image and that of an introductory technique as most new sadhakas are started out on japa right away. Of course new sadhakas would be started on a meditation technique right away, since meditation is the central work. That does not diminish it, make it less profound, or separate it from meditation. New baseball players are given a hat, mitt, and ball. New soldiers are given a gun, a canteen, and a knife. Does the introductory nature of those items make the gun and knife mere "preliminaries" to the soldier? Look at the verse: Japa gives communion with God. By japa or fundamental meditation, you merge with the desired deity.


Japa refers to the repetitive element of meditation and the physical movement of the fingers or mouth. The word does not specify what one is doing with the mind, or with the emotions. It does not make any reference to the quality or stage of the meditation. An ice skater can be said to be "ice skating." Or we can be more specific about his particular skating modification of the moment and say he is "Shadow Skating" or "Stroking." We can call meditation japa. Or we can refer to particular phases of it such as "dharana" or "dhyana." The meditation technique used by Nityananda and covered in detail in the Vijnana-Bhairava is called "the natural japa."

It has been often remarked in the literature that the beginner is given out-loud japa to do. Likewise, it has often been stated that silent japa is more powerful than out-loud. Elsewhere you may find the opposite stated: That out-loud is most effective. The truth is that out-loud japa has a grosser impact; silent meditation a finer impact. If we think of the washing of a rag, out-loud japa is best for washing a very dirty rag for the first time. It is best for getting at the large, coarse impurities and giving it a good going over. Silent meditation is the deeper clearing and gets at the subtle stains. It could be said that there is gross power in out-loud chanting and subtle power in silent meditation. You could say that you call on God more urgently with out-loud; you go more within towards samadhi with silent. It was by out-loud meditation that I had immediate kundalini phenomena at the age of 21, outside of any expectation. (This was with the Baha'i mantra that they call the "Greatest Name" and which Baha'is  were always afraid of using, or afraid of talking about, or of acknowleding as a mantra. But I went right for it.) Then later it was with out-loud chanting that yogic kriyas (movements) began to occur. In fact I do out-loud chanting very little now because the shakti-movements always come and they are distracting. The same is true with religious singing. One aspect of the word japa is that it contains no information about the quality of concentration or the contents of the mind. It refers to the simple act of repetition, whether aloud or mentally. Japa can be compared to the idling of the car engine. Getting into good concentration (dharana) and then continuous concentration (dhyana) and then complete absorption (samyama) are like getting into different gears. In all those phases, however, the engine is running; japa continues.

Now you know that japa is a simple word for meditation. Now the Sutra gets down to finer analysis of meditation, its different grades of quality , intensity, stages, and perfection.

 It turns out svadhyaya has always implied japa and repetition of mantra in Indic culture, but two influential early Indian commentators decided to make a change. In his important 1890 translation M.N. Dvivedi, writing for the Theosophical Publishing House, is caught red-handed removing japa from svadhyayes'vara. Verse 2:44, Dvivedi's translation and his commentary:

  Svadhyayad-ista-devata-samprayogah.  

"By study is produced communion with the desired deity."

M.N. Dvivedi, "The Yoga-Sutras Of Patanjali"

 
Notice svadhyaya up in the verse. Japa does not appear in Dvivedi's verse translation, but "study" again. Yet his commentary on the verse admits the truth:

"The constant, silent, and devoted repetition of certain formula is said to be efficacious in establishing a sort of mediumistic communication with the higher elementals of nature; as also in developing the inner vision of the student and establishing communion with the deity of his choice."

So he knew that svadhyaya was japa not "study." Yet he seems to be apologizing for japa, treating the verse as a sideshow, as if it is separate from the main thrust of the Sutra. Japa is something quaintly "said" by villagers to produce "mediumistic communication" (an absurd phrase) and he wishes to move on to headier things.

The truth is japa or repetition of a mantra is the central technique of meditation! The Yoga-Sutra, meanwhile, is nothing if not a manual on meditation, its results, and its territories. Japa is synonymous with meditation and continues on through its technical forms of dharana and dhyana (which Dvivedi later presents with great respect). That very japa, perfected as samyama, is the central technique of siddhis which receive a whole spectacular chapter later. 


I.K. Taimni, another Theosophist, came later and emulated the Dvivedi translation and his more widely published version of the Yoga-Sutra, "The Science of Yoga." It was the first one I encountered. Note his desire to turn it into a "science" to make yoga respectable to the west. (Religion is a much greater thing than science, and yoga is religion.) He, also, knew that svadhyaya indicated japa. But he also obscured this. The only trace is this little bit he hid in his sidebars breaking down the Sanskrit, off-stage so to speak. Right after the beautiful script for svadhyayesvara in Verse 2:1 he writes:

"self-study; which leads to the knowledge of the Self through Japa"

You wouldn't see it if you didn't scour. But following his mentor, no mention of japa made it into Taimni's verse on svadhyaya. Taimni dumbs down japa into "study" like Dvivedi, but tries to pick up after his mentor by inventing the confusing term "self study":  

"Austerity, self-study and resignation to Isvara constitute preliminary yoga."
The Science of Yoga, I.K. Taimni,Verse 2:1

So Taimni and Dvivedi held their nose up to japa, and considered asceticism and bhakti merely "preliminary.


