student doesn't have
to wait and may have a quick bird's eye view of
the Yoga-Sutra I have selected these five verses as
ideal summary of the text
Now a discussion of
Yoga is the
cessation of the
fluctuations of the mind.
So that the Seer,
comes to know Itself and abide in Its own real, fundamental nature.
By ending the
vrittis of the
mind, the divine, all-sufficient, immutable God within is known, and
known as the only Reality.
"Citta" means mind
thinking principle. A "vritti" is a thought;movement or
change in the mind. "Nirodha" means cessation, stoppage, dissolution.
Yoga is an entirely an address to the mind, not to the body. Since the
body is only an emanation or vesture of the mind, all mastery of the
body is given automatically by mastery of the mind. Perfection of the
body is likewise given by perfection in citta-vritti-nirodha because
then the perfection of Brahman, or Pure Consciousness, shines through.
Yoga is actually the
work of bringing the mind to stillness. An amazing thing happens when
yoga is mastered: One
attains samadhi. Success
in chitta-vritti-nirodha equals
samadhi. Samadhi is the central subject of the Yoga-Sutra: How it is
stages or levels of samadhi, and the fruits and implications of it. An
oddity of the text is that we find the verses speaking
about samadhi long before the word "samadhi"
is actually used. It's as if the Sutra assumes that the
reader understands the subject of the book. One
of the venerable ancient Indian commentators, Vyasa, went so far as to
say "Yoga is samadhi." Entymology has "yoga" coming
from"yuke" or to yoke together. The reference, then, is to
joining the individual soul, or jiva, with the Supreme Soul. Thus the
sage was making sense.
In practical terms,
Yoga-Sutra turns out to be an expose on meditation. A great many of its
verses are directly on the subject of meditation and meditation
technique. Chapter One contains a list of meditation focci, from
meditation on one's guru ("on one who is free from passion")
to meditation on an experience from dreams. Meditation is the means of
attaining samadhi. This is an implicit central message of the
Yoga-Sutra. Thus one could easily say "Yoga is meditation."
And meditation is
grappling with the mind, the directing of the mind to one thought for
the cessation of the movement of the mind, just as Verse 2:2 states.
Thus one focused on the body and doing bodily postures, but not
striving to still the mind: Are they really doing yoga in the genuine
sense of the word? No, especially if stilling the mind is not their
purpose anyway, but getting a differently shaped rear end etc.
Now let's return to
Yoga-Sutra and find out what yoga really is, and always shall be. The
next verse is the first in the chapter on practice, often called
"Sadhana Pada." Sadhana means the basic moral and spiritual disciplines
of an aspirant.
Whereas in the
normal state (of
human suffering) the Seer is assimilated with the mind and its
The divine seer
out through the karmic morass of the body, projects worlds and
conditions. This is a delicate statement. Much can be unfolded from it.
It bears directly on the metaphysics of
world-erection found in Non-Dualistic Vedanta and Upanishads such as
the Mandukya and Gaudapada-Kirika Upanishad.
do we project delusive and transient worlds?
The Divine Seer
mixed up with them, temporarily both seeing them as real and making
did this start?
time ago, as soon as we
began forming a jiva and body having a "I-ness" borrowed from Purusha,
conceptualizing "other" and "things." The Seer is not just assimilated
with the mind and its movement, but the conditioning inherent in the
mind and body, thoughts and experiences past, comparable to writing on
a hard drive.
Why does He remain assimilated with the
mind and its movement and
Long habit by the
believing in the projection; believing it as real.
the Seer (Purusha) ever get free of this situation and know
It does so each
night in dreams
and also deep, dreamless sleep. If a yogi and religious person, he or
she can get free of this state during the waking life via austerities,
concentration, and bhakti which leads to samadhi which
is knowledge of the divinity while conscious.
does the Seer become assimilated and entangled again?
Each morning in a
moment you begin to stir from sleep and consciousness directs itself
again to your body and senses. Immediately the world is resurrected and
immediately, by conditioning and habit, you believe it is real again.
The external things, at the original root, are nothing but
consciousness, so the Seer is really seeing Itself, or the products of
the jiva-mind's creativity, which creativity was channeled from the
Purusha. The Seer is then assimilated with its own creations, enmeshed
The question arises:
Is it my
jiva or particular mind that is deluded and mixed up with the outer
samsara? Or is God himself, Purusha, also deluded? Sankara
likes to say that Isvara is Himself deluded and that is why he has
worlds and universes. This is incorrect. Both Saguna and Nirguna
Brahman is ever enlightened and ever free. The Jiva has separated
itself from Him, especially during the waking state. Each night we
re-unite with the Perfect Purusha. But 'sitting on Daddy's lap,' and
realizing again nothing's ever been lost, we get a hankering, like a
child, to run off and play games of pretend again. Thus we wake. The
yogi seeks to become aware of the divine untouched Father, at least in
increasing measure, during the waking state by continence, austerities,
meditation, and bhakti-yoga.
of purification by asceticism
(tapah), japa, and
devotion to The Lord.
This verse will be
repeated, then discussed at length in the section
"Essence of Yoga."