Yoga Sūtra Study Questions – Collected & Collated into Chapters

Quick Links:
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four Study Questions – Collected & Collated

View this Page as Individual Posts in the 108 Yoga Sūtra Study Questions Series

The aim of this series, and its companion series (108 Yoga Sūtra Keywords), with its single guided Sūtra word within a parallel flow, is to progress through a themed reflective journey across the four chapters or Pāda that comprise the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali.

On this page, a question will be proffered as a reflection and inquiry into a single verse. Here each verse in the text will be explored successively, via a link to its translation, word-by-word breakdown and added commentaries collated from the website, to invite the reader to form their own opinion as to what is implied.

On the companion page, a word will be listed as a symbol for a specific verse or set of verses as we progressively traverse each chapter. It will offer an exploration, via a link to the Saṃskṛta Glossary, of all the connected quotations and posts, collated from within the website these past 12 years, again to invite the reader to form their own opinion as to what is implied.

My wish is to offer an insight into the spectrum of Yoga teachings received from T Krishnamacharya mainly via TKV Desikachar, in terms of both breadth and depth.

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1. Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One – Samādhi Pādaḥ

– In Sūtra 1.1 what does the word Atha symbolise for you
in relation to your moment-to-moment choices?
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– In Sūtra 1.2 what does the word Nirodha signify for you
in terms of choosing both what to keep in and to keep out?
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– In Sūtra 1.3 how would you portray the word Avasthāna
to a person with little understanding of Yoga?
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– In Sūtra 1.4 what are the fluctuations that
we personally most often conform to?
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– In Sūtra 1.5 Patañjali suggests that the psychic
fluctuations will be either Kliṣṭa or Akliṣṭa.
How can we discern?
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– In Sūtra 1.6 Patañjali identifies the psychic
fluctuations as being fivefold.
In looking at this statement,
which of these are you engaging?
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– In Sūtra 1.7 Patañjali defines Pramāṇa as having three sources.
How do we discern that all three are not, in reality, self-selective
ascertainments and thus, just all muddled variants of Anumāna?
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– In Sūtra 1.8 Patañjali defines Viparyaya as a false knowing.
How can we discern a right perception from a wrong perception
and can a false knowing be both Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa?
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– In Sūtra 1.9 Patañjali defines Vikalpa as an
understanding arising from the spoken word.
How do we discern whether Vikalpa is actually what arises
from the spoken word from what was said to us, or what
arises from the spoken word in how what was said is heard?
In other words how to discern if there is any difference
between what is said to us and what we imagine we hear?
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– In Sūtra 1.10 Patañjali defines Nidrā as a
Citta Vṛtti or, a specific type of cognition, one
where Tamas is the object, to the point where
the mind’s link with external stimuli is cut off.
How do we discern between states such as
Pratyāhāra as a disengagement, or Samādhi,
where one is as if empty of one’s own character,
and what is seen as the experience of Tamo Nidrā?
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– In Sūtra 1.11 Patañjali defines Smṛti as
the retention of the experience of an object.
How do we know whether Smṛti is Pramāṇa,
given the presence of Viparyaya and Vikalpa
within our parti pris shaping of an experience?
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– In Sūtra 1.12 Patañjali defines Abhyāsa
and Vairāgya in relation to Nirodha.
A question we can explore as
an avenue towards grasping this
Sūtra is, what is the relationship
of these two seeming polarities?
Namely, what are the qualities of
Abhyāsa, in relation to the qualities
of its seeming counterpart, Vairāgya?
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– In Sūtra 1.13 Patañjali succinctly
defines the aim of Abhyāsa as
the effort to remain there.
What is the ‘effort‘ mentioned here?
Where is the ‘there‘ mentioned here?
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– In Sūtra 1.14 Patañjali outlines qualities he feels are
important in cultivating the intention within Abhyāsa.
What are these qualities and how can we
realise them within our efforts to remain there?
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– In Sūtra 1.15 Patañjali introduces Vairāgya
as dispassion arising from an absence of thirst.
Towards what and how would you interpret its
relevance towards your outer and inner life?
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– In Sūtra 1.16 Patañjali introduces two concepts which are
fundamental to the philosophical foundations in Sāṃkhya.
What are they and what is their relationship to Vaitṛṣṇya
within the Sāṃkhya teachings discussing cause and effect?
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– In Sūtra 1.17 Patañjali presents Asmitā, or the
sense of oneness, as the culmination of four
successively subtle forms of a meditational
process, collectively described as Saṃprajñāta.
How do we compare Asmitā in this verse
with the Asmitā described as one of the
five Kleśa listed in Chapter Two verse 3?
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– In Sūtra 1.18 Patañjali introduces the notion of Saṃskāra.
What is the relationship of Saṃskāra, as introduced
in this Sūtra, to the outcome of Abhyāsa,
as discussed in the preceding Sūtra?
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“In Sūtra 1.19 Patañjali appears to be alluding to
two possible cul-de-sac’s for misplaced intention,
in terms of experiencing an illusion of freedom.
What are they and how can they be avoided?”
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– Updated 23rd August 2023

Quick Links:
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three Study Questions – Collected & Collated
– Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four Study Questions – Collected & Collated

2. Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two – Sādhana Pādaḥ

3. Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three – Vibhūti Pādaḥ

4. Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four – Kaivalya Pādaḥ