Yoga Sutra 3.5

5 Apr

Sutra 3.5: tad jayat prajna loka

  • tad = then, from that, consequently
  • jayat = conquests, masters
  • prajna = knowledge, wisdom, learned, intelligent, understanding
  • loka = light, free, open, seeing

Translated loosely into English;

From mastery of that (samyama), the light of knowledge dawns.

The student, having mastered Samyama, becomes free and open to the understanding of all knowledge and wisdom, realizations and intelligence.


Yoga Sutra 3.4

4 Apr

Sutra 3.4: trayam ekatra samyama

  • trayam = the three
  • ekatra = as one
  • samyama = the union of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and the deep absorbtion state (samadhi).

Translated loosely into English;

The three as one is called samyama.

The 6th, 7th and 8th limbs combined together is called Samyama. The student begins with awareness of an object, which leads to concentration (on the object), then leads to meditation which leads to total absorbtion of the object which then leads the student to realize the true nature of the object which IS Samyama.  It is the process and the realizations of truth that are Samyama. The object is seen with clarity, pure and ‘as it is’. This is the goal and process of the final limbs.

concentration + meditation + samadhi = samyama

It is important to note that the type of Samadhi here is OBJECTIVE samadhi, where the student is conscious of the object.

The main barrier in this process is EGO.

Yoga Sutra 3.3

3 Apr

Sutra 3.3: tad eva artha matra nirbhasam svarupa shunyam iva samadhi

  • tad = that        eva= the same             artha= object, place, point
  • matra = only, alone
  • nirbhasam = appears
  • svarupa = own form
  • shunyam = devoid of, empty              iva = as if
  • samadhi = highest state of meditation

Translated loosely into English;

If in that meditative state, only the object is present, without any modification of mind, that is samadhi.

When the meditator, the observer, is absorbed by the object alone, devoid of any other thought or distortions, it is called Samadhi.

Yoga Sutra 3.2

2 Apr

Sutra 3.2: tatra pratyaya ekatanata dhyanam

  • tatra = there, in that place
  • pratyaya = consciousness, knowing, explanation, basis, proof
  • ekatanata = eka=one : tanata= continuous, uninterrupted
  • dhyanam = is meditation, meditating on

Translated loosely into English;

In that place (of deep concentration, Sutra 3.1), is the basis of one continuous, uninterrupted meditation (dhyana).

Once the student can fixate the mind continuously, without any interruption, deep meditation is achieved. This state of meditation is called Dhyana. It is important to understand that there are many different states and types of meditation. Dhyana, however, is the deepest state of meditation. The mind is relaxed as there is no effort, and any thoughts are calm and peaceful.

Yoga Sutra 3.1

1 Apr

Sutra 3.1: desha bandhah chittasya dharana

  • desha (deza) = part, place, point, ordinance, spot
  • bandha = fastening, contracting, attachment to the world
  • chittasya = chitta=mind: asya=belonging to that part, abiding, resting
  • = fixed state of mind, resting in that part/state of mind
  • dharana = concentration

Translated loosely into English;

Concentration is when the mind rests on a fixed object, state or point.

Patanjali begins the third chapter on the 6th limb, Concentration. It is important to understand that when in concentration, each moment, each thought has awareness of the subject and is maintained for extended periods. Concentration takes effort, yet as it becomes mastered the student will become able to ‘rest’ in the act of concentration. In order to prepare the student for meditation, it is necessary to use concentration to harness and control fluctuations of the mind field. Through mantra repetition, japa/mala use, images and other techniques concentration is improved. This is a pre-requisite for deeper states.


Yoga Sutra 2.55

26 Mar

Sutra 2.55: tata parama vashyata indriyanam

  • tata = thus
  • parama = supreme
  • vashyata = mastery
  • indriya = of sense organs, organs of action
  • nam= turning away

Translated loosely into English;

Thus comes supreme mastery over the sense organs.

The student is completely free of external mental sense stimulants, internal sensory stimulants, attachments and sensual desires. Having no attraction to mental desires or objects of the external earthly world, the student releases all attachment and affiliation with the senses. There is no act of will-power, no ‘doing’, just a release and letting go.

This is the Great Freedom.


