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The results will reflect these variations. Translations: [B] Otherwise, the goal is attained by active devotion to God. Translations: [B] God is a supreme being free from all causes of suffering - - from actions, their consequences, and all latency. Translations: [B] Unsubjected to time, God is the spiritual guide even for the ancients. In fact he is the ultimate teacher. He is the source of Guidance for all teachers: past, present and future. Translations: [B] Its expression is the "sacred syllable". Translations: [B] Repeating the sacred syllable and pondering its meaning lead to its understanding.

Translations: [B] It is then that one understands the self and gradually clears inner obstacles. He will not be disturbed by any interruptions that may arise in his journey to the state of Yoga. Translations: [B] The inner obstacles that disperse the mind are sickness, mental inertia, doubt, haste, apathy, intemperance, errors in judgement of oneself, lack of perseverance, and the inability to stay at a level once reached.

They are obstacles because they cause mental disturbances and encourage distractions. Some Preliminary Thoughts : This seems to me to be a very important sutra, but there is so much in it that you need a long time to study it and - eventually - to understand it. If this explanation is right, it means that the nine "obstacles" of YS1.

Commentary: S says these are kind of like a chain. The first obstacle is physical disease; this has an effect on your mind, making it weaker, and thus open to doubt; and so on.

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He also makes quite a good point - that it's a natural law that we need to be challenged in order to understand our own capacities. If we overcome an obstacle we become stronger. D simply comments, "The more we are vulnerable to these interruptions the more difficult it is to reach a state of Yoga. V says that the nine obstacles "arise with the fluctuations of the mind" and that if they are absent, "the fluctuations do not arise.

H has quite a helpful explanation of V. He says "Destruction of the impediments and the mind being fully concentrated are the same thing. T, for once, has an explanation that I can easily understand. He says that the average person has a mind that is constantly turned outwards towards what is going on in the world, and is thus easily and constantly distracted. But a Yogin has to develop an inward- turned mind, free from the delusory impressions of the outer world..

The nine obstacles are all things that are likely to deflect the yogin from his purpose by drawing his attention to the things of the outer world. T then goes on to explain each of the obstacles in some detail. As T points out, "There are other kinds of obstacles too. Every serious defect of character can become an obstacle. Karma can place obstacles in the path of the aspirant which make the practice of Yoga for the time being impossible.

These different kinds of obstacles are dealt with in their proper places.


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I hope you now feel a bit clearer about this Sutra. It has taken me a while, but at least I feel clearer in MY mind!! Translations: [D] All these interruptions produce one or more of the following symptoms: mental discomfort, negative thinking, the inability to be at ease in different body postures and difficulty in controlling one's breath. Commentary: As S points out, we all experience these symptoms at one time or another, and they prevent concentration or meditation. So we have to work on these things to reduce them, and this is done by right diet, proper rest and exercise.

Translations: [D] If one can select an appropriate means to steady the mind and practise this, whatever the provocations, the interruptions cannot take root.. S points out that the nature of the object of concentration doesn't matter; it's the goal that matters. Why do you want to have this one- pointed concentration? To make the mind clear so you can transcend it. You are not going to cling to the object but just use it as a ladder to climb up. Nobody can deny the Yoga philosophy because it has something to suit everyone.

Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. He says that the "quality of contemplation" is of more importance than the object of contemplation". You can choose whatever object you like, but it should be the only object of contemplation. By concentrating on one principle "the mind easily gets tranquil.

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When it is co- ordinated with inhalation and exhalation of breath, ordinary breathing turns into Yogic breathing and when that is mastered, one is not easily perturbed by afflictions. The purpose of Vyasa's commentary on this sutra is to controvert those who argue that the mind is transitory and that each thought is unconnected with any other. Translations: [D] In daily life we see people who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude towards such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate towards those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our minds will be very tranquil.

Commentary: V says that by following these precepts the mind becomes pure, and "a purified mind becoming one- pointed eventually attains serenity. S commends this sutra as being the one most useful in giving guidance on how to live. Our goal is to have a serene mind, which will be ours if we use the appropriate attitude to the four basic types of individuals.

T points out the dangers of becoming callous in our attitudes towards others, which will create unhappiness for others as well as ourselves. He also comments on P's advice to be indifferent towards vice, saying that P is not giving advice for people in general, but advice for the practical student of yoga who aspires towards enlightenment.