These two influential translators were part of Theosophical movement. I used to frequent the Theosophical Library in Ojai, California and have known many Theosophists, all old. I have also attended lectures at the "Meditation Mount" created by Alice Bailey there, another Theosophist. The Theosophists were a people who wanted to mine the mystical heritage of India to create their own highly intellectual, theoretical religion that cared more for elaborate and fictional metaphysics than the basics of spiritual sadhana that is the subject of the Yoga-Sutra. The Theosophist likes to overlook the simple and the small in religion in preference for elaborate and phantasmagorical competitions with Christian ideas. They sought to mine Indian mysticism while piling up bewildering fodder for the endless arm's-length intellectual indulgence that is the predilection of the Theosophist. So translators like Dvivedi and Taimni were trying to propound a more "esoteric" and headier presentation of the Sutra for arms-length intellectuals and those interested in the novel-like alternative religion histories of Madame Blavatsky. Simplistic and childlike activities like mantra repetition just wouldn't impress these western minds. Repetition of mantra or verses, called japa, was always implied by svadhyaya. But in the minds of Dvivedi/Taimni japa was as everyday in India as tattoos on a young Portlander. Housewives did it, grandpas, and the like. They likely felt embarrassed at the idea of mere japa as basic yogic activity. Their sophistry in translation is the sign of jaded eyes and failure to appreciate the profundity of what already lay before them, as is so human. (Just as a woman doesn't comprehend how beautifully inspiring is her God-made, untouched body before paying some creep to deface her with tattoos.) Any japa is meditation and japa is always profound.

I considered "divine study" as a better choice than "scriptural study" should the idea of study have to be retained. But I have chosen to render svadhyaya as japa for strong reasons. The problem is pretty much solved when we get to verse 2:44 which states that svadhyaya produces "communion with the desired deity" [deva]. Deva means "god." Study of scripture won't give you communion with a deva or the sense of God-contact but japa and meditation will. 

Note above how Dvivedi speaks of "communion with a deva" as some embarrassment. But communion with the highest of all gods called Isvara -- the very Lord of the Universe -- requires the same technique and is the intention. So Dvivedi misunderstood the verse in the first place. "Desired deity" (deva) in the verse does not mean one fiddles around with the Dandelion Deva or Vayu the Wind God. It means that each devotee has his own particular conception of God; they approach God by focusing on Jesus Christ, or a Saint, or their guru, or Vishnu, or Shiva. That is their "deva." The "deva" Who the yogi wishes to commune with, by japa, is that deva called Iswara, the Lord of the Universe! 

So this verse is not a side trip. Rather, it continues to be on the central subject, meditation, only seeking to acknowledge that devotees orient themselves to the Deity in different forms or conceptions.

Dvivedi specifies that japa is silent, but that is incorrect. Japa can be either silent or out loud. In practice japa starts out loud then evolves into a silent form. The meditation technique used by Yogananda and Nityananda, which is silent, is called by them "natural japa."

Svadhyaya Is:

Japa, Meditation, Application of One's Self to God,
Repetition of Mantras, Chanting, Religious Singing,
and perhaps secondarily, application of self to God via scriptures


I believe that the simple term japa is most honest and wholesome stand-in for svadhyaya. For the complete certitude of the reader, would-be aspirant, and the religious person (yogi or yogess), I will now summarize my justification for this:

