Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

 This page will offer a Chapter by Chapter overview of the Yoga Sūtra.

This overview can be seen as a Yoga Mālā or a thread of pearls from Patañjali’s Sūtra presented over four Pādaḥ or chapters. Each chapter is summarised into annotated themed sections, each containing the relevant verses with an offering as a translation.

For a word by word Saṃskṛta exploration of the Yoga Sūtra readers are advised to follow the full online edition of the Yoga Sūtra, wherein every word is translated and cross-linked along with a verse translation. This online Yoga Sūtra resource is also gradually accumulating commentaries from Krishnamacharya, Desikachar, Ramaswami from my own study notes along with personal reflections.

Meanwhile with this page, I am endeavouring to stay close to my studies whilst allowing more freedom of expression to facilitate an easier path for the reader.

Quick Links:
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One – A thread of pearls
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two – A thread of pearls
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three – A thread of pearls
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four – A thread of pearls

Chapter One – Samādhi Pādaḥ – 51 verses

“The Book on the assimilation
of what thinks it perceives,

with the source of perception.”

Annotated through Ten Themed Sections

1. Nirodha or Containment – verses 1-4
2. Citta or Psyche – verses 5-11
3. Abhyāsa & Vairāgya or Practice & Dispassion – verses 12-16
4. Saṃprajñāta or Total Knowing – verses 17-19
5. Śraddhā or Faith – verses 20-22
6. Īśvara or the Lord – verses 23-28
7. Vikṣepa or Distraction – verses 29-31
8. Eka Tattva or One Principle – verses 32-39
9. Sabīja or With Seed – verses 40-46
10. Nirbīja or Without Seed – verses 47-51

1. Nirodha or Containment – verses 1-4

verse 1
“Now,
follow the Teachings of Yoga.”
verse 2
“Yoga arises from the containment of,
our propensity to fluctuate.”
verse 3
“From this state,
clarity of being,
as vision is from the
source of perception.”
verse 4
“At all other times,
we identify with the fluctuations.”

2. Citta or Psyche – verses 5-11

verse 5
“These fluctuations fall into five groups
and can be helpful or unhelpful.”
verse 6
“The five groups are
right perception,
wrong perception,
imagination,
deep sleep and
remembrance.”
verse 7
“Right perception is through
the senses,
inference and
testimony.”
verse 8
“Wrong perception is
false knowledge that has no basis.”
verse 9
“Imagination is knowledge that
comes from words empty of substance.”
verse 10
“Deep sleep is the obscuring of the fluctuations,
resulting in the non-appearance of mental activity.
verse 11
“Memory is the retention of the outcome
of our experience of an object.”

3. Abhyāsa & Vairāgya or Practice & Dispassion – verses 12-16

verse 12
“By both practice and dispassion
these fluctuations are contained.”
verse 13
“Practice is the effort to remain there.”
verse 14
“Moreover,
this stage becomes firm when attended to
without interruption,
over a long time,
with care and
enthusiasm.”
verse 15
“Absence of thirst towards objects,
whether material or spiritual,
is the acknowledgement of
the mastery of dispassion.”
verse 16
“The higher dispassion,
arising from a recognition of the true self,
is an absence of thirst,
even for the play of matter.”

4. Saṃprajñāta or Total Knowing – verses 17-19

verse 17
“Total knowing follows the form of
deliberation on gross objects,
reflection on subtle objects,
the feeling of pure joy and
the sense of pure ‘I’ am-ness.”
verse 18
“Other than this is the practice
where only tendencies remain,
it is preceded by the cessation of psychic activity.”
verse 19
“However psychic activities will re-emerge,
for those who are discarnate,
or absorbed in the process of matter.”

5. Śraddhā or Faith – verses 20-22

verse 20
“For others,
faith precedes
vigour,
mindfulness,
integration and
knowing.”
verse 21
“It is near for those with extreme intensity.”
verse 22
“Hence also the distinctions of
mildness,
moderateness and
intensity.”

6. Īśvara or the Lord – verses 23-28

verse 23
“Or from dedication to the highest self.”
verse 24
“This highest self is
distinctive in its awareness,
untouched by
afflictions,
actions,
fruits and
seeds.”
verse 25
“Within it,
the seed of omniscience is unsurpassed.”
verse 26
“It is also the teacher for all previous teachers,
because it transcends time and space.”
verse 27
“Its syllables are sacred.”
verse 28
“To realize its purpose,
practice repetition of sacred syllables.”

7. Vikṣepa or Distraction – verses 29-31

verse 29
“From that turning inwards,
awareness is attained and the
non-appearance of the interventions.”
verse 30
“These interventions that distract the psyche
from attaining awareness are
disease,
dullness,
doubt,
carelessness,
laziness,
over-indulgence,
fallacious views,
non-attainment of a state and
losing stability.”
verse 31
“Suffering,
negative thinking,
unsteadiness in,
body and inhalation and exhalation,
are symptoms of the distractions.”

