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The Yoga Sutras

Notes from The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

Book Two: Sādhana Pāda (portion on practice)

Patañjali’s Kriyā Yoga

Patañjali says the aim of yoga is “the control of the citta vritti (thought forms)”.

Through this practice of controlling thought forms one can reach samādhi (the mind’s highest state of consciousness, the achievement of pure concentration). This is not easy to do and requires that the practitioner lay a proper foundation and gradually build toward the goal. 

Here’s how:

Tapah svādhyāyeśvarapranidhānāni kriyā yogah

In its parts it means:

Tapah: accepting pain as purification

svādhyāya: study of spiritual books

Īśvara: supreme being

pranidhāna: surrender, to place before

ani: indicating the three as a group

kriyā: in action/in practice

Yogah: yoga

KRIYĀ YOGA is comprised of 1) tapas 2) svādhyāya 3) Īśvara pranidhāna 

Tapas: to burn or create heat. Burning purifies. “We will actually be happy to receive pain as we keep in mind its purifying effects.” This practice makes the mind steady & strong.

SELF DISCIPLINE is an aid to spiritual progress, whereas self-torture is an obstacle.

The True Austerities

1. Worship

2. Purity

3. Straightforwardness

4. Celibacy

5. Non-injury

Brahmacarya: celibacy. Meaning control, not suppression of the sex desire or sex force. The mind should be purified first, then it’s easy to control the senses.

SPEECH should bring tranquility and be truthful, pleasant and beneficial.

“Satyam brukat priyam bruvat” is a Vedic teaching that means “speak what is true, speak what is pleasant”.

Mental austerity: serenity of mind, goodheartedness, self-control and purity of nature.

svādhyāya: study.

Study anything that will elevate your mind and remind you of your true Self. Each time we read these works we elevate ourselves to see just a little more.

“We can hear things, study, form our own opinions, use our imagination, but nothing can equal experience.”

By merely thinking, no one has ever understood the One that is beyond the mind. Only when you transcend the mind can you understand it.

“There is a knowledge possible without the mind. All that you know through the mind is limited and conditioned. How is the limited mind to understand the Unlimited One? Only by transcending it and getting into the unlimited.” 

Limit your reading and put into practice what you read.

Dedicate everything to God. When you offer such things, God accepts them but then gives them back many times magnified. You never lose what you have given. Dedicate and the mind will be free and tranquil. Try not to possess anything for yourself. You’re a trustee, not an owner. Once something has ripened, it should be passed on. Change all the “mines” to “thines” and you will always be safe. 

THE MANTRA/THE BEST JAPA: “dedication, dedication, giving, giving, loving, loving.” This will bring us all permanent peace and joy and keep the mind free from disturbances.