☼ Some of the translators do render svadhyaya as japa or mantra repetition.
☼ Meditation is the central technique of yoga and many Sutra verses deal with meditation. Scriptural study is not a form of meditation in the yogic sense, but japa is. Meditation runs through-and-through genuine yoga, start-to-finish. In a verse introducing basic actions of yoga, some approach to meditation would surely be included. Japa fulfills that. Rendering svadhyaya as japa, as others have done, places meditation clearly into the "three actions" of yoga, and in the most basic form.
☼ In India svadhyaya has cultural connotations with out-loud chanting, and japa is itself synonymous with out loud chanting.
☼ The next verse will state that these three actions of "kriya yoga" attenuate "klesas" and bring samadhi. Yogins and sages declare that japa can do both; nobody states that scriptural study will do so. In fact japa has high praise in many yogic traditions as a core practice and irresistible power.
☼ For a first verse unveiling the yogic techniques. Japa is explicit, concrete, and clear, not vague or nebulous. Japa is an easily accessible idea. "Study of the Self" has no proof or standard. But all men and women can do japa, understand what it is, and know when they are doing it. Austerities and "special devotion to the Lord" do not nail down any explicit activity ("kriyah"). But this understanding of svadhyaya nails down a definite practice --- even  a meditation practice -- as part of the three basic activities of yoga.
☼ If we had to knock down 2 of the 3, and leave only one item standing, japa would be the best one to leave and has the most value. For japa is itself a form of asceticism, and also a vehicle for bhakti. Japa (repetition) is also the central activity of meditation itself, which is in turn the central theme of the Yoga-Sutra.
☼ I like the fact that it takes a text that has become arcane, bewildering and filled with loopholes or shift lines and puts this highly important verse into a practical, direct form that anybody can get their head around. Japa is a very adaptable meditation word that can refer to silent inner repetition or out loud chanting. The Yoga-Sutra does not need to seem distant and abstruse to the average-minded devotee.
☼ Japa can be musical. One of the best techniques of bhakti-yoga is devotional singing (as with Muktananda and his 3-day-long "Svadhyaya" sessions). Because Isvara-pranidhana or Devotion-to-God is listed as one of the basic actions, and is more nebulous, these connect nicely with one another, with japa being very down-to-earth. This interpretation would even completely satisfy such bhakti-oriented groups as the Hare Krsna.
☼ A devotee can do japa and no scriptural study, and he can get everything. A fellow who does scriptural study but no japa is on the sidelines.
☼ Verse 2:44 which states that svadhyaya produces "communion with the desired deity."
☼ Finally, japa can comport with the "basic activities" and those who want to view it as "introductory," even if that is misguided, since japa is a technique given to beginners.
Because the central technique of yoga is meditation, and because japa is the only alternative given by many translators in association with the term svadhyayesvara, and because japa is fundamental meditation -- I argue for rendering it thusly as the first resort.  Om.

Have I devalued scriptural study? It is important to yoga and samadhi, but not central. The guru, devotion, and japa are more central than scriptural study.

Yogic action consists of purification by asceticism (tapah), japa, and devotion to God.

Isvara-Pranidhanani -- Devotion to God

The Yogic term for God, in Patanjali's sutra, is Isvara. The Sanskrit term for God-devotion, seen above, is Isvara-pranidhana. Most translators give this as "special devotion to the Lord."

In a later verse Isvara will be described as "a particular purusha" (person, soul) who preceded us, has never had any afflictions or karmic taints, is beyond even time, and exercises Lordship over creation.
The yogic conception of God as Isvara matches the Christian concept of God as an all-powerful being, ruler and creator, as well as the Vedantic concept of Saguna Brahman or God-with-attributes. In this text I will sometimes use the White European term "God," sometimes Isvara, and sometimes other names that imply different qualities or functions of the Divinity.

Interestingly, the traditions that place Jesus Christ in India during His "missing years" also state that he had a name there was"Isha" which has a clear origin in "Isvara" (often spelled Ishwara). This could suggest that Christ, during his time studying yoga in India, had keen bhakti for The Lord and came to be called Isha by the people because of his lordly siddhis.


This is the Yoga-Sutra's verse on bhakti-yoga. We tend to think of the Yoga-Sutra as having qualities like a dry technical manual. But it's a beautiful fact that Patanjali's Sutra not only includes it, but appears to emphasize bhakti-yoga. Many celebrated yogic sages such as Ramakrishna, Sivananda, Narada, and Krsna himself have praised bhakti-yoga as the highest form of yoga, even all-complete in itself. Many of those yogins or commentators have observed that Christianity is basically a bhakti oriented religion. Indeed, many of the great Christian saints were essentially bhakti-yogis in their approach.


The theme of concentration throughout verse 2:1


It's valuable to note that all three "actions of yoga" -- tapas, svadhyaha, and devotion -- involve concentration of the mind. Tapas because it's sometimes used to name intense concentration, and because meditation is the ultimate austerity. Scriptural study or repetition of mantras obviously involves concentration. And devotion itself involves concentration of the mind. In a sense devotion to a thing is synonymous with concentration on it. Bhakti is perhaps the strongest expression of concentrated mind,one that involves all the emotions.


It has been stated that meditation, which is concentration of mind, is the central subject of the Yoga-Sutra.Thus yogah involves scriptural study and concentration on that;meditation and chanting and concentration on that; and devotion to God which is itself total concentration gathering up the whole self.


SUMMARY OF VERSES 2:1 & 2:32

Real yoga, ancient religion for God-knowledge and the end of suffering, is austerities, God-study, and devotion to God.
 
Chastity and virtue are the fertile ground of your yoga farmstead.

 
Techniques are the tools.

 
And the devotional attitude is like the rain. 



2:2

  Samadhi-bhavanartha klesa-tanukara-narthas' ca.  

