Yoga Sūtra Mālā – A Thread of Pearls on Yoga from Patañjali Chapter One

Patanjali_B_and_W

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

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First Theme
Nirodha or Containment verses 1-4
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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.

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Second Theme – Citta or Psyche verses 5-11
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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.

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

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Fourth Theme – 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.

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Fifth Theme – 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.

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Sixth Theme – 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.

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Seventh Theme – 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.

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Eighth Theme – 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.

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Ninth Theme – Sabīja or With Seed verses 40-46
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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.

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Tenth Theme – Nirbīja or Without Seed verses 47-51
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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.

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

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– September 20th 2017

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“We don’t see things as they are, but rather as we are.”
Anais Nin