The Yoga Sutras of PatanjalI


Book 1: The Path of Attainment of Oneness. 51 verses.

1. AUM. Now begins instruction in yoga. Yoga means Union with Reality.

2. Yoga is the restraint of the chaotic fluctuations of the mind which obscure one's innate Nature from oneself.

3. Its goal attained, one is re-established in one's original true Nature, pure immortal Spirit, as one ever was.

4. Otherwise, there is endless self-identification with mental modifications, delusion, and worldliness.

5. The mental modifications are fivefold and are painful or pleasurable.

6. These are correct cognition, misconception, fantasy, sleep and memory.

7. Correct cognition is based on direct perception, valid inference and verbal testimony.

8. Misconception is illusory knowledge based upon what is other than itself.

9. Fantasy, empty of substance, is engendered by words and concepts.

10. Sleep is the modification engendered by the temporary abeyance of mental contents.

11. Memory is the holding onto an object or image of subjective experience.

12. The restraint of these mental modifications comes from disciplined, but serene, practice.

13. Practice is the continuous effort to abide in a steady spiritual state.

14. This is indeed firmly grounded when it is persistently exercised for a long time, without interruption, with earnest attention and devotion.

15. Serene detachment is the consciousness of perfect mastery in one who has ceased to crave for objects, seen or unseen, material or astral.

16. Supreme dispassion is when there is cessation of all craving for manifest things, owing to discernment of Reality.

17. Cognitive contemplation is accompanied by reasoning, deliberation, bliss and the awareness of pure being (purusha).

18. Another sort of contemplation comes through the previous practice, the cessation of all mental contents, residual potencies alone remaining.

19. It is caused by phenomenal existence in the case of the disembodied and of those absorbed into Nature (prakriti).

20. In the case of others, it is preceded by will and confidence, energy, attentiveness, and insight needed for meditative absorption (samadhi).

21. It is close at hand for those with steady intensity.

22. There is also a further differentiation -- mild, moderate and intense.

23. Or by devoted self-surrender to the so-called Higher Self.

24. The Higher Self is a distinct spirit (purusha), untouched by troubles, actions and their results, and latent impressions.

25. In it, the seed of Omniscience becomes Infinite.

26. The Higher Self is the Guide even of one's past lives, for it is not fettered by time.

27. Its designation and key is AUM.

28. Let there be constant chanting of this and meditation on its meaning.

29. From that comes the turning inward of consciousness and the removal of hindrances.

30. Hindrances which cause mental distractions are attachments, aversions, and delusions.

31. These distractions are accompanied by sorrow, depression, bodily restlessness and spasmodic breathing.

32. To check these, there should be constant practice of one truth or principle.

33. The mind becomes purified through the practice of compassion towards sorrow, indifference towards vice, and gratitude for virtue.

34. Or by steady expulsion and retention of breath (prana).

35. The awakening of subtle sensory vision can hold the mind in a state of steadiness,

36. Or a state of serene luminosity,

37. Or the mind is fixed on one free from craving,

38. Or by dwelling on insights gained in dreams and dreamless sleep,

39. Or by meditating on that which is deeply desired.

40. Thus, one's mastery extends from the minutest atom to the ultimate infinitude.

41. When the modifications of the mind vanish, it becomes like a transparent crystal, taking on the color of what it rests on.

42. Whenever the construction of words and meanings is confused and uncertain, the mind wavers in a polemical and chaotic state.

43. When the memory is purified, when the mind is void of its own form, it is luminous with true knowledge of its sole object, attaining to an unclouded state.

44. Also, by this process, the deliberative and non-deliberative states concerning subtle elements are explained.

45. And the subtle elements extend up to the Spiritual realms, primordial and undifferentiated.

46. They are only the basis of meditation with its seed.

47. On attaining the utmost purity of the non-deliberative state, there is the dawning of Spiritual light, the luminosity of the supreme Self.

48. There is direct Vision, which carries and holds the unalloyed Truth.

49. Direct cognition is essentially different from testimony and inference, owing to its focus upon a specific object, Truth itself.

50. The impress engendered therefrom supersedes all other latent impressions.

51. On the stoppage of even that, all else being eliminated, there arises a sense of Unity with All, without even a tendency to fall into identification.




Book 2: Kriya Yoga (Yoga of Action). 55 verses.

1. Austerity, self-study and devoted Invocation of the Higher Self constitute the practice of Union.

2. This is for the sake of shrinking afflictions and inducing meditative absorption (samadhi).

3. The afflictions are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and the tenacious clinging to existence.

4. Ignorance is the originating field for the others, whether they be dormant, tenuous, dispersed or activated.

5. Ignorance is the belief that the impermanent, the impure, the painful, are the permanent, the pure, the pleasurable, that the lower Self is the True Self.