Yoga Sutra Translations

Because this is a difficult thing to achieve, the yoga practitioner cannot afford to waste his resources on trying to reform the wicked; this task can wait until after he has achieved enlightenment. H says much the same as the others. He ends with the comment, "To overlook the lapses of others is indifference. It is not a positive thinking but restraining the mind from dwelling on the frailties of others.

Translations: [D] The practice of breathing exercises involving extended exhalation might be helpful. Commentary: D notes that pranayama techniques must be correctly taught and guided. V explains: "Exhaling or expulsion is the ejection of the internal air through the apertures of the nose by a special kind of effort.

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Restraining or Pranayama is retention of the breath. The mind can also be calmed or stabilised by these methods. H stresses that breathing practice must be accompanied by an attempt to make the mind vacant; this calms the mind.


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  6. He also says that exhalation is the key: the body and chest must be kept still, with the abdominal muscles only responsible for inhalation and exhalation. The whole body and the chest should be kept still and inhalation and exhalation should be done by the movement of abdominal muscles. When this is practised assiduously for some time, a happy feeling or feeling of lightness spreads all over the body.

    S is a bit less prescriptive, simply pointing out that , "whatever be the agitation in the mind, regulating the breath will help. S also says that though some pranayama specialists say that Patanjali referred to holding the breath out, Patanjali didn't go into detail about breathing exercises, and probably just meant that we should watch and regulate the breath. T refers to YS II 53 for more on Pranayama, saying that in I 34, P is just making a general point about preliminary practices, which have only the effect of purifying the nadis , and thus calming the mind.

    Translations: [D] By regular enquiry into the role of the senses we can reduce mental distortions. Commentary: D's version seems easy to understand but it doesn't address the concept of higher sense- perceptions which appears in the other translations. H also gives the example of still being able to see an image with your eyes shut, if you have successfully concentrated on it with your eyes open.

    I have to confess that I haven't experienced any of these heightened sensory perceptions - but this is probably because I don't concentrate hard enough, or because I haven't practised for long enough. Translations: [D] When we enquire into what life is and what keeps us alive, we may find some solace for our mental distractions. Commentary: This is an incredibly elliptical sutra!

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    Yoga Sutra Study Material

    V explains: "Contemplation practised on the innermost core of the heart brings about knowledge of Buddhi Similarly, the mind engrossed in the thought of pure I- sense appears like a waveless ocean, placid and limitless, which is pure I- sense all over. I find this interesting because it may explain my occasional experience of bright blue, when my eyes are shut and when my mind is especially calm.

    Further on, H advises, "First imagine in your heart a limitless, sky- like or transparent effulgence; then think that the self is within that, i. Such thought brings ineffable bliss. S asks us to imagine a "brilliant light" inside our hearts, representing "Divine Consciousness". He adds that though we have to imagine it at first, it will eventually become a reality.

    Translations: [D] When we are confronted with problems, the counsel of someone who has mastered similar problems can be a great help. Commentary: V simply says, "If a Yogin meditates on a passionless mind he also attains stability of mind. This is really practising detachment. This seems to sum it up very well, and very clearly. S says much the same, but doesn't say it so well. D's note is worth mentioning - that you can choose either a living or dead person as your focus.

    T, for once, is down- to- earth in his commentary.


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    One useful thing that he says is "We should note that Patanjali recommends meditation not on an abstract virtue but on the virtue as embodied in a human personality. There is a definite reason for this. In the first place a beginner who is still trying to acquire steadiness of mind is not likely to derive much benefit from meditation on an abstract virtue Secondly, earnest meditation on such a personality puts us in rapport with that personality and brings about a flow of power and influence which accelerates our progress.

    So all you have to do is identify an appropriate person - probably a yoga teacher e. Krishnamacharya, or a spiritual teacher such as Jesus. If I were to choose Jesus I think the Beatitudes would be a good object of meditation. I know bits of them, but I would need to learn them by heart. Translations: [D] Enquiry into dreams and sleep and our experiences during or around these states can help to clarify some of our problems.

    Commentary: H thinks this may be a suitable option for some people. These verses have been chosen and translated by Swami Veda Bharati All phenomena are part of one universal structure and none of these questions can be discussed separately from each other. In this small book, Swami Veda Bhara Buy Now on Amazon.

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