Yoga Sutra 2.54

25 Mar

Sutra 2.54: sva vishaya asamprayoge chittasya svarupe anukarah iva indriyanam pratyaharah

  • sva = of Self, one’s own
  • vishaya = topic, subject, objects
  • asamprayog = not allowing union with/connection
  • chittasya = of the mental
  • svarupe = appearance, looks, similar form or shape
  • anukarah = imitating, resembling
  • iva = nearly, exactly
  • indriyanam = mental organs, sense organs
  • pratyaharah = withdrawl of senses

Translated loosely into English;

When the mental sense organs, which imitate the appearance in the mental realm, dissolve back into the mind, this is pratyahara.

When the mental sense organs cease to grasp at external and internal objects, manifest or un-manifest, the student remains fee.  The mind, detached from earthly objects and sensory stimulation, realizes that all is within. This includes renunciation of external and internal objects, desires of sensations, mental tendencies, afflictions and aversions. The student is independent of all worldly desires.

Yoga Sutra 2.53

24 Mar

Sutra 2.53: dharanasu cha yogyata manasa

  • dharanasu = for concentration (dharana)
  • cha = and
  • yogyata = qualification, ability, capability, eligible, fitness, preparation
  • manasa = mental, spiritual, the mind/thought principle, belonging to mind or spirit

Translated loosely into English;

And (the practices of pranayama) prepares the mind and spirit for concentration.

Clarification of the mind is achieved with pranayama. By practicing regulating the breath, creating a greater awareness of prana through Pranayama (4th limb), as Patanjali has suggested in the previous Sutras, the mind has the ability for deep concentration, Dharana, (6th limb).

The first four limbs ensure that the student is truly ready and prepared for the deeper stages of Yoga. Without these practices, it is questionable as to whether or not the student is ready.

The 8 Limbs are again;

Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.

Yoga Sutra 2.52

23 Mar

Sutra 2.52: tata kshiyate prakasha avaranam

  • tata = such, thus
  • kshiyate = decay (decayed)
  • prakasha = illumination, light
  • avaranam = covering

Translated loosely into English;

Thus the covering of brightness is removed.

When the practices of pranayama are done successfully, the darknesses of affliction, ignorance, conditioning, karmas and samkaras is removed, revealing the light of clarity.

The brightness in this sutra signifies the light of right knowledge, of understanding. The clarity of mind is a necessary for deeper concentration and meditation.

Yoga Sutra 2.51

22 Mar

Sutra 2.51: bahya abhyantara vishaya akshepi chaturthah

  • bahya = external
  • abhyantara = internal
  • vishaya = reach, faculty, realm
  • akshepi = surpassing
  • chaturthah = the fourth

Translated loosely into English;

The fourth (pranayama) surpasses beyond all realms, both internal and external. 

When all external and internal realms are surpassed, it is called the 4th pranayama.

Patanjali refers to pure prana, which is beyond inhalation, exhalation and the space between, transcending breath to the most subtle life force.  The student is absorbed by prana itself. The breath continues but prana has stopped and the subtle intestine movement, peristalsis, is arrested. (The intention behind fasting)

An excellent example of this by Swami Bharati (found at

Yoga Sutra 2.50

21 Mar

Sutra 2.50: bahya abhyantara stambha vritti desha kala sankhyabhih paridrishtah dirga sukshma

  • bahya = external
  • abhyantara = internal
  • stambha = supports
  • vritti = activity, fluctuation, character
  • desha = spot, part, place, point
  • kala = time, period of time
  • sankhyabhih = count, by the (Sankhya) order
  • paridrishtah = to be seen
  • dirga = long, prolonged
  • suksema = great peace (subtle)

Translated loosely into English;

There are 3 (types of pranayama) external, internal and suspension. By observing space, time and count; breath becomes long and subtle.

There are 3 types of breath retention given in this sutra; external retention (exhalation), internal retention (inhalation) and suspension. These techniques of pranayama are prepatory for deeper limbs of concentration and meditation. The observations of space, time and count increase the concentration of the mind.

Space = where the breath ends, begins or where prana is felt

Time = length in inhalation, exhalation, retention

Count = ratio of inhale to exhale to retention, method

Yoga Sutra 2.49

20 Mar

Sutra 2.49: tasmin sati shvasa prashvsayoh gati vichchedah pranayama

  • tasmin = upon that
  • sati = being accomplished
  • shvasa = inhalation
  • prashvsayoh = exhalation
  • gati = of the uncontrolled movements
  • vichchedah = slowing, softening
  • pranayama = extension and expansion of prana, regulation of breath

Translated loosely into English;

Thus, (when posture is perfected) begins the slowing of the unregulated movements of inhalation and exhalation by means of extension and expansion of breath.

By practicing regulating the breath, lengthening the exhale, expanding the inhale and  working on breath control, the physical breath and energetic breath (prana) begin to slow. The fluctuations of the mind are reflective in the movement of prana (and to some extent breath). Through the practice of pranayama, the student becomes focused and the mind is concentrated. As the breath slows, awareness of prana, concentration and meditation deepen, until total awareness of breath is overcome and the student rests in samadhi.

Yoga Sutra 2.48

19 Mar

Sutra 2.48: tatah dvandva anabhigata

  • tatah = in that manner, thus, then
  • dvandva = the dilemma, the pair (of opposites), the quarrel
  • anabhi =
  • gata = understood, ends, has meaning, disappears

Translated loosely into English;

Thus the dilemma of opposites is understood and disappears.

This is true asana.  When there is balance, focus and peace between opposites. There is no tensions, pain, suffering or distraction.

A practice that is too rigid or firm, will resist, hold on to tensions and turmoil.

A practice that is too relaxed, has no boundaries, no discipline, is lazy and sloth-like, meditations can easily be taken over by sleep.

The understanding that opposites are needed in order to have balance.

Yoga Sutra 2.47

18 Mar

Sutra 2.47: prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam


  • prayatna = active effort, persevering effort
  • shaithilya = relaxation, laxity, ease
  • ananta = infinite
  • samapatti = coming together, merging
  • bhyam= exterior, outer

Translated loosely into English;

Posture is when active effort relaxes and merging with the infinite occurs.

The student will be relaxed in meditation postures, find comfort sitting for lengthy periods and create the foundation for deeper practices. In Sutra 2.27, Patanjali described posture as freedom from doing, as it is spontaneous, natural and ceaseless. It is the point of resting in the posture and letting the body ‘BE’. As the body is without tensions and at ease, the mind is also calm, allowing for meditation on the infinite.

The opposites reflect the balance necessary in all aspects of life. The need for barriers, limitations or boundaries and the need for openness, compassion and tenderness.

This is a pre-requisite for higher limbs of yoga.

Yoga Sutra 2.46

17 Mar

Sutra 2.46: sthira sukham asanam


  • sthira = steady, stable, fixed, still
  • sukham = pleasurable, pleasingly, easily, comfortably
  • asanam = postures, sitting

Translated loosely into English;

Postures must be stable and pleasurable.

The first thing that needs to be remembered here is the posture itself. In yogic study, as well as Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and others, the postures are meant to be the meditation postures, sitting postures, not the wide variety of yogic postures we see today. It is the meditation posture that needs to be stable and comfortable.

Patanjali now moves on to the third limb, asana. Yoga asana must have 2 qualities,  steadiness and ease. There should be no pain, which would only distract the mind, create and inflate the Ego. Steadiness can refer to the spine being in alignment. the ability to remain still or fixed in such a posture for long periods of time (meditation). Each posture requires this steadiness or firmness, to block distraction, to persevere and overcome challenges. Yet to be balanced, each posture must also be relaxed and soft, comfortable and pleasurable. This is a pre-requisite for deeper practice.

Yoga Sutra 2.45

16 Mar

Sutra 2.45: samadhi siddhi ishvarapranidhana

  • samadhi = deepest meditative state
  • siddhi = attainment
  • ishvarapranidhana = devotion, surrender, awareness of Ishvara = God, Supreme Being, Divine, a Deity, Goddess, all names 

Translated loosely into English;

Devotion to the Supreme Being leads to attainment of the deepest meditative state, samadhi.

By means of the path of yoga, the practices and actions there-of, and the permanent awareness of the Divine, the student may attain Samadhi. the student me=ust surrender to the unknown, accept the unknown thus accept the Divine, the sacred, what can not be seen or heard. This is the acceptance of pure infinite consciousness, the essence of all divinity. Patanjali states clearly through the Yoga Sutras, that the student must accept this! Beginners begins with the actions of Kriya Yoga. Intermediate students work through the 8 limbs of Ashtanga. Advanced students work through all levels, encompassing all aspects. 

Although we do not see the stars in the daylight, we accept that they exist. When a room is dark, we know where the furniture and walls are. Thus, in this manner of thought, we accept and surrender to pure consciousness.


Yoga Sutra 2.44

15 Mar

Sutra 2.44: svadhyaya ishta samprayogah

  • svadhyaya = self-study, recitation, study of sacred text and/or ancient wisdoms
  • ishta = worshipped with sacrifices, beloved, cherished
  • samprayogah = union, contact

Translated loosely into English;

From self-study of sacred text (svadhyaya) one attains communion with the Divine.

By committing to self-study, the student will be united with that which he/she worships.  Whether it be God, a Deity, a Goddess, or a Supreme Being by any other name, one’s chosen Deity will be revealed. As devotion increases, understanding and knowledge also increase. The more knowledge, the more knowledge of all religions, of all Gods and the ESSENCE of ALL religions and Gods remains.  Leading the student to the same source, pure infinite consciousness.

Yoga Sutra 2.43

14 Mar

Sutra 2.43: kaya indriya siddhi ashuddhi ksayat tapas


  • kaya = of the physical body
  • indriya = sense organs
  • siddhi = attainment, mastery
  • ashuddhi = impurities
  • ksayati = possess, be master of
  • tapas = austerity

Translated loosely into English;

Austerity (tapas) destroys impurities, perfects the body and masters sense organs.

The student perseveres through impurities of the mind and body, through challenging practices and tribulations, and weakness. From this, abilities of clairvoyance, astral travel, other esoteric powers arise.  

To be the master of the body, mind and sense organs will destroy all impurities.

Yoga Sutra 2.42

13 Mar

Sutra 2.42: santosha anuttamah sukha labha

  • santosha = contentment
  • anuttamah = extreme, ultimate
  • sukha = pleasure, happiness
  • labha = gained, benefit

Translated loosely into English;

From contentment (santosha) results unsurpassed joy.

Complete inner freedom. The ability to sit and ‘to just BE’, no desires to ‘get’ or ‘do’, no ‘I should…’, no inner mind fluctuations or struggles. The student is content with earthly objects, experiences joy of both heavens and earth and out of this ultimate joy arises the joy of JUST BEING! The student realizes that true joy is found within, on the path to liberation.

Yoga Sutra 2.41

12 Mar

Sutra 2.41: sattva shuddhi saumanasya ekagra indriya-jaya atma darshana yogatvani cha

  • sattva = pure subtle essence
  • shuddhi = purification, cleanliness, purity
  • saumanasya= cheerfulness, joy, right understanding,
  • ekagra = one-pointedness
  • indriya-jaya = mastery of senses (jaya=conquer, master)
  • atma = Self
  • darshana = experience, seeing
  • yogatvani = to be fit for, qualified for (relating to yogic study/path)
  • cha = and

Translated loosely into English;

Purification of the pure subtle essence, cheerfulness and joy, one-pointedness, mastery of senses and readiness for knowledge (of self).

It is important to note that Patanjali is still talking about cleanliness (saucha). In the last Sutra 2.40, Patanjali emphasized external and gross benefits, that through cleanliness and purity of body and mind, the student will become disassociated with the body and distanced from others. In this Sutra 2.41, Patanjali states five inner benefits of cleanliness:

  1. Purification the mind subtle essence
  2. Cheerfulness and joy
  3. One-pointedness (for liberation)
  4. Mastery of the senses
  5. Experience of knowing the Self (the student is ready for Self-realization)

Having not identified with thoughts, this new freedom creates a flow of joy, devotion for practice and study (one-pointedness), together with mastery over senses, causing self-knowledge to be revealed. There are no desires or attachments to the outer world, ALL IS FOCUSED INWARD.

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