The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Chapter One -- Samadhi Pada

To be clear, Patanjali's "Yoga  Sutras" is not a philosophical nor religious treatise. It is a field manual and self-help guide for the yoga practitioner (sadhak) on their chosen journey to enlightened living. 

Samadhi Pada (chapter one) is an outline of the overall structure and context of enlightened living (living in a constant state of samadhi). It provides an overview of the yogic process, while outlining its basic principles, goals, and processes. It defines yoga as the process of conscious integration or union; which liberates the yogi from fragmented, artificial, egoic, and limited mental frameworks. Yoga lets the light in. It opens the doorless doorway, points the way, lightening the path.

Because of prior negative conditioning, habitual tendencies -- past karma,  modern man too often finds himself  operating from contracted assumptions of a boxed-in and repressed sense of "self"; a consciousness that has become imprisoned, small, corrupted, split apart, isolated, and separated from the true nature of one's own mind and highest level of fulfillment. For Patanjali, yoga is the process that reconnects us to our greater evolutionary creative potential, which is our authentic  uncontrived, innate, and unfabricated unconditional original awareness; which has a momentum of its own. This culmination of yoga in nirbija samadhi bestows many gifts; nay, it is the crown jewel of human life in its expression, unifying embodiment, prana, and spirit.

In Samadhi Pada, Patanjali defines  yoga, as the cessation of the mind's limitations (citta-vrtti nirodha) where the yogi has begun to access their innate co-evolutionary energy awakening the practitioner to a boundless, universal, and ever-present primordial ongoing source of awareness; which is our true nature. Living consciously in deep communion within this integrity activates a deeply meaningful and fulfilling life, because the blockages and obscuring the recognition of our true nature; which is omnipresent and self-luminous, is no  longer denied, fragmented, repressed, or corrupted. Tensions and stress disappear completely; because they are washed clean at their roots.  Although words, fail to describe nirbija (seedless) samadhi, the Yoga Sutras describes practices that allow us to access, rest, and express it directly.  As such, it is certain that realizing the fruit of yoga is much more than a pastime or ornament for the ego.

Describing that process, Sri Patanjali necessarily starts at the beginning, addressing how egoic consciousness operating from the  limited and distorted presumed mindset (citta-vrtti) of the small "self" (asmita-klesha),  has become programmed and habituated. In that fragmented context of the egoic/limited mindset, the great innate evolutionary potential that is our natural birthright becomes obstructed, blocked, repressed, hindered, corrupted, distorted, modified, fragmented, veiled, separated, disconnected, interrupted, disrupted, and/or made discontinuous through unnatural conditioning. Such is a necessary first realization of kleshic characteristics; which yoga is designed to remediate.  Hence, our true universal evolutionary nature ,although being locked up within the limited confines, prisons, and confused mental constructions of the conditioned individual's "mind-field" (citta-vrtti), becomes increasingly liberated (nirodha) through yogic practices/exercises that break up these artificially produced mental, energetic, and physical propensities. Such is the light on the path that grows with skillful and sensitive yogic practice -- pure awareness as the lamp of deathless innate intelligence

In chapter I verses 2-3, Sri Patanjali defines yoga as the cessation of the fragmented/limited processes of the mind-field, which when purified, reveals the true nature of the mind. Samadhi Pada (like chapter II - Sadhana Pada) then describes process-oriented practices that transform the pre-existing limited programming of what appears as an inured world of a separate and fragmented mindset and identity, eventually reuniting and reconnecting our experience as a direct communion with a boundless, transpersonal, universal Great timeless Integrity through yoga (union) HERE and NOW. This transpersonal limitless vector is nothing other than timeless transgenerational never-ending transpersonal compassionate love and light as the motivator -- as the intent and goal connects as the inter-connected result (seed, soil, water, light, flower, and fruit). This connection (yoga) with primordial awareness illumines every stage of yoga leading up to the ultimate and most complete state of union, samadhi.  It is our true nature in a complete sense; and brings completion/fulfillment -- true and lasting happiness. All identity dramas cease.

 In short, man's spiritual milieu is that his cognitive faculties have become dumbed down and disconnected from the great Integral web of Creator/Creation -- from the mother of creativity. He has lost a direct connection HERE -- a conscious continuity of great proportions. Through this primal split and  deprivation human beings are then misdirected toward neurotic substitutes. Ultimate love is the direct, pure, open, and undiluted transmission of universal transpersonal samadhi. Indeed the crown of samadhi is absolutely wholographic. The disconnection from this love, is a serious disability -- the source of liability and pain. Breakage of this communion is caused by negative programming rooted in transgenerational spiritual self-alienation is called ignorance or unawareness (avidya). This limited mindset (citta-vrtta) is the cause of suffering (duhkha) and dissatisfaction. Why, because it is inherently limited, incomplete and unsatisfying. It is eliminated by skillful yogic practices that lead to awareness, waking up, liberation, and the evolutionary free expression of universal love. Then the unbounded innate original mind (cit) is expressed naturally without resistance. The pathways become purified, open, direct, and energized.

"Process oriented" is hereby differentiated from goal orientation practices. For example in gymnastics or acrobatics the goal is to achieve a distant or future result; hence, practice is so orientated to that end. In process oriented practice, it is the practice itself that informs, guides, and directs us at each moment of the practice. The result is present in the path, as the path leads to the goal simultaneously. They exist as one synergistic mutuality which the practice synchronizes. It leads us to greater lucidity, peace, and wellness as we practice; hence it is said that the fruit is in the path. Light and guidance is palpable in each moment. Here the moment and the momentum as the motive force of the practice and the result are synergistically synchronized, moving in harmony and mutual support. Here faith is not blind belief; but focused intent and dedication to, of, and by the light. Advanced practitioners know this from experience.

In this sense, yoga is the process of taking us back HOME (resting within the primordial presence of the Great Integrity) where we dwell in our original unconditioned and unmodified true nature (swarupa) -- in the all-encompassing big NOW. This opens us to our vast creative potential. It must be emphasized that this going HOME is not an escape from "reality", but only a distancing from the sphere of confusion. When we come back home in authentic yoga, we arrive in a sacred here/presence -- are very present. The journey home to primordial beginningless source is realized in the everpresent  NOW. Traditionally, going to source is framed in a self-defeating context of duality, as if the human being as apart from our process of co-creation; but we will never get there within such a false assumption. The context must be increasingly wholistic, if not wholographic and that cannot be reached by the human intellect alone; but through surrender to complete immersion into an authentic practice. The descent of grace or the eternal return is the other half of the wave, which is multidimensional and timelessly ever-present. Apologies are sincerely offered to the reader who may find this non-dual framework unusual or confusing. The depth of yoga defies most words and concepts and linear formulations of time/space; but through authentic yogic practice the direct experience of non-duality will be realized. Practice.

According to the Yoga Sutras, the limited incomplete modifications (fragments) of the mind (citta-vrtti), appear in myriad ways like spin, swaying tides, biasing of the mind, or instability. This mental state, called citta-vrtti, is a conditioned/modified framework, where the unlimited nature of consciousness has become boxed-in, depreciated, or trapped. To understand citta-vrtti as modern mankind's ordinary and normal (but not natural) egoic condition, one needs to contemplate the nature of one's own mind (the unconditioned or natural mind), contemplate samsara and mental conditioning, contemplate upon suffering/dis-ease, and practice other yoga techniques, which will unlock the full potential of mind.

Yet, it is perhaps cogent not to dwell, focus upon, or contemplate on what is not, on the negative, on the samsaric mind, falseness, untruth, illusion, the ego, samskaras, vasana, or kleshas; as the danger there is that one may amplify it. Sunyata must be experienced directly not intellectually. That experience is definitely not negative or is it merely a negation or absence, although delusion/delusion falls away. Only in that way it is feared by egoic-grasping.  Accessing a non-dual view during practice, while integrating that union in all our relations through balance and harmony and investigating "dualistic" tendencies, then the falling away of samsaric mindsets, egoic constrictions, kleshas, etc., then becomes intrinsic factors in our practice -- residues that are burned up entirely by the fire of our practice through direction. By recognizing that all dualistic mental states are erroneous and limited, that they are not the whole story, then contemplation (dharana) and mindfulness are approached as a preliminary practice that by itself can be dissolved, until we become mindful/focused upon the true nature of mind, which is non-dual unconditioned light and love (upaya). The well-known analogy of discarding the raft once one has crossed the sea applies here as well. It is not merely to be applied to final release in nirbija samadhi, but also in practice.

What qualifies the dualistic mindset (citta-vrtti) as being diagnosed as pathological, is because it is a corrupted, distorted, fragmented, and impaired state of disturbed, obscured, agitated patterning (vrtti) of consciousness (citta), which manifests like a wavelike ripple muddling the clear waters like a distorted lens, like a patterned screen and/or limited skew, habitually imposes itself as "normality" -- as a stubborn "reality" imposed like a veil upon the natural unobstructed, vast, and profound unlimited panorama of pure unconditioned consciousness (cit). As long as "normal" is confused with "natural", then nature and spontaneity will continue to be suspect and feared. Vrtti (limited fragmentations based on dualistic delusions) attach to the citta producing citta-vrtti. That is, preconceptions, prejudice, adherence to previous assumptions, and  belief systems (pramana) produce artificial, biased, skewed, prejudicial, and limited thought patterns. In short, a spin, which solidifies the stagnant and coarse state of chronic separation and spiritual self-alienation condenses as characterized by a consensus modality of dualistic, egoic, and fearful thinking, based on greed and selfish need. This fragmented and alienated mindset then manifests itself in terms of human actions and institutions, at the cost of love, communion, fulfillment, and community. Thus this process of establishing integration and re-identification within the sphere of universal timeless ever-present samadhi at all times is the subject of yogic practice (from Sutra I.5 all the way to the end of Pada I, while ending in nirbija samadhi).

This citta-vrtti (mind spin/bias), characterized by specific recurring thought patterns and activities, is both the result of our past programs and patterns of conditioning, which limit our experience of the Primordial Now awareness, and also the source of future citta-vrtti (until that cycle of citta-vrtti is broken). Therefore, it is the vrtti (with its concomitant samskaras, kleshas, vasana, and karma), which is the operating principles of avidya (unawareness or limited awareness), which in turn are the causal constituents of the spiritual disconnect/discontinuity. These afflictive operating mechanisms (vrtta) must be identified and released. Authentic yoga practice in turn cancels out, annuls, and releases (nirodha) these vrtti, not by ignoring them, but by recognizing them as-they-are. Once they are recognized, they can be released into the clear light of awareness. When they are so released (vairagya), then the self-luminous love of samadhi can shine through without obstruction. When we have this realization we are thus enabled to reconnect -- reuniting eternal spirit with our embodiment -- as a manifestation of living love in the present, thence, it is said that our awareness rests in its own true self-nature (swarupa). Thus yoga is defined as the process that removes the vrtti, while the corpus of yoga are the processes and applications of the techniques (sadhana) which attenuates and releases (nirodha) the acquired component stains upon pure consciousness (cit), thus allowing a balance and profound synchronicity to occur between our consciousness awareness and our actual state of being or rather the unitive state of pure consciousness, pure beingness, and pure bliss co-arise (sat-cit-ananda) is cit-shakti -- as siva/saktii. Then yoga is clearly known as the process that brings us back into our natural non-dual interconnected true nature (swarupa).

As such yoga is both a verb and a noun. It is the process, the action, technique, and spirit which motivates us toward integrity and union -- it is our love; and this love manifests as the result of union itself. Samadhi (reunification) is the object, fruit, result, and fulfillment of that love in action. Simply put, this is what the entire Yoga Sutras are about and which is the essential statement of chapter I, sutras 1-3 of the Yoga Sutras.

"The chitta, by its own nature, is endowed with all knowledge. It is made of sattva particles, but is covered by rajas and tamas particles; and by pranayama this covering is removed."

Vivekananda, page 181 Raja Yoga

This is the theme that is explained in the first three Yoga Sutras. Thus, the many practices (sadhana) of yoga can be described as "processes" and procedures that deprogram the negative conditioning, egoic habituations, and dualistic tendencies, thus liberating the individual's modified consciousness from the conditioned matrix of limited "reality", while returning the yogi into full resonance with Original, Natural, Primordial, and Unmodified Mind -- the very Source of our love, inspiration, creative genius, creativity, and evolutionary motive, which freely flows through the inter-connected yogic vessel (the body/mind and breath being its expression). This is described as the realization of the non-dual state (where eternal spirit is no longer absent) of Union (as yoga). Thus, the Yoga Sutras describe processes (gives practices) how an average partially sentient being, who may be so motivated, may rid oneself of confused, lonely, alienated, nihilistic, and fragmented tendencies, conflict, and pain, and become reunited, harmonized, connected, and re-integrated with one's true natural innate universal order of reality-as-it-truly-is -- in its own true form (swarupa); and thus united, forming a natural, uncontrived, and spontaneous sense of confidence and meaning, belonging as an intimate part of creation (and hence the co-creative/evolutionary force) in integrity -- in this very life, in ever-presence, and in All Our Relations. This awareness produces a profound sense of freedom, well-being, contentment, fulfillment, peace, joy, and love, which is devoid of fear, insecurity, or attachment. It is reunion, reintegration and return, because it is the Original Indigenous/Endogenous unmodified and Unconditioned Unborn Mind. It is not re-integration/reunion in the sense that such a mind has ever gone any other place then HERE. It has always been here since beginningless time; but the adventitious mind (the citta-vrtti) has wandered off course as avidya (ignorance). .

In the first three sutras (sutra means thread and these threads weave an integrated fabric), Patanjali weaves a concise and integral definition of Yoga. Concisely, he says; that yoga is a process of becoming free from limited patterned definitions and distortions of the field of consciousness, called citta-vrtti. Then the unfettered Source of all Seeing -- of pure unfettered universal consciousness itself -- abides as the seer inside all, and is revealed as the underlying reality in All Our Relations. To complete this union and make it whole is to realize our true nature (Sutra I.2 and I.3). This is the natural alignment and integration of beingness and consciousness --Sat and Chit, which brings about absolute fulfillment, completion, and peace (ananda). In a tantric non-dual sense then, yoga becomes the culmination of love where creator and creation (as shiva/shakti) join together in this evolutionary creative action, spirit and nature are joined, sky and earth, mind and body, sahasrara and muladhara, manifesting as a continuous self abiding living implicate order of pure integrity -- of All Our Relations. Through functional yoga practice this "reality" is integrated more completely and continuously -- increasingly shining through not only in meditation and "spiritual" practices, but also in the spiritual practice of our daily lives -- in  All Our Relations.

Yoga is thus a process designed to bring the practitioner (sadhak) into a continuous process of co-evolutionary awakening or samadhi (the experience of transpersonal and non-dual union/absorption); or rather more specifically into the final stage of self realization called nirbija samadhi (samadhi without seed), wherein even the seeds of future vrttis have become eliminated, dissolved, and released (nirodha) in the state of citta-vrtti-nirodha.

The scene of Pada I, Sutra 1 is (as it always has been) the underlying all pervasive primordial timeless Now (ever presence), which is beyond words, name, and form; Formless, yet it includes and underlies all form. The speaker, Patanjali, emerges out of this eternal now to break the profound silence and describe in words for the benefit of the present and future generations that all pervasive Great All Inclusive Reality (the Great Completion/Integrity) in All Our Relations - That Boundless Impartial Reality, complete in itself,  which is beyond the power of words to define or describe. A contradiction? No, because his words teach us how to go beyond words and concepts via practice. Reality as-it-is is not limited to human language and concepts.

Thus these teachings of yoga differ vastly from book knowledge, where before Patanjali wrote them down they were part of a living oral tradition passed on from generation to generation into fit vessels, where the practice itself is designed to reveal the teachings -- to activate the inner teacher. Patanjali says in many places that success in yoga is dependent upon going beyond the individual human process and beyond words. For example in sutra 9, Patanjali says: shabda-jnanaupati vastu-shunyo vikalpah (true wisdom where the ordinary discursive mind stops its spinning occurs when the words and concepts cease). Hence this translation will necessarily remain an interlineal interpretation, where the true and most profound teachings awaits the sincere seeker in the more subtle and silent spaces in-between the lines and spaces of the words.

Patanjali tells us right from the start in Pada One, that the context of yoga is all inclusive and lays beyond the grasp of the intellect (conceptual mind), and thus he tells us that we must nurture innate wisdom in order to successfully "understand" the subject. Thus the way to study the sutras is to practice yoga, read the sutra, contemplate  and reflect upon them in the context of one's own practice,  practice again, study, etc.; rather than to approach it as an intellectual or philosophical exercise using logic.

Christopher Chapple, in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", Satguru Publication, New Delhi, 1990, says in his introduction:

"To understand Patanjali's success, we must keep in mind that the text is one not of positions but of practices. Furthermore, the telos of the various practices, whether described as nirodha, kaivalyam, or samadhi, lies beyond language, beyond intellectual speculation: and this experience, which is itself beyond syncretism or synthesis hold the text together. The text has meaning in that its practice obliterates all meaning. Patanjali has no point to prove: he does not advance one practice above another. The practice which is effective is the one to be used, as indicated in Sutra I:39; yatnah abhimata dhyanad va (or from meditation as desired). Patanjali provides us with an important clue regarding his method in the first pada. When listing all the practices to be undertaken, he uses the connecting particle va (or), not ca (and)...

This method is similar to that employed in the Bhagavad Gita where again and again Arjuna asks Krishna for one truth and again and again Krishna offers Arjuna yet another perspective, another chapter, another yoga. Each view, whether that of a god being sacrificed to or a yogic discipline being practiced, is given life as long as it proves effective. Multiplicity is the rule, without one perspective, one god, or one yoga gaining ascendancy. The culmination of yoga comes when all differentiations are obliterated in nirodha or samadhi. This is not to say that life ends, but a state of being is attained wherein, paraphrasing Sutra I.41, 'like a crest jewel, one has unity among the grasper, grasping, and grasped,' a state of yoga wherein totality is embraced without denying multiplicity."

This translation will try to keep those wise words, in mind.

Summary of Pada I

Sutras I.1 -I.3 The Goal of Yoga

Patanjali first states the goal of yoga which is the cessation of the recurring biopsychic and energetic patterns that distort and limit the field of consciousness (citta-vrtti). Yoga as taught by Patanjali is union (samadhi). Since the word, yoga, means to yoke, join together, and interconnect, it is integrity personified -- an integrative non-dual-engagement in All Our Relations. That differs considerably from reductionist or dualist approaches (samkhya) which can be said to emphasize dissociation, isolation, aloneness, detachment, fragmentation, endless reductionism, alienation, nihilism, escapism, or dvesa (aversion) ending up in a over objectified fragmented disparate disintegration (a hopelessly corruptive state of mind). Although samkhya's analytical philosophical systems share some of the same Sanskrit terms; their usage, meanings, goals, and context are very different from yoga, and produce a very different result. In contrast, yoga, as such, is an integrative all inclusive state leaving nothing out and where nothing needs to be added.

Keep in mind, that thought formations are phenomena -- artifacts of citta-vrtti. They both generate are forms and are themselves  a phenomena. Citta-vrtti is also a phenomena -- an artifact. On the other hand, Cit or pure undifferentiated aware intelligence  is not a conditioned phenomena. It is not a form in its true natural state. Pure Cit meets Shakti in the conflux of the three rivers -- triveni. Keep that in mind.

Sutras 4-11 What Yoga is not: The state of spiritual alienation (klesha, karma, and citta-vrtti)

Then Patanjali describes the dualistic state of separation and fragmentation, where the fickle operations of these fractured mindsets (citta-vrtti) are noted. Here, we will witness perhaps the most common misconception and stubborn  controversies that have arisen between the radical academic samkhya (reductionist) dualist interpretation, which uncritically follows Vyasa's first written commentary on the Yoga Sutras as gospel, in contradistinction to the words that Patanjali plainly has written. That contradiction shows up throughout the Sutras, but especially in I.5, I.7,  I. 19, and I.49. This translation assumes that Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is not a book on philosophy, grammar, epistemology, nor a religious treatise, but is intended solely as companion guidebook in the same spirit of a guidebook that is designed to accompany and aid experiential practices. For the naive this section can be the most misleading.

For example, to demystify verses I. 5-11, Patanjali is addressing the citta-vrtti and how to free our minds from their restrictions. He does not limit the vrttis to five, but simply says that they can be so arranged or classified --placing them into five possible categories. Most citta-vrtti exist as combinations or permutations of two or more of these five basic categories; and hence, the classic treatises indicate that there are 840,000 variations of vrtti.

This is a cogent point, because the vrttis (as conditioned thought patterns which occlude awareness) can take on myriad forms. We all have experienced citta-vrtta many times, except in rare moments of clarity, vision, inspiration, beauty, satori, revelation, meditation, or samadhi. But the restrictive mental state normally occurs; because when citta-vrtti is dominant, we are unaware of its operation -- we are not normally conscious of its coloring effects; i.e., we are unable to step outside of it and notice or be aware of its influence. Thus, one who meditates or is mindful of their mind, begins to notice the arising and falling of the vrtta. It is not at all helpful to focus upon or follow the vrtti, rather recognize that mind is occluded, and simply let it go (release the thought). Eventually through increasingly open awareness, the vrtta are no longer capable of misleading or occluding the mindfield (citta). One becomes acclimated to resting in the true nature of one's own mind; which is the true nature of the all-pervasive all-mind as we will discover through authentic yoga practice.

Thus, recognizing the presence of a citta-vrtti will do more than simply disclose  the mechanism of our thought patterns that occupy and possesses our mindfields of attention (the limiting modality of mental patterning that colors, obscures, perverts, corrupts, limits, restrains, restricts, or prejudices our experience of our inherent true nature and original mind -- our  highest evolutionary potential) is recognized as it truly is and then liberated (nirodha). The reason the recognition of the citta-vrtta is relevant, is because citta-vrtta produce kleshas (mental and emotional obscurations, which afflict and poison the mind). In turn, these obscurations reinforce and hold the citta-vrtta in place, thus fixating the samsaric mindset. Yoga practice cuts through that process. It is valuable to recognize when the citta-vrtta and kleshas are in operation, they are noticed in order to purge them. They are not to be dwelled upon or attacked, but rather released. Pada I. Sutra 12-19 is cogent here; "Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah".  Gradually they are marked for elimination according to the carefully honed sharpness of the yogi's discriminating sword of wisdom (viveka-khyater). Once recognized vigilantly, they subside, fade, and then are cut.

Here Patanjali tells us that the citta-vrtti are either afflictive (kleshic) or neutral (aklishta) depending on causes and conditions. In short, without awareness of the citta-vrtti and its subsequent  dissolution, it quickly manifests as a klesha (poison). In Pada II Patanjali delineates the five chief kleshas, all of whom stem from avidya (ignorance). At present, we can utilize our awareness of the gross kleshas and let them go as they arise, thus unentangling the citta-vrtti process. The five primary kleshas are avidya (confusion), asmita (sense of separate self), dvesa (aversion), raga (desire), and abhinivesa (attachment to this very life or fear of dissolution).

Likewise, kleshas (just as vrtti) are also not to be viewed as some abstract or esoteric mystical concept; but rather they reflect everyday ordinary afflicted experiences, which unfortunately surface at many times during the day or night (as well as in beginning meditation). Anytime our buttons are pushed, our chain is yanked, fuses are blown, red flags are waved, or selfish needs arise -- when we feel disconnected. desirous,  or incomplete; when we "react", become perturbed, uncomfortable, needy, compulsive, defensive, angry, fearful, paranoid, grievous, anguished, jealous, hateful, judgmental, disparaging to others, are pride ridden, or otherwise suffer from the 64,000 modifications and disengagements from our the basic natural condition of Infinite Mind -- in limbo, trance,  aberrant, confused, or disturbed, all being associated with negative conditioning, past programming, and habits -- when we act out of egoic ignorance (avidya), rather than wisdom. we can be sure that just letting go (vairagya) of that as a citta-vrtti is called for.  The kleshas can be often insidious masked subtly a indifference, insensitivity, dullness, fatigue, rigidity, tension, discomfort,  apathy, numbness, deadness, complacency, boredom, and dissociation. Thus, simply stated, it is the liberation (nirodha) from the imprisoned mind (the perturbations of the world of the citta-vrtta and kleshas), which the process of yoga activates, as we move into greater clarity, freedom, and self empowerment -- into our true and authentic awareness of a transpersonal and non-dual self (swarupa).

The traditional academic commentaries of the Yoga Sutras can often enter into dense nitpicking and often obtuse and abstract philosophical speculation attempting to delineate and defend  what they do not understand. They may attempt to philosophically detail the specific mechanisms and dynamics of the vrttis (disturbances and fractals of the ordinary dualistic mind), but it is precisely this intellectual academic reductionist circumlocution that Patanjali tells us is, itself, a vrtti.  Such are the pitfalls of reductionist modalities  that must be dropped; for they will bear no lasting fruit, but rather serve as distractions and obstacles. True understanding must come from within the context of the Great Integrity where asmita-klesha is absent.

The key here is that these kleshic vrtta create kleshas and the kleshas produce duhkha (mental pain); while the ego is attached to flattery, identification, and pride and simultaneously being averse to pain (Sutras II.3-8), a grand conflation takes over as psychological denial, where the ego defends its own isolation and ignorance against contradicting information, instead of welcoming it as liberation. Such a knee-jerk reflexive psychological defense mechanism, is not a conscious intellectual or philosophical decision due to logic. The basic confusion (avidya) is based on a supposition of an independent sense of self (asmita), an attraction/identification  to it (raga), an aversion to its destruction (dvesa), and a resultant attachment to the body (fear of death). That confusion is the basis of the denial of life and physical mortality -- the fear of being alive and aliveness, as it is the denial of the unending vastness of our unending love. This is very cogent.

One may consider that sutras 5-11 are not important sutras, because they simply describe what yoga is not about. Also they have elsewhere been made to appear overly complicated and obtuse through self indulgent over intellectualization on behalf of scholars, intellectuals, and religionists (versus practicing yogis); therefore many interested practitioners of yoga have tragically been discouraged to continue with the yoga sutras. . This tendency to bastardize the sutras and make them appear the complicated property of expert academicians and erudite scholars, this translation will attempt to correct. We will attempt to pay less attention on what yoga is not, but rather attempt to spend more time on what yoga is, namely samadhi or ultimate union, which is the main focus undertaken in I. 23- 51. At the same time, this translation will attempt to correct institutionalized contradictions.

Sutras 12- 19 Practices starting with the most important, abhyasa-vairagyabhyam (non-attachment to results. Samprajnata, asamprajnata, virama-pratyaya which lead to sabija samadhi

Patanjali states quite clearly that the essential practice of yoga (in order to dissolve the citta-vrtti) is an intense focused non-attachment to results (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam). Hence yoga is a process oriented practice, not a goal oriented practice. Some say there are two proficient methods that dissolve, cancel, and void the vrtti i.e., vairagya (the continuous practice of letting go, non-attachment, or non-expectation) and abhyasa (the continuous application of focused intent in our yoga practice). If the yoga practice is rooted in non-dual original wholesomeness, then the view is found in the path, and the path reveals the fruit. It is not goal oriented, but merely allows for the deepening of non-dual, natural, and innate luminosity and compassion to shine through, as the false identifications, obstructions (kleshas), samskaras, vasana, and citta-vrtti are released. Taken as a whole "abhyasa-vairagyabhyam" really is meant to be a single integrated powerful practice. In short, in process orientation the fruit is always in sight, as it guides the practice/path. The context is always boundless – samadhi.

Increasing levels of non-attachment to objects and events are clarified and revealed until the greatest freedom of liberation is achieved in I.18 and I.19, which is transconceptual and transcognitive (asamprajnata). This is culminated as supreme surrender of the egoic mindset, selfish motivation, and striving, which is equated as ultimate love in action.

The supreme path of yoga involves letting go of these artificially implanted entanglements which fixate egoic boundaries by non-clinging, purifying, emptying, and dissolving all artificially fabricated mental states and views. There are many gradated dimensions of this practice of disentanglement, where all mental fixations are emptied.

Ultimately, we learn how to increasingly place trust in our natural limitless state of mind-essence (open-essence), beyond the limitations of conceptual processes and contrivances; thus, abiding in a profound all-encompassing great co-creative potential field in integrity, where there is no separation, no thing to be removed, nor added.

The sublime result of non-dual transconceptual disentanglement has the potential to manifest in this very lifetime completely free from entanglements and unadorned of conditioning as a natural self-radiant rainbow-light body. This enjoyment body is free from pain and attachment. It is the pain free bridge between genetic /evolutionary intelligent expressive embodiment and awareness of beginningless all-pervasive living light. It is a holographic deathless portal of co-creative natural conscious organization -- an interface where the accomplished yogi abides.

Failing this liberation through supreme (asamprajnata) non-attachment to objects (non-dual realization), then Patanjali says that one must then intensify one's practice (I.22). We will actually see later that the entire remainder of the Yoga Sutras deals with letting go (releasing) our attachment and fetishes upon objects - coarse (vitarka) or even the most subtle (vicara). This surrender to the highest principle of self luminous love, can be applied in all yogic practices, such as in asana practice as well as at the end of dharana, where we surrender the dualism of any subject/object duality as well as the identity of the observer of the object of concentration into an objectless/goalless state beyond "even the most subtle" where all separation is melted down in the universal heart space. HERE, through successful dhyana, all mental patterns and thought modifications (vrtti) no longer arise from past karmic accumulations. There is no longer anything at all left to let go of -- no residues. Freedom from attachment is realized (vaitrsnyam). Asamprajnata samadhi is essentially the non-dual state where grasping, discomfort, and craving cease while a sense of wholesomeness and freedom pervades. There are two kinds of asamprajnata samadhi. One is with seed (sabija samadhi) which is temporary (one still returns to the dualistic world and wavers back and forth). The other is without seed (nirbija samadhi). Patanjali considers nirbija samadhi the ultimate crown of yoga.

Sutras I-20-22 Increasing one's focus upon the power and strength of one's practice.

Sutras 1.23-29 discusses the practice of isvara pranidhana (ultimate surrender) and isvara's sound vibration, the pranava (aum).

Sutra 30-40:Basic practices and remedies (pratishedha)  that destroy obstacles (antaraya) and distractions (viksepa) and thus move the yogi closer to samadhi

Sutras 41- 51 (end) The gradual refinement of the of the field of consciousness, culminating in nirbija samadhi (seedless samadhi). This is a description of the various states of consciousness that can occur in deep meditation (dhyana).

Here Patanjali describes the process of moving from ordinary dualistic consciousness, which is attached to overly objective ways of existence into a heart centered interaction through non-dual realization without falling back to confusion (avidya). This section describes the graduated path of the refinement of consciousness from coarse (vitarka), to devoid of coarse (nirvitarka), to subtle (vicara), to devoid of even the most subtle mental processes (nirvicara), completely devoid of asmita (ego ownership and false identifications) and conceptual fabrications (nirvikalpa), which bridges the yogi into non-dual, transcognitive, and transpersonal relationships activating the intrinsic light of wisdom. Hence the last sutra of Samadhi Pada describes nirbija samadhi, the ultimate crown of yoga as union without any falling back into samsara. This is taught to happen in EVER-NOWNESS awareness -- HERE in this very life-forever.

For beginners, it is suggested just to read the entire sutra translation through once from the beginning. The commentary is merely supplemental, but can serve to clear up doubts. Thus the reader is encouraged not to be daunted by the size of the commentary, as it is intended for various practitioners at various stages of their practice. Use the glossary to get the feeling for the original purport. Only if the reader feels that they need more, then they may find the commentary to be helpful. The commentary is not necessary to understand the sutras, but yogic practice (sadhana) is an absolute must.

So let us begin the Chapter on Samadhi, Samadhi Pada.

The Yoga Sutras begin by Patanjali breaking the silence -- the lion roar of the great stillness, so to speak, to tell us how the universal flux of pure consciousness and pure beingness co-emerges on one hand, or on the other hand how our mind-field becomes corrupted, fragmented, restricted, rigidified, distorted, limited, and oppressed (by the action of vrtti -- causing one to experience the vagaries of cit) -- and about the path called yoga, which leads us back into open direct communion, integration, boundless wholeness, and complete wholesome fulfillment - to our self luminous core/heart center, which is the heart of hearts (hridayam) -- into our eternal home once again -- back into sacred synchronicity, which intimately connects us to our true authentic, universal, transpersonal self and timeless source.



Sutra I Atha yoganushasanam

Herein reside the subtle innate instructions of yoga.

Yoga: to connect or join together. Union.

Anushasanam: teachings or instructions. The self instructing and multidimensional buddhaverse. Self-instruction, guidance, exposition, teachings, clarification, explication, or revelation. From shasana which means external law, rules, external discipline that is imposed upon us. Anu means extremely subtle, innate, implicate, or inner. Hence, anushasana is the implicate *self-discipline*, which is innate and universal. Its natural referent is natural law as the natural order of all phenomena -- the true nature of nature-- Santana Dharma. 

Atha: Now, here, herein. Used at the beginning of a very profound or precious/sacred and timeless treatise dear to the heart. Atha connotes a profound beginning or timeless intimacy such as a sacred presence. Atha can be postulated as a NOW awareness -- the presence of a primordial intelligence beyond the ordinary imposed limitations of a fragmented or flat plane linear sense of place or sequential ordering of time -- A multi and trans-dimensional universal and timeless now presence.

Commentary: The above is the literal translation. NOW (ATHA), however, has a large connotation in the context of yoga. It connotes both instant presence and law. An interlineal reading could be:

From the portal of the Primordial/Eternal Now (atha) -- free from the confined structure of linear time and space -- co-arising from the unending implicate, self-originating, beginningless, and ineffable primordial stillness -- the endless space that gives birth to dharma as timeless living truth -- the Universal Intelligent co-creating mind from which all traditions and written laws are mere compensatory substitutes-- from that profound presence, HERE, emanates the authentic intrinsic accessible instruction of the transcendental universal non-dual method that restores integrity -- yoga.

Yoga is thus both simultaneously the fruit as realizing the underlying all pervasive *reality* of the whole and the path - the *process* of joining together and making whole and complete our own scared intimacy with this vibrant reality in All Our Relations unfettered by temporal limitations and corruptive thought. Hence yoga is both a path and a result, as it joins with its own completion. Yoga practice unites the path with its fruit (culmination). It remains accessible in the timeless now, hence the primordial teacher, is teaching yoga now. At the same time, undifferentiated primordial awareness is joined with differentiated relative awareness as eternal sacred presence, here and now.

The sphere of Yoga is all encompassing and timeless. Yoga is itself the Great Assembly (sangha, teacher, and teaching), eternally ever-present in its entirety, but generally to the non-yogi it is ignored. Yoga, as an activity, remediates conditioned unawareness back into natural original wisdom. Yoga practice transforms an illusory and atomized condition into recognizing our real condition or true nature, using our previously dormant innate conscious power. Yoga is the living intelligent matrix of consciousness, which  interconnects all beings and things as they truly are, here and now.  It is the complete space of recognizing the eternal moment Now. Every moment is sacred within this unbroken sacred context of primordial consciousness. Every bird, tree, star, mountain, and element is honored in its rightful place perfect as it is. Yoga reveals natural law as-it-is unmodified by biased consciousness of time or place. Thus authentic yoga is always available and self revealing through an open and uncontrived communion of pure and selfless subjectivity -- in pure Beingness by being profoundly present, aware, and recognized as sacred presence free from fear or attachment. Ahhh, freedom -- nirodha!!! No words can define it.

In Pure Integrity in All Our Relations, yoga is all-ways available here and now (in the sacred present), and as such, it is at once, the arrival, the abiding, and the unborn universal presence, which when experienced is recognized instantaneously as our true spiritual home.

Enough by David Whyte

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.

Sutra 1. 2 yogash citta-vrtti-nirodha

Yoga occurs when the field of consciousness (citta) is liberated (nirodha) from its patterned and restrictive variegated instabilities (vrtti).

[Then the mind abides in the domain of innate clear essentiality -- in a profound space of clarified self-illumined awareness devoid of any conditioned bias, tilt, or spin.]

Vrtti (vrtta, plural): The dualist view where bias, instability, tilt, spin, skew, recurring patterned fluctuations, modifications, limited or restrictive psycho-energetic patterns, conditioned effects, oscillations, vacillations, machination, spinning, rolling, rippling, restiveness,  uneasiness, a wavering unsteady state, unstable processing, distortion, disturbances, waves, refractive tendencies, fractures, eddy currents, fractural processes, aberration, whirling, swirling, bias, tilt, including dullness and sleep recur and occupying one's attention (pratyaya). A recurring waveform dependent upon the operations of the biased mind-field and/or creating a bias in the mindfield. Vrtta are reoccurring patterns and tendencies that affect the field of consciousness, thus occupying, occluding, blocking, obscuring, or coloring pure consciousness (cit). Vrtti when applied to citta (conscious states) connotes the circular unresolved processes of the discursive mind (karmic winds), while authentic yogic practices are designed to break such circular cycles.

Citta (chitta): Mind-field: A dualistic field of consciousness. Here citta-vrtti refers to the ordinary egoic dualistic consciousness with a apparently separate objects (contents) and a separate observer. It includes all limited states of the mind's field (ordinary dualistic perception).

Nirodha: Release, liberation, cessation, completion, resolution, dissolution, cancellation, nullification, stillness, absence/emptiness, disappearance, or extinguishment; hence, a rested, open, free, and relaxed state. The prefix, nir, means cessation, absence, devoid of, without, empty of, or freedom from something, while "rodha" means limitation, prison. wall, place of confinement, or obstacle. Hence citta-vrtti nirodha means a freeing up of the limitations of the mindfield (citta-vrtti), where nothing needs to be added or taken away.

Citta-Vrtti: Taken together, citta-vrtti is the reduced or limited mind-field. A distorted, obscured, limited, or distorted mindfield or perception; there being innumerable such associations/attachments. One characteristic is the adventitious mind set with its turning, twisting, stirring, wavering, whirling, spinning, vacillations, of a turbulent, unstable, and fragmented patterned bias, and circular recurring series of thought patterns. Mental agitations, modifications, fluctuations, machinations, restlessness, tumult, perturbation, aberrations, blurring, biasing, tilting, distorted wave form or energy field, and other fractural process of the field of consciousness which bias and obstruct pure and complete universal now awareness. The ordinary situation of the dualistic/conditioned mind where the observer (ego) identifies with the whirls/turnings. A dualistic state of mind where the observer associates and identifies with temporal permutations and limitations of fragmented consciousness, habituated recurring mental patterns, and prisons of a limited conditioned mindset. Simply stated the citta-vrtti is a limited and fragmented picture of the original/primordial mind (cit). Citta-vrtta encompasses the samsaric mind field associated with the primary klesha, avidya. Yoga reconnects the yogi with his/her original and unobstructed primordial nature. Citta-vrtta are dissolved  and destroyed through authentic yoga practices. In meditation, the circular unresolved processes of the discursive mind (karmic winds) are disclosed and released either one by one or all at once for longer or shorter periods of duration until supreme samadhi (nirbija-samadhi) is realized. The yogi releases hold of such limiting veils and abdes in primordial clear light consciousness.

Yogash: Both the practice (verb) and the fruit (noun) -- the path and result of unconditional liberation (kaivalyam) by resting in samadhi (the intelligent self informing ground of being) continually without interruption. Yoga leads to yoga. Its crown is samadhi, which is the realization of the true nature of mind in its primordial pure state -- none other than kaivalyam.

Commentary: Yoga occurs when the bias, winds, turbulences, instabilities, tilting, turnings, twisting, distortions, and spins of the mind-field has become liberated; where the operations of its fluttering/fluctuations have ceased. In that zero point a quietness of mind and spacious stillness opens allowing space for recognition of the self-luminous nature inherent in the unobstructed larger unlimited/unbounded awareness. A natural unconditioned clear light radiance and splendor, which intelligently informs us via primordial awareness. As the instability of the mind-field (citta-vrtti) decreases, clarity is liberated. The true nature of mind becomes stabilized and self-emanates, thus allowing the yogi to directly perceive the true nature of mind and thence, phenomena. In short, the citta-vrtti is the box/prison and veil of limited and narrowed images and samsaric formations of adventitious thought patterns. Yoga operates from an awareness outside of such limited karmic habituations.

Yoga practices such as astanga yoga (especially dhyana) and related, as described by Patanjali,  disclose the true form of transpersonal non-dual experience, and can be seen as a process of gradual refinement from a pre-existing negatively programmed mentality, which displaces "reality" with a biased mind-field". That, in turn, is a mere mental projection -- an image and picture of symbolic reality.

Yoga goes beyond these habitual mental formations of the mind, so that clear vision is possible (vidya), whereby the process involves dissolving, emptying. canceling, or releasing the unstable operations/machinations and churning of the ordinary thinking processes (vrtti) common to the ordinary dualistic mind. At first the mind has found its resting point. The mind is quieted, but it is not achieved through artificial means, forcefulness, or through suppression. Rather, the mind becomes unrestricted and totally relaxed and rested. The past machinations, limitations, and distortions of the citta-vrtti  fade away, dissolves, and are released. There are subtle layers to let go (vairagya); but eventually the mind becomes liberated into infinite and universal unbiased spaciousness (natural liberation). The original Pure Universal All Pervading Primordial Wisdom Mind (Cit), which has always been waiting in the background underneath the muddy wavelike distortions of the citta-vrtti, becomes recognized and shines forth into fulfillment and completion. Especially this process is to be activated and observed in dhyana (the seventh limb of astanga yoga) and culminates in nirbija samadhi, the eighth and final limb.

Yogic processes/practices thus are designed to cancel out, annihilate, annul, still, dissolve, and release (nirodha) the fractural and limited unstable wavering patterns, bias, and turnings (vrtti) of the conditioned mindset (citta), so that the unconditioned natural clarity of the original mind can shine forth illuminating the darkness and stilling all anxiety, confusion, tension, and stress continuously and without interruption. Thus vrtti can be defined as the interruptive patterns and oscillating operations, which occlude or disrupt the natural continuous self liberatory flow of the original cit from manifesting in All Our Relations. The citta-vrtti is most easily noticed in silent sitting unsupported meditation (dhyana). there one observes one's mental operations/formations, which are most often in flux. As long as the fluctuating bias (vrtti) of the mind persists, then the mind-field will remain afflicted by ignorance, and we will suffer its negative consequences.

Various descriptions of the citta-vrtti are: limited oscillating movements of thought patterns, habitual and recurring mental patterning, recurring pictures, fluctuating thought processes, wavelike operations, mental machinations, mental flux, twisting, turning, vacillations (including agitation, perturbations, whirlings, spinning), oscillations, mental turmoil, disturbances, disruption, skew, fracture, and further distractions, as well as a dulled and vacant mind field many of which are capable of causing affliction and suffering. In order to avoid confusion, Sri Patanjali is NOT advocating the cessation of the mindfield, but only its limited patterns and habits (vrtta) must cease. What is left is a liberated mind field without bounds. It is a non-field but pure Cit, the conscious awareness principle recognized in all universally. Authentic yoga sadhana removes the limitations/restrictions of the mind, and expands consciousness and awareness to reach its ultimate integrated potential.

In short, the citta-vrtti is recognized as the unconscious limitations that humans impose on top of their lives/reality, which when removed liberates their true creative potential. The dramatic whirlpools, tides, and/or ebbs of ordinary dualistic thinking processes as well as sleep, which create a turbulence, spin, skew, bias, limited views, impediments or obstructions, -- which condition, program, color, and distort the original unobstructed true pure nature of the unbiased and universal clear light consciousness or Infinite Mind (citta) are lifted. The citta-vrtta muddle, color, distort, and obscure that sweet wholiness of consciousness (citta-prasadanam) from our recognition of its manifestion in everyday life interactions. The presence of habitual vrtti upholds the fragmentary or corruptive mind which thus becomes habituated to the secondary traumatic spiritual rend of separation (the primal trauma) from our true nature.  When the citta-vrtti (distortions of the mindfield) cease or become dissolved/cancelled (nirodha) then the clear light of absolute reality shines forth as our true nature (swarupa). That is the same light that is also in all beings and things simultaneously. That is the profound process and result of yoga.


When something ceases to influence our mind, we are liberated from it. It has been released. Hence Yoga is the practice where the citta-vrtta are released. Nirodha is not a practice, per se. Yoga is the practice and the result. Nirodha is part of the result and is entirely passive/rested and effortless. That is, the oscillations or fluctuations of consciousness are absent. Nirodha is completion. At its completion it occurs beyond even the most subtle refinement of the ordinary mindset. The prefix, nir, means cessation, absence, devoid of, without, empty of, or freedom from something, while "rodha" means limitation, prison. wall, confinement, or obstacle. Hence citta-vrtti nirodha means a freeing up of the limitations of the mindfield (citta-vrtti). When the restrictions of the mindfield are lifted, what is left is the boundless mind -- our own true and unmodified nature of mind (swarupa-sunyam). The effort is only in making time to sit in meditation (dhyana) allowing nirodha to occur. it is thus effortless and natural self-liberation, which is always available when the veil of unawareness is lifted. The point is that nirodha is not a practice; it is not a  restriction/repression, or process of containment/limitation.

In the Yoga Sutras the cessation (nirodha), and hence liberation of the citta-vrtti (the fluctuations of consciousness) that is described is a result -- an ornament that is achieved through yoga practices that effect the balancing out and nullification process of release, unwinding, unspinning, unbiasing, and cancellation of the recurring fluctuations or spinning of the mind field -- the ordinary mental processes (manas and buddhi) allowing Universal Purusa seed consciousness entrance.  As a result of the practices of yoga sadhana, what is produced is the unspun, unmodified, unlimited, open, boundless, pure original primordial state which is the culmination of yoga in swarupa. Yogas citta-vrtti nirodha is thus a concise statement of what yoga practice accomplishes -- the the eventual nullification, elimination, and cessation/reduction of the wavering/fluctuations and disturbances of the mind-field and also its final state where the wavering/fluctuations cease altogether revealing our true unobscured nature. Spin, tilt, distortion, partiality, or prejudice no longer obscure while residing in natural unobstructed pure primordial evolutionary consciousness.

Translators often confuse the word, nirodha, as being active like a forceful act of stilling, restraining, or even worse as the act of controlling or repressing thought processes; however, the word, nirodha, is definitely more than passive i.e., it is a passive cessation of all efforts -- it occurs at zero point stillness not in the act of stilling -- absorption and dissolution of the ego. As the ego dissolves its dualistic fixation onto temporal phenomena, one's obsessive farctual configurations are released into a timeless all encompassing space. It is cessation, not the act of restraint, but cessation of the obstructive condition/noise that covers the revelation of the view -- primordial light and non-dual awareness as the result of the process of yoga unfolds. As the process deepens, the intellegence behind the awareness  becomes self-instructing. What is active is yoga sadhana (practices) instructed by the innate view, as a process that quiets, focuses, and liberates the mind and energy body so that its authentic inherent true-nature can shine forth. Nirodha occurs naturally when the citta-vrtti rests. There the mind is left alone in its natural universal clarity and essence.

Before the citta-vrtta are nullified, an active process of yoga sadhana is initiated. Thus, a direct feeling of the process is achieved beyond the intellectual or philosophical pointers. At first, just the recognition of being under the influence of citta-vrtti is a great benefit. Recognizing our state of the formative afflictive habits of the mind, occurs when practicing dhyana (mindfulness meditation). Then we can release it and no longer be seducted under its cloud. At other times, good karma from past positive activities will be sufficient  to move the practitioner. The sadhak is cautioned to never attribute progress in yoga as being initiated from a separate egoic state of individual willpower or any effort coming from separateness, as it will further reinforce the state of non-union and disintegration. Because nirodha is commonly misunderstood, we will reiterate that it is not an active process emanating from the ego, intellect, and will (ahamkara, manas, and individual will). Rather the removal of the coverings of the mind-field ultimately emanates from the realm of our unleashed innate co-evolutionary potential and inspiration; which has a motivation of its own once it is recognized and we align with it. It is implicate, integral, and complete in yoga; albeit it must be given an open birth through yogic practices for it to freely express itself.

Wisdom directs us to question interpretations that frame yoga as a process of forceful restraint or repression of mind-nature,  or even the limitation of the fluctuations of the mind. This is a tragic error. Rather, yoga liberates the transpersonal mind from the dualistic limitations and habitual mental formations of the mind-field. It frees the mind and opens our awareness to rest in the true nature of mind. -- pure and uncontrived from beginningless, primordial, unborn, limitless, universal, and all permeating holographic Big Mind or more simply put, innate primordial clear light awareness. The mental formations (vasana) due to past karmic forces, simply cease imposing neurotic pretexts upon our innate mind's eye (vidya). 

 Nirodha is better understood by pointing out that it is not the mind that is being stilled or controlled; rather, the machinations, fluctuations, habits, and coverings (vrtti) that have become attached to the consciousness (obscure it); which have been mis-directing and occupying (afflicting the mind in dysfunctional circles is now becoming self-liberated. By the idea of "control" an independent outside operator; and in that way duality is imputed; which attitude may conflict with release and surrender (vairagya and isvara pranidhana). It is the result of release -- an opening to the Unconditional Wisdom Mind. That is where yoga practice is to be undertaken as process-oriented, versus goal oriented -- the seed of the fruit/result is in the practice/path, mutually co-emergent in practice -- in synergistic synchronicity.

In yoga, the vrtti cease, through innately informed functional process-oriented yoga practices. Thence unobscured awareness shines through accordingly; the yogi awakens. Then the Mind's eye is opened, and clear vision (vidya) co-emerges. When the mindfield is emptied of all fragmented content and impediments, a dramatic shift takes place disclosing a wider non-dual field. With the wisdom eye activated and directed inside to mind's essence, allows it to recognize itself outside as well then a holographic "Reality" is entered. We have returned home.

When such limited associations, self identifications, or attachments with the ordinary dualistic thought processes (vrtti) cease (nirodha), then the self resides in its true non-biased nature -- as the True Natural Unconditioned Self (SWARUPA)  or natural unconditioned mind (cit). Nirodha, as cessation is thus passive to an extreme as the citta-vrtta cease to occlude, obstruct, and limit Pure Stainless Clear Light awareness, which then is allowed to spontaneously arise without any stains. The citta-vrata are conditions that coer the Cit. As such they give rise to avidya (stupefaction) which in turn create more identifiable mental/emotional  afflictions (kleshas). The yogi recognizes these limitations as a link in the chain of suffering (duhkha) and works to liberate self and others.  Hence Patanjali states in Sutra.1.5 that the vrtta are afflictive or neutral depending on our ability to rid the mind's tendencies of  attachment (See I.12 - I.19).

PRACTICE: Dhyana (Meditation) leads to Samadhi

The ordinary person who does not practice mindfulness -- who does not meditate, has much to look forward to, as meditation practice empties the mind of its afflictions, hindrances, tensions, and occlusions, while revealing the truth. Meditation is the major practice of dissolution/cessation -- of emptying and clearing out of the citta-vrtti. (See Suta 3.3 for the definition of dhyana as swarupa-sunyam).  As this dissolution procedes, the sadhak is afforded the opportunity to know their own mind (as the instrument and window of consciousness) directly. This happens from inside out and outside in, simultaneously wherein the true nature of Self and existence is revealed. What could be more empowering and direct?

 This awareness of our own mind and the way it moves allows us to see clearly. Then we are able to change our mind from rambling and limited thought chatterings to open naked awareness . Having freed the mind from that prison thus bestows upon the sadhak (practitioner of yoga) great liberation of clear seeing (drastuh). This is tremendously empowering, because we now have the opportunity to be aware of our own mental and emotional habits and mechanisms. Then we can navigate and direct  our own course in life. When the dirt and obstructions from the lens is removed (shuddhi), "normal" dalistic  perception becomes unclouded and , the mind field becomes liberated from ordinary content, the awareness becomes expanded to the true nature of mind, and then we are able to access and eventually bring ourselves to rest there in heightened joyful awareness.

After we start to meditate, we notice that the ordinary mind-field (victimized by the vrtti) is capricious, restricted and limited. We call the turbulent aspect of the vrtti, the monkey or discursive mind. In Sanskrit there are many words for mind depending upon the aspects that are governing the mind. The "normal" ordinary mind (called manas) as well as intellectual function (buddhi) are dim reflections of pure citta. All intelligence depends upon the pure cit (or as we will see in later sutras upon purusha) as its source. Meditation is the process where the vrtti subside, reach cessation, and rest in stillness in complete dissolution. When the cessation (nirodha) occurs the citta-vrittayas being empty -- then samadhi begins -- the self luminous clear light (the light that brings forth clarity) of pure universal transpersonal consciousness (cit) dawns. Nirbija samadhi is the crown jewel of yoga, while dhyana (meditation) is its branch.  Dhyana is one such effective yogic practice, which leads to union (samadhi). At first there exits small glimpses, as the clouds of vrtti dissipate, while later the experience of samadhi becomes increasingly integrated and continuous as All Our Relations (culminating in nirbija samadhi).

Water, if you don’t stir it,
will become clear;
the mind, left unaltered,
will find its own natural peace.”

Sogyal Rinpoche

Thus, yogic practices (sadhana) consistently applied (abhyasa) are designed to quiet, purify, and release the ordinary mind-field, to bring about nirodha (cessation and stillness) of its impediments, which is devoid of any activity of the individual conditioned dualistic mind. This doesn't mean that the mind loses consciousness, rather the opposite. The entire organism then being liberated from distraction can join wholistically with its primordial essence --  a prior, but previously subtle, connection with the Source of Goodness (Siva, the param purusha) in the realm of Mahakala. It is filled with unlimited consciousness as unobscured Cit shines forth. Isvara/Maheshvara is not a separate thing/object capable of being cognized. Since siva/shakti is all pervasive throughout the universe, it often is overlooked, like the air in the midnght sky.

The vrtta can take many shapes and forms. Dynamically, the vrtta as wavelike operations form pscho-energetic patterns and vortices of manifold shapes, modifications, fluctuations, movements, oscillations,  disturbances, perturbations, spins, skew, disruption, revolvings, swirlings, dullness, fractures, and/or mental turmoil, which are at the root of our anxieties, bio-psychic and spiritual tensions, conflicts, stress, afflictions (kleshas), distortions of reality, and confusion. Duhka (pain or suffering) is itself a vrtti as well as a result of kleshas (see pada II). The root of all kleshas (mental afflictions/obscurations) is avidya (stupefaction), which is nothing other than a conditioned covering of Cit (pure consciousness). The kleshas are mental/emotional subjective states, while the vrtta are results of the power of consciousness and its lack in its limited sense, namely manas's inadequate ability to adequately and fully cognize swarupa.

Vrtti can be described as a corruptive agency or fractuous unsteady condition that attaches itself to Cit (pure consciousness) and thence obscures the individual's mind-field. This is the state of ordinary dualistic fragmented and afflicted consciousness (the ordinary mind called manas), where corruptive influences such as spin, bias, taint, kleshas, vasanas, samskaras, karma, and ignorance have become dominant and taken their toll in samsaric (fragmented dualistic existence) as duhkha (suffering). All that is necessary is to still the vrtti. The following sutras identify the five general categories of the vrtta. Then starting at I.12 methods, such as abhyasa and vairagya are introduced as the primary yogic practice which allows us to become free from the influences of vrtta, klesha, duhkha, karma, vasana, and samskara.

Devoid of vrtti, pure cit, is all inclusive and pervasive than any one isolated discrete mind-scene consisting of a separate seer (the one who sees), the object seen, and the process of seeing (See Sutra I.41), because pure citta (when the vrtti has ceased) is universal and unchanging-- it is not confined within the dualistic context of a separate ego ("I" sense) or the normal dualistic framework of object relations (pratyaya). When this natural unmodified/unconditioned stage of citta becomes disturbed,  distorted, traumatized, rendered, disjointed, perturbed, dis-continuous, or distorted into fragmented patterns, then disharmony, conflict, anxiety, disturbance of the mind-field, disease, discomfiture, limitations, and "lack" occur. In this corrupted state of vrtti-citta the mind-stream is traumatized, disrupted, and rended discontinuous.

Thus, citta-vrtti-nirodha is accomplished (as and in yoga) when the self limited thought patterns, biased programming, corruptive fragmenting fluctuations, and negative conditioning on the mind and their parallel bio-psychic processes, are remediated. When that burdensome veil is lifted, one's field of consciousness becomes self-illumined as inherent self-luminous wisdom and lucidity allowing one to arrive home to the sacred ground of indigenous self abiding -- of All Our Relations-- our natural state. Another way of saying this is that functional yogic processes create citta-vrtti-nirodha, yoga being both the process and the result. (For more on nirodha, see nirodha parinama in Pada III-9).

Again when this yogic process is continuous, integrated, aligned, and synchronized in All Our Relations synergistically in delicate balance and harmony in the light of experiencing our true nature (swarupa) then yoga is easily understood as the process of interconnecting, reintegrating, and synchronizing with our natural unconditioned true self. Then that result is called samadhi (union/absorption, re-integration). Yoga being the process while samadhi is the result, however Vyasa says that yoga is samadhi.

When our intimate alignment of pure consciousness (CIT) and pure being (SAT) become artificially modified, obstructed, made discontinuous, fragmented, interfered with, strained, distorted, skewed, stressed, or agitated into fragmented or disparate patterns, then through awareness the vrttas can be recognized as partial operators, so even then the practicing yogi can  set the situation straight. Thus, once we have basic self-awareness of the true nature of our afflictive conditions, we will naturally desire release and then learn how to implement the remedies of yoga effectively. Thus the practice of true authentic yoga eliminates the vrtti (modifications of the citta) and establishes the reunification of seer, seen, and process of seeing back into its natural unconditioned, unconstructed, non-dual, uncontrived, harmonious, and naturally interactive dynamic alignment with creator, creation, and creativity (creative spirit). That unification bears ultimate fulfillment in Nirbija Samadhi without containing any seeds that allows one to fall back into samsaric existence. Thus, Patanjali defines at the end of Samadhi Pada, what is called, nirbij samadhi as a continuos and uninterrupted. One therefore aligns consciously with pure Consciousness (Cit) united with all of creation (SAT), creation/creator (shakti/Siva) -- inseparable, as timeless creativity and enters into that sacred realm, no longer wavering back and forth (in or out) from and of the hologram as ever-presence.

Be aware that many false teachers teach that the citta-vrtti never can be completely stilled-- that it will always arise and fluctuate-- waver in and out. Understand that they are reporting on their own failed experiences only, albeit most common Such is not what is experiemced in nirbija samadhi. The citta-vrtta cease completely and continuosly. The vital point here, is that no separate operator (ego or will) stills the vrtta; rather, pure Cit co-arises by itself. When that occurs all modifications of the citta-vrtti cease completely in the completion stage of yoga. After repeated practice this experience becomes continuous. Results can be immediate, but final liberation requires sustained devotion and dedication.

Take the moment. Relax into the innate pristine stillness. Having entered Mahakala, make it your home and base in all our relations.

Shakti Das says:

"When the agitated storm-clouds of mental fabrications cease, yoga self-arises devoid of causes or condition. A hole in cyclic existence opens and karmic bondages disappear, if only for the moment, bathed in Ever-presence!"


Sutra I. 3 tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam

Then the seer completely rests in the unbiased primordial all-pervading unconditioned clear light consciousness, which is our true nature.


So that (tada) we-abide in the original splendorous clear light (drashtuh) of our inherent original true nature as-it-is (swarupa) as it is revealed in All. When the veil (citta-vrtti) lifts, then unobstructed awareness is revealed -- a disclosure of our natural/unconditioned and uncontrived state of mind. Metaphorically, the citta-vrtta are like clouds, particulates, or smog, limiting/obscuring the unobstructed sky (the cit or pure consciousness).

As we let this innate light shine through unobstructed, we then become firmly rooted (vasthanam) and become consummated in our original true nature (swarupa) of pure consciousness [without being hindered, uprooted in false identification, distraction, dissipation, dissuasion, or other corruptions of consciousness by action of the citta-vrtta].

rupa: form

drastah: From the light of the seer; the light and power of the seer's power of seeing/knowing; pure vision; natural light; clear light. the light that reveals the truth. When the seer abides in swarupa, it is not ordinary seeing/knowing, rather it is supersensible seeing --samadhi.

swa (sva): own; self; it is as it is.

swarupa (svarupa): literally self-form; inherent form; true form as-it-is; in its own form as it is, original unmodified form untouched by biased or conditioned modes of perception, and one's own real condition real form (swa-rupa). True uncompounded, uncontrived, and unconditioned  self nature as-it-is untouched by karma, vrtta, and recognized inside as original, stainless, and untouched -- primordially pure. Swarupa is unmodified, not reified or dualistic, primordial, naked as-it-is. Swarupa is the universal atman when understood transpersonal as one with Brahman -- the true nature of self; i.e., the true purusa. True nature of things. Tthe natural mind. As sahaj samadhi (uncontrived/natural, unconstructed, and co-emergent). See III.3 swarupa-sunyam)

avastha: condition. Thus, avasthana: abiding: residing, resting inside, dwelling, settling in, being, standing on its own without need for any external support.

Commentary: Then the true innate power and scope of the mind's underlying true nature is revealed,  further revealing the true nature of phenomena, as natural innate free expression. Awareness of awareness illumines all. The power and scope of the mind's true nature is revealed as the yogi awakes into primordial deathless and limitless awareness beyond words and human concepts (when the citta-vrtti cease). That inherent natural connection, is our native birthright where fragmentation and neuroses cease in the conjunction of consciousness and nature, cit and sat, shiva, and shakti, head and root, in and out, up and down. All beings are one family, wherein a yogin reflects and expresses that unitive whole as the sacred vow (mahavrata) in all actvities of body, speech, and mind. Timeless and boundless wisdom is a living book, where all are our relatives and kin -- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam--the Universe is One Family.

When the distracted and conditioned mindfield is liberated from its past conditioning and its habituated mental/emotional tendencies, then the universal reward of yoga is realized as natural unconditional free expression devoid of artifice.

Keeping in mind that the term, nirodha, is passive, thus yoga is not to be mistaken as an active or forceful restraint, suppression, repression, nor control of the mind (as is too often mistranslated), but rather it occurs as the cessation, elimination, cancellation, or dissolution of the obfuscations of the citta-vrtti. It is an intelligent vector;but not forceful in the common use of the word. Just let it be.

When the vrtti cease, the mind field is silent, empty, and open. Hence self liberation (freedom from the egoic mind) is possible at that moment, allowing space for a greater intrinsic intelligence to self arise -- the Now Awareness. The innate dormant self luminous wisdom that was previously overshadowed by the vrttis is now no longer misidentified, but allowed to dawn and take its rightful seat. This is the realm of sat-chit-ananda (pure beingness, pure consciousness, and absolute bliss). This experience is gradually and increasingly experienced through effective yoga practiced over time. Such deep experiences then become more accessible in both practice and everyday actions as mutual synergists. This is the integrative uninterrupted yoga in NOW awareness that becomes continuous -- in All Our Relations.

Swarupa, means in its own original unconditioned true form (rupa)-- as-it-is, residing in its own rightful (swa) abode (rupa), or in its true natural form without modification, distortion, or artificial conditioning. Swa also means as-it-is by itself unelaborated upon by the mindfield, while rupa means form. Thus swarupa can likewise be defined as being in its own true form as-it-is or natural true "self" devoid of reification/modification or conceptual elaborations of any kind. Since according to Patanjali's definition of samadhi in III.3, form is empty of a separate self (swarupa-sunyam), swarupa, thus is transpersonal, non-dual,  universal, and translocal. Hence, this is realized through experiential practices of dharana (contemplation) and dhyana (objectless unsupported meditation) leading up to samadhi (swarupa-sunyam as stated in Sutra III.3. Dare we say, here that form (rupa) and the emptiness of a separate self (sunyam) are self-defining and are in alignment with the Buddhist Middleway school.

In yoga, the true form devoid of the modifications (vrtti) is not an existential, indifferent, catatonic, nor neutral state. Rather a profound transpersonal realization and expression of the unconditioned natural mind is indicated. The universal mind-stuff shines forth out of Uiniversal Space. Reality and all emporal phenomena co-emerge as one without distortion or spin. No bias of an independent observer is possible in holographic deep space. There is no externally imposed limitation of a separate, limited, or biased viewpoint, viewer, or seer; because one's eyes have been opened in this transpersonal non-dual profound sense as a Seer (Rishi or Rsi) to see primordial mind in all - in the sacred sphere of All Our Relations.

When the third eye of non-dual seeing has been opened, one sees the light that is the essence of all phenomena. That light is implicate and inherent, but the physical eyes have learned to ignore it. Hence, swarupa is our own true nature of mind as-it-is. It is identical with primordial awareness. This occurs when the mind field (citta-vrtta) no longer identifies with apparently separate phenomena, but rather the field of view is entirely clear, open, and unobstructed. The prisons of the citta-vrtti that normally coalesce or stick to limited identifications with things no longer occur. This is our natural primordial state -- swarupa-sunyam as Patanjali describes in III.3 as samadhi. It is a state totally empty of a separate self (egoic identifications). This again is all inclusive and pervasive the Unitive and Universal experience of the Great Integrity which we truly are. This is known as self-awareness when the veil is lifted. It is known as jivamukti while it is embodied.

Here, the yogi is not identifying only as a separate mind/body organisml body, but rather the yogi is affirming one's true primordial nature; i.e., the universal essence of mind (mind's nature), while embodied Here and Now in NOW Awareness. The body/mind aligns with the earth and sky, Shekinah and Ayn Soph, Shakti and Shiva, SAT and CIT, and becomes the perfect vehicle for holographic activity -- as Adam Kadmon (the primordial man).

 Form (rupa) has no individual owner (swa) ultimately in samadhi, as is stated in III.3 (samadhi is swarupa-sunyam). Form is empty of self, and at the same time is inseparable from that true essence. That empty space is self-luminous and is contained in all form, as well as form is contained in it simultaneously. Form implies a content, but that content in reality, is empty of limitations whatsoever. This is the reality in which this sutra is pointing (nirbija samadhi as the crown jewel of yoga).

Drastr in this context then is the seer (the one who sees), but here revealing the universal Intelligence principle behind seeing, the process of seeing, the splendorous light behind the process because now the seer is resting in their true abode, where vasthanam means simply to abide within -- resting as-it-is without any restlessness. Where the common man's consciousness ordinarily wanders from thought object to objects of thought  through the attachment of the vrtti -- through attachment to apparently separate "selves" through processes of limited false identifications, or in short, through ignorance (avidya); here the seer is not so attached, but rather rests in its true nature or authentic self without delusion.HERE the seer "rests" (avasthana) in their own inherent true nature (swarupa) and knows great serenity.

So this, yoga, is a union of consciousness with being (Sat  and Cit -- Shakti and Siva), then the seer rests in his/her own true nature. In a tantric sense this is when siva (the consciousness principle) and shakti (as the creatrix or manifesting process) are wedded in shiva/shakti -- in the profound non-dual union of satchitananda -- of pure consciousness, pure being, and pure fulfillment and completion. Similarly we can say that yoga is the process that brings us into this completeness, thus abiding in our natural unalienated and universal timeless state -- our true self (purusa) where the machinations of the citta-vrtti have become stilled and ceased.

Keeping Quiet

By Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about; . . .

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Yoga thus, is the liberation of the individual mind from its ordinary habitual illusory prison of fragmented estrangement, held together by grasping onto conditioned imprints of discontinuous past experiences framed in duality and separateness; so it can abide again and dwell in its rightful spotless natural abode (swarupa). In later day tantric terms, the practice of yoga then becomes the processes of clearing out the pathways within the body/mind (nadis) and pranic sheaths for unconditioned citta-shakti to evolve its evp;utionary designs and manifest on the earth. When the karmic obstacles are removed through applied yoga practice, the prana that flows through the nadis will become balanced and strong -- they will intelligently work together in mutual harmony activating the dormant potential of transpersonal non-dual knowledge and bliss. Eventually the alignment of the inner ecology of the body/mind synchronizes with the outer ecology of the planet and cosmos, then the non-dual and trans-rational synchronicity of yoga occurs in rainbowed harmony with formless primordial awareness.

In hatha yoga terms, this occurs when the pingala and ida nadis are purified, strengthened, open, empowered, and synchronized so that they perfectly activate the evolutionary energy in the central column (sushumna); which in turn unites consciousness and being.-- sky and earth, spirit and nature, sahasrara and muladhara, siva and shakti, cit and sat, eternal love with embodied love, undifferentiated consciousness with differentiated consciousness, creator/creation -- as a continuous whole in All Our Relations. In hatha and tantric yoga this is a gradual process that comes about through a balanced and skillful practice (sadhana).

At first, the energy (Shakti) and conscioussness (Cit) as Cit-Shakti, moves through the nadis and chakras activating the dormant co-evolutionary circuits and bindu. Plateus  of profound balance, harmony, and wellness is experienced as discordant imbalances are nullifed. Then a profound sense of peace and wellness is experienced in turiya (swarupa-sunyam) continuously -- in timeless wonder.

Sutra I. 4 Vrtti-sarupyam itaratra

At other times the mind's view is distorted by seemingly discrete and fragmented objects/forms.

Itaratra: At other times. Else wise. Symbolically or neurotically; in place of, or as a compensatory mechanism.

Sarupa: means with form or objects (compare with svarupe). Sa means with and rupa means form.

Vrtti: Restrictive or limiting patterns, mental coverings, fluctuations, wavering, processing, or distortions that obstruct the mindfield; bias, tilt, spin, skew, recurring patterns, modification, limited thought patterns, conditioned effects, oscillation, vacillation, spinning, rolling, machination, restiveness,  wavering, unstable processing, distortion, disturbances, waves, refractive tendencies, fractures, eddy currents, fractual process, aberration, whirling or swirling, including dullness and sleep. A recurring waveform dependent upon the operations of the biased mind field and/or creating a bias in the mindfield. Vrtti are reoccurring patterns and tendencies that effect the field of consciousness thus occupying, obscuring or coloring pure consciousness (cit). Disparate and disconnected interruptions of the mind-field.

Commentary: A similar translation would read: "At other times the seer falsely identifies with the restrictions of consciousness". Yet another way of saying that in modern terms, "At other times the seer is seduced into a small box reality of knowing, wherein a limited, corrupted, and confused context is maintained."

When we are not "home" or not present (itaratra) in the great full continuum of primordial NOW consciousness -- when not abiding in our true self nature (swarupa) -- then consciousness (citta) is colored, modified, limited, and disrupted (vrtti). Then the observer identifies with the vrtti and is fooled by symbols and dark representations. Here we assume that the form (sarupa) that is shaped by the modifications of consciousness (citta-vrtti), rather than as unmodified universal cit (the power behind the consciousness) as it truly is in reality. When pure consciousness (Cit) is blocked, then as a compensatory reaction the mind-field becomes limited according to superficial appearances (fragmented forms).

Otherwise or at other times (itaratra), when the vrtti are operating or dominating, then our body/mind energetics (neurophysiology and consciousness) will be out of synch with the whole -- the citta (consciousness) will be distorted, disturbed, agitated and fluctuate as it becomes swept up identifying with objects (sarupa) and we will be out of sorts so to speak. Then our mind is veiled and occluded. The latter state is the ordinary alienated subject/object dualistic state. Forms are seen but not understood in terms of their causes and conditions, nor is their proper inter-relationship with time and the hologram properly recognized.

When the mind patterns (vrtti) habitually create prisons of their own making, limitations of creative possibilities, and a closing off of its great potential is an all too common overall state of mid. Thoughts box in the mind, distort, and fragment. What is, in reality, a vast evolutionary potential (our buddha nature) becomes repressed as the programmed human consciousness becomes chronically occupied and possessed -- identifying with mental vagaries, false representations, compensatory, and inadequate apparitions of an imaginary dualistic "self" and "other", which produce mental afflictions, restlessness, tension, confusion -- which continue to recur cyclically, thus obscuring clear full vision. It becomes a chronic self-perpetuating circle of cyclic existence and suffering that yoga practice breaks asunder. That is how the mind is fooled and the wool is pulled over one's eyes. Anything short of clear vision is a limitation that serves as a dissuasion, an incomplete substitute for the real thing. Beware!

In turn, such chronic programmed and neurotic mental seductions replace "the real thing", while one becomes accommodated and adapted to them, predictably providing a false sense of security and safety. Beware of these conditioning factors which imprison the mindfield and lead to further emotional hindrances, inhibition, premature death, suffering, and bad karma.  

Sa, means with, while rupa means, form. Form objects as appearances appear to the normal mind as discrete and independent objects, but the yogi knows that they are everchanging interdependent results of causes and conditions. When we are not united, aligned, or connected in our true authentic nature (swa-rupa) through yoga, then disharmony and distortion (vrtti) will appear catching us up in "our fragmented dualistic world" where phenomena appear disconnected (sa-rupa) or disjointed - a separation between creation/creator, mother nature/father sky, earth and heaven, root and crown, existence and consciousness, natural manifest order and divine order, the weave of the universe and the universal source obstruct and restrict our synchronistic joyful participation.

Without previously recognizing the fragmented or corrupted or perverse preexisting operating condition, and without having taken up any expedient, proficient, or skillful method of remediation or reintegration [such as yoga], we become habitually lost identifying with the modifications and aberrations (vrtti) of the mind as an ingrained way of corruption (as "reality") to a point of unconsciously reinforcing our own imprisonment and illusion at the hellish altar of familiarity. Thus in this way, the dualistic false identification and spiritual self alienation (as existing separate as an ego) thus become our solidified as our "reality". Indeed what appears to the senses as "form" or "phenomena" has to be recognized, however the ordinary recognition is placed within a limited/fragmented context frozen in place and time -- apart from the whole/hologram. It's true nature (swarupa-sunyam) when seen in samadhi is interdependent -- empty of separate self. In short, form/phenomena seen within a non-dual context has a self luminous and wholistic quality which is beyond subject/object duality, thus acting as an open gateway to the timeless vastness of the all pervasive whole/hologram.

In the sacred sense, please consider that our everyday experiences are best approached as sacred grounds containing great potetial -- primordial presence as all and evrything. Phenomena are not frozen, fixed, or solid aspects as separate discrete "forms" or sense objects that the citta-vrtti mistakenly impute as having an intrinsic separate or eternal solid quality; but as a temporal energetic ever-changing magical permutation of the all-creative mind. Without recognizing our true nature *swarupa) we cannot recognize the true nature of phenomena and hence project upon the world a static fixation that distorts and colors the rich diversity and potential of the great integrity -- of holographic "reality". Thus, when "things" appear frozen, static, or stuck then we can take it as an opportunity to remediate/transform the fragmented situation into completeness and integrity -- so that we abide in swarupa (our true nature or real condition).

In other words, accessibility to a profound and sacred true experience of our real condition as-it-is, devoid of any mental trickery within the context of eternal Infinite universal and primordial awareness is always present/possible, but the citta-vrtti habitually occlude it. The "thinking/processing mind" which extracts/filters us from Living Spirit thinks "about" specific limited situations habitually revolves about one object of thought to another object attachment to another. It gets lost in simple fragmented object relationships. It is asleep to the opportunity of Now consciousness (the Cit) which is thus obscured. That way the ordinary mind has become conditioned to skirt Reality, rather than to abide within it. Normally the ordinary mind spins/whirls outwards into various false identifications (sa-rupa) with the vrtti unless we practice yoga that attenuates and eliminates the vrtti -- unless we are graced to recognize and rest in our true self-nature -- in the great Unlimited and Absolute Integrity of All Our Relations

In yogic practices such as meditation we learn how to come back home to swarupa by purifying the occlusions/distortions of the mental continuum -- unfiltered/raw Reality-as-it-is. As we meditate we see how the interpretive mind has the tendency to get caught up in and fixate upon objects (either physical sense objects or mental), and through recognizing the vrrti we gradually learn how to let these temporary fixations go (through vairagya and abhyasa which will be presented in I.13). Thus the vrttis are at first lessened, recognized, then remediated, let go, and eventually they cease.

Sutras 5-11 then identify the specific vrtti (as spins, disturbances, fractuals, agitations, and corruptive influences of the mind-field). Then sutras 12 to the end attend to their attenuation and removal (cessation) so that one can eventually stabilize the realization of seedless samadhi (nirbija samadhi).

Sutra 5 Vrttayah panchatayah klishtaklishtah

The vrtta (mental distorted prisons) can be afflictive (klishta) or non-afflictive (aklishta), and can be placed within five categories (panchataya).

Vrttayah: recurring wavelike psycho-energetic patterned fetters imposed upon the mind-field of consciousness; which distort, spin, and modify clear vision appearing as aberrations upon the innate psychic field of open and pure awareness. Plural possessive of vrtti.

Klishta: Having the characteristics of klesha (tainted, obscured, afflicted, hindered, poisoned, or pained).

Aklishta: Devoid or empty, of a kleshic taint. Uncolored, unaffected, and absent of kleshic any lasting association or residue.

Klesha: Obstruction, obscuration, hindrance, affliction, or taint. As we will see the kleshas lead to duhkha (suffering, discomfort, or mental pain/sorrow).

pancha: five

Tayah: Types or categories.


These vrtta (specific wavelike patterns of conditioned thought), which limit and fetter clear vision can be categorized into five types, which in turn can be classified as either those which obscure mind's innate clarity (klishta) or non-obstructing (neutral) in regard to mental obscurations (aklishta).  Mental pain (duhkha), unhappiness, and samsara are conditions (results) produced by kleshas --  kleshas produce mental pain and discomfort because they obscure vidya -- pure unobstructed vision (see Pada II). The general meaning is that citta-vrtta obscure pure awareness (vidya), which in turn destroys confusion, mental conflict, stress, and self-contradiction. These obscurations are most often afflictive clouding the mind (avidya), thus the cause of mental suffering (duhkha). Those citta-vrtti that are devoid of such hindrances or afflictions (aklishta), are classified by Sri Patanjali as being neutral (aklishta), free from attachments and leaving no afflictive residue. Here Patanjali is categorizing the citta vrtta, not the specific kleshas. The samsaric wheel is cut through by expedient yogic sadhana.

In yoga, ignorance or unawareness (avidya) is the chief klesha. It is said to be the karmic source of all the other kleshas, while the kleshas in turn are the cause of the samsaric mind and suffering (duhkha). This is a two fold process, wherein the mental state of unawareness/confusion (avidya) creates duhkha; and the in turn, also acts as the cause of reinforcing the kleshas such as the desire to escape or dissociate from the pain (dvesa) and seek pleasure (raga) through the process of aversion (dvesa), neurotic craving (raga), and prideful delusion (asmita). Pada two goes into detail regarding these mechanisms. The main point here is that the citta-vrtta have to cease (nirodha) --  the citta-vrtti being the limited mindset. Citta-vrtta, kleshas, duhkha, and avidya are circular; hence the samsaric circle. Yoga breaks the circle of samsara -- yoga being the application of  the dharma chakra. When samsaric circle ceases (nirodha), then the unbounded, limitless, and timeless (mahakala) awareness shines forth naturally (vidya). This is the essential point.

Thus the  citta-vrtti corresponds to avidya, all the kleshas. and the samsaric mndset -- the dualistically constructed "world" view;  which is afflictive. Just as samsara is not a physical place; but rather a state of mind, so is its remediation (nirvana) an expansive remedial state of mind. It is not that we can think ourselves into nirvana; but we can unthink ourselves out of samsara (see sutra I.12)

Here Patanjali classifies the vrtta in five broad categories each of which may be afflict awareness (kleshic) or be neutral (free of afflictive results or aklishta). We remember from the previous sutras that yoga is the cessation of the influences of all citta-vrtti, so that reconnection with our original integrity as union (yoga) with primordial spirit in All Our Relations is made whole and continuous through the cessation (nirodha) of all the citta-vrtti. Klishta refers to the kleshas (see Pada 2 for a detailed account of the 5 primary kleshas). Kleshas are defined as afflictive emotional patterns, which when activated trigger activities of body, speech, or mind, which in turn, cause suffering (duhkha). These kleshas stem from the primary klesha, egoic generated ignorance or confusion (called avidya) of our true nature. Egoic identification is not a mere misidentification with the body, but identification as a separate/independent self, apart frthe whole -- a separate sense of "self-existence" or ego delusion (called asmita) follows, where attachment (raga) or aversion (dvesa) to things as well as the body (such as fear of discontinuity or physical death called abhinivesa) are closely interrelated. Hence the kleshas are avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa. They can be broken down further in many permutations of the above such as in lust, greed, pride, jealousy, hatred, anger, arrogance, scorn, paranoia, and so on; but the major point is that the kleshas are poisons which severely taint and enslave our mind-field and dictate behavior which results in negative consequences forming vicious circles difficult to break. Thus Patanjali's essential message is that our liberation is dependent upon the purification (cessation) of the citta-vrtti which will at the same time break up the kleshic patterns, negative karma, and suffering (duhkha). This basic theme is repeated throughout the Yoga Sutras. These relationships are detailed by Patanjali in Pada II.

In I.5 Patanjali does not attempt to delineate which specific kleshas are caused by specific vrtti, nor conversely delineate what vrtti add to what klesha. Those connectios are made further on in the Yoga Sutras. Suffice it to say that these relationships are associated in constructing, holding together, and fixating the mental habituation fields (citta-vrtta) that compose the spiritual malaise of alienation, disconnection and separation preventing union (yoga). The citta-vrtti imply the kleshas (although not all citta-vrtta lead to or stem from kleshas). Both kleshas and citta-vrtti limit and obscure consciousness and being (pure cit and pure sat). Citta-vrtti describes the process from the point of view of psycho-energetic wave patterns emanating from specific psychic processes or manifesting them. They are thus traced back to karma, vasana, and samskara within the context of causes and conditions. Effective yogic practices such as meditation will activate our innate awareness and hence the kleshas will become revealed and allowed to self liberate. Special practices remove the causes of kleshas (II.1 and II.2). This condition is described by the cycle of samsara (wheel of suffering), which says that because of limited awareness avidya (the primary klesha), which is itself is produced by (citta-vrtta), beings act (karma) creating negative afflicted future conditions and so on, until the cycle is broken through the cessation of the citta-vrtta and kleshas. That is how kleshas and karma are related.

Later we shall see that Patanjali suggests effective tools as yoga processes/practices (called sadhana) that are designed to release these fragmentary fluctuations of the mind (citta-vrtti) by practices that remove the kleshas, samskaras, vasana, negative karma, and duhkha or better their causes. Again as such, this is a process of purification or cessation (nirodha). Better still they are practices that move us into luminosity, love, and clarity.

A practitioner of authentic yoga can thus gauge their success in practice, by inquiring whether the sadhak (practitioner) is less enslaved and burdened by the oppressions of the vrttis, kleshas, samskaras, vasana, and karma or not? Are we less agitated, more empowered, more creative and fulfilled, not only in our yoga practices, but also in our daily activities as well? Do we notice the disturbances coming up sooner and do we stay in awareness residing inside of our core energy, our true nature, our center, or heart ever more increasingly? We may ask what helps extinguish (nirodha) the vrttis and their manifest distractions, dissipations, cravings, anger, grief, jealousies, greed, and other kleshas fall away and cease?

Patanjali simply says that some vrtta are associated with klesha and others are neutral in respect to klesha (aklishta). As will be elaborated upon in pada 2, the word, "klishta" is most often mis-translated as pain or suffering, its root being "klesh", which relates to the five chief kleshic afflictions. However, the Sanskrit word, "duhkha", is more directly used by Patanjali to mean pain or suffering. So we will use the English words, hindrance or affliction, for klesha, remembering that kleshas create duhkha (suffering) and generate unfortunate karma; therefore their relationship to the wheel of samsaric existence is established. Klesha can be described as afflictive states that obscure/cloud the innate intelligence or stain/disfigure the primordial awareness, so that it is not recognized as-it-is in its true form (as swarupa sunyam). See the extensive discussion in Pada 2 that details the negative/painful influences of kleshic activities.

Similarly "aklishta" is often misinterpreted as something desirable, good, beneficial, or even meritorious by some translators; however, it is cogent to point out that aklishta merely means the absence of hindrances, obscurations, or afflictions (the kleshas) -- neutral in this regard. This common misinterpretation of klishta/aklishta occurs because of the bias of some ideologues, religious fundamentalists, intellectuals, and academicians, who attempt to exhort the "goodness" of pramana-vrtti (the first vrtti translated as proven theories or "right" knowledge). Such is a grave error and severe misreading of Patanjali. The common misinterpretation of pramana will be cleared up in the commentary on the immediately proceeding sutras (mainly in I.7).

