Aug 08, 2010
Dharana, concentration, is the fixing or focussing of consciousness on a particular point or place. Dhyana, meditation, is the continuous, uninterrupted flow of consciousness towards the chosen object. Samadhi, meditative absorption or ecstasy, arises when the object of meditation shines forth alone, as if emptied of the form of the agent. The three together constitute sanyama, constraint. Through mastery of it comes the light of cognitive insight (prajna). Its application is by stages.
The three together are more interior than the preceding. Even these are exterior to seedless samadhi, or soul vision.
Nirodhaparinama is that mental transformation through restraint wherein the consciousness becomes permeated by that condition which intervenes momentarily between fading impressions and emerging potencies. Its flow becomes serene and steady through habituation. Samadhiparinama, meditative transformation, is the dwindling of distractions and the emergence of unitary consciousness or one-pointedness (ekagrata). Thence again comes ekagrataparinama, the development of one-pointedness, wherein the two states of consciousness, the quiescent or subsided and the active or uprisen, are exactly similar and balanced. Thus are explained the transformations of intrinsic properties, secondary qualities and states of being in the objective elements and instrumental sense-organs.
The substratum is that which is common to the properties, whether quiescent, active or unmanifest. The variation in sequence or succession is the cause of the difference and distinctness in transformation.
Through sanyama, perfectly concentrated meditative constraint, comes knowledge of past and future.
The sound, the meaning and the idea called up by a word are confounded owing to their indistinct superimposition. Through sanyama on their separation and resolution there comes a cognitive comprehension of the sounds uttered by all sentient beings.
By bringing latent impressions into consciousness there comes the knowledge of former births.
Through concentrated perception of mental images comes the knowledge of other minds. The mental supports are not perceived, for that is not the object of observation.
Through sanyama on the form and colour of the body, by suspending its power of perceptibility and thereby disconnecting the light from the body and the sight of others, there comes the power to make the body invisible. Thus can also be explained the power of concealment of sound, touch, taste and smell.
Through sanyama on karma, which is either fast or slow in fruition, active or dormant, one gains knowledge of the time of death and also of omens and portents.
Through sanyama on kindliness (maitri) and similar graces one gains mental, moral and spiritual strength.
Through sanyama on various powers one gains the strength of an elephant.
Through sanyama on the shining, effulgent light one gains knowledge of the small and subtle, the hidden and veiled, and the remote.
Through sanyama on the sun there comes knowledge of the solar system, cosmic evolution and involution.
Through sanyama on the moon there comes knowledge concerning the arrangement of stars.
Through sanyama on the pole-star comes knowledge of the relative motions and positions of the stars.
Through sanyama on the solar plexus comes knowledge of the structure and organization of the body.
Through sanyama on the pit of the throat there comes cessation of hunger and thirst.
Through sanyama on the nerve-centre called the “tortoise” duct there comes steadiness.
Through sanyama on the light in the head comes the vision of perfected beings.
Through sanyama on the effulgent light of intuition comes all knowledge.
Through sanyama on the heart comes knowledge of cosmic intellection.
Indulgence in experience is the result of the inability to distinguish between the Self (purusha) and the principle of understanding (sattva), though they are utterly distinct. Self-knowledge results from sanyama on the Self-existent, which is apart from the non-self.
Thence are produced intuitional, extra-sensory hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. They are obstacles to meditative absorption (samadhi) but are powerful aids when the mind is turned outwards.
The mind can enter another’s body through the suspension of the causes of bondage and through knowledge of the mental channels.
Through mastery over the vital energy called udana comes imperviousness to water and mud, thorn and the rest, levitation and victory over death. Through mastery over the vital energy called samana comes blazing radiance. Through sanyama on the connection between the ear and the ether (akasha) comes divine hearing. Through sanyama on the connection between the body and the ether (akasha) comes lightness like cotton and the attainment of levitation in space.
Mahavideha is the power of invoking the incorporeal state of consciousness which is beyond the intellect and therefore inconceivable. Thus is destroyed the obscuring veil over the light.
Through sanyama on gross matter, its essential form, its subtle qualities, its concomitant compounds and molecules and their functions, comes mastery over the elements. Thence comes the manifestation of the powers of minuteness and the rest, as well as the perfection of the body and the realization of the indestructibility of the elements. Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength and adamantine hardness.
Mastery over the sense-organs comes through sanyama on their power of apprehension, their real nature, egoism, concomitance and specific functions. Thence comes instantaneous cognition, independent of instruments, and the complete mastery of pradhana, the chief common principle throughout Nature.
Only through the knowledge of the distinction between the principle of understanding (sattva) and the Self (purusha) comes supremacy over all states of existence and omniscience. Through non-attachment even to that comes the destruction of the seeds of bondage and the state of emancipation (kaivalya).
There must be avoidance of attachment or amazement on encountering celestial beings, owing to the possible recurrence of the undesirable.
Through sanyama on indivisible moments and their order of succession comes discriminative knowledge. Therefrom comes the discernment of two similar events and of things whose distinctness cannot be measured or distinguished by class, property or position.
Transcendental discriminative knowledge is that which simultaneously encompasses all objects and all possible processes, reaching beyond all endings.
Emancipation (kaivalya) is attained when there is equalization of purity between the principle of understanding (sattva) and the Self (purusha).
From translation byTranslated by Raghavan Iyer
Edited by Swami Nirmalananda Giri
The Yoga Darshana (Yoga Sutras) of Patanjali is usually presented as two hundred brief aphorisms and commented upon accordingly, splitting them apart and thereby losing the original continuity of thought. This loss of continuity has enabled commentators to set forth their own private ideas on Yoga which are often, even usually, at variance with the intentions of Patanjali. Without changing the order of the sentences in any way, I have arranged them so a reader can see that the Yoga Darshana is really a brief and coherent essay on Yoga. When read in this way, Patanjali’s teachings can be easily seen free of extraneous concepts.