These are practiced for reducing impurities, afflictions, and distractions and acquiring samadhi.

Now after already stating that austerities, japa, and God-devotion are the yogic activities,and after already establishing that samadhi is the goal, the Sutra follows up with a repetitive verse that primarily gives emphasis to the preceding one: These are practiced to attain samadhi.


This is the 2nd instance in the Sutra where we see the word klesa (pronounced "klesha"). This is another word that doesn't fit into a neat box. Leggett often translated it as "taint." Taimni usually rendered klesas as "distraction." But the term first arose in the verse describing Isvara-God as a purusha free of afflictions/taints. "Affliction" is the first-chair definition given by Pandit Usharbudh Arya in his "Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali." He uses the phrase "not smeared by afflictions" to combine the idea of impurities. Hariharananda in his glossary defines klesa entirely in painful terms: "Pain, anguish, distress, worry, affliction."


In our minds there is some gappage between the ideas of impurities, afflictions, and distractions. But the Sanskrit sees a close connection between the three.


Now, this leads us to a nice portal of truth that may or may not be present in the verses as written, but should be discussed. Let's forget the mere "distractions" idea as related to meditation. The verse is literally saying that these three activities attenuate afflictions.


How nice to attenuate your afflictions!


Did you realize that austerities (and don't forget to include chastity), chanting, and devotion to God will attenuate your afflictions in life? Yes, it's so. Isn't religion lovely?


Religious knowledge is concerned with lifting your hassles, bummers, disasters, stresses, and miscellaneous snafus from your shoulders so that you can acquire samadhi. So it tells you to purify yourself with austerities, quit sinning with sex, and connect yourself to the untainted Father by thinking of Him devotionally. Jesus said: "My burden is light and my yoke is easy." The Yoga-Sutra is saying in this verse: "Be religious in these basic ways and your burden -- your afflictions -- will become lighter."Later you will see, as Sankara has tried to get us to see, that all the insoluble troubles we thought we had were just you seeing a stick in the road ahead and thinking it was a snake. God, the Lord, can change the story like that.


Verse 2:2 incidentally further contradicts the translators who render kriya-yogah as "preliminary yoga." How can the things needing doing right up to yoga's ultimate goal ("acquiring samadhi") be named "preliminary"? The effect of this mistake, no doubt, has been to mislead the already confused into thinking the three -- austerities, svadhyaya, and bhakti -- are of little importance while body postures, which are not even mentioned in the Sutra, are important, though the Sutra emphasizes these three,in three separate verses. These three are the warp and woof of yoga, not bodily postures.


Further, these are to be practiced in solitude, not groups. Solitude is, incidentally,itself one of the austerities. The Sutra does not call it out explicitly, the Bhagavad-Gita does. The Hatha-Yoga Pradipika also specifies that yoga is a solitary activity, not a social one, and not a business. (Notice how I am giving away this text for free, not selling it.) Groups of people are very distracting. They also give pleasure. Pleasures are what one is supposed to renounce if one wants to be austere and clear the way to perceive the subtle God within. One also doesn't do yoga sitting on picturesque and distracting mountaintops, or noisy seasides in the wind, as presented to us now by waby culture. One also doesn't need to put their hands out with thumb and finger in a circle as we see so often depicted, and likely shouldn't.

It has become offensive to my eyes to see all the ladies displaying themselves doing the devotional anjoli mudra (hands together, as in prayer) in yoguh magazines, yet with little mention of who's she's devoted to, or if she is devoted to anybody at all, as if yoga was meaningless and is not, in fact, religion. I see hundreds of these displaying themselves. Who is her guru? Does she love God as the Yoga-Sutra instructs? Does she love austerities? Is she on board with chastity? Truly, the reduction of this ancient religious knowledge to a bodily vanity interest for women, who cavort in the mummery of "spiritual" poses while ignoring God and yoga's religious purpose, simply grasping more things that she desires for worldly pleasure, and all these pranaming-to-nobody- women presented to us by commercial publishing interests -- is pollution to the eyes.

However, I shouldn't say so much, because that would be a "painful transformation" of my mind, plus does not give my mind peace. This brings us to the Sutra's listings of ways to bring the mind to stillness. One of those is by "ignoring the ignorant," a habit I've not yet mastered. But let's see what the Sutra lists for the basic preparations for yoga, one of these is ignoring the ignorant. Do forgive my error.
Introduction |  The YS: Path To God-Knowledge  |  The Summary Verses
Western Confusion About Yoga  |  On Brahmacharya
The Essence of Yoga |  The Problem  |  On Preparation
On Meditation  |   On Meditation Objects |  On Inner Divine Light
On Aum  |   On the 4th Pranayama
 |   On Samadhi  |  On Siddhis |  The State Of The Sage  |  Yoga-Sutra Metaphysics  |  APPENDIXES
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