What Patanjali simply states here, in I.5, is that the following five categories of vrtta are capable of reinforcing or exacerbating kleshic activities (which eventually lead to suffering or duhkha) or at best they simply may be neutral in this regard. In the reverse way, not only do the citta-vrtti promote kleshas, but also the kleshas exacerbate the citta-vrtti -- amplifying the whirling of the mind (vrtti) or what we will label the samsaric cycle of suffering (the Bhavachakra). In any case when the citta-vrtti cease, so do the kleshas, and karmic propensities through yoga practices. Then there is cessation (nirodha), while yoga becomes accomplished. One way to get HERE (free of karmic causes and conditions) is to abandon the kleshas, as we will see in later chapters. No where does Patanjali suggest these citta-vrtti are to be taken as a path, other than to recognize and renounce them. The primary confusion regarding the vrtta being pramana. Pramana is the most dangerous and tricky of all the vrtta.

Sutra 6 Pramana-viparyaya-vikalpa-nidra-smrtayah

[These related five categories of vrtta are] adherence to fixed belief systems (pramana), faulty or confused assumptions (viparyaya), conceptual and contrived thought constructs (vikalpa), dullness and stupor (nidra), and limitations due to regressive non-integrated memories (smrti).

Commentary: Pramana, viparyaya, vikalpa, nidra, and smrti are the five broad categories that limit, pattern, and discolor the mind-field of ordinary consciousness (citta).

1) Pramana: Assertions, projections, assumptions, and speculation. Attachment to views, ideology, fractuous modalities or modifications of the citta-vrtti caused by belief systems (BS) believed to be righteous, correct, or even superior to others and possessed by the ego-sense. Thus pramana are psychic impositions and imputations stemming from recurring patterns formed through bias, filtering, modifications of the mental continuum, rigidly held opinions, strong convictions, spin, or other recurring patterns of consciousness (citta-vrtti) in an attempt to fit sense data, experiences, or events into narrow belief systems. Pramana is held in place by belief systems (BS), "conventional theories", so called proven theories or so called "right" knowledge held together in turn by ordinary dualistic perception of external data input (pratyaksha), deductive reasoning or inference (anumana),  consensus reality, the testimony of external authorities (agama), sacred books, or in democracies by "conventional" wisdom or common consensus.  Pramana-vrtti (so called accepted or politically correct views/beliefs) is thus a vrtti -- a modification of consciousness and thus a kleshic obscuration; which must cease (nirodha) in order for the process of Yoga to be realized as citta-vrtti nirodha (see sutra I.2).

A proven theory, belief. or so called "right" view is just that, not necessarily the experience of Reality, truth, or phenomena as it is. Just like a map is not the actual territory, or a view out the window is not the sky, if an observer adheres strongly to their perception, even though they seem logical and are confirmed by others in their sphere of influence, samadhi will remain denied as the observer will continue to be prey to the citta-vrtta.. Pramana, indeed most likely will *not* conform to or lead us to the "Real thing". In fact, stubborn fixations upon belief systems is an insidious filter creating a strong barrier to the realization of samadhi as we will show in detail later. Especially when people believe strongly or have grasped tightly onto firm convictions in their tradition, religion, ideology, provincial prejudice, "righteousness", or chauvinistic viewpoints, these type of pramanas are very difficult to identify and surrender. HERE Patanjali says pramana has to be surrendered up on the altar of truth. Further this is the crucial statement that separates yoga from philosophical systems; i.e., yoga is based on experiential practice which informs the sadhak (practitioner) and transforms fragmented dualistic consciousness back to its profound natural unconditioned state (swarupa). Truth and reality is not based on memorizing facts nor conforming to external belief systems which are in the end an attachment to views (asmita-raga klesha). However for many it serves to create a false sense of security and if not pride, arrogance, hubris, and feelings of superiority or inferiority.

At best, pramana may not cause problems (aklishta) if it is taken as a hypothesis or a possibility without attachment. Without attachment to views, the prison gates (kelshic obscurations) can dissolve and new plateaus (bhumis) realized until final liberation into- all-consciousness.  

2) Viparyayah: The same as pramana above but using logical fallacies, false data, irrational logic and inference, testimony of deluded peers and teachers, biased and dogmatic texts and mistaken beliefs based on errors of perception, lies, bad data, misinformation, propaganda, false assumptions, dis-information, organized confusion, institutionalized ignorance, perversity, false identification. faulty reasoning, misperception, internal dishonesty,and the like. Falling into this category is anything that may be proved to be wrong objectively. Sometimes the data may be true or partially true but the thinking (computing power) of the mind is incoherent, mistaken, schizoid, hypocritical, laden with distortions of logical fallacies, and/or corruptive thinking in general. Viparyayah is similar to pramana, except there is an error in the process of perception, the process of inference, and/or in the process of the external confirmation system (those who are accepted as authorities in the know, but suffer from the same prejuice). Both pramana and viparyayah imprison the mind and limit awareness as do all the citta-vrtta.

3) Vikalpa: Conceptualization and contrived processes of intellectual thought constructs that are fabricated through the mental facility (delusions or fancies of the mind), Filtering, bias, spinning, skew, and modifications of consciousness (vrtta) due to fanciful thought processes, contrived and artificial thinking methods, hallucinations, day dreaming, imaginary conditioned cognition, conceptionalization processes, hypothesizing, speculation, fabricated thought, and in general the monkey mind discursive mentation processes of the ordinary mindset, based on hyperactive frontal cortex processes, or any other conceptual formation which occludes the pure perception and full experience of samadhi. All concepts are based on words, which are symboloc representations and images; but not the the real thing.

4) Nidra: Stupor, stupefaction, sleepiness, covering of awareness, a lack of mindfulness, a partial or occluded awareness, and limitations of consciousness (vrtta) due to dullness of mind, inattentiveness, sleep, trance states, being in a daze, torpor, a swoon, subconscious activity, insensitivity, and alike. In dream this is often mixed and directed by past mental imprints, karma, and their subsequent allusion.

5) Smrti: Smrti is being haunted by the past in a linear time frame. Many are victims of unintegrated past impressions and conditioning. Their present moment is thus skewed according to their past experiences, taking the past with them into the present. thus serving as an obstruction to timeless presence. Smrti is thus described as a citta-vrtti; as a filtering, bias, distortion, and modification of the field of consciousness (citta-vrtti) due to fragmented and non-integrated past memories, past legacies, karmic residues, impressions, experiences, nostalgia, grief, trauma, samskaras which are most often directed by past mental imprints and their subsequent allusion and so forth. Sometimes smrti also refers to "conventional wisdom", tradition, ancient sayings by gods, angels, prophets or sages that are remembered, learned, memorized, and obeyed. An ultimate smrti may be hypothesized as the profound re-membering of who we are in terms of primordial awareness -- all time and unlimited space. That awareness is not the individual or limited collective/group smrti, to which Sri Patanjali is referring here. By smrti, here, the reference is to the obstruction to consciousness (citta-vrtti) which occurs due to limited individual experiences which are NOT integrated into holographic integrity.

An example of such a smrti is an obvious citta-vrtti, occurs when one's life is darkly covered by their own past experiences to the extent, that one is unable to imagine the experiences of others, let alone remember the universal timeless primordial source from which nature has sprung. In this context, it is perfectly alright to honor one's own tradition, clan, race, forefathers, past lives, region, religion, planet -- in short one's own individual past experiences, etc., but it is not suitable for a yogi to ignore one's integral commonality with All Our Relations as one large interconnected family. For such a one, who is obsessed exclusively with the vrtti of his own past experiences within an individual (egoic) context, success in yoga is impossible. Our experiences occur within a greater hologram, which is timeless, spacious, and intelligent. It extends to and is the result of beginningless time. In short the citta-vrtti are the box-like limitations of the mind, where yoga reveals the original unconditioned Mind, which is boundless and unrestricted. In reality, every moment is fresh and alive offering unlimited possibilities. Such is our innate potential and the concise meaning of Pada One.

All five are citta-vrttra and must cease for the crown of yoga to be realized.

Walt Whitman's statement warrants repeating many times when germane.

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain nor freed a human soul."

~ Mark Twain

From these five general categories of citta-vrtti, a myriad combination of vrtta can be identified, all of which distort and limit the mind-field preventing us from seeing clearly (vidya), much of which in-turn become spiritual hindrances (kleshas) and thus act as causative forces of mental suffering (duhkha), vrtta being obscurations that limit awareness (vidya), and thus afflictive (klishta) in general.

Therefore, Sri Patanjali defines five mind vagaries/skews (citta-vrittayas). In everyday life these five vrtti rarely act individually, but rather in combination with each other forming and shaping the many seemingly complex waveforms, patternings, and modifications, and obscurations of the citta-vrtti. Hence we can have half truths, inter-acting with stupor, logical reasoning, past conditioning, trauma, and prior beliefs, which combine together as a distortion of reality that veils the truth of clear lucidity. Action based on these distorted waveforms thus can result in karmic activity that feeds avidya and more afflictive emotions and hence produce more negative karmic propensities and suffering (duhkha). In turn these negative karmic storehouse, tendencies, and conditions serve to reinforce the production of more citta-vrttis; and, hence, one is caught in bondage (the karmic wheel of cause and effect). The good news is that yoga is designed to wake us up and help us break that vicious cycle of samsaric existence.

The five citta-vrtta thus constitute the prison of the mindfield  --those boundaries of consciousness which must be broken through. Rarely is there only one citta-vrtti operating at one time, but rather combinations of them, just like the kleshas are normally compounded occurrences. There are countless vrttis and combinations of vrttis. We don’t have to know them all, just know how to free ourselves from them. Likewise, it's not necessary to identify any one specifically, but rather let them all go. How, one may ask? Vairagya, is the answer given in I.12-18. The practice of vairagya dispels the citta-vrtti -- the cloud disintegrates into thin air.

These five broad classifications of the vrtta describe  the fractious modalities which limit consciousness. They can be either innocent distractions and dissipations possessing no lasting negative karmic effect (aklishta) or they may be part of a seed bearing cycle of negative karma (with klesha) such as the vrtta caused by negative propensities and reactions (the kleshas due to ignorance, i.e., attachment, pride, anger, hatred, fear, greed, jealousy, and similar) depending upon how occluded our mind stream (citta) has become. It is the purification of this mind stream (santana), which eventually provides the antidote as the field of consciousness expands without limits in terms of space, time, or awareness. Put another way, yoga practice purifies the mind and removes obstructions,

The very fluctuating operations of the citta-vrtta cause disruptions and distortions of clear vision (vidya). They are always the result of past negative karma (conditioning) rooted in limited awareness (avidya), and hence an element of avidya (the chief klesha) thus must be purified so that natural radiant light shines forth illumininating the sky as in pure clear-light awareness.

Here Patanjali is saying that the citta-vrtti can and do produce more kleshas (literally obscurations and poisons of the mind-stream), which n turn produce unhappiness and the samsaric mnd-set. It is clear (as stated in sutra I. 2) the goal of yoga is reached when the citta-vrtti cease (nirodha) their operations. Yoga practices thus must eliminate the citta-vrtti (samsaric mindset), kleshas, and negative karma; then there spontaneously arises unalloyed, uninterrupted, unfiltered, and unbiased continuity of primordial cosmic consciousness. As we will learn at the beginning of this pada that it is the vrtti that occlude/obscure the self luminous light (prakasa) of consciousness, which comes forth naturally when the bonds of the intuitive insight as innate wisdom (prajna) is loosened. This is accomplished by yoga sadhana (practices) such as the eight limb (ashtanga) yoga practices such as is taught in Pada 2 and Pada 3, methods of cutting through vasana and karma as mentioned in pada 4.

Experientially, one will find that these five citta-vrtta do not operate alone, but rather as a mutual combination, albeit each has their unique effects. For example, memories (smrti), conspire with conceptual ideation (vikalpa), lack of awareness/drowsiness (nidra), beliefs (pramana), and false reasoning (viparyaya) to maintain a continuous prison of mental fixations and patterning. When these fields of mental distortions cease (nirodha) then the mental continuum or mindstream becomes purified allowing for timeless primordial consciousness (vidya)  to flow through our now opened pathways/channels.

Often these substitute displacements of reality are held in place by previously held unexamined assumptions, superficial and dualistic belief systems, faith based hopes and fears which have become memorized and externally validated by "surrogate"  authority figures, sacred texts, bibles, ideology, dogma,  experts, logic, inference, and ordinary fragmented perceptions; Beware of such dissuasions which lead to mental afflictions, hindrances, and grief.

Also mistaken associations, errors of perception that trick the eye,  and false views; conceptual speculation, fancy, mental fabrications; stubborn residues and unintegrated imprints from past memories which we have learned to regurgitate reflexively,  as well as sloth and dullness  all of which create a chronic disinterest, stupor, drowsiness, insensitivity, inhibition, dissociation, and numbness to our innate intelligent evolutionary power, which is none other than a state of dreamy sleepiness.

These mental and emotional prisons are many. They appear as vagaries of belief systems true or untrue; conceptual thought processes built upon mere word associations,  logic, and fancy; past conditioning, memories with residues, negative past conditioning; dullness and lethargy of the mind, and other obstructions of pure consciousness, which occlude the conscious recognition of the  Primordial Universal Intelligent Source, of which man-made traditions, religious ideology, and written laws are but only poor adaptations and substitutes at the best.
Authentic yoga thus is a process of awakening and sensitization removing the mind-field from its pre-occupation with neurotic false identifications and fragmentary disconnection and dissatisfaction, revealing a vast and profound non-dual seamless and sublime integrated fecund sphere once we release the above accumulated limitations. Yoga as sublimely exemplified by seedless samadhi is unfettered by any limitation and corruption.

Authentic yoga thus answers the question of what is awareness or consciousness itself devoid of the dualistic fixations (vrtta); and what are the processes which reveal it, as well as what are the processes which occlude it. At first we will discuss what it is that occludes and colors it (the vrttis). Then how through practice (sadhana) how to see (vidya) in clear vision.

Authentic yoga answers these questions through practice (praxis), not by giving people ready made answers or texts to memorize, mimic, obey, or regurgitate. In yoga the teacher/master is within (isvara), which is neither egoic (being all pervasive) nor is it theistic or dualistic. In pure yoga, the instruction comes from the yoga practice itself. The very process of perception and knowledge is dealt with directly. The errors occur not only how we interpret what we perceive, such as assigning meaning to a sense object through the filters of proven belief systems (pramana), misconstrued or errors in thinking (viparyayah), contrived ideation processes (vikalpa), through the limited interpretation filters based on our past experiences (smrti), or through subconscious habits of impaired awareness and partial sleep (nidra), but more so by surrendering these clogged filters (vrtti) upon the altar of divine passion and boundless love. In this`way, yoga practice alters the way we perceive itself -- the process of perception is altered by rearranging/reordering the relationships and context whereby the sense objects or phenomena are observed as an interconnected wholistic system -- the relationship between observer, the object, and the process of observing is profoundly redefined within a holographic sphere. This altered way of non-dual transconceptual awareness goes further than the perception of ordinary discrete sense objects as apparently independent self existing objects through the agency of the five or six senses, but rather yoga teaches the awakening to our interconnected evolutionary nature -- to the true nature of unbiased Universal Mind. Thus the altered becomes altered... and the natural comes into the forefront.

Sutra 7 Pratyakshanumanagamah pramanani

Belief systems (pramana) are constructed from empirical data, inference, and external forms of validation

Pratyaksha: external evidence; sense data; empirical data that is perceived and analyzed within a dualistic and fragmented context; facts or knowledge of events coming from sense objects. Pratyaksha is empirical data interpreted through the dualistic mind as external sensual object-relations of name and form, a limited I/it knowledge framework, where the position of the observer is not corrected, thus a limited, biased, and fragmented mode of perception is established. Instead of the observer's position compensated for in universal time and space (swarupa sunya), the objects are viewed shortsightedly, so that the observer's mind is ocked into a dualistic prison. Pratyaksha is meant in this context as dualistic apprehension of sensory data, through a reification process, *not* as pure vast awareness, unbiased, primordial wisdom, naked or open awareness, pure awareness, vidya (rigpa, Tibetan), gnosis, jnana, heightened awareness, or samadhi (swarupa sunya), where "sense data" is contextualized in terms of vast primordial time, vast all pervasive space, viveka-khyater, samyama, or knowledge (as is known in samadhi). Thus a yogi must abandon pratyaksha as a means of spiritual liberation, albeit useful in coping with everyday navigation.

Ordinary dualistic perception or observation of an object by the senses, or the act of apprehending or cognizing a specific object by the imputation of an objective observer, and the acquisition of raw data before logocal  computation/compilation is a preliminary step in the three stage process of pramana as defined by Sri Patanjali.

When applied to sense objects, it can be said to be the direct bare apprehension of a sense object or a bare/naked sense awareness, prior to mental processing/interpretation by the intellect (buddhi) or individual mind (manas). It is the first step of object apprehension, for example in naming. After naming, a categorization process proceeds, a comprehension/sorting  and ordering phase (anumana) follows, Then thirdly,  a validation stage (agama) follows and finally producing a reified conclusion or belief (pramana).

Normally pratyaksa refers to the way the senses collect data from a dualistically perceived sense world (physical world) regarding specific, isolated, and fragmented information; thus it provides the raw data for samprajnata (cognition based on specific content verses unspecific or general). An easy analogy is the perception of a mountain from four separate valleys. From the South the mountain looks red. From the east, it looks blue. From the north, it looks white, and from the West golden colored. Each view is biased and limited dependent upon the vantage point of the observer. All the observer can say from their limited positions is that *from* the valley, the mountain looks  red, etc; which may be true from that angle, but not true from another view point.  Similarly, what does the mountain look like from above, from underneath,  from within it, by a bat, or a pigeon, or slug? In short, one can not know the true nature of a mountain this way through gathering fragmented evidence  pratyaksha). Moreover one cannot observe one's mental processes/phenomena either accurately, limited by bias, but only  through the aegis of the universal timeless, non-dual mind (samdhi-sunyam); which reveals the true nature of mind. After cleansing the lens of  perception through knowing the true nature of mind, can one perceive the true nature of phenomena. This process is mutually synergistic and most often simultaneous. 

Here, in Sutra 7, we can be certain that  Sri Patanjali is not referring to supersensory or nondual perception, which evident as samadhi becomes more stable. It is not to be confused with the samadhi of non-dual naked awareness free from conceptualization processes (which occurs in asamprajnata samadhi). When applied to a mental object (when one observes psychological function) it is the act of apprehending an apparent object of the mind where the object(s) form an apparent specific and limited focus -- a fixation or content that is  occupying the mind; while the overall non-dual context or perspective is occluded; as in the idiom “Not knowing the forest for the trees”. Pratyaksa refers to normal dualistic object relations, where there is a specific object which is apprehended forming the contents of the mind of a seemingly separate observer who is observing the specific object in an estranged dualistic manner. Pratyaksa is common dualistic observation or "normal" perception "about" events, things, or normal observations based on a separate it (phenomena) and an observer (ego). It is limited or partial data, not direct or special insight.

Pratyaksha, assumes the ordinary dualistic assumption, that there exists a separate observer, an object of observation, and the process of observation as being discrete. Pratyaksha also assumes that the separate object is "real", solid, permanent, and truly exists in and by itself. This is the basic assumption of the Vaisesika Darshana (along with anumana or logic). It is interesting to note that Vaisesika (comparative analysis) differs from Nyaya only in so far as Nyaya uses agamah (as well as comparative analysis) for determining pramana (right knowledge or so called valid cognition). Pratyaksha holds true at best only in a limited dualistic sense of fragmented reality where there exists a separate object and observer, i.e., the objectified "I-it" world, as opposed to the yogic non-dual/transpersonal world; wherein all bias (vrtti) is laid aside. In truth, no complete knowledge of any "thing" is possible without knowing the nature of ones own mind (one's real condition). In studying the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali considers pratyaksha and pratyaya as limited forms of cognition; which the meditator who aims at spiritual realization must eventually abandon. They are blocks or obscurations in the dualistic sense -- they impede the free flow of spirit and disconnect us from wolgraphic awareness. 

Later in Pada II of the Yoga Sutras Patanjali presents the practice of pratyhara (the fifth limb of astanga yoga) which is designed to remediate the dualistic limitations of pratyaksha (or mind grasping onto empty objects). Here we must also recognize that modern physics and linguistics also supports Patanjali's low regard of basing pratyhara on pratyaksha. Indeed the yogin must develope awareness of one's innate energy system through asana and pranayama before successful pratyhara can be realized. Once the errant energetic dynamics are retrieved, then yogic contemplation (dharana) can be successful. Dharana is the sixth limb of ashtanga yoga and must lead to dhyana (the seventh limb), and on to samadhi-sunyam.  See Physicist David Bohm's  River of Truth describing holomovement and superimplicate order and also Bohm's dialogue with Krishnamurti for a layperson's explication of phenomena from a wholistic viewpoint.  Remember pratyaksha as ordinary dualistic sensory perception is merely a limited means of data acquisition. It is not direct perception, it not special knowledge (samjna), and not nondual super-natural perception such as described in II.54-55), and also I.18, I.40, III. 14, III.35, III.36, III.49, and III.55.

Anumana: The process of inference; reasoning; logic (deductive and inductive) is the second characteristic of pramana according to Sri Patanjali. In philosophical and intellectual systems, dialectics, reductionist, analytical, or intellectual machinations of the ordinary rational mind, which validate, support, or otherwise confirm the conviction or conclusion (pramana) as appearing real, true, or substantive. Anumana may be useful in limited applications within the dualistic world of relative relations,  but is not expedient in yoga sadhana, other than to reduce ad absurdium all propositions -- the ultimate refutation of refutation itself.

As an instrument of manas and buddhi it is an attempt to uphold the primacy of the rational mind. Deductive reasoning is useful as far as it goes; but it reinforces dualiistic estrangement; which is a serious blockage to further insight unless such can be released.  Many concoctions of the mind can be constructed rationally and many theories can also be considered as rational, but neither validates the theory, nor can it be said that two or more perfectly rational analyses must form the same conclusion. n authentic yoga, the yogi must make room for discriminatory awareness (viveka), inner wisdom/intuition and  insight that comes from practice of the eight limbs of yoga as well as the gleaning of vidya. Preoccupation with infeence and logic will only serve to cloud and obscure the shining through of one's innate connection with the wisdom mind. 

Ideation processes, thought constructions, and intellectual investigation although valuable in the deconstruction of myths and fallacies, are inadequate in an integrative/wholistic sense. Such are thus devalued in yoga, put on th back burner so to speak. Empirical methods of analysis are most often seriously skewed and influenced by prior beliefs and experiences. Consequently, it cannot be expected that two observers when observing, experiencing, or experimenting the same event will make the same* theory-neutral* observations. The role of observation as a theory-neutral arbiter may not be possible. "Theory-dependence" of observation means that, even if there were agreed methods of inference and interpretation, observers may still disagree on the nature of empirical data. Anumana refers to a logical way of processing the sense data (pratyaksha), while holding fixed beliefs (pramana) will most often distort further outcomes of mentation. 

Agama:   Commonly, external validation, authoritative witnesses, scripture, parents, expert testimony, and others who testify toward and used to support and validate the formation of the theory, hypothesis, or conclusion (pramana). Agamah can be very insidious as every race, country, religion, sect, epoch, and village has the potential for reinforcing a mass illusion/delusion built on prejudice, fear, pride, institutionalized ignorance, convention, etc. It can be conventional wisdom, peer pressure, or consensus reality even in a democracy. Especially religious pride can be very entrenched and unquestionably clung;  as is transgenerational ethnic pride, supremicist ideology,racial fear,  ignorance, prejudice, anger,  violence and dogma, especially found in radical fundamentalist traditions. No where in the Yoga Sutras does Patanjali advocate following tradition (sampradaya), for to do so would contradict his purpose given the caveat that he advocates the yoga tradition as he himself defines it. Supporting  external evidence as provided from external respected sources such as authorities in the field, respected peers, teachers, priests, tradition, or authoritative books such as accepted scripture is another severe trap that yogis must abandon if they are to realize samadhi (swarupa-sunyam). In a democracy especially, agama may also be majority opinion/beliefs, mass hallucination,  self-righteous mass hysteria, paranoia, or mob rule if one were to take that as an external authority. Similarly state propaganda, religious evangelism, and modern front groups of misinformation  masquerading as think tanks attempt to control the narrative by establishing themselves as authoritative experts. It is clear that such adherence is kleshic, amplifying asmita-klesha, and hence leading to suffering (duhkha).

Pramana: a formulated belief system based upon pratyaksha, anumana, and agama (all or a combnation of these). Pramana is often translated as valid knowledge, right knowledge, proven theory, or valid cognition; an assumption or conclusion based on the above imputed "valid sources" (facts, inference and external authority); a view of the world and hence a view of self backed up by pratyaksha, anumana, and agama, a proven theory; so called right knowledge based upon pratyaksha, anumana, and agama. In short, human beings take in limited data from their sense organs, infer or impute meaning upon it, and then find some external validation agency, thus forming the adherence to a belief system, conclusion, theory, law, judgment, or assertion. Worse, often they simplistically adopt a ready made external belief system (agama) and mistake it for reality (as valid cognition), thus conflating agama with pramana as an irrefutable reality. This includes half truths, provincialism, prejudices, dogma, assertions, sophisty, false dichotomies, false pretexts, and limited views, all of which are citta-vrtta.

[This citta-vrtti] called pramana is constituted of pratyaksha (sense data), anumana (logic or inference), and external validation processes  emanating from dependence upon scripture, authoritative teachers, gurus, accepted external authority, trusted friends, peer groups, or even consensus reality (agama), tends toward externalization of one's attention and extracts our essential power and energy astray from direct experience of innate wisdom. As a citta-vrtti it clouds the mind and blocks the energy of consciousness from its evolutionary potential.


The problem (as in all citta-vrtta) is one of *attachment* -- attachment to those beliefs, belief processes, concepts, and dualistic concepually derived processes. This is not to say that theorizing, speculation, entertaining options and possibilities, logical analysis, direct perception, assertions, judgements, or agama, without attachment or fixations obscure awareness or are afflictive (klishta), in itself. They may be harmless (aklishta) as long as they do not preoccupy, obscure, and bias the mind. Again the key to untangling  the citta-vrtta is non-attachment (vairagya) as we will learn in I.12-18. Regardless if beliefs are klishta or aklishta, they are not means to liberation/samadhi.

Here we are specifically addressing non-attachment to views as allowing one to open up and expand awareness. At best, pramana may not cause problems (aklishta) if it is taken as a hypothesis or a possibility without attachment. Without attachment to views, the prison gates (kleshic obscurations) dissolve and new plateaus (bhumis) realized until all fixated views are let go. Then final liberation into universal wholographic  all-consciousness is allowed.

Of course, we all have beliefs. But in the larger context of unbiased and unfragmented REALITY -as-it-is (tathata) al beliefs are tinted/tinged by temporary  conditioned phenomena perceived as forms through the ordinary five senses and computed through the agency of logical associations (anumana). Then these beliefs are compared with others (agama) and placed within a human and symbolic context which removes the belief from the timeless holgram, ordinarily. Such is pramana. As long as we view our views in the light of holographic awareness, the belief does not serve to limit or obstruct. The seer is not bounded by the belief. Tautological as it may seem, a view of vews is akin to mind looking at mind without a break. Is it Big Mind looking at little mind, or little mind looking at Big Mind, or is it really non-dual when the sense of separate self vanishes completely? This we shall explore without limiting ourselves to pratyaksha, anumana, or agama.

  Directly following Patanjali's list of the five citta-vrtta are sutras 12-18, non-attachment (vairagya); which is in itself a complete remedy. Remember, the citta-vrtta produce kleshas (obscurating pure awareness -- vidya) and kleshas produce harm (himsa), pain, grief, suffering, and the samsaric mind-set. Pramana as a citta-vrtti that obscures awareness (vidya),  contributes to avidya, asmita, attachment, lack, feelings of incompleteness, spiritual self-alienation, repulsion, and the rest of the kleshas and hence unhappiness. Pramana for the most part, is kleshic, and as we will see in Pada 2, kleshas produce the samsaric mindset, which is nothing other than mankind's plague.

Warning: The following commentary will not conform to established scholarly and authoritarian traditions; i.e., those mired in intellectual class consciousness.  In fact, it most likely will contradct such. This is not to offend them; but rather offer new information, albeit outside the realm of their previous belief. It will appear bizarre to those who have become programmed from an early age into memorizing and reciting rigid and dogmatic systems of thought and belief. An acknowledged agenda of this commentary is to cut through that veneer completely, or at the very least to question past orthodox and authoritarian  assumptions; yes to instll doubt; so that all fixated beliefs are identified as barriers (citta-vrtta) and eventually abandoned at every juncture. Therein is the authentic path of  yoga.

Belief systems (pramana) constructed from empirical data, inference, and external forms of validation are limitations imposed upon the conditioned mindset, thus our natural awareness becomes stunted. Perhaps this translation is most fitting as translations  go.
Arguably, there is another definition of pramana, as valid cognition or pure perception, which is not apprehended by pramana as the result of pratyaksha (subject/object duality), anumana (inference), and agama (external sources of validation). The following mental phenomena is misnamed as pramana, as non-dual direct cognition is quite different. It is the recognition (vidya) as pure non-dual awareness. Let us not conflate the two. Recognition of the true nature of mind (swarupa-sunyam) in the context of non-dual inseparability is not the same as dualistic views created by pratyaksha, annumana, and agama.

"When there is an “I”, there is a perception of other,

And from the ideas of self and other come attachment and aversion,

As a result of getting wrapped up in these,

All possible faults come into being."

~  Dharmakīrti


“The nature of mind is clear light,

Defilements are only adventitious.”

~ Dharmakīrti, Commentary on Valid Cognition, chapter II


Where the self is perceived,

The concept of others emerges.

From the duality of self and others

flow clinging and malignance.

All afflictions result from this involvement.

~ Dharmakirti

For more on the five kleshas (avidya, asmita, etc) see Pada 2. 

Because pramana is especially insidious to a non-practitioner, this commentary is extremely long, and may appear tedious to those who already have cleared themselves from such negative programming through mastering the sharp sword of critical analysis. Pramana, as defined by Sri Patanjali is the most tenacious of all the vrtta. Properly, it is attachment to beliefs and must be relinguished for success in yoga. In yoga we are not replacing one belief with another, but destroying all beliefs.

Confidence in religious and cultural belief systems, dogmatism, ideological attachments, and the like, where the ego identifies with any belief systems is a powerful citta-vrtti to be surrendered upon the altar of truth, to be  let go, and be liberated. True confidence, inspiration, guidance,  and certainty comes from realization of one's true nature (swarupa) through self-study (swadhyaya), meditative insight, and samadhi; which are beyond concepts, belief systems, conditioning, dualistic views, and dualistic/fragmented bias. True spiritual confidence comes not from pramana; whereas pramana not only serves as a  poor substitute; but as an impediment (klishta) and limitation (vrrti). Spiritual (sometimes called vajra confidence) confidence comes being connected directly with primordial presence as an intimate expression.

It is NOT the result data mining, computing the results, memorizing or adhering to an authoritative texts, an external teacher, a cultrally conditioned vew, or isolated phenomena. It does not require approval or validation from external authoritative sources.  The need to question, analyze, and refine our learned beliefs arises because of its stickiness - the ego's propensity toward ideational substitution; which in turn is due to the egoic split that estranges the mind from its true nature. Perhaps the best use of logic is to deconstruct all pramanas, but logic can take one only so far. Vairagya, viveka, swadhyaya , and dhyana/samadhi must be enlisted to complete that task. Yoga requires complete openness and absolute humility to question conventional beliefs and assumptions, past beliefs of both external authority and one's own accumulations, and ABSOLUTE humility to recognize the true nature of mind and nature. That humility comes from the wisdom-mind and also creates wisdom (prajna alokah) and is realized through samadhi (swarupa-sunyam). Aligning with that wisdom/awareness creates a true sense of security and confidence. If one confidently already KNOWS that from direct experience, then one can save time by proceeding on to the next sutra.

 Patanjali says that pramana is constructed from pratyaksha, anumana, and agama. We will explore this citta-vrtti in detail.

"Philosophy only exists insofar as there are paradoxical relations, relations which fail to connect, or should not connect.  When every connection is naturally legitimate, philosophy is impossible or in vain.

Philosophy is the violence done by thought to impossible relations."

~Alain Badiou in "Cinema as a Democratic Emblem"

The Problem of Pramana as a Citta-Vrtti which is Kleshic

Apology: Given that Pramana is a philosophical phenomena having body/mind psychogical vectors, this commentary will uniquely also utilize philosophical agencies to analyze, identify, refute, and root out pramana vrtti as it appears in our daily lives; while creating the context that any belief system is never successfully dispelled  by replacing it with a better belief system. Such refutations admittedly are philosophical.

An all too common English translation of the word, pramana, is "valid" cognition, valid proof, valid theory, proven theory, proven conclusion, correct judgment, authoritative belief system, right view, or right knowledge" depending on what Sanskrit based translation one imposes. One may wonder how could "right view" lead us astray? That depends on how the "right view" is constructed, what it may leave out, and how it may limit a greater expanse or vista. In short, even if the data is accurate (pratyaksha), it may be incomplete. Even if the process of inference (anumana) is logical and correct, it may not be thorough. Even if the theory or conclusion is agreed upon by peers, teachers, and authoritative texts (agama), it still can be a time/place conditioned limitation.  That is where all limited beliefs serve as binders, mental prisons (citta-vrtta), the glue that holds one to the bhavachakra (samsara).  In all Sanskrit based schools (except the Jain), pramana is based on subject/object duality. The differences between the various philosophical schools vary according to the means of processing and arriving at a conclusion. Some philosophers and scholars simply enjoy investigating the sources and the processes of knowledge, much like technicians who are involved inside the mechanism. Such is an academic and intellectual approach, but not yoga vidya. Here, Patanjali describes pramana as comprised of pratyaksha, anumana, and agama as a citta-vrtti. In short, pramana limits input outside its boundaries of beliefs and logical systems such as insight, intuition, siddhi, the transpersonal experiences, samadhi, and smilar transverbal realizations.

Pramana, if taken as an assumption or  conclusion becomes the essential core block in the formation, and then adherence to, fixed belief systems, serving as a severe citta-vrtti, unless released. If it is temporal it may be merely neutral in effect. This addiction to belief systems is most often very difficult to kick; hence, learning and growth becomes inhibited, while fixation to past conclusions and the rigidification of outdated and limiting paradigms become simultaneously reinforced. Authentic yogis do not want to be limited in those box-like prisons of consciousness (citta-vrtti). Any conceptual framework, whatsoever, limits the intimate experience of the boundless/timeless expanse of samadhi. A yogi knows that views may arise and fall away; but attachment to views is a serious obscuration. As in all the citta-vrtti varagya (non-attachment) is the key remedy.

In yogic terms, the citta-vrtti (as the spinning/twisted mind-field) becomes blocked, hardened, and fixated due to pramana. The mind spins but nothig outside that samsaric wheel can get through. Pramana is especially insidious in cultures, societies, political movements, religions, sects, tribes, and nations that are based on strict adherence to ideology, philosophical paradigms, left brain dominant reasoning, and external authoritarian structures, which in turn go unquestioned and where free thought is punished.

That is to say, that the opposite conclusion or the refutation of pramana is not entertained. It is not a contradiction to utilize critical thought or "reasoning" to unravel previous assumptions or thought constructs as long as the result produces a liberation from or cessation (nirodha) of the tyrannical process of reasoning itself, the inherent limitation of pramana; liberation from agama; and an organic unbiased integration with the processes of perception and the sense organs free from object/observer duality. Better yet is to directly release (vairagya) all attachment to assumptions, imputations and belief systems altogether, while abiding directly in a non-dual limitless integral state unceasingly (nirbij samadhi). Such is the ultimate goal of yoga.

This commentary on pramana is long (perhaps ungainly so) precisely because pramana, as a citta-vrtti, goes commonly unnoticed in the intellectually oriented commentaries and translations as well as in everyday life. The majority of academic interpretations, where pramana is assumed to be a good, desirable, or even essential citta-vrtti, do not recognize this approach. The problem of any citta-vrtti, in general, is that they color, bias, spin, and occlude pure consciousness (cit) -- direct perception (vidya). Even more afflictive is the fact that this citta-vrtti goes unacknowledged,  unnoticed, and ignored. Moreover the ego having identified and defined oneself within the confines of their belief will defend it, act defensively, and frequently double-down considering new information and truth that contradicts his belief  to be a threat or enemy.

Most people do not see their beliefs. Instead, their beliefs tell them what they see. This is the simple difference between clarity and confusion.”
~ Matt Kahn

Having fixated the mind upon an unstable entity (phenomena), pramana serves to agitate, disturb, distort, condition, and churn the mental processes providing a limited bias; thus occluding the full spectrum possibilities and innate great potential of going beyond the contents of the mind-field. Moreover, they tend to lock the victim (the viewer) in preconceived suppositions, which they become rigidly attached to, readily defend, identified, and often aggressively support and advocate. Thus, an even more sorrowful afflictive karmic cycle and suffering is perpetuated. Pramana-vrtti is a poor substitute for inner wisdom/inner knowing; rather it most often precludes samadhi, being a major stumbling block. Thus, the pure cit as unobstructed consciousness or pure awareness underlying the source of intelligent awareness (or param purusha), which lies at the primordial source of consciousness (call it primordial wisdom if you like), becomes occluded, filtered, stained, interrupted, and disrupted, which is the opposite of the goal of yoga practice. That primordial power and wisdom/awareness becomes present and accessible when the citta-vrtta are quelled, stilled, and eventually cease completely (nirodha). This is the universal unfiltered and unmodified view, vidya, where the yogi recognizes the true nature of phenomena (swarupa-sunyam).

“When you get free from views and words, reality reveals itself to you; and that is nirvana.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Ordinary knowledge is neither desirable or undesirable -- good or bad, by itself, as long as we recognize such as an optional self-imposed limitation that can be deconstructed. To be stuck inside a citta-vrtti, however, is not desirable in yoga, more so if it is not acknowledged. It has negative consequences (kleshic). In order to be fair, pramana, like the other citta-vrtta are not assumed to be always afflictive. Making assumptions or contemplating possible theories are often useful when approached from the larger and expansive context, just as consulting maps, guides, and sign posts may be useful in some circumstances as long as one is able and willing to throw away the map, especially when it has been proven outmoded and limited. The tragedy today is that once man's attention has ceased to recognize the true nature of awareness, pramana substitutes as his sacred replacement. Tenaciously grasping onto past conclusions as "right" or "sacred knowledge", thus, becomes a severe and afflictive master.

The normal human being is most often unable to discern between their belief system and reality or between agama and pramana. Given a strong attachment to a belief system (believing it to be real). one becomes incapable of separating it from actual reality or their authentic experience. Questioning such a belief system becomes unthinkable and strongly resisted, especially when the adherent has evidence, logic, and agama to support the belief. Within the limited framework of pratyaksha (limited data), anumana (inference), and agama (external validation), an elaborate defense mechanism as well as a very cozy sanctuary may become constructed and tightly defended. This is a very common self-limiting prison, which holds human beings back from evolving and fulfilling their creative potential. Such makes pramana a severe limitation and afflictive obscuration upon human consciousness.

Analyzing the three components of pramana in more detail

The first, pratyaksha (empirical data or evidence) is gathered. What one does with this data and/or how is it interpreted in itself needs to be analyzed. An example is the ordinary perception of any formation, object, and/or phenomena (physical or mental) as an external and substantially permanent construction. One may observe various qualities. Like it may appear to possess a color, sound, taste, texture, shape, or characteristic. The limitation is it is seen as as a *separate* object from the dualistic perspective of a separate observer, rather than being intimately known free from subject/object duality (unobstructed and unobscured direct perception).

Further, our sense organs are limited. We then attempt to apply the intellect to process the limited data, within the limited context of convetional reality. The result is obscured -- at best a hypothesis, a guess, a fickle theory.  

Data (or empirical observation) in fact can be useful within a limited context, as long as it does not serve to reinforce a dualistic or fragmented belief system, which fixates and preoccupies the mind-field (citta-vrtti). To be sure it is not the sense organs or the sense objects that are faulty; but rather they are limited. Further it is the way we perceive the sense data  and the meaning that we project upon them with words and definitions forming a limited frame of reference (citta-vrtti) that constricts consciousness. Thus, the position, bias,, or spin of the observer involved must be corrected/annulled. In science, Einstein attempted to compensate for such limitations with his theory of relativity (compensating for the position of the observer), but ultimately the measuring equipment/data inevitably remains limited and approximate. In yoga, only in samadhi as swarupa-sunyam (see III.3) can such dualistic limitations be removed in direct perception vidya. It is in Pada three that Patanjali deals with nondual perception (vidya) and siddhi. So to be sure Sri Patanjali is not in Sutra 7, referring to supersensory or nondual perception, which comes from samadhi (swarupa-sunyam).

The second component is anumana (logic or inference). To be clear, anumana (inference) is not to be confused with viveka-khyater (discriminatory wisdom). Even if the analytical process is technically correct, the data being analyzed is limited. Even assuming that the data may be complete, the intellectual process is only an approximation, which cannot factor in the entire karmic/construction of the phenomena, nor the wisdom behind the human intellect. Anumana cannot penetrate the true nature of the mind or phenomena. This is not to say that inference does not have a place in many ordinary tasks; but it is to say that it is limited and should not displace or substitute for the intelligent awareness underlying yogic experience. Dependence on anumana often will lock out intuition and inner wisdom.

The third component of pramana is agama (testimony, an objective external authority, external validation, peer validation/approval, or any external confirmation (such as bibles, sacred texts, authoritative ideology, etc.). Belief systems owe much to man's quest for objective truth. Everyone attempts it, until the quest for the true objective observer is won or rather the assumption behind it is proven to be in error. Various names are sometimes ascribed to an authoritative observer or observation, such as an omniscient god, infallible bible, conventional reality, "the world as we know it, "human nature, etc.

Often one will accept the word of a trusted authority or epert as the gospel truth without critical analysis. In truly spiritual matters that is a huge, but common, error. Yoga, as a spiritual endeavor, is all about self-knowledge and self-realization were the sadhak inquires exhaustively into every facet of the mind leaving no stone unturned. 

On the positive side of agama, one may listen to an external source, as a possibility or pointer. Then, instead of analyzing it with anumana and checking it out with our sense organs, we should question it thoroughly through viveka-khyater and measure it from our own direct experiences. Not only should we try to earnestly question and try to refute such agama, but through that process, we learn much more than blind acceptace. We also may propose more synchronistic and relevant hypthesies and possibilities through our innate creative process. Then, we also also question those hypotheses, again and again, until an objective alignment coincides with our subjective experience in a state of macrocosmic/microcosmic synergistic symmetry that is felt and conformed by the sixth sense of inner knowing (See Pada III).

Why is the comentary on this sutra so long?

Succinctly stated, our world view and hence identity (within it as our ideation of self/ego) is tied up in our belief system. New information that exists outside of our current belief system may too often be viewed as an attack on self (the ego). The ego the goes into reflexive defensive mode to protect it. This defensive  mechanism must be broken in order fr new data and expansion of our world vews to evolve. As always egoic attachment is the root malaise.  

Those caught up in majority opinions will feel less challenged with e comfortable illusion better than a challenging truth. That's precise junction where new information is attacked by those who identify themselves (their egoic existence) with the program that they were fed. That mechanism is the root cause of stagnant societies and institutional ignorance, even more so, when it is established as a unquestioned belief. It is the commonly unrecognized plague of all nations -- psychological denial.

Limited and unquestioned assumptions will be discussed below in great detail, as pramana is a most insidious citta-vrtti. Discussed will be the difference between a mere belief (pramana as citta-vrtti) and direct transconceptual non-dual awareness (vidya). If any observer believes anything to be true about anything else (phenomena as the observed), such is a citta-vrtti). Even stating that pramana is a citta-vrtti may be considered to be a belief, unless it is based on direct experience  --s it resonates beyond the intellect and external supports.  . Hence, by direct experience, an ultimate non-dual subjective realization is established. All ordinary beliefs (pramana) assume a subject/object duality -- an egoic separation. All such assumptions need to be thoroughly questioned and eventually disassembled. New more accurate assembly languages should be entertained. Succinctly stated, vidya is not pramana, wherein avidya (self-ignorace) is the cause of all kleshas.

The dualistic mind is always spinning and unstable. Destabilized it is constantly attemting to grasp onto something solid (in this case a firm belief). It self-imprisons itself as  it is bounded/limited by the walls of a self-imposed  contextual box (limited space), which is fixated and frozen by the very belief that imprisons it. Hence, it is limited to programming within a small minded program set -- within a conditioned set of programmed memory and bandwidth. Thus, arises this idiomatic saying, "let us bounce this idea off against the wall". Good, if the wall itself is flexible. Eventually all walls/limitations break down in samadhi, which is the expansive unconditional liberation, which is directly experienced. Negative conditioning is the corrupting process that authentic yoga prsctices utterly destroys.

Authentic spiritual knowledge is not based on belief (pramana), but rather direct knowledge (vidya). Hence yoga is not a belief system, a philosophy, or religion. It is not conforming, memorizing, obeying, nor imitating a set of rules or beliefs, Although critical thought and analytical thinking may be helpful in casting out old beliefs and assumptions by allowing deconstruction to unravel thought adhering processes, when any belief is taken down to its smallest denominator (zero), awareness opens up by itself and is set free,  creating space beyond any manmade thought construct whatsoever. Critical thought is less than half the journey. Although the objectified teachings, teachers, principles, and maps may help serve as points of focus for the severely confused, such must contain a self-destruct mechanism, so that the seeker, does not become frozen in incessant questing. As it is noted: The oarsman leaves the boat at the shore after completing his journey. He needs not carry the oars along with him any further.

Belief and attachment to conventional and  common knowledge are citta-vrtta (limitations and distortions operating on pure awareness). What is necessary is to empty the mind completely, and come into the All Creating Mind/the well spring of true creativity/creative thought, and innovation, while recognizing the difference between that and reified objectivity. Creativity is the undifferentiated clear light consciousness (cit) as the great innate primordial potentiality being given form/birth in differentiated space/time parameters through the vehicle of the evolved yogi, as integrator. Ordinary dualistic observation, reductionist or analytic thought, or beliefs do not go deep enough (ending at a reified externality, object, or "thingness". that process must be capable of destroying itself. Thought objective form, processes, and belief miss the wholographic mind-seed essence, which is empty of self or separate reality, while natural inspiration arises spontaneously, when all the self-limiting barriers of the citta-vrtti are finally released through vairagyabhyam (see 1.12-18).

Belief systems that are based on what is generally considered ordinarally as right knowledge (pramana) consisting of the collection of sense data (pratyaksha), logical analysis (anumana) , or memorization of "facts" supported by external authority (agama) and left unquestioned,  are inadequate, compensatory, and temporary adaptations that retard the yogis awakening. In terms of primordial spiritual knowledge, inferential processes (anumana) must be eventually discarded, while agama (dependence upon anything other than innate primordial awareness) must also cease. Here is where uncompromising critical thought and doubt are most effective in first questioning learned assumptions and then critically destroying these previously unexamined assumptions, which one too often has taken as undisputed facts. These unexamined assumptions (as undisputed facts) are the most insidiously stubborn of all the citta-vrtti and must be rooted out and discarded in order for awareness to continually be refreshed and bask in the sun of primordial awareness.

Shakti Das says:

Let Go!

To reiterate, pramana, like the other citta-vrtta, may be klishta or aklishta (obscurations when grasped upon, or neutral). Pramana may be helpful only as an approximation, a possibility, a limited assumption that requires critical assessment -- like a map that gets you near the vicinity, but then one must embark on foot. Becoming stuck in a fixated beliefs is an all too common severe citta-vrtti, even if (and especially because), of pramana, where they are based on partial facts, logic, and authoritative approval; which are especially seductive to the egoic mind. Mankind is engaged in manifold ideological, religious, political, and materialistic strife and wars based on conflicting belief systems, because of attachment to dualistic beliefs, no doubt; hence, vairagya is (as always) the yogic remedy. Vairagya is the cosmic laugh of release -- the big let go! (see I.12-I.18).

Discordant thought patterns (citta-vrtta),such as addiction to pramana,  occurred before and during Sri Patanjali's era; and he did not avoid noting it as a severe citta-vrtti. It should not go unnoticed or ignored especially today. As such, pramana can be a very very large subject, mainly because BS has become substituted so often for Reality, humans do not see or feel the profundity of "what is-as-it-is" as a whole in terms of beginningless time and infinite space. Direct transpersonal experience of "what-is-as-it-is" is thus severely distorted, veiled, and blocked by pramana-vrtti. Such is an impediment to and cause of strife in everyday life, and thus also in spiritual realization, which frees the mind of all contrivances and artificially induced hallucinations of time and space. It is because of the ego's quest for security that he fears change, paradigm shifts, and freedom by clinging upon learned belief systems (pramana). He learns to take these learned beliefs as "reality" and others as illusory.

As any experienced meditator knows, a biased or partial mindset is the very impediment that must be surrendered  in dhyana (meditation, samadhi -- in authentic yoga itself, as described by Patanjali in sutra 1.2. As will be discussed, below dhyana (meditative absorption) is not to be confused with contemplation (dharana). Dharana is inherently dualistic in the beginning (as it is focusing on an object or object of thought), but is designed to move the energy to profound-unity consciousness eventually,  when the focus becomes onepointed and non-dual as in samyama. At first in dharana,  there is an object of contemplation; but its saving grace is that it is progressive -- meaning to unite the observer with its object free from subject/object duality.  Like pramana, dharana "may" act as a signpost, an idicator, or a step in the right direction as long as there is no fixation or clinging/attachment -- it must lead all the way past dualistic clinging  to absorption (dhyana), while dhyana leads to full samadhi immersion free from limitations.

When we meditate we must let go of all such vrtta or suffer the negative consequences. "Right knowledge" or "proven theory" is often used in daily life to rigidify the stubborn mind caught in a fixated position upon biased beliefs and creeds that are colored by words, language, culture, geography, race, sex, religion, sect, nation, predilection, and species. In other words, it is a veil/filter that man grasps upon stubbornly because he/she finds their ego in "it" -- it reinforces their view of separate self. This egoic confusion (avidya) being familiar gives one a sense of order and familiarity; and hence a sense of false security, When any true spiritual seeker (sadhak) becomes so fixated, they only reinforce their alienation from the universal Self -- they stand off their spiritual co-evolution. The more estranged and alienated from one's innate true nature, the more tightly the neurotic holds on to the known, even though it knows only conflict, disorder, and contradiction. Especially when it is colored by the belief that their creed is right, good, superior, or better, thus it holds one back from the universal citta as a refuge or rather subterfuge. Pramana then is indeed another coloring of the mind. In classical religions and especially in fundamentalist sects, one simply becomes brain washed, conforming to the correct ideology (pramana) with the hope that spiritual transformation will occur. This can have tragic results. In this sense all pramana is limited knowledge to a yogi and is joyously released.

Pramana would not be a large problem for human beings if children were not taught, forced, or punished into believing in ideology, religion, ethnic identities, culturally skewed identities, national and racial superiority, chauvinistic identifications, or prideful identifications in general. In fact, it often becomes a sin, heresy, crime, or traitorous to innocently question philosophical assumptions, political ideology, or religious interpretations. If, on the other hand, human beings were encouraged at an early age to critically question all beliefs for themselves, leaving no sacred cows intact, then they would eventually exhibit the strength and self-confidence, which is based on their own direct experience and of which requires no further justification, proof, or external validation. In that way, there would be far less denial, defensiveness, ideological dispute, and perceived needs to demonize the enemy, hence making oneself right or good, or better.

“It's not what we don't know that hurts us, it's what we know for certain that just ain't so.” Mark Twain

With pramana, one makes conclusions about reality. That conclusion easily becomes a reified imputation, which separates the observer from direct participation. Those conclusions become our tombs unless we are able to self-liberate by allowing the primordial awareness to self-arise. Such cannot self-arise unless the pramana fixations are vanish in thin air. What commonly appears to be unexamined assumptions and undisputed facts remain as the primary prison of the modern mindset. These must eventually become dissolved and the mind becomes refreshed and liberated -- the primordial mental continuum remains. Pramana is the conclusion or judgmental processes of what is determined as right (and thus what is wrong). It is also a judgmental process of deciding of what is real or not real by those afflicted by the recurring fluctuations of the citta-vrtti. For many it is the single most stubborn impediment that conditions and limits their mindset (citta-vrtti) and behavior.

What if you were confronted with a proposition that contradicted everything that you thought you knew? Would you immediately dismiss the proposition as absurd, as erroneous or wrong; or on the other hand entertain the possibility, inquire as to its validity, question one's own belief, compare and sit with its newness -- breathe it in without fear or rejection? A dogmatist or ideologue would have a difficult time to grow out of its own shell; but a yogi would sit with it unafraid. A yogi would weigh it with his breath and energy body and accept or let it it go, as it is tested in the crucible of direct experience free from attachment or grasping.

Any thought construct is thus handled in a similar way -- as a dance, free from grasping -- as a beautiful sand mandala being created and destroyed -- being born, arising, manifesting, and disintegrating as in the play of Siva/Shakti -- the divine Lila. 

When thought becomes frozen and solid, pramana can form the basis of further assumptions, where further beliefs may be concocted and fabricated on top of the old, thus forming the basis of all firmly held (stubborn and fixated) elaborated and complicated belief systems and similar constructs of the mind, which are supported and upheld by the glue (proofs) of external authority (agamah), inference (anumana) governed by the intellect, and by pratyaksha (dualistic perception and ordinary provincial awareness), which may appear true within a limited situation or context, but which if applied elsewhere serves only to bolster bias, prejudice, pride, and/or further confusion and limited dualistic false identification. Such types of mentally derived thought constructs by the intellect most often serves to reinforce straight plane left-brain thinking, but at the same time it extracts us further from the simultaneously and spontaneously arising universal ground of being; i.e., uncreated reality as-it-is, which is ever-present, but widely ignored.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking;” ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

This is a key sutra where Patanjali makes it clear that yoga is neither a religion nor a philosophical system. Rather Patanjali presents yoga as an experiential system.(based on direct experience). It is not based on right knowledge nor wrong knowledge; rather yoga is an empirical grass roots inner experiential system based on practice (sadhana) or direct experience. This direct experience is not solely based on pratyaksha as ordinary dualistic perception, but rather a deeper kind of non-dual wisdom (prajna) beyond subject/object duality, beyond the egoic assumption of the five skandhas, but rather a non-dualistic and integration of the body, the senses, nature (as the evolutionary force), unlimited time, and infinite space. Nirbija samadhi (as the goal of yoga) is also not based on pramana (right knowledge), inference (anumana), or philosophical speculation, rather it is impeded by such. Although philosophers and scholars are free to speculate on the yoga Sutras, something that they have perhaps over done, Patanjali says repeatedly that it is through practice that the inner wisdom will shine forth and that this occurs when the vrttis are dropped such as in dhyana or samadhi. Dropping pramana then is a necessary step, albeit one of the hardest, because most people have become fixated to external belief systems. They find themselves in external structures and then defend their ego fixation vehemently through argument. Indeed this is the stuff that taken to the extreme religious arrogance, bigotry, crusades, holy wars, pogroms, and jihads are made from where even the murderers deny that they are doing anything "wrong" or harmful, rather they believe that they are doing God's work as interpreted by "authorities" from their holy book. Thus "belief" may be concocted, but the belief may not conform to reality, rather no matter how purified pramana may become, it always obstructs pure vision (vidya). Citta-vrtta obstruct awareness (klishta) and the cause of misery (duhka) a characteristic concommitant with samsara,  according to Sri Patanjali. The good news is that skillful  wise yoga practices eliminate citta-vrtta, kleshas, and duhkha.

Belief systems limit our highest spiritual experiences. What remains is undistorted pure awareness -- implicate clarity and clear light.  Pramana often resists deconstruction because of egoic attachment (asmita, raga, and dvesa). In the past I believed that my own experience should dictate my beliefs, and/or that my beliefs should dictate my experience. However, I no longer "believe" either. Rather, now I have observed that making any conclusion or constructing any belief structure around past, present, or future experiences is part of the fabrication/occlusion process of vikalpa and  pramana; which perpetuates the citta-vrtti prison. That is why in yoga we are willing to simply leave thoughts all alone and rest as-it-is – trust in the present transconceptual and unfabricated Here and Now. That is the implementation and sustained application of vairagya (see I.12-17) where the innate light, wisdom, and love takes over -- where all citta-vrrta disappear. Just let it all go, and abide in ever-awake ever-freshness.

Simply reflecting/transmitting this transconceptual non-dual experience without any need to elaborate it in words, thought constructs, or concepts is perhaps the most expedient method of bathing more continuously in the inherent self-luminous compassion of primordial source-awareness. Smiles, tonality, gestures, nuances, touch, compassion and intention are more powerful tools than words and concepts in order to communicate on these deeper levels emanating from the shining body (chakras, nadis, and moving the cit-prana as in Pada III). This comes naturally from effective and functional yogic practice --as observed experience, rather than as a philosophy or belief.

Today in the modern Western world; which is  severely divorced from the natural "world", pramana and vikalpa (the two most prominent citta-vrtta) are the most dominant and pervasive operational mental prisons (citta-vrtta), because of the dissociation stemming from the egoic mind-set; which sadly attempts to find protection and security through isolation and armoring. Modern man appears to be addicted to dualistic thinking, fixated paradigms, left brain modalities, ideology, and cortical objectifying processes in general. Human beings will not be able to become freed from those prisons through exchanging one belief system for another (more pramana) or thinking more about an externalized existence, in words, logic, ideology, or concepts alone (more vikalpa and pramana), but rather through functional yoga practice such as kriya yoga, astanga yoga, vairagyabhyam, viveka, etc, which are altogether beyond words, concepts, philosophy, or belief systems.

The Buddhist view is to recognize that we must not remain within ordinary phenomena by following a worldly philosophy limited to ordinary, substantial reasoning. We must decide to increase pure phenomena by following a spiritual philosophy which goes beyond ordinary reasoning and leads to enlightenment. Buddhist philosophy is entirely spiritual. Its purpose is to refute the views of the two extremes of nihilism and eternalism by the skillful means of wisdom, to release all beings to enlightenment."

~ White Sail, Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

As such, this sutra is most often left ignored, left unchallenged critically, or misinterpreted by scholars, academicians, intellectuals, ideologues, religionists, and philosophers, who themselves have contributed to the plethoric morass of traditionally biased written authoritative interpretations (who also do most of the translations). They are themselves addicted to pramana; and if one dialogues with ideologues, they can not imagine dropping pramana. It is unthinkable to them to listen to something that contradicts their firm predilection attentively without transposing it into their own pre-disposed contextual reference box. It is a filtering process that eliminates open listening. Thus, they disqualify themselves from true dialogue, while offering debate merely as a contest, or, at best, exposure to "others" views. They most often translate pramana as "right or valid knowledge" and deny/ignore that Patanjali considers it a vrtti (a coloring). Thus, construe  this particular vrtti (pramana-vrtti) as being some-how beneficial, despite Patanjali's clear statements to the contrary.

The true view and the true path  are intimately integrated, as the natural uncoditional view is in the path illuminating it itself, and the path is in the view when pointed out skillfully. The  view and path are said to be one/integrated for a yogi, but 'not' the same. The process of yoga is a dynamic force that is known throuh various stages.  Moment by moment one is illumined bit by bit, ever more continuously. In this light, the view is like the clear light of pure stainless undifferentiated consciousness that illumines the path, while the path (as differentiated consciousness) discloses the light/view. That is how light (pure undifferentiated consciousness imbued with non-dual elements of luminosity and compassion) gives birth to form and creativity within the ever-changing evolutionary dynamic of co-creative interdependence in a sacred transpersonal mutuality. Practice leading to direct experience, is the path; while the direct experience is recognition of the light (view).

Most any translation of the yoga sutras demonstrate how academicians and others who are frontal lobe dominated/imbalanced translate and interpret this key sutra as "right" view. Even the very idea of valid cognition is dependent upon an object of cognition. This is not the realization (samadhi) found from meditation (dhyana) as Patanjali describes, where one has to let go of even the most subtle thought process. Reading 1.7 in other translations will let you know if the translator is a parrot, ideologue, and/or traditionalist on one hand, or on the other hand, an authentic yogi who is guided by inner wisdom and light -- by their own genuine practice and direct yogic experience. Parroting traditional authority without honest critical or creative insight indicates little yogic experience and integration which in turn creates a disservice to the earnest student as it is misleading.

"There are two kinds of knowledge to be acquired – the higher and the lower; this is what, as tradition runs, the knower's of the import of the Vedas say. Of these, the lower comprises the Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, Atharva-Veda, the science of pronunciation etc., the code of rituals, grammar, etymology, metre and astrology. Then there is the higher (knowledge) by which is attained that Imperishable. (By the higher knowledge) the wise realize everywhere that which cannot be perceived and grasped, which is without source, features, eyes, and ears, which has neither hands nor feet, which is eternal, multiformed, all-pervasive, extremely subtle, and undiminishing and which is the source of all. As a spider spreads out and withdraws (its thread), as on the earth grow the herbs (and trees), and as from a living man issues out hair (on the head and body), so out of the Imperishable does the Universe emerge here (in this phenomenal creation). Through knowledge Brahman increases in size. From that is born food (the Unmanifested). From food evolves Prana (Hiranyagarbha); (thence the cosmic) mind; (thence) the five elements; (thence) the worlds; (thence) the immortality that is in karmas."

Mundaka Upanishad , Translated by Swami Gambhirananda

As we are beginning to see, yoga is based on direct yogic experience that emanates from yogic practice (abhyasa or sadhana), not theory (valid or not). It is this sustained experientially based practice (sadhana) applied wisely, which awakens the innate wisdom. In order for that journey to bear fruit, theory, ideology, theology, and even logic must conform to the evidence -- it must be tempered by direct yogic experience, not the other way around. Pramana must take a best a back seat. For example in authentic yoga, tradition is not manmade, constructed, conceptualized, nor contrived, rather it is the evolutionary power traced back to to beginningless Source. That pulsation constitutes authentic tradition to a yogi. There is thus no way around experience this directly -- no short circuiting is allowed. In contrast, modern man in general has been conditioned to be intellectually dominated -- dominated by the frontal lobe of the brain. The external locus of authority must thus be shifted, eventually being surrendered upon the altar of universal truth (direct yogic experience). Theory and the world of so called objective facts learned through dualistic conditioning must be recognized as the stagnant matrix separating the practitioner from the organic universal flux of intelligent co-evolutionary power, where universal spirit acts as the universal being. known directly through unobstructed vision and expressed as unconditional love and freedom.

"So far as logical reasoning [or philosophical speculation] based on cognitive perception is concerned,

it is an established tenet that one can reflect on existence only within the confines of thesis and antithesis.

Therefore any attempt whatsoever to define an object-of-experience (visaya) by means of thought, is an affirmation of a "reality" (pramana) inherently negated by its own logical antithesis.

If thought is incapable [of positing ultimate reality], then what valid knowledge (pramana) can there be? Hence, the conventional means of reasoning normal to worldly individuals does not apply to the Path of Yoga

The place to begin is to inquire through direct experience into the nature and cause of finite "Existence" (bhava, Being).

[First, the nature of the problem:] All knowable phenomena, whether internal and external, appearing in any given present moment to the minds (citta) of beings, must by its very nature be improperly perceived, due to the delimiting characteristic of the field of perception of six-fold sense-consciousness (vijnana), and hence must be a deceit (bhranti, fiction).

Were that which is apprehended through the intoxicated conceptual-constructions (vikalpa) of sentient beings factually true (satya), then they would be on a par with the liberated Arhats who conceive not of this "Existence."

Since, however, they are tormented by suffering (dukkha) and slain by time (kala), it is obvious that they are [caught up] in something false (branti).

If what is known by means of the organs of sense did afford valid knowledge (pramana), then beings, possessing valid knowledge, would have no need of the Spiritual Path (arya-marga).

The Path is taught as the Path of Liberation (moksha-marga), but freedom (mukti) is not acquired through the sense-organs (indriya) of perceptual consciousness.

In fact consciousness, which is incapable of banishing suffering, is the very birthplace of the neurotic-defilements (klesa) in the first place.

Therefore the Victors have stated that what is perceived by people is false.

[Second, the cause of the problem:] So, how does this deceit come into being (abhasa, shine forth)?

Due to the fault of identification with the conceived reality, everything conceptually constructed is infirmly perceived, with the result that intelligence (mati) arises through the power of adventitious ignorance (avidya) as an obscured-apprehension (viparyasa).

Mind (citta) and mental-function (cetasika), in and of itself, comes into being in three stages.

[First stage:] The accumulation of vestigial-imprints (vasana), derived from the formative impulses (samskara) [of Creation], proliferate [from the first moment onwards] and evolve; when the [compounded] power (prabhava) of that has ripened [i.e., has obtained 'critical intensity'] then Mind-in-itself (cittatva, the essence of citta) manifests forth (abhasa) as subject and object, or in other words as Subjective Being (atmabhava, Tib: lus) and Existence, which nevertheless has no more 'reality' than the life in a pile of bones.

[Second stage:] Identification (lamba) with the activity of the continuum (santana) of evolving imprints (vasana) results in the formation of the 'psychic monad' (manas), experienced as a 'self' (atma), which it is not.

[Third stage:] As a result, the obscuring effect of the impulse-to-come-into-being (samskara) produces a subtle diminution-of-awareness, giving birth to a specific local consciousness.

Through the power of mind combined with the continuum, ensuing conceptual-constructions (kalpa) further negate realization.

From that [i.e., from the above three modalities], having the nature of a contaminant (asrava), conceptual-constructions of self (atma) and phenomena (dharma) become serially reiterated.

It is from entanglement (cara) with the subtle diminution-of-awareness that there has arisen

The [mistaken] view of a 'Supreme Identity' (atman) [immanent in the Universe], followed by various corollary beliefs, such as are generally held by religious Animists (tirthika) and others, and which they consider redemptive.

But [it is simply the case that] once the mind becomes the site of unbounded activity, imprints (vasana) proliferate endlessly and indeterminately.

With the ripening (vipaka) of the imprints (vasana), further conditions for their production multiply profusely.

The ripening of imprints are the co-operating conditions from whence the concatenation [of effects resulting in the emergence] of organic beings (deha) occurs.

Insofar as objective (para, other) conditions are seen to produce objective (para) imprints, then it becomes obvious that the governing-power (prabhava) is in the transformative process itself.

It is claimed [by Religionists] that what occurs is due to a ruling-god (isvara) or super-entity, but that approach does not lead either to the cessation [of suffering] nor to true liberation.

A mistaken grasp of the subtle concatenation [of interdependent cause and effect] results in the failure of the Path of Yoga.

By entanglement with 'ego' an overwhelming obscuration divorces one from the lineage of the Saints (arya-kula).

By entanglement with 'phenomena,' the diversity of suffering arises, condemning (apaya) one to worldly-existence.

Since consciousness (vijnana, perception), moreover, takes on its specific characteristics (lakshana) subject to the continuum of the Samskaras, it manifests (abhasa) in an eightfold manner according to its different functions, even though in terms of pure Intelligence (vidya) it is non-specific.

Therefore, from the first instant (ksana) of [the continuum of] mind (citta), the subjective Being (atma-bhava) and all phenomena (sarva-dharma) are present.

From the cathectic-functioning of mentation (cinta) there proceeds the appearance of origination.

Yet no phenomena exists for either ordinary people or for enlightened Saints other than the continuum (santana) of their own mind (citta).

The whole diversity (vicitrata) that exists for the six types [of sentient beings] is just their own internal-contemplation (samadhi).

The mental-continuum (citta-santana) is without boundaries or extension; it is not one thing, nor supported by anything.

Since it has no boundaries, therefore every one of all the infinite realms of existence are one's own body (deha).

In that the infinite realms and the organic creatures [inhabiting those realms] appears as one's body,

It is impossible to define mind and the imprints (vasana) as either one or many.

Everything arises and disappears according to the law of [causally] interdependent co-creation (pratityasamutpada).

And yet, as with a burnt seed, since nothing can arise from nothing, cause and effect cannot actually exist.

Cause and effect, which is fundamental to "Existence" (bhava), is a conceptual discrimination occurring within the essence of Mind-itself, which appears as [both] cause and effect; and yet, since the two [i.e., cause and effect] do not exist as such, creation and destruction [which are dependant on cause and effect] cannot exist either.

Since creation and destruction do not exist, self and other cannot exist; [from whence it follows] since there is no termination (samkrama), [the two extremes of] eternalism and nihilism do not exist either.

Therefore, it is established that the deceptive dualism of Samsara and Nirvana is actually a fiction.

Time (ksana, moment) and locality (sthana, the space or place of phenomena) are indeterminate; temporal duration is a uniquely simultaneous event (sama, unicity), and where the one [i.e., phenomena occupying space] does not occur, the other [i.e., time] does not occur.

Since they are a virtual production (upahita) and not actual (samyak), the vestigial-imprints (vasana) also do not factually exist, and since there then does not exist a sensum (caryavisaya), there can be no substratum (alaya) and no conscious perceiving (vijnapti).

Because there are no boundaries, a focus-of-attention (prabhana) and a locality (sthana), cannot exist. How then can conscious perceiving [i.e., the 'act' of consciousness] arise?

Therefore mind is separate from the alternatives of existence and nonexistence, and is neither one nor many.

In that the Enlightened state of the Blissful Ones is not [objectifiable], the deceit of appearance (abhasa) is like a magical apparition.

In the same way [as Enlightenment is not objectifiable], so also, immaculate Gnosis, and the pure continuum of goodness (kusala) that

Is the Source of Reality (dharmadhatu), are misconstrued as having an existence, and hence as being objectifiable [i.e., an object separate from consciousness].

But, since there is no such thing as an "absolute place" (Vajra-sthana) the nature of "locality" is all-the-same (sama, a perfect unicity).

And since the Supreme Vajra [i.e., ultimate Being, non-dual Gnosis] per se, [abiding in] the Dimension of Reality, is without boundaries, there can be no "time-moments" (ksana) whatsoever.

With all positive good-qualities (kusala), as the root (mula), no more existent than a reflection, then for certain, worldly knowledge (Jagadjnana) [as the branches] has no reality! "

From the Bodhicittabhavana by Manjusrimitra. Manjusrimitra composed this text. The Indian professor (upadhyaya) Sri Simha and the Tibetan translator Bhikshu Vairocanaraksita translated this [into Tibetan]. This text was translated May, 1995 from the Tibetan into English by the Kunpal Tulku for the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. Key Buddhist Sanskrit technical terms have been included in brackets and translation of those terms remain invariant throughout the text. Some terms or phrases have been added in square brackets to explicate the text.

In a philosophically based system one makes the assumption that correct theory or knowledge will lead to success (the result), but that is not so when the result precludes the eventual and full abandonment of such knowledge. It is not true in an experientially (practice) based system where the knowledge leads to improving one's practice and direct experience, eventually leading the practitioner to experiencing the true nature of one's own mind which lies outside the realm of knowledge or belief. In short, belief and knowledge serve to color and limit our experience of what-is=as-it-is, more than enhance it. Too often belief and views (even if they appear correct and valid) are not expansive enough to allow for "reality". In functional yoga knowledge or information are mere passing signposts, leading to a more efined and effective practice, and then the practice leads to direct experience. Then, there is no need for or tendency toward fixation, belief, or ideology. Rather than belief defining or limiting the yogi's experience, it is one's direct experience which directly affect one's view. Eventually one's view corresponds to and merges with the total unobstructed view -- Great natural unconditione integrity of what-is-as-it-is in samadhi (total integration) -- the true nature of Mind.

Patanjali is saying very straightforwardly that the conditioned mind tenaciously defends and grasps onto as "right knowledge" what is politically correct; what we believe to be right, true, or good as a coloring, limitation and obscuration of Universal Reality. That is a citta-vrtti, as long as it is supported by outside authority, consensus reality of our trusted peers, scripture, or any external source which we have become dependent upon (agama); reductionist logic, inference, or reasoning methods (anumana); and ordinary mental faculties of dualistic perception (pratyaksha) where the sense organs are directed by dualistic and fragmented tendencies (compare with pratyhara in Pada II.54-55 and I.18, III. 14, III.36, III.49, and III.55 in particular for more).

Ordinary Assertions, Judgements and Analysis

Since ordinary data perception is limited and since our powers of inference are limited, conclusions based on such limitations are subject to error. For example based on circumstantial evidence and logical inference, combined with witnesses that may be partial or unreliable, one can reach conclusions that may appear to be convincing, but all such conclusions will remain partial and subject to error..

This citta-vrtti, pramana, like the rest of the citta-vrtta, must cease in order for the yogic practitioner to realize the higher states of union (or samadhi). Patanjali makes a very salient point in this profound sutra; i.e., that the conditioned mind suffers and is hindered by the spin of ideology, top-down mental processes, syndromes of left brain logical bias, and theories imposed upon our moment to moment experience by the imbalances and over dominant processes of the cerebral cortex, where normal judgment and decision making processes have become relegated at the expense of true knowing or gnosis,

In short, the cognitive process (albeit useful in some regards, but more than useless in dhyana or samadhi) requires an object of cognition and a cognizer, thus creating a dualistic separation from the process of consciousness itself. Cognitive based people are constantly objectifying their "reality" -- constantly placing a separate "it" from the separate observer (I), thus dualistic bias is unfortunately fixated upon. This escape from reality is really an aversion -- a pushing aside the subjective side of consciousness. Fear and the other kleshas exacerbate this imbalance. The imposition of fear and excess fixated pramana upon the rest of the neurophysiology of the living human organism creates both neuro-physiological as well as psycho-neurophysiological impairment

Although pramana may be a theory "proven" through certain manmade contrivances, one must also take into consideration the limitations of the methods of proof. This provsional glue which often forms the "apparently" benign stagnant fortresses of fixated, opinionated, and stubborn firm belief systems, dogma, ideology, radical fundamentalism, prejudice, and prideful identifications actually is a self-limiting vrtti -- a false identification, a wedge of separateness that separates us from the universal consciousness. Indeed pramana it is a limited manmade, artificial thought construct, bias -- a mind prison produced by preconceived notions, prejudice, and institutionalized fear. -- all of which reinforce false identification and avidya. Pramana-vrtti is perhaps the most tenacious and insidious of all the vrttis, because the adherents of pramana cling helplessly upon the very instrument that is drowning them. The proofs of the theory which such people who cling upon pramana hold onto as "right belief" winds up as the justification of their own false identification (asmita-klesha) with artifice and continued methods of "Self" denial It is insidious because one will not question what they firmly believe is right, rather they will resist any such indicators to the contrary, and often very aggressively. Again, the American sage says:

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain nor freed a human soul."

~ Mark Twain

We all know people who are occluded with superficialities, who may be walking encyclopedias of external knowledge, capable of regurgitating memorized data/facts at will, experts or "authorities" in various fields of philosophy, semantics, or religion; acting as mathematical savants, and technological geniuses, but who may have little self-knowledge or practical wisdom, who have no direct realization; who have not brought this knowledge into the heart of their everyday existence. In fact, attachment to this type of inane "politically correct knowledge" is not helpful; but rather negative (a kleshic pramana-vrtti); which holds back and prevents liberation by occupying the space where new information can be acknowledged and processed once the mind is emptied.

Patanjali doesn't say that "correct" views or right knowledge are all afflictive (klishta). Only that they often tend to obscure and get in the way (klishta), obstructing the complete unobstructed view beyond egoic attachment to belief systems, which is the precursor for complete realization of yoga in swarupa-sunyam (III.3). These pramana-vrtta, given the "right" circumstances create kleshas (obstructions to samadhi), which in turn creates further negative karma and misery (duhkha) such as the kleshas of  aversion, hatred, scorn, blame, condemnation of others, fear, jealousy, pride, greed, attachment, vindictiveness, etc). Some vrtta may be neutral in relation to being associated with afflictions (aklishta), but regardless all vrtti, must eventaully be released, liberated, and cease in order to walk into the clear light of original deathless mind (in sat-cit-ananda).

As stated all beliefs, assertions, assumptions, predictions, apparent dichotomies,  laws, theories, postulates. judgemnets  may obscure  (klishta) pure awareness or not (aklishta). They must be dissected and questioned thoroughly. A rock seen tumbling down the mountain, following a specific downward path, while obeying the laws of physics may appear as a threat about to strike. But then again it may not strike the speculated target. An auto moving 100 mph on the road may be judged a threat to one crossing the road; but then again maybe not. Such neutral pramanas may be good or bad depending if they generate duhkha (pain or grief); but a yogi must exercise a through analysis of all beliefs and reduce them as insubsubstantial and pain free, meeting all potential kleshas head on -- all demons and shadow worlds being joyfully purged.

A yogi in the moment is open and flexible, and is able to move with the flow of all things in the moment. Judgements, hypotheses, assertions, and judgements may be may be accurate; but must be let go. The key here is to let go of frozen  attachments while listening continually to one's inner wisdom as the infallible guide.

Even refutations used in classical dialectical debate (tarka), which may refine our sense of viveka utilizes assertions as a method (the rebuttal). The use of syllogisms in refutations is itself the use of pramana (assertions) used to dissolve other assertions; whereas the ultimate dialectic method does not utilze assertions; ultimately, it transcends dialectics altogether. It eliminates obstructions so that the innate light reveals itself.

Good Pramana or Just Useful within Limitations?

What is necessary then is to welcome self awareness and critical thought above that of fancy, egoic pleasure, conceit, self-deceit, and prideful arrogance, where one group is paired against another. Nothing is better than being open to knowing the true nature of our own mind -- the wisdom mind. The result is clarity/vidya, compassion, and tolerance. Accordingly effective activities follow which preclude violence and conflict. The ability, confidence, and desire to question our sacredly held belief systems must be held more sacred, and given the highest priority. Only then can humans decide wisely. This is done through opening and activating one's own inner wisdom (discriminating awareness) or viveka by making distinctions (differentiations within the wholistic context of the infinite undifferentiated primordial awareness, not at its expense). In Patanjali's mountain yogi system, the more viveka becomes perfected (not pramana) the greater is the ability of clear seeing (vidya), which we will learn much more about in Pada II. In Pada III and IV we learn of the marriage of undifferentiated (siva) and differentiated/relative realties (shakti). Thoroughly, questioning and examining past assumptions is critical, but it is not cynicism nor nihilism. Beliefs serve as blinders for naked awareness. Discriminating wisdom (awareness) is simply being able to doubt everything that may be assumed without attachment, in order to abide in the innate light of the truth -- as the truth. It can be helped through philosophical debate/refutations (tarka) with others as in the academic traditions of Tibet, India, and Greece. However, in the yogic tradition it is practiced as swadhyaya (self-study through critical self-analysis), contemplation (dharana), viveka, and/or cutting through techniques that lead all the way to the recognition of primordial purity. The assumption of this path is that once the yogi becomes familiar with the nature of their own mind, then the nature of nature will be simultaneously and effortlessly revealed.

The sharper the discriminating wisdom (viveka-khyater) through cutting through appearances, while viewing phenomena from samadhi, the less a yogi is fooled or distracted in life, and the more continuously they are informed by accessing the heartmind essence -- the intrinsic wisdom (swarupa-sunyam). Hence, this is a two way street; i.e., the more one wakes up, the clearer they see the intrinsic wisdom (from the perspective of a timeless purusa) in all. The more they see the intrinsic awareness (purusa) in all. the more they wake up.

So this fits the category where pramana could be considered not necessarily false, but are still severely limiting and afflictive if held -- still producing fractual modifications of the citta -- on the path, but also obscuring its full realization. It is not only that relative observation through the sense organs can be faulty, that logic can be faulty, but also what authority is absolutely trustworthy except the Sat Guru? According to Patanjali there is no external teacher separate from the innate teacher, the teacher of the most ancient teachers (isvara as purvesham). Even a theory, which actually corresponds with the Truth, if not derived from direct experience too often may prevent authentic inner and direct experience. Liberation is unconditional. It is our natural state before conditioning.

For example, the contemplation on "I am not the body". Is it a true statement? It is stated in the negative and thus can foster a severe limitation. In one sense, we are not just the body, the ego, or separate from the all, but "who, in truth, am I" (the true seeker asks)? If the "I" atman is one with Brahman, then it is all inclusive and not separate (according to a certain school of advaita), thus it includes the body (there being no place where Brahman is not). One can use observation, inference, and authority to validate neti, neti (not I, not I), but this is not the same as experiencing its truth. One may be filled with pride that one has this knowledge, but it is merely pramana, it did not come from direct experience. Similarly the contemplation of "who am I", etc. This technique is very similar to the Buddhist negative pramana of proving that there is no independent self. After all where does the ego abide? But pramana based on observation, inference, and external validation should never substitute for the direct non-dual spiritual experience itself which is a more widespread mistake of academicians, fundamentalists, philosophers, and intellectuals than they might presume.

The yogi must eliinate all bias, prejudice, partisanship, habitual tendencies, conditioning, and unconsciously acquired indoctrination.

 Habits are purified by spiritual practice

"In order to attain the immaculate state of Buddhafields, our habits must be purified. Habits cannot be purified by substantial methods. They are purified by spiritual practice.

Through only paying attention of the outer appearances and activities of Buddhist organizations and scholars, they only see Buddhists studying and debating, without understanding that the purpose of their study is to lead to practice and to open wisdom. Then, deciding that what is studied and debated resembles the refined logic of some subtle, worldly philosophies, they speculate that the ultimate teaching of Buddhism must be philosophy. They do not see meditators who are practicing inconspicuously, and they do not see the development of their inconceivable, naturally secret, spiritual qualities which cannot be observed because they are intangible."
~ White Sail, Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

One could go even further by categorizing pramana as to being positive or negative, religious or scientific, partial and contingent, or true and objective; but its common limitation to a yogi is that pramana is at the same time, self-limiting, fractualizing, and spiritually dysfunctional, as it blocks the natural flow of cit. For some it is a preliminary practice, given to defeat extreme confusion and help focus the mind. But it is both unnecessary and often is afflictive, holding the yogi back in practice. As noted, pramana is most often defined by scholars as "valid cognition". But what makes it valid? None of the above. It is valid only in so far as it helps us destroy the veil of illusion (avidya), which is in fact a covering of pure primordial awareness. Pramana may be able to lead us to the door of dhyana and meditation, It may help us destroy illusions and delusions, but we must walk through the door.

We have already discussed the shortcomings of pratyaksha, anumana, and agama. If we use that definition there would be many contradicting "valid cognitions" some of which would invalidate others. It is an absurd proposition, but that does not at all mean that clear vision is impossible or that everything is a joke, absurd, illusory, or contrived. The latter conclusion is NOT the teaching of yoga. Rather swarupa (the true nature of our`own mind, can be known, but not as an ordinary cognition (samprajnata). The much larger field spiritual knowledge beyond the vrttis is not dependent upon the processes of mere observation, rational inference, and external validation. Take it or leave it, but don't stop there. Pramana is not labeled a vrtti by Patanjali only because the processes of observation, inference, authority, and validation may be limited or faulty, but rather pramana is a very limited and fractional dualistic veil in which the common man peers out into the world with a " spin" on life. It obscures clear vision (vidya), vividness, and the true nature of mind and phenomena. It colors the world and reinforces bias (avidya) and bondage preventing us from going further into true spiritual experience, awakening, and liberation (avidya being the major klesha).

 Through authentic yogic practice, a resultant uncomplicated, unbiased, and clear mode of awareness will illuminate that it is more difficult for someone to give up their beliefs, valid theories, ideology, judgments, and prideful attachment to false identifications, which have become familiar and comfortable veils, clothing, and filters of reality, because they are solidified and rigidified through surface evidence (pratyaksha), logic, inference (anumana), external authority (agama and smrti), and/or consensus reality. Anyone who has tasted the fruits of meditation knows that such superficiality is a coloring (vrtti) and obscuration to the full dawning of the inner light. Pramana must be surrendered at the altar of direct experience. Rather the type of "Realization" that Patanjali is presenting is not dependent upon such superficial and external dualistic means, but rather their extinction. Sri Patanjali is saying that such methods have to be given up in order to realize citta vrtti nirodha.

Following these five sutras on the five citta-vrtti, Patanjali discusses how to dissolve the glue (proofs) that holds together the fixation of pramana-vrtti utilizing vairagya. Pramana, because it is assumed to be "right" knowledge" and/or is otherwise most often reinforced by the group illusion of the time, group prejudice, group pride, and temporal authority and beliefs becomes more difficult to let go of than knowledge or belief that can be proved to be wrong or perverse (viparyaya). Classically the tenacious glue of pramana (fixated belief systems, conclusions, judgments, theories, rigid mindsets, and so forth) are formed together through the three agencies of pratyaksha, anumana, and agama already detailed above.