6. Egoism is the delusive or apparent identification of the potency of the Seer with the power of sight.

7. Attachment accompanies and pursues pleasure.

8. Aversion accompanies and dwells upon pain.

9. The tenacious clinging to existence, sustained by its own energy, is so rooted even in the learned.

10. These subtle afflictions can be destroyed by banishing or reabsorption into their causal origins.

11. Their mental modifications are destroyed by deep meditation (dhyana), invocations of the God Forms, and rituals of Banishing.

12. The mental deposits of karma have their roots in the afflictions and their fruit in experiences seen in this life, or in a future life now unseen.

13. So long as the roots remain, there must be their manifestation in the form of class, length of life and the experience of pleasures and pains.

14. They have joy or sorrow as their fruit, by reason of virtue or vice.

15. To the discerning, all is sorrowful owing to the miseries brought by transience and the conflict between qualities of Nature and mental modifications (vritti).

16. The misery which has not yet come must be avoided.

17. The conjunction of the Seer and the seen is the cause of that which is to be avoided.

18. Having the properties of luminosity, motion and inertia, the world of manifestation consists of elements and sense-organs, for the sake of emancipation.

19. The states and stages of the propensities are the particularized, the archetypal, the differentiated, and the signless, irresolvable, undifferentiated.

20. The Adept is simply pure vision, and yet, though pure, he perceives ideas seemingly through the mind.

21. The very essence of the visible is that it exists for the sake of the Adept, the True Self alone.

22. Although it has vanished for him whose purpose is accomplished, it has not ceased to be for others, owing to its very commonality.

23. The conjunction of the potencies of the Seer and the seen is the reason for the apprehension of form and experience of the nature of things seen.

24. Its effective cause is ignorance.

25. In its absence, the conjunction disappears, and its avoidance is the real remedy; that is the isolation and liberation, the absolute freedom, of the devotee.

26. Unbroken discerning cognition is the means of attainment.

27. One's awakening of perfect cognition is sevenfold, attained in successive stages.

28. Through the practice of yoga, as impurity is gradually destroyed, the light of wisdom shines forth, leading to cognition of Reality.

29. Restraint (yama), binding observance (niyama), posture (asana), regulation of breath (pranayama), sense-withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), contemplation (dhyana) and meditative absorption (samadhi) are the eight limbs of yoga. (Thus the name, Ashtanga Yoga.)

30. Of these, non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), non-stealing (asteya), continence (brahmacharya) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha) are the five forms of restraint (yamas).

31. These are not conditioned or qualified by class or country, time or circumstance, and apply to all spheres and stages, thus constituting the Great Vow.

32. Purity, contentment, austerity, self-study and devoted invocation of the Higher Self are the five observances (niyamas).

33. When the mind is oppressed by perverse thoughts, it must summon and sustain their opposites.

34. Thoughts of a destructive nature result in endless misery and folly; consequently, their opposites must be nurtured and nourished.

35. When one is firmly grounded in non-violence (ahimsa), all hostility is given up in one's presence.

36. When one is firmly grounded in truth (satya), all acts gestated bear fruit dependably.

37. When one is firmly grounded in non-stealing (asteya), all sorts of precious jewels present themselves.

38. When one is firmly grounded in celibacy in consciousness and conduct (brahmacharya), one gains vitality and strength.

39. When one is established in non-possessiveness (aparigraha), one gains insight into the meaning and significance of the succession of births.

40. Through internal purity and external purification, one gains bodily protection and freedom from pollution in contacts with others.

41. Through the cleansing of consciousness and purity of motivation, one gains serenity, one-pointedness, control of sense-organs, and fitness for soul-vision and direct apprehension of the Self.

42. Through joyous contentment, one gains supreme happiness.

43. Through the elimination of pollution, the practice of magickal discipline (tapas) brings about the perfection of the body and the sense-organs.

44. Through self-study comes communion with the deity.

45. Through persevering invocation of the Higher Self comes perfection in meditative absorption samadhi).

46. The posture must be firm and pleasant.

47. This is gained by release of tension and serene contemplation upon the boundless infinite.

48. Thus arises freedom from confusion by the pairs of opposites.

49. When this is attained, there comes pranayama, the regulation of breath, the restraint of inhalation and exhalation.

50. These modifications are external, internal or wholly suspended; they are regulated according to space, time or number, whether protracted or attenuated.

51. The fourth modification goes beyond the external-internal range.

52. Thus is worn away the veil which obscures the Light of Attainment.

53. And thus the mind gains fitness for concentration.

54. Pratyahara, dissociation, is the disjoining of the sense-organs from their respective objects, assuming, as it were, the nature of the mind itself.

