Trying to hold onto the fleeting presence of awareness can be likened to a bird choosing to land in the open palm of your hand. We desire to hold onto it because of our attraction towards continuing to enjoy the experience of its delicacy, beauty and gift of presence.
Thus when the bird of awareness alights in your palm the temptation is to close the fingers around the experience, however gently, in order to hold on to it, albeit to protect it or to continue to experience this unique moment of relationship with something that is usually elusive, or out of sight or reach.
However I feel, as with a bird you need to keep your hand open, so with awareness, you need to keep your hand open, as in resisting the desire to cling onto the experience. The bird of awareness might be happy to rest awhile, that is fine and then it flies off, that is also fine.
The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapters One to Four
Samādhi Sādhana Vibhūti Kaivalya Pādaḥ
Offered here, as both a UK and US version PDF, is a verse by verse rendition for all four chapters of the Yoga Sūtra, each with the Romanised Saṃskṛta. Each verse is rendered more from a literal viewpoint, rather than a liberal viewpoint. This is a choice of approach whereby the aim is to stay closer to the style of composition utilised by Patañjali with its grammatical terseness outweighing communicative fluidity.
Readers wishing to complement this more literal approach with a more liberal interpretation can visit Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra where you can find a freedom of expression in terms of choice of rendering to facilitate a more free-form thread for the reader.
I do feel that verses ten and eleven in Chapter Two of the Yoga Sūtra offer a directional shift as an inspiration for undertaking the transitional commitment from Kriyā Yoga towards Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
“These (Kleśa) are subtle and are
overcome by going back to their origin.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 10
(the rise and fall in their perpetual potency to ‘take over’)
is overcome by meditation.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 11
For me, these two verses are an essential reflection in the transition from the integration of Bāhya Sādhana, towards the cultivation of Antar Sādhana. Furthermore, when considering this deepening of our Sādhana from Bāhya towards Antar, these verses also re-mind me of the simple yet heartfelt teaching inherent in Chapter One.
Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.
However, even without outer obstacles,
we can encounter inner feelings that arise
and manifest as if obstacles to that re-turning.
Here it might be helpful to reflect
on how to cultivate the four pillars of
Maitrī, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upekṣā and
the role they can have in helping to transform
the unhelpful aspects of these inner feelings.
“Bhāvana is a beneficial attitude
that is consciously cultivated
despite tendencies to the contrary”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33
With the spirit of Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33 in mind,
the cultivation of the four pillars is an inner practice
that can support a stepping, rather than stymieing,
onto our practice mat or seat through:
A postscript to yesterdays post around the three Niyama
within Kriyā Yoga on the uses of the terms ‘self’ or ‘Self’ within
the legs in the tripod supporting our efforts at nurturing a state of Yoga.
The first leg supporting the tripod refers to Citta
as the self in terms of nurturing self-Discipline.
“Tapas is to discipline our eating habits.”
– T Krishnamacharya
The second leg supporting the tripod refers to both Citta and Cit
as the self in terms of nurturing Self-Inquiry.
“Svādhyāya is an inquiry into one’s true nature.”
– T Krishnamacharya
The final leg supporting the tripod refers to Cit
as the Self in terms of nurturing Self-Awareness.
“Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing.”
– T Krishnamacharya
Pratyāhāra is not feeding the tendency of the Citta to automatically form a positive, negative, or neutral identification with whatever stimuli the senses present to it. From that we can begin to understand how their external gathering activities stimulate our conscious and especially, unconscious choices.
From this we can begin to understand how the impact of this sensory process can lead us to travel in different directions and trigger different levels of response, often without us being really conscious of how deeply their input stimulates our psychic activities.
From these responses there will be the inevitable re-actions, again quite possibly unconscious and multilevelled, according to our psychic history in terms of our memory, habit patternings and deeper memory processes.
From those initial insights we can begin to understand and interact in how we can resist unconsciously slipping into the trance states that can so often culminate with the Kleśa manifesting fully in the entrancing dance of Udārā Rāga, or Udārā Dveṣa, or Udārā Abhiniveśa, the profligate children of Avidyā.
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54
View or Download as a PDF
First Theme Nirodha or Containment verses 1-4
Follow the Teachings of Yoga.
Yoga arises from the containment of,
Our propensity to fluctuate.
From this state,
Clarity of being,
As vision is from the source of perception.
At all other times,
We identify with the fluctuations.
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The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapters One to Four
Samādhi Sādhana Vibhūti Kaivalya Pādaḥ
Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbooks are listed below for all four chapters of the Yoga Sūtra. They are available for each individual chapter as well as a combined version.
For those wishing to use these workbooks as a personal study guide then exploring the online Yoga Sūtra verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four Kaivalya Pādaḥ
A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter four of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapter as well as a combined version.
For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter four verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three Vibhūti Pādaḥ
A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter three of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapter as well as a combined version.
For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter three verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Sādhana Pādaḥ
A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter two of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapters as well as a combined version.
For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter two verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Samādhi Pādaḥ
A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter one of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapters as well as a combined version.
For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter one verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
With appreciation for many years of personal teaching in India with my root Yoga teacher TKV Desikachar, along with further word by word studies of the Yoga Sūtra through personal lessons with S Ramaswami.
This Sūtra study Workbook is offered in the spirit of Paramparā. It is not © and is available online, as a PDF in both A4 and US Letter versions, in the spirit of open source community commons.
May it support those who use it in their journey towards Viveka and Svatantra.
View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Workbook A4 version
View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Workbook US Letter version
View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Workbook A4 version
View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Workbook US letter version
The ten senses or Das Indriya are the gateway between the inner and the outer,
in the twin roads of this phenomena we call experience or action.
The five senses that transport experience from the outer to the inner
are called the Jñāna Indriya, or the senses through which we receive the world.
The five senses that transport actions from the the inner to the outer
are called the Karma Indriya, or the senses through which we put out into the world.
The co-ordinator of this remarkable interface is known as Manas.
The identifier in this remarkable process is known as Ahaṃkāra.
The discerner in this remarkable trinity is known as Buddhi.
The observer in this remarkable play of experience and action is known as Cit or Puruṣa.
A recent surge of questions from Yoga teachers around the notion of Śraddhā.
Collating and ordering the range of questions being asked we arrive at:
– What is Śraddhā?
– How do we offer a relevant meaning for Śraddhā to a group class?
– How do we teach Śraddhā to a group of students?
– How do we plan a practice with Śraddhā as the focus for a group class?
Before responding more in a future post I wanted to let the questions sit as reflections for all interested in this topic.
Meanwhile helpful reference points could be:
– The Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20
– The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 37
– The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seventeen verse 2
Yoga Teachings on Emotions, Mind, Body and Energy
Chapter One has 51 Sūtra and is called SAMĀDHI PĀDAḤ or the Path to Integrating the Psyche.
This first chapter introduces the psyche, its activities, practices required for change and the possibilities for practice according to the inherent abilities of the practitioner. This chapter is for a student who already has a quality of a Samāhīta Citta or a stable psyche.
– Primary concepts in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One
Theme One verses 1-11 – Cit and Citta
- v1-4 – Definition and Purpose of Yoga
- v5 – 11 – Activities of the Citta or Psyche
Theme Two verses 12-22 – Jñāna and Śraddhā
- v12 – 19 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Jñāna Yoga
- v20 – 22 – The role of Śraddhā
Theme Three verses 23-39 – Bhakti and Eka Tattva
- v23 – 31 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Bhakti Yoga
- v32 – 39 – Short Term Meditational Strategies
Theme Four verses 40-51 – Sabīja and Nirbīja Samādhi
- v40 – 46 – Refinement of Dhyānam
- v47 – 51 – Final Steps
The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant.
If what is offered here interests then proceed.
Also the first four Sūtra summarise the whole thrust of the teaching.
- Verse 1. Starting Point.
- Now follow the teachings of Yoga.
- Verse 2. Goal and Means.
- Yoga is the containment of fluctuations in the psyche.
- Verse 3. Outcome.
- Then the seer abides in its own character.
- Verse 4. Obstacles.
- At other times there is identification with the fluctuations.
CHAPTER 4 – THE DIVISION OF THE SPOILS
The focus for these four short articles has been the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali. This is regarded as a primary text defining Yoga and its purpose especially with regard to the mind and the transformation of those things which block our understanding. Its four chapters are seen as a complete teaching on Royal Yoga, known as Rāja Yoga, hence the borrowing of the title from the author Paul Scott.
The first part of the quartet outlined chapter one, called Samādhi Pādaḥ. its 51 verses introduced the mind, its fluctuations, problems and possibilities. Entitled “The Jewel in the Crown”, it focused on the theme of mindfulness. Its teachings chart the transformation of the mind towards a flawless jewel in the crown of our being.
CHAPTER III – THE TOWERS OF SILENCE
This article looks at chapter three. Titled Vibhūti Pādaḥ, its 55 verses explore the possibilities of a mind with more refined qualities of mindfulness and clarity. Here it is not the experiences which control the mind. The mind is able to focus in a particular direction and be freer from the effects of external and internal disturbances.
In this is the image of the mind being a support or structure which can maintain its containment and flow within the vagaries of inner and outer experience. A tower gives the impression of strength and consistency, it also indicates the possibility of being able to see beyond the normal view.
The student in the third chapter has experienced the nature of the meditative mind and has a strength and view which is beyond the range of normal perception. The mind can be a likened tower of silence.
The questions in this chapter are firstly, what are the possibilities for a mind with this potential and secondly:
CHAPTER II – THE DAY OF THE SCORPION
This article looks at chapter two. Titled Sādhana Pādaḥ, its 55 verses reflect the theme of self responsibility in cultivating the preparatory means for accessing and maintaining mindfulness.
In astrology the sign of the scorpion has at its ruler the planet Pluto. The influence of Pluto in our chart and life is associated with the creative forces of the body, with enforced change, the unconscious and beginning and ends of phases of life. Committing ourselves to Sãdhana or practice in the direction of Yoga will bring us into contact with these issues.
The zodiac sign of Scorpio is itself associated with a sense of purpose, persistence and discrimination. In chapter two of the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali is also concerned with these aspects from the viewpoint of developing these qualities through doing something ourselves. So that what is not possible becomes possible.
This is Sādhana, providing the means to reach somewhere we haven’t reached before. How to proceed?
CHAPTER I – THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN
My apologies to Paul Scott for plagiarism. However the Pādaḥ (four parts) which comprise the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali are often known as Rāja Yoga. Also one view of this text is that Patañjali had four students and that the chapters of the YogaSūtra are arranged as four sādhana, each one according to the level students personal development and thus offering a different role. In this context the title is apt, with its four chapters Patañjali has composed a complete teaching on royal or classical Yoga.
I will attempt through four articles to present an introduction to theses teachings through which the student can form their own understanding. As is the tradition I first offer my respects to Patañjali and the lineage of teachers who have helped to carry these insights to our age and culture. I acknowledge that we can only surmise as to exactly what Patañjali meant and thank my teacher TKV Desikachar for guiding me towards this understanding.
This article looks at Chapter One, titled Samādhi Pādaḥ or the book on integration, its 51 verses reflecting the theme of mindfulness.