The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant.
If what is offered here interests then proceed.
Also the first four Sūtra summarise the whole thrust of the teaching.
“Suffering is the starting point for the Yoga journey of four steps from:
the symptom (Duḥkha or suffering);
through to the cause (Avidyā or illusion);
to the path (Kaivalya or independence);
and the means (Aṣṭāṅga or 8 limbed path) for Viveka or discrimination.
This fourfold process is at the heart of Yoga, Āyurveda and Buddhism.”
CHAPTER 4 – THE DIVISION OF THE SPOILS
The focus for these four short articles has been the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali. This is regarded as a primary text defining Yoga and its purpose especially with regard to the mind and the transformation of those things which block our understanding. Its four chapters are seen as a complete teaching on Royal Yoga, known as Rāja Yoga, hence the borrowing of the title from the author Paul Scott.
The first part of the quartet outlined chapter one, called Samādhi Pādaḥ. its 51 verses introduced the mind, its fluctuations, problems and possibilities. Entitled “The Jewel in the Crown”, it focused on the theme of mindfulness. Its teachings chart the transformation of the mind towards a flawless jewel in the crown of our being.
CHAPTER III – THE TOWERS OF SILENCE
This article looks at chapter three. Titled Vibhūti Pādaḥ, its 55 verses explore the possibilities of a mind with more refined qualities of mindfulness and clarity. Here it is not the experiences which control the mind. The mind is able to focus in a particular direction and be freer from the effects of external and internal disturbances.
In this is the image of the mind being a support or structure which can maintain its containment and flow within the vagaries of inner and outer experience. A tower gives the impression of strength and consistency, it also indicates the possibility of being able to see beyond the normal view.
The student in the third chapter has experienced the nature of the meditative mind and has a strength and view which is beyond the range of normal perception. The mind can be a likened tower of silence.
The questions in this chapter are firstly, what are the possibilities for a mind with this potential and secondly:
CHAPTER II – THE DAY OF THE SCORPION
This article looks at chapter two. Titled Sādhana Pādaḥ, its 55 verses reflect the theme of self responsibility in cultivating the preparatory means for accessing and maintaining mindfulness.
In astrology the sign of the scorpion has at its ruler the planet Pluto. The influence of Pluto in our chart and life is associated with the creative forces of the body, with enforced change, the unconscious and beginning and ends of phases of life. Committing ourselves to Sãdhana or practice in the direction of Yoga will bring us into contact with these issues.
The zodiac sign of Scorpio is itself associated with a sense of purpose, persistence and discrimination. In chapter two of the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali is also concerned with these aspects from the viewpoint of developing these qualities through doing something ourselves. So that what is not possible becomes possible.
This is Sādhana, providing the means to reach somewhere we haven’t reached before. How to proceed?
CHAPTER I – THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN
My apologies to Paul Scott for plagiarism. However the Pādaḥ (four parts) which comprise the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali are often known as Rāja Yoga. Also one view of this text is that Patañjali had four students and that the chapters of the YogaSūtra are arranged as four sādhana, each one according to the level students personal development and thus offering a different role. In this context the title is apt, with its four chapters Patañjali has composed a complete teaching on royal or classical Yoga.
I will attempt through four articles to present an introduction to theses teachings through which the student can form their own understanding. As is the tradition I first offer my respects to Patañjali and the lineage of teachers who have helped to carry these insights to our age and culture. I acknowledge that we can only surmise as to exactly what Patañjali meant and thank my teacher TKV Desikachar for guiding me towards this understanding.
This article looks at Chapter One, titled Samādhi Pādaḥ or the book on integration, its 51 verses reflecting the theme of mindfulness.