55. Thence comes supreme control of the senses.




Book Three: Magical Powers and Conclusion. 54 Verses.

1. One-pointed is a steady mind.

2 Unbroken abiding, not willed, is meditation.

3. That same meditation when there is only consciousness of projected objects of the self known as only self rather than of the mind is realization.

4. The three appearing together are self-control.

5. By mastery comes wisdom.

6. The application of mastery is by stages.

7. The three are more efficacious than the restraints.

8. Even that is external to the seedless realization.

9. The significant aspect is the union of the mind with the moment of absorption, when the outgoing thought disappears and absorptive experience appears.

10. From sublimation of this union comes the peaceful flow of unbroken unitive cognition.

11. The contemplative transformation of this is indifference, witnessing the rise and destruction of distraction as well as one-pointedness itself.

12. The mind becomes one-pointed when the subsiding and rising thought-waves are exactly similar.

13. In this state, it passes beyond the changes of inherent characteristics, properties and the conditional modifications of object or sensory recognition.

14. The object is that which preserves the latent characteristic, the rising characteristic or the future characteristic that establishes one entity as specific.

15. The succession of these changes in that entity is the cause of its modification.

16. By focus over these three-fold changes (of property, character and condition), knowledge of the past and the future arises.

17. The sound of a word, the idea behind the word, and the object the idea signfies are often taken as being one thing. By self-control over their distinctions, understanding of all languages of all creatures arises.

18. By focus on the perception of mental impressions, knowledge of previous lives arises.

19. By focus on any mark of a body, the wisdom of the mind activating that body arises.

20. By focus on the form of a body, by suspending perceptibility and separating effulgence therefrom, there arises invisibility and inaudibilty.

21. Action is of two kinds, dormant and fruitful. By focus on such action, one portends the time of death.

22. By performing focus on friendliness, the strength to grant joy arises.

23. By focus over any kind of strength, such as that of the elephant, that very strength arises.

24. By focus on the primal activator comes knowledge of the hidden, the subtle, and the distant.

25. By focus on the Sun comes knowledge of spatial specificities.

26. By focus on the Moon comes knowledge of the heavens.

27. By focus on the Polestar arises knowledge of orbits.

28. By focus on the navel arises knowledge of the constitution of the body.

29. By focus on the pit of the throat one subdues hunger and thirst.

30. By focus on the tube within the chest one acquires absolute steadiness.

31. By focus on the light in the head one envisions perfected beings.

32. There is knowledge of everything from intuition.

33. Focus on the heart brings knowledge of the mental entity.

34. Experience arises due to the inability to discern the attributes of vitality from the indweller, even though they are distinct from one another. Self-control brings true knowledge of the indweller by itself.

35. This spontaneous enlightenment results in intuitional perception of hearing, touching, seeing and smelling.

36. To the outward turned mind, the sensory organs are perfections, but are obstacles to realization.

37. When the bonds of the mind caused by action have been loosened, one may enter the body of another by knowledge of how the nerve-currents function.

38. By focus of the nerve-currents utilising the lifebreath, one may levitate, walk on water, swamps, thorns, or the like.

39. By focus over the maintenance of breath, one may radiate light.

40. By focus on the relation of the ear to the ether one gains distant hearing.

41. By focus on the relation of the body to the ether, and maintaining at the same time the thought of lightness, one is able to pass through space.

42. By focus on the mind when it is separated from the body- the state known as the Great Transcorporeal- all coverings are removed from the Light.

43. Mastery over the elements arises when their gross and subtle forms,as well as their essential characteristics, and the inherent attributes and experiences they produce, is examined in self-control.

44. Thereby one may become as tiny as an atom as well as having many other abilities, such as perfection of the body, and non-resistence to duty.

45. Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength and adamantine hardness.

46. By focus on the changes that the sense-organs endure when contacting objects, and on the power of the sense of identity, and of the influence of the attributes, and the experience all these produce, one masters the senses.

47. From that come swiftness of mind, independence of perception, and mastery over primoridal matter.

48. To one who recognizes the distinctive relation between vitality and indweller comes omnipotence and omniscience.

49. Even for the destruction of the seed of bondage by desirelessness there comes absolute independence.

50. When invited by invisible beings one should be neither flattered nor satisfied, for there is yet a possibility of ignorance rising up.

51. By focus over single moments and their succession there is wisdom born of discrimination.

52. From that there is recognition of two similars when that difference cannot be distinguished by class, characteristic or position.

53. Intuition, which is the entire discriminative knowledge, relates to all objects at all times, and is without succession.

54. Liberation is attained when there is equal purity between vitality and the indweller.


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