8. Eka Tattva or One Principle – verses 32-39

verse 32
“For the purpose of counteracting the distractions,
cultivate a practice on a single noble principle.”
verse 33
“The psyche can be calmed by cultivating as a practice,
friendliness, compassion, gladness and disinterest,
within happiness, suffering, virtue and vice.”
verse 34
“Or, it can be through a practice that,
both lengthens the exhalation
and holding out of the breath.”
verse 35
“Or, it can be on the finer levels of the senses,
as an object to bind the mind,
from which stability arises.”
verse 36
“Or, it can be on that inner radiance
which is free from sorrow.”
verse 37
“Or, it can be taking as an object,
a psyche free from the distractions of attraction.”
verse 38
“Or, it can be by resting on
knowledge of dreams and deep sleep.”
verse 39
“Or, it can be from meditation
on what is appropriate.”

9. Sabīja or With Seed – verses 40-46

verse 40
“A person who has mastery of concentration
can range their attention,
whether on subtle objects,
or on gross objects.”
verse 41
“When the fluctuations are reduced,
the psyche becomes as if a transparent gem,
able to assume the colour of
whatever object is placed before it;
that coming together of,
that which is grasping,
the process of grasping
and that which is grasped,
is a state of meditational unity.”
verse 42
“There are stages to this coming together;
the first stage in meditational unity
is deliberation on a gross object,
intermixed with words, purpose, knowledge and imagination
around the gross object,
it is called unrefined deliberation.”
verse 43
“The next stage is
refined deliberation on a gross object,
it is when the memory is purified,
as if empty of its own content,
so that only the true nature of
the gross object shines forth.”
verse 44
“By these same steps the process of
reflection on a subtle object is explained;
firstly in an unrefined stage of reflection,
intermixed with words, purpose, knowledge
and imagination around that object;
and then in a refined stage,
with a purification of memory,
so as if empty of its own content;
in the refined stage of reflection,
only the true nature of the
subtle object shines forth.”
verse 45
“The ultimate limit of gross and subtle objects,
as choices for meditational unity,
is the unmanifest state of matter.”
verse 46
“These choices for meditational unity
on gross or subtle objects,
are all seen as integration with seed.”

10. Nirbīja or Without Seed – verses 47-51

verse 47
“On the maturation of meditational unity,
up to the stage of
refined reflection on a subtle object,
the serenity is from the inner essence.”
verse 48
“From that,
the experience of knowing
carries a universal truth.”
verse 49
“It is other than knowing based
on oral transmission and inference,
as the purpose of the object is directly experienced.”
verse 50
“The tendencies born from that
experience of knowing oppose other tendencies.”
verse 51
“When even these tendencies of knowing
are contained all is contained;
this is integration without seed.”

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on Integration.

Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One A4 version PDF
Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One US Letter version PDF

– 13th September 2020

Chapter Two – Sādhana Pādaḥ – 55 verses

“The Book on the means
to help do something for
the practitioner starting
with a distracted psyche.”

Annotated through Ten Themed Sections

1. Kriyā or Activities – verse 1
2. Kleśa or Afflictions – verses 2-9
3. Dhyānam or Meditation – verses 10-11
4. Karma or Actions – verses 12-14
5. Duḥkha or Suffering – verses 15-16
6. Saṃyoga or Conjunction – verses 17-23
7. Avidyā or Illusion – verse 24
8. Kaivalya or Abstraction- verse 25
9. Viveka or Discernment – verses 26-27
10. Aṣṭāṅga or Eight Limbs – verses 28-55

1. Kriyā or Activities – verse 1

verse 1
“Activities that nurture a state of Yoga involve
self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-awareness.”

2. Kleśa or Afflictions – verses 2-9

verse 2
“Its purpose is to cultivate a feeling of integration
and help placate the dominance of the afflictions.”
verse 3
“The afflictions are
illusion,
the sense of ‘I’ am-ness,
attraction, aversion and
the will to stay alive.”
verse 4
“Illusion is the field for the others whether they
are sleeping, weak, intermittent or aroused.”
verse 5
“Illusion is recognising what is
transitory, impure, suffering and non-self
as eternal, pure, happiness and self.”
verse 6
“Egoity is when the
power of the Seer and
the power of seeing
are as if one.”
verse 7
“Attachment is expecting pleasure.”
verse 8
“Aversion is expecting suffering.”
verse 9
“Survival is self-sustaining and
present even in the wise person.”

3. Dhyānam or Meditation – verses 10-11

verse 10
“These are subtle and are overcome
by going back to their origin.”
verse 11
“This fluctuation is overcome by meditation.”

4. Karma or Actions – verses 12-14

verse 12

verse 13

verse 14

5. Duḥkha or Suffering – verses 15-16

verse 15

verse 16

6. Saṃyoga or Conjunction – verses 17-23

verse 17

verse 18

verse 19

verse 20

verse 21

verse 22

verse 23

7. Avidyā or Illusion – verse 24

verse 24

8. Kaivalya or Abstraction – verse 25

verse 25

9. Viveka or Discernment – verses 26-27

verse 26

verse 27

10. Aṣṭāṅga or Eight Limbs – verses 28-55

verse 28

verse 29

verse 30

verse 31

verse 32

verse 33

verse 34

verse 35

verse 36

verse 37

verse 38

verse 39

verse 40

verse 41

verse 42

verse 43

verse 44

verse 45

verse 46

verse 47

verse 48

verse 49

verse 50

verse 51

verse 52

verse 53

verse 54

verse 55

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on the Means.

– Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two A4 version PDF
– Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two US Letter version PDF

– 13th September 2020