Dropping the Pramana of Positive Wishful Thinking: Positive Thinking in Contrast to Realism: Neither Optimism nor Pessimism

Granted, many people suffer from depression, chronic cynicism, and pessimism due to the basic disconnect from awareness and experience of their true nature. Because of that, optimism, positive thinking, glorification of the mundane, wishful thinking, and the like may appear seductive. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to believe in fanciful delusions about themselves due to egoic pride. Egoic pride in turn is a compensatory mechanism due to lack of self-esteem, absence of meaning, and ultimately to the disconnect with All Our Relations, which nurtures us to the ultimate degree. Split apart from that living experience in a chronic state of deprivation, where egoic beings ignorantly seek a substitute/replacement in make believe systems and fantasy worlds, which they designate as a protected, but ersatz "reality".

Such delusional (egoic) humans are driven to not desire to know the truth if it contradicts their fantasy, hence dysfunctional alliances are formed by those who share their same protected fantasies, often attacking the messenger/message as an attack on this fabricated egoic self identity. They simply don't like to hear it (the truth), because it makes their egoic preference uncomfortable or perhaps wrong. Rather than change their egoic mindset, they may prefer to withdraw further or become defensive/aggressive. Any thing that the ego perceives as mentally painful (which it dislikes) becomes the preference of aversion (dvesa), while the ego craves for (raga) reinforcement and praise, which it designates as self gratifying pleasure. Those events which direct the ego's filtering of reality to fear, avoid, and ignore what is unpleasant by filtering it out, while propping itself up with self gratifying praise constitutes the egoic glue of asmita, raga, dvesa, which is the province of confusion (avidya) according to yoga.

Although it may be laudable to adhere to ethical values and individual likes and dislikes (preferences), a severe distortion occurs when preference dominates and acts as a filter in preventing/discoloring mental clarity. As an example, as a new soldier in the jungle, one may prefer to see a beautiful tree, but if one allows that preference to dominate, then one may get shot and killed by a camouflaged enemy pretending to be a bush (no pun intended). So, to be functional and practical (or rather realistic), the sadha must choose the  truth, realism, open-awareness, neither paranoia nor optimism.

There are many other examples how egoic preferences that support the ego's world view will distort and severely limit our overall world view. Adherence to ethical belief systems that are externally derived (such from books or religious institutions) or conceptualized by the intellect will fall short from the direct experience of reality, a direct unfiltered communion with one's own true nature; e.g., realism. Therefore, one of the first practical realizations is that we are not just an individual ego, apart from the rest of humanity, other animals, our common interdependent supporting habitat, ecosystems, the cosmos, and evolutionary process. Rather the former (egoic sense of self) is a very limited delusion, while the larger reality is a powerful supportive source always available for consultation, guidance, and inspiration directly. That experiential realization cannot be intellectually derived.   

The delusional process is most often unconscious, denied, and chronically ignored. This becomes peer reinforced in a society where the mass delusion serves its fears and craving. It becomes willful ignorance or conscious denial/delusion only after one becomes aware that they are lying to oneself. In that step toward conscious evolution, one has the courage to face their egoic mind. Then one starts to take responsibility for one's mental state, but too often is seduced into playing the delusional game consciously. In short, such people pretend that they do not acknowledge the truth of truth or falsehood, reality or illusion, or any shared common reality with anyone else, as they have conflated freedom with autonomy. It appears to be free and easy as long as their poppycock appears to be functional, but really, the egoic mindset is fooling itself and such a game is still dictated by fear, craving, and confusion (avidya).

All that is needed is balanced thinking (realism), neither pessimistic nor optimistic, rather realistic. Most everyone would agree that depression is not the answer, while optimism is a poor substitute for true inspiration or realism, be it socially expected or otherwise artificially induced. Positive thinking is advocated within various social, political, institutional, religious, and business systems as a method of social control. In those world systems, if you think that society "should" change, you are designated as being ill, maladjusted, or negative. Something is "wrong" with you. As a control, such self-protective belief systems impute that, "If you do not agree with our agenda, then you are a pessimist, depressed, a whiner, trouble maker, wrong, bad, or negative. The system is right and you are wrong." The mantra there is, "adapt/conform to the system and be happy, but do not attempt to change or control 'our' system the way it is; i.e., we are in control". This is an agency where innovation, creativity, change, and dissent become controlled or repressed.

That is the general methodology where willful imposition of a preferred mode of ignorance or conscious delusion that is designed to support an ulterior agenda, is imposed upon an unaware public. The message being propagated is that there is something bad/wrong or inferior with anyone who claims that the system is imperfect and requires improvement, that any suffering or injustice exists within the system, or that suffering/injustice has an external/outside cause, by telling people that they have caused their own situation or have a bad/faulty attitude. One is given a choice, either conform/adapt unquestionably to the controlling system, or suffer. It is a no-brainer for most.

That ideological stance, which touts illusion making, a fake happy face to the world or a firerce frown, public relations marketing, lies, and pretentious activity is most definitely aimed at social control of institutions, social systems, and large populations. "Shut up and get with the program" is another slogan. That way, dissent is thus dismissed as crazy, aberrant, or sick thinking; hence, it serves the need for a presiding power structure to marginalize dissent. For the totalitarian system, the enemy is critical thinking. It must be discouraged or stamped out. The most practical way to do so, is to have victims advocate and perpetuate organized confusion upon themselves, children, and others.

On the other hand, any one who has experienced the power of critical thinking for themselves (outside the box), knows that critical thought is the first step toward a healthy disillusionment, which in turn creates the ground and open space for creative, expedient, practical, realistic, and functional activity. This is a necessary preliminary in order to think outside the box, devoid of mere conceptual and fabricated thoughts -- where true inspiration, creativity, non-dual love, and fulfillment are expressed and experienced.

The ability to discern and perform critical analysis is the first step in freeing oneself from authoritarian dictates programmed by our time/place continuum, language, religious paradigms, schools, media, parents. It is ABSOLUTELY necessary to free oneself from debt peonage imposed upon the planet by institutionalized ignorance.
This is not at all to assert that reductionist thinking is the end all. Discernment, as discriminating wisdom, when exercised as such goes beyond separating things apart from the whole; but eventually leads us to understand that there are no separate parts in the final analysis -- when complete.

Critical thinking as an exercise in discernment is a start. Intuition (inner wisdom) only comes into play once the conditioning/programming no longer rules your karmic propensities. It is fickle until it is recognized. Once your karmic propensities are exorcised, then inner wisdom guides. Discriminative awareness and inner wisdom are not mutually exclusive. The former leads to the latter and both are mutually synergistic.

Creative thinking in order to occur first must make room for insight/inner wisdom to arise. New, innovative, and creative ideas do not fit into past belief systems, by definition. That is why they are called new. Although new data is always welcomed by an open mind; in a closed-minded environment, if the idea is new and creative; i.e., doesn't fit into the existing belief system, it is met with dropped jaws and disbelief. Such attitudes bring death to creative change and fortify stagnant societies based on anachronisms -- in short, the status-quo. Such is the fertile ground that promotes authoritarianism. Mankind's separation from his/her true nature leaves him seeking a surrogate -- a substitute and vicarious replacement. Because of his lack of internal order -- because of his Diasporic  state of confusion -- he mistakenly seeks order in external authorities, rigid law and order, and authoritarianism. Today, man’s widespread disenchantment is fortified by the modern urbanized production of disconnection from the wellsprings of life, where human beings understand themselves as a vital part of nature -- pf belonging --  rather than apart from her -- the separation of mind from body, and disconnection of our innate intuitive/co-creative powers is a plague that demands attention --  healing.

The World of Make Believe, Ideology, Religion, and "Faith-Based" Reality

It should be obvious by now that yoga is not a self deluding system of make believe, where an ideal mental process or belief is proposed in order to change one's prior beliefs to conform to a perfect "reality". It is not an escape from "reality". That kind of faith based "reality" is common in many religions, political doctrine, ideology and all dogmatic fundamentalist belief systems. Many religions are based on ideology, "correct" beliefs (propaganda), conformity, memorization of the correct answers, conformity to doctrine and moral codes, and then an affirmation that such is "real" through "acts of faith and loyalty" that confirm or reinforce one's belief in their role/identity.

Herein we can find any of the common hand-me-down religions, traditions, political ideologies, or any other nationalistic, racist, ethnic, provincial, chauvinistic, or bigoted system. Especially Westerners once they have been conditioned at an early age to abandon their innate power and wisdom, while accepting their parent's and/or peers' belief systems, they become willing victims of continued propaganda and persuasion via the process of psychological transference where one belief is modified, improved, transported, incorporated, or psychologically transferred.

People who are lost in belief systems, "believe" that everything, as an external reality, is based on belief, or rather how we view it. That is only partially correct. What is not readily acknowledged is the unbiased/universal view, which of course is transpersonal and non-dual. Because of this omission, egoic beings commonly negate the possibility of clarity devoid of conceptual constructs, conditioning, or artifacts of delusion. Although this is justified as freedom of thought, it is an arbitrary delusion, not free unconditioned thought, but self limited delusion., which is a prison. By itself, it is a fixated belief, which prevents the viewer from an unconditioned and unfabricated view. Children, in general conflate free thought, with the freedom to make things up as they go. This runs the risk of infant solipsism and neologisms. Therefore, they become susceptible toward artificially improving/perfecting their belief system in an endless world of make believe, as long as they give themselves permission, the super-ego sanctions it, it appears logical (anumana, Skt.), while external authority and/or peers reinforce it (agama, Skt.), and/or it appears to be confirmed via selected and partial facts or data (pratyaksha) and dualistic views. Wishful thinking, so called positive thinking, and many similar systems that use affirmations to reinforce a basis of formulating "reality" falsely assume that reality depends on the ordinary mind become merely elaborate systems of self deceit, conceit, and delusion, which promise freedom but never deliver. Reality, is not what we think it is, rather it is much larger than the constructs of the conceptual mind. That kind of approach which does not depend upon pessimism nor optimism is designated as realism. Realism takes into account the whole. Profoundly, it is beyond conceptualization. Realism, being non-dual, universal, and incorruptible, abides perfectly balanced in the middle channel. That is the perfect place to rest one's mind.

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

~ Albert Einstein

Einstein had to question the "sacred laws" of physics in order to think outside its box. What he came up with was a far more marvelous integration that had heretofore been postulated. First, Einstein had to become thoroughly disillusioned with what he was taught to believe. Such fabricated/delusional systems fall far short of authentic yoga (realism), which is dedicated to the truth (satya). It is nothing other than realism. Although it is true that yoga will change the pre-conditioned mental patterning (citta-vrtti), it is based on the complete cessation (nirodha) of mental fabrications, not further modifications/distortions, lies, or fancies. Upon the *cessation* of the citta-vrtti (dualistic mindfields), then the yogi abides in the true nature of mind (swarupa-sunyam) in samadhi (see III.3 in the Yoga Sutras). This is a completely uncontrived, unconditioned, and unmodified natural state.

Such contrived make believe systems are very common. People tend to hold onto them tightly when their beliefs are challenged or confronted with conflicting data. Sometimes the conflicting data is ignored or even the messenger is shot. We will discuss this more in detail in I.9 when we discuss the limited mindset (citta-vrtti) of vikalpa, fancy, imagination, and conceptualization processes as make believe is a fancy (vikalpa) of the conditioned mind as well as a pramana, in so far it is considered by the "believer" to be a right view, and it is supported by pratyaksha, anumana, and agama. Again such is *not* the expansive view of yoga, where illusions are dispelled, delusion ceases, and true seeing (vidya) into the true nature of reality is achieved by understanding the true nature of one's own mind.

Following are a few examples of pramana. They can be broken down into two categories; i.e., one where the pramana is later proven to be false, but one at first thinks it to be true, and the second category is that the pramana appears to be true, but it is still limits our consciousness and spiritual experience (cit and sat).

A simple example on how ordinary dualistic perception (pratyaksa), inference (anumana), and external authority (agama) solidifies and reinforces a belief system (pramana) as a valid cognition is that of twins born in Nepal but separated at birth. One is brought up by the mother's family who are orthodox Hindus, while the other is brought up by the father's family who are devout Buddhists. Each having the same genetic intelligence, enter their respective monasteries and learn through programming their respective world views (pramana). Later in life they meet and debate, never agreeing. Phenomena of course is-what-it-is-as-is as constant flux; but world "views" of the same phenomena will differ according to the biased viewpoint or narrow limits of their perspective. Such limitations can be eliminated through yoga practice.

As long as they do not resort to blame, anger, ridicule, demonization, hatred, deference, or violence to the other group, one may conclude that there is no harm involved. However, what if these two were brought up as an orthodox Jew in Jerusalem and the other as an orthodox Muslim in Palestine? What if one was brought up as a German nationalist and the other as a French nationalist, one a white racist and the other a black racist, one a woman hater and the other a man hater, and so on? Obviously these would be extreme examples of how strong "so called", valid convictions may create conflict, harm, and violence, even serving as fuel for war, slavery, and/or murder. Making the other wrong, does not make the advocate right.  

According to yoga, such conflict is not inevitable; rather they are due to citta-vrtti which are to be liberated. The human mind can change and a wider balanced vision embraced. That is the fundamental assumption of functional yoga. 

A common example is that the world was once thought to be round because people observed (pratyaksha) that the horizon appeared to be flat, then inferring logically (anumana) that the earth must be flat, and this was then confirmed by the church and kings (agama). Later some one came along and "proved" that the earth was round and thus people fixated on that "fact". In reality, the earth is not round, but spherical and even that has many subtle "anomalies", twists and turns to it. That is the theory or picture of it still does not conform to what it really is. Not even modern scientific theory can account for the shape of the earth and its many changes, yet the earth is-as-it-is despite our many theories of it. That is-as-it-is is direct non-dual perception known when the dualistic tendencies of the mind are put to rest.

Similarly, at one time in Europe it was considered to be proven that the universe revolved around the earth. Advocates used certain observations (pratyaksha), reasoning (anumana), and the church and kings (agama) to back them up. If you disagreed you ran the risk of being tortured and killed. Of course today we know that was a "mistaken view" (viparyayo), but one may ask how many mistaken views do we hold today that are generally considered pramana and how is that holding us back from vital and functional living?

Another strong example of how pramana can be destructive, which is very common, occurs when someone, who has been disempowered and programmed to be insecure, dissociated, or extracted from their intrinsic wisdom, then becomes dependent upon an external authority figure, a father, priest/pope, religion, bible, president, or other strong authority type/authoritarian rigid system. One becomes dependent upon such an external order for their own self worth, position in life, identity, sense of security, meaning and purpose, etc. One develops thus a great need (and fear) to believe in this authority as a substitute for their own reality. Anything that contradicts this conditioned holding pattern appears as a threat to one's very identity and survival.

Pramana thus can become a comfortable refuge, a predictable enclosure, a lens, a familiar filter, etc., in which to see the world and hence, "self", but also one's prison. So paradoxically, when evidence (pratyaksha) is presented that is contradictory to this external authoritarian system (agama), the soul who has become disempowered and extracted immediately takes that as a threat to "self" (as they feel they have no alternative) and defends the agama compulsively even to a point of becoming aggressive or violent if need be. This has an ironic twist because one's freedom and true happiness is based on recognizing one's attachment to these prisons and transcending them. It doesn't matter if the attack is perceived as being an attack on the belief system itself or on the individual means to which it has become concluded (agama, pratyaksa, or anumana). It doesn't matter if the perceived attack upon the belief system is viewed as primarily religious, political, racial, nationalistic, ethnic, or cultural, the information (pratyaksa) itself is attacked, the other person is attacked, the other person's reasoning (anumana) is attacked, and the other persons authority (agama) is attacked. In some cases the messenger of such contradictions to one's dearly held belief system is physically attacked and murdered as a the final solution in removing "the problem". These are common occurrences due to pramana-vrtti that effective self awareness will disclose and defuse. In order to manipulate others, exploiters first attempt to extract the victim from their inherent wisdom and thus disengage them from their critical thinking powers and ability making them dependent on "authority". Here confusion (avidya) is the root kleshic of the citta-vrtti. Then in turn, the attachment (asmita-raga) to that mindfield (pramana-vrtti) becomes a source for hatred, scorn , rage, and aversion (asmita-dvesa klesha).

Common Examples of the Afflictive Nature of Pramana

The Stockholm Syndrome denotes the tendency where prisoners or slaves support their own captors/captivity by identifying with their captors through either transference or and/or trauma. Many people are spiritual prisoners/captured by the alien belief systems of others; yet they are too frightened to rebel and escape. One accepts the mental prison as offered and no longer resists/rebels, hence finding a reconciliation by mistaking peace as capitulation. They mistake a sense of security with familiar and predictable prison bars seeking predetermination, in an attempt to trade the mental turmoil and uncertainty of freedom. There are many versions of the Stockholm Syndrome phenomena.

Another example is the club mentality. People who have compromised their own values and inner feelings are subject to being corrupted by the join the club mentality, which is none other than play our game and as a team member we will mutually support and propagate illusions, ideology, propaganda, and lies that serve the club. One becomes rewarded as a valuable part of the club --as a team player. But woe to some one who would blow the whistle, reveal the truth, disclose that the emperor is wearing no clothes, then one will be excluded, banished, and even punished (persecuted). One is threatened to conform to the dominant ideology, doctrine, or belief as gospel or become an outcast or worse. Such is not uncommon small town mentality (provincialism) often found in corrupt situations and commonly utilized to maintain control and power by putting down dissent or minorities. In institutionalized racism even the victims are coerced to think of themselves in terms of the dominant force or power structure. In that milieu free or independent thinking and honesty is strongly discouraged. Here the kleshas of greed, desire, self advantage, and fear have created the attachment to this vrtti, and as a consequence adherence to the vrtti, in turn increases the kleshas of increased asmita-dvesa (antipathy) and insecurity if not adhered to, while promising reward (asmita-raga) if upheld.

Similarly in many small towns and provincial areas there exist a "good old boys" mentality. This is the way "it is". "Don't rock the boat" and you will be rewarded. "Play the game" and pretend and you will be accepted. But if you speak up, tell the truth, or reveal the lie there will be enacted serious consequences and punishment will follow. Hence, adherence (raga-klesha) to those vrttis are reinforced as indoctrination, as conventional wisdom. However such  produce more asmita-dvesa (kleshas of associated with antipathy or aversion) and are anathema - poisons to spiritual liberation. Alternatives are taboo, while the status-quo becomes sacred.

Likewise the same phenomena taken on a larger scale is the totalitarian state. Democracy presupposes that people are capable of thinking things out for themselves, and hence, capable of making a functional decision. Such is a threat to the exploiter class -- those who would capitalize on one's stupidity, loyalty, and enslavement. Authoritarian states, tyrants, oligarchies, and totalitarian regimes use such tactics as "conform", tow the line, obey, be loyal or suffer. Obey and be rewarded, disobey and be killed or punished. In that environment fear and punishment rule i.e., terror. The more terrorized people are the more they will be persuaded to conform to the state which promises to protect them as long as it commands their loyalty. One key tactic is to strip the slave of their own sense of inner authority, sense of innate wisdom, self confidence, or ability for critical and creative thought. Once that is achieved, then obedience to the ruling authority remains unquestioned. Whistleblowers and creative thinkers are feared and demonized.

"They must find it difficult... those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority.”

Gerald Massey

A young Palestinian boy observes that an Israeli bomb and soldiers have killed one's mother, brother, sister, and father. That Israelis are occupying his town and beat, arrest, insult, and order around his few remaining friends creating fear and poverty. Through such inference, he sees Israelis as the enemy. His religious authorities and town mayor validates this conclusion; i.e., all Israelis are evil and it becomes his sacred duty to eradicate them. Thus it becomes a proven theory. His hatred and anger (kleshas) toward the Israelis thus reinforced, he decides to be a terrorist killing Israelis and those who support their evil ways as a righteous act.

Likewise an Israeli child grows up in an orphanage because his family was killed by an Arab suicide bomber. He is told by those whom he accepts as authorities that Moslem Arabs hate Jews. His own experience appears to validate that conclusion, hence, he concludes that the Arab Moslems are a threat which must be eradicated.

Here both in the preceding example and this, take conditioned beliefs based on limited data, logical reasoning, and externa; authority (a pramana-vrtti) as proven conclusions, albet opposite,  which leads to more suffering, Which one is right?

Another example, in Gujarat India, there has just been a murderous riot. One's entire family and village has been murdered and destroyed. You observed it and saw the perpetuators (pratyaksha). Through inference (anumana) it is deduced that the perpetuators are Moslems. The tribal chieftain arrives and declares that all Moslems are our enemies. Out of attachment, fear, despair, and hatred (dvesa klesha) a belief is validated (pramana) that all Moslems must be killed in order to feel safe and survive. One's relatives, peers, and leaders confirm that belief. Hence, mob hysteria is fed from a proven theory (proven by means pratyaksha, anumana, and agama); yet the overal context remains obscured.

Another example: I see a red car driven by a purple driver. It goes through a red light and crashes into a blue car. I infer that it might hit me, so I jump to get out of the way. I and the other witnesses might conclude that purple drivers are bad drivers and red cars are dangerous. This was based on right observation (pratyaksha), logical inference (anumana), and confirmation based on reliable peer validation (agama). However, the conclusion doesn't’ hold up in all situations (it is a specific pramana-vrtti).

Any unmet unrealistic expectation based on assumptions (true or false) can be met with eventual frustration, anger, resentment, grief, and/or pain. For example, I might come into a situation with an assumption or hope based on an assumption that maybe consensus could be reached in regard to a perceived negative “situation”. It might prove that that expectation based on that assumption was entirely unrealistic. What I lacked was perhaps more wisdom and experience. If I could just release my attachment to my expectation, then there would be no resentment, anger, or frustration, but it would have been better yet,  to go into that situation with a more open mind and heart, without being fixated on the citta-vrtti of a specific problem, but rather open minded to a larger potential opportunity to occur.

So called pramana, especially when not thoroughly questioned and examined, easily lends itself to strident convictions, which in turn can be used to manipulate those who are confused. The more confused the people, the more ripe they are for exploitation, manipulation, demagoguery, fundamentalists, and strident ideologues who will volunteer to do their thinking for them. An orderly and rigid structure, appears as secure and safe to the insecure. The predictability or familiarity of prison bars are often mistaken for safety, where predictability replaces inner order and inner authority, by those overcome by confusion, fear, anger, helplessness, and paranoia. In such fear filled and/or confused situations abdicating responsibility may appear very seductive, but such mechanisms lead to the greater danger of slavery. Nothing is more empowering and liberating than awareness. There are countless vrttis and combinations of vrttis. We don’t have to know them all, just know how to free ourselves from them.

Due to spiritual self-alienation which leads to disempowerment one tends to seek for security and fulfillment outside; but as such, one becomes victim to the vicissitudes of temporal existence and manmade systems.  Similarly, democracy can serve despotism, tyranny, and destruction if the general populace is confused, paranoid, angry, or greatly disturbed. There, consensus reality or conventional wisdom as mob rule substitutes for agama (authority), hence, mass hysteria or mob rule reigns. A democracy is only as healthy as its people's ability to think clearly for themselves, while a democracy made up of crazy, masochistic, sadistic, greedy, rapacious, insatiable, or confused people is capable of great error and destruction. Again awareness breeds freedom, while confusion is the precursor for deception, manipulation, exploitation, and slavery by wannabe puppetmasters and control freaks.

There are myriad examples of false generalities, stereotyping errors, and false conclusions based on limited observation, inference, and validation which are mistaken. Are the above pramana or viparyaya? The problem is simple, i.e., that people become indoctrinated with belief systems which they no longer question., but rather take the belief to be true and thus their reality is colored (citta-vrtti) by the belief system which acts as a serious filter/bias. or tint. Attachment to pramana, agama, and/or anumana is a stubborn habit to liberate. Often people who lack critical thinking powers or who lack confidence in their ability to think for themselves (viveka will attack those who contradict their agama or sruti – their belief systems. Their egoic self-identity will feel under attack, while they do not have a stable base elsewhere in truth to fall back upon.

It is most important to question belief systems whose basic assumptions have not been critically analyzed by the subject because of an assumed "rightness". Not willing or able of withstanding critical analysis, contrasting beliefs are not readily tolerated, but rather feared, scorned, and/or demonized. The stronger the uncritical belief, the more resistant to change the subject becomes, and the more dangerous they become to those who do not share their zeal. Strongly impassioned fundamentalists who believe in their own unquestioned righteousness have plagued the world for millennia. Such take the form of crusaders, jihadists, kamikaze suicide warriors, unpaid assassins, and death squads, who eagerly kill and torture for their beliefs (political or otherwise). This is no problem for a yogi, who is willing to identify and deconstruct even his/her most cherished belief periodically and put it to the test of swadhyaya (a thorough self-refutation). In fact, refutation of all beliefs is an ancient monastic/academic discipline, which is often taught as debate (tarka) within the context of pramana). In this case the goal is not to win the debate, but to develop the ability to think critically and deconstruct held beliefs. The culmination of debate is won through viveka-khyater, which in turn surpasses pramana.

In dialectics the ultimate refutation refutes refutation itself. Why? Because there is ultimately no valid belief, no substantial pramana, no assertion that exists by itself. By definition belief systems are fabrications of the mind -- mental constructs. Every assertion, postulate, is at best an approximation. Any one thing must be defined in relation to everything else throughout the three times and primordial presence. Such is yogic knowledge;and for such to arise, pramana itself must be refuted. Meditation (dhyana) leads to samadhi (swarupa-sunyam). 

Sri Patanjali is really making a profound point here in categorizing pramana as a vrtti precisely because of the common fixation of most of the religious "authorities" and bigots of his day. As such this kind of fundamental questioning forms the basis of heresy. Patanjali is profoundly telling us that yoga sadhana is a search for truth -- where theory and belief are derived from our own direct experience. For this fundamentally spiritual search to be successful it is necessary to first admit our ignorance by saying that we do not know. Secondly yoga sadhana demands that we do not adopt nor hide behind some one else's system, no matter how politically correct it appears, but rather we must find the truth within. Adopting an objectified world based on agama and anumana spells death to the authentic spiritual pursuit. There exists no dark soul of the night for those who have given up their attachment to separateness.

Patanjali repeats this again in I,49:

Sutra I. 49 Shrutanumana-prajnabhyam anya-vishaya visesa-arthatvat

This innate intuitive wisdom (prajnabhyam) must be differentiated (anya) from the mere objective forms of knowledge based on anumana (inference, deduction, logic) and shruti (scriptures, belief, faith, external or objective authoritative sources of knowledge) [no matter how "seemingly" authoritative], which is always less reliable and more coarse than this very special (visaya) intrinsic wisdom (prajnabhyam) which in turn stems from direct truth bearing wisdom (rtam-bhara), which is based on inner direct spiritual experience and knowledge gleaned from practice.

Yes, any orthodoxy, tyrant, or totalitarian order will tell us that pramana is necessary, valid cognitions, proven theories, belief systems, religion, and ethics keeps us from going too far astray. "It keeps us out of trouble", they say, but Patanjali is saying that it also separates us from genuine spiritual sadhana and the source of our true intrinsic authority. As such it is the cause of spiritual affliction (klesha). Patanjali is not attacking the "other" philosophical systems, but rather he says that those who adhere to fixed beliefs or simply belief systems (BS) in general that are not based on direct experience will maintain spiritual stagnation. The first step in deprogramming is for the indoctrinated to recognize that they have been indoctrinated and desire to rid themselves of its burden; just as an addict must first admit to themselves that they are addicted and wants to change.  Thus they can not reach the direct experience of universal consciousness -- of All Our Relations until they become inspired -- until they recognize the potential for self-transformation -- are given a taste.

Ideology in form of conventional truth, religion, politics, and social taboo

In today's society, a sadhak cannot help to notice that political views, religious views, prejudice, colorings, and social taboos, no matter how controversial, are considered to be impolite subjects. The reason is that they are based on belief systems, more than critical thinking, experience, and experimentation. When a religious, political, or socially contrived conventional belief system is adopted unquestionably as true, then questioning it appears to the dogmatist as a personal; threat. The more insecure the holder/ideologue is, the tighter they will grasp. We have already mentioned how religion pre-manufactures and prefabs ideologies for those who have been stripped of their ability to do their own thinking. Similarly, for those who do not have intact their ability to think clearly for themselves in regards to economic systems, political systems, ecological systems, and the like, simply adopt a political faith, placing faith in their leadership, just as if it were a religious belief with faith placed in a pope, priest, guru, or god. Similarly, the more insecure and confused such people are, the more they tend to grasp onto their adopted belief system. There is great similarity between political and religious belief systems/ideology, as both give the adherent an ersatz identity (ego) and world view.

Philosophers, intellectuals, scholars, experts, politicians, priests, Geshes, Shastris, Khenpos, and the like may have much factual knowledge, but lack discriminating wisdom (knowledge of their own mind and the nature of mind). They may lack intuition (inner wisdom). Here we are addressing not just ordinary balance or the middleway; but a profound synergistic synchronicity that comes from one pointed focus (dharana), Dhyana (meditation), and realization (samadhi) when all karmic propensities are exhausted.”

Almost as tenacious are those who adopt conventional reality and conform to peer pressure. This pramana is not as strong as the former, because it is obvious that conventional and social customs/realities change many times in one's life time. Similarly, beliefs constructed around fears/taboos, trauma, mental pain, intimidation, shame, and guilt are more subtle. Although they may be protected via belief systems, they are more properly dealt with as vikalpas, samskaras, and vasana, which is discussed in detail later. In short, all these vrttis must be abandoned.

The Dissolution of Pramana is the Result of Yogic Practice. What is left is the unobscured open-empty wisdom  mind

On the other hand, yoga sadhana such as advocated in Sadhana Pada (Chapter 2) and in particular, meditation, takes us considerably further beyond the limitations of fixations on any belief systems (pramana) based on dualistic perceptions (pratyaksha), authoritative testimony from books or authority figures (agama), and logical, analytical, or intellectual methods (anumana). So in sutra I -12, Patanjali says not to get caught up with any vrttis at all, because they reinforce the vrtti of pramana. Especially not those things (such as agama, anumana, and pratyaksha) that uphold the vrtti of pramana, because in the authentic yoga that is being taught here, that is not where liberation or samadhi comes from, rather they hold one back. Those methods may be helpful for studying engineering, mathematics, law, mechanics, or construction, but they should be put aside (vairagya) when practicing yoga -- especially so when applied to the main method, the practice of meditation.

The point is, that the theory is not the experience, while rigid theories (even though not erroneous) too often precludes it because it is severely "limited". Granted a good theory may lead us eventually to the experience (and the experience may even prove that the theory was correct), but in truth the reductionist objectification process which is pramana, must in either case cease altogether if we are to get to the universal boundless Mind which is the true nature of Mind. Pramana is like a theory, principle, or "derived" law while agama, anumana, and pratyaksha are its apparent operators of proof; but Patanjali says that as such this will reinforce the vrtti. In other words walking around with such constructs in the mind (mindsets), we superimpose artificially a very severe limitation upon the potential and very profound/sacred innate depth of our experience, i.e., Reality-As-It-Is -- or swarupa. This filter, matrix, or veil serves as an obstruction, which yoga meditation is designed to utterly destroy. When this dissonance between consciousness and beingness (between sattva and purusha) is destroyed the underlying profound non-dual transpersonal and trans-conceptional REALITY is revealed.

The "view" separated from the path of direct experience, through objectified belief systems or faith-based systems is severely fettered and limited. It will not let "reality-as-it-is" shine through in most cases. "View" must correspond to how things are-as-they-are, not the other way around. When we are afflicted by pramana we filter reality through the matrix of our beliefs -- we see and find what we are looking for or with which we can identify, while too often leaving behind 99% of "the rest" -- the unexpected.

Thus, in the end of Pada III in Sutra 55, Patanjali says: III. 55 sattva-purushayoh shuddhi-samye kaivalyam. Translated: "By perfectly balancing (samye) pure beingness (sattva) with pure undifferentiated universal consciousness (purusha) the obstructions are removed (shuddhi) thus disclosing and opening the gate to kaivalyam (absolute liberation)."

Pramana, as a surrogate or adopted belief system, ideology, mindset, or "ism", is difficult to let go of, especially so when we have become conditioned not to do our own critical/creative thinking and authentic self-inquiry; but rather to become dependent upon the "boss", master, experts, ready-made ideology, or consensus external prejudice of our culture or times (so called ready made "reality"). Separated from our own intrinsic source of inspiration, then the limitations of dogma and ideology become rigidified as well. This is another logical reason to drop it, because authentic co-creative yoga cannot be achieved in such a sorry (samsaric) state. This also reflects the defect of organized religion, where it demands conformity and obedience to externalized codes of behavior, but fails to provide revelation and direct experiential subjective states. In fact, dogma compensates for authentic experience (the first person subjective) and mostly precludes such. Rather, genuine spiritual discipline is based on providing direct subjective communion/gnosis. Thus, Patanjali quite clearly says that pramana, which are dependent upon the proofs of pratyaksha (observation), anumana (inference), and agama (externalized authority), may be at best neutral in some situations, but for a yogi whose intention is to realize the Truth of one's own true nature in samadhi (swarupa-sunyam), all citta-vrtti must be dropped.

It should be mentioned that some advanced spiritual seekers may want to point out another kind of world-view (that some may call a pramana, but it is not so defined by Patanjali), which is not based upon a reflexive theory, judgment, speculation, or conclusion which in turn is based upon observation (pratyaksha), anumana (inference), and agama (external authoritative sources). Rather, such a "view" is derived from vidya (direct recognition), which is direct first person yogic experience, that merges the subjective eyesight with the universal eye (the third eye) in non-dual union. Then such a non-local unlimited "view" is not pramana-vrtti.

Here in I.7, Patanjali is specifically defining pramana in his own way (as a proven theory based upon agama, anumana, and pratyaksha). If however our view of reality and "self" is informed by our direct transpersonal yogic experience, that view (vidya) is taught by the intrinsic seed source residing as the teacher of all teachers within all beings and things as the omniscient all seeing Source, as a direct experience of the Great Continuum. That recognition (vidya) is, by definition, not pramana-vrtti according to Patanjali, as long as the viewer does not step outside of their intrinsic non-dual direct experience, in an attempt to objectify (and hence separate oneself from) and codify their experience.

Ordinary people (lost in dualistic thinking) limit their experiences, sometimes quite severely, because of limited belief systems and lazy thinking. In the past accepted authoritative beliefs like: "the world is flat, the sun rotates around the earth, such and such is impossible, and so forth held people back". Likewise today many conventional beliefs supported by apparent observation, inference, and authority severely constrict people back (on and off the meditation cushion). This limitation is due to the imposition of beliefs (right or wrong) upon present experience so that we do not allow ourselves to experience anything outside the box (except in dream or fantasy). The opposite way to go is to have our experiences inform the neo-cortex (where the conceptual functions reside) as to what is going on instead of the neo-cortex dictating to the neurology what is real and what is not. If our experiences can actually feed the entire nervous system as a whole -- without distortion, resistance, or conditioned interpretation born from the imprints and adaptation of childhood games, fear of punishment, desire, ego, pride, jealousy -- in short the kleshas, then a greater sense of inter-connectedness is experienced, greater wholistic function, health and creative expression is realized. This in turn sparkles over into a deeper kind of direct profound experience -- a deepening of the ordinary modality of sense perception or mind perception to a synchrony of both inner and outer worlds -- the inner and outer ecology pulsate as one -- experience and consciousness --heaven and earth -- are merged. It is this profound inner non-dual transpersonal interconnection, which then informs, leads the mind, and shapes the view, not ordinary perception, logic, or the testimony of others.

When we acknowledge and honor our deepest heart/core spiritual experiences as our guide in everyday life and are open to this in All Our Relations, then we have no need of the dictates, referents, or external guideposts of beliefs that are born from books, authority, the process of ideation, conceptional fabrication, rational constructs, or ordinary alienated dualistic methods of obscured perception; for we have gained insight. We are no longer shackled by the citta-vrtti of fabricated belief systems born from isolation.

"When there is an 'I', there is a perception of other,

And from the ideas of self and other come attachment and aversion,

As a result of getting wrapped up in these,

All possible faults come into being."

~ Dharmakīrti

Now, the above statements may sound bizarre to the beginner who is already mired in hand-me-down beliefs; but it is the common language for practiced meditators, which is the main practice in the Yoga Sutras. Additionally, scientific research has also shown through experiments run with experienced/practicing meditators that the conceptual tendencies of the frontal cortex (in its function of mental fabrication and rationalization) is greatly reduced, ceases, rests, or is stilled measurably. Meditation may or may not be the common man's forte; but it is designed to provide this fruit should one decide to eat from the tree. That is where Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras" excel.

In this non-dual "reality" which is not constructed by man, but exists intrinsically by itself (is self-arisen) from the very beginning as a transpersonal boundless unfabricated direct and profound experience, then a natural esthetics and ethics co-arises because the process of feeling other people's grief or simply of being empathic, is spontaneously derived. One abides in the unconditioned state of being inter-connected with all beings and all things -- within the all inclusive grand integrity of all. The fixation on one fragmented event or person at the sacrifice of everything else pales in comparison. Such is what is abandoned; i.e., the samsaric state of mind or citta-vrtti.

Common examples will reveal the common plight of those afflicted by pramana and why it is so insidious. One may gather "right knowledge" and facts. One may even have been taught how to organize these facts "correctly", so that for instance, one may believe that God is omnipresent, eternal, pure love, and other similar details that may be true in an objective sense; but at the same time such is only dead knowledge lacking true realization. Unfortunately, one has taken a step backwards if one's acquired external knowledge creates pride, delusion, false identification, and even greater over-objectification, and alienation, which is most often the case. Such beliefs are based simply on facts, data, logic, and theory, but not direct experience. It is rather an acquired belief (pramana), not the experiential truth or realization. Part of the spiritual malaise is that mankind (especially in the West) has already become over objectified. He has become lost in mental theories, abstraction, and mental processes (vrtti) which have not been reconciled and integrated with his everyday experience, but rather such pramana tends for the most part to preclude or diminish subjective experience. This is not the way to experience direct spiritual truth, of course.

Although a map may help one to arrive in the vicinity, such should not preclude the actual visit. Similarly, it matters little if these theories (pramana) coincide with the way things "really are" or on the other hand if they are a miscalculation (viparyaya), dream, hallucination, etc., because one still remains separate and estranged from experiencing "Reality" directly, if we become rigidified around it and unable to let it go. This is power of vairagyabhyam (letting go), in order that we can experience the universal reality which awaits us HERE. As we let go of our paradigms, fixated beliefs in an objectified/dualistic reality, and hence, identity (as self is always defined in terms of "the other") then we are able to learn, listen to dharma, and absorb it to its natural depths.

One can mistakenly try to put all these facts and beliefs in one's pocket or computer or even learn to memorize them and recite them at will; but that is not the liberated unconditioned awakening that authentic yoga aims toward. The bigger danger here, is that such walking encyclopedias of politically correct belief systems (BS) too often conflate their external knowledge with spiritual wisdom, and thus self perpetuate their own spiritual stagnation unknowingly. They cannot differentiate what they believe (as a belief) from what is real (from direct apperceptive experience). Rather, it is far more expedient to skip this neurotic behavior from the start as Patanjali recommends, emphasizing the value of developing direct experience through yogic practice, revealing the inner wisdom, or innate buddha nature. This is why authentic yogis always state that yoga is neither a philosophy nor a religion. It is not based on theory, on books, language, words, or intellectual manipulation, but on direct experience through authentic yoga sadhana as outlined in the Yoga Sutras. This occurs when all obscurations and citta-vrtta vanish.

In practice, we may find ourselves ignorant and not knowing. At that point it is far better to humbly acknowledge our ignorance, and thus humbly admit to ourselves that we do not know, than to act defensively/offensively in denial and prideful justification. By saying that we do not know in humility, we bequeath upon ourselves the ability to learn and become expanded -- to learn. This way we seek out the truth and reinforce our passion for self-understanding. It would be counter-productive instead to adopt someone else's belief system (BS), no matter how authoritative (agama), logical (anumana), or seemingly objective (pratyaksha) the evidence may appear. Rather, it is this very humble search of the true open minded seeker, who is not afraid to say that "I do not know" , who is not satisfied with patented or PC answers. Outside of pramana's confines we find the flame that rekindles the timeless and authentic spiritual fire within. That is the noble path of "the found" beyond craving, seeking, and struggle.

Provisional Harmless (Aklista) Pramana

If then, all pramana is indeed provisional and limited, the process and its fixation has to eventually cease/be released. The question arises in many schools of thought whether pramana can be beneficial up to a point, as a provisional or preliminary teaching, for example, externally accepted ethical or moral codes, guidelines, principles, epistemology, debate (tarka), refutations of competing dogma, concise ritual, logic (nyaya), the study of grammatical rules (epistemology), memorizing and obeying scriptural authorities (agama), etc. The answer is, that for a yogi whose onepointed aim is samadhi and nothing less, these serve as a distraction, unless one has realized vairagya. It is really the attachments (raga) to these provisional teachings that is harmful. In short, if pramanas are merely entertained as possibilities, assumptions, or theories that can be deconstructed, then no fixation/attachment would accrue. However, any determination of correct, valid, or right assigned to knowledge/belief precludes a fair analysis and possibility of deconstruction. Logic (anumana) can help refute and deconstruct and agama can help with comparative evaluations, but non-dual insight always comes from a transpersonal apperceptive creative impulse (asamprajnata), which is the culmination of vairagya.

Regarding pramana, a catch-22 arises in so-far that asamprajnata (transconceptual or apperceptional) realization is necessary and that occurs after all objectification processes have ceased. Hence, a little logical reflection upon one's situation within the contextual frame of swadhyaya (self-study), dharana (contemplation), and viveka is the yogic method, while samadhi is the sublime method. Entertaining possibilities without attachment may also be useful; but ultimately such are considered dangerous (potentially afflictive and obstructive-- klishta) in Patanjali's Yoga because logical methods are limited. Later we will discuss how viveka (discriminatory wisdom) and dharana (contemplation) differ from pramana. Pramana fundamentally is a logical, intellectual, conceptual, and dualistic system (samprajnata), while the fruit of yoga through viveka, dhyana, and samadhi refer to the primordial awareness, which although animates the intellect, cannot be contained within it.

Another practical example of a severe citta-vrtti that is relevant to our daily sadhana, commonly occurs when a practitioner has acquired special or expert relative/dualistic temporal "knowledge" that holds true (as real) in a limited sense, but only conditionally (true for a given place, time, or special condition), holding one back from Universal Timeless Gnosis. Such relative fixations especially can create stagnation, blockage, and disturbances in our meditation practice, because the ego tends to cling onto it as something won, owned or earned, unless that tendency is recognized and let go (vairagya). In short, pramana needs to be laid aside and cease, as do all the citta-vrtta.

For instance, it may be true that in a relative sense the body is sitting in a room meditating and that one is witnessing one's body sitting thusly, breathing thusly, aware of this or that arising in the mind, etc., but if one holds onto this belief that is held together by ordinary dualistic perception of a separate self perceiving apparently separate sense objects (pratyaksha), while concluding that such a self is meditating; but the meditator will miss the universal reality of residing in all places, at all times, simultaneously with form and beyond form. One will continue to miss nirbij-samadhi. Here, the real yogi must constantly attempt to place oneself within the overall non-dual integrated context of yoga (continuity) -- in unity with the Great Everchanging and Evolving Continuum, where all is in creative flux when the practitioner aligns, abides in and is in unity with the core/heart center (hridayam). This is antarika (from the bottom of our heart) sadhana, and as such it destroys the citta-vrtti.

The Clear Distinction between the View of Inferential Valid Cognition and the View of Direct Valid Cognition (Direct Looking) ... the former analytical and the latter direct approach (direct seeing)

"The word for looking and the word for view here are the same in Tibetan. Normally, when we use the word “view” in the context of Buddhism, we tend to think of it as something that we are thinking about. In this regard, we have to make a clear distinction between the view of inferential valid cognition and the view or direct looking of direct valid cognition. In the pursuit of inferential valid cognition, the view is developed by inference, by logical deductions, by thinking, 'If it is not this, then it must be that,' and so forth. But in the pursuit of meditation and the practice of insight we do not engage in that kind of logical analysis, and we do not attempt to infer what the mind is like. Therefore, it is important from the beginning to understand clearly the difference between the analytical approach of inferential valid cognition and the direct approach of direct valid cognition. The view associated with direct valid cognition is looking at the mind, rather than thinking about the mind. For example, if someone were to study birds, inferential valid cognition would be like reading lots of books and articles about the behavior of birds—this type of bird eats this at such and such an age and develops such and such type of feathers; it grows in this way and to that degree, and so on. Direct valid cognition is very different from that approach. It would be like actually going out and following the birds around, watching them, seeing where they go, where they fly, how they fly and what they really look like, and so on.”

At the Chehalis Healing Centre near Agassiz, British Columbia, in July of 2002, the Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche led a mahamudra retreat, at which time he gave instructions on Mahamudra: The Ocean Of Definitive Meaning

By pratyaksha, Patanjali is not referring to vidya, jnana, prajna, or insight, but ordinary subject/object duality. He is not referring to Jain pratyaksha, which includes supersensory knowledge. Rather it is again praxis, which is the foundation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which is *not* theory based on analysis of fragmented data acquisition techniques and tested by past laws, theories, or conclusions that have become validated having superseded past assumptions and expectations. In short, one must get wet, waddle in the mud, become one with the data -- you are both the data and observer in its implicate context of timeless integrity, where the all defines the parts, and the parts define the all -- where the all defines the all completely, inherently, unmodified, free from citta-vrtta. The best use of logic is to deconstruct and/or refute pramana, so that direct non-dual insight can naturally shine forth as the boundaries of the citta-vrtta cease. This makes room available for the evolutionary energy to emanate and animate the bodymind.

Functional Yogic Practices that liberate pramana-vrtti

In meditation all citta-vrtti must be liberated, be led into the great silence of beginningless awareness, become remediated and nullified, suspended, and cease achieving effortless cessation. We liberate the citta-vrtti because they have the potential to produce further hindrances (kleshas) for yogis, which further obscure the field of consciousness and activity. This is at first to be practiced in dhyana (meditation practice), which verifies Patanjali's insight  from the fire of our own experience.

The practicing yogi must go beyond ordinary pramana to Direct Inner Non-Dual Experience -- to awaken the inborn self effulgent intelligence within (Rtambhara -- see Sutra 48). Later in the sutras, Patanjali elaborates upon the methods of yoga that destroy the vrttis by destroying egoic ignorance (avidya) itself, but this can not be accomplished without giving up pramana in practice. It is this basic ignorance which obstructs our essential self nature  -- our self existing innate natural wholeness called swarupa. For a true yogi, any "view" that is not universal and timeless (conditioned) eventually must be surrendered into the fire of yoga. Utimately, all limited views based on time and place must be thoroughly challenged, melted down, purified, disengaged from, and surrendered. This is the deeper meaning by which the authentic practices of vairagya, isvara pranidhana, tapas, swadhyaya, viveka, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, and samyama reveals by itself (through practice of all the limbs of astanga yoga).

This open unimpeded mind is touched by objectless/unsupported meditation (dhyana) where all thoughts and beiefs cease -- all efforts let go. PAtanjali describes it as swarupa-sunyam -- realizing the empty-open true nature. Acclimating to that transconceptual illimitable boundless mind, the true nature of phenomena eventaully is revealed as well.

This emptyness meditation primes us for our daily interactions, work, and activities. That awareness is omnipresent.  If one is engaged in your work especially one that demands your "full" attention on a gross level, driving an automobile, engaged in complex mathematical calculations, operating dangerous machinery, etc., one needs to depend greatly on your senses, reasoning, as trusted indicators of course. However, ALLWAYS leave room for inner wisdom at the same time.  The so called "exterior world" does not have to obstruct inner wisdom/intuition, albeit it commonly supersedes it where daily activities operate within a limited/fragmented framework as a citta-vrtti. Such is part of a householder yogi's practice continuing this awareness and communion as a guide. Dealing with what appears as a separate external reality tends to draw our energy and awareness outward and dissipate it. At such opportunities it acts as a reminder to consult within.

Living in retreat and/or in nature, it is easier to see the one in the many -- to live in a non-dual state, where dualistic perception, reifications, reasoning, and agama are instantaneously recoized as irrelevant -- where sacred presence is immanent. Thus, in yoga we continuously extend that non-dual realization (samadhi) into All Our Relations all the time. This integrative process is yoga.

Eventually we can throw out all philosophical discursive thinking, all speculations, all of good and evil, all arguments, all belief systems, dogmatic faith, ideology, the imposition of a straight plane rigidity upon the innate creative healing and beauty way of life, once we have realized to some degree the living reality of the organic world as being a reflection of the creator once we become established in our true co-creative nature. We thus take refuge in this non-dual aliveness, our essential nature, after it has become rekindled through practice, action (karma), and/or grace.

A beginner, lacking this guidepost of a living awareness usually can not effectively throw out ALL structure before they establish a trusted, firm grounding, or true clarity of the nature of the unconditioned mind with confidence. However, authentic yoga practice will break up old holding patterns (citta-vrtti) and allow the yogi to continue to let these structures go (vairagya), while observing what comes up, arises, appears to exist, and declines. By letting go (non-attachment even to non-attachment) doesn't mean that we are losing anything, but rather we may be gaining something by creating space. Just as one clears out old junk from the shelves, then something new that has more functionality may fit there. This suspension of belief is the same as to entertain asking for guidance -- surrendering to isvara. Here, the yogi is not simply giving up in surrendering, but specifically surrendering to one's innate guide and light. That is part of the practice. Eventually, swarupa-sunyam will come with samadhi and one can imbibe the sweetness of the sound of silence reverberating throughout all time and space in all our relations.

It is through direct experiential practices such as meditation (dhyana) and samadhi, where such insight becomes self-validated. One such quality is light. lightness, and compassion. It simply engulfs us as a transpersonal and non-dual subjective reality. The habitual adventitious mind's chattering has to be emptied.-- empty-open. Then the message can become clear.

"But what — you may ask — is it like to recognize the face of non-dual awareness? Although one experiences it, one cannot describe it. It would be like a mute person trying to describe dreams. It is impossible to distinguish between oneself resting in non-dual awareness and the non-dual awareness one is experiencing. When one rests naturally – nakedly – in the boundless state of non-dual awareness, the urgency of injudicious hyperactive conceptuality, memories, and troublesome plans – evaporates and disappear the spacious sky of awareness. Referentiality collapses and vanishes into non-dual awareness.”

~ HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

A question arises on how to practice from the foundational ground devoid of pramana and all citta-vrtta. Patanjali gives many practices, such as vairagyabhyam (especially asamprajnata/nondual), viveka, and ashtanga yoga, wherein dhyana and samadhi are the fruit. In the latter especially one learns to apply emptiness to all phenomena, as form and emptiness (swarupa-sunyam) are inseparable. In meditation, dhyana) one can indeed apply emptiness to the mind. Becoming familiar with emptying the mind and mental contents (pratyaya) continuously, eventually allows the yogi to apply that realization continuously in everyday life.

“We try to purify all duality until there is no difference between the wisdom of abiding in nonduality and the wisdom after attaining nonduality. One who can practice like this until attaining enlightenment is called a continuous river yogi. then there is no division between appearances, which are the inexhaustible wisdom appearances of Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, and stainless emptiness, which is Dharmakaya. There is only one divisionless, unending wisdom mandala.”

~ Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, White Sail

Ethics and Pramana

“Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” ~Albert Schweitzer

This is a heart-felt (antarika) experiential dictate, not obedience to external rules, beliefs, or threat of punishment. If we are playing a game or buy into some common rules, then within that framework there exists at least a temporary or conditional belief system that has concluded a right and wrong or good/bad, or contractual rules. However if two people are of a different religion or believe in a differing value system, it might be impossible to to agree on a common good or bad or right or wrong. This needs repeating, only if one presumes a universal ethic or principle acceptable to all (such does not exist) -- only then, it would be useful to use the words "good" or "bad", so these terms are best avoided for clarity's sake. Good/bad are merely statements that affirm personal like or dislike, preference or aversion, desire or fear, and the like. Lacking a universally agreed good/evil that is a way one could approach ethics as a philosophical system. Yoga however is beyond ethical philosophical debate.

This is not just another way of saying that good/right and bad/wrong may exist within certain conventional contexts, but that it is wise to choose different words in order to avoid relative confusion. It is necessary to use different words, because good/bad and right/wrong depend on the game -- they are culturally or religiously conditioned/determined -- they are artificial results (the works of man) unless we assume the imposition of a universal ethic or principle.

With that said, after avidya (limited awareness) has ceased, an unbiased universal Reality shines forth naturally revealing universal all pervading principles; but it can't be translated in terms of "good" and "bad" without becoming somewhat problematic. Secondly, not everyone is ready to intimately see and live in a direct transpersonal relationship with such a Reality (yet); so such principles can not be universally accepted and described as being desirable by all, let alone "good". But even beyond desirable and undesirable, that is where the Reality of "what-is-as-it-is" (swarupa) the Reality of I-AM is found without being filtered by preference or preconception. That is not a neutral existential reality, but rather a profound non-dual transpersonal sacred communion with everything, everywhere, and all the time. To talk "about it" as in exteriorize or objectify "it" through philosophical methods will wind up extracting the inquirer away from "it". Speculation and over-elaboration are dead ends to be avoided. One must go beyond dislike/like (aversion and attraction), where all attachment is dissolved in the living presence of the Great Integrity in which we intimately share.

Nothing is truly "wrong" or "bad" about the world as-it-is; rather what appears as bad is only people bitching and complaining or stating their preferences, their needs, cravings, and sense of separation really. In a primal sense (in the beginningless beginning), there was awareness of our inseparable timeless unity with Beginningless source, but then came the rend, rift, separation, estrangement, spiritual self alienation of ego. It was a rend/estrangement in both awareness and in beingness. That illusion/delusion has become institutionalized by a conspiracy of men's fabricating forces aligned with the matrix of ignorance (the primal rend of unawareness)-- negative programming. manipulation, and exploitation of the future generations in order to provide for their neurotic security, comfort, selfish needs and self-gratification. The Reality is that such alienated men will never find fulfillment unless they re-enter the living community -- the whole system and find their place as one with it, acknowledging their place in the over all context of the inseparable inter-connectedness of the web of life. The good news is that this wholographic trans-cognitive and non-dual transpersonal Reality is always accessible by virtue of its inseparable original Beginningless nature. From direct experiential transpersonal realization through authentic yoga practices, compassion thus naturally shines forth The very fabric of the matrix being illusory falls away, as it is exposed as an artificial game that represents events in terms of isolated frozen fragments of time and space, which twist reality and create a localized spin, prejudice, fragmented framework, or citta vrtti. That veil is then lifted, illuminating a great expanse.

"Compassion is one of the principal things that makes our lives meaningful. It is the source of lasting happiness and joy and is the foundation of a good heart. Through acts of kindness, affection, honesty and justice we not only help others but ensure our own benefit as well. By contrast the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become. We cannot escape the need for love and compassion." ~ HH Dalai Lama

It is through direct experience and insight where non-violence, justice, peace, honesty, generosity, and kindness emanate. External systems of ethics are most often another way of manipulating and intimidating people, although originally it may have had genuine sincere compassion behind it. Patanjali and Buddha give us practices to transform illusion, ignorance, estrangement, and suffering into realization. It is instructive that Patanjali not once uses the words good or bad and his system of yama/niyama is not at all meant to be a system of ethics or moral laws as so defined in the Western context. True ethical conduct comes from direct experiential practices which provide conviction from the inside out.

"Because entrenchments in views
aren't easily overcome
when considering what's ...grasped
among doctrines,
that's why
a person embraces or rejects a doctrine —
in light of these very

Now, one who is cleansed
has no preconceived view
about states of becoming
or not-
anywhere in the world.
Having abandoned conceit & illusion,
by what means would he go?
He isn't involved.

For one who's involved
gets into disputes
over doctrines,
but how — in connection with what —
would you argue
with one uninvolved?
He has nothing
embraced or rejected,
has sloughed off every view
right here — every one."

Dutthatthaka Sutta

The Blight of Dogma, Ideology, Belief Systems, Radical Fundamentalism, which are based on valid cognition, but not on non-dual insight.

In a parallel way, if we look at any belief system, we see it as a structure or way of ordering the world. This structure is always based on principles (conscious or not). There is a cause and effect relationship formed in such "beliefs" about reality. These structures or beliefs obey certain inter-relationship rules. Many people have tried to map such out in many systems. For example, Science of Mind, theology, religion in general, cognitive science (or biology in general), psychology, phenomenology (Hegel), philosophy in general, physics, metaphysics, astrology, the enneagram, etc. These are all ways of viewing or seeing self and the world, which have their own laws or theories of inter-relationships/connect-ability.

Belief systems more than any other citta-vrtti remain insidious, because most people are not willing to acknowledge their adopted beliefs. Instead, their beliefs tell them what they see and hence they often feel lost without them. Worse, the ego then having shaped the belief feels threatened and becomes threatened or aggressive. To reiterate, authoritarianism, chauvinism, sectarianism, religionism, racism, nationalism, fundamentalist evangelism, etc., are all based on a compensatory need that substitutes for directly being in one's own innate natural state, of direct gnosis or jnana. There is no need to grab at external dictates (pramana) when one is interconnected with their own true nature (swarupa) -- their inner wisdom and authority. When they are not accessing their natural ground of being, then all sorts of insecurities, needs, attachments, fears, and confusion can follow. The more tenacious the belief, the more the ego will resist transformation and change -- the more closed-minded they will remain. This comes to a head with idealists who are transcendents or otherworldly -- philosphically top heavy purists devoid of direct subjective experience. That is, those who feel superior and arrogant, such as evangelists and ideological revolutionaries who try to force their beliefs upon others. So we must recognize that transcendentalist crusaders/jihadists actually believe in their purpose strong enough to force others to their ways to a point of even killing people who resist them. Here it is valuable to discern between the altruistic zealot believer and the cynic who is merely trying to manipulate people in order to control them for their own selfish ends. The latter is merely an actor/player mouthing the words, while the former is a true believer. In either situation these beliefs are not based on the direct experience of unity consciousness, love, knowledge, and timeless wisdom (yoga), where the citta-vrtti have completely ceased. When a yogi comes to functional and authentic terms with the sublime order of All Our Relations, he/she has no need for belief systems as a motivational factor.

If our "beliefs" about something actually conform to non-dual direct experience -- the way it really is", rather than the opposite (by conforming to an external second-hand belief system), then a non-limiting synergistic synergy can self-arise such as in, "wow, it all becomes clear and things flow and make sense again! Eureka!"

Here great inventions and innovations may be discovered/expressed, rather than a hoax or contrived sham. This is similar to how Einstein described his own process of discovery. However, all beliefs "about some thing" fall short because it externalizes/objectifies our direct experience within a dualistic mental context of an independent observer and separate object. Hence this ideation process itself is a thought formation process which disconnects us from the direct egoless continuous non-dual experience. As soon as we recognize that these conditioned mental habitual thought constructs/patterns serve as the limited bars of our mental prisons, such a recognition can serve as an open doorway to the non-dual inter-personal, and transconceptual whole. They no longer appear as separate, independent, or discrete specific expressions (phenomena), but rather a reflection connecting us with the whole directly and completely. That is the fundamental criteria of authentic yoga; i.e., whether it connects/unites us all in the shared and intelligent experience of unconditional love. Not that there exists anything "wrong" or "bad" about the specific expression per se, nor that one should not limit the whole by expressing it in aspects, but rather the contextual integrity (yoga) should be contextually recognized as our true experience. This natural uncontrived reality contains in its completeness an inherent order that can not be contained by man's intellect (as the intellect and conceptual processes depend on words and/or other symbols). The sourceless source or original wisdom is neither the result of the human mind, brain, or nervous system, but rather these latter are contained by the former. At the same time each and every cell and atom of this wholistic wholographic matrix can resonate in harmony attuned and integrated with that all inclusive Infinite Universal Integrity in the union of authentic love.

That Reality is beyond belief. It has its own innate order and laws which obviate the need for manmade structure and artificial systems of thought -- which eliminates neurotic need entirely. I think we agree on this.

"To a true renunciate, who is free from subject/object duality, belief is an impediment"

~ Shankaracharya

This unfabricated all encompassing illimitable "REALITY" is the profound "as-it-is-as-it-is" fruit of yoga meditation, according to Patanjali. Patanjali does not define meditation as any technique, any doing, any objective practice; rather he defines it as its absence. He defines the practices of mere techniques as preparatory to meditation proper in order to help create the stable stage of meditation where ordinary thought processes (the monkey mind) ceases. So Patanjali's definition of meditation is defined as the process of dropping all thought constructs, objectifications, beliefs, as well as techniques unless we define this cessation/dropping of techniques as a technique itself. So then in the end this is the last technique to drop, before samadhi self arises, as the true nature of Mind or the Natural Mind itself (unconstructed from the beginning). This type of meditation is experienced as an emptying process of all these spinning mental processes (called vrtti), which were produced and held together by the kleshas, karma, vasana, and samskara. Then when this spinning is stilled, the mind contents emptied, even beyond the most subtle objects or processes of individual thoughts, then we are allowed to merge in alignment/attunement to that which is profoundly and innately present -- ineffable and unlimited. That is what he calls nirvicara samadhi. In meditation we get glimpses of that. When the mind starts to spin again and fill up, then we empty. Then we taste nirvicara samadhi again. Eventually through repeated practice, it becomes longer lasting and integrated better. For some it becomes permanent samadhi (nirbija samadhi). So in Patanjali's meditation practice (called dhyana) there is no doingness or technique, rather the goal is the letting go of doingness and technique itself -- emptiness, non-doingness, or boundless big openness is experienced.

Being open to THAT -- that inseparable inter-connectedness that permeates all and everything which we allow to pierce through our close minded veil when concepts and beliefs are suspended in meditation. That BIGGER order of things -- the Logos, Dharma, Inherent Natural Mind -- call it what you will -- when we are so connected -- we are filled and don't need the crutch of belief systems. Meditation is a great practice, but the meditative experiences are to be gradually integrated into daily life, just like the lessons or experiences learned from asana, pranayama, contemplation, visualization, chanting, art, music, etc.

In fact, pramana is considered as a citta-vrtti for many reasons. Through ordinary subject/object duality intrinsic in the process of observation of an external object, the apprehension process of the mind, in which the sense data is being placed (called pratyaya) and then processed is inherently dualistic. It may have value outside (at first); but the inference process itself, which in inherently limited being a mere faint reflection of the Intelligent Source (Param purusha) as well as dependence upon any external validating authority -- all are inherently flawed and limited in vision.

Lacking true vision, man lacks vajra confidence, and  falls back to external authority structures, beliefs, and conceptual mental constructs only when there is an absence of a direct experience of Divine Grace, a Divine connection, Communion, a living felt presence of the divine lattice, the succulant ordered mesh of body, mind, and spirit. The coveing of citta-vrtti is parallel to the parable why Adam and Eve had to cover themselves after being kicked out of the God's Garden, albeit that is a story with parallel/multi-dimensional meanings. So in saying that in "one's own experience" there does exists a divine order, cosmic laws and principles, does not connote that it is contrived by man, nor that man can fully comprehend it in his conceptual mind, nor can his belief systems lead him to the promised land; but rather man can only experience it fully when he opens to it fully without any pre-conceptions and especially after dropping belief systems which create abstraction/extraction from "IT" -- when he becomes entirely naked and bares his soul. Here one simply aligns with it, abides in harmony with it, as an integral part of it (to borrow a phrase from Erich schffman,  as an involuntary wave on the ocean). If we are really HERE-NOW (centered and aligned with it, then there is no other need to fabricate, no fear, no desire, no anger, rather an ecstatic love rules our every moment.

We can distinguish between different types of belief systems, where only the last one being no belief system at all (devoid of subject/object duality). The first are the common types based on dualistic experience and ordinary perception (pratyaksha), conceptual and rational thought (anumana), and/or authoritative witnessing and testimony (agama). This creates a top down neuro-physiological conditioning imposed by the frontal cortex upon our psycho-neurophysiology, and hence limits our experiences according to the limitations that belong to such beliefs. This is negative neuroplasticity that prevents evolutionary maturity. However if the pratyaksha (perception) is objectless/nondual), egoic intellect is replaced by pure awareness, and pure perception (empty of separate self), which naturally self-discloses and activates the innate bodhicitta (awakened bodymind), then one could say that such may be called a valid non-dual cognition. However, such assumes that one is already abiding in pure vision (vidya). We will see how ashtanga yoga is designed to establish this pure awareness through developing viveka (discriminating wisdom). Viveka is a yogic process that cuts through ordinary belief systems and surpasses pramana; albeit philosophers most often do not distinguish between pramana and viveka.

The false viveka, the process of viveka, and the integration of viveka

1) Conflating viveka with pramana. This is ordinary dualistic logical deduction, analytical thinking, inference, such as anumana or critical thought dominated by mental processes. This is pramana and is what philosophers and intellectuals normally refer to as viveka.

2) Viveka as the correct understanding of relative truth seeing that all phenomena are empty of an independent self through direct experience; i.e., mindfulness, primordial awareness, and self-knowledge (gnosis), which are broken down into two phases.

a) partial dualistic mindfulness, like mindfulness of the breath, mindfulness of  emotions, objects, self (as object), or mindfulness of the contents of the mind. Partial awareness of the process of awareness versus non-recognition (avidya).

b) non-dual mindfulness of the nature of mind brought into All Our Relations. Recognizing the great integrity of “Wholistic self inherent in the many, and the many within the hologram simultaneously. This is properly viveka khyater, which is the realization of inseparable unity of the true relative (differentiated) and the undifferentiated realities (shiva/shakti).  

To reiterate, belief systems thus can be broken down into two broad categories:

1. Ordinary dualistic experiences:

A) The most common forms of pramana are correct/right conclusions, assumptions, beliefs, and views that are partial, fragmented, limited, and dualistic. These may be true within a limited/partial framework, but lacking in yogic non-dual wholistic realization. Such pramana-vrtti may be klishta (pernicious) or aklista (neutral) in effect depending on one’s state of vairagya (non-attachment and openness). Ultimately they must be let go through vairagyabhyam in order to touch samadhi (non-dual realization), which is the unbiased view free from citta-vrtta and all limitation. Here experiences that have become totally dominated, imposed, and limited by the belief system, so that new experiences and information which does not conform to one's previously firmly held belief system are ignored, rejected, and negated as they do not compute. This is the common situation of kleshic dominated individuals driven by arrogance, pride, closed mindedness, bigotry, prejudice. dogma, stubborn ideological adherence, and radical fundamentalism.

B) Another basic form of pramana that serves as common pitfall are "right views" and philosophy that may or may not eventually lead the yogi to inner awakening, if one eventually dissolves them. If such pramana are adhered to, then it is a trap and limitation. Such is akin to reading an accurate map that leads one to the destination. Since the destination is not found on the map, just as the end must be found at the end of the path, there arises the danger of habitual clinging to the map, the path, the practices, or the vehicle as one becomes accustomed to the reality of the path, and unable to recognize the territory – the true and final non-dual conclusion.  This limitation happens in any strict/orthodox philosophical discipline, religion (especially institutionalized), or similar complex logically based systems of thought. Such can produce temporary and provisional positive conditions if vairagyabhyam is applied, the map is accurate and self-destructs at the conclusion of the quest. A well designed pramana that is capable of leading a practitioner to desired stage is temporary, but may aid as a focused point of attention and energy for those who are distracted. The limitation being that the focal point itself can wind up as a narrow distraction. Such practices must be based on pure intent and non-dual wisdom in order to liberate the yogi from the practice itself, not addict one. An example, is utilizing viveka on such subjects as thought formations, identity, or contemplations upon the true nature of mind or phenomena. These are preliminary/provisional practices which are designed to reduce distractions. Otherwise, such practices are klishta (harmful/afflictive).  Again vairagyabhyam is the remedy. At all times one must be willing to deconstruct the paradigm which may be operational. For example a sand mandala, any visualization, analysis, debate topic, or dharana (contemplation) may lead the yogi to a partial realization successfully; but then the structure (object of attention) must be sacrificed on the altar of samadhi. Hence we return to the two main tools of yoga; i.e., vairagyabhyam and viveka.

C) Experiences are allowed to inform the belief system, they are taken into consideration and are capable of expanding one's vision of realty. Here any belief is analyzed thoroughly. Even these *possibilities* are to be considered provisional. They are still limited and hence dangerous, because the nature of the experiences are placed in a dualistic externalized/objectified framework (separation from all things), which tends to further overly objectify and displace the direct experience. Although the belief system here is based upon one's experiences, the *conclusion/beliefs" serve to narrow and limit the ontological or subjective possibilities. Here all that is necessary is to refrain from reconstructing new belief systems; i.e., remaining open.

2: Non-Dual Direct Experience Based Upon Pure Perception: Beyond Pramana

A) A second mindset type uses praxis (spiritual non-dual experiences) to inform their belief system. Here the belief system still kicks in, but it is both informed and allows for the non-dual and sacred more-so in everyday life, switching back and forth to various degrees until the sadhak rests in the true nature of mind. Pramana that is based on non-dual direct experience is the best and most fortunate kind. Therefore,e, there are methods that bring forth yogic non-dual direct experience through pramana such as the above dualistic evidence, inference, and trust in external trusted authorities, where the theory precedes the experience (praxis).

The yogi (sadhak) first experiences phenomena which propels one into a profound non-dual state. Then the experiencer searches for a theory to explain it. Of course, there is a danger that the theory thus concocted is limited and/or provisional, so again the application of vairagyabhyam and viveka are necessary. In the end there is no longer any need to construct a theory around the experience. The microcosm and macrocosm for the sadhak having merged as one.

B) Beyond belief systems entirely, where thought constructs and view are limitless, unbounded, timeless, and whole. in samadhi the mind itself is not set, rather it is dissolved in nirbija samadhi (as swarupa-sunyam). It is continuously informed directly through sustained or continuous non-dual experience where there is no need for belief systems, because one is being directed and guided by intrinsic pure awareness constantly or to a great extent, so that full fruition is ensured. Here, there is basically no difference between one's belief about the existence and non-existence and existence and non-existence as it truly is-as-it-is, because the ordinary belief processes have become suspended and replaced by an integration of pure being (sat) and pure consciousness (cit). That merger brings, as a result ecstatic joy (ananda), which is yet another Mahavakya (Satchitananda). This is actually no-mind set at all, where empty mind means more than awareness of vast space, time, and primordial wisdom, but more so an intimate transpersonal identification with it/as it is (suchness/tahata).

It could be asserted that most of what is called pramana does not differ from what Patanjali describes in the next sutra as false, wrong, corrupted, perverse, or fragmented beliefs (viparyayo), which are mistaken and confused views, because any belief dependent upon dualistic cognitive functions are ultimately errors in judgment, upholding conceptual ignorance and dualistic illusions of separateness. Belief systems based on pratyaksa, anumana, and agama are always partial, biased, and limiting, hence they are klishta (afflictive and obscuring). Only where beliefs start o approximate the wider scope of non-dual "reality" does the "theory" of what-is-as-it-is actually start to conform with unbiased impartial true nature of "Reality". Only then through direct subjective gnosis do the impositions of self-limiting theories start to loosen up their hold and allow for more authentic and profound experiences. Then the conditioning/programming by our past dualistic experiences cease as the unconditioned natural state of Mind dawns. Here yoga practice (praxis) and especially meditation is a powerful deprogramming tool. Then we rest in the inherent wellness of our own natural form (swarupa).

In order to experience this may require some confidence, trust, and courage, but not blind faith. Instead of blind belief, one can simply entertain the possibilities. Rather asking for guidance is trusting in the depth of the unknown sufficiently to seek it out in All Our Relations settling for nothing less. Ultimately, we are trusting in our own yogic experience. If the possibility seems unobtainable, then there are new possibilities. This allows for learning/growth. That is why yoga is experientially based. The practice itself contains its own inherent intelligent guidance at every moment. If we do not recognize the sacred directly in the practice, then the practice must be altered to let that in. When we experience the results in our practice, then at the very least we are conscious of when it fades -- of its absence. This is how yogic praxis is self instructive through present awareness.If THAT relationship is not functioning (is ignored), if it is not present, when we can't find the great breath that animates all beings, or our practice (sadhana) isn't working authentically, only then, does one desire a need for a belief system in order to compensate for that rend/split from Reality-As-It-Is. When we know the true nature of our own mind and the true nature of creation, then we have the profound opportunity to take our place as conscious co-creators.

See the essay "Yoga Sutras Made Accessible" for more on the institutionalization of self gratuitous intellectual provincialism, self indulgent, and stubborn fixed beliefs which fixate traditional values and prejudice that have become dominant within the established order and tradition of Indian (status quo) academia. Such a rigid institutionalization of "right" and "wrong" severely stifles creative thought, fending off its detractors utilizing defensive/offensive modalities of self denial which ultimately is spiritually corrupt.

The only "right knowledge" which is worth anything (according to Patanjali) is not ordinary beliefs based on dualistic observation (pratyaksha), anumana (inference), and agama (authority), but rather direct Gnosis/Jnana based on direct non-dual yogic experience. Pratyaksa is replaced by vidya; anumana is replaced by viveka khyater; and agama is replaced by swarupa-sunyam. Pramana is dissolved through vairagyabhyam.

“The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of delusion.” ~ HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

This type of "right" or pure view is not pramana, but prajna *inner wisdom*), which goes beyond dualistic knowledge (samprajnata) as we will see later I.17). Prajna (non-dual wisdom) is is the result of authentic yoga practice (sadhana) produced through direct spiritual experience, where sattva and purusha are united -- where the vrtti are eliminated. This "prajna is not be confused with pramana. Prajna has to be coincident with direct yogic experience (not held together through agama, anumana, smrti, nor pratyaksha). That non-dual knowledge (gnosis) that is gained through authentic yoga is thus based on an experiential unity (samadhi), not separateness -- it is not learned through simple memorization, obedience, conformity, or jumping through hoops; but rather it is the non-dualistic Gnosis (Jnanam) of being inextricably united with the holographic Universal Transpersonal Non-Dual All Pervading Infinite Self -- the experience of not being a separate self (swarupa-sunyam). This is what separates yoga from philosophy and religion. It is thus authentic knowledge of the Heart of Hearts (Hridayam), which is thus the authentic goal of yoga, and as such it is not pramana. See for example Sutras I-47, 48, and 49. That seed is innate. It is the bodhicitta, not a citta vrtti. -- it is boundless as the sky.

"Basically speaking, when you say “I am,” you begin to ask yourself the question, “Who said that?” You might say, “I said that.” But then you ask, “Who are you?” And when you look, you find it is very difficult to find out who that actually is. You might timidly come back to saying your name, thinking that this is who is speaking, but beyond the name that was given to you, nothing really exists. You may think that you exist because your name is so-and-so, or because your driver’s license says so-and-so. But if you look beyond such things, and beyond beyond, you find that there is no substance. That is ultimate prajna: it is the discovery of egolessness, which frees you from fixation." ― Chögyam Trungpa, The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion: The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two

In addition, disbelief, cynicism, atheism, and nihilism (belief in nothing) are also beliefs (pramana). What is as-it-is (swarupa) without imposing/imputing any bias or spin on to "it" -- free from mental elaborations is a profound yogic realization . That is pure unconditioned awareness yoga, beyond belief.

The yogi's realization thus is not dependennt upon dualistic data acquisition, interretation or inference, nor external valdiation. It is beyond belief.  It is incredible. It is beyond apprehesion by the intellect. It blows the small mind. Awe inspiring, it is beyond belief one's jaw drops open in eternal gratitude.

That realization comes from yoga sadhana (praxis). It flows through the yogis every cell and atom. It permeates all things, infused and embedded at every moment as the seed core-essence, which is our true nature.

Shakti Das says:

 " At Prayag

Before the Beginning
There was no beginning
There was no end
No no

No Alpha and Omega
Only the Great never-ending never-beginning great Continuum
Now –
Primordially Present

No grief No desire No fear No separation

All is contained here -- nothing is left out
After the Great Contraction and expansion – the cosmic orgasm beyond conception
Human beings were born from the same universal mother
The same womb – the pure and wordless immaculate conception

From that, the Great Excursion evolved
Exploring the boundless limits of illimitable space
Occurring always
Within the Greater Context of the Whole – the Great Implicate Integrity

Some however became dissuaded,
Sucked up in the vacuum of forgetfulness
Denying our common heritage and kinship
The universal interconnectedness of all-time and space

WE have all come down together
From the same immaculate transconceptual Trans-Conception
That connects us all to all, and back and forward, up and down, sideways, and in the heart of hearts.

We meet at Tri-kaya – Triveni –at Prayag – Mt. Meru – the open secret
Welcome our fellow travelers home
Again and again"

 Some people say that Patanjali contradicts himself, after all, he wrote down the "Yoga Sutras". Yes, he wrote them down, but not as a belief system to follow. Rather he expounded the yogic system as praxis, describing experiential processes for achieving the yogic experience, which should not replace one's inner way of direct knowing, but rather bring forth the universal inner wisdom/teacher, so that one comes face to face with the eternal teacher -- teacher of the most ancient teachers (isvara as purvesham). Sri Patanjali repeatedly says that through yoga practice (praxis) we develop direct experience leading to samadhi -- yoga being a process oriented system based on direct experience, his book being a laboratory guide-book or manual on how to bring out the intrinsic guide within, an aide toward perfecting the inner realization of the yogic process. Thus the Yoga Sutras are not meant to be scripture nor an authoritative work from an outside authority, but rather a lab book or user guide offered by one who has well traveled the path of yoga before us, compassionately pointing out some things to look for on one hand, and on the other hand, the potential dead end roads. Instead of selling us the map, the map is only temporarily borrowed, being meant to take us into the territory of direct experience. It is that direct experience of God, truth, or Reality (call her by any name you chose) that is the goal of authentic yoga. As such this direct numinous experience should be the goal of any spiritual discipline as well as religion, as a natural transpersonal expression. Any manmade system that substitutes compensatory or symbolic representation for this direct experience is at best a distraction. The latter adds to man's confusion and institutionalizes man's spiritual alienation. The guru/teacher and teaching (dharma) is within all beings and phenomena, but it is widely ignored (avidya) until clear/pure perception (vidya) dissolves the clouds of citta-vrtta.

Worshipping Patanjali would also be an oxymoron, as that would only reinforce the spiritual estrangement and alienation that yoga intends to heal and put back together. The Yoga Sutras is thus a tool to cut through belief systems, to cut through books, words, religion, superstition, ritual, ceremony, past concepts, and symbolic forms of worship to the real thing -- the universal inner teacher/teachings which remove the veil of illusion.

"The head (sahasrara) is the ocean of delight,
The seat of bliss,
The thousand-petalled lotus,
The seat of liberation.
Knowledge of this is not found in books --
It is inherent in the brain!

Books are made up of parts
But the knowledge that shines in the head is
One undivided whole.
A book has many chapters,
But this knowledge has only one.
Books are for those not established
In this knowledge.
For the person with realization,
Knowledge is stable, eternal, and indivisible.

A person is born with a brain -- not a book!
At the moment of death, there is no book.
Only in between do you take up a book.

Swami Nityananda, translated by M.U. Harengdi


"When the heart is full, tongue is silent; when the mind is still, intuition functions; when the passions are quelled, devotion dawns; when the senses are controlled, soul force is obtained; when the intellect is silent God speaks; when the 'I' dies, 'He' shines as Radiant Reality"

Swami Sivananda

Human beings are born naked and die naked. In fact the clothes that they wear inbetween are superficial. So too, we are born with a living eternal book and die with a living eternal book, while life for a yogi is dedicated to reading that book of universal language and thus acting in harmonious consequence. The living law acts throughout eternity and is imperishable, but it is not written in words or manmade language. That act of ignoring this ever-present book has created an extractive mindset that has become chronically reified in terms of the citta-vrtti being obsessed with external books, laws, authorities, and directions. That can be called neuroses by doctors, but the yogi calls it the samsaric mindset which is to become overturned through authentic yoga practices.

Context and Content: Toward a limitless non-dual primordial awareness unbounded by the limitations of citta-vrtta

As we have seen pramana tends to box "things" in. The box itself is the limited context/prison, while the contents of the box (pratyaya) are the display of apparently discrete objects (pratyaya). We have seen that when we frame things inside such limited contexts, what suffers is the knowledge of the total system. The times universe remains ignored/rejected. The English idiom, "not being able to see the forest for the tree", thus applies. So what would a total or wholistic, boundless, omni-present, or limitless context look or sound like? The Buddhists simply call it emptiness and liken it to the boundless sky. What happens to content when the context is limitless? Its realization is referred to as the unification of the dharmadhatu with dharmata. Western spiritual traditions state that one cannot define the boundless or name the unnamable. Patanjali calls it samadhi in III.3, which reads:

"Thus the sole purpose (arthamatra) of yogic practice is revealed when the effulgent intrinsic seed source, as pure luminosity (nirbhasam), is fructified as a transpersonal self-realization (free of a separate self -- in svarupa-sunyam), free from any limited sequential localization within time and place, transpersonal, free from subject/object duality, universal and all pervading. That revelation is called samadhi (the intimate union of the true formless self inside and everywhere simultaneously). Thus samadhi is nothing less than the realization of svarupa-sunyam -- the transpersonal ego-free state empty of the concept of separate self."

This is where the lover of yoga is headed. It naturally occurs when our awareness s no longer obscured by the citta-vrtta. This is "THE VIEW", which occurs in pure perception (Sanskrit: vidya or rigpa (Tibetan). This is the holographic view of the awakened one (Buddha), which resides in all beings and things as the Great creative potentiality (Buddha-nature). It has no boundaries, limitations, bias, or discontinuity. It is unborn and deathless and beyond description in human conceptual terms. It naturally arises and is self-revealed when conceptual attempts no longer dominate. In nirbija-samadhi, it is experienced as a continuous non-dual transpersonal transmission. When the third eye opens, then the true nature of mind and the true nature of nature are recognized simultaneously. When the bias/spin of citta-vrtti vanishes the bodhi-citta spontaneously arises manifesting a fully realized buddha.

As described above, pramana, as a citta-vrtti,  is based on dualistic perception (pratyaksa), conceptualization processes like rationalization/inference (anumana), and imported external validation processes (agama), which is nothing other than interpretative theories, and limited views imposed and projected upon reality as it is.

The Main Practice

“The main practice is to cut through misconceptions regarding the view, meditation and conduct, and how to put our practice to the test.

The View

To begin, the view is recognition of ultimate reality as it is.

As for this view, your mind’s nature is the ultimate nature of reality. Once you have concluded this with certainty in awareness free from all characteristics of intellectual mind’s fabrications and contrivance, awareness nakedly manifests as self-originating primordial wisdom. Words cannot express it. Metaphors cannot illustrate it. It does not get worse in samsara, nor better in enlightenment. It has not been born, nor will it come to an end. It has not been liberated, nor deluded. It does not exist, nor not exist. Awareness is unlimited and impartial.

In short, from the very beginning, awareness has never been established as being material and having characteristics that can be conceptualized, because its essence is primordially pure, sublime, all-pervasive emptiness. The ocean of realms of phenomena of existence and enlightenment naturally manifest as the display of unobstructed emptiness, like the sun and its rays. Therefore, awareness is neither partial nor a completely empty void, because its nature is the supreme spontaneous presence of primordial wisdom and noble qualities.

Thus, awareness, the indivisibility of appearance and emptiness, epitome of the three kayas, is the primordial nature of reality. Precise recognition of awareness, ultimate reality as it is (yin lugs), is what is called the Great Perfection’s view beyond the intellect.

Our sublime master, Guru Rinpoche, said:

The dharmakaya, beyond the intellect, is ultimate reality.

We actually hold in our hands the wisdom mind of Buddha Always Noble (Kuntu Zangpo). How wonderful! This is the very essence of the six million, four hundred thousand Great Perfection tantras, themselves the consummation of all eighty-four thousand divisions of the Victorious One’s collection of teachings. There is nothing beyond this. You should resolve all phenomena in this awareness. Definitively conclude that all phenomena are contained with this awareness.”

~ HH Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshé Dorjé - Wisdom Nectar - Shambhala Publications

Uncommon (extraordinary) perception is non-dual, in the context that the view is not limited to a limited imposition of a separate self or separate object. Rather direct perception is based on an interconnected and inseparable continuity, integrity, or wholeness where objects of thought are not reified nor designated as to inner or outer. It is not colored, but rather the view from samadhi is the contextual realization of universal interdependence, where microcosm and macrocosm meld inseparably In such non-dual perception, one is no longer limited by conceptual colorings, interpretations, or mental coverings (citta-vrtti), belief systems, limited contexts, nor limited/fragmented and biased fields of I/it consciousness as exclusively presented by  human sense organs, conceptual cognitions and filtering, or external validation. Pramana is replaced by pure undaunted awareness (vidya/rigpa), which is an all inclusive primordial holographic awareness. It is unconditionally and naturally self-validating. It is from this vision that the yogi evidences vajra-like confidence, through practices such as meditation (dhyana).

“The real glory of meditation lies not in any method, but in its continual living experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace, and most important of all, complete absence of grasping. The diminishing of grasping in yourself is a sign that you are becoming freer of yourself. And the more you experience this freedom, the clearer the sign that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving, and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous "wisdom of egolessness." When you live in the wisdom home, you'll no longer find a barrier between "I" and "you," "this" and "that," "inside" and "outside;" you'll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of non-duality.”

~ Sogyal Rinpoche The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Practice: Contemplate how dualistic beliefs, flat earth beliefs, limited beliefs, beliefs in an independent or separate ego, beliefs that possessing obects will create lasting happiness, or that defeating enemies, or exacting revenge, etc., binds one to kleshas and samsara (duhkha).  

Sutra 8 Viparyayo mithya-jnanam a-tad-rupa-pratishtham

Faulty thinking is a conceptual conclusion based on false assumptions, misapprehension,  and conflated contexts.

Viparyaya: False, perverse, corrupt. Viparyayah are the result of a corrupted cognition process leading to misconceptions, error, false views, perverse or corrupted beliefs, based on erroneous knowledge, facts, incorrect data, confused reasoning, or faulty cognitive ability; misapprehension, but believed to be true.

mithya: false; untrue, incorrect, illusory; based on myth.

jnanam: understanding; knowledge;

mithyajnanam: illusory or false knowledge, false views.

atad: not that: misapprehension

rupa: form; shape; appearance.

atadrupa: not in its own form; perverted/corrupted. mistaken.

pratistham (prathistha): occupying; abiding; standing strong. To turn back or to manifest the opposite. Placing the mind, energy, and intention in a steady and firm oppositional state; a firmly established base, free from opposing or disturbing influences; unshakeable; to stand strong.  In the negative, pratisham is often conflated with religious or nationalistic identification; which mimics politically correct ideology.  A fixated attitude often accompanied by excessive over-objectivity, attachment, stubborn mental reactivity, armored over-elaborations, and fancified window dressing. In the vernacular, commonly known as doubling down.

Commentary: False beliefs, wrong theories, or perverse cognition (viparyaya) is a limitation of consciousness (citta-vrtti) that occurs when the basis of the cognition has corrupted the process of establishing the cognition (mithya-jnanam), where contexts become confused (a-tad-rupa-pratistham) or conflated; thus the process itself being based on erroneous  data, faulty cognitive ability, confused reasoning such as logical fallacies), or other such mental impairments produces false conclusions that displaces cit -- inadequately substitutes for clear seeing. wherein one becomes one's own victim being attached to stubborn fallacies.

Here viparyayah, false assumptions, false identifications, and mistakes of perception (such as incorrect data), as well as the corruted or perverse processes of inference (anumana) and/or the adoption of false ideology testfied to by false and misinforming teachers (authority figures) also will contribute to false knowledge and beliefs. The distinction between viparyaya and pramana is that in pramana the sense data may be limited and inadequate, partial,  but correct, the logical process of inference may also be limited and incomplete, and the witnesses (testimonies) may be limited, partial, and hence biased, but not necessarily proven erroneous; i.e., they may be true within limited or fragmented contexts. Pramana is thus very dangerous, as it appearsto be vaild and often is not questioned.  But in viparyayo mithya-jnanam, these three processes are not only limited, but also can easily be proven to be  faulty through further inquiry. Whereas in pramana there may have been some valid evidence, logic, and/or limited validation processes involved; viparyaya lacks even that, thus suffers from all the pernicious affects of pramana, plus being capable of gross misleading distractions. The saving grace of viparyayo mithya-jnanam, is that it is not as insidious as pramana, as its faults can be more easily identified and addressed. For example, a bad liar or self-contradicting propagandist can be laughed at and pitied, easily exposed; not fooling many people; whereas a suave and accomplished ideologue or zealot has the potential to do more harm by hawking  dogma and ideology.

Viparyayo, like pramana, is a citta-vrtti that obscures awareness (vidya), hence contributes to avidya, asmita, and the rest of the kleshas. It is kleshic, and as we will see in Pada 2, kleshas produce duhkha (suffering, harm, and are painful).

Viparyayo mithya-jnanam can occur when the data is incorrect, such as in the processes of misinformation and untruth (factual lies), not just limited, but perverse. Secondly, the prcess of inference or computation can be corrupted and perverse where the logical mind is incapacitated and faulty. That combined with false prophets, misguided experts and leaders, human travesties are not uncommon. But, as said, it is possible to point out the errors in viparyayo mithya-jnanam, allowing the perverted to recalibrate, admit their error, become humble, and become open to new possibilities as compared to the ideologue who stubbornly clings to their theories as laws.   

There are many causes for adherence/attachent to this citta-vrtti. Viparyaya leads the mindfield to misconceived perception about "reality" (illusion), creating wrong conclusions, theories, views, and beliefs, thus coloring the mind (citta-vrtti) and hence limiting direct experience as-it-is. As Sri Patanjali clearly observes in Pada II, all kleshas are due to egoic ignorance (avidya), pride, attachment to a false sense of identity, and fear and armoring the egoic self. 

Viparyaya may be based on a lack of clear perception (atad jnanam) and/or an overall inaccurate context in which to ascribe true meaning to events, such as the common fragmented and dualistic context of seeing things in separate pieces or disparate, fragmented, and disjointed sequences. Here the modern idiom, "garbage in, garbage out" bears a similar message. No remedies are offered so far, rather Sri Patanjali is simply listing the five main categories of citta-vrtta (viparyaya being one). The remedies (such as vairagya) begin at Sutra I.12 (directly after this discussion on the citta-vrtta). Cultural and provincial prejudice, transgenerational traumas, institutionalized ignorance, and chauvinistic egoic identifications all play roles. Like pramana the context is artificially limited and constricted, hence the knowledge is distorted. The universal source of all knowledge, clarity, and intelligence remains ignored.

To translate the Sanskrit word, viparyaya, as false views has given some philosophers license to compare it with pramana, while labeling pramana as "correct" or "valid" view. Because we live in a modern culture, which is afflicted by subject/object dualistic views, many people confuse reality or the world with their "view" of reality, thus objectifying, coloring, and limiting their experience artificially, while preventing new experience. All such labeling or reification is limited and inaccurate relativly, even if the view approaches the reality of one's true experience. Whether it is an accurate description in words through either "faulty" or "good" logic or authoritative testimony by others or not, in yoga such obscure the unfiltered view; where the path, and the fruit are synchronistically simultaneous -- the experiential reality of swarupa-sunyam as samadhi; which informs through its own direct experience.

Many examples of viparyaya abound. The most obvious is starting out with faulty data. The second is to make errors of calculation regarding the processing of the data, like in adding the numbers, 2 plus 3, to equal 8. Starting from conditioned false assumptions is also a very common source of viparyaya.

From a yogic viewpoints the most obvious is cynicism, nihilism, institutionalized ignorance (avidya), disinformation, propaganda, and dualistic views; the latter something Sri Patanjali comments about at length in regards to the delusional egoic mindset (asmita) and specifically to false-identification (samyoga) found in chapter 2 (Sadhana Pada). Another example are stubborn attachments to these false conclusions/interpretations based on faulty sense perception or egoic defense mechanisms, like mistaking shadows in the night as ghosts; where they are merely reflections of tree branches moving in the wind under the influence of moonlight. Similarly one sees a red hat, and associates it with a painful past experience with some one else who also wore a red hat, hence imputing that the wearer of the red hat is a threat due to post traumatic stress. Similarly, one is told that all people who wear red hats belong to an evil group. Hence when some one sees another person with a red hat, there is an assumption made that they are an evil threat.

As a process, in a perceptual sense, the observer's faulty vision is blurred/obscured and sees an object faintly at twilight which looks like a tiger to a mind already biased toward the klesha of fear. That is an clear example of mithya-jnanam atad rupa-pratistha. Combined with one's faulty vision, one believes/concludes that a tiger is there, but later one finds out it was only a large cat. Is it the "mind's bias that has created the wrong conclusion or the fault of the eyes? We can call this an error of perception due to lack of light, but really it is an error due to a combination of events both mental reasoning as well as physical misperception. The causes may matter in terms of making a correction, but here again we are simply identifying the common citta-vrtti of viparyayo. Later Sri Patanjali suggest practices to free the process of citta-vrtti wherein the yogin rests (pratistha) in their true form (swarupa).

In another simple example, is that one may hear a sound of an engine and conclude/believe that it is a lion and run away. That is a result of a faulty "interpretation" of the sound --a mistake in the computational function (anumana). Both are viparyaya (false beliefs or wrong views). But in a spiritual sense any conclusion or belief based on separation or duality that one is separate from All Our Relations is a false view.That is ignorance based on a false assumption/belief. Ignorance is based on falsehood -- false beliefs/views and assumptions, the foremost one is asmita (the egoic mindset which is the basis of dualistic thought.

The problem thus is compounded where the average person confuses false views as real, true, correct, right, or true views/beliefs. The firm conviction/conclusion that it is true when it is actually illusory, makes it much more difficult to let it go (vairagyabhyam). Hence, pramana are often more seductive than viparyaya in relationship to yogic liberation, because its partial or apparent superficial configuration seems to approximate reality. Even though in a physical sense a belief appears to be confirmed through the ordinary channels of pratyaksha (dualistic or ordinary perception), anumana (inference), and agama (external authority) unless it is informed by direct non-dual spiritual insight (experience) wrought through practice, it tends to uphold a tenacity toward the fragmented limited view, rather than the view that includes the sacred whole (hologram). In other words, the average bloke, has become conditioned to see "objects", the physical body, phenomena, and formations as independently self-existing separate objects -- as solid things frozen in time and place, per se; while even physicists, babies, and yogins tell us that all things are fluid, energetic, and inseparable.

For example, I might see a light in the sky distorted in the smog and because I have astigmatism it may appear as something else. That's false perception. I mistake its form as something it is not (atad rupa-pratistham). Can the sense organs be fooled? Certainly. Viparyaya is not dependent solely upon either faulty inference or faulty perception, but either or both can be faulty. I can conclude it is a flying saucer or fall for someone else's conclusion which is equally faulty. Even others may verify that it is a UFO or maybe not. Is my sense perception incorrect, my process of inference, or my system of validation incorrect in making such a conclusion? What if my parents and teachers (agama) taught me that the world was flat. My limited sense perception (pratyaksha) might seem to corroborate it, but then in the 15th century we learned that this was an illusion or wrong knowledge even though it was based on sense perception, inference, and agama. is that pramana or viparyaya or does it matter? History is full of examples of established theories being demolished by new correct theories established by new data and confirmation. Rather it doesn't matter very much to Patanjali if it is viparyaya (erroneous views) or pramana (valid cognition), nidra, smrti, or vikalpa. They are all dualistic vrttis that have to be eventually released and dissolved (nirodha).

The number one primary false cognition (viparyaya) , the primary error of the mind, is the confused context of the ego ideation. The ideation that self is separate from Self -- the atman is separate from Brahman, that there exists an independent ego separate from the all, all of which creates spiritual self alienation, fragmentation, isolation, and death. The samsaric mindset based on ignorance of Self, of Primordial All encompassing Consciousness, of Now Awareness -- that is the primary erroneous assumption (viparyayo) . which creates the primary confusion (a-tad-rupa-pratishtham). Given the profundity of yoga, viparyaya may widely occur, especially where pramana is assumed to occur.

Similarly, Western thought during the first renaissance was most often based on Cartesian thought, which is summarized by Descartes's statement; "I think, therefore I am". This led to to assumption that the perceiver was an independent ego, separate from the rest of creation. Although, indeed it was somewhat helpful for human society to break away from the dominance of the church; but it not only created the tyranny of the ego, but also an artificial split from nature, creation, the evolutionary creative power, and primordial consciousness all of which are the well springs of life, which mankind must embrace or perish. Neither worshipping an alien God who resides in heaven, or worshipping the ego, will extract man fro the insanity of his own destruction -- his trait for self intoxication, pollution, ecocide, and death. When he recognizes that his desire for cessation or death is merely a scurrilous compensation for his desire to free himself from the bondage of ego (to realize ego death), then he will realize liberation while alive and embody it.

Only when the yogin abides in the true Self as-it-is (swarupa) will he/she have an undistorted view -- will vidya shine forth destroying avidya. As long as we see things in the dualistic context of I-it (as separate) instead of the non-dual transpersonal world of All Our Relations then in a profound sense, we suffer from errors of perception. Obviously many people are afflicted with the vrtti of wrong and misleading "views" either through a misapprehension of objects of the senses even before the objects become processed (anumana), but also through basic errors of the objects of the mind (where we place our thoughts). Here this basic state of viparyayah can be called simply confusion or delusion, but more specifically here Patanjali is saying that confusion including false identification (viparyayo) false knowledge (mithya-jnanam) which is based upon (pratistham) a misapprehension of an object either by the senses or the mind (a-tad-rupa). Here Patanjali is not even referring to confusion caused by faulty inference or reasoning abilities (anumana), nor even faulty methods of validation (agama), but merely the confusion arising out of perception (a-tad-rupa). Wrong views are similar to right views, but they are based on an erroneous methodology. Why is the methodology faulty, because it is based on a mistaken perception in the first place (here faulty perception), let alone errors in logic, misreadings, superimpositions of fragmented contexts, incorrect application of context or standards -- or any combination of these and more. The anumana and agama will fail, because the pratyaksha (correct perception) is lacking, but even if we were to assume "accurate perception", infallible logic is actually as rare as infallible expert testimony or external indicators.

These erroneous assumptions thus color the citta and obstruct the sadhana and thus also have to be given up. Here viparyaya are often more easily given up, than pramana (so called "right" views), because they are not widely backed up by external authority (except in cases of mass insanity or conventional held illusions/prejudice), logical proofs, or ordinary objective methods of perception (such as found holding together pramana). Here at least viparyayo caused by errors in perception can be more easily pointed out, identified, and recognized, thus capable of being eliminated more easily. They are more easily given up, i.e., because they may have less external reinforcements and support (pratistham) so that true wisdom (prajna) can come forth more easily.

This is made clear in Sutra 48-49: Rtambhara tatra prajna shrutanumana-prajnabhyam anya-vishaya vishesharthatvat: "Then Supreme Truth Bearing (rtam-bhara) Wisdom (prajna) self-arises, dawns and prevails, which must be distinguished (anya) from the mere knowledge (prajnabhyam) based on anumana (inference, deduction, logic) and shruti (scriptures, belief, faith, external or objective authoritative sources of knowledge) no matter how "seemingly" authoritative, which is always less reliable and more coarse than this very special insight (visaya) of direct truth bearing wisdom (rtam-bhara), which is based on inner direct spiritual experience and knowledge."

On a daily basis, there are many other practical examples.

We sit in dharana staring at a candle. The eyes tell us that it turns into two candles. We come out of concentration and shift our position slightly and see that it is really one candle, but the eyes (instruments of perception) had gotten tired and slightly crossed, so that the object was misapprehended as two.

A policeman goes into a dark bar and sees what appears to be a gun handle in a man's side pocket. This man sees the policeman and almost immediately appears to grab for the imaginary gun. The policeman hurriedly grabs his own gun and fires it at the man. When the man is searched, it is found at a closer look that he was grabbing for a metal flask of alcohol.

We live in Chicago, Illinois. A loud noise rings out, like a gunshot. Without thinking we duck for cover, but later find out it is only an automobile backfiring. This is an example of a conditioned viparyayo or a conditioned reflex based on a previous assumption, while jumping to repeat that assumption without, simply confusing a form with what it is not (atad rupa).

We hear an airplane, but are reminded by its noise an airplane crash that we witnessed 20 years ago while serving in the military as a soldier. On an emotional level we start to sweat and want to run for safety, but we are walking down the street with other people, so we try to cope. This is an example how two vrttis can work together; i.e., viparyayo and smrti (memory) as a citta-vrtti.

A person is brought up in a cave where the source of light is a torch. Bigger torches bear greater light. One concludes logically (with anumana) and this is confirmed by the elders (agama), that light comes from a torch. At an advanced age, the inhabitants of the cave finally find an exit and see the stars, moon, and sun. They then believe that the sky contains very large torches (in their sense they are correct), but in reality something far deeper is occurring. That is just an example where an assumed pramana is really a viparyaya. There is almost no end to the permutations of the vrtti. When the vrtti are all given up in yoga, then we are able to see clearly. This is known to the yogis through authentic yogic practices such as astanga yoga.

Once we are clearly shown our error (viparyayah), we are usually much more receptive and open minded toward exploring something new -- letting go of the mistaken view or in this case exploring better ways of knowing such as "inner" knowledge and direct experience. That is the open mind -- open awareness that is necessary to have success in yoga.

Viparyaya (wrong view) is like the computational error of  1 apple plus 2 more apples  equals 5 apples and 1 pear. Pramana is like 1 plus two equals three. Both are limited formulations. With viparyaya at least, the error can be more easily pointed out, proved, and defeated. It can be easily identified and proven wrong, so one can more easily abandon such foolishness and its erroneous assumptions/conclusion and start again from scratch. However, with pramana, it most often just sits there unchallenged, where a comfortable stasis and fixation can more easier set in, becoming integrated in one's habitual egoic defensive/protective armoring actively. Viparyaya, can also be described as an acceptance of illusion/confusion, that all is unreal, thus a clinging upon nihilism and extreme cynicism may be stubbornly embraced. This confused state of mind is seen by the adherent as associated with freedom -- a freedom from other's beliefs or belief systems in general, as nothing is true or real. This is a state of extreme delusion, which is the dead end of viparyaya, as well. 

Unfortunately, those who are "settled" in viparyaya, but adhere to it by attributing it as a proven theory or law of the universe, tend to defend such with perceptual evidence, inference, and authority will often resist stubbornly clinging onto their own self made limitations. Here the remedy is more simple than pramana because one can demonstrate the a fault in their thought processes more easily and so they may be more willing to discard it. Then they may be open to a new view and look within to their mental processes in mindful swadhyaya, give up the glue of the citta-vrtti (vairagya), and experience nondual "reality" for directly, without need for such obscurations. Briefly, what is called "pramana" is most often viparyaya (illusory), while both cloud one's view of the pristine mind-field -- both augment citta-vrtta.

The Exploitation of Viparyayo mithya-jnanam by Propaganda and Purveyors of Disinformation

Distorted data and information can be easily provided to human beings who have already become disoriented and stripped of the power of critical analysis and logic. This is not to assert that one cannot be duped by using limited data, limited critical analysis, and limited external authorities, such as found in pramana), but it is to state that propaganda is far more contagious in the perverted mind sets of those who suffer from the vrtti of viparyayo mithya-jnanam.

Both pramana and viparaya (so called right or wrong views) cloud the mind and are citta-vrtta. Perverted mindsets are more prone to being duped by disinformation as their reasoning abilities are in diasarray and their access to facts and data have become corrupted. Propaganda not only misleads people who are already suffering from citta-vrtta and kleshas, but also increases the malady, unless that state of mind is remediated. Half baked truths, sophistry, and cynicism are  more prevalent characteristics in belief systems suffering from viparaya. Extreme mental illnesses such as paranoid schizoprenia with delusions of grandeur, as well as contagious mass psychoses and hysteria are extreme situations of viparyayo mithya-jnanam. Of course, viparaya can have a physical cause such as a stroke, a physical accident, or the result of a disease that affects the nervous system.

Most often however it is the logical and illogical mind, both with or without impaired sensory data, with or without valid testimony from "authoitative leaders, books, or peers that clogs and dsitorts clean vision (vidya). The process of straight-plane logic alone, devoid of a wholistic context is the major player as we will see in the next sutra, pertaining to the cita-vrtta of vikalpa. Similar to anumana, inference, vikalpa pertains to the machiations of the conceptual processes that toss and turn concepts and theories around in the mind dynamically.   

This sutra ends in the word, pratistha, which connotes placing the mind, energy, and intention in a steady and firm oppositional state; firmly established, unshakeable, standing strong. In brief confused people cling onto their false beliefs stubbornly and resist awakening. This perpetuates obscurations and hindrances (kleshas) and as in the  great samsaric tragedy -- it leads to duhkha (suffering).

Patanjali is saying, in the rest of the Yoga Sutras, that self realization (samadhi) self-arises non-dually from practice such as viveka (discrimatory wisdom), vairagya, and swarupa-sunyam, both from within and outside simultaneously, where direct experiences are no longer clouded or limited by sensory data, mental calculations, or external dictates -- no longer conditioned by external clinging to I/It dualistic hallucinations.

That open NOW awareness (avidya) completely remediates the citta-vrtti. Also the remediation of the citta-vrtti eliminates ignorance (the kleshas). These processes are interconnected. The interfering waves (of the citta-vrtta) are annihilated (nirodha). This is why Patanjali includes pramana as the first vrtti, as it is the most stubborn (more difficult to let go of than viparyayo). Insidiously, pramana is the vrtti that most lends itself to the kleshas of self delusion (avidya), attraction (raga), pride (asmita), arrogance, false-identification, hatred, envy, fear, revenge, greed, and the rest. Viparyaya of course has all these faults as well, but is less insidious. By objects, we  include both objects of sense perception, as well as objects that the mind focuses upon (mental phenomena) by a fictional observer (I) in our description of viparyaya, noting that the classic commentators take the mind's wandering upon objects of thought as vikalpa (as discussed in the next sutra). In deep meditation the meditator is no at all interested in noting what thought arose, what are its causes or process. The meditator is exclusively fcused upon eliminating any and all thought processes even before they may arise. Ths is like the difference between classic psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Meditation is akin to psychotherapy. Objective knowledge is likened to psychoanalysis.

The Vrtti of Conceptualization Processes -- Habitual Thinking of the Adventitious Mind

Sutra 9 Shabda-jnananupati vastu-sunyo vikalpah

[The vrtti of] vikalpa are the result of conditioned and fabricated thought constructs whose meanings are based merely upon contrived word associations, devoid of their essential meaning (vastu-sunyo).

vikalpa: conceptualization processes, elaborations of the intellect, concepts derived from word associations, conceptual speculation, discursive thinking processes, mental chatter, logical and reasoned speculation. Thought formation processes constructed out of words. Symbolic representations. Although the thinker may imagine or assume that the word constructs are accurate portrayals of reality, in reality they are mere fabrications of the mind, fantasies, delusion, hallucinations, contrivances, artificially derived ideas and constructs, fancies of the monkey mind; discursive thought; the wandering mind.

vastu-sunyo: empty of meaning

shabda-jnananupati: knowledge constructed out of word associations

sunyo: empty, void, or open. In this sense empty or devoid.

anupati: a sequential or lineal process of association

jnana: knowledge

Jnananupati: a lineal or sequentially constructed thought process. Knowledge based on thought constructs (in this case word associations and thoughts, and hence fantasy taken to be "reality".

Commentary: Cocepts are based on symbolic thought processes, such as words which represent meaning that we ascribe to them. We configure and refigure these words to firmulate thought processes which result in concepts which impart meaning. However these constructed meanings by what we call the intelect (buddhi)  as well as its process is very limiting in the yogic sense if we are to open the mind free from citta-vrtti. All meditators are familiar with the adventitious mind wandering -- the incessant thought processes, which emptiness meditation stills.

Vikalpa (fabricated and constructed conceptualization processes) are based upon (jnananupati) mere word associations and are therefore empty of any true meaning (vastu-sunyo). Here, "devoid of their essential meaning", pertains to mere intellectual or conceptual knowledge that is created by the conditioned mindset. Conceptual thought (vikalpa) being based on words and their associations, which are merely symbolic contrivances that serve at best as representations of reality. Unfortunately, the dualistic mindset, conflates the mind as the intellect, just as they confuse isolated/fragmented objects of thought as reality. This is a rather large citta-vrtti.

Concepts and the conceptual process are based upon a logical construction and ordering of words. This is the realm of the logician, the scientist, the intellectual, philosopher, and scholar; but not the yogi.  Knowledge, notions, symbls, images, impressions, and pictures (jnana) dependent upon (anupati) anthropocentric contrivances such as language, words,color,  or similar symbols (shabda/representations) often propel and seed the mental processes into machinations (vrtti) of imaginative daydreams and fancies -- the artificially contrived products of the conceptualization process (vikalpa) built upon artifice. They are empty (shunyo) of real meaning (vastu) by themselves and thus are mere semantic fancy, which are entirely constructed by mental processes, artificial fabricated patterns, and hence will always serve as inadequate substitutes projected upon the field of awareness devoid of real meaning (vastu-shunyo).

Vikalpa are at best conceptual exercises, ordinary speculative thought constructs, ideations, and imagination, which are, for the most part, built upon words and/or other symbolic representations and vikalpas which convey meaning only in a symbolic way-- words being symbolic representations or pointers/indicators just as a map is not the territory but might lead one to it eventually, or not. Like a map, it is not to be mistaken as the territory. Like an adventure picture show or television program, it is not to be taken as actual experience. Like a fantasy, daydream, hallucination, or delusion, it is not wise to mistake it for reality-as-it-is. Vikalpa is not based on a vital alignment or communion with our true nature, rather it is devoid of true meaning and knowledge, unfortunately too often acting as its substitute. As its substitute, it serves to further obscure the deep felt sense of "Reality" and to block the evolutionary creative power from being expressed, which supports and underlies superficial and afflicted dualistic relationships and processes. A severe confusion and related problems arise when we do not recognize the conceptual reality based on imputations of the intellect as a fantasy.

Unfortunately vikalpa as ordinary cognition based on I/it subject object duality and all subsequent thought constructs based on this false assumption is ubiquitous with the advent of modern left brain dominant modern urban dwellers, who tend to chronically over objectify/reify. Such thought forms are artificially constructed preferential propensities based on manmade symbolic representations and and words (which we will see are essentially empty) and thus carry our attention away from realizing the true profound intimate meaning of union (yoga) as Now Awareness -- being present. Vikalpa being based on mere word (sabda) associations which have become stripped from its energetic quality and roots, thus remain empty and dull. Authentic yogic practices help us release such mental habits and surrender to the true nature of mind (swarupa) such as nirvikalpa types of meditation (dhyana) which are devoid of artificial constructs. When conceptual processes are released, one realizes that the universe innately is based on an intrinsic transconceptual magnificent order ungraspable by the human intellect, yet at the same time most intimately knowable, but only after surrendering the occlusions of vikalpa as well as all the other citta-vrtta and kleshas.

Vikalpa promotes many kleshas. The chief klesha being avidya (ignorance), but vikalpa in particular, promotes asmita (the egoic mindset delusion). Vikalpa itself is fed mostly by dvesa-klesha in which the ego in its flight or revulsion from "reality" creates fantasy realms, daydreams, ivory towers, defensive mental refuges, condemnation of one's enemies, delusions of superiority and grandeur, and a host of similar activities based on dvesa, asmita, and avidya. It is a healthy step in the right direction to recognize one's deluded tendencies and thought processes, but such is not enough. It is a further delusion to imagine that self realization is an artificial real where the mind is free to make up its own fantasies or lies. That is delusion and deception belonging to the prison of citta-vrtti, not liberation, virtue, or clarity based on authentic direct experience of the true nature of one's own mind.

"Living beings have been born, are born, and will be born in profuse variety, and thus come under the dominion of the continuum of "Existence" (bhava-sanatana).

Not recognizing the [hypnotic power of] finite conceptual-constructions (kalpana), they are seduced by these constructions, and since the continuum of conceptual-construction is a temporal flow, there is no turning back from the deceit later on.

They who are deceived by Illusion's (maya) illusion, which is like the projected apparition of an elephant conjured up by a magician, are like sleepers who, drawn by the attraction of a lustful dream, are brought under the power of dream.

They fall short of the Holy Path and adhere instead to extreme paths, which they preach as dogma.

Like those who believe mere fool's gold to be actual gold, they are in need of compassion, in need of the compassionate love of the Compassionate Ones.

Those scholars who follow no spiritual discipline, especially in the coming five-hundred year epoch of chaos [i.e., the dark ages of Kali-yuga], cannot possibly realize the immaculate Supreme Doctrine, for they are incapable of even comprehending the words.

Therefore, all the variety of Views [that have been established] are taught solely according to the level of a person's intelligence.

If one is caught in the current of this torrent of misunderstanding, then one will remain separate from the heart of the Doctrine, which is the ambrosia of Yoga."

From the Bodhicittabhavana by Manjusrimitra. Manjusrimitra composed this text. The Indian professor (upadhyaya) Sri Simha and the Tibetan translator Bhikshu Vairocanaraksita translated this [into Tibetan]. This text was translated May, 1995 from the Tibetan into English by the Kunpal Tulku for the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. Key Buddhist Sanskrit technical terms have been included in brackets and translation of those terms remain invariant throughout the text. Some terms or phrases have been added in square brackets to explicate the text.

To be sure, vikalpa are mental constructs, ideations, discursive thought, and conceptionally based thinking processes, whom no matter how logical they may appear to be; they remain artificial and create wavelike artifices and boundaries which obscure the depths of "Reality". Vikalpa are thus fabricated, "made up", and compounded by the mind; they are not the "real thing". Vikalpa tends toward reification and fabricated thought constructs and are made from such, wherein their symbolic representation is taken as a substitute for the real thing.

But even if we use a map while on the journey of life the life may be misleading or we may interpret it wrong, let alone miss the point entirely. For a sea journey we may be so involved with obtaining the boat, sailing the boat maintaining the boat, grasping onto the boat, improving it, and identifying with it that we become distracted from discarding it when it is no longer useful, the boat being the vehicle, but not the destination. Vikalpa creates limited contexts, boxes, or bags and we unwittingly become imprisoned by them.

What is "undesirable" about "artificial" the reader may ask? Patanjali does not say that it is "bad", only that it is a modification of the mindfield a limitd view and obstruction a kleshas (afflictive mental obscurations) acting as an obstruction to clear vision (vidya). As an obstruction it reinforces more citta-vrtti, which will obscure the essential inherent clarity and clear light (cit) underlying the mindfield, thus holding the yogi back from realizing the unconstructed, unfabricated, and unconditioned true nature of mind which uncovers the profound Reality of the Great Integrity in All Our Relations. It is that unbounded truth of wholeness which is the experience of the dedicated sadhak (practitioner) which is obstructed and is to be revealed via authentic yoga sadhana.

“The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of delusion.” ~ HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

So be creful. Do not follow the mind's discursive paterns. By vikalpa, the ordinary discursive mind (often designated as the monkey mind) becomes habitually impressed/imprisoned in the severe limited mindset where "Reality" becomes modified through the filter of conceptional "realities" just as as they do in other vrttis such as fixed beliefs (pramana) or erroneous beliefs based on faulty logic, perception, or misreadings (viparyayo). Vikalpa (conceptual thought processes or misconception) differs from the confusion of Viparyayah in such that it is only dependent upon the processes of a series of words (shabda) and images which are placed in various sequences and patterns that further fragment and corrupt the mind acting as citta-vrtti. In that way it is more of a subtle coloring/bias than pramana-vrtti or viparyayah-vrtti. Hence when it is recognized, it allows the practitioner the opportunity to release on a deeper and more immediate level. Thus working consciously with vikalpa especially in meditation thus can lead to powerful and quick results. Clarity and openness of mind are the immediate observable benefits.

Here these patterning of words (shabda) form the basis of conceptional processes accompanied by neuro-psycho-physiological patterning that distract and bias the body/mind energetics when mental objects are engaged, thus severe limitations/modifications results (by what a meditator would call the monkey mind). The "normal" discursive activity of the ordinary mind) occludes the pure mind and stainless mind. This skewed assignment of meaning through coloring/filtering the mental processes yet is another vrtti which meditation practice (dhyana) destroys (in nirvikalpa samadhi and beyond). First the conceptualization processes is recognized. Then once it is recognized it is no longer followed. These pauses and stilling of the conceptualization processes (as discursive thought) eventually defeat their habitual patternings. After practice, the word (shabda) patterns become broken. Then the words eventually cease to arise. then there is cessation, From the silence there is awareness of awareness -- the light of the self illuminating intrinsic wisdom dawns revealing what is real.

We shall see in succeeding sutras that the wandering of the mind and the conceptualization processes are not random or chaotic (albeit they appear to be so to the confused mind). They have their roots in samskaras, karmic residues, and kleshas )obstructions) all of which are related to the citta-vrtti and hence one can observe the propensities and patterns of these fancies of the mind, yet knowing their origin alone does not guarantee their transformation or cessation. Rather we will see later how their causes must be eliminated through the effective practice of yoga sadhana, not through further remedial conceptual processes.

In I.7 we discussed the relationship between the citta-vrtti of pramana (BS) and vikalpa (fancy and conceptualization)especially in regards to the world of Make Believe. It is very seductive for humans who are conditioned at an early age to "believe" in faith based systems, which displace one's own self empowering intuitive wisdom and innate self confidence, Such humans become easily dependent upon BS, ideology, and conceptually based belief systems in so far that they define "self" (and hence ego survival) in these terms. If that framework becomes challenged via new data, other people who represent diverse views, new experiences, or non-reinforcement of their beliefs then aversion or defensive behavior is often a result. Hence such belief systems become entrenched and change is resisted. Vikalpa thus often manifest as the stories, inner dialogue, or narrative that people tell themselves in an ersatz attempt to make order (reorder) out of confusion (disorder) instead of abiding inside or trusting the natural uncontrived order of reality-as-it-is. This latter innate universal natural order/reality or wisdom would chose itself if humans remembered how easily it is to reclaim it. One step in that direction is to experience a glimpse of its implicate light .

The mindset which is not afraid of new experiences, diversity of views, challenging ideas, and creative/evolutionary ideas are not so threatened. They are more secure, self confident, open, warm, and humble all at the same time. Instead of having succumbed to conformity, they are simply present. Instead of constantly reframing their belief system and conceptually based "reality" they are simply open having lowered the curtain of the citta-vrtti. Systems based on positive thinking, wishful thinking, and positive affirmations are not only contrived but are stressful. It is a sad situation where many humans feel that they need to tightly grasp onto concepts and beliefs or they will fall apart (without tightly holding on).

Conceptualization imposes an insulated wall between the observer and that which is observed and prevents direct Gnosis in samyama or samadhi -- in direct knowing reality as-it-is; hence vikalpa upholds/creates a modification (vrtti) of the citta. Some will translate vikalpa as the vrtti defined as cognition, because on a deeper level there is no object to be cognized (vastu-sunyo) and no separate observer when the vrtti cease (nirodha) in samprajnata samadhi as we will see in I.18.

Words (shabda) themselves are the basic coarse building blocks of vikalpa, while all words, are artificial (manmade) mere symbolic representations, not the actual reality, just as all languages are both manmade and biased. Thus they are devoid (sunya) of any true meaning (vastu). Meditation is designed to destroy vikalpa by first recognizing the conceptualization and fabrication habits of the conditioned mind. Vikalpa also thus includes elements of daydreaming, fancy, speculation, discursive thought, analytical thought patterns, and all artificial induced thought constructs based upon past conditioning and learned word meanings. At a deep level where meditation takes us, it becomes obvious that words serve to substitute as symbolic representations for "reality" as-it-is. As such we call them also, hallucinations because they are artificially imposed. But deeper still, no matter what language words are constructed from, they are limited to human perspectives, and hence lack universal perspective. Lacking universal perspective reality still remains biased. Truth is possible only when all the bias are let go -- then abiding HERE in pure NOW awareness for a requisite amount of time we recognize the true nature of mind.

We often participate in artifice and farce by assigning words to objects (objective reality) which appear useful in everyday conventional reality to the extent that these objects do not block out the overall vista (vision) causing avidya. To some banter is a sport; but to a yogi it is aself-indulgent waste of energy -- a distraction. Negative conditioning based on chronic left brain over dominance institutionalizes a chronic state of cognitive dissociation where one's daily reality becomes habituated into a symbolic representations (vikalpa) which bounds the ordinary man to his self perpetuating neuroses. Here again we are reminded that the map is not the territory. In school we too often learn to memorize and regurgitate the "right" expected answers in reflexive obedience and conformity by receiving reward for the correct answers and punishment for the wrong answers, and thus eventually become unconscious compulsive slaves to past programming. That citta-vrtti has to be overcome.

In yoga practice, it is best to move into union, rather than spend undue energy and attention to the problem of the vrtti, that is what yoga is not. Every vrtti of course has a remedy. So this vrtti. called vikalpa, is easily liberated via authentic yoga practice such as astanga yoga and especially dhyana wherein we empty our mindfield from discursive thought -- where the citta-vrtti can cease in silence and clear lucidity. When the citta-vrtti are silent, then the divine sound, the pranava can be heard -- the universal reality is known.

“The main practice is to cut through misconceptions regarding the view, meditation and conduct, and how to put our practice to the test.

The View

To begin, the view is recognition of ultimate reality as it is.

As for this view, your mind’s nature is the ultimate nature of reality. Once you have concluded this with certainty in awareness free from all characteristics of intellectual mind’s fabrications and contrivance, awareness nakedly manifests as self-originating primordial wisdom. Words cannot express it. Metaphors cannot illustrate it. It does not get worse in samsara, nor better in enlightenment. It has not been born, nor will it come to an end. It has not been liberated, nor deluded. It does not exist, nor not exist. Awareness is unlimited and impartial.

In short, from the very beginning, awareness has never been established as being material and having characteristics that can be conceptualized, because its essence is primordially pure, sublime, all-pervasive emptiness. The ocean of realms of phenomena of existence and enlightenment naturally manifest as the display of unobstructed emptiness, like the sun and its rays. Therefore, awareness is neither partial nor a completely empty void, because its nature is the supreme spontaneous presence of primordial wisdom and noble qualities.

Thus, awareness, the indivisibility of appearance and emptiness, epitome of the three kayas, is the primordial nature of reality. Precise recognition of awareness, ultimate reality as it is (yin lugs), is what is called the Great Perfection’s view beyond the intellect. "  ~ HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

The ordinary person who has not practiced kriya or astanga yoga; who has not cultivated self-awareness or viveka; who especially has not practiced meditation (dhyana) which provides access to the self luminous wisdom of abiding in the intrinsic gnosis of things-as-they-are, does not yet know how self limiting, distracting, and dysfunctional ordinary mental discursive thinking process has become. When such starts to meditate, one sees things as they are, hears what is heard, smells what is smelled, tastes what its tasted and does not impose conditioned meanings upon experience. Although this new awareness, which eliminates the chattering monkey mind may be alarming to the ego's delusion of "self" at first, it is eventually seen as the liberation of grace once one realizes that it has been available, but previously unnoticed, ignored, and denied. There is nothing contrived of artificial in the latter. It is through the sadhana of meditation that we start to observe that our untrained ordinary and distracted modes of attention (what we call the ordinary mind) wanders from object to object. What we call ordinary "thinking" about "something" is thus also vikalpa. After a bit of self awareness and expanded consciousness, we gradually begin to notice that the mind tends to attach itself to objects as we ordinarily "think 'about' an object".

Ordinarily (in discursive thinking), these objects of attention change from one object to another driven by the winds of karma, vasana, and the kleshas. "This" or "that" object is described (usually in words) and thus we observe it as mind chatter (shabda). In meditation we do not "judge" this wandering as "bad" nor do we try to suppress or control it, but simply notice the monkey mind's propensities. We do not repress nor react to it, thus we do not indulge it. We neither ignore nor attempt to transcend it, thus we do not fuel our aversion, fear, or preferential mind. By giving it no fuel whatsoever, and we thus do not allow it to deplete our cit-prana (attention and energy). Eventually it ceases to command our attention at all and ceases by itself (as being self liberatory). This happens through a joint effort of vairagya (non-attachment) and abhyasa (continuity in focused application of the practice). See sutra I.12 below.

That is, as we notice as the monkey mind wanders, we become aware of the process of noticing, the presence of a more expansive underlying awareness that is aware of the wandering attention of the small mind, and which is aware of itself. Thus through repeated practice (abhyasa) we stop getting caught in and carried away by the vikalpa. In other words we observe that the mind is wandering, but there is some larger "Mind" (citta) that is watching the individual mind's machinations (manas). In meditation we get to know and cultivate this more expansive and all encompassing Mind which does not wander which is timeless, universal, and eternal -- we discover its headwaters so to speak. When this stage becomes stabilized or rather when we abide within this awesome all encompassing stillness, then if the mind starts to "think", roam, or chatter, we automatically, spontaneously, and naturally notice this as it arises and even before the first word in the process is uttered, it disappears and is engulfed into this roaring silence until the wandering ceases altogether (in nirvikalpa samadhi). Yet Patanjali tells us that nirvikalpa is not the end, rather we have to go through nirvicara samadhi and finally nirbija samadhi (see Sutras I.47-51 below).

Ati Yoga: A Brief Outline by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

“The practice of Dzogchen or Atiyoga, is to realise the tathagatagarbha, or buddha nature, which has been present in our nature since the very beginning. Here it is not sufficient to concentrate on contrived practices that involve intellectual efforts and concepts; to recognise this Nature, the practice should be utterly beyond fabrication. The practice is simply to realise the radiance, the natural expression of wisdom, which is beyond all intellectual concepts. It is the true realisation of the Absolute Nature just as it is, the ultimate fruition.

At the present moment our awareness is entangled within our mind, completely enveloped and obscured by mental activity. Through the practice of Trekchö, or ‘cutting through all attachment’, and the ‘direct realization’ of Tögal, one can unmask this awareness and let its radiance arise.

To accomplish this it is necessary to do the practice of‘the four ways of leaving things in their natural simplicity’ (Tib. chokshyakshyi) and through these, to acquire perfect stability in the Trekchö practice.Then will come the ‘four visions of tögal’ which are the natural arising of visions of discs and rays of light, deities and buddha fields. These visions are naturally ready to arise from within the central channel that joins the heart to the eyes. Such an arising from this channel will appear in a gradual process. In the same way that the waxing moon will increase from the first to the fifteenth of the month, these visions will gradually increase—from the simple perception of dots of light to the full array of the vast expanse of the sambhogakaya buddha fields. The manifestation of space and awareness will thus reach its culminating point.

These experiences are not linked with consciousness or intellect as the former experiences were; they are a true manifestation or radiance of awareness. After this, in the same way that the moon decreases and disappears from the fifteenth to the thirtieth of the month, all of these experiences and visions, all phenomena, will gradually come to exhaustion and reabsorb themselves in the Absolute. At this time the deluded mind which conceives subject and object will disappear, and the primal wisdom, which is beyond intellect, will gradually expand. Eventually one will attain the perfect enlightenment of the Primordial Buddha, Samantabhadra, endowed with the six extraordinary features.

This is the path intended for people of superior faculties who can achieve enlightenment in this very lifetime. For those of medium faculties, there is instruction on how to achieve liberation within the 'Bardo' or ‘intermediate state’. When we say ‘Bardo’, in fact we recognise four bardos: the Bardo from conception to death; the Bardo of the moment of death; the Bardo of the Absolute Nature; and the Bardo of coming into the next existence.

The Bardo between conception and death is our present state.In order to destroy all deluded perceptions or deluded thoughts in this Bardo,the ultimate practice is Dzogchen Atiyoga. In this there are the two main paths of Trekchö and Tögal, as described above. As the ultimate fruition of this practice, the ordinary body made of gross aggregates will dissolve into the‘Rainbow Body of Great Transference’ or ‘Vajra-body’, or dissolve without leaving any remnants."

~ From a teaching on the Longchen Nyingtik Guru Yoga, given by Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in Dordogne, France in August 1984

After sustaining a continuity of a focused practice such as in meditation (dhyana), the yogi realizes that the ordinary thinking of the monkey mind always depends upon an object. Even when that object doesn't change, for example in concentration (called dharana), there is still an object of attention, a separation between the "I" and the "object". Later on in the Yoga Sutras Patanjali suggests allied practices which help to remove the restless characteristics of the individual mind, how to still the thought process, eliminate the vrtti, and empty the mind from what often appears as a cacophony of chatter. But concentration on objects (dharana) no matter how "holy" eventually needs to be let go of in authentic meditation (dhyana). After practice we eventually come to see that obsessing/fixating around any separate object of attention -- what we are thinking about, is not only bondage, but an illusion, i.e., that it only appears separate because we have defined it to be so in our limited belief systems. In the "Reality" of All Our Relations, this seemingly separate object that is grasping our attention) or rather which our attention has temporarily become fixated upon and/or is attracted toward) is empty (sunya), it does not exist as a separate object of the mind (pratyaksha). Thus we enter the more subtle formless realm void of coarse form -- void of form and duality (nirguna) -- an ever present undifferentiated and non-dual consciousness is embraced. We increasingly become aware of this underlying sacred presence in All Our Relations.

Although Patanjali has only briefly touched upon the conditioned tendency of the ordinary mind to grasp upon objects (called pratyaksha), he elucidates this subtle process on how to identify and remediate this and other similar hindrances (all of which which become revealed during meditation) in the rest of the Yoga Sutras. In fact when read correctly, one understands that Patanjali's purpose is to explain the process of success in Raj Yoga. The yogi does not have to understand any of these terms in order to gain success in yoga. Sadhana such as meditation alone is capable of bringing success, but it is Patanjali's aim to aid us in this sadhana.

When meditating, meditate. When solving a specific problem or performing a specific "mundane" task, let the mind expand upon it -- let the light inside merge with the light outside, as the One Impervious Light and continue.  WE have the entire universe and beyond to shed its implicate light upon and through each and every situation.

Thus, to sum up, vikalpa can be said to be the "ordinary" mind's thinking process which artificially isolates our attention from Reality as-it-is in All Our Relations. Vikalpa as the normal state is thus often symbolized as a daydream, a mirage, or hallucination, while "reality as-it-is is revealed when we awake from the our dream. Thus as a vrtti, vikalpa is distinguished from the true nature of the Awakened Mind -- which is non-dual, universal, all inclusive, and eternal. Thus vikalpa too must be eliminated (nirodha) like all the other vrttis. When the distraction of vikalpa is annulled/eliminated (nirodha), then thought constructs also cease, then the mind rests in its own intrinsic self nature (swarupa). Then the real nature of Mind thus can be directly realized. See also the commentary in sutra I.42 (on words), sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems), sutra I.17, on vitarka, and I.49, sutra I.42, and sutra 15.

On the Vrtti of Sleep

Sutra 10 Abhava-pratyaya-alambana vrttir nidra

The vrtti of nidra (sleep) occurs despite the non-existence (abhava) of supporting structures (alambana) of the conditioned contents of the mind (pratyaya).

nidra: Ordinary sleep. Ordinary sleep has many modalities drowsiness, stupor, torpor, trance, swoon, inattentiveness, disinterest, insensitivity, daydreaming, psychic inertia, stupefaction, dullness, apathy, dullness, complacency, indifference, dispassion, lack of awareness, lack of presence, lack of consciousness, unconsciousness, extreme insouciance, partial or limited awareness, and/or ordinary sleep. Although in deep sleep the citta-vrtti may appear to be stilled, there is no cit (consciousness); hence, nidra is a severe vrtti.

pratyaya (praccaya - Pali): "Conditioned-ness". The ordinary conditioned state of mentation. A cognitive state that is the result of causes and conditions coming together (coalescing); the contents of the mind perceived within the limited mental frame of ordinary subject/object dualistic assumptions. Box-like rigid thought. Pratyaya is a conditioned and artificial perception produced by conceptual/intellectual processes. It appears as the contents of ordinary perception within the conditioned context of citta-vrtti, where objects appear isolated, fragmented, and individual (egoic). However, in transpersonal and non-dual yogic states, all objects of perception are revealed as inter-dependent, interconnected, and inter-related. In the latter, the context is unbounded, unconditioned, and natural, while the content have no separate/individual essence of their own (svarupa-sunyam iva samadhih in Sutra III.3).

alambana: support

abhava: absence: non-existence

bhava: felt presence: beingness: existence

Commentary: Over objectified dualists have stated that the so called material world (phenomena) is the sole support of the many imprisoned realms of citta-vrtti. However, in sleep (nidra), despite the conscious absence of such support, the citta-vrtti never-the-less continues in various forms (modalities of sleep). Nidra is a severe limitation of consciousness. Notice Patanjali does not say that relaxation, rest, or tranquility are citta-vrtti. Patanjali has placed this sutra regarding sleep, between that regarding vikalpa (conceptualization) and smrti (past impressions). This is because ordinary sleep consists of the conditioned activities of vikalpa (the discursive mind) based on past impressions (smrti). Deep sleep, although restful, while devoid of vikalpa, is also a limited mental state, as it is devoid of consciousness. We will discuss the various levels of sleep, such as sleep with dreams, dreamless sleep, and turiya.

It is only in turiya that the dualistically conditioned contents of the mind (pratyaya) disappear and its inherent light of consciousness shines through and is recognized. Yogic sleep (yoga nidra) is a very helpful practice, because one does not lose consciousness, the supporting base (alambana) of the external content of the mind (pratyaya) is absent or extinguished (abhava), thus, the practitioner is able to more easily and consciously enter the unconditioned inter-dependent state, which is self effulgent and all-present.

Ordinary sleep occurs when the supporting structure for ordinary contents of the mind dissolves, but because of its imprints the agitated mind still wavers. Ordinarily in normal (non-yogic) sleep the overall great continuity or integrity in All Our Relations, which reflects the universal intelligent principle behind consciousness (cit) remains in the background and appears becomes absent, occluded, or disconnected with the sensory world and its conceptual ruler, the intellect. The link between the contents of the mind in an overall context of an intelligent and boundless integrity (through spiritual bhava and intent) is broken. Hence, since the sensory world, its objects, and phenomena in general is ignored, we could postulate that sleep is the same as a trance state -- a sleep, where both normal sensory awareness and the evolutionary power of consciousness are both still occluded, hindered, and obstructed. But, in yogic sleep, this is not always the case. One may experience an attenuation of the sensory world, but the one who is sleeping still has a body and is filled with shakti inside. Thus it becomes easier to focus upon the shakti in this state and hence Shiva.

Heretofore, we have been discussing ordinary sleep (nidra) where we normally assume that "reality" is governed by sensory organ function, hence external sensory objects, which become organized by the intellect. But a "reality" which is limited by sensory input only is also like a dream. Shakti however is present in both sleep and waking consciousness and thus is a superior object of contemplation. To reiterate, in ordinary sleep the perception of sensory objects are absent, but their past imprints upon the mind have created citta-vrtta. The intellect or associative part of the brain is also either asleep (in deep sleep/rest) or it is making associations due to past impressions as in ordinary dream states. These states of sleep are all vrtta according to Sri Patanjali. Even deep sleep is a temporary turn, which lacks awareness/wakefulness to sustain it. We cannot even say that deep sleep has any true characteristics of samadhi, because it lacks prajna.

"When nothingness or void is the content of the mind, when the idea of nothingness alone prevails, or when the mind thinks that it does not think at all, there is sleep, which is a state of mental or psychic inertia."

Swami Venkatesananda "Enlightened Living"

It is clear then that unconscious sleep is a citta-vrtti also, because it is a deep modification and obscuration of consciousness; albeit it may be peaceful as it is dull. Similarly, formless sleep, dreamless sleep, or empty hollowness are also citta-vrtta. This should not be conflated with samadhi (swarupa-sunyam). See samadhi defined in III.3. Yoga always connotes an open awareness, not a limitation of the citta. Patanjali prescribes the universal antidote of meditation as antidote for drowsiness, dullness of mind, or lack of awareness.

“In meditation practice, you might experience a muddy, semiconscious, drifting state, like having a hood over your head: a dreamy dullness. This is really nothing more than a kind of blurred and mindless stagnation. How do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space to freshen your mind. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so whenever this setback arises, clear it again and again. It is important to be as watchful as possible, and to stay as vigilant as you can.”

~ HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

If drowsiness, dullness, or sleepiness arises in meditation try also to lift the gaze upward to the third eye region and/or activate full yogic/pranic breathing in order to recharge. Ordinary sleep connotes a lack of sensory and conscious awareness at the least, and often unconsciousness, except in situations of lucid dreaming. Dreams may be classified in many ways depending on their modalities. Meditating in dreams is a specific yogic practice of its own. Suffice it to say that past experiences leave karmic imprinted circuitry (samskaras) upon the mental continuum (mindstream), which normally appear to color/modify our normal dreams. That is ordinary karmic dreaming which is dominated by vrtti. Working with and clearing out these imprints at these deeper levels can become profoundly effective in effective dream yoga practices. In that way, dream yoga is a method of destroying the citta vrtti.

Because of the varying interpretations of the word, pratyaya, this sutra risks being misinterpreted, as if Patanjali is only referring to the experience of a yogic deep dreamless sleep. Certainly in some cases of deep dreamless sleep the mind is empty and devoid of consciousness and conscious heart-felt intent (bhava). In that type of ordinary dreamless sleep the contents of thought (pratyaya) indeed stops, which may be very restful to the brain and nervous system. But that alone is not anything other than a citta-vrtti because the primary healing all-encompassing intent is not recognized. Although a deep rest may occur, while any object that occludes or disturbs unbounded and unconditioned consciousness (cit-vrtti) is only temporarily eliminated, in ordinary deep unconscious sleep, such like in fainting (murcha). Herein, a deep bias, occlusion, and limitation (vrtti) of consciousness (citta) still prevails, because consciousness is entirely blocked in deep dreamless sleep (sushupti). Further the very need for sleep itself is a vrtti in so far as its needs are patterned by conditions and severely alters our field of consciousness (citta-vrtti) even if dreams (which have elements of vikalpa attached to it) are present or not (see Sutra I.9 above). Such karmic relationships must cease (cessation) altogether for a yogin who focuses on unconditional liberation (kaivalya).

If we accept Patanjali's own words that yoga is "citta-vrtti nirodha", and if samadhi is "awakening" into the ever-present (primordial) pre-existing true natural unitive conscious state (citi-sakter), then there is no contradiction in designating nidra as a citta-vrtti, as a conditioned mind that is asleep versus an "awakened mind" is an unnecessary obstruction to become liberated. As such, a sleeping and inactivated mind is like a man with blindfolds on, who although in the middle of a beautiful meadow, does not recognize his actual situation, because of being asleep (blindfolded). The vrtta of sleep therefore are normally closely associated with the kleshas of avidya (ignorance), asmita (self deceit/conceit and arrogance), and dvesa (antipathy) especially denial, dissociation, avoidance, and dismissiveness. Yoga is about breaking the trance of mental habits (citta-vrtti). Thus it would be an error to conflate samadhi as merely a withdrawal, a trance, swoon, or sleep.

Swami Kripaluananda addresses this confusion in chapter six of "Science of Meditation".

"Murcha Mistaken for Samadhi

Some seekers, especially those who have not received the grace of guru or God, mistakenly believe murcha to be samadhi, and go on practicing it for a long time. After continuous practice they are capable of remaining in a swoon for a long enough time to call it nirvikalpa samadhi. But this is mere illusion. In truth, nirbija samadhi is very different from and superior to murcha. This mistake in judgment results from the fact that the body of the seeker in murcha, like that of the yogi in nirbija samadhi, does not move. Further, the minds of both are in thoughtless states. From these apparent similarities the seeker misinterprets murcha as nirbija samadhi. But there is one major difference between the two, and that is the level of consciousness which each has. A seeker who swoons becomes unconscious, while a yogi in nirbija samadhi attains super consciousness. The seeker who has experienced only swoon does not attain divya sarira (divine body), purified by tapas (yogic austerities). Nor does one attain rtambhara prajna (the highest wisdom) or para vairagya (complete detachment). But all these are attained by the yogi who has experienced nirbija samadhi. Only this yogi is fit for attaining salvation in one lifetime."

In regards to the non-yogi then, sleep is beneficial, as it rests the overly stressed nervous system and mental functions. Deep dreamless sleep is the most efficient restful state in that situation, where thoughts, emotions and the other vrtta temporarily rest, but they are only replaced by a the most restful vrtti, nidra. Now deep rest can be both empty and supra-conscious at the same time (in yogic sleep), though the ordinary person the element of consciousness is lacking.

In ordinary deep sleep we can reinvigorate and recharge the bodymind quickly, where ordinary dreams may or may not be disturbing depending. Regardless, both ordinary dreamless sleep and dreams both lack lucidity (self awareness and consciousness) and they are variants of each other. Even if we are able to go into deep dreamless sleep at will, we would not arise any wiser by the virtue of the sleep alone, but perhaps refreshed and regenerated through deep rest. In normal deep sleep, only the physiological organs such as the brain, nervous system, tissues, glands, etc., are recharged and realigned naturally, if we are fortunate. If however the deep dreamless state has cit (beginningless awareness to guide the sleeper, and the sleeper is ware of the guide, recognizing it as its own innate teacher. then that state is not a citta-vrtti, rather it is samadhi-sunya (see: III.3)

We will now briefly describe yogic sleep as deep conscious/aware regeneration and reintegration as well as the process of dream yoga, which is quite different from ordinary nidra. In yogic sleep there can be two kinds of profound sleep. The first, is sleep with lucid dreams, which contain form objects that are consciously worked with on the subtle level of mind. That is yogic sleep with object, or dream yoga. In lucid dreaming there is conscious awareness, yet the dreamer is aware of the dream process as it occurs. In short, a karmic pattern is being displayed, but the yogi is watching it occur, and to a varying extent, can influence the dream body experience. The second, is a deep sleep without object. This state is much more subtle and can be said to approximate a formless state of samadhi. Subtly there is an awareness present; i.e., its distinguishing feature from ordinary deep is that awareness is present. It is not total unconsciousness. What is conscious, is awareness itself. It is clear light, undifferentiated. As such, it is both very subtle and very profound. Resting there consciously has profound beneficial affect, which can be carried over in daytime activities. One becomes self-entrained to the true nature of mind in its undifferentiated formless state in sat-cit-ananda. EVentually undifferentiated and differentiated consciousness is known within a profound mutuality, where the clear light is recognized in daytime in All Our Relations, while daytime activities are clarified and lit in the clear light at night.

In yogic sleep (yoga nidra), lucid dreaming, dream and deep sleep yoga, a connection between the physical, energetic, mental, astral, and causal bodies arises so that eventually there is no separation between conscious awareness and the astral/causal realms. There the reality of this "integral state" or integrity is never lost sight of. Such is the an effective yogic practice which remedies the vrtti of nidra. To repeat, there is a unifying reality that is continuous both during waking consciousness and sleep, but it is not widely recognized (rather it is widely ignored). Similarly there is a continuity of awareness before physical life, during life, and after physical death that can be recognized. This awareness does not die, while it underlies all of so called differentiated "reality". Bringing the undifferentiated, unconditioned, and formless reality together with differentiated reality is the generalized context of sleep yoga and bardo yoga.

Developed in Medieval India, Bardo Yoga is a practice that is often taught together with dream yoga, illusory body yoga, and kundalini yoga combined. Its purpose is the integration of clarity and light (both daytime and night time--- both before birth and after physical death; i.e., in life (as intelligent evolution), it is our natural conditionless condition.

In Buddhism the Dharmakaya is the formless atemporal realm of the primordial Buddha. The goal of Bardo and sleep yoga is to integrate the dharmakaya Buddha so it manifest seamlessly with the form bodies (bliss body and emanation body). Integrating these sheaths via the anandamaya kosha (joy body), vijnanamaya kosha (wisdom body), mental and energy bodies, all the way to the root adhara (manifestation body) is the purpose of these advanced yogic practices. The intermediate state thus involves recognizing the energy body as it manifests through the throat chakra in All Our Relations (day and night). Opening, connecting, and activating these channels is part of yoga nidra. When this energy body is afflicted with old negative programming and karma, we can call it the dream body. When we become conscious of that process in sleep, then we can purify the dream body and change it from an illusory body to a rainbow light body. See specifically I.19 and II.9. See Pada 3 for a general outline on working on these higher levels.

An important point of linkage between Dream Yoga and Bardo Yoga is that dreams do not depend upon the sense organs or the body, but rather past mental impressions/forms or pictures imprinted in the mind and which feeds mental formations (sleep and daytime). There is thus a similarity with physical death (or non-embodied existence), when the past karma and kleshas have not been resolved in life. Thus one can work with this in dream yoga, bardo yoga, and/or finally realize the rainbow light body.

Because most of us do not recognize and experience this unification, the innate non-dual support (alambana) of that integral awareness-continuum (bhava) between day and night (sun and moon), we often substitute external sense objects or other objectified objects of thought in order to compensate. That is a neurotic trap. If we are so afflicted we can however benefit from normal deep sleep (rest), thus recovering our distracted/dissipated energy, while recollecting our mental energy. Eventually, through practice, many yogis have cut down their "normal" need for sleep to a very small amount through continuous conscious deep-abiding awareness practices 24/7, which have the affect of releasing tension and conflict, while conserving, redirecting, and harnessing the energy required to activate this evolutionary alchemical operation in the human being. Utilizing this awareness, all activities become a support for this integrative process -- feeding the flames, so to speak. If at first a person suffers from insomnia or disturbed and restless sleep, it may be wise to let everything go and slip into an empty dreamless sleep, if they know how. However, for most yogis, dreamless sleep without lucidity is not recommended. For the latter, lack of consciousness is called the sleep of ignorance and should be avoided. Rather one cultivates the astral body the entire evening through utilizing conscious breathing, chakra awareness, and and the astral body as the intermediate state between the formless timeless realm and physical embodied existence supporting this linkage continuously. When this continuity of consciousness is lost, then ordinary patterns (vrtti) of sleep will occur.

It is valuable to point out (in an attempt to clear up unfortunate traditional misconceptions) that the word, nidra, generally refers to any state of sleep; while specifically, the word, sushupti, is the Sanskrit word for deep dreamless sleep. But a further distinction is will differentiate conscious yogic deep sleep from unconscious discontinuous deep sleep. Ordinary nidra, as any aspect of sleep, is a particular vrtti that occludes recognition of any object or non-object -- of any individual consciousness itself also ceases. This is indeed a severe cit-vrtti where consciousness appears to be entirely absent in the individual. Here some temporary deep respite, regeneration, and rest from the conceptional (monkey) mind can occur, but actually without conscious integration what remains is the possibility of a severe dissociation and blockage between the source of consciousness and the individual's ordinary daily consciousness.

Consciousness and its modifications in daytime sensory awareness and sleep states are traditionally broken down into four states. The first is called jagrit, which is a severely modified, limited, identification -- what we call ordinary daily dualistic waking consciousness, which support (alambana) the dualistic illusion of incompleteness, the ignorance of separation, desire, aversion, greed, and of lust. It is not the awakened state (Buddha means awakening). It is ordinarily very stressful and greatly ignorant of its causes and conditions being rooted in ignorance. Although we call it waking consciousness, it is mostly ignorant and thus can be relatively characterized as as a dream, illusory, partially asleep, or unenlightened as compared with cit where the vrttis have been removed. Such differs from deeper normal states of dreaming only relatively and to the degrees of conscious awareness, intellectual control and individual will, and one's larger degree of interaction and infatuation with coarse sense objects.

The second unawakened state is what we call normal sleep with dreams (usually occurring at night, napping, or day dreaming). In Sanskrit it is called swapna. This state is where the deeper unconscious forces dominates relatively more as compared to that of jagrit (the above state where daytime worldly dualistic and coarser sense object activities supported by the intellect and will) conscious intent predominate. Both of these first two states of partial sleep (jagrit and swapna) can be very restless until they are integrated as one non-dual consciousness through yoga. Dream yoga integrates these by at first realizing the relative interactive nature between jagrit and swapna and then seeing that unitive connection of actions and results within both jagrit and swapna reflect an overall continuity (yoga) of consciousness and karma revealing the innate timeless unformed great universal unconditioned (turiya). Details of dream yoga will only be roughly outlined here.

The third state of ordinary limited states of mind called sushupti, or deep dreamless state. Another common name for this is swapna nidra, which simply means dreamless sleep. Normally the individual's mental processes (manas) are entirely at rest. That fact alone is beneficial, because the monkey mind (such as vikalpa) and mental conflicts are absent, hence the nervous system can regenerate. Here by the absence of the other vrtta, mental objectifications, mental tensions, and false identifications one can approach experiencing pure beingness to a greater extent. Here deep rest and regeneration can be achieved. The yoga scriptures (Shastas) proclaim that deep dreamless sleep (sushupti) is very close to samadhi, because the discursive mind is absent (indeed it is nirvikalpa), but for samadhi to occur recognition or consciousness must also be present -- for absolute pure beingness to occur there must be mergence with absolute pure consciousness (as we shall see later on in the Yoga Sutras). However in normal deep dreamless sleep we are not conscious (abhava) of anything. Here also there are no objects of the mind, so pramana and viparyayah is absent as well. So in normal deep dreamless sleep, consciousness is entirely absent and there is no linkage/continuity to the other three states at that point. Obviously any recognition of the primary spiritual intent (bhava) is also latent.

Although, the state of deep dreamless sleep is very restful and perhaps temporarily beneficial, because the discursive monkey mind is no longer chattering; however, this is not the fulfillment of yoga because it lacks consciousness, rather it is simply deep rest. So to avoid the common outsider's misinterpretation (which includes many Buddhists as well) that samadhi (as defined as swarupa sunya in Sutra III.3) is merely a swoon, a self hypnotic state, or a self induced catatonia, Patanjali makes it clear that yoga is definitely about consciousness, not sleep; it is about aliveness not withdrawal; it is about vividness not deadness and dullness; and hence deep sleep is classified as a citta-vrtti. This confusion is exacerbated by some classical interpreters who conflate sushupti with prajna (wisdom) or sunya (emptiness), because their view of "reality" assumes a fundamental split. Rather in yoga. prajna, or true sunya is about waking up, which Patanjali clarifies unmistakably in Chapter 4. Yes, indeed if we include the first three states of consciousness as partial wakefulness (jagrat), partial sleep (swapna), and normal deep dreamless sleep (sushupti) as having Turiya ever subtle underlying (but unrecognized) basis, then there is from the beginning no separation, rather consciousness has become isolated, fragmented, and discontinuous. Indeed this is the goal of yoga -- to unite the illusory fragmentation (vrtti), splits, and rends of consciousness and expand it continuously to recognize the omnipresent whole (yoga). Thus, in yoga one does not go off into a separate dualistic trance merging with the absolute, while completely ignoring manifest form/creation (the natural world of evolution), but rather samadhi is an all encompassing transconceptional non-dual experience.

Similarly this example should make it clear that nirvikalpa samapatti is not the ultimate goal of yoga either. This is because in normal dreamless sleep there exists no vikalpa, but yet there is still no samadhi (enlightenment). The goal of yoga thus as being merely the nirvikalpa state has to also be given up. Such a dualistic assumption is unfortunately a very common error first promulgated by Vyasa and followed to this day. Rather the authentic goal of yoga according to Patanjali is not dreamless sleep (sushupti), but rather the innate turiya state which Patanjali defines as nirbija samadhi which can only be accomplished through the merger of pure consciousness and pure existence where all suffering is dissolved -- in Sat-Chit-Ananda. Here it is useful to discern ordinary deep[ unconscious formless sleep, from yogic formless undifferentiated sleep. In yogic sleep there is still awareness, but it is non-dual and undifferentiated. We can designate it as clear light awareness aware of itself. It is very bright, yet very subtle. It is also present in all states on awareness but rarely discerned or recognized. It is omnipresent multi-dimensional turiya, realized in the most subtle healing aspect of sushupti.

 Waking up is also synonymous with samadhi. Thus as shown the third stage of deep sleep; i.e., the deep dreamless sleep of classical sushupti, is considered very close to samadhi as that there exists no objects of thought that are grasped onto, no restlessness of the mind, no attachment, no fear, no stress, no aversion, no kleshas (except the samskara of ignorance), and no sense of separateness except for one -- separateness from consciousness. Here all one has to do is wake up! Wake up not into the dualistic world of sense objects but into that non-dual transpersonal emptiness which completes all time, everything, and everyone. Hence jagrit, swapna, and sushupti all are linked by an element of sleep -- even deep sleep would not be necessary for rest, respite, and regeneration if jagrit and swapna were not by their nature stressful and tiring.

At the lowest level of mindfulness the yogi is mindful/conscious. But at the ultimate level of samadhi, the yogi is awake.  This waking up process heralds in turiya, the fourth or "other" state beyond sleep. It is synonymous with samadhi and encompasses and truly makes the previous three states obsolete. Turiya is not limited by time nor place, nor dimension. In turiya there is no separation, no stress, no conflict, no degeneration, no corruption and hence no need for regeneration or integration. Turiya is the trans-dimensional aligned and integral base of being represented by the great living yantra. Also turiya is permeated with cit (consciousness).

Jagrit thus is the ordinary dualistic fragmented consciousness governed by sense objects, intellect, and individual intentions and kleshas. Although called conscious, contains much subconscious forces. The second state of ordinary dreaming sleep (swapna) is usually translated as subconscious, but it has many semi-conscious elements and is influenced by our daily life (jagrit). Study proves that the conscious and semi-conscious states as defined in Western terms can not be entirely separated. Likewise sushupti is specifically differentiated as being "unconscious"; yet it too is influenced by and influences both our daily life (jagrit) and dream states (swapna). Given the above all three states of jagrit, swapna, and sushupti can also be considered unawakened states (simply variations of nidra). Here we can "see" deep dreamless sleep (sushupti) as a relative calm in the overall hurricane of cit-vrtti (fluctuations and disturbances of the ordinary mental patternings). These states all have a yogic potential underlying it, which is realized in turiya. Only in turiya, which is the natural unconditioned state of freedom and which is the culmination of nirvicara samadhi, do we truly wake up. For most intents, we can equate turiya with samadhi.

Likewise in yoga nidra (yogic sleep), consciousness and continuity exists between the states of deep restfulness, awareness of the surroundings, and dream like images that well up from the unconscious and the collective unconscious. Yoga nidra occurs in modified states of turiya and includes the elements of what is called lucid dreaming. The true nature of mind is omnipresent, and underlies all, but normally is ignored/obstructed.

Pointing to the unobscured and open state of mind (Cit), Shakespeare in Act IV of The Tempest, has Prospero say:

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

As with all the citta-vrtta, any obfuscation, obscuration, or shroud covering the Cit is to be removed through yoga practice.

We take the term, nidra, to pertain not only to normal deep-dreamless sleep, but rather elements of nidra operate in any ordinary situation where the average man has their bhava (spiritual focus) distracted, subdued, limited, and distorted; hence such sleepiness is a vrtti.  In fact most of mankind are deep asleep to our trur self nature. Thus yoga becomes the process of awakening us to our true self (in swarupa) -- to our higher creative potential -- awakening the kundalini, latent Buddha nature, or innate potential Christ within, through the elimination/cessation (nirodha) of the vrtti. Thus in the integrity which is yoga, nidra can mean any awakened state including drowsiness, dullness of mind, or in a gross form a sluggish and stupor like ignorance. Bhava means spiritual intent, mood, or focus -- the divine passion and presence that twinkles in the eyes of a "turned-on" practitioner. Abhava then is the opposite, where divine passion or sacred mood is absent. As one progresses in yoga, the vrtti dissipate -- the citta is less turbulent, the spiritual passion increasingly becomes focused, and thus a greater inward clarity, calm, peace, and strength abides. Here, nidra becomes less dominant, and indeed in many realized souls ordinary sleep also ceases. In deep dreamless sleep with consciousness, yogic sleep is possible (yoga nidra). The sadhak (practitioner) increasingly becomes more awakened and attuned to divine presence -- beyond even the most subtle continuously without a break between night and day, but rather the integrity of the night and day is affirmed. Divine bhava awakens us to Self. This is called waking up from the sleep of ignorance (avidya) or mukti. Abiding increasingly "HERE" in All Our Relations - devoid of inner psychic disturbances, tensions, conflict, or stress one will need less sleep to regenerate -- there is less to recover from.

Another interpretation of sutra 10 is that the vrtti of nidra (sleep) is experienced when the dualistic mind is occupied by phantom-like objects (pratyaya) supported (alambana) by empty symbolic representations devoid of any substantiality (abhava). Another similar interpretation is that in lack of spiritual presence and intent (bhava) creates the conditions of nidra (sleep), where thought formations devoid of any integral or coherent context is generated. Simply this can describe the ordinary unawakened mental processes (manas) of the common "normal" modern man who is asleep to one's true nature -- to All Our Relations.

A common error is to translate abhava as non-existent or non-being. Rather, "asat" is non-being, while all apparently existent phenomena lack intrinsic reality of their own. We must take into account our spiritual vision, intent, and aspiration as a large governing factor in regard to nidra. Without focused intent, yoga nidra will be unsuccessful. If we take " bhava" to mean our focus on shiva/shakti that becomes our unifying spiritual intent, mood, or vision -- the divine passion and presence that twinkles in the eyes of a "turned-on" practitioner, thus abhava is the opposite, i.e., absence of sacred presence, intent, aspiration, or focus. Thus the vrtti of sleep (vrttr-nidra) is the result of the absence of bhava (abhava-pratyaya), while success in yoganidra and turiya is guided by divine bhava. Compare this with Sutra I.19, the practice of waking up in transcognitive awareness (asamprajnata) by bhava-pratyayo (where the spiritual mood is focused and present).

An Extract from a Prayer by Shankaracharya. Translation & Commentary by Vimala Thakar

Pratah smarami hridi samsphura ta twam
Satchitsukham paramahansa gatim turiyam
Yat swapna jagara sushupta mavaiti nityam
Tad brahma nishkalamaham na cha bhuta sanghaha.

"In the morning as I meet the dawn, I remember that my heart contains the God, the Beloved, who has not yet been defined and described. I remember that it is He who vibrates within my heart, enables me to breathe, to talk, to listen, to move. When I am thus aware, that it is He who lives and moves within me, then the three phases of consciousness, jagrat, swapna, sushupti : wakefulness, dreaming, and profound sleep, they are transcended into turiya, the fourth dimension, which is behind the wakefulness, the dream-consciousness, and the sleep-consciousness.

When I thus remember, that the underlying current behind the wakefulness, the dream, and the sleep-consciousness is He, who lives and moves within me, then that awareness gives me sat chit sukham, the flavor of the truth, the reality, and the bliss that is the nature, the basic primary nature of life.

Sat chit sukham. When I am always thus aware of the real nature of life, then I arrive at paramahansagatim turiyam. I arrive at a state of being that has been called by the ancient wise Indians "Paramahansa", a swan that swims through the waters of duality. That is how a sanyasi is called a paramahansa, one who lives in the renunciation of that austere awareness that it is not he who lives, as separate from the universe, but that he is only an expression of the universal.

The state of paramahansa is the state where a person is aware that he is not a conglomeration of sense organs and only the five elements, but he is the nishkala Brahman, the supreme Brahman, the divinity, who has taken the dense form of a mind and a physical body."

See I.38 for conscious sleep (svapna-nidra-jnanalambanam) or other wise called meditation in the dream state.

The yogi in samadhi is awake.


The Vrtti of Past Impressions/Memory and Conditioning

Sutra 11 Anubhuta-vishayasampramoshah smrti

The vrtti of memory (smrti) occurs when residual mental impressions from past phenomenological experiences cloud and disrupt our innate clarity of mind (Cit).

When objects (vishaya) of past experiences (anu-bhuta) still occupy (a-sampramoshah) and occlude the present mindstream. This non-integrated and fragmented impression from the past obscures and interferes with clear awareness creating mental disturbances and formations (vrtti).

Smrti: Memory; Literally, that which is remembered;  when fragmented is classified as one of the five citta-vrttis, which authentic yoga disassembles. This refers not to memory as an ability when willfully consulted,  but rather when past imprints linger and limit our perceptions -- when they are not cleared -- where its biopsychic imprint (samskara) still impinges and occludes the mindstream as a ciita-vrtti haunting the mindfield in the present. Such is commonly observed in cases of severe trauma;  they may be hiding under the surface in everyday life junctions, when phenomena appear that reminds us of past fears, anxieties, trigger anger, unleasanties, hatred, or unresolved and repressed past desires.

Past samskaras (imprints, karmic residues, conditioning) including post traumatic mechanisms from past experiences (anubhuta) which are stored (asampramosah) in the memory when provoked can trigger fluctuations of the mindfield (citta-vrtti) and hence kleshas. Memory (collected as a storehouse of past experiences), which when triggered and accessed sets forth patterns which obscures and colors the underlying profound sacred presence of our true nature. A fragmented and distorted memory process condemns its prisoner to the past, while reordering and distorting new experiences in its past limited framework (according to past habitual mental formations). That provides a severe mental limitation, which authentic yoga attacks and de-conditions/deprograms. As fragmented and unintegrated memory processes as well as habitual mental formations are brought into cessation, then sacred primordial remembering naturally arises, as all experiences are reorganized within the natural uncontrived transconceptual framework of reality as-it-is. In India, sometimes smrti also refers to "conventional wisdom", tradition, ancient sayings by gods, angels, prophets, saints, or sages that are remembered, learned, memorized, obeyed, and taken as authority. Such smrti may be true and useful as long as they do not obstruct experiential realization. Unless adherence to smrti is capable to move the experiencer into samadhi, the smrti acts as a hindrance. Many humans are so imprisoned. Here we can identify individual smrti, groups, collective smrti, human and cosmic smrti, but they remain disconnected unless they are integrated holographically, not limited by time or locality. Memory that extends beyond the limitations of time and place -- that which is due to the primal imprint of the creative impulse, that is a sacred memory to be remembered.  Timeless and boundless wisdom is a living book, where all are our relatives and kin -- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam --the Universe is One Family. This is spontaneously expressed in our practice in All Our Relations. We will see in Pada 4 how samskaras and karmic formations are resolved, thus liberating the yogi from the past.

Vishaya: A sense object or object of the mind, a clothing of the mind; a referent: An object placed inside an external objectified conditional framework. A referent in the relative sphere. condition/conditions. A realm or sphere of reference. A condition. “to be clothed”, “to be worn as a garment”, “to be inhabited”, cloaked. Compare to the English word, visage.

Asampramosah: retention; a lingering memory: the act of holding or recollection that covers and colors present fresh awareness; not being lost or stolen away. Encapsulating, inescapable, difficult to shake free from, unavoidable, etc.

Commentary: Similar to pramana, the academician, intellectual, or philosopher might deny that Patanjali is describing smrti, as a citta-vrtti, as an obscuration/distortion of consciousness to abandon. Right, to be clear, Patanjali is not referencing the power of memory, per se, as a citta-vrtti. Rememberance of timeless space and primordial presence are primary affects of samadhi. Rather, Patanjali  is describing dualistic conditioning (vishaya) where there lingers the dualistic I/It split of a separate  observer and object). Therefore, within that fragmented dualistic context smrti (memory) acts as a lingering displacement and obscuration that occludes primordial presence and ever-newness.  Smrti thus is defined by Patanjali as a samskaric -- a lingering memory and hence displacement/hindrance.

Predilection and habitual dullness of the mind  (assumptions laid upon the pristine present) are caused by past conditioning which dulls the mind. In Pada IV Sutra 21  there will be a more detailed explication of how habitual tendencies and mental formations poison the mind and their relationship to past experiences. 

To reiterate, as a caveat Patanjali is not indicating that memory, as in the *ability* to remember past events or access the storehpusconsciosusness  is a citta-vrtti; rather, he is referring to the situation where past memories alter and occlude conscious awareness, thus preventing fresh transpersonal and unconditioned awareness removing one's attention from the bliss of eternal nowness. Where memory conditions/colors the freshness and vividness of the present -- of primal prescience, that conditioning is what Sutra I.11 describes as a subconscious, compulsive, conditioned reaction, knee jerk activity. It unconsciously and automatically acts as a citta-vrtti, especially so in PTSD. In this category, one can place all negative past samskaras (residual and unresolved psychic impressions) if they impinge upon the freshness of alive and vivid clarity (vidya). For example, primordial memory does not obscure basic awareness; rather it is implicate and all-pervading.  One may say that such is similar to accessing the Akashic records, the Collective Storehouse Consciousness (alaya vijnana), but such labels often may come with undesired baggage. To reiterate, memories, as long as they do not dominate, limit, distract, obscure, or occlude the larger field of conscious awareness also are not citta-vrtta. They are aklishta. As long as memories do not snag awareness, become stuck, or obstruct the flow of evolutionary consciousness, we will not become discomforted. 

Even remembering the words of our ancestors, our genetic DNA and human sensibilities, Carl Jung’s identification of a collective unconscious, Buddhist ideations of a storehouse consciousness (alaya vijnana), all human and earthly limitations, our collective psychic history, all and everything, it is still a limited awareness as long as it does not touch upon the unconditional freedom of limitless primordial time (mahakala).

In short, ordinarily a good memory, as the ability to recall past events accurately and consciously. It is an excellent tool; but memories that limit our experience and awareness are citta-vrtta. They need to be let go devoid of limited contextual  reference points -- in terms of the interdependence of all things. Strong smrti from our individual or group experiences may strongly color our perception of what-is-as-it-is; hence, reality, pure vision, and direct experience is hampered until we let go of such limited individual past imprints. By washing clean the sticky occlusions of past memories we are not referencing brain-washing or forgetfulness. Rather he is identifying the adherence to the vrtta of past experiences, which is explained in the next sutra that liberates frozen thought constructs (vairagya). When the linear time frame of past, future, and a frozen existential present are dissolved in "all time" then at the same time, the limitations of smrti cease as they are replaced by the timeless illimitable.

An ultimate remembering may be hypothesized as the profound re-membering of who we are in terms of primordial awareness -- all time and unlimited space. That awareness is not the individual, fragmented,  or limited collective/group memory. There the reference is to the obstruction to consciousness (citta-vrtti) which occurs due to limited individual experiences, which are NOT integrated into the hologram. An example of such a smrti as an obvious citta-vrtti, occurs when one's life is darkly covered by their own past experiences to the extent, that one is unable to imagine the diverse experiences of others, or imagine change in ones life,  let alone remember the universal timeless primordial source from which nature and self has sprung. In this context, it is perfectly alright to honor one's own tradition, clan, race, forefathers, past lives, region, religion, planet -- in short one's own individual past experiences, etc., but it is not suitable for a yogi to ignore one's integral commonality with All Our Relations as one large interconnected family. For such a one, who is obsessed exclusively with the vrtti of his own past experiences within a dualistic I/IT context, success in yoga is impossible. Our experiences occur within a greater hologram, which is timeless, spacious, and intelligent. It extends to and is the result of everpresent beginningless time.

In this sutra, Sri Patanjali identifies the multifold conditions and aspects of smrti as a citta-vrtti when asampramosah occurs. -- when the mind is occupied and fixated on a memory. That is in contradistinction to the mere memorization of scriptures, moral codes, rules of conduct, scripts,  and the mechanical performance of  duties. Even if one conforms to and attempts to embody a benign scriptural proclamation; such becomes a dangerous trap for the sadhak. It is not realization, but rather mimicry. If one is living a life based on conformity to memorized rules , principles, moral dictums, or belief systems, then that also are citta-vrtta, which obscure awareness (produce kleshas). Therefore, Patanjali is introducing us to the all-time multiverse should we release the grasping onto the past. When the linear time frame of past, future, and a frozen existential present are dissolved in "all time". Then at the same time, the limitations of smrti cease as they are replaced by the timeless illimitable All-Mind. HERE the context is *All-Time*, Mahakala.

Thus, Sri Patanjali is identifying a citta-vrtti that imprisons the mind within the narrow confines of limitations of past experiences that occludes universal and transpersonal experience, thus coloring the present experience, and often limiting the observer's ability of experiencing the present anew  -- recognizing divine omni-presence. In fact, when the process of mental formations based upon past experiences cease to condition the mind-field, then one awakens.; while the "ordinary" dualistic state of consciousness tends to interpret and filter "Reality" by placing new experiences in terms of the old, including traditional thought, ideology, scripture, or other contrived systems. This is  related to the mind residues and imprints of mental conditioning (samskaras), which Patanjali teaches must cease in order to awaken. So to be certain, Sri Patanjali is NOT demeaning the power or ability to memorize, but rather the negative effects of imposing the past into the future, thus distorting, coloring, and limiting one's spiritual horizons and experiences in terms of past assumptions, and hence limited expectations. Memory as a citta-vrtti involves clinging/grasping onto past experiences. This is a very severe but common citta-vrtti which authentic yoga practices are designed to remediate primarily through vairagya. Of course, Patanjali is referring to ordinary memory.

In short, ordinarily a good memory, as the ability to recall past events accurately and consciously is an excellent tool; but memories that limit our experience and awareness are citta-vrtta. They need to be let go devoid of limited contextual reference points -- in terms of the interdependence of all things. Strong smrti (as fond memories or traumatic imprints) from our individual or group experiences may strongly color our perception of what-is-as-it-is; hence, reality, pure vision, and direct experience is hampered until we let go of such limited individual past imprints. By washing clean the sticky occlusions of past memories we are not referencing brain-washing or forgetfulness.

We must also differentiate Patanjali's  yogic definition of smrti from that of ordinary religious belief systems. In the Hindu religious belief system we must mention another definition of Smrti. In classical Hinduism Sruti and Smrti are paired off. There is Sruti (that which is heard) or rather the teachings of the Vedas which are accepted as definitve and authoritative. Smrti (as in what is remembered) is the provisional teachings of saints, sages, Upanishads, the Shastras, Puranas, tantra, legends, moral laws, and explanatory teachings/elaborations. The literature is extremely vast.

In Hinduism, yoga is considered Smrti; however, mountain yogis do not all agree. If we take Patanjali's era to be one where Buddhism flourished in Northern India, we should then consider how the Buddhists define smrti, free from the Vedas. To cut to the chase, smrti relates to whatever comes to mind, hence mindfulness. If the mind is occupied by a past isolated memory (pleasant or painful) it acts as a citta-vrtti. Thoughts normally arise in the non-adept which occlude and modify true clarity of mind serving only to fragment and limit our spiritual potential. It is divine remembrance -- primordial unobstructed ever-present awareness -- ever-presence residing in our true unbiased nature (swarupa) is the vivifying power of Patanjali's yoga.

Smrti, if taken in its pure unfragmented intact state within a wholistic primordial context, including all past events since beginingless time up to and including NOW is not a limitation. In a transpersonal sense, it affirms primordial presence and access to the all-mind, but because the normal mindstream is occluded, normally human beings have memories of isolated, fragmented, and non-integrated experiences. Smrti, considered in this the non-dual sense (as an awareness of being connected with all beings and things thrughout time and space) would not be a citta-vrtti; but this is not the citta-vrtti smrti that Sri Patanjali is addressing here in I.9. Here smrti is presented as a dualistic incomplete, vague, and colored image of past experiences limited by our ordinary mental formations, past conditioning, negative programming, habitually conditioned thought patterns, old pains and fears, the knee jerk reflexes from past non-integrated traumas, samskaras (psychic imprints) acquired habits (vasana), and the like. It is a result of a frozen non-integrated past psychic imprint (samskara) that requires melting. These frozen karmic images are the representative reality that displaces true interconnectedness between the unborn primordial source and the space/time continuum where we experience pure consciousness and alive beingness. Normally we "think" that memory is "good" and useful in ordinary everyday experiences. It can be, as long as it does not distort, dominate, or overwhelm the sacred profundity of the eternal now -- of "Reality-As-It-Is" within the integrated context of the whole, devoid of the imposition of non-integrated (fragmented or egoic) past impressions.

As a practical example, in the practice of meditation (dhyana), such as in raj yoga, "ordinary" linear memory is known as a limitation (citta-vrtti); which holds back, restrains, and obscures the pure self effulgence of infinite consciousness until released (vairagya). As a matter of fact all individual past karma and experiences can often haunt the student in the present moment, until all is known as parts of an integral wholistic process through the all seeing holographic third eye, which is afforded by samadhi. Otherwise, past karma and nonintegrated past experiences serve to color our present experience and hence limit it. Sure some of that may be useful in everyday life, but in meditation we can learn how to drop all that and become like a new born babe in open wonder. When we meditate, we want to let go of smrti-vrtti obstructions and habits of past modalities of the thinking processes (vrtti). That is the subject of the next sutra (Sutra 12).

The common problem is that the ordinary person carries around a burdensome specter (vrtti), a dark cloud of partially digested twilight mental conflicts), past unresolved partially digested images, traumas, dramas, memories, past dualistic false identifications, regret, karmic habits, and ego fixations based on past conditions along with them wherever the body goes. Even his future expectations are colored by this shroud. These memory imprints condition our sleep and dreams. This is a seesaw ride that causes severe problems in navigation preventing Now Awareness. Thus a new experience may occur such as hearing a sound, seeing a color, tasting, smelling, touching, sensing, but then that experience is absorbed through a pre-patterning reordered process according to one's memory of past experiences, rather than allowing the experience to be experienced nakedly and fully as-it-is without prejudice or mental processing, thus allowing a natural creative response. Fresh and vivid awareness must be remembered in the present where all things are new.

An example, I may be hungry and take a bite of an apple. It tastes delicious, leaving a pleasant memory association. Then associating the memory with eating the apple, I seek out eating more and more, even though the body no longer needs it seeing to reproduce the original pleasure.

Another example, I go to see my sister, but all she can remember about me is that I was given the ice cream cone that she desperately wanted long ago. She still loathes me because of this unresolved past experience, even though the ice cream cone has long passed through my system. She might or might not remember the original incident, but my presence may provoke that unpleasant or traumatic feeling of  deprivation and anger, which in turn provokes a defensive/aggressive reaction. Likewise I am still obsessed with the memory that she lied to dad about me stealing the cookie, which precipitated a thorough spanking. We wind up hating each other because of past unresolved painful memories, which pop up when we think of each other unless we are able to drop the past. It happened, but in the past.

The above mundane examples on how smrti can be  klishta (afflictive), being both the cause of raga and dvesa (two of the chief kleshas) and its results (karmic causes and conditions). Ultimately, the mind has to free itself from all *personal" past associations/identification, and karma. It is not enough to avoid, escape, negate, deny, or disassociate from them intellectually; rather the karmic bounds must be broken and skillfully removed. This is addressed in the next section: "The dissolution of these vrttis is accomplished through applying vairagyabhyam (the practice of non-attachment (I.12)"

Past events; traumas, samskaras, as well as verbal, preverbal, post natal, prenatal, peri-natal karma, and their associations are grounds that can conjure past imprints that haunt us in the resent --  which fuel the myriad dramas and compulsive habits (vasanas) that occupy and greatly color our attention and thus occlude the mind-field (vrtta created from frozen unresolved memories). Past experiences and habits condition and often color the way we view "Self" in a biased, prejudicial, and limiting way which obscures Universal Presence. It is worthwhile to note that also on a physiological level, past memories are stored not only in an energetic and psychic field (now identified by modern neuro-physiological psychology), which shape individual mental, emotional, and behavior processes, but also they are stored in a parallel manner as cellular memory, neuromuscular armoring, and alter the neuro-endocrine system often far removed from the central nervous system and brain. Body psychotherapy and psycho-neuroimmunology recognizes such memory imprints and attempts to both read and access them through trans-verbal (right brain) methods such as through touch, tonality, gesture, movement, tai-chi, mindfulness, and authentic hatha yoga.

In fact, there are ancient methods of authentic hatha yoga that can produce far reaching effects that directly by-pass the intellectual/conceptual processes, which conventional psychotherapy often becomes mired. Going directly to cathart core feelings is both the aim of body-psychotherapy and authentic hatha yoga.

The method is to work directly with the energy body, first by sensing it then by running energy through blocked pathways which interact with both the mind and body.  The result is an open mind-body - an open vehicle/temple for transpersonal timeless presence, which by its very all-encompassing nature becomes the natural expression of wisdom and compassion.

 One such practice from Buddhist Yoga is described by Lama Lena.

“Traumas cling to you. They are like sticky thingies. They only cause trouble when they get stuck. When you grab it. Otherwise it is the incredible playful gasp of creativity of life in the infinite open awareness of mind’s intrinsic spaciousness... it is not a big old nothing. It is vibrant and alive. With the dance – the creative playful dance of thoughts and perceptions, there are no “things” to get stuck here, no one  to be stuck. Therefore, the dance.

There is a really cool trick to letting go, Yoga. It is a channel practice. Where these “things” get caught (traumas) is not in our meat so much as in our channel bodies. Have you ever seen one of these fiber optic things, with a light in the middle and all these fibers around it? That is what your chakras look like. They are made out of lines of light, coming out of the various chakras. constantly moving. . . you perceive with these [as configurations of light ] -- They are wrapped [like fiber filaments] . . . Traumas need density [tightly wrapped].

One of the exercises we do . . . is to stretch our channels. We breathe in through the nose. On the inbreath, without holding the breath, you stretch out all these lines of light out past the edge of the earth in all directions. If you can stretch beyond the 3 dimensions, stretch there too. Stretch down, behind, in front, past the atmosphere, past the solar system, the galaxy, the logos -- as far as you can stretch, beyond the universe --. all on the inbreath. Breathe out through the mouth.

If you wish to hold the inbreath, for a moment to complete your stretch, do not close the glottis. Hold the breath in with your chest muscles and diaphragm. [avoid breath retention until first receiving personal instruction, as it is powerful and hence,  dangerous when misapplied].”

~ Lama Lena, Feb 29, 2020

These methods are taught in authentic ha-tha yoga, yantra yoga, tsa-lhung, trul khor etc. Once the channels are open, then the pratitioner becmes self-animated and self-informed spontaneously and naturally by source. Through movement one learns where the stuck energy resides in the body-mind and shoots lines of energy that vibrate, engulf, spread, and extends the energy opening up previously dormant pathways and circuits.   

Later in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali will address how specific types of actions produce certain effects such as psychic impressions (samskaras) and afflictions (kleshas) that impinge upon and color the present. Indeed yogic sadhana (practice) is designed to subsequently remediate/integrate our past experiences so that they no longer obscure profound presence in swarupa by creating vrtti.

The word, smrti, can refer to in Hinduism, to remembering the sacred holy and infallible books or teachings of the Puranas (sacred History of India). Thus, smrti is often used as a synonym for the vast collection of stories and dramas found in the indigenous ancient Puranic literature that may illustrate the wisdom of sages, rishis, and teachers of the past -- the legacy of the past so to speak. When these stories become memorized as beliefs, they act as ctta-vrtta. However, if they are understood in context as wisdom stories clarifying the mindfield; rather than dissuading consciousness away from the primal presence, only then do they cease to be a distraction or diversion, as they may serve to clarify the mind to a point that primordial wisdom is realized. Just to say that even these positive memories must be ultimately abandoned in dhyana, or success in samadhi as the one great thought beyond thinking about any event or thing. Mostly people simply memorize the written Smrti, so that they act as surrogate/symbols and displacements in lieu of divine true rememberance, while stopping short of removing dualistic veils. In fact, such word memorization, can reinforce the separateness (or duality) -- the rend from our own sublime non-dual all encompassing spiritual nature. As a parallel teaching, in IV. 21 Sri Patanjali clearly expounds:

IV Sutra 21 cittantara-drsye buddhi-buddher atiprasangah smriti-samkaras ca

Because of associations with past karmic residues (smriti-sankaras) and limitations of mere intellectually derived knowledge, the innermost recesses of mental perception (cittayara-drsye) remain hidden in what appears as an endless (atiprasangah) confused (samkara) regression

Ordinary dualistic memories based on a seer,  the seen, and the mechanism of seeing (viewer, the view, and he process of reification) is fragmented and incomplete  Such is also transient and wavering, begging constantly for reiteration. Smrti as a citta-vrtti, is conditioned and dualistic (vishaya). At best a symbolic representation of REALITY -- a poor substitute that increases  craving

 A different level of remembering is non-dual supra-mundane -- trans-temporal remembering of who we are, as we truly are --our true own original form (swarupa-sunyam), which is empty of thing-ness. The latter occurs when the primordial third eye is invoked.  That is true re-membering. This is darshan, remembering the intrinsic seed source inner consciousness (isvara), where we came from, who we are now, and why (purpose and meaning). Ordinary dualistic memory processes are thus to be distinguished from this transpersonal non-dual remembering of Universal Primordial presence. One may describe the latter as direct awareness of alaya (alaya vijnana) -- all  akashic records are revealed; yet there is no attachment to any.  Ordinary smrti even if it is of a uplifting quality or blissful is less than sacred now re-membering -- it is less than Sanatana Dharma (everpresence) where alland everything is perfectly remembered in its rightful place.

Likewise, it is through divine primordial re-memberance (as non-dual as opposed to ordinary dualistic memory processes) that remembrance of who we truly are (swarupa) in the great integrity of All Our Relations accompanies the cessation (nirodha) of the cit-vrtti. Here we rest in the natural state.

Past actions thus leave a karmic residue, which can be said to reside in a personal karmic storehouse consciousness (see II.13). Or it can reside in a collective timeless storehouse memory, which is called alaya. Awareness of that is called alaya-vijnana. The personal karmic associations with these residues have an impact upon our present relationship and consciousness until cleared (asampramosah). When this is cleared then one no longer is victimized by the karma of the past actions, but is free *mukti) or liberated. Nothing is changed except the depth of recognition from dualistic to non-dual. Here, the citta-vrtti cease for the individual because there is no separation barrier. It is frequently asserted that collectively all past actions of all beings and events are stored in a collective karmic storehouse (the collective alaya vijnana), but in reality there are no separate events and no storehouse to speak of. When the collective storehouse consciousness (the collective alaya vijnana) has become remediated by empty-open non-dual awareness access to all-time and all space is granted. Then the fragmented world of cyclic existence and suffering ends.

Shakti Das says:

Rest HERE my friends.  -- all beings are liberated and unconditionally happy. Here all the citta-vrtta cease.

The realization of alaya vijnana thus remediates the limitations, colorings, and patternings (vrtti) of ordinary fragmented memories (smrti) based on singular unlinked and abandoned symbolic images (samskaras) imprinted  upon the citta itself. Indeed it is through yogic practices (sadhana) that we "see" that the common man who is immersed in everyday dualistic fragmented consciousness is most often living inside of an old drama/story, while yoga brings us to greater awareness of our role and scripts freeing us from its grasp, acknowledging sacred presence. Likewise smrti (modifications of the thinking process due to the impositions of past memories, past legacies, residues, impressions, experiences, nostalgia, grief, trauma, etc) implies a limited, colored, biased, or false identification and hence attachment to specific objects or events that occurred in the past. As such, the vrtti of smrti acts as the residual framework for bondage to klesha, karma, vasana, and samskara. Those tendencies prevent us from being present. Yoga is designed to break up old habits (vasana), remove old samskaras (psychic imprints and trauma), remove afflictive emotions (kleshas), and remediate old karmic patterns.

Everyday ordinary memory is practical and useful once we become aware of how the recall process works as well as how to put it aside. We can use a word, an image, symbol, picture, feeling, smell, sound, taste or any phenomena to help access a specific memory when samyama matures. These symbols act as a marker in the file cabinet of ordinary memory. When this associative process of recall no longer is triggered compulsively/reactively, but rather consciously, past data can be accessed more vividly and quickly. However, such an approach is still severely limited (a citta-vrtti). Later in Sutra 3.18, samyama on samskaras will be presented as an avenue to open up the HeartMind more fully. For a yogi in samadhi, all is known, all is included, omniscience, prescience, limitless non-dual jnana. This transcends orinary dualistic memory processes that identify individual events. Such processes are superseded.

So again, we repeat the wisdom of America's greatest sage:

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain nor freed a human soul."

~ Mark Twain

In ordinary memories, we often call up past experiences to identify an object or situation. This is not being directly and freshly present, but rather such identifications color our present unique experience with the past -- they remain interpreted through the past. Each moment "in reality" has the potential to contain all of Reality (past and future), which is the profound synchronicity that an authentic yoga practice provides. The present as-it-is -- not colored by past habits is precious as well as timeless -- it is a self luminous manifestation (sat) of pure consciousness (cit) which rests in the feeling of ananda (ecstasy).

Too often when we see, smell, hear, taste, or feel a sense object through the five sense organs, it is the memory that ascribes meaning to "it" within the context of the past, which discolors, occludes, and modifies our fresh perception of "it", as-it-is, thus limiting our direct experience within the larger context. Through yoga we learn to see things as they are, in context; in the magical and sacred moment of manifest eternity. This timeless way of seeing is ultimately fulfilling, but can not be rushed. It is not dependent upon our individual past experience, yet it encompasses it. Through achieving continuity in a focused application of yogic intent (abhyasa-vairagyam) it can be realized as adherence to past individual memories are liberated.

"When one has removed all trace of delusion together with the habitual tendencies producing it, this is called ‘fruition’ Buddha nature. States of confusion do not belong to the essence of mind. When they have been removed, clear light luminosity, which is essential to mind, directly manifests. When this takes place, fruition sugatagarbha is achieved. One has achieved the enlightenment of the Buddhas.

At the point when the Buddha nature is obscured by the adventitious stains of delusion one might think, 'If the basic nature of my own mind is obscured by the incidental stains coming from my own delusion, how am I supposed to know how to rectify the situation?' The point is, such knowledge is accessible, because the Buddha nature contains within it the seeds of knowledge (prajna) and compassion. Because the seed of knowledge is naturally present, listening to, reflecting over and meditating on the dharma is able to catalyse a growth and development of this knowledge. This growth in knowledge in turn corrects the deluded state."

from "Beautiful Song of Marpa the Translator" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche & Zhyisil Chokyi Ghatsal Publications 2002.

Just like the vrtti of sleep (nidra), where yoga teaches awakening from our slumber, here too, the cessation of the vrtti of smrti removes the veil and allows us to remember our true non-dual nature as sacred primordial presence -- a complete remembrance - the union/remembering defined as yoga. The practice of yoga that Patanjali teaches is complete and brings out our natural uncontrived state, which is ever-present, implicate, and ever accessable, but in the ordinary state, haunted by the vrtti of past conditioning/programming it is remains obscured. Everything is seen with fresh non-dual eyes, as a self-arising display of primordial/timeless light and wisdom, when basic awareness is liberated from past conditioning  as unconditional liberation. 

  The primary klesha connected with smrti is the clinging onto past experiences, attachment and repulsion . . . the after-image or imprint of pleasurable and painful expeiences.  If it lingers it obscures consciousness,  let it go in vairagya.

Fresh, fresh, beyond fresh, completely refreshed  fully present, true nature!

 We will see in Sutra 12 how vairagya is the perfect remediation for all the vrtti. See also Sutra I.43 and II.13 and I.49 

Sutra 12 Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah

[All these vrtta] are completely dissolved, cancelled out, and cease (tan-nirodha) by sustained and continuous application (abhyasa) in All Our Relations of being present (vairagya).


The dissolution of these vrtta is accomplished by applying vairagyabhyam (the practice of non-attachment)

abhyasa: sustained effort; focused and continuous conscious intent.

vairagya: Raga means attachment, desire, craving, or attraction in general, where vairagya is its remediation, release; the letting go of attachment, attractions, non-grasping, unclenching, the release of temporal preferences, grasping, anticipation, or expectation. Vairagya leads to the ultimate freedom from desire, but not through repression or aversion (dvesa), but through relaxation/release of that which is burdensome and useless. Hence, vairagya is the practice that frees us from neurotic desire, and thus the realization of non-dual love itself. The temporal love for things/objects has vanished and has been replaced by eternal love -- divine passion. Therefore, it is said that vairagyam is the realization of divine or sacred love where no mundane love can arise. When this realization is established, vairagya is absolutely effortless, spontaneous, and natural -- as a natural expression free from neurotic attachment. Simple logic dictates that grasping onto something which is ever changing is foolish and futile, but that is what the egoic mindset, does while grasping on to world views and belief systems that are not grounded on a stable base. This is why Sri Patanjali offers vairagya as the primary remedy for the elimination of citta-vrtti. Especially foolish is the grasping onto concepts; as concepts are based on words; and words are based on language; and language is based on cultural/geographic conditions; while yogic awareness (Dharma) is universal, timeless, and unbiased.

Vairagya (as non-attachment or simply as release) is perhaps the essential, most direct, simple, and most profound practice in yoga;  yet the intellectually/conceptually dominated dualistic mindset confuses it as indifference toward the world, worldly concerns, beings and things, objects or form, phenomena, sense objects, existence, or "the world"; in short, vairagya is not a negation to life and nature; it is a clearing of the mental citta-vrtti. An anti-life, anti-nature, and negative attitude (dvesa) too often is formulated, as an escape valve from samsara's discontents; but it short circuits one's evolutionary consciousness. Such is nothing more than aversion (dvesa), which produces even more suffering. One cannot hate suffering successfully, just as one cannot hate hatred.(aversion or dvesa). It simply is a dysfunctional attitude. In this sense, although vairagya may look like renunciation to an outsider, there is in reality no thing to renounce. Rather vairagya becomes a natural expression of selfless love, free from any attitude of egoic desire. Folly is recognized as it is, and joyfully surrendered in one fell swoop. The mind is crystal clear -- empty-open.

Willful renunciation or classical asceticism is a misunderstanding; which simply increases the tensions and obscurations that block full revelation. Unfortunately, there are many such institutionalized anti-nature cults based on this misunderstanding of "reality" and the true nature of non-dual existence. For example, smashana vairagya is approximately translated as a graveyard or zombie-like attitude toward the world. It is an attempt to free oneself from samsara, as if samsara were the same as physical existence. However, samsara is really due to mental misunderstanding or mental attitude in the ordinary ungrounded dualistic approach toward evolution's evolutes. Putting on a renunciate face or engaging in willful ascetic practices will not free one's mind from such attachment. Karana vairagya is another classical classification where one either gives up some pleasure, object, or activity that one treasures as a type of sacrifice in exchange for a future boon, or as penance/payment for a past transgression. In any regard, we will consider viveka-purvakvairagya (complete discriminatory awareness) as the type of vairagya that Sri Patanjali addresses. Patanjali divides vairagya into two kinds, para and apara. Apara is dualistic freedom (from objects), but para is nondual and complete vairagya. Para vairagya is asamprajnata, free from dualistic cognitive processes (of an observer or object of observation).

Patanjali is addressing vairagya, not as a physical practice, nor merely as an avoidance, but as an experiential state, which includes a mental and energetic freedom- freedom from the vrtti, freedom from beliefs, false identifications, conceptualization processes, samskaras, vasana, kleshas, or habitual mental formations. When these attachments which occlude the mind-field are removed/purified, then one experiences directly their interconnected relationship with all beings, all things, all minds, all space, and all time in a truly non-dual state. Similar to tapas, vairagya is performed by letting go of all attachments; which are primarily mental. Simply when the mind is freed from that tenacious grasping,, then new and open space is created and energy is recirculated. It is in that empty-open space, which then can be filled with light -- with Ever-Presence. One must die in order to be reborn -- the cup must be emptied of stagnant water, before it can be filled to overflowing from the ever-newness spring. This is not sacrifice in the classical sense; but rather dedication/devotion by discarding the trivial and honoring and affirming the inner core. Para vairagya does it all. Analogous to vairagya is the accomplishment of the fifth limb of astanga yoga, pratyhara.

Practicing vairagya is defined in I.12 as vairagyabhyam. It is a practice of effortlessly letting go of all fixations, non-grasping, non-attachment; non-attachment to results, and a goalless and objectless process of release. Vairagya is the authentic renunciation of the true renunciate where one ultimately releases attachment to a path as well. It is the culmination of ground, path, and fruit coming together. It is not an intellectual statement, but rather an experiential state, where there is no object to grasp upon and no self that grasps or is attached. It is fully realized in samadhi as swarupa-sunyam (III.3). This is the completion of yoga as nirodha of the citta-vrtta. The temporal love for things has thus vanished when and has been replaced by eternal love -- divine passion when vairagya is continuous. Hence, it is said that vairagyam is the realization of divine unconditional love where no mundane/dualistic love (as temporal desire) can arise.

Although vairagyam is often simplistically under-translated by non-meditators as worldly dispassion or indifference; which feeds the fire for spiritual passion/compassion; rather in the deeper realizations that yoga practice affords, vairagya is applied also to non-attachment to the false belief in the independent existence of objects of thought (form), hence attachment to no thing (sunyam) becomes spontaneous and natural. The highest vairagya (as para-vairagya) is attained in non-dual realization (asamprajnata) that there is no separate object of body or mind to grasp because there is no separate observer or object, but that is a deeper holographic realization which long term yoga practice brings forth. Grasping at concepts is of course also raga, while aversion to objects or phenomena is dvesa. Both are kleshas (mental/emotional afflictions). Apara vairagya is the lower vairagya which relates to worldly objects/form in a dualistic context (and hence Patanjali calls it samprajnata). But para vairagya relates to the highest vairagya of knowledge (and hence is associated with asamprajnata samadhi).

In a indirect way all aversion (dvesa) fear, hatred, dislike, repulsion, and the like are also due to raga. In dvesa (aversion) there is always an underlying preference involved (like and hence dislike) -- an attachment to results. So aversion is impossible without raga, and vairagya is the remedy for both. Thus vairagya is not repulsion. It is not escape or revulsion.. Even renunciation has elements of dvesa (aversion) as long as one is using willpower and effort. What practice effects is space where a natural vairagya appears where there is contentment which is spontaneously from any attachment or craving. Vairagyam frees the mind, frees the vrttis, creates open space for the true nature of our own mind (swarupa) to dawn. This is the non-dual result afforded by asamprajnata samadhi (I.18). This is para-vairagya. For a true yogi, nothing short of this will suffice. See raga, dvesa, vrtrsnasya (I.15), vaitrsnyam (I.16), and vashikara.

vairagyabhyam: non-expectation; letting go; effortlessness; non-craving; release; non-grasping; non-attachment, non-clinging; non-attachment to results; goalless, objectless, release. Vairagya is the authentic renunciation of the true renunciate. It is not a statement, but rather an experiential state, where there is no object to grasp upon and no self that grasps or is attached. It is the fearless and unattached practice of residing in a totally unpredictable and fresh magical state. It is fully realized in samadhi as swarupa-sunyam (III.3). This is the completion of yoga, as nirodha of the citta-vrtta. The temporal love for things has thus vanished, and has been replaced by eternal love -- divine passion when vairagya is continuous. Hence, it is said that vairagyam is the realization of divine unconditional love where no mundane love (as temporal desire) can arise. The more common samkhya translation is dispassion or indifference; however since yoga requires dedication, devotion, passion, and love, the classic samkhya interpretation leads to confusion. Non-expectation, on the other hand, connotes a fresh aliveness as well as flexibility. Vairagya is the opposite of raga (a persistent klesha) which denotes goal orientation and clinging to an object. Authentic yoga is found in each moment through vairagya; hence vairagyabhayam is the practice of letting go of the past, the future, all existential fixations, all kleshas, predilection, prejudice, pain, programming, and all citta-vrtta, while mutually co-abiding with what-is-as-it-is; hence, desirelessness, satisfaction, and fulfillment (santosha). The absence of craving: No need in love's completion. The continuous application of vairagyam here and now.

tan: to extend, spread, span, combine, or complete.

tan-nirodha: complete cessation

Commentary: The continuous or sustained application and dedication (abhyasa) of vairagyabhyam (letting go, non-attachment, non-craving, non-grasping, non-expectation to results, while being fully present) is the remedy that dissolves and remediates all the citta-vrtti; and hence the kleshas and samskaras are so purified. This clearing is the main practice in yoga as it clarifies cit (consciousness) allowing for direct non-dual perception. Then, there is no confusion as regarding the static existence of an external independent object and an independent observer. Rather the state of total interconnectedness/interdependence (yoga) is experienced in the timeless present. Should this be continuous and fully integrated, yoga practice is completed in samadhi (III.3) as swarupa-sunyam. In the hologram of samadhi, there is no separation, no separate object, and no separate observer. Rather pure awareness and and the true nature of form (phenomena) as swarupa are united everywhere and throughout all-time and space. Thus, the practice of vairagyabhyam is crucial in liberating the yogi from the clutches of raga (goal oriented expectations to results) and samskaras (past impressions).

Another similar translation would be that the total cessation/dissolution of the citta-vrtti (machinations/perturbation of the mind-field) can be accomplished through engaging a steady/continuous process-oriented application of pure yogic intent, as an essential synergist in an integrated practice (abhyasa) of continuous non-attachment to results (vairagya). Here, we have focused engagement in non-engagement, where even grasping onto the practice is to be let go. The focus is on non-clinging or rather being present, which is the ultimate or sublime non-dual goal of authentic yoga.

This may seem difficult to understand intellectually, but no clever word tricks are intended. In meditation one continues to let go to whatever thought forms or "pictures" that may arise. The mind neither engages them, and is not engaged by them, and yet does not engage upon their negation or inhibition. Neither does the meditator attempt to avoid nor run away from thought formations. Fearlessly they are simply released into the empty space, where upon they have arisen. Here one affirms the fresh vivid aliveness of the present moment at each juncture. Whatever thought, word, or picture that appears, at that very instant it is released; hence passive watchfulness/mindfulness is cultivated.

Thirdly, the most common translation, has Patanjali saying, in effect, that the complete cessation of the vrtta (tan-nirodha) can be obtained through two non-contradictory methods, i.e., of non-attachment (vairagya) and also through continuous focused practice (abhyasa), as if Patanjali was saying that these are two separate practices (one requiring effort or sympathetic nervous system dominance), while the other requiring release (parasympathetic nervous system activation. These different translations share a common direction and differ perhaps only in emphasis and clarity, but not in intent i.e., the cessation of the vrtti occur through consistent applied yogic practices with vairagya (without attachment). They make perfect sense when taken together as one practice of non-attachment--as abhyasa-vairagyabhyam, the application of focused intent to achieving complete release, non-attachment, to eliminate fixation, that destroys dualistic grasping, the tendency to reify and over-objectify, and which brings us present into the sacred moment of what-is-as-it-is. This is discovered by a practicing yogi in meditation (dhyana), for example in silent sitting meditation, in asana, or any other practice. Let it be clear that there is no yoga practice (abhyasa) without vairagya (non-attachment to results), and that there is no success without natural renunciation of grasping upon worldly objects (dualistic tendencies) and an observer. Any interpretation short of this, sells I.12 -I.19 short.

In any event, citta-vrtti must be eventually released (vairagya) completely, and then the mind is free from "the world" of fragmented objects (pratyaya) of attachment (ordinary attachment of phenomena via the sense organs and dualistic processing, which is another way of saying that an integral vision eventually dawns (when limited views and obscurations are extinguished). Vairagya is the quintessential yogic practice, but it remains perhaps strange in a goal oriented society who has been trained/conditioned to live in the future, the past, or in an existential seemingly solid world view/reality. The vrtti cease through sustained application of releasing the tendencies toward habitual fragmented mental processes. This happens naturally through practice such as astanga yoga, and especially effectively through unsupported emptiness meditation (dhyana).

Tan means to extend, to spread, or complete. Nirodha we have already discussed at length in sutra 2 as cessation. Note that abhyasa, consists of abhy (repeatedly and intensely facing the goal) and asa (to sit or abide). Thus, abhyasa connotes intensely abiding in the practice or steady or continuous application and focus. Here the goal is goalless -- being present and attentive. The purpose of the following sutras (Sutra I.13-14) is to define more precisely what Patanjali means by the word, abhyasa, which is paraphrased here as a moving into and abidance in stillness (sthitau). Although some may say that this has to do with will power, it is clear that sustained devotion and dedication can come from the innate heart intelligence shining through even more (as Patanjali says in many places such as I.23). It is moved through non-dual trans-personal intention (bhava) as in I.19. As discussed previously, nirodha as cessation, is passive, while in this context it combines with vairagya, as a natural release, as a sense of openness, naturalness, and liquidity devoid of preference or predisposed bias.

Vairagya is composed of two roots, vai and raga. Raga means attraction and/or attachment not only to external sense objects as a physical attraction or attachment, but also objects of the mind (citta-vrtti).-- mental attachment – like attachment to views, expectations, outcomes, etc. Here, the conditioned mind (samskaras) cease. Thus, what is left is the unconditioned/natural original pure consciousness (cit) which is now shining forth unimpeded. Hence, it is difficult for goal oriented people to understand vairagyam as a practice you see, as it appears to them as a non-practice. Yet, this is how the vrtti are released. Vairagya means release of any and all attachments. Here we learn to let go of rigid views about the world and who we are (self). Thus we can evolve and learn. That is the difference between stagnation and flow -- between inertia and creativity. The remedy for the primary klesha, raga (attachment), is thus vairagya (non-attachment). It is not a restraint, but rather a release/freedom. Thus, all that is necessary is to simply abide continuously in the state of non-attachment to our thoughts. That is what effective meditation teaches us how to do. Then the citta-vrtti will subside and cease. Then the profound non-dual unity of samadhi can occur (see I.18-19). Here, confidence in external teachers, scriptures, or external (dualistic) objects of support ceases by itself, as the authentic confidence born from a direct interconnected union (yoga) is experienced.

For example, human beings, who are locked into any citta-vrtti, say, pramana-vrtti, will interpret all "new information" from that pre-existing prison. Thus they will try to fit the ocean into the bathtub, or can't see the forest for the tree has blocked one's view, and so forth like that. When some one says; "let go", it's like letting go of their identity, their world, their life, but really it is only their bondage (ego existence). Flow and change then are possible. Change is not an enemy or threat, rather it is our best teacher. If we are not locked into pramana-vrtti" operationally then we can read everybody and everything profoundly and correctly as-it-is, because we are centered, much more deeply aligned, and in tune -- not in the mind, but in the heart/core. Eventually we are able to become informed through intimate transconceptual and transcognitive pathways via asamprajnata samadhi, nirvikalpa samadhi, samyama, prajna, etc., but no longer via the citta-vrtti. This is how the old rigid patterns are replaced by the next large wave! An opening occurs and FLOW happens naturally! It's energetic analogue is in opening of the Heartmind -- keeping the nadis open and pathways connected and unobstructed. It has behind it, the natural momentum of the entire universe, of all the elders, and of all time, and hence no effort is ultimately required.

In meditation we afford ourselves of the opportunity to let go of what we "think" we know. Let go of everything that we believe. That requires trust and courage, or rather confidence in the practice. Clear out and empty the mind field and abide in that natural primordial non-dual presence -- in our natural state of ever-newness intimately coupled to timeless presence. Oh how marvelous!

Be certain that abhyasa vairagyabhyam is a very powerful practice. It is not merely a philosophical concept. As we will see in this section (and the next) letting go (vairagya} is how change occurs -- how the old rigid patterns are replaced by the next wave! FLOW! Eventually openness/emptiness is realized as the obscurations vanish. It is as simple as keeping the heartmind and nadis open without fear and attachment,as the yogi becomes an open channel. For a yogi this is an effective practice to loosen old patterns/citta-vrtti distortions are loosened and with it the kleshas. Again, the most effective avenue for this is dhyana (emptiness meditation). Anyone can sit in meditation and try this. Little children know how to do this also. but most adults have forgotten. Here, we release pramana, viparyayo, vikalpa, smrti, and nidra all at the same time, while affirming the open vivid space of the present until final timeless awakening.

So raga means attachment, desire, craving, grasping, or attraction where vairagya is its remediation -- release, letting go of attachment, attractions, non-grasping, or of clenching, preference, or expectation. Vairagya leads to the ultimate freedom from desire, not through repression or aversion (dvesa), but through a process of relaxation followed by a period of openness. Vairagyam is often translated as worldly dispassion which supposedly feeds the fire for spiritual passion/compassion, however in yoga it is applied also to non-attachment to sense objects and to objects of thought (such as ideation, conceptualization, discursive thinking, adventitious thought, etc.)

Aversion (dvesa) is impossible without raga, and vairagya takes care of both. Apara-vairagya still involves a grasper (asmita) who grasps onto coarse (vitarka) or subtle (vicara) forms (rupa) from which one takes pleasure (ananda). This is distinct from param-vairaga free from association with dualistic form or content (free from processes of pratyaya). But it is just as important to know well that vairagya is not dvesa (repulsion, aversion, antipathy, hatred, dislike, inhibition, a dull neutrality, disinterest, numbed feelings, withdrawal, or indifference. (See I.17-19) It is not a cocoon, insularity, isolation, a disconnect, shutdown, indifferent state of mind, or a deadened and calloused/scarred heart. We often learned how to shut down at an early age in an attempt to protect our heart and feelings. Too often we have forgotten that we forgot that we have shut down our hearts and have become become scarred and deadened thereby. However, we can open up and let it shine, but many are lost in forgetfulness/non-recognition.

In the context of undying love, either we remain open to love or are indifferent, as in detached from it, dull, numbed out, withdrawn, and unfeeling. Since we often can shut down at an early age in an attempt to protect our heart. Here we are *not* defining love, as raga (craving or neurotic desire/attachment to things, objects, or phenomena, per se), but as a motive force/momentum coming from a heightened transpersonal and non-dual sensitivity -- a great non-dual all encompassing integrity that is real and coherent.

So be certain that vairagya is not dvesa, revulsion, self restraint, or repression, although it may accomplish some of the same things, but more effectively and completely. Even renunciation has elements of dvesa (aversion) as long as one is using willpower and effort to effect it. What a skillful practice effects is an open space and loving presence where a natural vairagya appears, where there is contentment (santosha) and great peace (nirvana) which is flows spontaneously from the release of the energy of any attachment or craving. This is the non-dual result afforded by asamprajnata samadhi (I.18). This is para-vairagya. See raga, dvesa, vrtrsnasya (I.15), vaitrsnyam (I.16), and vashikara. I.12-19.

Vairagyam, as being a sustained invocation of being in the present moment void of attachment, expectation, or preference; as a release of any attachment/desire (past or future), then connotes that abhyasa-vairagyabhyam are not two separate practices to eliminate the vrtti, but are to be taken both as one together as one practice, never separated. This spirit of vairagya is to accompany and be applied in every yoga practice and in All Our Relations. Release is essential. If this is properly realized, then success in life and ultimate liberation is assured.

Phenomena as objects, as independent entities, observed by a seemingly separate observer only appears to exist because of causes and conditions, only part of which is due to the tendency of the mind to interpret sense data. It may be a stubborn illusion when awareness is altered. The fault here is not the sense objects, phenomena, nature, the body, or form, but rather in interpreting "things", objects, and events through a limited mindset (citta-vrtti). Even while the senses are shut down such as in dreaming, in isolation tanks, or dark retreat, the discursive mind can still be wild. The trick is NOT to crush or control the mind, but rather to open, lengthen, and expand it in limitless contexts of beyond sequential time and limited space, so thoughts no longer arise. Ultimately, one realizes that there are no independent objects when the independent observer vanishes; i.e., when wholograhic awarenes self-arises. Vairagya is applied to thoughts as they arise; what meditators call vipassana or mindfuness. For example, one is mindful of a desire (raga-klesha), a fear (dvesa-klesha), or another emotional condition (klesha) and as soon as the mindfulness clicks in, we  immediately let the thought go. In meditation this may occur many times. The yogi simply needs to do nothing but let go -- let go and let go. When awareness  becomes  more subtle one lets go of the sense of ownership itself, the sense of a separate observer or self (asmita-klesha) and rests in a self-effulgent brilliant suchness, undisturbed by thoughts. This can be called the right practice of peacefully resting in the true nature (swarupa) of mind (samadhi-sunyam).

There are many every-day applications here. In daily life, expectations give us an opportunity to examine our reactions to the tendency of the mind to make expectation, assumptions, or predictions, thus extracting one from the present. The expectations by themselves, depending on how they are framed, may limit the possibilities, or not -- they may or may not take us out of the present moment; they may or may not color our view. Expectation thus does not have to have limitations or negative mental reactions on our part as long as we do not have "attachment" to them. Again the maxim is to "expect the unexpected" -- every moment is an opportunity to learn and go with the flow.

In short we may have an expectation as a possibility, but when the actual circumstance does not conform to that projection, then one is best advised to "go with the flow"  and make the best out of the circumstances. So it's non-attachment to the expectation that can make or break any situation. Another way of saying that is to expect the unexpected. That's vairagya IMO. That is like surrender -- -- getting out of the way, while one lets in guidance, as isvara pranidhana. See Sutra II.2

I used to get disappointed by people and/or events, but I discovered that it was just my mind that was tripping. I realized that I could change this. So then when I saw myself making some assumptions about what was going to happen, I would also expect the worse case scenario and be able to accept that as well. I would go to work to allow for all the possibilities, and that way was never disappointed and actually was sometimes pleasantly surprised. Likewise if I expected/anticipated the "worse case" then I would be open to other possibilities as well. Needless to say, many new possibilities were revealed because the mind was opened ... the citta-vrtti laid aside.

Sw. Satchidananda used to say: "Make no appointments and receive no disappointments". 

When I was much younger I would make appointments in my business, but when the customer wouldn't show, then I would be unhappy (my choice, but then I didn't realize  that I had a choice not to be disappointed). After hearing Swami Satchidananda, I would start bringing a book to read, enjoy the trip to the appointment, enjoy the scenery at the appointment, and other wise have fun and be present "on the way" in each moment. Gradually, I realized that all I had was NOW and that all my appointments or expectations were opportunities to BE HERE NOW under any and all  circumstances – In All Our Relations. Eventually I saw the relationship between the continuous application of vairagya (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam and Now Awareness. – being fully present -- allowing sacred ever-fresh presence into my life.

To be clear the word, "expectation" is being used in its basic definition, as anticipation -- as any projection into or prediction of the future. Hence, "expectation" takes us out of the present in anticipation of the future. Thus it demeans the present reality. If we can go into any situation (bar none) without leaving the supreme groundedness of the present (which is really all we have for certain which is real )  then the future no matter what it holds is simply another opportunity to respond from our center.

There are many examples. For example, I might go to a yoga class expecting one teacher, but there is a substitute. I become dis-"appointed" until I find that this unexpected new teacher is fantastic! However if  I became involved in "judgment" that one teacher was "good" and the other "bad" or was fixated in my expectation that things "should" go one way and not the other, then that is where the problems arise, especially if one person tries to impose their will upon the other or if both try to impose their wills upon each other.  

Another example, if I was going on pilgrimage to see a great saint and I shunned what appeared as an ordinary beggar sitting next to me, who was really a realized yogi in disguise, I would have missed a great opportunity, unless I was able to entertain the primordial sacred presence of the moment. This possibility is true at each moment. How would I know that I was distracted, if not for the experience of direct communion/intuition - a feeling for yoga that is the boon of an intelligent and self-informed practice.

This is a most profound process-oriented (versus goal-oriented) synthesis. The primordial present is always now -- waiting to be acknowledged.  As long-term sadhaks (practitioners of yoga sadhana) know from experience, it is too easy to become chronically goal oriented and lose the sense of sacred presence -- now awareness. Our society is overly inudated by such lost souls. Rather, the goal/destination is implicate in the path/present. It is not in the future, but here/now always. Too often a practitioner will become drawn into, obsessed, and fixated/attached to a future goal of the practice. Then sacred presence leaves them; while their enthusiasm and energy for the practice can diminish. With abhyasa-vairagyabhyam the result is absorbed and hence is not precluded, but decidedly included, alongside with the process oriented practice which honors the now awareness, is directed by it, and leads more fully into continuous integration (samadhi). That process of non-attachment should never be given up/surrendered. "Never give up, giving up" may sound like a contradiction for the outsider. So again it depends what is being given up and as a "result" of giving up (surrender) what is returned. The yogi, thus, does not simply give up/surrender per se; rather he/she gives up future goal oriented type strife, while approaching the practice in the eternal present knowing full well that herein abides one's true nature of mind. Inn process orientation it is the light, love, and vision of samadhi, which guides one at each moment as momentum -- as the motive/motivation force.

"The Only Cause of Happiness is Love. The Only Cause of Suffering is ‘self’ grasping."

~ Garchen Rinpoche

A feeling of deep gratitude accompanies having arrived, being present, mindful, grounded, and integrated, while taking each situation as a very attentive learning opportunity -- an opportunity to love more deeply. If that means cleaning up the creek, so that the animals have a healthier habitat, or cleaning up our own habitat,  or helping our elderly neighbor, or being an instrument of peace, we are doing what feels good to us while moving more deeply into our heartmind. Vairagya brings us joy by acting as the agent of love and happiness without attachment to results. Sure we may intend or prefer specific results, but it is far more important to act upon this urge as the impetus of spontaneous compassionate love, than to worry about its success or failure.

“Renunciation is not giving up the things of the world, but accepting that they go away.”

~Shunryu Suzuki

The highest vairagya is attained in non-dual realization that there is no separate object of body or mind to grasp, because there is no separate self -- no ego; but that may be a deep realization for beginner's to grasp. Grasping at concepts is of course also raga. Apara vairagya is the lower vairagya that relates to worldly objects and objects in general (and hence samprajnata), while para vairagya relates to the highest vairagya beyond dualistic ways of subject/object duality (and hence is associated with asamprajnata samadhi). In an indirect way all aversion (dvesa) fear, hatred, dislike, repulsion, and the like are also due to raga. In dvesa (aversion) there is always an underlying preference involved (like and hence dislike) -- an attachment to results. Advanced yogis love to give and help. Making others happy, naturally makes them happy. They practice vairagya spontaneously without any expectations for reward.

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold! Service was joy!"

~ Rabindranath Tagore.

So to reiterate, vairagya means is non-attachment in terms of egoless/selflessness, in terms of the absence of an I/it duality, the absence of the false identification (samyoga) with objects (pratyaya), in terms of samprajnata, in terms of dualistic coarse and even subtle identifications with the citta-vrtti.

In this way, any impulse toward incessant striving, stress, tension, and uniformed will-power is put on the back burner. It ceases to dominate. It simply no longer has any pull or push. Thus, the yoga saying that success comes from both grace conferred through vairagya, tapas, swadhyaya,  isvara pranidhana, and also  pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana -- a sustained sadhana (practice); which rests in the guiding light of non-dual realization. It is not an either/or proposition (is it grace or sadhana). The two meet as one -- divine will and individual will are married/synchronized here (sankalpa-shakti). This is how nirodha (cessation) of the vrtti is established through effective practice.

The common man, who has become addicted to cognitive processes of objectification -- reification processes , and who has lost awareness of subjective experiential wholeness (subject/object integrated beingness), may not be able to imagine surrendering his small minded mental operations and processes (vrtti) or having them cease. Such may seem utterly foreign, depending on one's degree of forgetfulness. For them, they identify *with* the citta-vrtti, they identify themselves *as* the vrtti, nay they are the vrtti. Sri Patanjali discusses this practice further in I.23.

Skillful methods and disciplines of renunciation and mechanisms of regret are stop gap methods; which may be useful once the citta-vrtti has become ingrained/imprinted. Eventually such willful practices also must be let go. Renunciation is only the precursor to true integral vairagya. Renunciation itself too must be renounced. Renunciation, resolution, and devotion are  methods  that are implemented only after our true innate vision (vidya) has become obscured. Renunciation and regret mechanisms should not be fixated upon as another "object" within the field of the consciousness; rather they are fuel to feed the fire, so that the soup becomes fully cooked. Yogis are often reminded not to mistake the method/boat for the shore. Right renunciation rather forms the basis of the stream winner, where there is no more falling backward. These activities must lead to liberation from the limited fetters of ignorance which obscures the mind and nadis, so that one can open to vast objectless liberation. It moves us from the contraction of a closed and armored heart, to an open HeartMind. Hence, affirmation, dedication, informed devotion, aspiration, and inspiration bests negation.

Sooner or later we give up this human body and with it the sense organs and their apparent objects of cognition, but we do not normally give up the limited mindset – the conditioned interpreter of our past conditioning. Karmic propensities follow us until exhausted or purged. Dreams and bardo realms follow the mindstream with or without the physical body, until the mindstream is purified of its limited attachment habits -- until the fruit of yoga is accomplished.

On becoming undistracted upon unbounded space, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche said:

"Can you imagine space? You can imagine it is empty, but that is a thought. Does that thought help anything? To meditate on a thing means bringing that to mind, but can you bring space to mind? Okay, space is empty. To keep that in mind is another thought. But without thinking anything, meditate on space. Can you? Isn’t it better to leave it unimagined? Unmeditated? That is why it is said:

The supreme meditation is to not meditate.
The supreme training is to keep nothing in mind.

While resting free of anything to imagine, like space, do not be distracted for even one instant. The one who trains like that can truly be called a ‘space yogi’. A yogi is an individual who connects with that which is naturally so. Space means that which always is."

So it is not that the sense objects are not real, that there is nothing substantial underneath them to support them, rather what "is" illusory is that we have become conditioned to think that they are (or WE are) separate/isolated from each other, that we do not have a common base, that they/we are self existing as independent with an individual essence, rather than being temporary creative expressions of the greater process of a vast great integrity. This is the third eye of the awakened one. We must learn how to see the larger dimension(s) present in terms of a timeless limitless now.

We all have choices to either get hung up with limitations, or not. Such tragic hang-ups are self imposed (as long as we have a choice). Buddha said that we take the choice of renunciation as a freedom and that is a stalwart of the path that leads to the cessation of stress (duhkha). Again that does not mean that we renounce the sense organs, sense objects, nature, the body, or phenomena; but rather the dualistic mindset (citta-vrtti) which interprets "it" in a very dim, if not dark, light. In short, through mindful renunciation in sublime vairagya, all is included and affirmed and nothing is left out nor needs to be included.     

In general, modern man has become programmed so that the discursive mind (often labeled as the monkey mind) with its inertia of incessant mental processing is constantly chattering and fluttering about save for brief times of taking pause, awe, grace, serendipity or deep sleep. dominates his consciousness. However, in meditation the monkey mind can calm down and through application (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam) cease completely as the mind lets go of its grasping onto mental objects. The periods of this stillness can be extended from a microsecond to eternity through practice. This letting go process of grasping onto mental objects as well as concepts in meditation practice is vairagya. To sustain that in sitting meditation (dhyana) is abhyasa or better abhyasa-vairagyabhyam. One eventually learns how to continually apply abhyasa-vairagyabhyam.

Applying abhyasa-vairagyabhyam continuously, intensely, and repeatedly creates much open space eventually leading to the dissolution of the vrtti back to its source, allowing for a spontaneous mergence with self effulgent luminous and intelligent very large empty space -- sunyata or the boundless mind= all of which merely coalesces when the vrttis cease. This is where Patanjali is headed in I.15 Vitrsnasya ( thirstless; free from craving) and in I.16 Vaitrsnyam (freedom from desire).

Continuous non-attachment in All Our Relations can be applied in everyday life (difficult unless we are on in retreat or on the mountain), but especially in our personal yoga sadhana (such as dhyana), by letting go of thoughts and images as they arise while dwelling in our natural seat (swarupa).   

The ancient yogis were of course in perpetual retreat (retreat from egoic attachments, fear, pride, greed, or envy); but today this is where taking a retreat, going to the mountain, roaming in the desert, vision quest, meditation (dhyana), as conscious practices can become catalysts for spiritual progress. It is more of an engagement with the well springs of spirit, rather than a withdrawal. Many sincere practitioners can’t afford elaborate retreats but but everyone can meditate (as a complete let go) for ½ hour or so a day and practice other yoga techniques as well in this same spirit. Then we can start trying to modify our life style (aparigraha) so that abhyasa-vairagyabhyam allows for complete and continuous illumination eventually ending in samadhi.

The idea of the co-existence of "non-attachment" (vairagya) in relation to practice ("abhyasa") is understandingly difficult to the Western novice, because too often non-attachment and continuity in the focused intent and application of yogic practice may appear oppositional; i.e., the word, "practice", too often connotes willful effort, hard work, and control. However what about a freely flowing enthusiastic type of practice which is loving, passionate, playful, joyful, and not based on putting one's nose to the grindstone? In other words a successful practice does not have to be forced. fixated, driven, willful, and neurotic.

By abhyasa-vairagyabhyam, we understand that vairagya (non-attachment to results) is the essential key practice (abhyasa) in and by itself which can be applied consistently in All Our Relations, then the contradiction between abhyasa and vairagya ceases. Indeed we shall see how sustained intense practice (abhyasa) applied without attachment to results (vairagyam) is a profound principle when applied to All Our Relations. It is the key to yogic union. Such activities expand (tan) conscious awareness far beyond the processes of citta-vrtti nirodha.

Practice is considered to be the path, while omniscient awareness as “view” is the goal/result. Hence the cause is often said to be practice and the desired result or condition is awakening. An artificial self made gulf is thus created between the practice and the result or the path and the view, while both are mutual synergists, the view illuminating the path, and the path amplifying the awareness/view. This can be labeled as bringing the view into the path or simply integration.

We do not take "view" into the path, nor the path into "the view"; rather they are integrated as the view is in the path and the path is in the view" or view and path are one for a yogi, but not the same. In this light, the view is like the clear light of pure stainless undifferentiated consciousness that illumines the path, while the path (as differentiated consciousness) discloses the light/view.

That is how light (pure undifferentiated consciousness imbued with non-dual elements of luminosity and compassion) gives birth to form and creativity within the ever changing evolutionary dynamic of co-creative interdependence in a sacred mutuality. Practice leading to direct experience is the path, while the direct experience is recognition of the  light (view). The light is always shining through, but for the ordinary mind, it is obscured by kleshas.

The non-yogi may logically ask how then can a loving, passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated practice exist without attachment. This is precisely where Patanjali is heading -- the uninterrupted flow of Primordial Timeless divine consciousness and love -- the complete merging of divine will with individual will or in Vedantic terms, the yogic realization of non-dual inseparable union of Brahman and atman.

It requires two things for attachment to take place. In terms of yoga there seems to exist a seemingly independent seeker or practitioner (sadhak) on one hand, and there seems to exist an apparently external or objective object or goal of yoga on the other. But in the the crown of samadhi-sunyam -- the Great  Integrity/Reality which has no bias (vrtti) of All Our Relations there exists no separation; rather in yoga the true self abides in swarupa (in one's true form) which is not governed by the vrtti. This profound theme is what Patanjali will be addressing throughout the remaining of the Yoga Sutras. Here there exists a natural enthusiasm or entheos of love, dedication, devotion, and zeal without attachment because such exists only in the awesome sacred non-dual world of the Natural Mind -- without future expectations. There in Indigenous Time -- in the Eternal Present, there is no goal orientation, no separate object relationships, and no sense of alienation from Self. Indeed the natural inspiration for practice is due to this communion with this timeless Reality, while effective practice moves us deeper. In other words sustained practice must be framed within the non-dual context of the eternal here-now in order for it to become effective/expedient (upaya). This eternal now is where we are going in yoga, but at the same time it is now and always has been from beginningless time. To mistakenly think that it is somewhere else, is reinforcing an illusion. Thus, again we are encouraged to entertain instant raw and naked presence NOW in All Our Relations.

Vairagya is profound as it is simple.  Vairagyam opens all doors out of citta-vrtti. No further yoga practice is necessary once vairagyam is perfected; while likewise vairagyam is the result of pefected yogic practice. Vairagyam  is not a philosphically derived idea; but the key that unlocks all blockages,  all attachments of body and mind . . . words cannot express "it".  It is as simple as breathing in and breathing out and breathing inand breathing out...  Simple homilies may be helpful in allegoric form. The homilies go like this:

When walking through the woods, the back leg has to lift up off the ground in order to be placed forward.
A carpenter has to put down his tool box first, in order to grab some nails and a hammer.
To breathe in deeply one must deeply release the breath completely out.
To know the unknown, one must release the known.
To experience the new, one must leave the old.
Every moment is on fire. Every moment is greenly lit in ever-newness. Sadhu

Beginning here with Sutra I.12, Patanjali enters into exposition of the specific remedial activities (sadhana) of yoga that lead to samadhi and foremost of them is the very causative application of tan-vairagya (extending the non-grasping) - the process of letting go -- of non-attachment, which facilitates the mind being present -- having arrived home. If there exists one basic application in meditation which is infallible, it is this -- Being present -- at one with Sacred Presence.

Vairagya can be translated not only as non-attachment to results and release, but perhaps more valuable as letting go of all expectation (non-expectation) -- to expect the unexpected. This is the necessary open minded attitude where functional success in yoga is realized. The cessation (nirodha) of the fluctuations, modifications, and distortions (vrtti) of the citta (mindfield) are catalyzed through the practice of vairagya -- the non-expectation of the beginner's mind. How else could rapid dissolution of the vrtti occur? HERE in this context is where we can achieve liberation. The practice itself (abhyasa) teaches us vairagya (non-attachment as release). It teaches us that it is futile to clutch, grasp, or hang on to the vrttis (although this can be a life time lesson for many). The major vrtti are pramana (politically correct and logical beliefs), viparyayah (erroneous or false notions), and vikalpa (conceptional artificial thought constructs in general) which glue together the largest false identification/belief i.e., that of a separate self (ego). It is this liberation from the limitations of ego delusion which must be realized. It is done so through the continuous application of the practice of vairagya in All Our Relations. Here, the word, consistent, is not being used because it too often connotes will power or repetition. The word, abhyasa. is much more active than that. It does not mean repetition.

The practice itself is an opportunity to let go of grasping and aversion both -- to get into the absolute beginner's mind of absolute wonder and openness (again expecting the unexpected). This kind of non-willful practice itself thus facilitates the vairagyam. Such is not performed by using the judgmental process (should I practice or should I not practice, should I d9 this or that, etc.) and the intellect and will (which belong to the ego (the vrttis). Here we are not using tha vrtti to guide us, but rather our innate deeper awareness (vidya). More so this approach to practice facilitates vidya by itself.

"Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky.

Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them.

Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly.

So don't worry about clear mind: it is always there.

When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind.

When thinking goes, there is only clear mind.

Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes,

You must not be attached to the coming or the going."

—Zen Master Seung Sahn

The importance of vairagya as an integral part to all yoga sadhana cannot be over emphasized. It along with isvara pranidhana (surrender to our greater potential) occupy more space in the yoga sutras than any other practice.

This section I-12 through I.19 is all about the various stages of vairagya -- as ungrasping onto any mental objects, concepts, or conceptual reality so that the purusa consciousness can shine through (I.16). Vairagya indeed leads us to kaivalyam (absolute liberation). See III. 50 "tad-vairagyad api dosa-bija-kshaye kaivalyam".

Non-attachment, non-expectation, non clinging to results or vairagya is thus the key to a constantly self-renewing and fresh successful yoga sadhana. The samkhya tradition has interpreted this sutra to say both abhyasa (focused and steady practice and vairagya (as indifference) are the two practices of this most important section I.12-19, but those two can not be reconciled utilizing the samkhya framework. Rather Patanjali means constant, intense, and dare I say passionate application of vairagya, while vairagya means non-attachment to results (fruits). Vairagya is love and surrender, rather than indifference, dissociation, or detachment.

A non-practitioner might suppose that this is a contradiction in terms, but what vairagya means is non-attachment in terms of ego, in terms of I/it duality, in terms of the false identification (samyoga) with objects (pratyaya), in terms of samprajnata (versus asamprajnata), in terms of dualistic coarse and even subtle identifications with the citta-vrtti -- all identification with the citta-vrtti then are completely rested. This is effected by intense (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam) practice motivated by an unrestrained bhakti/shakti. As an experienced yogi knows, the more bhakti and connection the yogi has for the universal Brahman (isvara pranidhana), the less attached the yogin is with material neurotic objects. Similarly the less attached the yogin is with the coarse and subtle egoic identifications and citta-vrtti, the greater, spacious, and immeasurable heart-space the yogin has created in order to let in the universal non-dual (asamprajnata) Reality of the vita-raga and the maha-videhas as we will see in I.12-19 inclusive. When boundless love is fulfilled in this life, complete victory over craving is won as a result. Such is the unending victory of love -- love and wisdom in action unending, without attachment to results.

This section of the Yoga Sutras (I-12-19) is most profound). Also see Chapter 2 on tapas, swadhyaya, isvara pranidhana, and pratyhara.

Recognizing the universal presence of Brahman or isvara as all inclusive, interpenetrating all beings and things is concomitant with the process of union/yoga – connecting with our true nature of mind. Without contradiction it coincides perfectly with para-vairagyam – total withdrawal from dualistic mental habits and attachments.  

So at the same time the yogin withdraws from the coarse dualistic world of appearances seemingly dominated by the sense objects governed by the citta-vrtti while creating space – total dissolution of the supposition of a separate object with any independent limited observer. Both false assumptions of the object and observer are destroyed as egoic mental contrivations and false identifications (samyoga). Such is not realized merely intellectually or conceptually, but rather experienced as a whoosh/shift (parinama). Here the experiencer, the experience, and that which is experienced are unified as one with the universal holographically.

As the yogin withdraws beyond infinite space, isvara enters, and hence the dance, the song, the divine pulsation comes back to us through this sacred space as it pulses through all beings and things.

The following is from THE ESSENCE OF BHAGAVAD-GITA by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Everyone will die, and those who don’t go today will go tomorrow or the next day. We should not cry or worry for them, because inside the body is the soul: “The soul cannot be harmed by any weapon, burnt by fire, moistened by water, or withered by the wind. The soul is eternal, but the body is subject to death, so don’t be unduly concerned about the body.“ (Bhagavad-gita 2.23)

It is all right to take care of our bodies to a certain extent. This body that Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has given us is like His temple, and we should care for it so that we can perform His bhajan. We should keep it clean and repair it, because otherwise we won’t be able to do bhajan. It is all right to care for the body to this extent, but it should be done with a spirit of detachment.

In the end, Bhagavan will ask for the body back, and it must be returned. He will say, “I have given you such a rare and valuable human form, so what have you done with it?“ That is why He has spoken verses such as:

“While ordinary people sleep, the sage is awake in self-realisation, and while the sage sleeps, ordinary people are awake in sense gratification.“(Bhagavad-gita 2.69)

We should simply engage in bhagavad-bhajan, bhajan to Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and go on doing our duty, considering happiness and distress to be the same. Up to this point, Krishna is giving general instructions.


After this comes the secret instruction, which is knowledge of Brahman. Brahman is spiritual substance. The spirit soul is Brahman, and so is the Supreme Spirit. Arjuna asks.

“What are the symptoms of a person whose consciousness is absorbed in Brahman? How does he speak, how does he sit, and how does he walk?“ (Bhagavad-gita 2.54)

In the eighteenth chapter the conclusion is given:

“One who is situated in Brahman sees Brahman everywhere, and he thinks, ‘I am also Brahman.’ Thinking in this way, he will meditate on Brahman, and will not experience happiness or distress. He remains steady in any situation, and merges his
consciousness in Brahman.“ (Bhagavad-gita 18.54)

“Go on doing your duty and don’t desire the fruits of your labour.“ (Bhagavad-gita 2.47)

In a general way. this is knowledge of Brahman.


After this comes the more secret instruction, which is knowledge of Supersoul. There are two classes of living entities, namely the fallible entities in the material world, and the infallible entities in the spiritual world. Beyond these two classes is Supersoul, an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in the hearts of all living entities, is described as being the size of one’s thumb. Meditate on Him, and if you don’t reach Him, try again. Again not reaching Him, try again.

“That formless Brahman that I mentioned to you before don’t go there! Beware! It is extremely difficult to attach your consciousness to something which is formless.“ (Bhagavad-gita 12.5).

Instead, meditate on the paramatma within the heart.

“One who links with Supersoul in yoga is really in the renounced order of life (a sannyasi) and is a real yogi. One does not become a real sannyasi merely by refraining from prescribed activities, or by muttering ‘I am Brahman.’ (Bhagavad-gita 12.56) This is all more secret instruction.


Guhyatam, the most secret instruction, is given in the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Pure transcendental devotional service (bhakti) is given there, but it is devoid of rasa. Although it is pure bhakti, it is not full of rasa. The most secret of all secrets is given at the end of the eighteenth chapter. It is the highest limit of bhakti, because it is full of rasa

“Because you are very dear to Me, I am telling you this most hidden of all instructions.“ (Bhagavad-gita 18.64)

Now, what is that instruction?

“Absorb your mind and heart in Me, become My devotee, worship Me, offer your obeisances to Me, and then certainly you will come to Me. I make this promise to you because you are very dear to Me.“ (Bhagavad-gjta 18.66)

Before this point. Sri Krishna had explained worship of Bhagavan with awareness of His opulences; this is worship of Narayana. However in this verse, four extraordinary activities are described. The first is "man-mana bhava": always think of Me; the second is "mad-bhakta" become My devotee; the third is mad-yaji: worship Me; and the fourth is "mam namaskuru":offer obeisances to Me. If you cannot do the first, then do the second. If you can’t do that, then do the third. If you can’t do that, then just offer obeisances (pranama), and everything will come from that.


Now we will speak on the first part of this verse, man-mana bhava: “Absorb your mind and heart in Me.“ This is not a simple thing. If we want to absorb the mind in any one activity, we must fix our eyes, ears, nose and all our senses on it. If the mind cannot concentrate on something, it is more or less uncontrolled. Sometimes our mind is contemplating sense enjoyment, and sometimes we think about Krishna. This is the conditioned state. The highest form of worship is to absorb the mind fully in the lotus feet of Bhagavan. But when will this be possible?


In meditation (dhyana), sit without any expectation. Apply vairagya to each and every thought as soon as it arises. Soon you will cut through sentences and even the beginning of words constructs. This cuts through the discursive or adventitious mind (monkey mind) and creates an open space for silence and light to abide. Accustom yourself to that open space.

In asana, allow yourself to be surprised and expect the unexpected. Allow yourself to learn from pure awareness in the present. Release (vairagya) any grasping, tightness, rigidity, or stasis thus using the body as a tool to release old body-mind configurations of fear, attachment, anger, attachment, or self-limitations until ego is let go.

The same process can be applied to all practices, making a sustained effort toward letting go ALL fixations and limitations. That is vairagyabhyam.


Sutra 13 Tatra sthitau yatno-abhyasah

That accomplishment of being present (tatra sthitau) is sustained upon continuous dedication, devotion, zeal, and concentrated enthusiastic (yatnah) application (abhyasa).

tatra: there, in that way.

yatnah: enthusiasm: zeal, endeavor. Enthusiastic sustained effort.

abhyasa: focused and conscious continuous application. At first this continuity appears difficult to sustain, because of the momentum of past karmic tendencies. However, with practice over time, practice becomes easier and effortless -- self sustaining, because the practice remediates past negative karmic patterns, creates positive karma, and heightens awareness. Thus practice becomes naturally self sustaining, liberating, and effortless.

yatno-abhyasah: A continuous sustained enthusiastic dedicated practice.

sthitau: based upon, resting upon, dependent, a state of balanced strength, stability, supported, foundational, unwavering.

Commentary: This continuous enthusiastic abiding is characterized by a resting into a great peace and stillness of the mind, which is effortless, open, liquid, and flowing. Tatra refers to Sutra 12 or vairagyabhyam. Here, distractive attachments toward an "object" are released or do not arise. Yogic practice will then become steady, stable, strengthened, and balanced (sthitau). A self supporting and naturally self instructing spiritual practice will unfold and become self-perpetuating nd enthusiastic, capable of supporting itself in itself. This way we form the stable base to progress further in yoga practice, which is to be firmly established in the practice of release (vairagya). Vairagyam as non-expectation is to be enthusiastically applied in all situations.

A sustaining, dedicated, devotional zeal, and/or natural concentrated enthusiasm enters into our practice moving us into stillness and provides direction, centeredness, and groundedness for All Our Relations. It provides an increasingly accessible still, stable, and balanced self supporting impetus in which to proceed. Thus, Patanjali defines yoga practice (abhyasa) as that activity which leads us toward, supports, and strengthens the presence of a sense of balanced and steady stillness (sthiti) where the polar turbulences or conflicts no longer tug nor nag the mind stream. Here, the word, sthitau, is translated as a passive firmness, stillness, or a restful steadiness, something like what we can experience in sama-sthiti or tadasana, rather than associate it with the idea of, fixity, which conjures up a contracted and active image of rigidity. Yogis do not pursue rigid minds and bodies. One translation of sthitau is a coming into a stable situation of rest, stillness, and quietude -- a steady abiding at REST.

Abhyasa should lead to a relaxed, stable, calmness, steadiness, restful, and self supporting foundational stillness and stability of the mind-field (sthiti). After it is firmly established it self perpetuates its own power and intelligence as we become accustomed to being stress free, empty, and open.

Swami Veda Bharati interestingly translates Vyasa's commentary (bhasya) on I.13 as:

"Stillness or stability (sthiti) means the mind-field (citta) flowing pacifically when it is without vrttis. The endeavor tending towards this purpose is virility or exertion. Practice is the observance of the means thereto, with the will to achieve its fulfillment."

Later SW. Veda Bharati comments on Vyasa's commentary:

"The endeavor is directed towards sthiti and is explained by Vyasa by offering two synonyms:

virya: virility, vigour, strength, energy, potency, the qualities of a hero

utsaha: enthusiasm, perseverance, fortitude, firmness, exertion, vigorous pursuit.

Obviously an endeavour should be undertaken with these heroic qualities turned inwards and their intense concentration directed at the effort to bring the mind to stillness."

from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with the exposition of Vyasa, Volume I, Pandit Usharbudh Arya (Swami Veda Bharati), Himalayan Intl, Inst. 1988.

Again the mutuality of abhyasa (as the sustaining practice) and vairagyam (letting go) in I-13-16 reflects a very profound and skillful balance and synergistic synthesis taken together as upaya, because "ordinary" mental processes that are operating under the dictation of dualistic mentation (the normal situation of the ordinary discursive mind) very often create a confusion between "practice" on one hand, and "letting go" (vairagya) on the other. This occurs because ordinarily we often confuse/associate practice with individual willfulness. In yoga balance and openness are key. For example, in India there often may too much indifference and surrender, then abhyasa (enthusiastic endeavor) is often emphasized, while vairagya is taken for granted. However, in the West, generally there is more fixation, goal orientation, obsession, and attachment, so vairagya has to be emphasized in order to achieve synergistic balance. However vairãgya and abhyasa both operate together in balance. For the hatha yogi, HA (or pingala nadi) represents abhyasa and THA (or the ida nadi) represents vairagya. This energetic balance between prana and apana respectively, provokes a mutual synchronization, synergy, and activation in the central channel (sushumna nadi), where a stable self-supporting (sthitau) enthusiastic base (yatnah) is`established.

Those of us who are lost in duality mistakenly think that practice, on one hand, and non-attachment to results, on the other, are conflicting. That way, a needless tension is created. Really, they are meant to work together as will be illustrated in the following sutras. In the same way, vairagyabhyam is the practice that clears the citta-vrtti and leads to samadhi. Continuous application of focused intent eventually reveals what we are holding onto; i.e., what is holding us back. Thus release (via vairagya) catalyzes our liberation (mukti) from bondage. Similarly, just the intent of taking up a practice is an affirmation of making a change in one's life and that it concomitant with letting go of something. Here effort and non-effort form the yang and yin -- the two poles of the great process of yoga sadhana that Patanjali is describing in Samadhi Pada. Just as profound is the question whether it is through man's work or divine grace that ultimate realization dawns. Is it earned or is it is bestowed? This is easily answered that by vairagya one does not mean a passive collapse or state of inertia because Patanjali calls it a practice. It is a particularly advanced practice that lets go of all attachments, even that of practice, thus creating space for Grace -- for the higher transpersonal wisdom to dawn (as we will see in Sutra 49 (Rtambhara prajna). One finds that in order to even find our practice and to have the grace to "do" practice, as well as to be successful in practice, such is due to to Grace alone due in the end to Grace -- a higher and more profound transpersonal wisdom and identification. But this does not mean that abhyasa does not act as an invitation to Grace when practiced wisely (upaya). In fact, vairagyabhyam leads to presence, whose recognition makes it much easier to let go of the citta-vrtti.

Consistent focused intent over time by itself builds up its own intelligent momentum and acts as the innate always accessible transpersonal teacher, especially apparent when we are able to give up expectation and preference (attachment to results) other than to simply abide in the sacred space which is always available and present within. This enables us to focus upon the innate beauty and power of the practice as an ongoing self revelatory process which provides access within to the timeless attributeless eternal universal transpersonal source which resides in all (isvara). HERE inspiration, zeal, dedication, devotion, and natural enthusiasm (yatnah) work reciprocally so that the practice becomes self perpetuating, self sustaining, effortless, energizing, and self inspiring. All activity becomes a moving meditation which reveals the ever present true Self and thus the practice takes on a life by itself, becomes energized and empowered, self actualizing, self empowering, self liberating, fertilizing the pregnant fields (abhumih) which gives forth beginningless birth, and which endows the fount of inspiration (virya). Eventually this practice become continuous (the esoteric meaning of the word, yoga, in All Our Relations!

Sutra 14 Sa tu dirgha-kala-nairantarya-satkara-asevito drdha-bhumih

After a sustained period of time (dirgha-kala), with attentiveness (satkara), and continuous dedication and attention (asevitah), then the practice itself will become natural, self perpetuating, spontaneous, and inner directed (nairantarya) establishing the practitioner on firm ground (drdha-bhumih).

Commentary: Practice will eventually spontaneously manifest from the inside out as a natural result. One naturally abides in their true self-nature (buddhanature) after the pulls of the past, the future, and existential fixations are broken. Practice becomes continuously inner directed (nairantarya), gains its own integrity and maturity eventually becoming firmly established through repeated prolonged or consistent application (dirgha-kala) especially when combined with the concentrated energetics of dedication, diligence, devotional attentiveness (satkara) which are assiduously cultivated (asevito). Simultaneously as our practice matures in stages, the quality of our enthusiasm, dedication, devotion, and desire to practice synergistically improves. In other words we find that functional practice leads to even more enthusiasm to the fertile soil (abhumih) of an even more functional (a-sevitah) practice i.e., it becomes natural, flowing, and self perpetuating. In terms of psycho-neuro-physiology a positive biofeedback loop is formed. Thus we start to listen within and are instructed by the innate original wisdom embedded in cit-shakti instead of the chitta-vrtti. When a practitioner releases old bodymind patterns they may feel a bit unstable or different. Not being predictable often is feared, but one can start to cultivate and welcome that state. Fresh unpredictability and non-expectation are to be welcomed. Here a sense of great fearless stability is eventually won (swarupa-sunyam as described in III.3). As we will learn in Sutra I.17-19 this is a timeless state of boundless openness that yoga provokes. It is not a state of attachment (raga) to things, objects, or separate phenomena upon which to grasp.

A major reason why these eight sutras (I.12-19) dedicated to vairagyabhyam (the practice of vairagya) are grossly misunderstood by scholars is because one cannot grasp onto vairagya. As soon as one attempts to hold onto it, vairagya, of course vanishes; yet it can be sustained. Yoga practitioners who meditate (dhyana) without an object know this, but scholars do not. Vairagya leads to natural openness and liquidity, our natural unconditional state (samadhi), which Patanjali defines as swarupa-sunyam (see III.3).

I.14 can be understood as a natural continuation of Sutra 13. Although Patanjali will offer many specific practices (sadhana) later on, he expands upon this theme that through a consistent and sustained dedication, inspired enthusiasm, and devoted concentration (yatnah), which is innately informed and integrated in our daily practice (abhyasa), then a certain steady and balanced (sthitau) state is achieved, which liberates the naturally fertile and self perpetuating potential of the practice over time. Here the practice itself becomes steady, self established, self liberating, and inner directed (nairantarya) having established a direct communion and intelligent energetic dynamic of its own because the inner conduits (nadis) of the (cit-prana) animated by cit-shakti has now become opened. A good practice grows on us naturally and is naturally expansive, self liberating, and self instructive.

Yogis see this in terms of karma, prana, and biopsychic alchemical processes involving all levels including the neuro-energetic and neurophysiological processes. In one sense, it can be demonstrated as the release felt when stress, conflict, anger, or tension is released, but samadhi goes much deeper. This practice includes letting go of letting go as well; e.g., letting go cannot be grasped. It creates an energetic realignment and karmic shift paralleling that of the innate intelligent source dynamic which animates and sustains all life, which functional practice itself creates over time. We can call this regaining the natural intelligence of the body/mind, connecting root and crown (muladhara and sahasrara) through yogic alchemical processes, or simply a spiritually self-empowered, practice, which activates our inner wisdom, while irrigating the evolutionary centers. To go deeper in trying to express this profound mutuality of an empowered practice most often becomes difficult to express in words. At first (to those who have not yet experienced it), it may sound like "mumbo jumbo", but advanced practitioners will take this reading as a confirmation. This activated power of the practice becomes a springboard itself -- its ability to become spontaneously self instructing and self liberating has become fertilized. This is what is meant by virya (as shakti pat) in its more esoteric sense. Thus the true yogi goes to his/her practice for instruction and guidance as it brings forth the inner wisdom and inner teacher, while a religionist or academician goes to ancient books or external authorities for guidance. Truly blessed are those who have gleaned this from concentrated self discipline (practice).

"The moon and sun unite
within your body when the breath
resides in the meeting place
of the two nadis ida and pingala.
It is the spring equinox
when the breath is in the muladhara,
and it is the autumn equinox
when the breath is in the head.
And prana, like the sun,
travels through the signs of the zodiac;
each time you inhale,
hold in your breath before expelling it.
Lastly, an eclipse of the moon
occurs when the breath reaches
the abode of kundalini
via the channel ida,
and when it follows pingala
in order to reach kundalini,
then there is an eclipse of the sun!
The Mount Meru is in the head
and Kedara in your brow;
between your eyebrows, near your nose,
know dear disciple, that Benares stands;
in your heart is the confluence
of the Ganges and the Yamuna;
lastly, Kamalalaya
is to be found in the muladhara.
To prefer 'real' tirthas
to those concealed in your body,
is to prefer common potsherds
to diamonds laid in your hands.
Your sins will be washed away...
if you carry out the pilgrimages
within your own body from one tirtha to the another!
True yogis
who worship the atman within themselves
have no need for water tirthas
or of gods of wood and clay.
The tirthas of your body
infinitely surpass those of the world,
and the tirtha-of-the-soul is the greatest of them:
the others are nothing beside it.
The mind when sullied,
cannot be purified
in the tirthas where man bathes himself,
...Siva resides in your body;
you would be made to worship him
in images of stone or wood,
with ceremonies, with devotions,
with vows or pilgrimages.
The true yogi looks into himself,
for he knows that images
are carved to help the ignorant
come nearer to the great mystery."

Yoga Darshana Upanishad,4.40-58 trsl., J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.

In meditation practice (dhyana), for example, the yogi may sit connecting earth with sky -- shakti with shiva, differentiated reality with undifferentiated reality, ever-newness with ever presence, body and mind, earth with sky, muladhara with sahasrara, etc. while establishing a base by completely emptying one's karmically controlled thought processes. That is the end of the citta-vrtta. That is yoga. The focus is on emptiness of thought formations by letting them go immediately. In practice when we watch for them to arise, they do not. Thoughts cannot be caught. The practice goes like this: "Empty empty empty, let it go let it go let it go, open open open". Dhyana itself bestows upon the yogi, who has self-discipline, the direct experience of an all inclusive, limitless, and boundless mind that is empty of "stuff". It is sublime spaciousness and uncontrived union devoid of conceptual processes, mental formations, partiality, or limitation. Success in meditation usually proceeds after much sustained practice (abhyasa), but mastery of vairagya is the primary keyless key that opens the open doorway. hence it is vairagyabhyam. (Please see I-15-- 19.)

Mahayana yogis use the term, sunyata, to connote emptiness. They also call the realization of the inseparability of form and emptiness as the middle way  (Madhyamika), of which the heart sutra (Hridayam Prajnaparamita) is a principle example. It is easier to understand that emptiness is directed toward "the self"; i.e., the concept the observer and/or the observed, which has been ranted by the mind (a citta-vrtti) as possessing any substantial true existence by itself. Rather the forms attributed to the self and selfness of perceived independent objects/phenomena reflect a fundamental unawareness of the evolutionary process and whole system universal awareness. Things and beings are empty of any separate/independent self, but rather are the result of fragmented and limited thought processes (citta-vrtta).

Another way of saying the same thing, is that all things and beings are inter-connected/interdependent. Theravadin Buddhists assign selflessness, no self, or similar transpersonal attributes to the miscalculation that ideates a "self", utilizing the word anatta or anatman. Mahayana yogis may criticize that as applying to the observer, but not to the observed, thus asserting the need for applying sunyata to both self and phenomena. I think this is needless nitpicking, after all if there is no separate self/observer, how could there be a separate independent object to view? We wont bother belaboring these ideological disputes, but just to say that the ideation of an independent self creates a static state that upholds all citta-vrtta. The ideation of an ego, by nature, creates static.

Emptiness is easily understood as open space, an open mind, an unobstructed mindset free from static,  the open channel for compassion and wisdom to flow. For yogis it is the central channel (the sunya nadi or sushumna). It is transconceptual, transpersonal, non-dual and uncontrived. One simply lets go (vairagya) of their dualistic attachments, and relaxes into the natural state. That natural state is the larger context – the whologram, web of life, the ever-present continuum that completes both birth and death – that which remains nameless, and transconceptual.

That is how vairagya, emptiness (sunyata), transpersonal self (anatta), non-duality (asamprajnata), and objectless transconceptual meditation (dhyana) are mutually related terms demonstrating relaxing into samadhi as our natural state. The yogic mantra: "Om Namah Shivaya", signals in the destruction of mental constructs, while making the mind open and empty, yet conscious. The Buddhist mantra: "gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, fully self-illumined, so it is" connotes the same uncontrived unattached openness of mind.

Then in I.15 (after addressing the characteristics of abhyasa) Patanjali details the practice of vairagya (what some may call the practice of non-practice).

Sutra 15 Drsta-anusravika-visaya-vitrsnasya vasikara-samjna vairagyam

When the mental operations are no longer focused (drsta) upon external teachings found in tradition heard or seen (anusravika) nor any externalized objects based within an objectified conditional framework (visaya), then a mastery (visikara) and freedom from all cravings and attachments (vrtrsnasya) toward the external or objectified world of objects (visaya) is established. Then our practice comes together and is touched by an intimate knowledge (samjna) that supersedes dualistic/barriered perception, which is gained through the activity of efficacious release called non-willful doing (vairagyam).

Anusravika: That which is heard, usually relegated to hearing words found in "sacred" traditions. Tradition: scripture, or authoritative source.

Samjna: intimate knowledge or understanding; total  comprehension; (direct) perception an equivalent or same meaning. In Buddhist abhidharma samjna is most often considered as ordinary perception that is not always accurate, but rather a prejudiced perception/cognition that displays only a limited/fragmented, fabricated, or vague dualistic picture of a phenomenal or apparent object.

Drsta (drista) : That which is seen or known.

Anusravika: Tradition: scripture, or authoritative source.

Visaya (visayam): A sense object or object of the mind, a clothing of the mind; a referent: An object placed inside an external objectified conditional framework. A referent in the relative sphere. condition/conditions. A realm or sphere of reference .A condition. “to be clothed”, “to be worn as a garment”, “to be inhabited”. Compare to the English word, visage.

Vasikara (vashikara): Associated with the most complete or final sublime mastery of vairagya (vaitrsnyam) which is asamprajnata (non-dual) Sublime contentment and freedom. The highest and fourth phase of vairagya after the final stage of apara-vairagya. Apara vairagya is the lower vairagya which relates to worldly objects (and hence samprajnata), while para vairagya relates to the highest vairagya of knowledge and hence is associated with asamprajnata (non-dual) samadhi. (Compare with anukara)

Vitrsnasya: thirstless; free from craving, fixations, predilection, or expectation. Contentment: complete. The condition or process which lets go of mental grasping and hence leads to the boundless mind. I.15 (see vaitrsnyam and vasikara)   

Commentary: HERE we are moved by the non-dual wisdom which brings joy, being free from the limitations of ordinary conceptual and extrinsic grasping -- the outward spinning thought patterns and mind-sets which oscillate in the narrow corridors of the conditioned objectified (visaya) neurotic mind (citta-vrtti). The expedient proficient activity which cultivates inner flow when outflowing cit-prana is redirected inward (vasikara), is vairagya (release of self efforting and attachment to results); which is accomplished when the yogi is no longer possessed by nor possesses neurotic cravings of external objects (visaya) of fulfillment (vitrsnasya) in the dualistic mindset of a separate "I" and "it"; thus the seer rests in undisturbed non-attachment and release (vairagya). Thus desirelessness (vitrsnasya) is achieved through perfection (vasikara) of vairagya, which coincides when one comes into an integrated inner non-dual understanding (samjna) that the objects of senses (visaya) such as what we see (drsta) and hear (anusravika) and all other such conditional/constructed fragmented frameworks based on sense objects (visaya) will only distract the mind and energy (cit-prana) further. When the cit-prana is no longer drawn outward by apparently separate objects (seen, heard, heard of, sensed, or imagined), then vairagya is perfected. Thus the continuous focused intent (abhyasa) of vairagya (non-attachment to results) is the primary practice to be be applied continuously that centers us in our core (heart) identity. Through applied practice, we become less frequently distracted, the citta-vrtta are quelled, and eventually cease by themselves, while we simply rest in a profound integrated sensitivity of non-dual presence. This process brings us into kaivalyam (our natural unconditioned/non-fabricated state), when we let go of the artificial distinction between purusa and sattva (Sutra III.50)

Perhaps a simpler interpretation for the casual reader (beginner) or others who lack experiential grounding would be, that the word, samjna, merely indicates and points toward the meaning of "equivalent". So, in this way, Patanjali is saying that the practice of vairagya produces an accomplished state, where a freedom (vitrsnasya) from limited relativistic and dualistic frameworks (visaya) is achieved; where heretofore, the world/reality was defined in a limited/fragmented piecemeal sense constructed by objects/things seen, heard, imagined, vaguely felt, or intimated in a partial manner governed by the senses, sense objects, forms, or thought formations. Here one wakes up in true non-dual attentiveness devoid of ulterior motives and is no longer being distracted and dissipated into a disparate dualistic worlds, where the separateness of self (spiritual self alienation) is reinforced.

A deeper interpretation is that Patanjali is saying that through truly seeing (drsta) and listening (anusravika) with the third eye (beyond the dualistic method limited by the senses and disparate mental constructions) the true nature of the mind is awakened; and hence, the true nature of phenomena are intimately known (through the vehicle of the intimate all-mind). The evolutionary circuits that are activated by the evolutionary energy (kundalini), which universally permeates the entirety of all-space and all-time (from beginningless time) activates true understanding (samjna) of the self-emptiness (sunya) of all the sense objects as being intimately interconnected (interdependent) as a continuous fluid wave. That intimate relationship is realized, thus leading to natural mastery and freedom from compensatory external desires (vitrsnasya). Therein, vairagya becomes perfected in swarupa (abiding in our natural true transpersonal universal form empty of the ideation/imputation of a separate self). HERE in the profound non-dual transpersonal sense, there is no separate self and separate object of attention -- no inside and outside, rather simply intimate infinite mind.

Traditional, fundamentalist, or orthodox interpretations, however may take "anusravika" in the Vedic sense of "listening to tradition, authority, ideology, or in the Indian tradition, the Vedas"; however, since Patanjali never mentions the Vedas or ideology as a path, and since he considers pramana to be a vrtti, this would seem to be a misreading or rather a method of limiting the importance of vairagya and bypassing it, while perhaps unknowingly placing a Vedic spin on what may be rather straightforward and profound yogic meaning based on practice in regard to the practice of vairagya and abhyasa. Similarly, adherents mired in traditional bias will also take "vasikara" as connoting forceful and willful control, as opposed to referring to the nuance of " mastery" in the sense of liberation, which no longer falls victim to the polar assaults of a conflictive subject/object drama. Free from traditionalist tendencies and ideological agendas, we are afforded a calm and clear view of the yoga perspective devoid of the imputations of the biased or prejudicial mind that tends to fragment, box-in, and limit consciousness and being.

If we take Patanjali literally, as meaning exactly what he says; i.e., in the context of the authority in the Yoga Sutras, rather than within traditional samkhya interpretations, then the value of the sutra takes on a profound yogic message. If Patanjali meant something very different from what he has said, then he would have said it. When we look at the Yoga Sutras sequentially in a meaningful coherent way, they exude profound yogic meaning in regard to what our own yogic practice evinces. However, if we take the institutionalized orthodox interpretations, the profound meaning of the sutras become limited and demeaned, making little sense other than as an intellectual exercise or philosophical discourse on an academic subject, book knowledge, or samkhya philosophy. In any case, in this sutra, Patanjali states that by releasing our hold on objects/phenomena of the mind, which would hold the practicing yogi back from direct experience. Rather, it should be an immediate experience, where things of the past as well as fixations (expectations) upon the future and especially the way the mind grasps onto "objects", should be immediately recognized and abandoned by the yogi , thereby instantly achieving a thirstless/desireless state; which in its positive side provides complete fulfillment and completion. This desireless/complete state (vitrsnasya) awaits us in the non-dual present of All Our Relations. Yet it is not absolutely complete yet, because there still appear the arising presence of dualistic objects. The mind is still colored by cognitive dualistic thinking to a degree (samprajnata), which the following Sutras I.16-17 address.

To an intellectual, left brain dominant (male), or frontal cortex biased analyst who favors will-power, forcefulness, and reductionist processes, but is lacking in integrative whole systems "modalities, the term, vashikara, implies to them the idea of subjugation and control, or even something to do with authority such as Vedic authority, scripture, or similar fundamentalist ideological assumptions of an external authority, but it is clearly not what Patanjali is stating in the Yoga Sutras. For example vasikara/vashikara can be perfection and sublime contentment due to para-vairagya (as total non-dual integration) where ideas of a separate self and separate objects no longer compute, and thus not necessarily stemming from active methods of willful control or subjugation (especially so when we are applying this to vairagya as release). If Patanjali meant willful control, then we must ask "who" is it that gains that mastery and over what? Would that lead to the universal self or to pride and asmita? Control is a word that portends to struggle, tension, and conflict, and at best self regulation, but vairagya refers to release of tension, struggle, and stress. The inclusion of normal willfulness would just be reinforcing the illusion of separateness, avidya, and specifically the egoic klesha of asmita. Patanjali however is far more advanced than that, rather he specifically says that vairagyam is sublimely accomplished when thirst/desire ceases (vitrsnasya). Willful control is rather the opposite meaning of vairagya. It's simply over when we relinquish it, just let it go effortlessly.

The highest vairagya is attained in non-dual realization that there is no separate object of body or mind to grasp because there is no separate self, but that is a deep realization for beginner's because it cannot be grasped by the intellect. Grasping at concepts is of course also raga. Apara vairagya is the lower vairagya which relates to worldly objects and objects in general (and hence samprajnata), while para vairagya relates to the highest vairagya beyond dualistic ways of subject/object duality (and hence is associated with asamprajnata samadhi). In an indirect way all aversion (dvesa) fear, hatred, dislike, repulsion, and the like are also due to raga. In dvesa (aversion) there is always an underlying preference involved (like and hence dislike) -- an attachment to results.

Similarly the word, samjna, is here translated as "coming into intimate non-dual understanding", born of self awareness, or an intimate and direct knowledge. Samjna is composed of sam (together) and jna (to know or understand), so that vairagya and vitrsnasya are being integrated as part of an integral process. It does not connote a reductionist/analytical method. If it is applied in a dualistic sense where there is imputed to be a separate observer and a separate object that is observed, then it is a defined merely as a fragmented aggregate or thought construct (such as found in Buddhist Abhidharma). Here Sri Patanjali is not referring to the condition of subject/object duality.

Again, there is no intention of restraint or control (which is unfortunately too often mistakenly attributed to vairagya), but rather the opposite; i.e., the mastery or perfection of non-attachment (vitrsnasya), which is natural openness. Here the outflowing of the cit-prana ceases (in perfected vairagya). To a willful and left brain dominant person mastery may conjure up force, control, or restraint, but here it should be obvious that the mastery is one of release, letting go, and surrender pertaining to vairagya (non-attachment -- non-control). Vairagya connotes the big "let go", a release, or simply non-attachment of any anticipation, and hence anxiety also departs. Here goal orientation is utterly defeated as well as dependence upon conditioning (visaya). In this way unconditional joy and well being is naturally affirmed and self sustaining. It is not unusual that the traditionalists will bring in the Vedic spin and issues of control in their interpretations in 1.12-16, because Patanjali is speaking about the exact opposite of control, tradition, and the past, i.e., vairagyam. Vairagya as release becomes clear to advanced meditators (those who practice over time). The ordinary (dualistic) mindset (citta-vrtti) tends to wander toward objects of claiming its attention, yet applying vairagya continuously via focused conscious intent (not through control, suppression, nor restraint but simply by consciously releasing the thoughts and words of the monkey mind as they start to arise), then the arising of thoughts eventually become pacified, eventually ceasing for longer and longer durations until this becomes recognized as our Natural (unconditioned) Mind in swarupa.

"If while speaking of the samadhi of oneness, you fail to practice straightforward mind, you will not be disciples of Buddha. Only practicing straightforward mind, and in all things having no attachments whatsoever, is called the samadhi of oneness. The deluded person clings to the characteristics of things, adheres to the samadhi of oneness, and thinks that straightforward mind is sitting without moving and casting aside delusions without letting things arise in the mind. This they consider to be the samadhi of oneness.

This kind of practice is the same as being insentient like a rock and is the cause of obstruction to the Tao. Tao must be something that circulates freely; why should we impede it? If the mind does not abide in things, the Tao circulates freely; if the mind abides in things, it becomes entangled."

from the "Platform Scripture", Hui-Neng

A practicing yogi who meditates (dhyana) experiences this intimately and directly (samjna) through an integrative practice (praxis). Through tasting the effects of vairagya in daily practice (on or off the meditation cushion or practice mat) in the context of All Our Relations. Mindful as to WHEN and WHERE thoughts are arising, wandering, and subsiding (not why and how they arise and set), allows us to release them (not following them). Then our attention is naturally brought back to the core center in "vasikara samjna vairagyam". We become aware of the discursive (monkey) mind wandering. We can at first try to bring the wandering mind and energy back through pratyahara, but later as our practice becomes more subtle, natural, and less dualistic, the mind comes back to its core center simply through vairagya. Here, vairagya is the remedy for all outward cravings and anticipation -- specifically the remedy for the kleshas of raga (attraction) and dvesa (repulsion). It is the very reversing outward flow as in pratyahara away from any obsession with the outward dissipation/distraction neurosis (which is a primary dissociation from wholeness). The energy is brought back into the core center or sushumna ( inward and upward) activating the innate co-evolutionary process. Through vairagyam  the yogi withdraws the clinging of the dualistic mental dynamics, while redirecting it to the beginningless non-dual primordial presence that is reflected in all beings and things simultaneously. Although vairagya is the primary process that dissolves the citta-vrtta preparatory adjuncts are found in Patanjali's limbs of astanga yoga such as pratyhara, tapas, bandha, isvara pranidhana, pranayama, dharana, and dhyana as the yogi we prevents the cit-prana (consciousness and vital energy) from dissipating and spinning outwards through implementing and directing the spiritual gaze (bhava) inside to the universal heart of all hearts (hridayam) -- the holographic center within the center of all. This rekindles our natural innate yearning and passion for the true nature of self (true self-realization in samadhi). It is at once inspiring, strengthening, potenizing, and invigorating. When this re-alignment is well established over time (through authentic abhyasa and vairagyam), it establishes its own energetic dynamic revealing the non-dual (inner/outer) teacher. This creates a karmic shift paralleling that intelligent energetic which the practice itself creates over time. We can call this regaining the natural intelligence of the body or simply a self-empowered, practice, which empowers our inner wisdom.

This way we re-educate our pre-existing errant mental. emotional, physical, and energetic proclivities toward seeing the "Universal All Pervading Self" continually in All Our Relations as love loving love. Thus we conjoin the process of unifying with the intelligent Source of cit-prana) more deeply communing with it here and now in sacred presence. We both welcome it, while it simultaneously it welcomes us, bathed in the indefinable Reality of the Great integrity of the unconditional, boundless, all pervading, primordial, Infinite Mind. We gradually become more at home residing in the Ever present HERE. Such reprogramming is the result of functional and authentic yoga practice.

Vairagya self-accomplishes the process by releasing old thought patterns that obsess upon the future or the past, old karmic patterns, old mind-sets, or any such other goal oriented fixation, false identification, neuropsychological dysfunctional pattern, goal dependent orientation, or, more simply put, attachments, expectations, prejudices, and anticipations dependent upon the past or future. This release of anticipation spontaneously directs the vital energy and attention inward to a centered and still place, and thus one's proclivity and passion toward its benefits increases automatically and naturally; i.e., a new positive biofeedback loop or habit is formed, while the practice of "vasikara samjna vairagyam" becomes the practice of no practice -- effortless, invigorating, energizing, self inspiring. self liberating, and free from "self"-will. All contents of the individual mind (pratyaya) must be released. This is achieved when the mental context, from which the contents of the mind have been previously hosted, is expanded limitlessly. That all inclusive (non-exclusive) context is where the yogi rests in natural all seeing peacefulness. That is also the co-evolutionary realm whereupon the yogi interacts in All Our Relations.

On a simple level, vairagya is the acceptance of the present without anticipation, apprehension, fear, desire, longing, expectation, or even preference. Vairagya does not mean some neutral passionless state of detachment, spaciness, indifference, withdrawal, or abstraction; but rather as we will see in the next sutra, vairagya can be equated with the divine passion for ultimate union with param-purusa (reconnection/reunification with universal spirit and consciousness) as our everyday embodiment/manifestation --as our Reality in All Our Relations) is maturing. In other words when we empty out the pot of dank water, it can then be filled with fresh nectar. Thus this is a simultaneous process of letting go of dysfunctional attractions and anticipations (the kleshas of raga and dvesa) while at the same time deepening our passion/communion in sacred presence. Vairagya as such redirects the cit-prana from an outward, dissipating externalized distraction, back into Source and back into the body as an inner directed act that catalyzes divine passion. As such on many parallel levels with such practices as pratyhara, pranayama, aparigraha, santosha, tapas, isvara pranidhana, bandhas, mudras, and others.

When that sense of a deep heart felt "connection" is strengthened through practice, then in turn neurotic distractions spontaneously and naturally lessen. That light of consciousness (citta) which was previously obscured through the action of vrtti (the veil of ignorance) starts to shine through more often, further reminding us to let go of old corrupting and dysfunctional modalities of tension, strife, and disintegration. As vasikara (mastery) becomes slowly perfected (as no longer being subjugated to outward flows of consciousness and prana), it is here also that the bandhas become engaged spontaneously, the inner seeing becomes amplified, our practices become extended to All Our Relations producing virya (empowerment), and unconditional joy re-enters into daily life more continuously.

Sw. Venkatesananda's commentary on this Sutra talking of samjna and vasikara says;

"The attention that was flowing outwards suddenly begins to flow toward yourself. That is called vasikara which means that it comes under your control. That is control of a very different kind. There is neither expression nor suppression, but intense self-awareness. When in the light of self-awareness the mental colouring is seen and the object is then seen not to have that value, simultaneously the craving disappears...That is not yoga because you get so dreadfully committed to the vrtti called control. Yoga has slipped through your fingers".

This state of thirstlessness leads us well into the key of understanding and applying sutra 1.16 in the lofty terms of nonattachment to the gunas (guna-vaitrsnyam) as param-purusa-khyater (the revelation of param purusa). See also the commentary in Sutra I.9 on on vikalpa, sutra I.42 (on words), sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems), sutra I.17, on vitarka, and I.49, sutra I.42, and sutra I.16.

Sutra 16 Tat param purusa-khyater guna-vaitrsnyam

Through that [practice] where total non-fixation and freedom (vaitrsnyam) from attachment to what appears as isolated or independent objects (the gunas) there occurs the instantaneous and simultaneous recognition (khyater) of the universal indwelling, all encompassing, and omnipresent primordial seed source of consciousness which resides in all-- param purusa-khyater (the innate natural clarity of the Universal Infinite Mind - the Great Integrity shines forth devoid of exclusion or negation).

khyater: illumination, clarity, recognition, realization.

param: most sublime, highest, unsurpassed, undiminished

purusa: most commonly in sankhya philosophy, the witness consciousness who is said to rest in pure objectivity. Never-the-less this so-called non-attached conscious state is still framed in subject/object duality, imputing an observer and an object, which is observed. However, in yoga, a universal primordial, original, all pervading, and untainted awareness (sometimes called the the Big Self when integrated in pure beingness/abiding) is everywhere present (in great presence). When the wisdom eye is opened, then the true profound nature of phenomena is disclosed. Then the yogi acts as a pure channel for the universal evolutionary force. Patanjali does not refer to purusa as a separate/independent person or "self". In yoga, purusa, is the referent to the true transpersonal non-dual self. The true identity of purusa is revealed as levels of penetrative insight (viveka) are developed through yogic practice. Viveka, as the sword of discriminating wisdom, where infinite diversity is developed (where nothing is excluded nor needs to be added) is known in an unconditional natural multi-dimensional interdependent and very connected network. Entering that transpersonal non-dual domain, param purusa is known. It is not known until the conceptual dualistic processes are released (vaitrsnyam). See the glossary, I.24, the beginning of Kaivalya Pada, and`especially this discussion entitled Purusa can not be Owned or Bought. See Professor Whicher's commentary on Prakrti and Purusa for a more detailed discussion of Purusa as pure being.

gunas: Classically, the evolutes of creation/nature (prakrti). The world of form and formations and various karmic conditions. As such, conditioned phenomena within the realm of everchanging events (temporal existence).

vaitrsnyam: Freedom from all desire and attachment. A strengthened and higher form of vitrsnasya simultaneously free from the false notion of separate objects (the gunas) and simultaneously the arising of n0n-dual all pervading consciousness revealed inside and out (purusha consciousness). (see vitrsnasya and vasikara). Also see: Vairsharadye (vairsaradye) which is an even more strengthened form of visarada: uninterrupted, extremely broad, and profound sphere of open clarity. Seamless clarity reflecting the whologram in each expression -- in All Our Relations. Boundless. In modern times it has come to connote broadly learned, some one with extensive experience or skill. (I.47)

Commentary: The most sublime being (param purusa) precedes the gunas, while the gunas reflect and reveal it. The yogi can never say that he she is the param purusa or great Self, but only its channel, its vehicle, expression, its voice, arms, legs, and love. For that love to occur, the yogi must learn to release his/her former mental attachments (vaitrsnyam), all individual fixations, material cravings, and past associations. Thus, Sutra 16 is a natural extension of the previous sutra (I.15).

Progressively then, as the strength of one's practice increases, the vrttis also correspondingly subside and vanish resulting in sublime renuniation of observer and object, of all fixations in a state of sublime, divine, or sacred love where no mundane love can supplant. It winds up in a state of sublime devotion, dedication, and realization of the true self, the purusa. The yogi eventually winds up in stillness and clarity of the bigger transpersonal non-dual transconceptional "Universal Mind". Then the individual mind has become transformed/enlarged resting/abiding in its true self-nature (swarupa) as a realization (khyater) dawns of param purusa (Infinite all pervading Universal Consciousness/Mind, Supreme Self, or Absolute Universal Transpersonal Consciousness). This awareness grows on us through practice. It becomes increasingly present as sacred divine presence. Thus through this dawning realization (khyater) of param purusa one wins the freedom from any distractive desires (vaitrsnyam) for external objects (the attractive outward spinning of the mind toward the gunas are stilled) as we focus on the unitive Cause of relativistic duality/differentiation (the gunas). This is the realization (khyter) of param purusha (the transcendent All Encompassing Universal Consciousness) [which is brought about through not being caught up (vairagya) in the multitude differentiations of mundane relativistic existence (gunas) as being separate individual/differentiated forces (discrete)]. Simultaneously, the yogi wins freedom (vaitrsnyam) from the cause of bondage to differentiated objects which only appear to be separate but in Reality are all united in the Whole. This param purusha is within all beings, within the entire universe (universal) and of course within the yogi as his/her intimate essence. It cannot be possessed, owned, grasped, or isolated.

By realizing the transpersonal non-dual whole (param purusa) -- the Great Integrity, Big Self, or Boundless Mind, by the cessation (nirodha) of habitual superficial dualistic mappings of the mind (visaya) which occur through the distorted lens where consciousness is abstracted into differentiated physical objects of existence (gunas), then the dualistic colorings, filters, veils, shrouds, enslavements, hindrances, and other such limitations based on the delusion of separate object and a separate perceiver (ego), which is called ignorance (avidya), are loosened, eventually dissolve, and are utterly destroyed (nirodha)

Here the word, guna, simply refers to the differentiating process of any or all physical phenomena i.e., the phenomenal world consisting of separate things and qualities. In short one is no longer attached to merely the physical -- the objective state of ordinary materialism which is attached to the realm of physical objects. At this stage in our practice we realize that further extrinsic pursuits into the myriad characteristic differentiations of material existence as separate phenomena (as symbolized by the gunas) will not bring forth true and lasting happiness. Rather Spirit/Source lies in a different direction. When it is realized inside, it is simultaneously realized in all things -- as omnipresent and eternal. No separate thing (phenomena) can be such.

That is, reductionist and analytical thinking (although useful in mathematics and some applications`in technology) is not up to the yogic task od samadhi. It will not be adequate nor helpful toward bringing forth integration -- the Integrity which is yoga. Rather the practitioner is learning through the practice (abhyasa) of vairagya that it is the process of knowing this very instrument of seeing itself-- the inherent intelligence behind the eye (the inner or third eye) which determines everything (whether we see clearly and completely on one hand, or not clearly in the confused and fragmented way called avidya or ignorance).

It is valuable to point out that in yoga, the param purusa is not itself a separate object like God, but it is a state of self realization (khyater) -- it is an heightened way of observing/seeing. It is not a separate witness consciousness although at first it may appear to be separate from our inner intelligence. rather it is the great flame which lights intellect and all intelligence (the intelligent principle if you wish) but it is a principle not based upon any condition or theory.

This way the practitioner begins to pursue the non-pursuable; expects the unexpected; begins to see beyond the sense (the third eye is opened); and the yogi then becomes more attuned to the underlying ever present eternal unifying universal current of unbounded consciousness (param purusha) which has always existed behind the scenes of what we have previously labeled as gross temporal materiality. As we become increasingly aware of this absolute, universal, and eternal consciousness underlying the consciousness principle (param purusha) and see through the clear glass of its Reality, we abide effortlessly in our true nature (swarupa) thoroughly devoid of desire (vaitrsnyam) . It is this lens which is no lens at all, which is free of distortion and all aberration. Then the agitating and disturbing patterns (vrtti) moving us away from our core energy naturally subside and come to rest in a joyful and timeless stillness (nirodha).

It is valuable to point out that vaitrsnyam refers to freedom from desire or distractions and connotes the successful completion of vairagya (non-attachment). It would be contradictory to the essential purport of the word, vairagya, to misinterpret vaitrsnyam in terms of any willful control (as traditionalist left brain dominant academia assert) for certainly HERE there is no ordinary effort, but rather natural transpersonal inspiration, spiritually motivated zeal, enthusiasm, and divine passion reign. Also it is perhaps salient to point out that vairagya and vaitrsnyam as meaning freedom from distraction and dissipative cravings, then it would connote (samjna) the accomplishment of the opposite direction of distraction which would be attentiveness and attention. Similarly the opposite direction of vaitrsnyam would be continuous fulfillment or completeness such as santosha, aparigraha, and kaivalyam (See the following padas for more on these). Here the cit-prana is remediated inward activating the previously dormant non-dual evolutionary energy leading to Sat-Chit-Ananda.

So in I.15 one realizes non-attachment as freedom from the sense objects (seen or heard) as vitrsnasya), but here it is non-attachment as freedom from the gunas (all of creation) as it reveals the universal primordial consciousness (param purusa=khyater). Guna is simply the word that denotes a method of analysis based on raja, sattva, and tamas (the three gunas) in order to discern differences in differentiated reality/relative awareness. That is the system that samkhya philosophy subscribes to which defines and creates separation and differentiation between the various aspects of what is ordinarily labeled as the phenomenal or objective world. Here Patanjali declares freedom from that method of classification as such is superimposed upon the field of consciousness and colors it, as it truly exists as-it-is in naked awareness (swarupa) devoid of any such philosophical elaboration or any other artificially imposed filter or fabrication free from reductionistic comparison based on dualistic existence. Samkhya adherents will say that this is the way "it" really is. For them they believe it, but it is just their preferred filter, coloring, or vrtti. Patanjali is saying something quite the opposite and that is precisely why this simple sutra has become severely attacked and distorted by institutionalized samkhya interpreters.

For a philosopher, scientist, or other reductionist thinkers who wish to catalogue phenomena, one easily may become immersed in elaborating upon the gunas in endless analytical thought, but it is not an effective methodology for a yoga practitioner who is rather attempting to reside in boundless all inclusive freedom without such attachment -- being free from the causal extraction process itself. Not that Patanjali is saying that analytical techniques are not of use in "the world", but rather in functional yoga practice, one eventually benefits from a transcendental release or freedom from such reductionist/extractive processes themselves, by residing in a living systems wholism/hologram.

The samkhya idea of the gunas may be presented as the unfolding and differentiation of the physical world, which can be discerned or identified as forms possessing discrete qualities. Here in yoga (in distinction to samkhya), Patanjali says repeatedly in different ways to the contrary --  that although the so-called objects of form may appear isolated, fragmented, and separate; however, from the unitive non-dual and transpersonal standpoint of param purusha or Infinite Mind, they are inextricably woven together (through the practice of yoga), which by its very definition interconnects everything together. The Buddhists call this relative truth, the world of cause and effect, where all things are mutually interdependent within the whole (not separate). In Sanskrit it is called pratityasamutpada. Realized masters state that form is empty of a separate/independent self; but is rather inseparable from the whole. Indeed within a holographic all pervading vision, the phenomena of creation is a fluid, dynamic, and intelligent process whose meaning and power is revealed in relationship to the whole, which includes the entire universe which is known as one intersection of where the process of time and space intersect. Yoga is not reduced/deduced by breaking down  phenomena into isolated parts in the pursuit of an essential element.  Ultimately, nothing exists as separate and apart, although relationships are gleaned. Thus, the process reveals the param purusa in All Our Relations as All Our Relations

Here, Patanjali is not denying the richness of prakrti (as traditional interpreters may surmise); but au contraire, he is affirming that the reductionist approach of separating creation into fragmented parts is distracting. Such a reductionist process limits the magnificence of the non-dual unbounded whole of All Our Relations as it truly is in swarupa. Thus one need not know the intricacies of samkhya or Vedic philosophical systems (albeit they offer brilliant intellectual exercise) to understand the import of the Yoga Sutras according to the teachings of Patanjali; because the teachings of pure yoga is a complete system in itself. Yoga practice as outlined by Patanjali is not dependent of such systems.

In this context the yogi does, however, need to understand well the value and efficacy of the practice of release (vairagya) of grasping onto separate objects of attention, onto external systems, upon objective fixations, upon any "god" that is not omnipresent. This release is a release of limited views and beliefs, as well as conceptual frameworks. It is a release of the ego (asmita) as a separate independent self. When the view of a separate self (as observer) is released fully, so too is the view of a separate object which is observed. It is a release of the distractions and dissipations, which keep us imprisoned in duality -- a process of reclaiming the outward spinning of the cit-prana's distraction which then provides the energization necessary for evolutionary embodiment which in turn frees the psycho-neurological circuits that have become overloaded, bonded, blocked, fixated, distracted, externalized, and dissipated in temporal outward flow through negative conditioning, programming, habits, vasana, samskara, vrtti, and/or karma. Eventually the yogi becomes a fit channel for universal and unconditional love. Hence Patanjali is slowly outlining the way toward the empowerment of samadhi where universal transpersonal being and liberation co-arises.

Here some translators point out that in the previous sutra (I.15) Patanjali introduces the basic practice of vairagya (as freeing the mind from objects through non-dual release); but, here in I.16, Patanjali is describing a natural and more mature (param) vairagya, which happens after the yogi has obtained a more complete glimpse, clearer insight and vision of our innate integrity and identity as purusa. Indeed vairagya leads the yogi into the highest insight and realization, and for such it is a direct vehicle to ultimate attainment. Shankara says in his commentary on this sutra, that for a yogi so possessed (by the skill of the unpossessor) there is no need for further practice of any other means for attaining kaivalyam (absolute liberation) or "etasya hi anantaryam kaivalyam". On this point we agree with Vyasa's classic and brilliant samkhya analysis.

Sutra 16 then is simply a natural extension/progression of Sutra 15 where vaitrsnyam (I.16) is the strengthened form of vitrsnasya (15). So some may call this the highest (param) type of vairagyam where desireless is obtained. I prefer to have this refer to the beginning of the dawning realization of the highest self (param purusha) or the innate buddha nature. To reiterate, vairagya is not just a neutral dispassion, indifference, an escape, nor a catatonic withdrawal from Reality, but rather the opposite; it is part of the process where we withdraw from the illusion of fragmented existence and then almost simultaneously commune more passionately with the divine in All Our Relations. Thus proficient vairagya (release) produces at first a realization (khyater) about how the basic ways that we are ordinarily dissuaded from Infinite Mind (param purusa). Through realization we learn how not to be so uprooted from it. By light of consciousness we become aware that the mind and energy (cit-prana) has wandered and become misappropriated to an external object, so then we implement "letting go" by releasing our own chains which is the same as embracing the Param Purusa. This Reality becomes experiential -- we experience it inside and outside simultaneously, albeit at first it is found inside. On an energetic level, vairagya is the process of turning our attention or consciousness away from external distractions and shifting inward upon the Great Self (the Great all inclusive Integrity of Infinite Mind -- param purusa) which is the universal teacher, which exists inside ALL beings and things as well as being boundless. As such, it is closely allied with the practice of bandha on the physical level, as well as the practice of pratyhara as being the bridge between the energetic or pranic level and dharana (concentration) leading directly to dhyana and samadhi.

Such yoga practices are designed to free the practitioner from being preoccupied and fascinated by illusory dualistic existence and its recurring cycles of physical and emotional craving, desire, aversion, envy, greed, anticipation, anxiety, tension, disappointment, grief, anger aversion, and suffering. As our practice progresses over time, the joyous realization and spontaneous celebration of "Self" as the imperishable Reality of the truth of existence -- of "who we truly are" considerably deepens. Here we are letting go of everything which fuels old mind sets, compulsive and dysfunctional emotional patterns, old mental activities (vrttis), old politically correct belief systems (parama) which didn't fit, as well as old life styles which were based on past ignorance. Vairagya as such is closely associated with the spontaneous practices of saucha, santosha, aparigraha, tapas, swadhyaya, isvara pranidhana, as well as pratyhara, pranayama, dharana (samyama), the implementations of the bandhas, and especially in the practice of dhyana (meditation).

"The Kensei comes to see that his light and the light of the sages is essentially one and the same. The way of action emerging from stillness is the non-action of the sages."

from the "Light of the Kensei" by G. BlueStone


"You have these obstacles only because you have not realized the emptiness of the eons...

If you were able to stop the mentality in which every thought is running after something, then you would be no different from a Zen master or a Buddha. Do you want to know what a Zen master or a Buddha is? Simply that which is immediately present, listening to the Teaching. It is just because students do not trust completely that they seek outwardly...If you want to be no different from a Zen master or a Buddha, just do not seek outwardly. Do not allow any more interruptions at any time, and everything you see is It.... Don't stop with learning Zen or Tao on the surface as something outside yourself...seeking 'buddahood', seeking 'mastery', seeking 'teachers', considering them conceptually. Make no mistake about it; turn your attention back on yourself and observe."

from "The Five Houses Of Zen", Lin-chi (9th century)
Translated by Thomas Clearly (1997)

As an analogy, eventually we are able to see the valley once we have climbed the mountain. We cannot truly know and experience the tree without knowing that is part of the forest. Here the true operation of the gunas (the dualistic conditioned reality of cause and effect) become instantaneously revealed, thus removing their power to obstruct, color, or limit consciousness. This is facilitated through our acknowledgment and embrace of param purusa (the non-dual transpersonal self). This is achieved through releasing our tendencies to seek answers within the sea of our pre-existing dualistic conditioned confusion. No matter how familiar we may be with our prisons, we can never leave it, if we are not willing to surrender its chains. We can not shoot a picture of the sun until we get out of our shadow, and hence, Patanjali says in Sutra I.43 "Smrti-parishuddhau svarupa-sunye va artha-matra-nirbhasa nir-vitarka". All of the sutras form a non-contradictory whole, while they mutually inform and expand each other. Please look at I.43 as closely related to this sutra. This is the gradual direction, where we are headed. The gradual realization of vairagyam has to penetrate into our life styles and become integrated in All Our Relations in order to remove/release spiritual tension/resistance.

When our cravings end,
We arrive
In the present

When we arrive home
Here -- Abiding in the Natural Mind
In our natural Self

Complete Fulfilled Grateful
All separations Cease
All Cravings end
What else is there to say?

Purusa (introduced first here in Sutra I.16) is a much misunderstood term because the Vedic and samkhya academics tend to differ. They will read-in their own egoic and biased predilection, preference, and agendas into it, which may have some semblance of truth, but it is not Patanjali's perspective. Not to say that Patanjali is contradicting the Vedas. Patanjali is leading us in an accelerating intensity toward isvara pranidhana, which is the surrender to an omni-present universal all pervasive purusa, which is described in 1.23-27. There is no coincidence that vairagyam (as release) and purusa (as in isvara pranidhana) are thus linked, because isvara pranidhana, as will be elaborated upon later, is the surrender to our innermost evolutionary potential or Buddha nature. Indeed vairagya and isvara pranidhana operate as two sides of the same coin as we shall see through practice. Vairagya and isvara pranidhana are not only simple practices, but also profound teachings. Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam as presented here is also both a practice and a teaching in itself.

This then leads us into the discussion leading to the progressively deeper stages of samadhi or infinite all pervasive awareness and how this can be realized. This is the theme of the remaining verses (17-51) of chapter I and in particular Sutras 17-45, which depends upon the acknowledgement of this deeper transpersonal Self (param purusa) which we are told in the next sutra is devoid of egotism (false identifications of a separate self).

See Sutra III.50 regarding the practice of vairagya in relationship to purusa and sattva and how that leads to absolute liberation (kaivalya). See also Pada IV. Sutras 32-34 along the same lines of the unification of purusa and sattva.

Here we have introduced the two major remedies and teachings of yoga which are meant to be taken together (vairagya as non-attachment and abhyasa as continuous focused enthusiastic application). That effects continuous flow and openness. No moss is collected that way-- the river flows without disruption in an innate natural continuity. Thus the yogi having been progressively exposed to the yogic ideal of a continuously and permanently accessible samadhi (nirbija samadhi) -- an all encompassing spiritual connection which includes both life and death in All Our Relations -- a sacred presence within the context of a Great Universal Integrity outlining the various gradual processes and steps of temporary and partial realizations, revelations, and satoris as minor temporary samadhis (sabija samadhi) which forerun nirbija samadhi (samadhi without seed). This is realized when one realizes the fundamental unity of pure absolute consciousness and pure absolute being -- where pure consciousness manifests in the human form as pure awareness and receptivity -- as absolute beingness. HERE in Sat-Chit-Ananda -- only in param purusa can absolute and pure objectivity and absolute and pure subjectivity be married. In the Great Integrity of universal Consciousness and being siva/sakti, spirit/nature, and the mind/body become completely non-dually integrated.

From Light On The Path, page 98, by Baba Muktananda

You will see very little if you merely close your eyes and begin to search. You will only complain that it is all dark. But the truth is that it is all light. It is only your eyes which are blind. In fact, all those who try to see without the eye of knowledge are blind. Behold the inner witness who is the spectator, watching all the activities of your waking state while remaining apart from it; who dwells in the midst of action knowing it fully and yet remaining uncontaminated by good or bad deeds; who is that supremely pure, perfect and ever-unattached being.

Try to know Him who does not sleep during the state of sleep, remaining fully aware of it and witnessing all the goings-on of the dream world. On waking up, one may say, "I slept very well. I also had a dream of a beautiful temple." Are these words uttered by the one who slept? He says that he slept and saw a temple during sleep! What an enigma! O brethren, behold the spectator who remains awake while you sleep, poised far from sleep. Who is He? He is the pure witness, the attributeless One. He is the Supreme Being. He is within you, but you look for Him outside.

Here the clear road to nirbija samadhi in Samadhi Pada continues on its own accord through the self liberatory practices rooted in vairagya (the process of non-expectation).


Sutra 17 vitarka-vicara-ananda-asmita-rupanugamat samprajnatah

Subject/object dualistic tendencies (samprajnatah) due to the confusion created by an egoic mindset (asmita) is concomitant with grasping onto form/objects (rupa-anugamat) either coarse (vitarka) or subtle (vicara), which entails merely temporary pleasure (ananda).

Samprajnata: dualistic mentation based on a separate self (asmita); cognition where there is a cognizer and an object of cognition. Compare with asamprajnata (transcognitive or non-dual consciousness). See the end of this chapter where Patanjali discusses nirvicara, the stage of apprehension beyond even the most subtle. Also chapter II.3. and IV for a further elaboration.

vitarka: gross or coarse thought processes of contemplation and/or inquiry. A gross thought formation upon phenomena.

vicara: subtle or inner thought processes of contemplation and/or inquiry. More subtle than vitarka. At its best it is a contemplation upon the thought formation process itself, but does not transcend it (as does nirvicara), hence one remains mired in dualistic thought and separation..

ananda: fulfillment, pleasure, satisfaction, or bliss (here it is assumed to be temporary and compensatory pleasure).

rupa: form

anugamat: accompanied by: concomitant, belonging to.

Commentary: Until the dualistic mindset (samprajnatah) that is accompanied (anugamat) by the gross (vitarka) or subtle (vicara) tendencies of egoic ownership (asmita) of "phenomena" (rupa), which produce ersatz temporary feelings of fulfillment or bliss (ananda) are dissolved (para-vairagya), the dualistic observer still has additional steps to go (see sutra 18) in clearing out egoic (asmita) attachments. Grasping upon temporary appearances will bring at best temporary happiness. Such associations, being potentially seductive, are to be recognized as a distraction and released. Because samprajnata is a dualistic state of egoic awareness accompanied by an I (asmita) and it (rupa) separation, samsaric craving is never satisfied for long. It is nothing but a state of temporal happiness.

Progressively, the process entails a gradual release that is at first accompanied (anugamat) by the attainment of a limited knowledge based on cognitive procedures (called samprajnata), which appears as apparently various forms of pleasure (ananda), due to that dualistic feeling of identification/objectification processes of the ego-sense (asmita). Ananda here is a self gratification by obtaining, identifying, or ownership with objects of the senses or the mind, which brings about temporary feelings of gratification or pleasure (ananda) through it possession [or conversely as pain by its non-possession]. These mental processes of obsession/possession can be either coarse (vitarka) or subtle (vicara), depending on one's limited awareness (samprajnata), identification, objectification processes, and mindfulness. This describes normal dualistic attachment to form/phenomena (rupa) be they mental formations or fixated upon physical objects, be they gross or subtle. Such grasping brings about a limited sense of pleasurable gratification (ananda) associated with by an identification and merging with an independent "I" and "It" -- a grasper and the grasped, which is a false identification associating one's self with ownership (asmita) of these identifications and their processes.

Here freedom from attachment is slowly being refined as freedom from attachment to the gunas has been achieved by realizing param purusa-khyater, but still we have not realized that within our own true nature yet. In short, asmita (the ego sense) is still grasping in the sense of samprajnata (a separate observer and an object). Pristine non-dual awareness has not yet been realized (asamprajnata).

Here, the journey begins from where we are at; i.e., there appears to be an independent object and observer, thus the process of vairagya (emptying the mind of such dualistic thought constructs) must be applied. Eventually, through sustained practice (vairagyabhyam), the awareness of the intimate pristine awareness shines forth on its own continuously (asamprajnata). The sadhak moves from mental attachment and identifications with the gross (vitarka) forms (rupanugamat), to the more subtle (vicara) grasping onto objects, to the most subtle, to beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara or sunya), as is explicated at the end of this chapter. As the dualistic contents and mental formations of the mindfield are released, more light is allowed to shine through. Accompanied by that release is a feeling of less dross and tension, lightness, ad true happiness, which appear as sublime bliss (ananda).

The dualistic type of temporary happiness (ananda) accompanied with asmita is a temporary release of the grasping struggle, like scratching a pre-existing itch which will recur. the laying down of a heavy burden, the quenching of a thirst, the relief of the bowels, etc. Being merely symptomatic amelioration, it is still a kind of suffering, because the observer's state of mind is still split off from its primordial nature. One still craves and/or associates with forms and objects, thus seeking relief and happiness within the same milieu which created the unhappiness, until true non-dual wisdom dawns (asamprajnata). Dualistic pleasures do not create unconditional and lasting happiness, fulfillment, or completion, such as found in asamprajnata, nirvikalpa, and nirbija samadhi. Desires and fear will arise again and again, while their satisfaction will produce temporary pleasure/happiness (ananda) within cyclic existence (samsara), which will not compare to ultimate non-dual unconditional liberation. Hence, this is often labeled as the suffering of dualistic existence or suffering of suffering.

Ordinarily, in the dualistic mise-en-scène, grasping/raga promises gratification, and hence winds up in temporary ownership of the object sought accompanied by a feeling of completion/satiation, or if not not, in disappointment and grief. Thus samprajnata (ordinary cognition processes that are fixated on temporal form) is an incomplete poorly integrated mental state fraught with limited self-identification or self absorption (asmita), which are polluted by gross and discursive thought processes (vitarka) which have become distracted outward toward physical objects. This abstraction process (samprajnata) and false identification (asmita) includes as well mental attachment to the more subtle mental objectification processes (vicara); all of which are still caught up with subject/object duality -- fragmented mentations based on the assumption of apparently separate objects as in the appearance of objective form (rupa) and the confining sense of a separate self (asmita) which reinforces the klesha (affliction) of separateness. That is the nature of the dualistic estranged view of the world of form (coarse and subtle objectification processes) accompanied (anugamat) by objects of temporary self gratification (ananda). Such leads to disintegration, fragmentation and ultimate corruption. On the other hand, yoga (union or samadhi) leads to integration and lasting happiness/completion.

Let us put to rest the misconception that samprajnata is anything other than a neurotic state of citta-vrtti driven by negative emotions (kleshas) and samskaras, seeking release in misguided avenues. It is based on confusion, asmita, raga, dvesa, and temporary pleasure; i.e., attachment to temporal objects in an attempt to assuage pain. It is the mindset that is attached to objects (be they thought of as phenomena or objects of thought). When we study more thoroughly the klesha of raga, in Pada II, we will understand better that desire for temporary objects of pleasure and its satisfaction is yet another form of suffering. Such distracts the yogi from his/her final liberation which results in true and lasting happiness. We will also learn in chapter 2, that Patanjali classifies asmita (sense of ego or egoic ownership) as one of the five broad classifications of afflictions (kleshas). Hence it is clear that Patanjali is saying that vairagya is designed to destroy asmita, which eventually leads us into the broader and ultimate (param) identification or integration with param purusa (Primordial Boundless Universal Transpersonal Awareness). This is not complete (param) until vitarka and vicara fixations, which give rise to temporary self-gratification (ananda-asmita) cease (nirodha).

“Non-attachment is like a fire that can burn the binding power of past samskaras. Non-attachment does not mean indifference or non-loving. Non-attachment and love are one and the same. Non-attachment gives freedom, but attachment brings bondage. We have come from the unknown, we will return to the unknown. We should be grateful to the Lord, to Providence, for whatever we have. All the things of the world are meant for us and we have the right to use them. However, they are not ours, so we should not possess them. We have no right to establish ownership over the things we have, because they have been given to us to use, but they are not ours. We should use them as means, but we should not possess anything. Learn to love all the things of the world, just as means but don’t get attached to them. This is the secret—the philosophy of non-attachment.”

~ Swami Rama, “The Essence of Spiritual Life.”

Yoga is foremost a system of awakening, which is in turn, is due to unconditional liberation beyond the ordinary limitations of the mind (citta-vrtti), causes and conditions, time or place. This is release from suffering; hence, true and lasting happiness is one secondary attribute. The cogent point, is that the yogi is not seeking happiness, pleasure, or bliss per se as an end or result. Yoga is also not simply an escape from suffering (duhkha). Thus release in the yogic sense involves release from kleshas, karma, and ignorance which is the samsaric mindset. It culminates in nirbij samadhi or kaivalyam. To avoid a common pitfall, it is cogent that the yogi recognizes that attraction toward or attachment to temporal worldly pleasures or bliss are to be viewed as an ignorant distraction/diversion, because the goal of yoga is not bliss or happiness by itself. The latter is foolish or common idiotic happiness. Pursuits of temporary happiness are recognized as subtle or coarse forms of suffering. Only in advanced practices such as in tantric yoga will conscious transformative practices will such intentional interactions with phenomena of attraction or revulsion fulfill the potential of liberation and awakening, while practicing non-attachment as a liberation practice.

In yoga happiness must be accompanied by wisdom, awakening, and a result of the release of samsaric attachments. This includes the release of pride, egoic mindset, fear, anger, temporal attachment, and ultimately dualistic tendencies (ordinary desire). As the levels of release increase, the empty space and grace produce increasing levels of natural great bliss. This happiness and joy can and should pervade everyday life and relationships, but it is not dependent upon attraction, association, or attachment to any relationship (physical or mental).

The easy understanding of this sutra is in the definition of samprajnata itself. Samprajnata can be defined as objective thought based on object relationships, where as a precondition one assumes the existence of a separate independent observer (cognizer) and a separate independent thought (object of the observer or object of cognition). This represents ordinary cognitive or limited awareness of an object (object relationships) by an apparent separate observer and separate object; hence dualistic (subject/object duality) is established. Cognitive awareness is awareness based on support (alambanas and their associated vrttis). Samprajnata always refers to a content of awareness (pratyaya). Procedurally it is the process of the mind's attraction toward objects of thought characterized in four ways: by vitarka (coarse discursive thought), vicara (subtle thought), ananda (bliss in apprehending an object), and asmita (identifying with the object). As such its process ignores the universal, primordial, and holographic underlying networks.

1) vitarka (coarse or outer objectification)
2) savicara (accompanied by subtle or inner thought processes and inquiry)
3)  ananda (accompanied with rapture/ecstasy)
4) asmita (identification as being one with the object--ownership) 

This type of advanced, but still limited awareness, is associated with apara-vairagya, but refined by further yoga practices eventually leads to (para-vairagya) and hence to the far more liberating asamprajnata samadhi (devoid of samprajnata -- devoid of pratyaya processing itself), and devoid of vicara. Nirvicara is experienced as non-dual (neither exclusively inside nor outside, but rather holographic). I.18 and I.19 refer to asamprajnata (acognitive awareness devoid of the cognized and a cognizer -- that which is grasped and a grasper, or simply devoid of I/It duality (subject object duality) where there is no longer any ownership (asmita) or objects. When the yoga releases all graspings and strife that emanates from asmita and avidya, then a great release is experienced as mahasukha (great joy), wherein boundless integration is realized.

Traditional thought often states that sutra 17 denotes a necessary or positive stage or step on the path, ascribing to it a state of lesser samadhi (called sasmita or samprajnata samadhi). These type of assignations can be misleading/diversions. At best, they are samapattis and at worse samyoga. So this commentary will not become further engaged in the traditional academic discussion. Hence it is suggested that sasmita or samprajnata is a distraction, not a realization. Compare samprajnata with the next sutra (asamprajnata).

Regarding the klesha of asmita (false identification), it is associated with raga (craving or desire to possess an object) and avidya (the prime klesha), as a confining space of nescience which calls out to be released by the full practice of vairagya. Here, introducing the words, vitarka and vicara, thus show where Patanjali is going (to nirvicara). The entire idea of cognition (samprajnata) is to be challenged; i.e., he is going from the dualism of a separate seer and object that is seen (samprajnata) toward a clarity of pure lucidity and grace -- the non-dual self effulgent light of "vaisharadye'dhyatma-prasadah" beyond even the most subtle (mentioned in sutra I.47).

However in the mental state of restricted object relations (called samprajnata) which is characterized by vitarka-vicara-ananda-asmita-rupa-anugamat, the small self or ego (asmita) fixated. It still falsely identifies with the process of attraction, attachment, and (be)longing (raga) for/to gross (vitarka) or subtle (vicara) objects (of form or rupanugamat), which is associated with the glue of temporary pleasure (ananda) based on dualistic identifications, where one finally apprehends, comprehends, grasps, or possesses the object of craving at least temporarily. The pleasure (ananda) attendant upon this temporary union (goal gratification which is the result of craving after an object, and then its possession) is both temporary and neurotic providing a short release of tension, stress, or striving until the next craving arises. This feeling which is normally ascribed to as pleasure rather is due to the temporary extinction of the craving, when the individual mind obtains its object. But since grasping upon objects of self gratification (through asmita) never bring lasting happiness, then this monkey mind which is confusedly looking for completion, fulfillment, and lasting happiness in dualistic objects, being lost in avidya, starts its search into separate objects looking for happiness again (rupanugamat samprajnatah) and then again experiencing temporary experiences of ananda and asmita but eventually more craving (duhkha) -- then seeking out ananda and duhkha, etc. in a circular manner until one decides to seek out thirstlessness -- desires freedom and liberation from attachment and hence shifts their focus and intent. What needs to be done is to cease running away or being afraid of our existing pain, but rather have the courage to face it, meet it, accept it, or embrace it. In that meeting, recognition is won. With that recognition, release (vairagya) can be achieved. As will be shown in Pada 2, fear and aversion are the other side of raga (craving). Vairagya destroys both raga and aversion. Vairagya when applied correctly, solves all the problems.

As stated, the attraction to temporary objects of pleasure as well as pleasurable egoic identifications are simply forms of suffering. The temporary release of the craving through union with an object of thought is called the pleasure of self gratification (ananda-asmita), while its loss manifests in a suffering mistaken by the deluded mind as the klesha called raga (desire or craving). This can be likened to any fulfillment or possession of any object of desire (gross of subtle). The desire for sexual union may be the most obvious symbolic representation of being lost in the cycle of craving, fulfillment, and separation. However all these activities based on samprajnata (object relations), which here we define as the process of dualistic objectification (the separation of the seer from the seen) reinforces the illusory separation from seeing eternal sacred presence in All Our Relations . Such chronic dualistic objectification processes (samprajnata) thus reinforces the spiritual split. These cycles exist within avidya, ego delusion, or what is commonly called, samsara. Writhing in the cycle of duhkha (suffering) is thus the all too common experience and it is mandated until the lesson is learned, past karma annihilated, and samskaras extinguished, thus allowing entry into transpersonal sacred space in All Our Relations . Here the remedial practice is again vairagya -- releasing the object from the mental apparatus.

The normal person lost in avidya and in particular the klesha of asmita confuses the craving with pleasure (ananda) because they "expect" to achieve the goal. Thus tragically need, desire, and craving become held onto insidiously. Patanjali is calling this ordinary way of "seeing", samprajnata, where one falsely identifies with the process of identification with the object which one perceives (one becomes objectified). In other words, without vairagya, the monkey mind tends to wander onto objects (physical or mental). This is the nature of samprajnata.

This craving toward "something" (desire) and its gratification provides a certain amount of temporary self gratification (ananda-asmita) and pleasure (ananda). Indeed many people will confuse the craving as pleasure itself because the mind will often associate the craving with union with the object. Thus in the beginning of practice, the yogi runs into samprajnata both coarse (vitarka) and subtle (vicara) or mental objects. That becomes one's common/normal experience. So first through insight or mindfulness we first learn to recognize this mechanism and then we are able to let it go (release it with vairagya), as it arises. Eventually the recognition of the suffering of samprajnata (duality) is first coarse (vitarka) and later more subtle (vicara) while repeated recognition thus allows us to release it completely by unwinding this dualistic tendency. .

Next in I.18 through practice immersed in vairagya we see that eventually this tendency is reduced (asamprajnata). Thus samprajnata goes hand in hand with the nature of the kleshas and especially raga (craving), while the successful application of vairagya obviously brings forth its remediation.

Vitarka can be defined as absorption in gross objects of form while vicara is absorption in more subtle discursive thought processes. Eventually these subtle processes become refined beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara) and are eventually voided (sunya) entirely. The end result is asamprajnata (acognitive) -- non-dual awareness with or without seed depending on the elimination of samskaras or not.

Although vicara is subtle as compared to vitarka, both are forms of limited absorption because the "I-it" dualistic fixation is still present (there exists an object separate from the perceiver which occupies and limits the mental contents of the mind (cognition). In this intermediary and fragmented state called by Patanjali samprajnatah, there still exists goal orientation, conflict, dissociation, disorganization, sequential fixations, and discursive thought in meditation. A compensatory sense of joy (ananda) which accompanies release and then fixation (the false self's sense of loss and then possession/apprehension) wavers and is transitory because as one releases one attachment another eventually attracts our attention, but as soon as it is apprehended another rises up again and again. Samprajnatah is a temporary and unstable beginning part of meditation practice on the path to samadhi accompanied with much mental agitation which is mistaken for pleasure by the ego (asmita). Later Patanjali will give many other practices to remediate samprajnata such as isvara pranidhana, aparigraha, santosha, pratyhara, samyama, tapas, brahmacharya, dhyana, etc.

Because this sutra is generally misunderstood by those whose minds are confined in intellectually based traditions which have become institutionalized through academia's tendency toward mental propensities of over objectification and elaboration, they attempt to apply the word, samadhi, very loosely, and indirectly as in "any mental absorption", hence the entrenchment in dualistic thought is merely reinforced. Thus the classification of numerous kinds of samadhis (the word, samadhi, there in this tradition being defined in an imprecise sense of any absorption). then samprajnata is mistakenly categorized as a "samadhi" by such interpreters. They say that this is what Patanjali means, but the truth is that Patanjali never called this, a samadhi. Samprajnata is merely a pratyaya (fractionalized reification) at best. If such an absurd definition of samadhi were allowed, we would have football samadhi, TV samadhi, and countless others. It is salient to note that samprajnata as well as the term samapatti (attainments) are not synonymous with the ultimate samadhi that Patanjali actually describes s the sublime goal of yoga in I.50 and I.51.

In other words, intellectually dominated traditions label savitarka (focusing on gross physical objects) as a samadhi by itself, which opens the next door to savicara samapatti (focusing on the more subtle mental objects of the mental concentration itself), which in turn leads to a third samadhi which some call sa-ananda samadhi (joyful samadhi) or one can go on to sasmita samadhi etc. In truth there are a myriad types of minor absorptions possible, but they are not samadhis as designated by Patanjali, rather they are all disparate attachments, projections, reifications, and fixations of the cit-prana that call for release (vairagya) through the implementation of authentic yogic practice. Although certain mental states may occur in gradations moving from the coarse (vitarka) to more subtle (vicara) thus releasing the tension and suffering implicit in the past, only the more inclusive and integrative non-dualistic, trans-rational, and transpersonal samadhis beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara) are worth pursuing such as nirvitarka (devoid of gross fixations), nirvicara (devoid of subtle mental fixations), nirvikalpa (devoid of conceptualized thought patterns), asamprajnata (acognitive or non-dual sabija samadhi -- with seed), and the nirbij (devoid of seed) samadhi (the sublime seamless samadhi). Patanjali clearly states that only nirbij (seedless) samadhi brings about enduring liberation and that is the stated goal. Nirbij aa samadhi may be equated with kaivalya unconditional liberation). See Pada IV.

These other gradated absorptions that Patanjali herewith addresses, although perhaps indicative of graduated stages of freedom, are all to be released (in para-vairagya). They are not to be held onto nor should one become engrossed nor self satisfied with them.

Regardless on what tack we take on the interpretation of this sutra, the progressive stages of the expansion of consciousness progresses from:

This last stage is beyond any human words or power to objectify. It can neither be grasped by the individual mind ruled by the intellect, but rather exists within the innate unity where pure consciousness and pure beingness reside -- in the non-dual holographic multidimensional mesh of turiya -- in satchitananda or Natural Great and Perfect Awareness As-It-Is undisturbed by manmade colorings (vrtti) and projections. HERE the goal of yoga has become achieved where citta-vrtti has ceased (nirodha). Here Patanjali is pointing us toward the goal (samadhi) of yoga in stages.

For a further elaboration on vitarka, savitarka, nirvitarka, vicara, savicara, or nirvicara, see the similar discussion in sutras I.42-44. In short one progresses from the coarse to the most subtle. For a further discussion of the kleshas of raga, dvesa, and asmita see Sutra II.6-8. Then once prepared we enter beyond even the most subtle into the formless, objectless, non-dual, non-separate, non-dual, and timeless realization of All Our Relations.when the ground has become prepared -- when we are readied through authentic yogic sadhana. See also the commentary in Sutra I.9 on on vikalpa, sutra I.42 (on words), sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems), I.49, and the previous sutra I.15 and I.16. See the beginning of Pada Two, on duhkha and raga.

Sutra 18 Virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah samskara-seso'nyah

Another (anya) sphere [asamprajnata samadhi] where we are able to completely rest the mind continuously from identifying with objects (virama-pratyaya-abhyasa) surpasses the previous [samprajnata] state, although samskaric residues (seso) for future rebirth remains to be released.

anya: another; different from.

purvah: succeeds, surpasses, follows in succession.

samskara: the conditioned mind. Mental formations either latent/frozen or actively operating. Embedded latent triggers, which trigger biopsychic kleshic activities. See the bhavacakra (the wheel of samsara) for this relationship. Past frozen and non-integrated mental/energetic imprints. See the glossary.

seso/sesah: residue

virama: cessation: resting. Here resting and opening the mind.

pratyaya: the phenomenological contents of the mindfield; the mental intention toward objects/phenomena. The state of mental attachment/fixation.

virama-pratyaya: Hence the release of mental attachments. The withdrawal and cessation of the pratyaya process of imputing or objectifying an independent "thingness" to phenomena or objects of thought. Resting the mind from identifying with its content.

abhyasa: applied practice. A sustained effort; focused and continuous conscious intent. Continuity in a focused application of yogic intent. Focused and passionate endeavor for unconditional release (in abhyasa-vairagyabhyam). In yoga all practices (sadhana) are effected by focused and continuous conscious application without attachment to results. At first this continuity is difficult to sustain.

Asamprajnata: Acognitive/non-cognitive, transcognitive, or supra-cognitive; Non-dual, transpersonal, and transconceptual. Devoid of the limitations of I/it object relations (pratyaya). The end of pratyaya (dualistic cognition). Free from ordinary dualistic modes of cognition. Asamprajnata occurs when the vrttis entirely cease to function. This state requires no support (alambana). Asamprajnata is an objectless undefiled open samadhi. There are many kinds of asamprajnata, but two categories may be useful to delineate. One is asamprajnata with seed (samskaras) such as is defined as sabija samadhi (samadhi with seed).The other is nirbija samadhi (samadhi without seed) and devoid of samskaras. Here samskaras can no longer produce kleshas, karma, or further duhkha.

Asamprajnata follows naturally after I.17 as the perfection of vairagyabhyam. It is the perfect state of non-dual awareness. Asamprajnata occurs when the citta-vrtti completely comes to rest. Then non-dual transpersonal great awareness becomes activated (self-awakens). Asamprajnata interjects a formless awareness such as practiced by advanced yogis as emptiness meditation where the mind is no longer preoccupied or fixated with "individual" or limited content/objects of thought; nor does even the ideation of a separate observer who observes the object veils one's conscious awareness. In asamprajnata the sublime emptiness of separate existence is realized so that subject/object duality is entirely eradicated and the seer rests as total integration (yoga). In comparison, samprajnata (cognition with content) is a limited state of cognition. Asamprajnata samadhi is the end of striving, wherein the mind opens to the timeless and the timeless is seen in all of primordial creation (uncontrived nature as-it-is) as primordial wisdom dawns.

Asamprajnata as the non-dual transpersonal boundless cognition is effected at first by samprajnana (self awareness) meditation practices such at inquiring upon mental phenomena or the gunas. Eventually in unsupported samatha (shiney) emptiness meditation, where the meditator lets go of all mental grasping/attachment(vairagyam), the asamprajnata samadhi is realized. An elementary phase of this awareness is achieved through vipassana (awareness or insight) meditation, where the meditator becomes aware of one's own states of mind, (samprajnana or sampajanna -Pali) and goes beyond it. One recognizes the content of one's mind (pratyaya) and then lets that go (releases mental grasping and dualistic fixation) in samatha meditation, The exact identity of the contents and characteristics of the fixated dualistic mind is secondary to simply releasing it. Then what remains is pure primeval unconditional natural awareness -- awareness of awareness accompanied by absolute clarity. Also see nirvikalpa, aprapancita, nisprapanca, and aprapanca).

Commentary: Here Sutra I.18 and the next I.19 are among two of the most profound guiding lights in the Yoga Sutras. This describes a complete transpersonal, non-dual, and supra-cognitive release of all citta-vrtta resulting in complete unobstructed integration. Unfortunately, such often falls on the deaf ears of intellectual/academic traditions, which are stubbornly attached to filtering everything through the machinations of conceptual mentation. Rather, through yogic practices (abhyasa) that completely breaks through (purvah) the ordinary limitations of cognition (asamprajnata), thus, mental formations, due to dualistic fabrications, completely cease (virama-pratyaya). This non-dual state (asamprajnata) is known to a yogi through practice. Eventually, through practice, the yogi can abide in that primordial non-dual seedless state continuously (nirbij-samadhi). See Sutras I.50-51.

As yogic practice deepens (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam), another (anya) deeper perception than the previous samprajnata (cognitive) state (in Sutra 17 above) is experienced as a trans-objective absorption that is not dependent upon objectification, reification, conceptualization, or dualistic cognition (called asamprajnata or acognitive non-dual consciousness). This surpasses samprajnata by completely stilling the vrtti (virama-pratyaya-abhyasa) of the monkey mind chattering. This is not dependent upon support by the cognitive faculties and is not dependent upon an object of thought nor objects of attention (pratyaya) either coarse or subtle (nirvitarka or nirvicara). Here objectification (samprajnata) which is based on apparent or superficial causes dependent upon objects or form (pratyaya) entirely ceases (virama). Pratyaya itself is suspended or extinguished, because the context is now boundless and limitless, thus, leaving the conditions of residual (seso) imprints (samskaras) of the past (purvah) to be cleared away by remedial positive actions.

The contents of the mind (pratyaya) are cleared of fragmented phenomena, when conceptualization processes (mental formations and conditioning) cease (nirvikalpa. In turn conceptualization is dependent upon words. When there are no independent separate objects or separate self observing those objects in the field of vision (citta-vrtti) a non-dual state (asamprajnata) is accomplished where the true nature of mind and the true nature of phenomena are joined and reunited in their natural uncontrived state. In asamprajnata all the citta-vrtta are cleared at least temporarily.

This describes the process of clearing away the citta-vrtti entirely for a shorter or longer period of time thus creating the requisite open space utilizing this most advanced stage of abhyasa-vairagyabhyam called Virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah). This is effected by implementing virama-pratyaya-abhyasa as the practice that creates the nondual acognitive opening of asamprajnata samadhi which then serves as the portal for the fruition the highest samadhi (nirbija samadhi). This is a non-dual deep realization but temporary. At this stage we are still at sabija samadhi (samadhi with seed), but nirbija is very near at hand. Since this practice (virama-pratyaya-abhyasa) is devoid of objectification or attachment to form it is labeled as asamprajnata (versus samprajnata of sutra 17). The means thereof is the awareness of cessation devoid of object or objectless/formless meditation, is used as its supportive factor. Thus this sets the stage stage for nirbija (seedless) samadhi free from any latent imprints or seeds.

Virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah is a very powerful practice (abhyasa) as it completely (purvah) stills the mind (virama). No longer will contents of the mind as separate objects (pratyaya) appear to arise. This non-dual state is realized in deep dhyana (meditation). As such it is distinguished from I.18 (samprajnata) and hence called asamprajnata as it it is a realization devoid of subject/object duality. This is at the least the sabija state of samadhi (samadhi with seed).

Here Patanjali is saying every attachment and vrtti is cleared away except the samskaras (latent seeds for objective contents of the mind may arise in the future). Here consciousness is no longer attached to any object of form or dualistic cognitive function, but it is only the residual imprints (samskaras), which are the seeds for future dualistic mind states which now remain to be dissolved. This is why commentators say that Patanjali is calling this asamprajnata samadhi (devoid of objects of form) on par with sabija samadhi (samadhi with seed), but in reality Patanjali does not use the word, samadhi, here nor in the previous sutra. For example, he does not call this asamprajnata samadhi, nor does he actually use the word, asamprajnata. What he is saying is that a higher state exists beyond samprajnata. this higher state is devoid of having prajnata. In English we will call it the non-dual state or trans-cognisance, where a separate observer and separate object of the mind (including thought formations) are not established. Here it is denoted that no "thing" is known as an isolated phenomena.

As we have shown, the Sanskrit word, pratyaya, is often misunderstood. To clarify, the term. pratyaya, refers to ordinary dualistic cognitive processes, where the supposition is based on an assumption of a dualistic separation that pre-exists between the cognizer and the cognized, the viewer and the object which is being viewed, the grasper and an object to grasp toward. In one sense this type of cognition is considered a necessary element in ordinary dualistic analytical or reductionist mentation processes, where the mind compares the differences between one observed phenomena and/or apparently "isolated" object and another imagined object. That is a fragmented and corrupt assumption.

However, in a yogic sense, which is not dependent upon such processes of dualistic objectification processes (pratyaya), one is informed via direct experience and practice (praxis) - a yogi is informed by experiencing an Integrative Reality, which, after all, is a non-dual awareness or the unitive realization of All Our Relations. That is virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah, which as a higher transcognitive (asamprajnata) realization for instruction and prompting, where we are capable of relating on a more intimate transpersonal non-dual ongoing modality. One may also call it non-local viewing or universal awareness not dependent upon mere localized human faculties, but rather a far deeper interconnection with all beings and things including Source. In that light pratyaya is seen as superficial and incomplete, and hence false as its true nature remains obscured by being engrossed by the denseness of the apparent separate object. In other words much more can be included in our every day modality of consciousness, but it is the dualistic rigidification of the conditioned mind-set strengthened by pratyaya which must eventually be dropped by such practices.

Thus, for this higher evolutionary process to be activated, virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah as a result is a realization due to practice where any apparent separate dead object of focus by the mind is seen as a distraction, an obscuration, and impediment and no longer heeded (in successful practice of vairagya). Cognition as a process is not entirely lost as an ability, but rather it is put on pause or the back burner. It no longer limits the scope of the known, rather the Universal Transcognitive Mind is called into play. Let it be clear that vairagya in all its forms is not a reference to a bland insensitivity or indifference. It is not deadness or dumbness. It is not withdrawal, aversion, or escapism, but the both a practice and a result of applied and perfected practice where "the world" comes illumined, enlightened, alive, intelligent, and beauteous without reification, externalization, fear, or attachment. The modifications and distortions of consciousness (citta-vrtti) cease.

Thus the direction where the ordinary (dualistic) mind is headed can be redirected through virama-pratyaya; i.e., by resisting the tendency to objectify, name, or identify with any independent object as separate from the intrinsic unity of

All Our Relations.

Any dissociation from this greater whole - the greater integrity, ultimately leads to the dissociation of a separate self (ego), and hence, separate objects within a fragmented world view (citta-vrtti). Virama-pratyayabhyasa-purvah creates the requisite space to embrace the All and Everything as well as the unborn non-existent. This state is labeled as asamprajnata (supra-cognitive) because there is no independent cognizer nor object to be cognized. There is mutuality of cognition, not by an individual observer and object, but by a universal mutuality between universal cognition and universal phenomena. This is experienced in samadhi, but cannot be reached via intellectual confabulation.

"There is another samadhi [asamprajnata], which is attained by constant practice of the cessation of all mental activity, and in which the chitta retains only the unmanifested impressions [samskaras]." ~ Swami Vivekananda, translation of I.18

Swami Vivekananda continues in his commentary on I.18 as follows.

"This is the perfect superconscious asamprajnata samadhi, the state which gives us freedom. The prior state [samprajnata] does not give us freedom, does not liberate the soul. ... The method is to meditate on the mind itself... When this state, asamprajnata, or superconsciousness, is reached, the samadhi becomes seedless... What is the result of this higher concentration? All old tendencies of restlessness and dullness will be destroyed, as well as the tendencies of goodness too. ... Those [dualistic] good`and evil tendencies will destroy each other, leaving alone the [universal] Soul in its own splendor, untrammeled by either good or bad, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. Then the man will know that he had neither birth nor death, nor need of heaven or earth. He will know that he neither came nor went; it was nature [objectified phenomena] which was moving , and that movement [chitta-vrtti] was reflected upon the Soul."

To be clear, it would be a dualistic error of mentation to define form (rupa) as separate from consciousness. Only within a dualistic context can one assert forms, phenomena, objects of attention, or "the world" as a separate/independent reality or as nature being distinct from consciousness. Rather when isolated in subject/object duality "the world", "reality, phenomena, or nature are not cognized as non-dual (asamprajnata); rather they appear as superficial reflections, which have the appearance of physicality, which is only a relatively slowed down energetic vibratory state of consciousness relatively speaking.

For the non-initiate (non-yogi) most ordinary thought processes operate in a limited, unfocused, unclear, and blurred sphere; but yogis do not take objective thought formations as being ultimate or beneficial toward their spiritual goal of samadhi (non-dual union). Rather the yogic direction is to go beyond ordinary mentation, ordinary individual cognitive functions, and goal orientation itself. Pratyaya is thus a necessary "element" in "ordinary" (dualistic) cognition processes of objectification it is an essential element in ordinary dualistic cognition itself, which Patanjali called samprajnata in the previous sutra (17). But here since virama means cessation, so this practice (abhyasa) is one where intentional dualistic thought processes toward an object (pratyaya) is terminated. Since pratyaya is necessary for samprajnata (objectification) to occur, then this virama-pratyaya causes a transcognitive state which many commentators call , asamprajnata (where ordinary samprajnata is defeated).

From Swami Sivananda in "All About Hinduism"

"According to Patanjali, avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga-dvesha (desire and aversion, or likes and dislikes) and abhinivesa (clinging to mundane life) are the five great kleshas or afflictions that assail the mind. These are alleviated by means of continued Yogic practice, but not uprooted totally. They remain hidden in the form of seed. They sprout out again the moment they find an opportunity and favourable surroundings. But Asamprajnata Samadhi (Absolute-Experience) destroys even the seeds of these evils.

Avidya is the main cause of all our troubles. Egoism is the immediate result of avidya. It fills us with desires and aversions, and veils the spiritual vision. The practice of Yoga-Samadhi uproots avidya."

This practice is called purvah (former or proceeding), which means that by constant practice of eliminating the objectification motive force (virama-pratyaya-abhyasa-purvah) then what remains to be accomplished (purvah) is only the past imprints (samskara-seso'nyah) or samskaric residues to be eliminated. We will see later that only in the very highest samadhi (nirbija samadhi) in I.51 will these residues of samskara be fully eliminated. Indeed removing the samskaras is at the forefront of all yoga practices and much more is to be said about them. Such are preliminary practices, leading eventually to full realization.

A similar interpretation is that this sutra advocates a practice (abhyasa) called virama pratyaya which eliminates addiction and dependence to ordinary dualistic cognition processes (dependent upon superficial appearances and secondary causes (pratyaya), which through this process the past residual imprints (purvah--samskara-shshos) are gradually loosened. This type of absorption (which is not a dualistic objectification process) occurs in the stagers of successful meditation practices leading to samadhi. Vyasa, the earliest commentator on the Yoga Sutras, defines this to be a "asamprajnata" or trans-cognitive samadhi (as compared to samprajnata which is described in sutra I.17, because it is not accompanied by i-it objectification (duality). Rather it is devoid of both coarse objects (vitarka) as well as more subtle discursive thought (vicara), form (rupa), and any sense of separateness (asmita). It is empty and open and hence the great expanse of the natural mind is made immediately available.

Virama here also means cessation and refers to the cessation of both pratyaya (the objectification process where objects are experienced as apparent mental contents/fixations of the mind) as well as the citta-vrtti. The ordinary contents of the dualistic ordinary mind who cognizes "reality" based on superficial appearances out of context with the non-dual whole (pratyaya) then cease (virama). What is left is a transcognitive consciousness. However the residues of past psychic signatures, cellular memory, psycho-neuro-physiological lesions, neuromuscular armoring, conditioning/programming, energy cysts, and the like (called samskaras) are still not yet completely destroyed. Only after the samskaras are destroyed, then one conjoins nirbija samadhi as described in Sutras I. 50-54. In general this is an accurate overall statement of where we are headed (to nirbija-samadhi) by eliminating all mental fixations (asamprajnata) -- the world of object relations or all limited self identifications (asmita) is ceases to imprison Self.

From Reflections of the Self, page 91, by Baba Muktananda Maharaj

"You are the seer, the seen,
and the process of seeing;
the creator, the creation,
and the act of creating;
the knower, the knowledge,
and the process of knowing;
the meditator, the object of meditation,
and the act of meditating."

In the previous sutra we saw that samprajnata (cognitive) absorption was difficult and unstable creating an rigidified externalization, fixation, and over objectification, but after learning how to joyfully and continuously apply conscious focused intent without attachment to results (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam) which attenuates, empties, and eliminates the secondary causes of these fixations, they become loosened especially in the practice of meditation where vairagya can be most easily practiced. Then the transcognitive and non-dual asamprajnata (objectless or acognitive) absorption process which is starts to occur more regularly. This is an objectless state, but still it is not completely wholly conscious, rather it creates the space for more consciousness. Most people are not used to not grasping onto an external object nor are they used to not fixating the mind on a mental object, so it takes some practice to allow this experience to occur and have it grow on us. This asamprajnata realization is not a situation where the mind wanders being being spaced out or incapable of focusing, rather it is a result of a liberating, transconceptional, and very centering experience. It is easily achieved in meditation through consistent practice of vairagya. It can also be reached through other yogic practices which will be delineated in padas II and III.

This graduation (into what is called asamprajnata) develops over time from the consistent regular practice (abhyasa) of letting go vairagya (letting go of the mind's tendency to fixate upon apparently independent objects) where the previously existing state of over objectification, self extraction, and spiritual self alienation of externalization cease (virama), but the samskaras (the residual imprints of past conditioning) which still remain awaiting final exorcism. Indeed the Yoga Sutras are full of describing this process in many different terms. Especially see sutras III.2 and III.3 in a further discussion of pratyaya and its dissolution (sunya) through meditation allowing for the intrinsic clear light of lucidity to shine forth from within (nirbhasam) in swarupa.

Pratyaya being the relational and comparative contents of the mind-field -- the view of the ordinary dualistic mind in terms of external objects -- the "normal" realm of I-it separation where it appears that objects (mental or physical) are possessed by the mind. this is the realm of "normal" perception which occurs in the corrupt state where separate objects appear to be solid and real, while the observer appears to live in a chronically estranged and disconnected world detached from the apparent separate objects as a separate viewer which defines the biased context of ignorance of the true nature of mind -- Satchitananda.

When however we practice virama-pratyaya-abhyasa then asamprajnata (a non-dual or transcendental way of seeing) dawns.

For the mind that masters view, the emptiness dawns.
In the content seen not even an atom exists.
A seer and seen refined until they're gone:
This way of realizing view, it works quite well.
When meditation is clear light river flow,
There is no need to confine it to sessions and breaks.
Meditator and object refined until they're gone:
This heart bone of meditation, it beats quite well.
When you're sure that conduct's work is luminous light,
And you're sure that interdependence is emptiness,
A doer and deed refined until they're gone:
This way of working with conduct, it works quite well.
When biased thinking has vanished into space,
No phony facades, eight dharmas, nor hopes and fears,
A keeper and kept refined until they're gone:
This way of keeping samaya, it works quite well.
When you've finally discovered your mind is dharmakaya,
And you're really doing yourself and others good,
A winner and won refined until they're gone:
This way of winning results, it works quite well.

The Profound Definitive Meaning Sung on the Snowy Range by Milarepa

Thus we emphasize that the "objectless" state is not one of a space cadet, but au contrae, the mind stops craving after external objects to grasp and remains open and all inclusive. Being at peace, objects are no longer desired or a source of self gratification or neurotic pleasure, thus allowing space for greater natural expansive awareness and clarity to shine forth. Even the more subtle waves of mental abstraction cease (nirvicara) for awhile, and a sense of interconnectedness and wholeness is experienced in a deep peaceful non-dual stillness, although momentary and temporary. There exists no ulterior future goal, goal orientation ceases, the sense of separateness and craving is remediated. However this asamprajnata type of absorption is intermediary as it does not destroy the samskaras. So these respites from the dualistic mind are temporary, i.e., the old patterns (vrtti) start up again after a short respite. Further practice thus is still necessary in order to exorcise and cathart the samskaras (past energetic signatures, the deepest and most subtle biopsychic imprints and impressions, and cellular memories). Asamprajnata thus is a short glimpse into or taste of nirbij samadhi which is to come.

"Think not thinking. How do you think not thinking? Non thinking. That in itself is the essential art of zazen." or

"Sit stably in samadhi. Think of not-thinking. How do you think of not-thinking? Beyond-thinking. This is the way of doing zazen in accord with the dharma. Zazen is not learning (step-by-step) meditation. Rather zazen itself is the dharma-gate of great peace and joy (nirvana). It is undefiled practice-enlightenment."

from "The Way of Zazen" by Eihei Dogen Zenji.

After giving up striving (virama) by practicing vairagya (non-attachment) and abhyasa (as consistent focused application), then further success in yoga is accomplished (here through virama-pratyaya). Here during meditation even the idea of practice itself can get in the way -- goalless, objectless, formless the sky clears disclosing the brightest sun. The meditator starts to become educated as to the true nature of formless mind and gradually integrates this experience into his/her life. In sutra I.50, Patanjali mentions the samskara that ends all the others; i.e., that precious truth bearing wisdom which is not derived from scripture (sruti), from inference (anumana), nor objective knowledge of things or events.

Vyasa in his seminal commentary says that this sutra describes asamprajnata samadhi (transcognitive non-dual awareness) while the preceding sutra (I.17) describes samprajnata awareness which is a limited dualistic state of awareness (which is tainted by both a limited object to be grasped and a limited grasper). It is in this sutra where it is pointed out that yoga has the potential to clear out the residual (seso) imprints (samskara) of the past (purvah). It is thus through abhyasa-vairgyabhyam (consistent practice with vairagya) that this transcognitive (asamprajnata) state is achieved, but then only the samskaras (as latent seeds) remain as the sole impediment. Later Patanjali will present how yoga practice clears out all samskaras (a major benefit of effective yoga practice) in the summum bonum of yoga, nirbija samadhi.

"By letting go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond winning". ~ Lao Tzu

We may be attached to an outcome, but if that outcome is spiritual, which in turn involves our sense of wellness, that very attachment (or fear in not obtaining it) will create tension and unease. That is because spiritually speaking, wholeness is accessed through ever-presence -- when there is no attachment, fear, or dualistic conditions set upon the the mental framework. There are no limitations.

It is difficult to describe in words that profound experience, which is transcognitive, non-dual, and transconceptual if not impossible. This truly viewless view is something not be realized through the intellect or the conceptualization process, rather it occurs when we release such chattering. Effectively and practically asamprajnata samadhi is most often accessible via silent non-analytical meditation when the monkey mind is given permission to be silent. It is also easily attained when walking in nature. Simply being out of linear sequential time (past, future, and the existential present) is the key. That occurs in the eternal present when we are truly present, open, and natural.

So, in asamprajnata subject/object duality no longer clouds the mindfield. The citta vrtta are destroyed. The context becomes open ended, boundless, limitless, which is the psychic space and feeling one may experience in retreat, inside a good meditation, or samadhi. Abiding in these non-dual experiences may be momentary, prolonged, or for a realized buddha continuous. The key is to not to hold on to it, rather let it go (vairagya), and then paradoxically such a experience presents an "open presence", which returns naturally and without effort to awareness. Asamprajnata is considered thus transcognitive, because there is no independent solid cognizer nor object to cognize.

Yoga practices exist that help us to directly experience these supra-cognitive realms. For example, being with Nature and taking our true place in Nature, not as a separate dualistic phenomena. Abiding in the the true nature of phenomena is very liberating, because it takes us home to a profound aware presence beyond conceptualization. It beckons to us because it is who WE truly are, in the larger sense. We do not have to negate anything in that sense, rather simply let go of the conceptualization and reification processes. That is what taking walks in nature can do for us. That also is what successful silent sitting meditation such as samatha meditation can do.

Sutra 19 Bhava-pratyayo videha-prakrti-layanam

By melting into (layanam) the true nature of nature (prakrti) a special spiritual transcognitive [asamprajnata] samadhi is experienced (bhava-pratyayo), which entirely transcends the idea of isolated corporeality (videha) having identified with the larger body of creation and its stainless formless sourceless nature (the true nature of nature, purusa).

Layanam: Dissolved or melted into; the process of dissolution/disillusionment, being incorporated into/integrated and forming a greater whole.

Videha: Liberated, free, and not dependent upon the body. A body that is free from the temporal limitations of the senses and cosmos. Bodiless even while dwelling in the body. Not attached to bodily sense objects or three dimensional reality. Even while dwelling in the body it is said that a yogi who has achieved dissolution of the citta-vrtti (biases, slant, or tilt of the mind-field) into *original* prakrti can after having abandoned attachment to the physical body and conquered the fear of death is able to maintain a linga body (independent astral or vajra body) while still living inhabiting a physical body. Hence such a yogi is free or liberated from attachment to the body and concomitantly with ordinary domination of the sense organs, but still capable of containing/embodying spirit (shiva/shakti). This definition differs from the samkhya definition which defines videha as a disembodied state altogether separate from the body and nature (prakrti).

The state of becoming bodiless, even when dwelling in this body, is rather tantric and non-dual. To the tantric this is not a contradictory statement, but how-it-really-is. Free from attachment to a separate body by absorbing oneself in nature (prakrti), and hence, into siva, and then being informed through that bhava (non-dual feeling recognition), which is transcognitive (asamprajnata) -- as primordial presence. Being informed directly by the Universe and its sourceless original source, versus processes limited to the individual/dualistic mind or physical body alone. The transpersonal body. Those who have realized this state are sometimes called disembodied angels, shining gods, or the shining ones. One who has lifted himself above all attachments and is mentally and bodily free of all bondage. One who has realized "Self" and is beyond the mundane existence of Life is even free of moha (deep emotional attachment) towards his own body. So "videha", as used in III.43, is a transpersonal non-dual realization free from attachment to the physical body or any other object-- liberated from the six senses and any false association or ideation of a separate body as "self". With the liability of that attachment lifted, as such, hence astral travel. This unattached attitude towards the body of the "Self" constitutes one having reached Videha Shetra ... one who is free of his Deha (body) in all respects! I.19. Also see videha shetra below. Also see III. III.43 (Mahãvidehã).

Videha devas: Those who have realized this state are sometimes called disembodied angels, shining gods, or the shining ones. Others call them the Mahadevan, or Vita-ragas, those completely victorious over attachment and fear. They shine because their energy/astral bodies are well developed and not dependent upon a physical body.

Videha-Kaivalya: Liberation from the body and limited self existence while still in the body. Free from the temporal restraints of the senses and cosmos. The realization state of the energy body and/or rainbow light body. See jiva-mukti or videha-mukti.

Videha-mukti: Free from attachment to the body and sense objects. See jiva-mukti or videha-kaivalya.

Videha Shetra: Videha Shetra: Videh shetr) are cosmic regions in space are described in Hindu sacred scriptures as cosmic regions unseen and unknown to mankind. They are presumed to exist somewhere in the Cosmos more nearer to our planet earth. Reference to such regions is made only in Scriptural texts, the most commonly referred to is Videha Shetra. Attaining Moksha Salvation only from Videha Shetra, liberation from all manifestations, freeing oneself from the cycle of birth and death forever in the present Kali Yuga of today is the popular belief in Hindu sacred scriptures. Accordingly it is believed that the ultimate goal of life is emancipation. According to dualists this can not happen with out leaving the planet -- living in the body. Rather it is thought that during the present Iron age (Kali Yoga), it is considered in Hinduism that emancipation can never be had without going to Videha Shetra. This is done through the practice of austerities and renunciation of life, then it is thought that one will be rewarded in the afterlife.

Commentary: Sutra 19 follows Sutra 18 naturally. These two sutras completes Sri Patanjali's profound presentation of the practice of vairagya (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam) and its fruit (non-dual love), which begins at Sutra 12, where it clearly states that the practice of vairagya annihilates the citta-vrtti and all fixations, and where yoga as liberation is won. In order to place this sutra in perspective, Sri Patanjali has just described the processes of release leading up to and including asamprajnata (non-dual realization), where there are no objects to cling onto and no ego (asmita) to do the clinging. That is sabija samadhi with only the residual seeds (samskaras) that remain to be cleared out in order for nirbija samadhi (the seedless samadhi where there is no longer any falling back into duality) to be fully realized. Here fixation on the human form as separate from the whole (the great integrity of samadhi) melts away and is dissolved; while a more timeless non-dual awareness comes into the play of a non-dual existence (bhava-pratyayo) free from subject/object duality).

To recap Sutras 12-19, various stages of “let go”, non-expectation, non-predilection, non-fixation, release, and nonattachment (vairagyam) beginning with simple vairagya, then vitrsnasya, then vaitrsnyam, then to samprajnata, and then ending here in asamprajnata videha, which is vita-raga samadhi, relinquishing attachment to the human form entirely (see sutra I.37). The best is non-dual and effortless – the big let go. Holding on requires a lot of effort, striving, energy, and tension. Asamprajnata samadhi is free from subject/object dualistic tendencies, which opens up to the unattached limitless nameless true nature of nature. Here war, inner strife, inner/outer demonization, striving, and the shadow world is over for the yogi meeting Reality fully as-it-is without attachments, grasping, limitation, or bias (citta-vrtti nirodha).

This allows conscious awareness to inform the organism directly with clear non-dual untainted perception from the source of the created universe taken as a whole, liberated from bodily or planetary bias and distortion. Such a body/mind shift occurs through the mediation of the purification and activation of the light body, energy body, or pain free body (sambhogakaya), when the karmic (pain body) is purified of residues (samskaras) and obscurations (kleshas).

Succinctly said, through non-dual absorption in nature, shakti, creation, the creative force, the process of creation, or creation as an ongoing, unbroken, evolutionary, creative, and intelligent process, a formless light-body is reflected in all the parts of creation. In this way a natural spontaneous reflective awareness is self-revealed, which is free from solidity or fixated forms (deha). "Separate" things, events, or objects do not arise, but in the great integrity which is described in non-dual and interdependence terms, the awakened mind arises spontaneously and naturally.

To put this in another way, it could also be said that through the practice of bhava-pratyayo a trans-cognitive (asamprajnata), supra-transpersonal, formless absorption (layanam) into the unconditioned formless, boundless, and hence bodiless state (videha) of nature occurs untouched by mental processes of cognition, vikalpa, or citta-vrtti hence the vrtti cease entirely. Uncontaminated and untouched by individual/dualistic cognitive processes (the true untouchables such as the ego, intellect, buddhi, asmita, or even mahat), one's countenance rests in a truly transpersonal and non-dual boundless state of primordially pure awareness, recognizing the true nature of nature, wherein the param-purusha is recognized as both all pervading and omniscient -- as both ever-presence and ever-newness simultaneously.

This is the transcognitive entrance way to non-dual realization whose path was obscured by mental conditioning (samskaras).. In this way the force of creation/evolution (mother nature) is no longer understood in a flat plane state of subject/object duality -- as separate things with a separate observer, but like I.18 (asamprajnata) "things" are seen as they are, with the observer (purusa) no longer identifying with the objects nor apart from what heretofore were grasped as independent solid objects. Thus, so called phenomena no longer create citta-vrtti (they never did actually), but rather it was our conditioned perception of phenomena being objectified, which created our previous mental fixations. HERE phenomena are not seen as separate dead and solid independent entities (egos), but rather part of a much larger intelligent, living, and interdependent dynamic process of creation, creativity, evolution, and pulsating waves of being, which are inherently capable of being traced back, and intimately connected to, primordial source consciousness (the one sourceless, causeless, and beginningless source).

THAT is a very profound yogic experience that Sri Patanjali is pointing us toward, wisely delineated step by step beginning at I.12 and ending here at I.19. Unfortunately, academics lost in dualistic/intellectual analysis (samprajnata) can never reach it, as it permeates and displaces the normally conditioned three dimensional content of the mind. Here such limitations are no longer imposed, thus allowing the practitioner to directly merge into a non-dual transpersonal experience and relationship. Yogis know it as asamprajnata, as a mukti or true vairagyi; but scholars who do not practice ashtanga yoga, will not be able to wrap their intellect around it, precisely because this awareness is far larger than the human intellect (asamprajnata). That limited condition (citta-vrtti) is because intellectual inquiry is not able to penetrate prakrti and purusa interacting non-dually. What is implied here is the videha of a vita-raga, a liberated soul, the mukti, and vairagyi, who has gone beyond the limited boundaries of an independent body, energy body, or transpersonal body as separate fixations, who needs nothing because they have obtained everything.

Here, the vita-raga/the true vairagyi has merged all three as one and inseparable (layanam). The feeling experience (bhava) here, is not merely one of the skin or bodily sensation, but of the integration of emotional body, energy body, anandamaya kosha, and Hiranyagarbha at the core center of the hologram, the buddha-mind essence, the dharmakaya, or hridayam center (see Pada III). Hence it is not limited to the bodily sense organ of sensual feeling (vedana). Rather it is sensed by means beyond the five sense or six sense organs, beyond the intellect, manas, or conditioned mental operations.

The vita-videha/vairagyi is not an escapist, does not avoid anything, has no fear, nor attachment. Rather the vita-videha has merged with nature and traced back the human body to its source, in an everpresent living now. By the word, videha, one no longer identifies exclusively with a separate physical body apart from the whole, or the six senses, sense objects, or individual bias (vrtti), or ordinary dualistic perception; rather, one has entered the holographic sphere of the large body, the Great Body, the Great Integrity, the boundless all encompassing limitless Self where nothing more needs to be accepted or rejected. The relative world of phenomena is perceived by the light body (energy body), while all phenomena are differentiated as variegated relative blends of a primordial display.

"Into a blind darkness they enter who worship only the unmanifested prakriti; but into a greater darkness they enter who worship the manifested Hiranyagarbha. One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another, they say, from the worship of the unmanifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this. He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti. The door of the Truth is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold It."

~Isa Upanishad, translated by Swami Nikhilananda.

A non-practicing yogi, who is a scholar, takes the word, videha, to mean body-less or lacking a body ("deha", meaning body). However, since they have not experienced the true nature of the body, where it is come from, why it is here, and where it is going, they are excused from making intelligent interpretations in this matter. The videha is a transcendent integrated body, not limited by materiality, but not necessarily lacking embodiment. In it, the mystery of microcosm/macrocosm is disclosed. In a Buddhist sense it could be said to be the united state of the two bodies (form and void), the three bodies (Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya) as in the Svabhavikakaya, or in the yogic sense the open unity of the five or six koshas. This can have two aspects, as a state of consciousness and/or a state of being. As we shall see beingness gives rise to consciousness, while consciousness pervades all beings. This sutra is presented as the ultimate climax of vairagyam and has non-dual (asamprajnata) and profound meaning, Hence, this commentary may be very long, yet the essential meaning of the sutra is simple, beyond all simplicity.

When one becomes absorbed (layanam) in the true nature of nature (prakrti) as-it-is, its true relationship with purusa is simultaneously recognized and naturally affirmed. Similarly in Shaivism this is portrayed as the non-dual union of shiva/shakti. This boundless all-encompassing state contains an awareness aspect free from subject/object duality as well as the gunas. Thus informed via a trans-cognitive recognition (asamprajnata) stemming straight from total absorption (layanam) into prakrti (nature) while awake, results in direct information stemming from the true nature of nature. That is prakrti is known in an intimate relationship with purusa. We recognize in nature our own transpersonal true nature, which resides both within us and out, both, and neither. All clinging to a separate self and body, all fear and attachment vanish. The kleshas are wiped out completely including ignorance.

"For those who are without the pride of the body and those who are enjoined with nature, Knowledge itself is the impetus to samadhi. For those who are enjoined with nature, even with the practice of techniques such as kumbhak, the attainment of merging remains only until as the citta stirs again." Commentary by Yogiraj Sri Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya.

This samadhi is initiated by the practice of bhava-pratyaya, in which ordinary dualistic processes of cognition are defeated producing prakrti-layanam. In prakrti-layanam one no longer identifies with a separate body apart *from* prakrti/nature, but rather one knows "self" as an intimate part of the timeless transpersonal (egoless) process as part *of* prakrti's evolution. Here one acts in an informed way according to nature's innate operating instructions which are indelibly imbedded in all of creation. So informed one is enabled to recognize the formless purusa (the deathless Maheshvara as the all pervading consciousness principle) in terms of the unity of form and emptiness, ever-newness/ever-presence, shakti/shiva, etc., as a unbroken continuum.

This reabsorption (layanam) into purusa/prakrti is our natural state before negative conditioning -- before the false identification as being a separate body (deha), which leads to fragmented/broken existence. Recognizing this truth, abhinivesa (the fear of death is overcome as well as raga, dvesa, asmita, and avidya). Really abhinivesah (see II.9) is fear of discontinuity, hence freedom of mere physical identification is necessary as the physical body is temporal and limited. What is not limited is the union of clarity and light, the union of undifferentiated and differentiated realities, the atemporal absolute and ever newness. This occurs when the energy channels (nadis) of the illusory body (or dream body) are purified so that they are no longer limited by past karmic obstructions and mental formations. This is where dream yoga and bardo yoga help, because sleep is like death, in so far the five sense organs are asleep. Hence the yogi is working with past imprints and mental formations. In short even though the physical body is no longer sensing new data, the yogi can operate consciously in the realm of form, even without a physical body. Such becomes perfected in what is called the bliss or pain-free body of a liberated being, the disembodied realm of the yogis, bodhisattvas, and buddhas. Please see dream yoga and bardo yoga in I.9

With this freedom from false temporal and wavering identifications, the yogi is then free to enter the realm of boundless absolute freedom of the vita-ragas. Here the operation of the kleshas have come to an end. Also see II.3 and II.9 for abhinivesa and IV.28-30 for the true purport of this statement. This corresponds to the ultimate state of a vita-raga (I.37). So we take videha as meaning freedom from bodily and sense attachments while vita-raga is free from all attachments (the body being the most stubborn). Although the physical body may undergo transformation, the Great Continuity is deathless as it is omnipresent. In kaivalyam (unconditional liberation) the gunas are understood as being reabsorbed into Source, but in truth this has been their authentic state (reality) all along, while it was just obscured by the kleshic (taints) of the citta-vrtti. thus the yogi enters their natural true state as-it-is (as described in III.3 as swarupa-sunyam). Tat Tvam Asi.

When we dissolve the artificial boundaries constructed by mental fabrications (limited and fragmentary thought forms) from a superficial dualistic world-view of an "I and it", then we experience directly (without the intellect, individual will, or egoic conditioned mindset as intermediator). This describes a transpersonal experience, where dualistic "it and i" are no longer perceived as separate, but rather as intimate parts of a greater whole. Intimately knowing the whole trans-conceptually, we know all the forms, within a boundless, limitless, and timeless primal context of living presence. This is the meaning of the undivided view where form and formless (rupa and sunyata) are not opposed, but form an undivided whole.

This sutra, I.19, thus describes the asamprajnata (trans-cognitive) samadhi (albeit most often in its sabija samadhi form), which forms a successive continuation from I.18. Since this is NOT the samprajnata state, because there is no separate object (rupa) of cognition and no separate cognizer (asmita); rather there is absorption in prakrti as an interdependent continuous whole as-it-is, there is no discontinuity/separation. There is only fullness. Here, the practitioner is infused with and thereby reflects and generates spiritual bhava and light and love becoming absorbed in non-dual communion with the formless aspect embedded within prakrti (creation).

"That is full; this is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness. Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!"

~ ending of the Isha Upanishad

Some samkhya philosophic interpreters will cast doubt whether these videhas (free from the body) represent purusa or muktas (a liberated soul). This is because there is samkhya philosophy and there is yoga, and the two have different objectives and practices. In yoga, one becomes increasingly aware of the most subtle forces until nirvicara is realized (See the last section of Pada I). These subtle realms contain great power and energy (shakti); and hence, energy bodies are discerned. Even the perception of a gross or solid physical or solid human body, as well as other perceived "phenomena" are known as containing an energetic, ever-changing, and dynamic quality, which is in constant interdependent inter-action with everything else. Obviously, if we do not take, "purusa" as an intellectual concept, but rather experience self as purusa by knowing our true nature as-it-truly is, then that Self is free simultaneously from bodily attachment or attachment to any solid form; yet such freedom from attachment excludes nothing. Rather it is all encompassing, boundless, and interconnected. Further purusa is unlimited, and all pervading, while its essence (isvara) is also found in all beings and things. "Reality" can be posited as the result of the natural uncontrived and unfabricated union of purusa/prakrti -- of undifferentiated and differentiated reality -- of cit and sat -- of formless spirit and nature -- creator and creation, however in another sense the positing of any conclusion runs the risk of demeaning the sacred process. In short encapsulating boundless and endless primordial expression with words or concepts is a spiritual crime.

Here, shakti, creation/nature, "the world", or if one prefers maya, becomes the revealer -- providing the stage for purusa to know itself. Seen as separate from formless primordial illumination, maya becomes the opposite, clothing, cloaking, and obstruction. Through intimate absorption and awareness of the true nature of the creative evolution of the universe (prakrti), the yogi is able to trace back to beginningless time -- to the formless immutable and imperishable source before prakrti evolved, and before the evolutes of prakrti (Mahat and the gunas). Here we recognize a long standing doctrinal debate about this question, whether or not creation can contain the creator (whether or not the curative spark is found within all of creation) on one hand; or on the other hand, whether purusa can contain prakrti. Which is bigger and/or smaller, formless emptiness or the entire universe? But a third possibility has been most often totally ignored, which is whether clear vision (vidya) reveals a universal multi-dimensional holographic reality.

Swami Vivekananda said: "The man who has attained it [videha] is called in the Vedas, videha, or 'bereft of body.' He can think of himself as without his gross body;but he will have to think of himself as having a fine body. Those who in this state get merged in nature without attaining the goal are prakritilinas; but those who do not stop even here reach the goal, which is freedom [mukti]."

Samkhya confuses prakritilinas with videhas, because they believe in the permanent dualistic separation/isolation between nature and primeval awareness. They continue to reify phenomena, nature, or reality as frozen independent objects, which admittedly makes it convenient to isolate, analyze, and measure.

The above discussion is meant to disclose that any explication on videha or purusa will depend upon fundamental philosophical assumptions, except in yoga, where everything is based on praxis (direct experience). Indian thought evolved through the centuries, where different systems utilized Sanskrit words in different contexts, thus creating meaningful relationships between the words in their own special sense. If we take Patanjali's definition, isvara is the divine most pure purusa (self), untouched, unblemished, and most pure (apara-mrshta) aspect (visesa) of beginningless undifferentiated universal seed consciousness (purusa) which is unaffected by affliction (klesha), karmic residues. That is the definition that we will also use. Yogis are not concerned with the many fabrications and delusions of "self" (as egoic consciousness) or other wise a dualistic sense. Thus, if the causal seed principle of creation is assigned to purusa, and that innate primordial seed principle is found simultaneously inside and outside (non-dually) in All Our Relations, then this approximates Patanjali's true yogic holographic vision where he defines samadhi in II.3 as swarupa-sunyam). This is stated here, so that the scholar may glean better what Sri Patanjali is referring to as bhava, pratyaya, prakrti, and videha, in a yogic context, which do not have the same meaning in other specific schools of thought.

Because purusa is most often defined as passive and formless, the active principle here is assigned to prakrti, such as is clearly stated in Kashmiri Shaivism and Tantricism, versus samkhya philosophy. This fits into the inherent and intelligent sequential integrity of the Yoga Sutras and its proto-tantric time, if we experienced prakrti (correctly), as not merely a demeaned formulation of dead matter or a series of disconnected frozen objects that have an inherently separate or fragmented identity. Rather, if we instead assume that prakrti is very much alive, fluid, vibrant, radiant, active, ever changing (impermanent) and interdependent (in constant flux), while being pervaded by intelligence, where at the core, Prakrti is entirely permeated with the formless light (prakasa) of purusa, then we have come closer to an interconnected yogic and unfabricated natural state (samadhi) as-it-is (free from conditioning). There is thus no need to complicate the matter by assuming what is not true (separate or independent from the whole, where the observer is separate from the observed) as being true from the beginning of the yogic quest. Stated similarly undifferentiated reality (as clear light) and differentiated reality are found one in the other. Empty essence permeates the entire universe and is found within all phenomena, while each part of the whole recognizes each other simultaneously when realizing the primordial seed source, as love loving love, where the perceiver perceives the divine purusa in all that is perceived.

From the point of view of a *wholistic* embodiment, when we look at the universe directly with naked awareness, it is ever-changing, pulsating, expanding and contracting, alive with light and love. We can also touch the creative principle (the creator or implicate beginningless causal principle) in terms of a integrative fluid creation which contains the creator. But when we mistakenly limit the universe as being finite, fixated, solid, or dead, then we are invited to invent an external entity, from whom we are separate, which is defined too often defined as being isolated, separate, and whom we are estranged from or longing for. In that way man's mind, creates his own split/separation. The is creative spark is eternal infinite, unborn, and can not be entirely contained, yet it resides (contained in every part). WE act as its containers, just as the trees, forest and stars reflect purusa's light. So even if the creative spark is contained *within* the universe, it is not limited or restricted by it. So there is no prakrti that is not infused with purusa, but it is inexact to say that purusa/creative principle or source can not be separated from it, and here we can bring up what happens in bodiless existence, videha, where one is not connected to prakrti (the natural world or universe). The following was quoted above in a larger quote. It speaks to a videha, not to a body-less entity, where the body is defined as something solid and material.

"The mental-continuum (citta-santana) is without boundaries or extension; it is not one thing, nor supported by anything.

Since it has no boundaries, therefore every one of all the infinite realms of existence are one's own body (deha).

In that the infinite realms and the organic creatures [inhabiting those realms] appears as one's body,

It is impossible to define mind and the imprints (vasana) as either one or many.

Everything arises and disappears according to the law of [causally] interdependent co-creation (pratityasamutpada).

And yet, as with a burnt seed, since nothing can arise from nothing, cause and effect cannot actually exist.

Cause and effect, which is fundamental to "Existence" (bhava), is a conceptual discrimination occurring within the essence of Mind-itself, which appears as [both] cause and effect; and yet, since the two [i.e., cause and effect] do not exist as such, creation and destruction [which are dependant on cause and effect] cannot exist either.

Since creation and destruction do not exist, self and other cannot exist; [from whence it follows] since there is no termination (samkrama), [the two extremes of] eternalism and nihilism do not exist either.

Therefore, it is established that the deceptive dualism of Samsara and Nirvana is actually a fiction.

Time (ksana, moment) and locality (sthana, the space or place of phenomena) are indeterminate; temporal duration is a uniquely simultaneous event (sama, unicity), and where the one [i.e., phenomena occupying space] does not occur, the other [i.e., time] does not occur.

Since they are a virtual production (upahita) and not actual (samyak), the vestigial-imprints (vasana) also do not factually exist, and since there then does not exist a sensum (caryavisaya), there can be no substratum (alaya) and no conscious perceiving (vijnapti).

Because there are no boundaries, a focus-of-attention (prabhana) and a locality (sthana), cannot exist. How then can conscious perceiving [i.e., the 'act' of consciousness] arise?

Therefore mind is separate from the alternatives of existence and nonexistence, and is neither one nor many.

In that the Enlightened state of the Blissful Ones is not [objectifiable], the deceit of appearance (abhasa) is like a magical apparition.

In the same way [as Enlightenment is not objectifiable], so also, immaculate Gnosis, and the pure continuum of goodness (kusala) that

Is the Source of Reality (dharmadhatu), are misconstrued as having an existence, and hence as being objectifiable [i.e., an object separate from consciousness].

But, since there is no such thing as an "absolute place" (Vajra-sthana) the nature of "locality" is all-the-same (sama, a perfect unicity).

And since the Supreme Vajra [i.e., ultimate Being, non-dual Gnosis] per se, [abiding in] the Dimension of Reality, is without boundaries, there can be no "time-moments" (ksana) whatsoever.

With all positive good-qualities (kusala), as the root (mula), no more existent than a reflection, then for certain, worldly knowledge (Jagadjnana) [as the branches] has no reality! "

From the Bodhicittabhavana by Manjusrimitra. Manjusrimitra composed this text. The Indian professor (upadhyaya) Sri Simha and the Tibetan translator Bhikshu Vairocanaraksita translated this [into Tibetan]. This text was translated May, 1995 from the Tibetan into English by the Kunpal Tulku for the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. Key Buddhist Sanskrit technical terms have been included in brackets and translation of those terms remain invariant throughout the text. Some terms or phrases have been added in square brackets to explicate the text.

Here, in this realm highest realm of vairagya (which is none other than love), there is no need to be reborn, except for transpersonal and non-dual love. The identification with the physical body and personal karma has ended. This is the vajra-space of vajradhara, the vajrakaya light body, where the saints, yogis, bodhisattvas, sages, and munis still abide and await to help us in their loving compassion.

Light beings, yogis, form bodies, muktas, and bodhisattvas operate on the mandalic plane as light bodies, energy bodies, or transformational symbols. Hence, these images of light are symbolic, not to say that these liberated beings (muktas) substantially exist independently. Through practice, grace, or the exhaustion of past karma, we are able to connect with these liberated bodhisattvas, and complete ourselves through spontaneous embodiment, manifestation, and expression. In some other systems of thought these completely liberated beings (muktas) could be said to exist as Brahmic or Atmic bodies. In that system a jiva is defined as an individual/isolated soul (pain body), while atma is the pain free body of a mukti (jivamukti) be he embodied or not. In classical Buddhist yoga, we are referring to the pain free body (sambhogakaya) where all past karma has become extinguished. In this context we will equate Atmic body with sambhogakaya, with the light body, and pain free body.

"A liberated soul who has attained Brahmaloka can exist with or without a body according to his liking." IV.4.10 The Brahma Sutras

That is called a jivamuktan or Mukta. Those Muktas, who through their supramundane, divine, or liberated bodies (the brahmic or atmic bodies) constantly desire to carry out the will (sankalpa) of the Supreme Brahman, expressed in their acts of the Cit-Sakti of Brahman. With that cit-shakti they operate simultaneously in diverse places without limit. The Muktas always possess this Cit-Shakti, and always are in harmony with its momentum.

This idea is more explicitly expressed in the Sruti of the Madhyandin-Ayanas which is to the following effect:

"That Brahmanistha putting off this mortal body, and having reached Brahman, sees through Brahman, hears through Brahman, yea perceives everything through Brahman." The smrti also says the same:- "where dwell these spirits all of them having celestial bodies." This Sankalpa, or will, which blooms out in the Mukta, is to be cultivated from the very time of his earliest practice, and must be understood to be the same will, which he was cultivating during his period of sadhana.

The atmic body is configured as energy patterns that connect the physical body with the brahmic body (formless body). In Buddhist yoga the same is stated that the sambhogakaya connects the physical emanation body (nirmanakaya) with the formless buddhic body (dharmakaya). All three bodies are thus united... Form and formless for an undivided whole.

Sampadyavirbhavah svena sabdat IV.4.1

"The liberated soul does not acquire anything new, but only manifests its essential or true nature. When the jiva sheds its karmic sheath merging with the power of light there is manifestation of his own true nature". Brahma Sutras

The true nature is always as-it-is, but the mental obscurations have been removed.

The Chhandogya text says "Now this serene and happy being, after having risen out of this body and having attained the highest light, manifests itself by its own nature" (Chh. Up. VII.12.3).

Atma prakaranat IV.4.3 " The light into which the individual soul enters is the Supreme Self." Brahma Sutras

"By his own nature he manifests himself. That is the highest person. The serene being rises above its body, reaches the highest light and appears in its own true nature" (Chh. Up. VIII.12.3).

The jiva (isolated soul) is a manifestation of Brahman if one realizes it or not. When the Jiva realizes it, it has realized jivamukti or as a non-dual atman, who is at one with Brahman . Brahman is not a manifest ion of the self (jiva), nor should an ego worship itself as is the error of narcissism.

Brahmadrishtirutkarshat IV.1.5 "The symbol is to be seen as a an emanation of Brahman (and not in the reverse way), on account of the error of extreme exaltation of the symbol."

Brahmadrishtih: the view of Brahman, the view in the light of Brahman;

Utkarshat: on account of superiority, because of super-eminence.

Literally, when viewed with the light of Brahma (Brahma-dristhi), one views Brahma's unified reflection in all things.

One may assert that everything is a manifestation of Brahman, as they reflect or clothe Brahman. But Brahman is not a reflection of the objects. This is stated so one will not worship symbols or entities. A symbol, object, or representation is at best a reflection, and at worse perceived as an isolated/independent and disconnected object apart from everything else. This is because when there is a supposed meditator/observer, there is egoic isolation/separation, which is a dualistic error. However, through Brahma-dristhi, the view in the light of Brahman, one enters into Brahmaloka, which is a sublime non-dual vantage point where Brahma is all pervasive and all things/beings have no substantial boundaries. Everything is viewed as interconnected limitlessly, and thus an independent meditator is not possible when illumined by the supramundane non-dual light. It is a conflation to say that objects, phenomena, the mind are the same as Brahman; rather they are interconnected parts of the whole, which is Brahman. Brahma or Brahman is inside all things/phenomena, but the thing/phenomena are not Brahman (the whole), per se. They are perhaps gateways to Brahma when perceived through Brahma-dristhi/ Brahma-vidya, Brahmaloka.

From the Madhyandin-Ayanas: "That Brahmanistha putting off this mortal body, and having reached Brahman, sees through Brahman, hears through Brahman, yea perceives everything through Brahman. ... where dwell these spirits all of them having celestial bodies."

This promise of Brahma's intent and union (yoga) with its purpose and meaning (sankalpa), which blooms in the Mukta, is to be cultivated from the very beginning a yogis practice. It must be understood to be the same will, which he was cultivating during his period of sadhana -- when Brahman and Jivan merge as one.

To recount, pratyaya refers to the contents of the ordinary conditioned mind-set as opposed to the boundless mind, which is denoted as the all container. We could just as well say that boundless all-mind is an awareness that recognizes primordial wisdom in All Our Relations as All Our Relations. Pratyaya thus, on the other hand is the result of the mind's habituated tendency to fragmentize the natural unconditioned boundless Mind of pure awareness, into isolated pieces. The conditioned contents of the mind (as in pratyaya) is a result of programmed reductionist thinking, wherein "the thinker" has forgotten their innate and direct way of gnosis and being.

If we utilize inquiry as a support for the path, another question comes up,which, "is yoga about isolation or integration"? A common non-answer is that a bodiless soul takes form in a body, and after a certain amount of temporal space (perceived sequential events over time), the soul leaves the body, the earth, and existence. But has this soul ever really been born and died in the greater continuum of things? How did that soul become created? Is a soul separate from the body? Was the body merely imputed with a soul? Was what one called the soul a continuation of past unfinished karma, kleshas, and consciousness containing an intent for its completion/resolution? What is the purpose of life in a body on the planet? Is physical death an event where a body simply changed its form? All sorts of inquiries may be utilized, but none can successfully supplant direct yogic experience. Ultimately, purusa is always here (omnipresent as ever-presence) and continuous, but the problem is that we have become distracted and do not recognize it as our true self nature (swarupa) in the transpersonal and non-dual sense as our NOW awareness and existence in Sat-Chit-Ananda.

The eternal formless "Self" void of characteristics, as Mahadeva, takes on myriad forms/clothing, but it is up to the true seeker to recognize it in its essential true form. Videha can mean bodiless, formless, independent from a physical body, free from sense object limitations, and free from attachment/aversion, but in its capability to reside outside the dualistically perceived physical body, such does not preclude that isvara does not reside inside all bodies. That recognition allows us to see phenomena as it truly is. As stated in the samkhya philosophic school, videha is most often interpreted as disincarnate, disembodied, or a state of separation/isolation within a static universe with separate objects and observers. Asamprajnata does not agree with that interpretation, as it does not fit after I.18 nor does I.20 follow it. Rather such an interpretation misses the yogic integrity of pada one.

A common tendency within certain "other worldly" religious and academic schools to attempt to solve the human problem of existence (bhava) is to simply refute existence, to call it an illusion, or to nihilistically separate oneself from it as an undesirable object in terms of avoidance, isolation, dissociation, or disembodiment. For them the problem becomes solved through escape, negation, or aversion (dvesa) or a neutral existential unfeeling zombie-like catatonia. That approach could be likened to throwing the baby out with the bath water. It leads to disempowerment, while creating grounds for apathy, complacency, and lethargy, not being capable of inspiring meaningful and creative life.and This particular sutra is one of the most controversial and most widely interpreted sutras. Different schools have varying interpretations and definitions for both bhava and videha.

To recount, pratyaya refers to the mind's habitual tendency to fragmentize the natural unconditioned Boundless Mind of pure awareness. this all-mind can just as well be called recognition or acknowledgment of primordial essence, isvara, divine purusa, heart-mind, or the bodhi-citta. These terms often can be used interchangeably. In ordinary dualistic perception then, pratyaya refers to the context of the small mind, with its bits and pieces (hints of the hologram, if you will). Such apparently perceived content are the result of citta-vrtti (mental distortions). In non-dual realization, pratyaya does not operate, because the operations of citta-vrtti have ceased (nirodha).

Regarding bhava, some schools merely translate bhava as existence, coming into existence, or the birth process. Other schools define bhava as sentiment, a transcendental or spiritual feeling, or beingness. Here bhava does not mean mere presence, but bhava-pratyayo as the power of pure intention and focus upon the pure presence underlying all of creation and non-existence. It can be recognized as being beyond a vrtti -- beyond cognitive thought upon any separate object, but rather as a result of prakrti-layanam. Such a transcognitive bhava thus the dominate mood of pure spiritual motivation.

In yoga, if the yogi's intention is truly pure, it is pure not only in the technical sense, but more so in the spiritual sense. It shows up in one's demeanor and attitudes reflecting something larger than the body, the ego, the buddhi (intellect), willpower, mahat or the gunas. Thus it is clear that Patanjali, by utilizing the word, bhava, is aware of and is addressing the great power of pure non-dual spiritual intention/motivation which clears the mind out of self limiting fixations. In this way bhava is intent, demeanor, attitude, purpose, reflection, and spiritual experience all taken together.

Here spirit shines through the yogi as divine intention -- as its active channel. Generating bhava or the idea of divine union is both, on one hand a well known yogic technique to clear the mind and set the mood, and on the other hand, for the more advanced practitioner, it is a spontaneous and natural expression when coming from prakrti-layanam. Likewise spontaneous and natural self realization is possible simply through spiritual reflection (bhava) into our intrinsic "re-memberance" of our part in the unconditioned formless aspect of nature (as bhava-pratyaya). Are we apart from it or a part of it? Does such a bhava asamprajnata samadhi not act the same way as divine rapture breaking up the extrinsic tendency to over-objectify and hence lead us out of samprajnata (object relations) into an asamprajnata (transcognitive state)?

A student of the yoga sutras will find that the most common interpretations of this sutra conforms to the standard samkhya predilection, interpreting it intellectually and philosophically. Rather, it seems highly inconsistent to assume Sri Patanjali interjecting a philosophic concept in the middle of his presentation between vairagya (I.12-I.18) and isvara pranidhana (I.20-I.29). It is well known that the tendency in orthodox academic religious traditions is to consider Patanjali as a philosopher, rather than as a yogi, and also to interpret him in terms of samkhya philosophical assumptions/context versus the yogic context that is integral with the mountain yogi tradition. In the former (and especially so in samkhya) it is common to see a preference for reductionist thought, which in my opinion can dangerously lead to fragmentation, isolation, nihilism, and disintegration, rather than integration (yoga). On top of that widespread belief, the former groups tend toward duality, where liberation is seen as a separation "from", isolation, and hence a negation and renunciation of existence, life, one's feelings, and the body, and this preference tends to color the more orthodox translations.

Thus recognizing this philosophical preference/prejudice, this author has chosen to translate bhava as a transcognitive or acognitive (asamprajnata) heart-felt presence (not colored by the gunas, vrtti, klesha, karma, or sense organs) but informed even beyond mahat (universal intelligence); i.e., by the primordial most pure, indwelling seed (bija) and beginningless origin (nir-atishayam) of ultimate and unsurpassed omniscience (sarvajna). That bhava is a spiritual onepointed interconnected attitude or mood, which in this situation arises from the total absorption with nature (not as dead matter, but as mater/mother), which in turn is not separate from purusa, but is at the same time not identical with purusa (avoiding the error of absolute monism) as an isolated/separate divine being or entity. Bhava is the seat and its expression of the spiritual feelings that supersede touch and fragmented emotions, as in spiritual affections, spiritual love, the heart and soul of all/awe.

As such. bhava is transverbal communication and *heart advice* from the cosmic mother as the divine creatrix clothing and revealing the purusa which is beginningless and and self luminous. Here one could say that this bhava is the countenance of purusa. I do not at all suggest that this is a statement of a wanton sport of Maya or the divine Lila of shakti, but rather this realization provides great meaning to our lives, courage, and strength supplanting all the kleshas due to lack of order and self esteem, self doubt, craving, repulsion, confusion, or fear of death (the latter klesha being very strong), we are then allowed to understand the true purport of videha. As such bhava is spiritual purport -- a reflection of purusa/isvara, the uninterrupted continuum of transverbal transconceptual "heart-sense" due to arriving home to the seat of pure being, swarupa. Here we abide in our true original unconditioned place (svasthanam) or true beingness as Sat -- as in Sat-Chit-Ananda (chit here representing purusa). Here the divine mood (bhava) permeates our own mind and our sense of being is filled with nectar. In this larger sense, as if you were walking through a pristine valley in the Himalayas on a cool evening at the full moon with nature informing our every step in love, a very intelligent transcognitive (asamprajnata) purport can come through directly that We are it; we all belong perfectly at this moment here and now together -- sublime, seamless, and complete. Tat Tvam Asi. That deep feeling sublime sense of seamless wholeness and completeness is spiritual bhava. It is transverbal, transconceptual (nirvikalpa), transcognitive (asamprajnata), trans-species, beyond mahat, and comes from an untarnished source.

Again, we acknowledge that dualists would say that physical existence is an illusion, has to be renounced; feelings must be conquered, while imputing that embodied existence is flawed and/or inferior. However, what is flawed is the dualistic view or framework, where such a limited and dead concept of "existence" is perceived and imputed to be dead, solid, or separate from the implicate integrative process of the evolutionary energy as a natural expression of pure primordial wisdom. Thus, if one adds a qualifier to dualistic frameworks, then a natural bridge can be gleaned so the apparently dualistic statement may be more accurately understood as saying that matter (things) understood out of context by imputing a separate purusa (observer); that phenomena perceived as independent or devoid of purusa; deadened from contact with the underlying continuum which links prakrti and purusa; out of touch with that great ecstatic direct feeling experience of divine union and the reality of that love, then indeed a somber loneliness and discomfort overcomes the countenance of such a dualistic view, so abandon it. Disembodied and separated from the fount of all being, a neurotic craving arises for some thing else -- somewhere else, for disembodiment, escape, and non-being; hence, the mechanisms for dissociation, death and disintegration is set into motion. Human beings and the planet has suffered from this sort of escapism, nihilism, self rationalization, delusion, denial, and dysfunctional escapism enough.

In authentic yoga, the body, energy body, and mind, not only form a nexus of interpersonal non-dual two-way communications, but it forms a unity of the body/mind/energy body (the unity of the three kayas and five koshas). Recognizing that to be in resonance with primordially pure awareness as ever-presence. Sutra 24 reads, "Isvara is the untouched, unblemished, and most pure (apara-mrshta) aspect (visesa) of beginningless undifferentiated universal seed consciousness of pure being (purusa), which is unaffected by affliction (klesha), karmic residues or and the seed germs (asayair) that result (vipaka) from ordinary actions based on the kleshas (lack of vision, the egoic mindset, craving, antipathy, and attachment to solid fixations). The yogi's task is to keep these pathways (channels or nadis) open, connected, and energized through well known yogic practices (see pada II and III).

Through awareness, mankind is able to embark upon the self-intelligent journey of self-awareness, recognizing the mental tendencies and habits in their "normal/ordinary" formative processes, which create the conditioned content of normal distorted and limited mindfields (citta-vrtti) and releasing their hold (through vairagya). These citta-vrtta serve to habitually occupy/obscure the normal mind (pratyaya with fragmented subject/object duality/separation), thus limiting our awareness and experience. From increased self-awareness, arises awareness of the all permeating innate intelligence, lucidity, clear-vision, and vividness, which eventually becomes a continuous realization in nirbija samadhi when the last residues of past conditioning fall away. Through the sacred dance of yoga (sometimes called the dance of Nataraja), a profound, sacred, self-luminous being expresses itself as sacred ever-presence. The hitherto limited flat plane state of mind of dead fragmented gross existence, is now transformed and opened by the much greater and expansive contextual awareness provided by a liberated and unbound bhava-pratyaya of spiritual vision, shining forth within the innate integrity of All Our Relations.

Creation reveals the creatrix, the creative force, the act of creation, and its uncaused primordial original mind. In that context, revealed by prakrti and its relationship with purusa, then the awareness of how self imposed limiting dualistic thought processes occur, which chronically obfuscate the normal dualistic mentations are clearly revealed, let go of (vairagya), dissolve and cease (nirodha) naturally. What is left is the pure natural unconditioned intelligence itself (videha-prakrti-layanam) as the intelligence of siva/sakti,as an unbounded wholeness. This is our natural and unconditioned state that can be experienced beyond normal human cognition (in asamprajnata) where ordinary cognition again is preempted by a spiritual direction (bhava-pratyaya) where we are not fixated upon any one limited object. In this case we become absorbed in the nature of nature which some call the divine creatrix or mother. As creation comes HERE through the creative act of creation -- through the Divine formless beginningless spark of the creator, then it is natural that prakrti provides the ground that the true self is known.

As we have seen ordinary dualistic cognition (samprajnata) is dependent upon pratyaya, where the contents of the mind appear as limited, fragmented, egoic, and apparently isolated objects of a conditioned dualistic fragmented mindset. That is to say, that within the limited context of citta-vrtti, the perceived contents of that limited state is reduced depending on the reduction of the reductionist or narrow intent and direction of such negative programming operating upon the ordinary mind. Such supports the illusion of apparently isolated objects (physical and/or mental -- coarse or subtle); wherein an ideated, conceptualized, and fabricated limited form is thus formulated. Since spiritual bhava, meaning the power of spiritual intent, motivation, mood, spiritual focus is essentially an all embracing, compassionate, and boundless loving feeling, the divine passion and presence that twinkles in the eyes of a "turned-on" and accomplished yogi carries along with it its own intelligent powerful force and direction as it naturally reflects the integral wholeness of shiva/shakti. Then bhava-pratyaya becomes focused and aligned spiritual force permeating all the koshas, kayas, and channels (nadis) reinforcing and mirroring the primordial spiritual intent and motive power based on the communion/absorption (layanam) both into the formless nature of creativity and into the form body of manifest creativity as sacred presence in All Our Relations.

Manifesting purusa in the body;

We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness. And then there seems to be little objection to a farther step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind. In that case, the unconquerable impulse of man towards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itself in its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulse by which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appears to be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Life which she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulse towards Mind which she has planted in certain forms of Life . . . Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious co-operation she wills to work out the superman, the god. Or shall we not say, rather, to manifest God?

~ Sri Aurobindo

Clarifying "bhava" and "videha": The practice of Clarifying and Setting Conscious Spiritual Intent and Identification

There exists much confusion about the word, bhava, hence, the intellectuals and traditionalist non-yogis severely differ from this simple yogic interpretation. Reductionists who go only half way interpolate from their fragmented  anti-nature perspective (bias); while the interpretation from the yogic (wholistic) perspective has adhered to the experiential yogic context where awareness is boundless and illimitable. Both interpretations however may be honest in believing that their interpretation is more accurate; hence a pramana-vrtti may be present. We trust that the yogis reading this will be capable of using their skills in contemplation and samyama to reach clarity and insight.

Technically speaking, bhava is often used by *philosophers* as the technical word for "intent" or will. Then, it is often extended to mean the force that brings "things" or phenmena into existence, which creates an undesirable phenomena for those who define liberation as separation from life and beingness. That is the common view for the nature-phobic and "other-worldly" philosophers who view liberation as escape/avoidance from life.

However, in the mountain yogi tradition where the task is to embody spirit here and now -- act as a vessel and agency of universal light and love, in this very life at ach continuous junction  as a jivamukti, bhava is not endowed with such a negative meaning. Rather, its meaning is entirely spiritual-spirit filledIt is our all-encompassing gaze. Here, bhava is our spiritual intent, focus, aspiration, and vision, which makes all the difference in concentrating and guiding our practice. It means that our spiritual intent which we generate as our spiritual mood is not separate, but rather equated with an alignment and communion with Mahat and Prakrti, hence, purusa, as the divine intent of pure love -- that what we hold in our mind in constant awareness, which is the joyous task of the authentic yogi. It directs the mind toward the desired goal (divine union).This is revealed and brought forth in Sutra I.23 where surrender and dedication to the highest self (isvara pranidhana) follows. In the pursuit of non-dual yoga the goal is sacred non-dual union, while as such bhava manifests as the backdrop -- setting the spiritual mood and intent of our practice and keeping us on track. Simply said, bhava is the subjective experiential feeling and condition of a yogic adept -- a sadhak.  When it is applied to the realization of a vita-videha, a mukti, or vairagyi, it is the experiential expresion of pure ecstatic unconditional love.

In a Buddhist sense it can be equated to the generation of the bodhimind (bodhicitta), the powerful divine motivation or wish to gain enlightenment in order to free all others from the suffering of unawareness. Bhava, as in establishing our firm intent is a very powerful organizing force in our practice, in meditation, and in our everyday life. It focuses and strongly moves the cit-prana. In similar bhakti yoga circles, bhava is the trans-conditional intent equated with divine inspiration, rapture, or the spiritual gaze. If our practice is devotional, then the practice of bhava-pratyayo is even more relevant.

In India bhava samadhi (as spiritual rapture) is a well-known phenomenum. It is looked down upon as a trap by intellectuals, academics, philosophers, and orthodox religionists, but none-the-less practitioners report that such practice is transformative -- adherents claim that they become moved by God and they experience stages of continuous samadhi as a result. As a yogi, Patanjali was well aware of bhava, and is suggesting a transcognitive (asamprajnata) practice that we can go (bhava-pratyayo) which leads to this formless absorption in nature (videha-prakrti-layanam). Thus bhava-samadhi can be an aid helping a practitioner to experience transcognitive samadhi as long as they do not get addicted to the rapture (spiritual rapture and divine attitude being another common definition of bhava samadhi). As such prabhava is the act of coming into swarupa --our true natural self beyond the limited and false extrinsic identification processes of apparently isolated phenomena (pratyaya) related to ordinary cognition processes (samprajnata). Here we affirm and generate the "good mind" and simultaneously embrace the profound "right view" beyond any vrtti -- independent of pramana-vrtti or judgments, methods of inference, willfulness, philosophical ideas, conceptual artifice, or dualistic perception. Thus this bhava stemming from prakrti-layanam is one beyond conception (nirvikalpa) and any artifice or support (alambana). It is established through direct transpersonal spiritual experience and is thus due to the dawning of the intrinsic light in authentic darshan untouched by form, time, and limitation.

Thus, in this way we practice the special spiritual attitude (bhava) born of an absorption (layanam) on the ongoing process of an unconditioned formless (videha) natural mind as-it-is -- creation (prakrti) as manifested through the intelligent evolutionary force disclosing the creator/source in every atom. This is a special formless and objectless spiritual intention called bhava-pratyayo, which is not directed by individual cognition (asamprajnata), but rather directed by transpersonal and non-dual absorption (as asamprajnata type of knowing without an object). See the end of Pada IV for more about this profound mergence.

Love has taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but Yours, but I couldn't.
I had to clap and sing.

I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That's how I hold your Voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your Fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.

I saw You and became empty. This Emptiness,
more beautiful than existence, it obliterates existence;
and yet when It comes, existence thrives and creates more existence!

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man squatting on the road.
But whoever sees Your Emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Muhammed, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city where no one knows Him.

To praise is to praise how one surrenders to the Emptiness.
To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the Ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who know where!
Just to be held by the Ocean is the best luck we could have.
It's a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn't matter how long we've been unconscious.

We're groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness around you, the buoyancy.

Translated by Coleman Barks, "The Essential Rumi", HarperSanFrancisco, 1995

So we have asked what does videha really mean? Our translation seems to differ from traditional samkhya. Traditionally the word, videha, generally means free from the restrictions of a body or bodiless, hence it is often referred to a disembodied state. But it is a mistake to assume that videha exclusively means disembodied or bodiless; rather merely free from bodily and sense object attachments and restrictions. Free from duality, while resting identified with the five kayas (the undivided vajra space of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya, svabhavikakaya, and vajrakaya). Even while dwelling in the body, it is said that a yogi who has achieved dissolution of the citta-vrtti (biases of the mind-field) into *original* prakrti, which undivided from Cit, can after having abandoned attachment to the physical body and after conquered the fear of death is able to effectively maintain a linga body, while still living in a physical body as a jiva-mukti for the benefit of the world. Videha thus connotes freedom from attachment to a separate body or identity, by absorbing oneself in undivided nature (prakrti) while connecting with the intelligence behind creation (Maheshvara) and being informed through that uninterrupted bhava (feeling recognition), which is transcognitive (asamprajnata), non-dual, and transpersonal. Such a vita-raga is also a maha-videha being informed directly by the multiverse and its unborn primordial source, versus identifying exclusively with limited processes limited to the supposition of an individual mind or body. In this transpersonal body, form is inseparable from empty space, and empty space is adorned by form. Through phenomena the universal timeless undifferentiated clear light shines through. Those who have realized this state are sometimes called disembodied angels, shining gods, or the shining/luminous ones. One who has lifted himself above all attachments and is mentally and bodily free of all bondage. One who has realized "Self" and is beyond the mundane existence of Life is even free of moha (deep emotional attachment) towards his/her own body. This unattached attitude towards the body of the "Self" constitutes one having reached Videha Shetra ... one who is free of his/her deha (body) in all respects!

"When [poetry] aims to express a love of the world it refuses to conceal the many reasons why the world is hard to love, though we must love it, because we have no other, and to fail to love it is not to exist at all."

Mark Van Doren

As pointed out traditional samkhya will define mukti (liberation) as dissociation or escape *from* existence/embodiment. Videha for them is deliverance through release from the body and negation of the senses and feelings. It is withdrawal, but according to Sri Patanjali, liberation is not as easy as simply dying from the world literally or trashing it. Liberation comes from yoga (union) without attachment -- it's a fearless deep and total embrace without grasper, grasping or any object that is being grasped. Liberation rather is the death of the citta-vrtti, the ego (asmita), avidya (unawareness), karma and conditions, while the yogi takes rebirth in the beginningless mind, awakening into unbounded awareness.

Walking in nature is like walking with Brahma. Brahma it is said, breathes in and out the kalpas (multiverses). It is the yogic path/practice to become connected with source and thus act as a transconceptual meditation that transforms and unites us all. It is not necessary to put words or concepts to "it", but rather to directly experience it, feel connected, uncompounded, interdependent and at home as a part of a greater transconceptual union that goes all the way back to timeless source and stems forth from it in a timeless intimate pulsation (spanda) vibrating in the present as primordial presence -- as a reflexive impulse of primordial mind As such the latter is as much a wordless transconceptual path as is silent sitting non-analytical meditation.          

So nature (prakrti), should we consult with her in absorption as prakrti-layanam, will disclose/reveal the Long/Great Body of the Iroquois, the Great Integrity which links us all and which is not a separate physical body belonging to an individual ego (asmita) at all. Rather this BIG Body of the Great Integrity is the entire created universe as well as the three times and no time. This prakrti is infused with consciousness and intelligence and not only is it it's true essential nature, it penetrates prakrti completely when our hearts and eyes are open wide to see. This universal unimpeded intelligence is not limited only to to creation, but belongs to creativity, which is our own ancestral home that can be traced all the way back to the seed act of creation throughout history (all of time). Here we have to surrender up our individual physical body (deha) as well as all ego accoutrements in order to make this journey. There we identify with the LONG Body -- with All Our Relations as kin throughout time and place and we are informed by such. This is acognitive/transcognitive (asamprajnata) non-dual wisdom, not limited by dualistic mentation of asmita (limited ego identification of an I and it). This type of transpersonal acognitive relationship brings about unlimited knowledge should the yogi chose to lose one's ego identity and identify with the seed source which permeates the causal stream of the universe which is the very essence of our mind -- the innate wisdom or native Bodhi seed (bodhicitta) which awaits maturation within us all. That Big Mind is the Great Integrity and completion of the Long Body a samadhi of the highest caliber.

III. 43. bahir akalpita vrttir maha-videha tatah prakasa avarana-ksayah

From that samyama (tatah) the veil of the innate light is destroyed (prakasa avarana-ksayah), one is freed from habitually directed projections of conceptual thought (apparitional thinking) upon external and superficial appearances (bahir akalpita vrttir), thus one realizes freedom from mere bodily awareness and attachments (maha-videha).

Especially when one identifies with the underlying formlessness (videha) that is united and underlies (layam) all of nature (prakrti), as the stainless purusa, one can see how prakrti-layanam is a super acognitive (asamprajnata) vehicle and teacher. Here instead of dissociation, renunciation, opposition, dvesa (aversion), or negation toward the body and nature, there is realization -- there exists kinship and a lack of separateness, rather an abundant integrity and an uninterrupted continuity is realized -- a formless (videha) quality which transcends the idea of a separate body. Rather the transpersonal personification of the LONG BODY pervades the entire universe (prakrti) as purusha's visage, countenance, reflection, or emanation. HERE is acknowledged and recognized. It is crucial not to confuse the emanation/expression with purusha (which is pure Now consciousness), but at the same time recognize the emanation as an integral part of the formless seed source (which is pure purusa consciousness). This integration of the created and uncreated (shakti/shiva -- prakrti/purusa) is available to those who have become reabsorbed (laya), re-united, and have reclaimed the birthright of their formless non-dual self nature in nature which is the unity of self in nature and nature in transpersonal Self (prakrti layanam). This transpersonal acknowledgement is not the result of ordinary cognition (pratyaya), but rather is asamprajnata formed by bhava-pratyaya, where perception is informed by transpersonal awareness. This taste of the universal intrinsic authentic true self is the dawning of swarupa (the realization of our true natural unconditioned self) where the matrix or veil of superficial appearances (maya) is cleansed revealing the Reality of Creator/Creation (Shiva/Shakti). It is not dependent upon form; rather it is achieved through recognizing the underlying authentic formless true nature of "Self" in

All Our Relations.

HERE shakti (prakrti) is the gateway to shiva (purusa), creation the gateway to the creator (the creative spark or formless seed source), nature is the gateway to our true essential formless nature. Thus purusa/maheshvara is also the gateway to prakrti/shakti. In fact this is a two way street. Shakti defines Maheshvara and reveals him, yet Siva remains stainless, untouched, unborn, and ever accessible. Yes, they are not the same. Siva is not dependent upon Shakti, but they are united. Yet purusa/siva is inseparable from prakrti/shakti, but prakrti/shakti can not be separated from siva without *Mater* turning into dead matter -- without duality reappearing. Shakti can not exist without siva, but siva can not exist at all - being sunya, void, unborn, formless, and abhava. We go *to* the undifferentiated seed source (siva/purusa) from creation (prakrti/sakti) as differentiated consciousness reveals its source, and also we can go *from* undifferentiated seed source (siva/purusa) to differentiated reality (sakti). Within the reality of seemingly individuated creation, lies the dance of Self -- the divine Lila. Embodiment is the spirit's container. The journey is neither just to the up to Seed Source (sahasrara), nor down to the earth (muladhara), but rather it pulsates between the two (sahasrara and muladhara as a greater Divine Integrity through the middle channel (sushumna).

See Sutra II 18:

prakasa-kriya-sthiti-silam bhutendriyat-makam bhogapavargartham drsyam

When we perceive an object through the dynamic activity of the inner light of consciousness -- from our light and energy body (prakasa) -- we are able to see its inherent light as well. From this unity consciousness gazing upon what previously appeared as a fragmented material object (something steady, solid, and stable (sthhiti-silam) being composed of the apparent slow vibratory motion of the elements (bhutas), but by acknowledging the splendor of this inner light (prakasa) then know the senses (indriyat) to be a liberator and revealer (apavarga) of the Great unity -- as all our experiences in everyday life becomes our teacher, rather than as an avenue for dissipation, duality, and fragmentation.

Or similarly, the true non-dual intelligent liberatory energetic nature of the unity of creator/creation which is the essence of "things" seen or unseen, is illuminated and disclosed by this deeper power of transcognition (in which the seer, all which is seen, and the processes of seeing) are a common reflection of an inherent all inclusive and all pervasive luminous intrinsic power (prakasa) and common Source, which is simultaneously experienced (bhoga) and thus this process of identification with this self illuminating activity (prakasa-kriya) becomes self liberating (apavarga) even in our daily experiences.

See also:

IV Sutra 2 jati-antara-parinama prakrty-apurat

The diverse embodiments (of spirit) are conveyed through the flux of creative natural evolution. Spirit as such is intrinsic, part of our essential nature although hidden by ignorance in the “normal” condition.

And similarly in Sutra IV.3

nimittam aprayojakam prakrtinam varana-bhedas tu tatah ksetrikavat

Through our daily intercourse and experience with nature/creation the coverings (varana) which are obstacles to the realization of the Great Integrity and continuity of THAT manifestation are removed (bhedas) naturally without necessitating force; but rather can occur naturally like a cultivator with a green thumb who naturally gravitates toward cultivating both the soil and the plants as part of one’s larger family or kin – as a partner or co-creator. 


and especially regarding videha, the commentary in I.45 regarding alinga.

III.43 offers us much more regarding maha-videha whom we can also identify with videha-mukti, jiva-mukti, videha-kaivalya, videha-devas, as well as the vita=ragas as all have become free of bodily attachments and sense objects. (see glossary)

III. 43. bahir akalpita vrttir maha-videha tatah prakasa avarana-ksayah

From that samyama (tatah) the veil of the innate light is destroyed (prakasa avarana=ksayah), one is freed from habitually directed projections of conceptual thought (apparitional thinking) upon external and superficial appearances (bahir akalpita vrttir) thus one realizes freedom from mere bodily awareness and attachments (maha-videha).


Having discussed "videha" according to Sri Patanjali, now we can inquire about what he says elsewhere about "bhava".

Sutra 28 taj-japas tad-artha-bhavanam

Through constant repetition (taj-japa) of the pranava (om) the meaning (artha) behind the sound is absorbed (bhavanam) and realized, manifests, and emanates here and now.

Sutra 29 tatah pratyak-cetanadhigamo'py antarayabhavash ca

Thence [through the practice isvara pranidhana and/or the pranava, aum] consciousness (cetana) is redirected (pratyak) inwards, shining light upon and destroying (abhava) inner hindrances and obstructions (antarayah) thus catalyzing inner realization (adhigamo).

Also see Sutra I.33 for more on generating bhava to clarify the mind (citta prasadanam).

Sutra I. 33 maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukha-duhkha-punyapunya-vishayanam bhavanatas citta-prasadanam

By generating and cultivating the intent and deep feelings (bhavanatas) of friendliness and loving kindness (maitri), love and compassion (karuna), equity (upeksanam), and sympathetic joyfulness (mudita) in [all] conditions and events (visayanam) whether it be potentially joyful (sukha) or painful (duhkha), auspicious (punya-apunya) or not, a sweet grace arises that establishes a clarity of the heartmind (citta-prasadanam).

So how is bhava-pratyaya cultivated? One can live in forest hermitages, huts, near the banks of holy rivers, inside the caves of sacred mountains, or elsewhere in the wilderness seeking the transpersonal inspirational blessings that is inherent in natural creation which in turn reflects the creator. Here communing with and worshipping the divine creatrix in nature accelerates the practitioner swiftly into the non-dual transpersonal Reality of All Our Relations. The ancient Rishis, Munis, and yogis knew this and always sought out the wilderness as a valued ally to their practice. In the modern urban age, it is not always easy to find a quiet place in nature for spiritual retreat and practice, but such influences are non-the-less very powerful in creating asamprajnata. All aspirants are encouraged to practice in this way in order to help activate the bhava of the mother -- the Divine Creatrix. Bhava-pratyaya can also be generated by divine re-memberance by remembering who we are in All Our Relations, that separate forms are illusory, that we are not separate from the trees, oceans, stars, deer, the formless realms and each others. In this way we can invoke the presence of the yogis of the three times (past, present, and future) to help instruct and guide us.

In a similar sense we can receive darshan and grace from creator/creation -- shiva/shakti in All Our Relations at every moment in all things everywhere. In this way we receive darshan from nature as well as from inside the body as being an integral part of nature (not apart from it). Thus antar darshan melds with the darshan of the mother as hridayam darshan. This is the culmination of bhava-pratyayo or non-dual spiritual intent where our own intent melds with the intent of the universe and as such a non-dual synergistic and synchronistic alignment comes into being.

The generation of divine intention/motivation or the "good mind" (bhava-pratyaya) is a very powerful motive force linking both practice and grace. Pure gratitude being perhaps the deepest natural expression of divine grace.

"thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."


"suddha-sattva-visesatma prema-suryamsu-samya-bhak rucibhis citta-masrnya- krd asau bhava ucyate"

suddha-sattva — by unadulterated goodness; visesa — distinguished; atma — whose nature; prema — of love of God; surya — like the sun; amsu — a ray; samya-bhak — which is similar to; ruchibhi — by different tastes; citta — of the heart; masrnya — softness; krt — which causes; asau — that softness; bhavah — emotion; ucyate — is called.

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila (23.5)

Please note that Patanjali is indicating here a profound practice, which is available to us through recognizing the formless nature inside of all of nature; i.e., that purusa is shining out at us from All Our Relations. This is the union but not sameness of absolute and relative truth, undifferentiated reality and differentiated, siva and shakti, Brahman and Maya, purusa and prakrti.

It is obvious that Patanjali is not addressing samkhya dualism here, but an integrative relationship between prakrti and purusa; i.e., within THAT which is contained in prakrti (nature) there is a formless presence (purusa) which is the true nature of the Self (swarupa). Here the profound mergence of sattva, purusa, prakrti, isvara, and swarupa is being pointed out which is flatly stated in the last Sutra of the last Pada the most lofty (Kaivalyam) Sutra IV.34. Indeed purusa as isvara is known as self only through the agency of prakrti, not as a separate Self.

Kahlil Gibran wrote,

"So shall the snow of your heart melt when your Spring is come, and thus shall your secret run in streams to seek the river of life in the valley. And the river shall enfold your secret and carry it to the great sea.

"All things shall melt and turn into songs when Spring comes. Even the stars, the vast snow-flakes that fall slowly upon the larger fields, shall melt into singing streams. When the sun of His face shall rise above the wider horizon, then what frozen symmetry would not turn into liquid melody? And who among you would not be the cup-bearer to the myrtle and the laurel?

"It was but yesterday that you were moving with the moving sea, and you were shoreless and without a self. Then the wind, the breath of Life, wove you, a veil of light on her face; then her hand gathered you and gave you form, and with a head held high you sought the heights. But the sea followed after you, and her song is still with you. And though you have forgotten your parentage, she will for ever assert her motherhood, and for ever will she call you unto her.

"In your wanderings among the mountains and the desert you will always remember the depth of her cool heart. And though oftentimes you will not know for what you long, it is indeed for her vast and rhythmic peace."

This commentary on I.19 is very long, for two reasons. It fails as any attempt to conceptualize the transcognitive realm will fail. May this failed attempt not reinforce ignorance or spiritual self-alienation because of this inadequacy.

Secondly it is long because most traditional "interpreters" have institutionalized a severe dualistic approach in their interpretation, which taken to the extreme, again misconstrues yoga as isolation, rather than union, separating out the eternal purusa as distinct and separate from nature; rather than presenting purusa (the self) as being revealed and clothed in nature, where form/creation reveals the act of creation (the formless). Samkhya interprets the goal of yoga as the end of existence, the world, and nature; i.e., that the problem of existence and the body is simply reduced to avoiding, escaping, denying, ignoring it, leaving it, negating it, renouncing it, etc. Patanjali, is saying something more profound.

However, if the samkhya view is moderated as merely stating, that to lose awareness and become absorbed into a fragmented idea of dead nature as material/matter disintegrates and reforms in flux, then, this would be an agreeable statement, but applicable to this sutra. In reality, matter is not separate from nature, and the true nature of what is perceived as phenomena is not separate from the true nature of mind. When the yogi knows the true nature of mind or mind-essence, then the true nature of nature is seamlessly known as well. Only false views (citta-vrtti) and negative conditioning (vasana) create that illusion. That is not to say that isvara can not be discerned from nature, or that formless and form are to be conflated as the same. Rather form (swarupa) and emptiness (sunyam) are two sides of one coin. Isvara as the param-purusha is all pervasive -- it pervades the entire universe as intrinsic universal seed consciousness. Purusa is indeed not the same as prakrti, yet prakriti is inseparable from it. Together they reveal each other, and hence, the dance of evolutionary power glistens brilliantly.

See III.43 for more on Maha-videha

Sutra 20 Shradda-virya-smrti-samadhi-prajna-purvaka itaresham

Otherwise (itaresham), failing that, others may proceed (purvaka) by cultivating inner wisdom, insight, and self awareness (prajna) that leads toward samadhi through the self disciplines that cultivates confidence and devotion to yogic practice (shradda), enthusiasm, zeal, courage, and strength of practice (virya); reminding ourselves of the path, its purpose, and joyful practice (smrti);

itaresham: otherwise; at other times; other places.

shradda: self confidence, self assurance, certitude based on gnosis and direct experience, irreversible certainty on the path, conviction.

prajna: intuitive wisdom, inner wisdom, innate wisdom , gnosis, direct perception.

smrti: memory

virya: spiritual strength and enthusiasm

samadhi: spiritual realization

purvaka: accompanied by; Something that proceeds from the prior; I.20; II.34.

Commentary: Yoga is a practice of self discipline. It is not done because it is written in a book, one's parents, society, or teacher has told them to do it. Like the Buddha, who was a practicing yogi, the yogi practices because of a burning desire to learn and know the truth is still alive inside. That practice is joyful because it eliminates the afflictions (kleshas) and suffering (duhkha), it removes doubts, confusion, fear, anger, craving, etc. It does so not through repression, but by wisdom (prajna). That wisdom is experiential due to practice, not book or intellectual knowledge. Knowing our own mind (mindfulness) forms a firm basis of an effective practice. When this direct experience is lacking in our experience, then the yogi turns to effective practices which bring this awareness and beingness together (Cit and Sat) into our direct experiences. This is called bringing the essence presence into the path.

Hence for a yogi, a diligent one pointed practice is one which is continually defeating confusion (avidya) and duhkha (stress). This intensity of practice is not by itself, stressful or effortful. It is never painful (duhkha) or creates harm. Having removed mental discomfort and pain (duhkha), the practice of yoga brings lasting happiness and bliss, eventually. Positive and natural, enthusiasm is key for a successful and functional self motivated practice, while one is best served by keeping in mind and remembering (smrti) the purpose of the practice (nirbija samadhi). This is called taking the result essence into the practice, or merging the base, the path, and fruit as one. The skillful approach which unifies the view, the practice, and the fruit merges as an inseparable unified and strengthened devotion and dedication. It bridges mental fragmentation and corruption, thus the practitioner is able to navigate skillfully remaining on course.

Hence the sutra states, that for those others (itaresham) or at "other times", when asamprajnata (through virama pratyaya or bhava-pratyaya such as in I.18-19) has NOT been sufficient to propel the yogi into nirbija (continuous) samadhi -- to move the yogi forward into complete and unswerving awakening; where the practice of the great purification as in abhyasa-vairagyabhyam to obtain liberation has not been completely successful or when it has been misapplied; then, some further assistance (shradda-vira-smrti) is helpful to bring forward (from the background) the necessary wisdom (prajna) t guide the practice and hence lead one to the fruit (samadhi). The following practices found in Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada, and Kaivalyam Pada guided by the unity principle of yoga, but specifically applied to All Our Relations, occurring inside All Our Relations, and facilitated by All Our Relations without exception, will help catalyze the occurrence of asamprajnata (transcognitive non-dual) samadhi) all the way to nirbija samadhi (the highest samadhi) which culminates in unconditional natural liberation. Now then it is time to augment our practice and ramp it up, so that transcognitive primordial absorption can eventually result (purvaka).

Here purvaka, thus denotes that shradda, virya, and smrti are preparatory practices which catalyze rtam-bhara prajna (sutra I.48) which destroys the old samskaras (seeds of falling back) and procreates the most sublime samadhi. One can ramp up their practice by increasing effort, energy, and enthusiasm (virya); engage upon practices which increases self confidence (shradda) in one's overall practice, surround oneself with an environment that tends to remind us to focus with sacred reverence (smrti); to cultivate that which increases absorption (samadhi) in ever accessible intrinsic wisdom (prajna). Implementing such remedies will positively affect our practice. Here also we are reminded that the practice is intended to evoke the intuition or innate wisdom and bring it forward into effecting an even more efficacious practice until ultimate liberation is realized.

Swami Venkatesananda says, from "Enlightened Living" :

"In the case of others, when such spontaneous realization of the unconditioned does not happen, such realization is preceded by and proceeds from faith or one-pointed devotion, great energy and use of willpower, constant remembrance of teachings and one's own experience, the practice of samadhi (the state of inner harmony), and a knowledge or discernment of such harmony - all of which lead one gradually on to that state of yoga."

In other words, an effective and functional yoga practice automatically creates its own enthusiasm, strength, conviction, proof, zeal (virya), a greater degree of self confidence and centered empowerment, sense of purpose, rememberance, insight, inspiration, and feeling of being connected with All Our Relations. These are excellent sign posts for our practice. A yogi/yogini who is to be successful really needs great courage and strength, but sometimes our practice may be lacking or unskillful. Then we might lose sight of our spiritual focus. then direct insight (prajna) is most helpful. Being inspired transcends practice as such; it transforms it from mere mechanical performance recipes into an active full and integrated all body/mind energy dance with All Our Relations. All that is called for is to intimately know (in pure beingness) and bathe continuously in the fount of that inspiration.

To an ideologue or religionist, shradda, is interpreted and translated as faith, conviction, belief, but that is merely another pramana (citta-vrtti) or distorted view and limited conditioned assumption. Patanjali does not advocate citta-vrtti as the path, even as a temporary measure. Shradda as confidence and certitude thus has to be distinguished from conviction, loyalty to doctrine, or faith. The latter is due to a chronic lack or state of separation. Conviction is a diversion and poor substitute at best for true prajna, self knowledge self confidence, true meaning, an integral identity (integrity), order and meaning in life based on direct experience and gnosis. Shradda is to be cultivated through the resultant self confidence based on direct yogic experience.

The Natural Primordial awareness as unending wisdom-mind is timeless and inexpressible Dharmadhatu (the realm of the unending, limitless, and everpresent Buddha Mind.

“The basis of mind is free from all fabrication and beyond existence and nonexistence, since it is inexpressible Dharmadhatu. Until confidence in realization is attained, mind must be purified of all habitual phenomena, and wisdom and merit must be accumulated. Mind is continuous because, when it become Dharmakaya, it is unending and timeless. That is why it is called unending wisdom mind.”

~ White Sail, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

When the mind is fragmented or obstructed (kleshic) then confidence (shradda), zeal, and clarity of direction in our practice may be diminished, lost, and thus doubt may set in such as in chronic cynicism, despair, or nihilism. That would create a significant impediment toward realizing a successful practice. Authentic yogic practice matures the mind. The practitioner awakes their intuitive transcendental wisdom which is beyond conceptual thought. This maturity destroys doubt. It creates more than confidence, but something which is called irreversible or transcendental faith. Thus practices based on faith and belief which are bereft of direct experience must be abandoned, where faith is replaced by wisdom; i.e., direct realization. In fact, irreversible faith in the yogic path occur when results in the practice occur. There is no external magic wand to become dependent upon that is separate from our practice and direct experience. This will destroy doubt. When we lack inspiration and enthusiasm, then practice. When we are inspired to practice, then it is easy to practice. When All Our Relations is our practice, then practice as the path is no longer separated from the basis of the practice or its fruit.

Practices which produce tangible direct results ( direct clear perception or vidya) will increase inner gnosis (prajna), self confidence based on self knowledge, conviction, and hence belief in the innate buddhanature (self). This increase of trust in the practice results in an increase of feeling good about one's life and "self". To be certain this inner "Self" realization is NOT the egoic mind. It is not a belief in a separate independent self (ego). This trust is not placed in separateness, independence, autonomy, cynicism, paranoia, escapism, nor nihilism, but rather the direct realization, integration, and resultant experience of a deep heartfelt omnipresent connection of interdependence which comes from an effective yoga practice. As the connection deepens, so does the love, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, fulfillment, and sense of completion. This true omnipresent "self" confidence is the basis of a resultant self assurance. This trust and conviction then is not about trusting an external belief system, the dictates of others, other groups of people, authoritative scripture, presidents, dictators or supremists, but rather it based on an inner non-dual realization. It is the result of a direct connection with the self-intelligent fount of all wisdom. When one becomes aligned with universal jnana (knowledge) as primordial wisdom, the need for substitute systems of trust ceases. In a paranoid, competitive, and egoic based consumer/materialistic society, many people wind up as a result with chronic ongoing trust issues. Deep and total trust afforded by the integral experience of yoga is very empowering. This trust. although not realized in the novice, can never-the-less be glimpsed and partially related to in the beginner. Hence this trust, confidence, and self assurance can eventually mature as the yoga practices reveal the true non-dual nature of the omnipresent all pervasive primordial mind, which has never left us, but we have failed to recognize (continue to ignore).

So confidence, gnosis, conviction, inspiration, and enthusiasm go together. The practice can be heightened and encouraged by remembering and being reminded (smrti) of what a yogi passionately is devoted toward (nirbija samadhi). As the yogis dedication to his/her practice matures, both the process and the result become more naturally accessible and self perpetuating. The only obstruction is lack of wisdom; i.e., confusion. This happens through effective practices and if one is lucky, others who are on the path of liberation such as spiritual friends, teachers or sangha. Here these methods can become invoked as remedial safeguard (as a practice to increase the practice), when our practice needs a boost. As such shradda, virya, smrti, and prajna, can help us to become focused and engaged in our practice, but should only be seen as a temporary adjuncts toward reestablishing an effective practice which provides its own natural inspiration, spiritual passion, insight, enthusiasm, and encouragement as these all come naturally through increased alignment, integration, and union. Hence they are considered to be provisional teachings (as distinguished from a direct practices). Here an effective practice perpetuates itself, is self instructing, self liberating, as it increases prajna (insight) virya (spiritual strength, inspiration. and courage), shradda (centeredness and self confidence), and re-memberance (smrti) of All Our Relations. so that our practice doesn't fade or become mechanical or deadened.

We can easily go wrong when we take yogic practices and translate them into English words, concepts, and Western contexts. As a specific example, shradda, which is most often translated as "faith", should not be seen in the normal Western context where faith means "blind belief", unquestioned acceptance or firm conviction in a doctrine, loyalty to or trust in an ideology or religion, or another person's authority. Rather in yoga, shradda is neither faith, belief, or loyalty in that sense. Spiritual shradda means focused onepointed focused intention to awaken. It is thus the strengthening of one's intent, dedication, determination, and confidence in realizing the natural innate maturation process of the unified will to enlightenment, awakening, liberation. It is the unification of the ultimate mind of enlightenment (ultimate bodhicitta) with its expression in thought, word, and deed. It is the activation and ripening of the unborn intrinsic latent seed source (isvara) that is embedded within all. In Buddhism it is the manifestation of one's inherent Buddha Nature as the final goal and outcome of the practices. Thus it is not faith in the practices, but the result of being consciously connected with the intent itself. It comes down to having faith in one's own mind and ability to awaken -- faith in one's own essential nature and thus practicing to cultivate that awareness (swarupa). It is thus taken for granted that buddha nature permeates every being as innate wisdom-- as the ultimate true nature of mind or bodhi-mind. This inner faith thus reflects the essence of innate awareness/wisdom. It is faith in our native intrinsic wisdom, which when it blossoms forth is self revealing, self liberating, and joy filled. Because the common man lacks memory of "direct experience" because it has been beaten out of them at an early age, they lack understanding of its profound meaning.

How is this spiritual shradda awakened one may ask? As an analogy, a cup of tea is placed on the table. The cook says that it is lemongrass and honey. The server confirms this. I smell it, look at it, and analyze it. I may have some faith that it is true, but only when I put it to my lips and taste it directly, place it on my tongue, swish it in my mouth, and swallow it, will I know with confidence what is meant by the taste of lemongrass and honey tea. Then after that direct experience, I can with confidence pick up that same tea cup and expect (through smrti/memory) with surety (shradda), that this is lemongrass and honey tea even before I sip it the second time. Extrapolated into each and every moment, one learns to trust in the ever present presence of a great all encompassing non-dual primordial wisdom. That shradda as an entirely spontaneous expression; it is akin to inspiration naturally shared and expressed.

Just so, in authentic yoga, the sadhak may be curious; while the guru, disciples, and scripture may say this or that, but only after tasting it directly and having some direct experience will one know the benefit that grows into one taste -- samadhi as unbounded and unconditional wholeness and primordial wisdom.

Thus various practical methods may help a little in this regard such as studying inspiring works, satsang, darshan (sitting in the presence of enlightened beings human or otherwise), but nothing is better than authentic yogic practices (such as the eight limbed practice), simplifying our life styles, engaging upon a deeper connection with spiritual friends and/or a spiritual community, living in an inspiring spiritual environment, removing distractions (aparigraha), tapas, isvara pranidhana (the practice of listening for and surrendering to the eternal teacher/teachings in All Our Relations, eating pure and sattvic food, assimilating clean air and water (saucha), practicing the hatha yoga kriyas, meditation (dhyana), the practicing of the other yam/niyams such as found in astanga yoga, the practice of layanam such as found in the dharanis, pranayama, mantra, samyama, etc. All these will act synergistically to empower one's practice affording direct experience.

In the present context, we can say that those who have not learned to recognize the true nature of mind, ultimate bodhicitta, are only able to exchange themselves for other beings and to try to eliminate the suffering of others through prayer, visualization, and empathizing with others. However, if one knows how to recognize the true nature of mind, and mixes or merges the exchange of self and others with the recognition of mind nature, this is the best possible way to practice this exchange.

The ultimate awakening of bodhicitta includes the realization that the true nature of all living beings is utterly free from all the varieties of temporary, conceptual confusion that normally deludes them. In fact, all beings share the true nature of phenomena (dharmata), which is emptiness. All beings have awareness-wisdom (rigpa'i yeshe), the luminous clear light of the nature of reality. The true nature of all living beings is the expanse of primordial purity (kadag ying). This essence is present in all living beings, and it never leaves them, but they fail to recognize it. Recognizing it is the ultimate awakening of bodhicitta.

Chogye Trichen Rinpoche

Effective and authentic practice will arouse the innate bodhicitta, recognizing the innate buddhanature (isvara). Similarly arousing the bodhicitta (the enlightened mind) will guide our practice toward fruition. This is very similar to surrendering to our true innate nature or inner teacher (isvara). See also Pada II.1, 32, 43; IV.1 for the practice of tapas that also kindles the spiritual flame when practice appears to sag.

“If you conquer the primordial nature by distinguishing mind from awareness, the view of the absolute will naturally become clear…One day, as your confidence in awareness grows, mind will appear as witless as a child, and awareness as wise as a venerable old sage. Awareness will not run after mind, but eclipse it. In a relaxed, serene state, rest with ease.” ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Other supportive practices follow throughout the Yoga Sutras. They are successful according to the amount of focused strength or inspiration that is applied and generated, be it feeble, middling, or intense.

Sutra 21 tivra-samveganam asannah

Such enthusiastic and dedicated practices will increase the passion and strength of one's overall practice providing the fuel for its fruition. Samadhi is most close at hand and reachable (asannah) to those whose passion (samveganam) for it is the most intense (tivra) for they are less likely to be dissuaded from it. Those remain centered in their core energy and claim their natural position in the greater scheme of things (purusha). They find success, grace, and poise in the greater integrity of All Our Relations which is always near at hand. The presence of primordial wisdom may be unnoticed, ignored, barely noticed, or strong. As non-dual wisdom is increased, our practice becomes more focused and intense. Similarly when our practice becomes more onepointed and intense, closer at hand is samadhi.

Sutra 22 Mrdu-madhyadhimatratvat tato'pi visesah

Thus one may further calculate (visesah) one's momentum toward samadhi depending upon the strength of one's spiritual passion and focus ranking it as weak (mrdu), medium (madhya), or penultimate (adhimatra).

Commentary: Progress toward samadhi depends solely on the strength of our focus, aspiration, intent, inspiration, and wisdom. Increase the focus with such a priority, and rapid progress will be experienced as a result. Clearly Patanjali is saying that if we are normally fickle lacking in intensity in our passion for yoga, if we are easily distracted or allured, unfocused, dissuaded, and insincere in our practice and intention. Then our success in yoga will be delayed or adversely affected. Conversely, if our practice and passion for yoga is strong, enthusiastic, sincere, undivided, attentive, and given the highest priority, then success will be insured. Those who merely dabble in yoga, as a fad, as an egoic accouterment, fancy, or ego gratification will find that they are wasting their time holding onto such a counterproductive approach. The evolutionary and creative impetus to join together in community, compassion, and in the context of a universal wisdom and love, which is an innate motive force latent within all beings. In many humans it remains ignored, not recognized, numbed out, dormant, or asleep. For a practicing yogi it is awakened, to a lesser or greater degree through practice which removes obstructions and obstacles.

Through the aforesaid methods, we eventually become naturally ardent practitioners (samveganam) of the highest caliber (adimatra). The nearer (asannah) we get to realization, the closer aligned we are with our unconditioned natural mind or true self, and synergistically the stronger (tivra) the intensity of natural inspiration, enthusiasm, dedication, attentive devotion, and zealousness will spontaneously manifest, so that self discipline becomes completely transformed (adhimatra) where an effortless self perpetuating divine passion manifests in a self supporting manner.

So as we become more dedicated to our practice in I.21-22 we also become dedicated to realizing our highest evolutionary potential - the highest self (purusa). Next, it is fitting that Patanjali dedicates Sutra 23-29 to the practice of Isvara Pranidhana to indicate that success is not a matter of individual will power or individual intention alone, but rather it involves an transpersonal but intimate affirmation. Also see the discussion in Pada II.1, 32, 45 on isvara pranidhana as a niyama practice) as well as III.1 (Kriya Yoga). As a path of surrender to the ultimate intimate transpersonal, isvara pranidhana, is a "non-practice" practice in the sense that it is non-willful -- as in "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". As such a sincere and dedicated practice becomes equated with an integrated, inspired and devotional practice (abhyasa-vairagyabhyam).

Sutra 23 isvara-pranidhanad va

Or (va) further progress is realized through surrender, dedication, or devotion (pranidhanat) to our highest creative evolutionary potential (isvara), which is the most pure purusa (Self) -- the core primordial seedless seed of absolute undifferentiated Now awareness.

isvara: Is (ish) means inner, inner most, intimate. Swara (svara) means master or teacher. Hence inner master/teacher. Vara means grace or boon. Again ishvara again refers to the innate inherited evolutionary potential of the inner master/teacher or sacred blueprint, if you will. The innate Christ or Buddha.

pranidhana: dedication, devotion, surrender, focusing upon, listening intently

Commentary: Simply put we surrender here to our highest potential or highest evolutionary/creative self (isvara). One could also translate isvara pranidhana as the surrender of the limited dualistic illusion of separateness and delusionary self identifications in favor of the identification with the Supreme Integrity or Self (purusa). Isvara is that which is not capable of being defined, but Patanjali will give some of isvara's characteristics in the succeeding sutras. Isvara is the name given to our higher Self, who we really are when all the vrtti are dissolved and when we no longer identify as a physical body. However that does not mean that Isvara is not here/now, rather that isvara as the most pure form of purusa does not depend on prakrti (nature). This is thus a dedication of our small "self" of limited consciousness to realizing our true "Self", our higher or buddha potential. Yogis often surrender to the lord of Yoga, Siva, while Buddhists surrender to the innate Buddha-nature. As tantric yoga developed, Maheshvara (Maha-isvara) became identified with Siva, and hence isvara became identified with Siva.

The task for the yogi is to align and recognize isvara here and now, and then the yogi will recognize isvara for eternity as the ultimate, final and complete integration with pure untainted consciousness without skew or blemish.

Followers of Christ affirm the Christ potential within themselves and embody that. Their ego is surrendered, and in that spirit, they are renewed eternally. Buddhist saints have realized the innate Buddha-nature within and let that shine forth, while accomplished yogis who have realized their true self nature (swarupa) have surrendered to Self -- they have remembered who they really are as the manifestation of Infinite Love. Tat Tvam Asi.

Svara means master, while the word, ishta, means, special, precious, inner, or intimate. Another breakdown says that Is means inner-most or essential command and vara means an eminent and most precious natural gift, but the secret meaning is that Isvara means the innermost teacher. Who is isvara, we will see next. For more on Isvara see commentaries in Sutra 24-27 above, Pada II: sutras 1 and 45.

Success in yoga depends upon our undivided/undistracted attention, focus, dedication, and devotion.

"There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.

But the supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and the Truth; it will not act in conditions laid upon it by the Falsehood and the Ignorance. For if it were to yield to the demands of the Falsehood, it would defeat its own purpose.

These are the conditions of the Light and Truth, the sole conditions under which the highest Force will descend; and it is only the very highest supramental Force descending from above and opening from below that can victoriously handle the physical Nature and annihilate its difficulties .... There must be a total and sincere surrender; there must be an exclusive self-opening to the divine Power; there must be a constant and integral choice of the Truth that is descending, a constant and integral rejection of the falsehood of the mental, vital and physical Powers and Appearances that still rule the earth Nature.

The surrender must be total and seize all the parts of the being. It is not enough that the psychic should respond and the higher mental accept or even the inner vital submit and the inner physical consciousness feel the influence. There must be in no part of the being, even the most external, anything that makes a reserve, anything that hides behind doubts, confusions and subterfuges, anything that revolts or refuses.

If part of the being surrenders, but another part reserves itself, follows its own way or makes its own conditions, then each time that that happens, you are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you.

If behind your devotion and surrender you make a cover for your desires, egoistic demands and vital insistences, if you put these things in place of the true aspiration or mix them with it and try to impose them on the Divine Shakti, then it is idle to invoke the divine Grace to transform you.

If you open yourself on one side or in one part to the Truth and on another side are constantly opening the gates to hostile forces, it is vain to expect that the divine Grace will abide with you. You must keep the temple clean if you wish to install there the living Presence.

If each time the Power intervenes and brings in the Truth, you turn your back on it and call in again the falsehood that has been expelled, it is not the divine Grace that you must blame for failing you, but the falsity of your own will and the imperfection of your own surrender.

If you call for the Truth and yet something in you chooses what is false, ignorant and undivine or even simply is unwilling to reject it altogether, then always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you. Detect first what is false or obscure in you and persistently reject it, then alone can you rightly call for the divine Power to transform you.

Do not imagine that truth and falsehood, light and darkness, surrender and selfishness can be allowed to dwell together in the house consecrated to the Divine. The transformation must be integral, and integral therefore the rejection of all that withstands it.

Reject the false notion that the divine Power will do and is bound to do everything for you at your demand and even though you do not satisfy the conditions laid down by the Supreme. Make your surrender true and complete, then only will all else be done for you.

Reject too the false and indolent expectation that the divine Power will do even the surrender for you. The Supreme demands your surrender to her, but does not impose it: you are free at every moment, till the irrevocable transformation comes, to deny and to reject the Divine or to recall your self-giving, if you are willing to suffer the spiritual consequence. Your surrender must be self-made and free; it must be the surrender of a living being, not of an inert automaton or mechanical tool.

An inert passivity is constantly confused with the real surrender, but out of an inert passivity nothing true and powerful can come. It is the inert passivity of physical Nature that leaves it at the mercy of every obscure or undivine influence. A glad and strong and helpful submission is demanded to the working of the Divine Force, the obedience of the illumined disciple of the Truth, of the inner Warrior who fights against obscurity and falsehood, of the faithful servant of the Divine.

This is the true attitude and only those who can take and keep it, preserve a faith unshaken by disappointments and difficulties and shall pass through the ordeal to the supreme victory and the great transmutation."

Sri Aurobindo, from "The Mother"

Sutra 24 Klesha-karma-vipakasayair apara-mrshta purusa-visesa isvarah

Isvara is the untouched and unblemished and most pure (apara-mrshta) aspect (visesa) of beginningless undifferentiated universal seed consciousness of the pure innate true self (purusa), which is unaffected by affliction (klesha), karmic residues, or and the seed germs (asayair) that result (vipaka) from ordinary actions based on the kleshas.

klesha: negative emotions, obscurations of the mind born of ignorance, afflictive or pain ridden states of mind. The body of pain (duhkha) which is limited by the sate of samsara (kleshas and karma). Kleshas obstruct the channels of clear vision, producing the chronically obscured egoic mindset, craving, antipathy, attachment to solidity, and fear.

karma: Most simply, the word, karma, means action. It often refers to the law of cause and effect that states that every action has a result/effect and every result has a cause. Negative actions have negative results. Positive actions produce positive results/conditions. Results/effects in the future also create conditions for causes for future results, and so on. Duhkha (suffering/sorrow) in samsara is the result of actions driven/governed by the kleshas (afflictive emotions), Happiness is the result of actions from pure vision (vidya) and prajna (transcendental wisdom). When karma is remediated or exhausted, then the unconditioned causeless state free from samsara is realized. That liberated state is free from karma, sequential time, or other causal limitations. The body can not enter that state because it has a beginning middle, and end (is temporal), but the mind can enter it and take the body along for a ride. A common misconception is that karma, means pre-destination or fate. Rather the opposite is true. If every event in the future were preordained by some cosmic template, then yogic sadhana (spiritual practice) would be futile. Rather yoga is based upon the fact that positive actions, as skillful sadhana, can bring about good karma and conditions for liberation. The isvara as the divine purusa is free from karma.

asayair: karmic residues or seed germs of the kleshas

vipaka: result

ishvara: inner most (ish) master or teacher (svara). Universal and innate primordial seed consciousness which is inside all beings (inside and out). Our innate evolutionary potentiality to emanate love, wisdom, joy, compassion, awakening, and liberation. Also ish (inner) vara (grace) as innate natural and spontaneous grace.

purusa/purusha: Self, being, or in this sense, pure and true universal unlimited and all-encompassing self. Here purusa is defined as the universal one, who is free of karma and karmic residue; i.e., the param-purusa is isvara. As the true transpersonal "self" (purusa), Mahesvara (siva) or Samantabhadra (Buddhist) as in the innate goodness or benevolence (the Buddha seed).

apara-mrshta: most pure

Commentary: Isvara is the pure immutable consciousness, the purest being (purusa), untouched by klesha, karma, results, or dormant seeds. Isvara is formless and universal. When our highest seed potential is recognized and surrendered to and hence is allowed to spontaneously shine forth, it does so as pure vision. How does one perceive or conceptualize the formless? Obviously this is not possible, as purusa (pure beingness) is beyond conceptualization processes (nirvikalpa) and acognitive (asamprajnata), transcending ordinary methods of using words, ideas, concepts, ordinary thinking, buddhi (intellect), or similar human thought processes (citta-vrtti). Yet it is still always available through direct non-dual insight into the true nature of mind beyond the citta-vrtta. Isvara is always available through isvara pranidhana (see Pada II.1 and II.45) when we remember to invite our innate intelligent evolutionary nature in. It is always available, that is, if we look for that formless grace (vara) underlying All Our Relations. yet it is unaffected by causes or conditions. The ordinary egoic mindset (citta-vrtti) is affected by causes and conditions, so it is that which has to be purified and surrendered.

Purusa has been a problematic term to translate because its definition varies according to time and place. In the ancient Vedas it signifies a profound idea of a divine template or original seed, where phenomena grows or coalesces around. It is quite a different idea than what is meant in sankhya philosophy, which is the common context used by the early academic oriented interpreters of the Yoga Sutras. Here, however Patanjali clearly links purusa as the purest formation of isvara, the universal, omnipresent, and omniscient seed Source in all. Hence isvara and purusa are linked as the the true Self in its seed aspect and its germination and flowering. Purusa in this sense is Effected by isvara, but is Affected by prakrti (causes and conditions) in its manifestation/flowering or being aspect. Purusa freely intermingles in its all pervasive aspect contained in prakrti, but it is not the same as prakrti. There is no place this purusa is not. In fact we know this pure universal purusa as pure being only through our own being/flowering which includes prakrti. Purusa as a divine universal template can only be known in the world of form (prakrti) as universal, in its dormant aspect, it resides at the innermost heart core of all as isvara. If we ask for primordial wisdom and omnipresent sacred presence to guide us at each moment (isvara pranidhana), then that is an intentional practice which leads to primordial grace. Again we are "re-minded" that isvara is the highest purusa (pure being). Reminded in Sutra 16 where Patanjali first talks about purusa, where it is vairagya which leads to param vairagya and the param-purusa who is none other than isvara (Maheshvara). Thus surrender to isvara (isvara pranidhana) and vairagya are two sides of the same coin; i.e., losing the small self (dualistic ego identifications of separateness) while simultaneously embracing and being embraced by expansive non-dual reality of Maheshvara and Prakrti wedded as one in siva/sakti.

Simply put, the word, purusha, means the self, but who is this self? Here we are describing the pure stainless or unconditioned self, hence maheshvara/siva). In Buddhism this corresponds to one's innate Buddhanature or bodhicitta. As the timeless ultimate reality it is Samantabhadra. This all pervasive universal altruistic mind is unbounded and permeates all beings as sacred presence. To know this in suchness (tahata), it must be experienced directly. It cannot be successfully cognized intellectually by the dualistic mind. In India, as time went by its definition changed depending on the school of thought. Some translate it as an isolated consciousness separate and isolated (and hence undefiled by the gunas). That's an assumption of dvaita samkhya (dualists). However, the Yoga Sutras are not so reductionist, rather it is integrative, albeit samkhya dualistic adherents claim ownership to the term, as do other schools. It is a subject of doctrinal dispute and polemics amongst differing schools, but here Patanjali defines ishvara as the divine purusa. This seems to be an adequate resolution. Purusha is the stainless ever-pure conscious/intelligent and natural/unconditioned original uncreated principle, which is ever free and unlimited (the self-effulgent spiritual noumenon) ultimate omniscient principle underlying all of creation and beyond creation as the true undying self or true nature of mind. In a syncretic manner then it is this same Conscious Principle which is realized by the human being which encompasses prakrti, but cannot be extracted from it, nor is it altered by it. Rather it cannot be destroyed or tarnished according to Patanjali. Therefore, it is found in all (when our own inner sight is opened) as well as in the formless disembodied state of stainless pure absolute consciousness (dharmakaya). In sutra I.16 Patanjali says that this inner sight is opened through abhyasa-vairagyabhyam until para is experienced (para-vairagya),

"The Purusha is Divine, formless, existing inside and outside, unborn, free from Prana and mind, pure, and greater than the great unmanifest. Purusha is one who fills all space or who resides in the cavity of the heart. The Purusha is immaterial, and therefore, divine in nature. For the same reason it is inside and outside. It is unborn because it is causeless. It does not undergo any process such as of life and its experiences.

The Universal Self knows without the ordinary Pramanas or proofs of knowledge. Its knowledge does not consist in perception, inference, verbal testimony or any kind of commonly known proof. Worldly knowledge is relative and mediate. There is no necessity for the cognitive or perceptive organs in the highest Self, because in it knowledge consists in Self-realisation or realisation of Itself. Even the distinction which is ordinarily made between the sheaths of a person, cannot be made in the true Self. Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Isvara are of the nature of Pure Consciousness. The apparent distinction which is seen to exist among these three aspects of the Divine Being, is more the result of a convention or habit of the mind to find objectively what it experiences in itself. Logically this distinction cannot be proved, though it is simply believed in. Hence, the Upanishad says that the Divine Being is without Prana or mind. The Pranas and the mind are limiting factors, and therefore, they have no basis in the unlimited Divine Being. The Mantras of the Vedas and the declarations of the Upanishads which describe the Divine Being as having heads, eyes, feet, etc., are only figurative, meant to convey its universal nature. There is neither the vibration of Iccha Sakti nor of Kriya Sakti in the Divine Being; therefore, there are no sense-organs also. In short, there is nothing in It which belongs to the special characteristic of the individual."

Swami Krishnananda, on the Mundaka Upanishad, The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh.

Also see Sutra I.16 (param purusa) and the glossary, the beginning of Kaivalya Pada, and`especially this discussion entitled Purusa can not be Owned or Bought. See Professor Whicher's commentary on Prakrti and Purusa for a more detailed discussion of Purusa as pure being.

Sutra 25 Tatra-nir-atisayam sarva-jna a-bijam

[isvara] is the indwelling seed (bija) and beginningless origin (nir-atishayam) of ultimate and unsurpassed omniscience (sarvajna).

tatra: therein

nir-ati: beyond above: completely transcendent: beyond the highest

sayam (shayam): resting or abiding

bija: seed

abija: seedless

sarva: all

jna: knowledge

Commentary: See also Pada II.1 and II.45. Isvara is the seed potentia (bijam) of the omniscient knower of great integrity realized in the asamprajnata (non-dual realization) of All Our Relations (I.19), wherein all feelings of loneliness and incompleteness are fulfilled.

By remembering to practice we affirm and generate the "good mind" and simultaneously embrace the profound "right view" beyond judgment, methods of inference, willfulness, philosophical ideas, conceptual artifice, or perception. Thus this"right" view is the one beyond conception and any artifice. This indwelling seed (bijam) is the seed potential toward awakening (bodhi-citta) as described in I.50, which is the last seed that propels the sadhak into nirbija-samadhi. I.51.

From Light On The Path, page 98, by Baba Muktananda

"You will see very little if you merely close your eyes and begin to search. You will only complain that it is all dark. But the truth is that it is all light. It is only your eyes which are blind. In fact, all those who try to see without the eye of knowledge are blind. Behold the inner witness who is the spectator, watching all the activities of your waking state while remaining apart from it; who dwells in the midst of action knowing it fully and yet remaining uncontaminated by good or bad deeds; who is that supremely pure, perfect and ever-unattached being.

Try to know Him who does not sleep during the state of sleep, remaining fully aware of it and witnessing all the goings-on of the dream world. On waking up, one may say, "I slept very well. I also had a dream of a beautiful temple." Are these words uttered by the one who slept? He says that he slept and saw a temple during sleep! What an enigma! O brethren, behold the spectator who remains awake while you sleep, poised far from sleep. Who is He? He is the pure witness, the attributeless One. He is the Supreme Being. He is within you, but you look for Him outside."

This relationship with our inner teacher is established through direct spiritual experience and is thus due to the dawning of the intrinsic light in authentic darshan untouched by form, time, and limitation, Although religionists attempt to limit isvara with names and form, Patanjali clearly indicates that such tendencies are an externalized corruption by assigning the meaning to a symbolic representation, while extracting the meaningful experience from intimate experience. Here the yoga of isvara pranidhana is the alignment and integration of divine will with individual will, spirit with nature, grandfather Sun with grandmother moon, consciousness with beingness (satchitananda), sahasrara (crown) and muladhara (earth), pingala (ha) and ida (tha), or siva/shakti in the sushumna (central channel).

Paramahansa Satyananda, Satsang during Sita Kalyanam, Rikhia, November 1997

"God has no name, Rama has no name, absolute consciousness has no name. In English we call it absolute consciousness. In Sanskrit they call Him param purusha, param atman and some call Him parameshwara.

We do not fight over these names. There is something which is chaitanya and there is something which is conscious and they meet. In this way the cosmos is born, millions and trillions of stars, suns and moons, everything is born. Similarly, a man and woman meet, a child is born. A seed and the earth meet, a plant is born. Everything that is born is a result of the union between Purusha and Prakriti, from a tiny bacteria to the biggest galaxy in the universe. Whether it is a bacteria or a virus, everything that takes birth, that manifests, comes out as a product of the union between Purusha and Prakriti in different realms.

There is union of chemicals. There is union in the human, animal and vegetable kingdom. There is union in the mental kingdom. In the mind, when a thought which is masculine in nature and a thought which is feminine in nature meet, a result accrues in the form of purity or impurity, good or evil. Both are born out of the union of two types of thoughts and then they unite, so you have to be very careful about what kind of bride or bridegroom you choose in your mind. The union is important. A good, holy or pure thought is a result or the son of the union between two forms of thought."

Sutra 26 purvesham api guruhkalena anavacchedat

Unlimited by time (kalena) this great boundless integrity (anavacchedat) is the primal (purvesham) eternal teacher (guru), even (api) the teacher of the most ancient teachers, being all inclusive, unlimited, not limited to time or place. Isvara is found within the unobscured instantaneous eternal moment -- as Now awareness.

Commentary: The key is that isvara has been identified as the param-purusa or innate universal seed consciousness. Ish refers to the inner, as in the ishta deva or inner deity (yidam in Tibetan). Vara can also refer to inner or innate grace. Hence Isvara is the remover of the darkness (gu) or inner light (ru). This is the only sutra which refers to "guru" in the entire Yoga Sutras. It is obvious that yoga practice is designed to bring out the nascent innate light. It is the culmination of sublime vairagya, where the yogi surrenders all attachment and dualistic (egoic) identifications.

Isvara pranidhana is a practice .HERE our every intimate experience becomes our teacher when we ask for guidance in the eternal moment by not identifying with false and limited dualistic beliefs of separation (avidya), but rather when we see eternal spirit as sacred presence in All Our Relations. This Scared Presence is also called "being present". The teacher/teaching is always HERE. The teacher/teaching is always HERE. The teacher/teaching is always HERE. Isvara is found within the unobscured instantaneous eternal moment -- here and now as Now awareness, ever accessible to the true devotee.

"Gu" means darkness, and "Ru" mans to remove. The definition for the word guru then is the remover of the darkness, and in a secondary way, the guru is the one who not just radiates and brings forth light and grace, but rather evokes it inside the sadhak, so that ignorance is destroyed. In one sense all of our experiences and relationships can act as our teachers (in the long run as long as we are learning fro them -- waking up). But certainly most of us appear to suffer from the "hard" lessons not quickly learned that has brought about some temporary darkness, ignorance (avidya), and pain (duhkha). When we reside in sacred presence, HERE , when our HeartMind is open, we are all learning our lessons. Thus everyone everywhere and everything in is in this greater perspective our gurus -- in the integrity which is All Our Relations. The true teacher thus directs us back to the true Self within into the living university and temple. That true teacher resides in the cave of the heart as well as inside the heart of all. It is known in asamprajnata (transcognitive non-dual) realization (samadhi). That guru is not exclusively external (although it resides inside all). It is not exclusively inside (as it resides inside all). That light that the guru reveals or appears to transmit is not exclusive at all. It cannot be owned by anyone specifically.

"First of all, we should remember the ultimate meaning of guru, which is the absolute guru. We have to realize that the guru that we see and hear is the absolute guru, the dharmakaya, the transcendental wisdom of non-dual bliss and voidness, the eternal primordial mind that has no beginning and no end."

~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

That said, in the the classical orthodox Hindu guru-shishya -- parampara diksha system the guru once evaluated and accepted is then to be followed unquestioningly and in complete surrender seeing her or him as a manifestation of the perfect and eternal (Sat) Guru or Adinath (primordial master). That interpretation of "guru" is not what Patanjali is referring to. Rather in the Yoga System as put forth by Patanjali the situation is quite different than orthodox Brahmanism, where the guru is not even mentioned except in this very sutra alone. Rather Patanjali refers to devotion to the *practice*of isvara pranidhana as the practice itself, and here there is surrender only to the most pure boundless formless "Self" (purusa) in isvara pranidhana (which becomes a constant practice). Thus, Patanjali suggests surrendering directly to isvara, as it is said that isvara is primordial teacher (guru) of even (api) the teacher of the most ancient teachers -- the darkness dispeller of the darkness dispellers.

Isvara is the innermost teacher and is always accessible inside. Isvara simultaneously is also the universal teacher inside all beings and things. As such isvara is our innate highest potential or said in another way, our innate Buddha nature, or yet in other words, the eternal teacher (Sat Guru) as the light removes the darkness. In yoga, the practice (isvara pranidhana) is indeed the teaching, the teaching is in the practice, and the teacher is in the teaching. Every time we do the practice in an attentive way all of this comes together (if we are lucky) in our own embodiment of it (more or less).

Similarly in Buddhist yoga, it is postulated an external teacher/Buddha, the inner teacher/Buddha, and the secret teacher/Buddha. The outer serves to tune the practitioner in to the inner. Once the inner is experienced, then the universal Buddhanature is recognized in all beings, operating in every atom, being, and throughout boundless space represented as a perceptible interdependent movement. This is not ideology, nor can it be conceptualized, rather through one pointed dedication/devotion to the practice, direct experience is attained (devoid of any fragmented distractions/diversions).

"Dharma means understanding reality. Meditation and prayer are not Dharma; they are merely tools for reaching this inner wisdom. Even if we meditate all day, but totally lacked Dharma understanding, we would achieve precious little. Nor are religious texts Dharma; they are merely books about Dharma, means for communicating information about Dharma. True Dharma, or religion, is a personal experience that each of us must elicit from within ourselves alone. There is a Dharma bell within us and we should use it to awaken and activate our own dormant wisdom. Usually our mind is completely occupied with stale, unprofitable, repetitious thoughts: clutching at fantasies and giving way to anger, jealousy or despair when they elude us. Practicing Dharma means ringing our inner wisdom-bell, being always on the alert and clearing away the refuse that clogs our mind, the attachments and addictions that haunt our daydreams. By making this our daily practice, we ourselves become Dharma; all our energy becomes Dharma wisdom. Then we are truly taking refuge, allowing inner Dharma alone to regulate our lives."

~Lama Yeshe

In a practical way Patanjali tells us that the worship of idols, books, gods, or external teachers is dissociative and distracting unless they point us back to the intrinsic eternal light (seed consciousness or bodhicitta) which resides within. At first the focusing process may take the form of asking for guidance, but we should be careful not to frame the question in a self limiting way. Rather it is more about listening for guidance -- a practice of focused deep listening.

Lama Naljor or Guru Yoga is the practice of merging your mind with the wisdom mind of the guru in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition.

"Five Ways of Practicing of Guru Yoga by Phakchok Rinpoche

1. Outer Guru Yoga: Requesting blessings through supplication
2. Inner Guru Yoga: Recitation and receiving the four empowerments
3. Secret Guru Yoga: Meditating on the Guru and Yourself as Indivisible
4. Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Resting uncontrived in equipoise
5. Unsurpassable Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Primordially pure and spontaneously present

1. Outer Guru Yoga: Requesting Blessings through Supplication

The first guru yoga is to make supplication, so we visualize the guru in the space in front of us. We fold our palms and with our speech we say, “I go for refuge in you. I have no other hope but you. I supplicate you from the very depths of my heart!”. We really think like this in our minds and give rise to sincere faith and devotion.

So in this way we make supplications, requesting the guru, “Please look on me with your compassion and bestow your blessings!” just as is taught in Calling the Guru from Afar. That’s the outer guru yoga of supplication.

2. Inner Guru Yoga: Recitation and Receiving the Four Empowerments

Inner guru yoga is mantra recitation for the guru, so [if the guru is Guru Rinpoche] then we recite the Vajra Guru mantra and visualize receiving the four empowerments from the Guru visualized in the space before us.  First, from the white Om in the guru’s forehead white light-rays radiate out and strike out own forehead so that we attain the blessings of enlightened body. Then from the guru’s throat, red light-rays radiate out and strike our throat so that we attain the blessings of enlightened speech. Then from the blue letter Hung in the guru’s heart centre, blue light-rays radiate out and strike out heart centre so that we attain the blessings of enlightened mind.

Then for the fourth empowerment there are two different traditions: one way is to visualize yellow light-rays radiating out from the letter Hrih in the guru’s navel and another way is to visualize white, red, and blue light-rays radiating out simultaneously from all of the three syllables (Om, Ah, and Hung). Either way, by these light-rays striking you, you imagine that primordial wisdom has been born within your stream of being. You have then received the four empowerments blessing you with enlightened body, speech, mind, and primordial wisdom.

3. Secret Guru Yoga: Meditating on the Guru and Yourself as Indivisible

Whoever the guru may be, you think you've now attained all of their blessings through receiving the four empowerments, as was just explained, and the guru now dissolves into yourself through the central channel on the crown of your head. By doing so, the guru’s enlightened body and your body, the guru’s enlightened speech and your speech, and the guru’s enlightened mind and your mind have become completely indivisible, inseparable and you remain within that state.

4. Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Resting Uncontrived in Equipoise

Resting in equipoise. You leave your mind completely uncontrived, unfabricated, unaltered, totally at ease. This is the innermost secret guru yoga.

5. Unexcelled Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Primordially Pure and Spontaneously Present

What is the essence of the guru? Primordially pure, primordially unborn. What are the excellent qualities of the guru? They are spontaneously present. The guru’s knowledge, love, and capacity are spontaneously present; they've been there, present from beginningless, primordial time. You need to understand these two: primordially pure and spontaneously present. You need to understand, “These have never been separate or apart from me. My own mind is primordially pure. My own mind is spontaneously present.

This itself is the guru. I’ve never been separated from these.” Understanding primordially purity and spontaneous presence and being able to rest in equipoise within that state is the unexcelled innermost guru yoga.

Just visualizing, imagining the guru dissolving into you and their enlightened body and what you think of as your own dirty, impure body mixing together—we can’t do that, right? Because it won’t work. So, we need to understand that our own minds are primordially pure in essence and that all the excellent, enlightened qualities are spontaneously present within our own minds. Remaining vivid and aware in that state of recognition is the unexcelled innermost secret guru yoga."

Sarva Mangalam

Phakchok Rinpoche

Also we can look at yoga teachers as reflections of isvara or purusa (as their true nature) and try to allow that light to brighten us up (Sri) as much as the pre-existing darkness of our conditioned mind (in its habitual mode of ignorance) can allow. This is darshan acknowledging the inner light in All Our Relations. In a similar way all our interactions with the trees, stars, moon, other animals, star systems, and formless dimensions also are our teachers reflecting the eternal light -- the darshan of all the teachers and enlightened ones of all times. HERE we surrender at all times to the ever present teacher. This is pure grace to allow this to be continuous... and if we are really focused and fortunate we will be able to find this same seed consciousness, acknowledge, respect, and honor it in all beings at all times in All Our Relations.

From Satsang With Baba, Volume 5, page 317, by Baba Muktananda

You should become absorbed in the inner Guru through meditation. You should lose yourself in him. Then you will keep receiving his divine messages from time to time. The inner Guru sits within the Blue Pearl which is situated in the sahasrar. You should try to see the Blue Pearl; you should try to please it. Do not retain a consciousness of your separate identity in meditation; lose yourself in it. There is a center of knowledge within you; that is the center of pure knowledge, the center of divine messages. If you could tap that center in meditation, you would always receive messages from it. That center of divine understanding, of omniscience, of the power to see things out of the range of sight, of pure knowledge, exists within you right at this moment. It is not something new which you have to acquire, and you should be able to reach it. When the awareness shifts to the eye center, one gets into the waking state and perceives the outer world; when it moves to the throat center, it gets into sleep. Likewise, when it enters the state of tandra, pure knowledge becomes available.

The identity of the sat guru or true guru is easily misunderstood. In the West, the main conflation that it is not a surrender by an egoic identity to another egoic personality. Both in the East and West there is that chance that isvara pranidhana can be misunderstood and exploited. 1 and 2 can be a fast path, which releases attachment, but also it can be difficult and dangerous because of the lack of trust. Beginners should remember that trust and confidence come from self-knowledge and heightened sensitivity.

Five Ways of Practicing of Guru Yoga by Phakchok Rinpoche

1. Outer Guru Yoga: Requesting blessings through supplication
2. Inner Guru Yoga: Recitation and receiving the four empowerments
3. Secret Guru Yoga: Meditating on the Guru and Yourself as Indivisible
4. Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Resting uncontrived in equipoise
5. Unsurpassable Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Primordially pure and spontaneously present

1. Outer Guru Yoga: Requesting Blessings through Supplication

The first guru yoga is to make supplication, so we visualize the guru in the space in front of us. We fold our palms and with our speech we say, “I go for refuge in you. I have no other hope but you. I supplicate you from the very depths of my heart!”. We really think like this in our minds and give rise to sincere faith and devotion.

So, in this way we make supplications, requesting the guru, 'Please look on me with your compassion and bestow your blessings!' just as is taught in Calling the Guru from Afar. That’s the outer guru yoga of supplication.

2. Inner Guru Yoga: Recitation and Receiving the Four Empowerments

Inner guru yoga is mantra recitation for the guru, so [if the guru is Guru Rinpoche] then we recite the Vajra Guru mantra and visualize receiving the four empowerments from the Guru visualized in the space before us.  First, from the white Om in the guru’s forehead white light-rays radiate out and strike out own forehead so that we attain the blessings of enlightened body. Then from the guru’s throat, red light-rays radiate out and strike our throat so that we attain the blessings of enlightened speech. Then from the blue letter Hung in the guru’s heart centre, blue light-rays radiate out and strike out heart centre so that we attain the blessings of enlightened mind.

Then for the fourth empowerment there are two different traditions: one way is to visualize yellow light-rays radiating out from the letter Hrih in the guru’s navel and another way is to visualize white, red, and blue light-rays radiating out simultaneously from all of the three syllables (Om, Ah, and Hung). Either way, by these light-rays striking you, you imagine that primordial wisdom has been born within your stream of being. You have then received the four empowerments blessing  you with enlightened body, speech, mind, and primordial wisdom.

3. Secret Guru Yoga: Meditating on the Guru and Yourself as Indivisible

Whoever the guru may be, you think you have now attained all of their blessings through receiving the four empowerments, as was just explained, and the guru now dissolves into yourself through the central channel on the crown of your head. By doing so, the guru’s enlightened body and your body, the guru’s enlightened speech and your speech, and the guru’s enlightened mind and your mind have become completely indivisible, inseparable and you remain within that state.

4. Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Resting Uncontrived in Equipoise

Resting in equipoise. You leave your mind completely uncontrived, unfabricated, unaltered, totally at ease. This is the innermost secret guru yoga.

5. Unexcelled Innermost Secret Guru Yoga: Primordially Pure and Spontaneously Present

What is the essence of the guru? Primordially pure, primordially unborn. What are the excellent qualities of the guru? They are spontaneously present. The guru’s knowledge, love, and capacity are spontaneously present; they've been there, present from beginningless, primordial time. You need to understand these two: primordially pure and spontaneously present. You need to understand, 'These have never been separate or apart from me. My own mind is primordially pure. My own mind is spontaneously present. This itself is the guru. I have never been separated from these.' Understanding primordially purity and spontaneous presence and being able to rest in equipoise within that state is the unexcelled innermost guru yoga.

Just visualizing, imagining the guru dissolving into you and their enlightened body and what you think of as your own dirty, impure body mixing together—we can’t do that, right? Because it won’t work. So, we need to understand that our own minds are primordially pure in essence and that all the excellent, enlightened qualities are spontaneously present within our own minds. Remaining vivid and aware in that state of recognition is the unexcelled innermost secret guru yoga."


Sutra 27 Tasya vachakah pranavah

Isvara is expressed and represented (vachakah) by the vibratory energy contained in the pranava (the sacred syllable, om).

Commentary: Isvara can not be defined or limited because Isvara by definition is indefinable omniscient infinite mind, however he can be symbolically represented by the expression of pranava - by the vibratory essence that the sacred sound, om, approximates. Thus isvara is often accessed through the pranava which is om.

Tasya means "it". Vacakah means "expression" from the root vac to speak. Pranavah means "the sacred syllable AUM" derived from "pra" (before) and nava (from the root, sound). So the straight translation is simply, Its' (referring to isvara as the teacher of all the teachers as discussed in the previous three sutras) expression is the pranavah (the sacred sound).Notice Patanjali himself never mentions AUM, but rather pranava. It is also of interest that Patanjali does not say "word", but rather pranava, sacred "sound".

Who can really say adequately in words, what is essentially ineffable, an all encompassing supramundane transgalactic Reality which exists by itself unable to be boxed in by human words, concepts, or fabrication. IM by definition is infinite, it's boundaries can not be defined or limited because it has none. Thus to try to define it is both counterproductive and impossible (not that we don't try sometimes :blush ) . So to define any word that represents IM or God would depreciate it/demean it, and that is why I believe that the name of God is sacred and unutterable.

Words are by definition symbolic representations for things -- it is not the thing itself. Like looking at a map is not the same thing as experiencing subjectively the here and now of the territory (as in the well known adage the map is not the territory), words likewise (although useful at times) can and do tend to over objectify our situation, create separation, and reinforce dualistic thinking (dualistic conceptualization is impossible without words or symbolic logic). Simply put, words and concepts may be useful for some tasks, but in meditation or yoga they are counter-productive tending to hold up the separation and duality.

So the question then, is AUM an exception? Yes, if we approach it as not an emanation and a path back to primal now awareness. As a sadhana (practice) I agree with Patanjali, it can be effective, but like all practices, they remain short from the integrative experience itself. The universe may indeed be pregnant with AUM -- permeating all of space and emptiness -- or it may be deafening silent -- or it may well be far beyond sound itself (some animals do not have ears). So from my limited experience of Infinite Mind (isvara). The intoning of AUM is a conveyer, a pathway, a sadhana which leads us into the greater vibration, pulsation, and inter-dimensional energetic hologram which has no beginning or end -- where both sound and words have little meaning.

Some commentators who see God in all religions try to show how they all point to the same living Spirit. So in the West it is often attempted to take examples from from Judeo-Christian texts such as: "In the beginning there was the word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God".

Such has been "talked over" about over and over literally by thousands of scholars, but to this commentator the relevance to this sutra means that there is a creative and meaningful vibration of creative unborn source from God at the time of creation (similar to a big bang) -- AT THAT MOMENT between non-creation and creation, a meaning or vector toward life emerged represented by a meaningful "word" or vibration. So in that sense a word thus was spoken and is still BEING SPOKEN NOW as creation/evolution as the creative evolutionary energy (shakti). But this is not an ordinary word, as we may find in English, Hebrew, or even Sanskrit as it was not pronounced by man in the beginning. If we listen we can hear THAT sound (as shabda or nada). Thus by concentrating on the pranava, AUM, it is a powerful sound capable of leading the practitioner into samadhi as we attune to and trace back the energetic intelligence behind tha sound to its silent Source.

So by expressing the sound most closely reflective of the pranava, the yogi tunes their physical, energetic, mental/emotional, and wisdom bodies in a corresponding vibratory harmony with the pranava, thus overcoming the limitations of words and the conceptual mind (nirvikalpa). Thus the pranava vibration is invited in. At the same time one can say that the pranava is thus expressing itself inside the yogi; i.e., the yogi is not actually expressing the pranava from inside out, as much as Maheshvara is expressing it within the yogi. Thus the wise and devoted yogi joins as one with Maheshvara in transconceptual resonance and union.

One can take many directions from HERE but first it's valuable to acknowledge that in Sanskrit which is a highly developed phonetic language -- in Sanskrit linguistic structure, the word, AUM, can be proved to convey all the other sounds in the alphabet -- all possible sounds that human's can make. As such (and Hindus take the Sanskrit language and script as being sacred), AUM represents more than the whole. One would have to study Sanskrit to go further and such is beyond the scope of this translation.

However Patanjali is going for a universal and eternal Truth in isvara, beyond man's language and culture. To be fair the Jews for example, believe the same thing about the Hebrew language and their bible. There are huge volumes of books written trying to figure out the right pronunciation of the word, for God, (some call it Jehovah) as they also believe that it is sacred. Other religions (including native American) believe that their language is also sacred and that the word for the creator has great transformative power as well. So in presenting yoga sutra (I.27) to Westerners in terms that they may understand (Judeo-Christian) may often miss what patanjali is really saying here. Patanjali actually said that the pranava is the expression of isvara -- the omniscient teacher of all the teachers. Practically speaking however all vital and living religions agree, that is to focus on the creator in creation. That is spiritual practice. So the practical meaning would be the same i.e., practice intoning aum and/or listening for aum as the self existing expression of isvara (the divine purusha). Patanjali is thus offering this sutra as one practice that may be effective in clearing out the vrttis and obscurations leading us eventually to Infinite Mind.


Sutra 28 taj-japas tad-artha-bhavanam

Through constant repetition (taj-japa) of the pranava (om) the meaning and purpose (artha) behind the sound is absorbed (bhavanam) and realized manifesting and emanating here and now.

Commentary: Another translation reads that constant repetition (taj-japa) of the pranava both leads (artha) the yogi to complete absorption and experience (bhavanam) of Maheshvara, while also at the same time, it is the result of that same one pointed devotion/absorption (tad-artha-bhavanam). It's enough enough to sound off. In yoga you have to become/manifest isvara. Ultimately you are isvara. You will see that when the veil is lifted.

The vibratory energy contained in the vibration of the sound, Om (the pranava), connects with isvara, or MAheshvara connects with the yogi. Either way, "japa" commonly means the repetition of mantra, in this case the sound of OM. Thus japa (mantra repetition of om) is given as a practice. Much is available elsewhere on the significance of the vibratory nature of OM and how to practice japa. One simple suggestion is to allow the AUM to be expressed in three parts after inhaling deep into the core, i.e.,

Start off with the mouth open with an open Ahhh. Shape the OOO as the mouth starts to close. As the mouth closes the MMM is sounded effortlessly. Experiment with the various nuances of the different rhythms, duration, speeds, strengths, and locations of the breath, consciousness, and sound energy. Bring your awareness to the intelligent energetic pattern underlying the sound. Merge the HeartMind with that vibration consciously. Become absorbed in that vibration. There exist many ways to practice japa, all producing different effects. It is pointed out that this is the only mantra that Patanjali recommends in the entire Yoga Sutras.

Another way is to listen for the pranava at certain times of the day as a sadhana, or even better at all times as much as is possible, thus becoming completely immersed in its divine vibration (sabda) which is the purpose (artha) of nada and bhakti yoga. The perfect devotee or sadhak has no other purpose (artha) but rather is entirely immersed in the divine vibration onepointedly.

It should be pointed out (in contradistinction to the samkhya dualistic schools) that Isvara, although being distinct from prakrti, can and does mingle with prakrti according to the latter tantric systems, albeit isvara remains unstained (capable of being identified and recognized). In fact isvara is boundless and all pervasive as his formless vibration permeates the entire creation (prakrti). I.24-26 clearly defines isvara as an absolute timeless aspect of pure awareness, but no where does it mention that isvara is located somewhere outside of nature or creation (this latter is merely a samkhya presupposition. If so where and how would one know isvara? Likewise since in I.26 Patanjali actually says that isvara's sound vibration is om. and now we learn that all differentiation (prakrti) is created from that emission. So does not isvara's emanation permeate all of creation? If so it appears that a Samkhya interpretation contradicts Patanjali, or rather it is an inadequate tool for interpreting it fully.

"When Expressed with Great Devotion, the Sacred Sound Reveals our Divine Nature .The sacred sound must pluck the strings of our heart in order to unite our entire being with our true Divine Nature."

This is an excerpt from Nischala Joy Devi's marvelous translation, "The Secret Power of Yoga, A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras" (Random House, 2007).


Sutra 29 tatah pratyak-cetanadhigamo'py antarayabhavash ca

Thence [through the practice of isvara pranidhana and/or the pranava, aum] consciousness (cetana) is redirected (pratyak) inwards, shining light upon and destroying (abhava) inner hindrances and obstructions (antarayah) thus catalyzing inner realization (adhigamo).

Commentary: By  surrendering to our indwelling highest consciousness potential, then obstacles, hindrances, blockages, psychic lesions, and such are dissolved. This drawing back of consciousness inside (pratyak-cetanadhigamo'py) reunites the conscious principle (cit) as it was exteriorized or distracted and brings it back from its wandering distractions to break up obstacles and realize fruition -- Self knowing Self --  as homage to the infallible implicate guide/teacher which awaits us all as an innate ever-present wisdom. This practice is a two way street -- redirecting (pratyak) light and consciousness (cetana) to Seed Source -- Seed Source shining forth and permeating our embodiment (Beingness) -- and back from embodiment to Seed Source, in a pulsating motion (vibration or spanda). When the obstructions of the  pathways (antarayah) is cleared out, then the natural flow as natural innate wisdom can be brought forth and manifest. This flow or divine pulsation (spanda) is actually non-dual, neither exclusively "from" Seed-source (crown) to embodiment and manifestation (muladhara), nor exclusively from embodiment (muladhara) to eternal unborn Seed-source, but rather simultaneously "Both/And" as the pulsation of the union of pure Being and pure Consciousness (Sat-Chit-Ananda). This is one way we "re-mind" the small (self) and limited mindset of the greater reality of the greater holographic whole (Self) or purusa found deeply embedded within the heart of each being.

These practices (pratyak-chetana) of redirecting the consciousness to Seed-source not only removes obstacles (antarayah), but thus allows the inner light (wisdom)  to illumine our lives and such becomes expressed even more in All Our Relations. The more the inner light illumines the path, the more the obstacles fall away. At the end all is seen as various forms of Self knowing Self -- love loving love -- in All Our Relations

Since the mind follows the energy and the energy follows the mind, redirecting the mind interiorly (pratyak-chetana) in advanced hatha yoga and laya yoga practices involves the redirection of the cit-prana (energy and consciousness) back to it's inward seed source. This recapturing of the wandering mind and essential energy (cit-prana) then can be utilized to remove (abhava) inner obstructions and blockages (antarayah) of the energy channels (nadis) thus further maturing the physical body as an open and fit receptacle for evolutionary consciousness (siva/sakti).

Now begins the practices which remove the obstacles, disturbances, and distractions of the citta allowing entrance into absorption into the deeper and more continuous experience of samadhi (Sutras 30-51)


Sutra I. 30 Vyadhi styana samsaya pramadalasya avirati bhranti-darsana labdhabhumikatva anavasthitatvani citta-viksepah te antarayah

The disturbances and distractions (viksepa) of the mind field (citta-viksepas) and obstacles (antarayah) [to samadhi] are:

1) Vyadhi: disease, unease, weakness, or discomfiture.

2) Samsaya: doubt, uncertainty, hesitation, inhibition, lack of self worth, lack of self confidence and meaning.

3) Styana: Rigidity of thought forms, fixation, stagnation, closed-mindedness, stubbornness, procrastination, mental laziness, stupor, dullness, inertia, uninspired, lackadaisical, unmotivated, apathy, complacency, and procrastination

4) Pramada: Carelessness, inattentiveness, recklessness, coarse indifference, lack of respect, indelicacy, or negligence.

5) Alasya: Sloth, laziness, languor, dullness

6) Avirati: Self centeredness, narcissistic, and selfish addiction and self obsession which cuts one off from creative generative source of life. An imbalanced and dissipative inclination toward the extreme of over indulgence in external sensual gratification; extreme dissipation or obsession in the realm of worldly temporal pleasure as a serious distraction, dissipation of energy and consciousness into neurotic sense indulgence or similar distractions, attraction to superficial externals, frivolous, materialism, necrophilia, or the involvement in the illusory world of subject/object duality ("I/it" delusion) in search of an illusory union or neurotic satisfaction; vicarious living, a meaningless, compromised, and neurotic life style which is separated from the well springs of Self empowerment and love; Indifference, fear, or dismay toward life. An externalized and compromised materialistic consciousness [the opposite of uparati, which is the first stage of vairagya). Also the opposite direction of pratyhara.

7) Bhranti-darshana: Blind faith, addiction to made up or false views, false beliefs, false identifications, a stickler for false conclusions, adherence to blind and/or stubborn beliefs, delusions, or hopeless confusion by stubbornly holding on to one's unexamined dogma or delusion.

8) Alabdha-bhumikatva: Clueless, vacantness; chronic fickleness of mind. inability to make up one's own mind, a flailing lack of focus, a wandering, state of being lost in transition from the preceding thought to the succeeding thought, non-presence and inattentiveness, losing one's train of thought, spaced out, chronic denial or missing the point; not being present anywhere; unsteady, agitated, scattered.


9) An-avasthitatvani: pertains to mental instability, imbalance, falling backward, mental regression, ungrounded mentality, poiseless, insecurity, uncentered, the inability to rest or return to in one's core energy or poise. Flighty, manic/depressive, or bi-polar, a feeling of sliding down a slippery slope to one's doom. In general not being able to be still and stay focused.

te: these

viksepa: distractions

citta-viksepa: distractions of the mindfield

antaraya: obstacles, obstructions, blockages, impediments, obscurations.

Commentary: This is the sutra on distractions which are obstacles to accomplishing yoga. Viksepa means the distractions and disturbances of the mindfield. Here Patanjali names nine main categories of distractions. Yoga practice is designed to remove obstacles by remediating the distractions.

When the cit-prana is disturbed, distracted, distorted, and/or dissipated all sorts of secondary imbalances and difficulties arise. Imbalances within the bodymind can cause disease and discomfort also as well as even further distract the mind away from samadhi. See Sutra I.32, I.33

These are the hindrances that are removed by the practice of isvara pranidhana and/or through focused repetition of isvara's' sound, the pranava, which brings us in touch with our own innate seed source -- our essential true nature of mind which is a direct contact with isvara which manifests as transcendental wisdom. Mindfulness of our disturbed states and their causes (stimuli/triggers) helps us to eventually remediate them by loosening up their samskaric impressions and compulsive habilitations (vasana). Here we are mindful not about the place or mechanism "how and why" the mind and energy system has become distracted; rather we are mindful that the distraction has occurred and then we are able to let it go and bring the mind back to abide in the soft state of pure attentiveness. Eventually the mind becomes acclimated to resting in this expansive and comfortable abode.

The ordinary neurotic human being lives in a world of almost constant distraction, avoidance, denial, and ignorance from "reality" -- from a deep connection with their true creative potential which manifests in now awareness. There are countless modalities of distraction, many of which the ego holds onto as dear and mistakes as pleasure, prideful possessions, enjoyment,  or self gratification. In I.31 Patanjali says that duhkha (disease, unhappiness, and discomfiture) is a result of viksepa, while I.32 Patanjali tells us that its remediation is recognizing Unitive consciousness -- the Great Unconditioned Implicate Integrating All Pervading Reality -- NOW (Tat-pratisedha-artham eka-tattva-abhyasah)


Sutra I. 31 Duhkha-daurmanasyangamejayatva-svasa-prasvasa viksepa-sahabhuvah

Concomitant (saha-bhuvah) to the manifestations of these disturbed and distracted states (viksepa) are the physical and mental suffering (duhkha) of psychic frustration, despair, and anguish (daurmansya); turmoil, mental and physical unsteadiness and unstableness (angam-ejayatva), and rough, uneven, and/or erratic breathing (svasa-prasvasa).

duhkha: unhappiness, suffering, sorrow. stress, grief, discomfort, agitation, an ill-at-ease feeling, dis-ease of the mind, malaise, a disturbed mindset, a painful or samsaric state of mind, the incomplete and dualistic mind-set (see chapter 2 for a thorough discussion).

saha-bhuvah: concomitant; Appearing together.

viksepa: distractions of the cit, hence dissipations and disruptions.

daurmansya: psychic frustration, despair, and anguish.

anga: limbs or components

ejayatva: unsteadiness; unstableness, uneven, irregular, and rough

svasa: in breath; The inhalation

prasvasa: exhalation

svasa-prasvasa: breathing in and out.

Commentary: Another way of saying this is that when the mind and energy become distracted we end up in the wasteland of samsaric suffering (duhkha) which creates instability of the body and the breath as well. The mind, the breath, and the body waver. Irregular distracted breathing is both symptom and cause of mental despair, hence the conscious regulation of the breath so that it becomes even nd circular without a break ill become an effective doorway toward the remediation of mental suffering (duhkha) nd disease. The conscious attention to evenness of the breath becomes an effective method of remediating its distraction. Paying attention to the breath is an invaluable practice in beginning meditation and it can also be applied in daily life. The breath is a powerful doorway to the nervous system, the mind, and karmic patterned ways of mentation.

When we get distracted from our true purpose, goal, vital energetics, or alignment with Source, then we lose alignment with true Self and its restorative and regenerative powers that establish well being and health fade and are dissipated. This state of distraction is unfortunately the normal state of ordinary neurotic people (duhkha), being extracted into the external physical dualistic world versus living in the innate synchronicity an alignment with a living spirituality. The symptoms of general nervousness and anxiety are the natural consequences (saha-bhuvah) of this suffering (duhkha) state which is caused by being caught up in distractive activities (viksepa) in general.

Mindful of these symptoms we can thus retrace them to their causes and hence remediate them by paying attention. This is an effective practice. For example by mindfulness to the body and neuro-physiology I may find myself frowning, clenching my jaw, pursing my lips, or tightening up. My breathing may become rough, erratic, or held. These are symptoms/signs that I can then trace back to the stimulus that triggered them and thus learn more functional and effective processes to deal with such.

Please notice the importance that Patanjali ascribes to distraction as effecting an unsteady, uneven, or rough unbalanced breathing. As we refine our awareness on the breath with practice we become more conscious of when our breathing changes in relationship to or emotions and state of mind. Here we will discover also that making the breathing refined, even, steady and continuous, in a reverse way all the distractions (viksepa) of the mind can be remediated. Hence Sri Patanjali is giving us very simple but powerful teaching about smooth, circular, continuous breathing without interruption, disruption, holding, or tension. By focusing the attention (cit) on the breath nd allowing it to become continuous and flowing, then the cit-prana and nervous system becomes integrated, while suffering, distraction, obstacles, pranic instability, and mental despair are remediated. See I.34 for an energy remediation.

Especially in chapter two, Sadhana Pada, Patanjali gives practices (sadhana) that reclaims our distracted energy and consciousness (cit-prana) and returns it inside to kindle the yogic process of self realization. Especially so is tapas, pranamaya, pratyhara, and dharana. All yoga practices are designed to do so, but more specifically here in sutra 31, if one feels distracted (viksepa) , one may recommend dharana (concentration and visualization processes), pratyhara (bringing the cit-prana inside thus preventing it from wandering, pranayama (extending the essential evolutionary energy through conscious breath work), asana, and meditation (dhyana). Such practices are a combination of astanga yoga as outlined in Sadhana Pada and Vibhuti Pada, but also many similar practices that produce similar results can be found in the various samyama practices as outlined in latter part of chapter 3, Vibhuti Pada.

Sutra I. 32 Tat-pratisedha-artham eka-tattva-abhyasah

Therefore (tat) the remedy (pratishedha) [for distraction (viksepa)] is to ramp up our yogic practice (abhyasa) as a one pointed dedication and devotion (eka-tattvabhyasa) -- the continued focused practice of rooting out those obstacles of self-deceit and delusion that obscure the underlying unconditioned imperishable holographic seed source within, by letting go of the habitual tendencies which obscure it.

abhyasa: sustained effort; focused and continuous conscious intent

eka-tattva: one pointed focus on one thing.

artham: purpose; intent

pratisedha: remediating: Counteracting; preventing; to hold back (in this case to prevent distractions).

Commentary: Here the remedy (pratisedha) is the profound practice of ONE THING (eka-tattvabhyasah), which means to recognize that Great Integrity where we are all of one taste -- that the entire universe and its Source are all interconnected and form one undivided whole (whologram). That is the purpose of this remedy (pratisedha-artham), which removes duhkha. Whenever we experience duhkha we can so re-member the practice of the One Taste of All Things and Beings -- our larger family in All Our Relations. Timeless and boundless wisdom is a living book, where all are our relatives and kin -- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam --the Universe is One Family. When the human being is not so balanced and aligned a healthy culture considers them to be out of balance, deranged, ill, or perverse.

“Worldling is a translation of 'putthujana,' which is simply anyone who isn’t enlightened. That’s me, and you. The Buddha had his own ideas about what constitutes mental health, and by his definition anyone who isn’t well on the way to Enlightenment is insane. Quite how literally he meant it when he said “All worldlings are mad” is hard to say, but when he looked at ordinary people like us going about their daily business he saw a world out of balance — and a world that by necessity is out of balance, because it is composed of those same off-kilter individuals.

He had a term for this imbalance, which was viparyasa in Sanskrit, although the less-well-known Pali equivalent vipallasa is a bit easier on the tongue and the eye. Vipallasa means “inversion,” “perversion,” or “derangement.” Specifically, in using this term the Buddha was talking about the ways in which we misunderstand the world we live in, and the ways in which we misunderstand ourselves. Just at the young man at my meditation class was constantly misinterpreting what was happening (“See! I made that happen”) so too do the rest of us live in a virtual reality of delusion, confusion, and distortion.

What’s more, we largely share the same delusions, which means that we don’t even realize that our minds are disturbed. And thus, as Krishnamurti suggests, it’s possible to think that we’re spiritually and mentally healthy because we share our mistaken values and understandings with those around us. Collectively, our ill minds create a society that is itself ill, and we consider ourselves healthy because we see our values reflected in our fellow worldlings.

When I think of the vipallasas in modern life I’m overwhelmed by examples, but the one that springs most to mind is to materialism. We keep thinking that the answer to our sense of existential dissatisfaction is to buy more stuff: more stuff, and better stuff. I guess I notice this most with gadgets, but for other people it’s houses, furniture, shoes, clothes, or cars — none of which I care about at all. I get a new gadget — the shiny MacBook Pro I’m writing this article on, for example — and I feel a sense of pleasure just looking at it. It’s better, faster, prettier than any computer I’ve had before. But then what happens over time? Newer, better, faster, prettier computers come on the market, and I start comparing my machine unfavorably with them. My gadget starts to look a bit old-fashioned (after only six months!), less cool, less capable. It feels less fast. And I’m no longer so happy with it. I now start to hanker after something new.

And I’ve been through all this craziness before. (Don’t they say that insanity is doing the same time over and over and expecting a different result?) Even knowing that I’m on a materialistic treadmill doesn’t entirely blunt the craving for a new computer, although to give myself credit I live without a television and rarely make impulse purchases. But on some level I really believe that the answer to the discomfort of my cravings will arrive in a box carried by a UPS truck." ~Bodhipaksa

Similarly also see VYADHI in Sutra I.30

The remedy for all distractions is to ramp up our practice and in one pointed focus, yet the focus is not upon an independent "thing" within a dualistic context. In this sutra Patanjali describes the practice of eka-tattvabhyasah as removing the obstacles of distraction (viksepa) by bringing together one's focus as a one pointed dedication to the unconditioned eternal truth of the innate all pervading Great Integrity -- the Reality of the All in the One and the One in the All (eka-tattva) -- as the practice (abhyasa) of isvara pranidhana (surrender and dedication to our highest potential as That). See I.23-26, Pada II.2 and II.45.

Pratishedha is composed of artha (purpose) and voiding, canceling, nulling, or remediation. Eka-tattvabhyasa is composed from eka (one), tattva (principle or or truth) and abhyasa (practice, which in turn is associated with vairagya because it is through vairagya that we let go of all distractions). Hence this sutra can be said to describe a practice of focusing single pointedly upon reality or truth as the underlying non-dual which will remediate all distractions (viksepa). So focused our innate energy, inspiration, confidence and life purpose will return or become refreshed.

There is but one underlying intent or purpose (artha) here; i.e., to allow for the continuous flow of Divine Grace or Universal non-dual Now consciousness uninterruptedly. That is one pointed focus. When that comes together void of any distractions, then the fruit of the seed source (isvara) will mature. All else is a distraction/impediment. This is realized in a non-dual transpersonal and continuous non-interrupted flow throughout all the koshas, chakras, nadis, strota, marmas, and multi-dimensional fields of infinite consciousness up into to Hiranyagarbha kosha, not as a separate or personal realization. Otherwise it would not be the Great Integrity -- the magical display of pure unimpeded vision -- the fulfillment of the Yantra and the sacred mandala -- the whologram in which we are never apart from except in conditioned mental states of fragmentation.. Tat Tvam Asi --All Our Relations.

Sutra I. 33 maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukha-duhkha-punyapunya-vishayanam bhavanatas citta-prasadanam

By generating and cultivating the intent and deep feelings (bhavanatas) of friendliness and loving kindness (maitri), love and compassion (karuna), equity and equanimity (upeksanam), and sympathetic joyfulness (mudita) in all conditions and events (visayanam), whether it be potentially joyful (sukha) or potentially painful (duhkha), auspicious (punya-apunya) or not, this intent will succeed a sweet grace that wells up from inside and brings us forth into a sphere of clarity and wholesomeness of the heartmind (citta-prasadanam).

upeksa (upeksha, upekkha-Pali): Equity extended to all beings and things. Non-favoritism or prejudice such as in evenmindedness. As starters it is equanimity as applied to all beings with the example of egalitarianism. Thus, corollaries are equanimity, egalitarianism, evenmindedness, or balanced, non-partial, and an unbiased mindset. As applied to human beings and society, an example is egalitarianism, as respect, and dignity that is extended to all sentient beings. Equanimity does not mean that all beings are the same; nor is it a statement of bland indifference. Seeing infinite diversity through the one holographic transpersonal wisdom eye. Upeksha is the natural result of living in harmony and integrity. It is devoid of self contradiction. Impartiality, non-prejudicial, and non-judgmental mindset. Impartiality does not have the meaning of stupid sameness as found in samyoga. In this context, it is recognizing, honoring, and respecting basic human dignity to all sentient beings. This is not something that can be legislated or followed mechanically, rather the four boundless minds reflect a state of transpersonal and very discriminating wisdom. Impartiality does not have the meaning of stupid sameness as found in samyoga. In this context, it is recognizing, honoring, respecting, and honoring basic human dignity extended to all sentient beings. Recognizing the divinity (buddhanature) within all beings. Upeksha is one of the four boundless minds or Brahma Viharas, which includes great compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy that is extended to ALL without exception.

Affording all beings with respect and dignity regardless of caste or condition, if they appear to be wealthy or poor, above us or below us, sick or healthy, young or old, male of female, human or non-human. Non-favoritism. Recognizing the divinity (buddhanature) within all beings. Upeksha is one of the four boundless minds or Brahma Viharas, which includes great compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy that is extended to ALL without exception. Upeksha is impartial and unconditional compassion, equanimity, and loving kindness extended to all near or far, like the sun shining freely upon the planets without partiality or conditionality. It is equity and justice as it is the point where higher consciousness and conscience merge as one. Non-favoritism. Recognizing the divinity (buddhanature) within all beings.

A common misunderstanding of the term, upeksha, is to translate it as a bland or existential indifference, which it is not. Other similar common misunderstandings are detachment, a dull neutrality, a numbed out or hardened state, of mind, unfeeling, withdrawn, insular, isolated, disconnected, shutdown, or even calloused/scarred and deadened. Rather, it is linked with loving kindness (maitri), compassion (karuna), and mudita (rejoicing in the happiness of others). By practicing equity or egalitarianism, the practicing yogi (sadhak) does not view oneself higher or lower, better or worse, superior or inferior from anyone else, yet it is not a view of bland sameness (samyoga), rather upeksha is applied in an infinitely diverse manner free from judgment, blame, or praise. Here a heartfelt feeling sense of fairness and justice is invoked.

By egalitarian, the practicing yogi (sadhak) does not view oneself higher or lower, better or worse, superior or inferior from anyone else, yet it is not a view of bland sameness (samyoga), rather upeksha is applied in an infinitely diverse manner free from judgment, blame, or praise. Upeksa is a reflection of the transpersonal non-dual wisdom heartmind, where maitri, karuna, and mudita are also integrally expressed.

karuna: love or compassion

bhavana: attitude: gaze, a general state of mind, but usually associated with the cultivated gaze of a yogi or saint. Suchness or pure beingness

maitri: loving kindness

mudita: boundless joy. Sympathetic joy; Rejoicing for the happiness of others. Transpersonal happiness.

citta-prasadanam: sweetness of mind. A gifted or blessed mind.

sukha: pleasure or joy (here meaning as a result).

duhkha: Suffering, mental stress, pain, discomfort mental or physical (here meaning as a result) . See Pada II.

visayam: In all conditions and events.

punya: auspicious

apunya: in auspicious

Commentary: In Buddhism this is known as the four part practice of the Brahma Viharas or the four boundless minds, well known in the India of Patanjali's time. The cultivation (bhavanatas) of the experiential attitudes of unconditional friendliness and loving kindness (maitri), love (karuna), sympathetic joy and desire for the happiness of others (mudita), and equanimity (upeksanam) toward all beings and events regardless if people become happy or remain suffering; in all events auspicious or inauspicious (punya-apunya); or whatever their perceived conditional circumstances may be (visayanam), displays the underlying serenity and clarity of the cit (as in citta-prasadanam) is continually recognized and thus is allowed to spontaneously manifest unobstructed. This powerful practice as a integrated attitudinal stance toward all beings and things in all circumstances provides serenity, confidence, and centeredness in the heart (citta-prasadanam). It will counteract polar imbalances of pleasure (sukha) or pain (duhkha) caused by external events (visayanam), and prove to considerably enhance the continuous intimate experience of timeless wonder in Satchitananda in All Our Relations.

Citta-prasadanam is a filling of the heartmind with a boundless sweetness. The citta-vrtti becomes replaced by the citta-prasadanam making the mind very sweet, happy, and pleasant. This is two way practice in that we both cultivate it and it manifests through us. The embodiment of maitri, mudita, karuna, and upeksanam reflects, reveals, and discloses an underlying universal non-dual and transpersonal consciousness reflecting Self in all and as all. When the "good mind" or heart/mind has been sufficiently purified and clarified by this practice, when we sufficiently see who we really are and are able to somewhat better reside in our true nature. When one has applied maitri, mudita, karuna, and upeksanam as skillful means in All Our Relations, then from that clarified Heart-Core Consciousness such emanates spontaneously and naturally as divine expression. As such it is an effective remedy for distractions of the mind (citta-viksepas).

Prasadanam means being filled with grace, boundless sweetness, happiness, and pleasant joyfulness. Citta-prasadanam is a sweet disposition, favorable and very pleasant countenance or feeling where the field of consciousness is permeated with universal non-dual boundless love, kindness, compassion, and equanimity toward all beings and events. Also see I.47

These practices, summed up, correspond to the Buddhist Four Boundless Minds, which are compassion, loving kindness, equanimity, and sympathetic joy. All these are designed as practical remedies (pratisedha) for our fundamental distraction (viksepa) from our true nature (swarupa), which is by nature, non-dual. See also the commentary to Sutra I.19 (the practice of bhava-pratyaya). There is a tremendous wisdom that these four boundless minds reflect. These are not just a guise to hide behind, nor are they not necessary for enlightenment. Westerners in particular most often do not understand it, mainly because they they do not understand karma. A related reason is that in their culture, it is the ego who accomplishes everything, not the transpersonal (isvara), Hence most westerners want to have/own a personal liberation/nirvana, but according to yoga (III.3) that is impossible. The awakening that yoga reveals is boundless wisdom; it is limitless and unsurpassed. That boundless mind is reflected in the four boundless minds contained in this sutra. One is granted with fearlessness through functional yoga practices, which allows the yogi to be open and sensitive to other's suffering (duhkha). This awareness and clarity goes beyond empathy. Authentic yoga practices activate transpersonal and non-dual wisdom which facilitates the ability to feel other people's pain/suffering and at the same time not to be averse, afraid, pained, or desire to run away, escape, ignore, or deny it. The yogi spontaneously desires the well being of the "other" and utilizes wise methods to facilitate awakening and liberation (Where wisdom and compassion permits). This skillful means is not limited by the object of the compassion, because the object is boundless and not object dependent. It is likened to a sun shining on a forest. It shines regardless if there are many trees, one tree, no trees, new trees, old trees, etc. Hence equanimity is all pervasive, as well as joy in other's happiness. Even if the trees are sad, the sun never becomes overcome with sadness, but radiates happiness, joyfulness, kindness, and love.

Hence compassion/love (karuna), loving kindness (maitri), friendliness, and equity (upeksha) all are integrated as the four boundless universal minds (the four immeasurables of brahma viharas) authentic unconditional love. Knowing self and others as part of the one big universal family is a result of authentic yoga practice where the universal boundless truth is revealed (not simply a personal delusion). Timeless and boundless wisdom is a living book, where all are our relatives and kin -- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam --the Universe is One Family. Until this is spontaneously expressed in our practice in All Our Relations, it is an effective practice to cultivate these qualities and recognize when they are absent in our demeanor (bhava). We create positive merit by acting in this manner, because our actions of body, speech, and mind then create positive karma in harmony with universal truth and awakening. Although past actions (karma) cannot be destroyed/erased, yet; their consequences/outcomes as related to future conditions can be altered by what is called punya or meritorious/good action (good karma).

Punya means virtue or merit. Apunya does not mean bad as some translate, rather it is neutral meaning devoid or empty of merit. To clarify, upeksanam (equity) does not mean a bland indifference, dispassion, detachment, isolation, a negation, a withdrawal from the world, or neutral unfeeling/numbed existential attitude toward sentient beings or the world. It does not just mean even-mindedness either; but moreover it reflects an unbiased and non-prejudicial attitude of a transpersonal non-dual awareness, where there are no boundaries between the "I" and "others" -- where compassion has been recognized as a natural result of the realization of one's true nature. One's mind has become centered around that innate reality (citta-prasadanam), where one is not disturbed or pained (duhkha) by outside/external events or people; but rather the citta-prasadanam remains unaffected by such influences. Here one remains deeply rooted and centered in HeartMind awareness. Here the yogi can see all beings and things -- in All Our Relations from this deeply nurturing heart centered place of experiential sweetness.

“The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means equanimity in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them."

Bhikkhu Bodhi, "Toward a Threshold of Understanding"

Here, it is clear that Patanjali is suggesting that we do not condemn those lacking in virtue (apunya), be dismayed by those causing suffering (duhkha), nor praise the virtuous (punya), but rather desire happiness (sukha) and joy for all beings.. It is more than enough to rest and abide in citta-prasadanam, where sweet grace flows forth without obstruction. To that end friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity are never lost. When this isn't happening naturally and spontaneously, then we can remind ourselves to enter and hold that space, and partake of that sweet grace allowing it to penetrate every pore of the heartmind.

Taken as a whole citta-prasadanam is a profound practice in itself. At the base level it can refer to a mind-field (citta) which is innately wholesome and non-afflictive. Abiding in that, then zero negative karma is generated. In fact, citta-prasadanam is the affect of maitri, karuna, mudita, and upeksanam taken together. As such, it is available as a remedy for all afflictions (kleshas) and negative propensities. In beginning practice, we can try to integrate karuna, maitri, mudita, and upeksa in All Our Relations. We will notice that when the mind strays, the sweet feeling of the heartmind will be absent. Then we can change our mind, again and again, until the old habitual mental patterns no longer hold sway.

Therefore, on a practical level we can apply this in All Our Relations (visayanam). Citta-prasadanam as a practice removes all obstacles and interruptions of clarity. How often have you seen yourself become angry, upset, irritated, depressed, jealous, or other wise afflicted by the kleshas? For most people these afflictions are deeply imbedded (in the samskaras) and must be flushed out in order for liberation to occur. As they are kleshic, they are also have karmic consequences. Thus flushing them out purifies the negative karma as well.

Many suffer from these kleshas chronically (such as in chronic depression, anger, irritation, etc). Hence Patanjali is presenting us with a remedy that reminds us to practice citta-prasadanam as a pleasant and positive non-afflictive mindfield devoid of negativity whenever we recognize an affliction. Thus the application of maitri (loving kindness and friendliness), karuna (love and compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upeksanam (equity/equanimity toward others and all events) will be propitious in All Our Relations (visayam) so that citta-prasadanam is effected (bhavanatas).

On another more profound level one could consider these activities to cause citta-prasadanam as a wholistic manifestation of uninterrupted flow from the param-purusha or Siva. Thus the sadhak places one's mind-stream into direct connection with Divine Auspiciousness (Maheshvara or Siva) and receives his sweet blessing manifesting as a spontaneous outpouring, citta-prasadanam, as sweet Divine Grace.

“God-realization is nothing but the ability and expansiveness of the heart to love everything equally”

~ Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma)

Upeksa has nothing to do with worshiping an external "thing" or being, but to recognize one's essential nature in all beings and things and honor/respect that. In that way, exploitation, injustice, unfairness, and abuse of anyone is utterly annihilated. Such a realization is not a statement of indifference or bland sameness (monism); although it can be so misinterpreted. Moreover, it is the expression of an all inclusive acceptance of all beings without condescension or flattery (upeksa).

“A great rock is not disturbed by the wind; the mind of a wise man is not disturbed by either honor or abuse.”

- HH the Dalai Lama

Why? Because it is grounded in no substantial thing at the confluence of two mighty rivers; one of constant change and ultimate differentiation and the other of ultimate self-luminous non-differentiation-- the essential middle way beyond extremes. Such is the great equalization experienced by the wise.

See I.47 and also III.23 for more.


Sutra I. 34 Pracchardana-vidharanabhyam va pranasya

Or (va) through the expiration (pracchardana) and holding out (vidharanabhyam) the energy (pranasya) contained in the breath [the mind can be purified, clarified, and stabilized while the innate grace of isvara is evinced -- wherefrom the citta-prasadanam is brought forward].

Commentary: Or we can remediate (pratisedha) the distraction and interruptions (viksepa) of the citta-prasadanam (the graceful flow divine consciousness stemming from the param-purusha or Maheshvara) directly through consciously regulating (vidharanabhyam) the expiration (prachchhardana) of the breath (pranasya) thus spelling death to the interruptions to the flow of divine consciousness. Since the mind rides on the waves of conditioned prana, by holding out the breath, the karmic mind patterns are emptied, released, and stilled. This practice empties the distractive thought processes and releases them on the exhalation, thus getting down to the underlying core energetics where the normal distractions of the ordinary discursive mind and emotions have causally rode, which this practice effectively annuls.

Here we are not merely discussing the control of the outward bound breath (pracchardana) alone, but more so the outward bound energy, as the exhalation corresponds to outward flowing of energy which in turn correlated directly to the dissipation and distraction of prana and consciousness (cit-prana). Thus a key practice in yoga is given by Patanjali here; i.e., the remediation and regulation of suffering and distraction by retaining the energy (prana) inside, rather than simply a practice of controlling or holding the breath out (bahya kumbhaka). Pracchardana also means to vomit out or to expire. Prana means energy or life force.

The word, prana, can be broken down to "pra", meaning to bring forth; while "na" means vibration. Prana is the underlying energy of all existence as well as consciousness. As such it is the animating principle of Spirit as it manifests in the body. We have mentioned previously and will mention it again that it is a law of existence that where the mind's attention goes, so does one's energy. Taken as a unit, this is called the cit-prana. Here Patanjali is saying that by controlling the outflow of the prana and regulating that, then the citta is stabilized, clarified, and readied for samadhi. This works with the underlying energy behind the negative thought patterns and allows us to release them.

Thus the outflow of the breath, being associated with release and relaxation, it is used to release the negative energy, thoughts, and emotions which interrupt the Divine mind-stream. Since breath is related to our basic energy, in this light then, we can also understand how we can can regulate the cit-prana and soothe and clarify the mind by bringing our awareness back to the exhalation of the breath and the regulation of the breath. This will bring freshness and clarification to the mindstream.

Thus as a practical method as in meditation and in daily life, we can go back to the breath as a gross way of redirecting our awareness from outward flows toward sense objects (vishaya) or external events (visayanam) so in turn preventing any interruption of the Divine mood or chitta-prasadanam. Thus in meditation we release the negative thought with the exhalation (pracchardana) and holding it outside gently (vidharanabhyam). Thus Patanjali refers to the emphasis on the exhalation to release negative thoughts or attachment in general so it gently dissolves into a subtle external release into emptiness. This is akin to the well known Buddhist practice of Patanjali's day called anapana-sati which observes the breath, except here in Sutra I.24 the expulsion process is emphasized to effect release. In laya yoga, one can add the visualization of blackish air to the exhalation and whitish air to the inhalation, sounds and so forth, eventually seeking through the breath heightened balance, equipoise, equality, self supporting mutual steadiness, symmetry, synchronicity, synergy, and continuity permeating body, breath, energy, and mind with the greater mindfield.

However this works far better if we keep in mind that this is an indirect substitute for the direct regulation of the primary cit-prana by the param-purusa, Maheshvara as are all practices. In fact the practices are necessary precisely because this divine breath has become discontinuous. This is to be taken as one out of many practices. It is necessary to remind the beginner that the goal is balance, hence this practice must be done with pranic awareness. For example if one is already very relaxed, cool, or sleepy, holding the breath out will v=crete more unbalance. In that case the yogi may need to hold the breath in (hold after inhalation instead of after exhalation). If in doubt practice even circular nd continuous breath as in Sutra I.31.

This is why success in pranayama (see Pada II: Sutras 49-53) is entirely dependent upon first developing a direct experiential sensitivity to and conscious relationship with the prana and its source. After practice one realizes that the wavelike operations of the mind (cit-vrtti) are dependent upon the operations of the prana. the vibrations of the prana are available through the vibrations in the air. By refining the air and prana -- by making then increasingly subtle, eventually the mind opens up to its vast potential. This requires a requisite amount of direct experiential sensitivity -- of inner wisdom. Through yogic practices as given by Sri Patanjali such as asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana , this awareness will become naturally developed and will guide the aspirant from within.

As the mind empties, as the breath empties, as the prana becomes less than subtle (empty), as the mental objects dissolve, then samadhi dawns as we are filled with Divine vibration (spanda). Further practice thus focuses cultivating this samadhi to be continuous without interruption. As an extension of this see the practices of pranayama (energy extension) and pratyhara (balancing and cultivating the awareness/attention and biopsychic energy and moving such for inner transformation) in Pada II and the practice of dharana in Pada III.


Sutra I. 35 Vishayavati va pravrttir utpanna manasah sthiti-nibandhani

Or by inclining, directing and guiding the meandering (pravrttir) distracted individual mind (manas) back toward a specific place or process of observation (vishayavati) prevents (nibandhani) the birth (utpanna) of further vrtti (pravrttir) or distractions. This gates (nibandhani) the wanderings of the ordinary discursive mind and thus steadies, balances, and strengthens (sthiti) it by creating an integrity and wholesomeness [which removes its infirmities].

Commentary: This is mindfulness or awareness (vipassana). If the ordinary dualistic mind (manas) wanders from one thought object to another (vishayavati), one way to bind and redirect it and thus gain steadiness of the mind, while preventing the wavering cycle of attaching to an endless succession of further attachments, is to focus the wandering mind from such attachment to objects (vishayavati) through a technique which concentrates on one object at a time only. An example would be tratak, a mantra, or yantra, or any other focused concentration technique.

This tames the waves of the vrtti and causes a stability (sthiti) of the ordinary mind (manas), thus allowing it a chance to calm down and become clarified. Although here the vrtti are not destroyed but simply pacified and reduced (there is still attachment to an object present), never-the-less the mind has been stilled quickly and easily through this simple implementation. Then higher techniques may be applied. Thus manasah sthiti-nibandhani firmly establishes the mind in a stable base made fit for meditation. It is another practice in which one unites and focuses the cit-prana in order to cultivate samadhi.

Similar parallel corresponding techniques in astanga yoga (expounded in Pada II and Pada III) are pratyhara, dharana, and samyama. Pratyahara is bringing one's attention, energy, and awareness back inside and up to one's internal energy self regulatory centers. Dharana is concentration which is a preliminary to dhyana. In dharana the sadhak (practitioner) first focuses the mind on external (coarse) objects of the senses (vishaya) such as candles, flowers, pictures, mantra (japa), mandalas, tip of the nose, etc. Later one focuses on the more subtle and internal objects such as the breath, the chakras, the energy bodies, yantras, internal and/or psychic sounds, bandhas, mudras, etc. One is able to move from the gross (vitarka) to the more subtle (vicara) and eventually dissolve this inherently dualistic object orientation allowing us to then enter into the transpersonal non-dual space where meditation. Samyama is outlined in detail in Pada III.

From this stillness of mind the other techniques of yoga can be applied to move one even closer to objectless and formless samadhi eventually taking one step at a time. In our path to samadhi, we can first steady the wandering mind (manas) and our wandering internal energies by first limiting its excursions, then through concentration (dharana) on chosen objects that reflect the innate wisdom, then we gradually removing all object relationships, attachments, limitations, and impositions of duality as we go from the coarse and outer to the subtle and inner and then beyond even the most subtle -- all inclusive of both inner and outer -- the ultimate samadhi, nirbij-samadhi.


Sutra I. 36 visoka va jyotismati

Or [concentration] through the cultivation of the inner light (jyotismati) of clear lucidity that knows no sorrow (visoka) [which removes the infirmities and darkness of the ordinary dualistic mind].

Commentary: In short looking/searching out, and listening for the light, hence bringing it in, the inner light which removes the darkness will lead. This is another simple method "of holding the space" while allowing for change. Clarifying the restless mind is to "re-mind" oneself of the innate light (prakasa) of self luminous clear lucidity within all things which liberates afflictions and suffering. All this will help create clarity, self confidence, remove obscurations and dross, and thus prepare the mind for meditation and samadhi. Here awareness is turned back into its Source. This magnifies the light exponentially. This sutra is a clear reference to an innate eternal unconditional joy and ultimate happiness that is not dependent upon events and our reactions to them or judgment. Make no mistake!


Sutra I. 37 Vita-raga-visayam va cittam

Also from cultivation, association, and intercourse with and/or reflection of (visayam) those dear friends of the path who have achieved release (vita-raga). Those whose HeartMind's who have achieved clear lucidity, mirror that back into our own lives -- they act as clear channels and vehicles of its further expression.

Commentary: Especially in the beginning of our spiritual practice when the pathways call to be opened up -- when the mind still is heavily addicted and afflicted with kleshas and vrtti, it is very helpful to not only to associate with spiritual friends who are on the path who reflect, reinforce, and remind us of light, love, clarity, and grace, but also to avoid people and situations who being dominated by similar kleshas (ignorance, fears, jealousies, hatred, anger, desire, greed, and the like) to our own might reinforce our negative tendencies and illusions.

Before each and every practice if not throughout the day, the yogis of the three times (those who are thus gone) who have passed through the veil -- the beings of eternal light are available for help if we ask for their aid and invite them in (invoke them). Also living is a spiritual community helps. One may also reflect on isvara, the param purusa, the ishta deva, the clear self luminous light free from all attachment (emptiness) which the essence of one's own true nature. Such practices as well as Arati and guru yoga invoke the eternal teacher of even the most ancient teachers (isvara) into our lives. this is darshana -- partaking of the light of the light and incorporating it into oneself by self acknowledgement.

For example in guru yoga, one invokes the timeless and formless intrinsic all pervading wisdom which the guru (as the remover or darkness) invokes. Thus the guru simply acts as transmitter, vehicle, or mirror for that which is entirely pure, timeless, universal, and unbiased. Thus we can invoke that same imperishable light which is latent inside, which is available to us always at any time, whether or not we receive darshan from an enlightened teacher (keeper of the light which removes darkness) in physical proximity, whether we use images, pictures, mantras, mystical diagrams, or communion with the formless self effulgence directly.

This can also be taken as advice for new practitioners to cultivate the company of the wise who will acknowledge and reflect back to you the truth of who you truly are and what truly is; while avoiding needless contact with those who are jealous, greedy, prideful, confused, and who will reinforce and project on to you your false identifications, limitations, and conditioned "self".

also see I.19, III.43, III.46.


Sutra I. 38 Svapna-nidra-jnanalabanam va

Or (va) cultivation of wisdom of direct experience (jnana) is available while sleeping (nidra) turning normal dreams (svapna) into lucid dreams (jnanalabanam).

Commentary; Every night we sleep and dream. This is a wonderful opportunity when the will, the intellect, and limited belief systems rest and no longer dominate our experience. Normally when this limitation disappears, our cognitive faculty is given up as well so that the dreams are not integrated, but are relegated to a subconscious level. But if we are able to relax the mind while remaining conscious and aware, but at the same time watch the mind make its apparently random associations then a higher trans sequential knowledge (janam-alabanam) far deeper than the straight plane three dimensional daytime consciousness will come forth allowing us to glean information, instruction, and perform duties from the dream state as an astral body. this in turn will augment and extend our awareness and lucidity in daily life. The lucidity that links both dream and ordinary wakefulness is eventually disclosed as the clear light that knows no sorrow. Yoga nidra is similar where the yogi enters this dream state consciously in order to interact in the fourth and greater dimensions (turiya). See I.10 for the "vrtti of sleep (nidra).

There is a well known hatha yoga practice called yoganidra, which is deeply relaxing, yet one does not lose consciousness. It is designed in order to experience a state deeper than the ordinary superficial aspects of the physical body and ordinary mentation by focusing on the marma points and then nadis (energy channels). Here one utilizes asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana (as inner visualization) all at once to access the yantra or sacred mandala where the physical body, energy body, mental body, and wisdom body are potentially capable of energizing and invoking as a portal. Here deep rest and astral travel are both made possible. Knowledge of the future, the past, and distant places are experienced directly. The mind and nervous system abide in deep rest and harmony according to how much attention one gives to the practice.


Sutra I. 39 Yathabhimata-dhyanad va

Or from an agreeable, suitable, and customized (abhimata) meditation (dhyana) as one is drawn to (abhimata) [all of these practices will ripen the mind for samadhi].

Commentary: Va means or. thus this sutra is the last of a list of practices that prepares the mind (citta-vrtti) for samadhi (dhyana being the last and most important). Yatha is simply an indicative meaning, "as". Thus the key word is abhimata-dhyana. Abhimata means drawn to, desired, longed for, wished for, most agreeable. Thus it means that we should customize our meditation to be most effective for our individual constitution. Dhyana is meditation. By meditation Patanjali means silent seated practice where the mind is extended (tanata) from subject/object duality (objects) to more subtle than subtle objects (sunya). That leads one into the highest samadhi. See Yoga Sutra II.11 and III.2 for more on dhyana.

The literal translation is “or from meditation as is suitable or as one is "drawn to” which indicates a natural (sahaj) type of meditation or pure abiding.

There are many types of meditation differing in specific characteristics of preparation, beginning, duration, finishing, etc. Here Patanjali is saying that one shoe does not fit all and there is no exclusive supreme method, but one must explore and choose the method of meditation which the HeartMind is attuned to the most -- the one which brings forth clarity and peace and leads toward samadhi. Why limit oneself? One thus needs to customize one's personal meditation practice to make it fit into one's unique circumstances in order for it to serve your highest potential by listening within for guidance.

All the following sutras in Samadhi Pada refer to realizing the supreme goal of yoga, nirbija samadhi, through the process of meditation (dhyana). Make no mistake about it!


Sutra I. 40 Paramanu-parama-mahattvantah asya vasikarah

The deepening and extension of this accomplishment (vashikarah) will extend into and include the smallest and most infinitesimal atom (parama-anu) and also unto the whole of creation or the greater whole (mahattva-antah) knowing no bounds.

Commentary: Through the knowledge gained from meditation by knowing our own mind, the practitioner gets to know the true nature of all finite (anu) phenomenon from the most minute (anu) to the most large (mahattvanto) extending into the very limits (antah) of existence (parama). Here the instrument of seeing is being gradually perfected to the point that the lens no longer creates a distortion. Things then are perceived as they are by a mind that has reached lucidity through meditation, but at this stage the true nature of the mind is still not known, just the nature of "things". When they are known in the holographic sense -- in terms of the objectless, formless (nirguna) non-dual siva/sakti wholeness, then a freedom from their influence is established (vasikarah). Such extrinsic situations can no longer negatively influence the mind and thus nirbija samadhi will be near.

All objects are held together by energy fields. Even the physicists know that what we call the physical or solid world is really all moving/fluid being comprised of empty space, electrons, neutrons, protons, and such, all configured in specific energy patterns forming the characteristics of what we call elements, compounds, DNA, cells, tissues, organs, glands, nerves, brains, animals, people, and objects of perception -- all a product of millions of years of co-evolution emanating from Source. All of creation is moving/dancing and can only be fully related to as a whole -- in context of All Our Relations. A problem of cognitive dissonance and fractualization arises when the conditioned dualistic mind artificially attempts to freeze this process through conditioned thought patterns (vrtti), but through meditation this fascination with the physical is abandoned and eventually dislodged. We then become free from the illusion of materiality. Solid matter as apparent physical "objects" then becomes only a small minded and limited way of seeing things, identifying, and/or relating.

In meditation as the dualistic fixations with apparently separate objects fade, they are gradually replaced by the the universal vision which penetrates and unites the spaces between the smallest atom and the wholeness of the entire created universe all the way to Source. In short, through effective meditation practices all dualistic fixations of objective knowledge eventually become dislodged as clarified Heart Consciousness as universal non-dual awareness arises. First extrinsic or coarse perception is noticeably improved and one is able to separate the actual event or situation from any emotional/samskaric reaction to it. Later the samskaric seeds themselves are removed through continued practice.

This is another reference to the liberating power of remembering or affirming the Great Integrity in All Our Relations - The inherent implicate order of the All and Everything found in the Great Integrity and that One that is contained in everything. Such is the multidimensional non-dualistic holographic reference field that is indigenous/inherent, natural/unconditioned, unlimited/universal and not contrived or biased in anyway. That is at the same time a sutric reference to the profound experiential unity of the micro/macrocosm.

Sutra I. 41 Ksina-vrtter abhijatasye va maner grahitr-grahana-grayeshu tat-stha-tad-an janata samapattih

When the vrtter (recurring patterns of the mind-field) have become almost entirely subjugated, stilled, dissolved, or considerably subsided (kshina), then a stable and still (tat-stha) alignment and synchronicity (samapattih) between the seer (grahitr), the seen (grahyeshu), and the process of seeing (grahana) is attainable (tat-stha). This is to say that pre-existing boundaries have become removed and a deeper non-dual inherent integrity (tad-an janata samapattih) is recognized between the process of cognition, that which is cognized, and the cognizer. When that natural connection is stabilized, bridged, brought together, and harmonized (samapatti). Instead of operating as seemingly separate elements of a dualistically perceived cognitive function, they evolve into and activate a previously dormant trans-cognitive non-dual synergistic function, so that the preexisting individual colorings (tat-stha-tad-an janata) of the mind are now transformed to reflect a greater holographic light, likened (iva) to a nobly born translucent and reflective radiance (abhijatasye) of a crest jewel (manes).

Commentary: Here the conditioned state of the vrttis have become weakened (ksina-vrtter) and thus the illusory dualistic and fractual splits of a delusional separate or "small self" identification (of the grasper of gross objects to be grasped at) has become loosened and begins to fall away. The doorway into the hologram (Samadhi) thus becomes more visible and accessible. This jewel has always been present since beginningless time, rather the mind's eye has been clouded through negative conditioning and has ignored its natural splendor. Nothing new has been fabricated, nothing needs to be added, nor taken away, rather the natural state of the true self shines forth recognized as a resplendent as-it-is.

Simultaneously as this samapatti (unitive non-dual natural recollection) coalesces, a cleansing of the ordinary dualistic mindfield occurs allowing for the possibility that the self luminous light of pure awareness can shine through. Here the Clear Light of the Immanent Universal Cit shines through a cleansed or translucent mind-field (citta-vrtti) like the colorings of a highly polished and reflective jewel (maneh). The mind's eye is no longer distracted or fixated upon a separate object and a separate observer, nor the seen or the seer, nor the process of seeing, because those limitations, which were based in duality, have become liberated by a clarified and stabilized unified continuous field of recollected consciousness, albeit universal clear-lIght has not yet fully dawned, because even this attainment is seen as a limited temporary fixation, which although expansive, must still be further purified and refined through the various steps outlined by Patanjali in Sutras I.42.

Grahana refers to the act of grasping, apprehending, comprehending, cognition, seeing, or observing an object. Grahyeshu refers to the object which is grasped, seized, apprehended, that which is cognized, seen, or observed; and Grahitr refers to the grasper, taker, one who apprehends an object, one who sees or cognizes or the observer. So as you can see this is headed toward a state of subject/object non-duality. At first this non-dual realization is limited, partial, and unstable, however, later when having gone beyond the most subtle distinctions (nirvicara), ultimate realization is made possible, where our transpersonal non-dual true nature sparkles forth and lights our path as unconditioned and unfabricated primordial awareness. An example may be found in love. At first one may become attached to a spouse because of social pressures, tradition, contractual relationships, convenience, or pleasure. After awhile some genuine affection may occur. But later if one is able to breakdown the defenses, fear, self cherishing boundaries, and superficial differences, then all limits/boundaries breakdown in favor of a functional inter-personal relationship becomes activated, in contrast with a co-dependent relationship based on dualistic individual need, fear. or asmita. Genuine unselfish love is then realized and as long as one does not become attached to what is impermanent. then no suffering will occur. Here alignment with our true nature (swarupa-sunyam) in samadhi is becoming more closely approximated, synchronized, aligned with, harmonized, and self-radiant. The ego having stepped out of the way, shadow life is transformed into open sky. Nothing is hidden from this universal and all pervasive Eye. In the fractals of the hologram/holygram, all parts reflect the unbroken integrity of the whole; every thing and being are interconnected.

"We have failed to recognize the buddha nature that is present in everyone. This ignorance is the main cause for straying into confusion. Sentient beings have strayed into confusion, like a precious jewel that has fallen into the mud and is temporarily unrecognizable. All the attempts to clean the jewel in order to remove the dirt obscuring it are the example for spiritual practices that enable one to gain realization. The dirt has to be removed to re-establish the [original] purity of the jewel."

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, "Repeating the Words of the Buddha", page 34.

Through authentic yogic practice, the negative influences of the vrtti (spinning of the discolored/tainted consciousness) become weakened, thus allowing the light of pure undistorted consciousness (cit) to shine forth even more. Here Patanjali begins describing the process of union (or coalescence) going from coarse mental states (vitarka), to nirvitarka (devoid of coarse objectivity), to subtle (vicara), and finally beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara) void of subject/object duality. Obstructions having been cleared, light and love naturally co-arise.

Christopher Chapple in his book; The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", