The Yoga Sutras of patanjali

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

What is Yoga: The second sutra of Yogasutra of Patanjali tells it all

Yoga has gained popularity now in the West too. In fact, it has spread across the globe to various continents, even where once it was believed that the Sun revolved around planets. Yet, no understanding of Yoga can ever be complete if the vision itself is unclear, fuzzy or at times - lost!

It is like wanting to search on Google without having a keyword! Wouldn't it be a joke! Would you even find what you are looking for?

Yogasutras or The Bhagavadgita or The Veda remind you of your keyword

Every true Yogi must therefore visit the sutras of Patanjali repeatedly because there is a tendency to forget your keyword! To forget what you actually began your life for. That ultimate goal and purpose of life with which all our ancestors began. We moved from one age to another grabbing what we could, trying to understand whatever we could grasp. We have reached here, today, and as humans we believe that we have evolved because we have learnt how to grow our own food and build our own homes. We seem to have conquered the seas, the skies and the lands.

The question is: When are we going to say enough. This is all, no more! In sanskrit this type of a mind is called - Alam buddhi.

Can our planets and systems sustain the huge demands of our greed? While on one hand we continue to acquire on the other we are increasingly restless, gurgling within to allow our blood pressures rise up and fall down with the slightest of change in weather or any other unfavourable situation in our lives?

Where is my original Keyword? What did I set out to achieve?

It is time for an introspection. Because if I don't have the Keyword, I won't even know what I am looking for. I just go through a series of actions mechanically and aimlessly at the cost of damage to nature. Suddenly, you find that life bogs you down. You feel trapped.

The Yogasutras

Patanjali had codified all his understanding and knowledge into a set of sutras(a massive framework of 196 sutras) which need to be understood. In fact, they have gained the status of a scripture and cannot be ignored if one really wants to delve deeper into the art and science of the mind. It helps you to dig deeper into the mind that has been thrust upon you by society, friends, peers, universities, marketers, advertisers and to emerge after discovering your own original keyword. Your search becomes clear. You know exactly why you are Here! Now!

We are beginning a series of posts to explain the significance and meaning of the yogasutras of Patanjali. The focus of these posts is to simplify the highly technical and complex jargon it generally employs. The idea is not to get caught up with scholarly semantics & literature or to use this information for unnecessary argument & debate, but to rather verify it against our own living and lifestyle. The purpose of the yogasutras is to bring awareness upon a new kind of knowing and knowledge. A knowledge which is intuitive, transcendent, or coming from within, as though. This higher knowledge is intuitive which means that it is self-existent rather than knowledge which has been constructed. Much of our worldly sense of knowledge comes from assembling different pieces of information like combining different parts of metal, rubber and plastic in order to build a car. This knowledge is not constructed in the sense that it is suddenly revealed by stepping back from mere appearance of the moments and succession(progression).

May I remind you that the Yogasutras apply to the beginner as well as the advanced practitioner. A study of these sutras must be done keeping this fact in mind. Not knowing this, many end up not understanding the gist or essence of Yoga and get stuck with moments and progression, getting caught once again in a new set of cycles and series of actions.

They still end up holding a wheel in their hand and say - It is a Car!

Let's dive right in...

Chapter 1 of Yoga Sutras

Concentration, Samadhi Pada

What is Yoga? (1.1-1.4)

Witness and types of thinking (1.5-1.11)

Research & art of Letting Go (1.12-1.16)

Types of concentration (1.17-1.18)

Efforts and commitment (1.19-1.22)

Significance of AUM (1.23-1.29)

Hurdles & how to overcome them (1.30-1.32)

Steadying & calming the mind (1.33-1.39)

Benefits of steadying the mind (1.40-1.51)

Chapter 2 of Yoga Sutras

Practice, Sadhana Pada

How to reduce the negative thinking(2.1-2.9)

How to deal with subtle thoughts (2.10-2.11)

Weakening the Karmic bonds (2.12-2.25)

The 8(Ashta) rungs(anga) of Ashtanga Yoga and clarity of thought(2.26-2.29)

Yamas and Niyamas, rungs 1 & 2 of 8 (2.30-2.34)

Benefits from practicing the Yamas and Niyamas (2.35-2.45)

Asana, body postures, rung #3 of 8 (2.46-2.48)

Pranayama, the science of breath, rung #4 of 8 (2.49-2.53)

Pratyahara, withdrawal & mastery over your senses, rung #5 of 8 (2.54-2.55)

Chapter 3 of Yoga Sutras

The path to progress, glories & by-products of Yoga, Vibhuti Pada

Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, rungs #6-8 of Ashtanga Yoga (3.1-3.3)

Samyama as the finer tool (3.4-3.6)

Internal is seen to be external (3.7-3.8)

Witnessing subtle transitions (3.9-3.16)

Experiences from samyama (3.17-3.37)

How to deal with these experiences (3.38)

More of samyama (3.39-3.49)

Letting Go and Freedom from bondage (3.50-3.52)

Higher discrimination (3.53-3.56)

Chapter 4 of Yoga Sutras

Freedom/Liberation, Kaivalya Pada

Means of attaining experience (4.1-4.3)

Emergence and mastery of mind (4.4-4.6)

Actions and Karma (4.7-4.8)

Subconscious impressions (4.9-4.12)

Objects and the three gunas (4.13-4.14)

Mind perceiving objects (4.15-4.17)

Illumination of the mind (4.18-4.21)

Buddhi and Freedom/Liberation (4.22-4.26)

Gaps in enlightenment (4.27-4.28)

Established in knowledge (4.29-4.30)

Knowables become few (4.31)

Gunas after liberation (4.32-4.34)


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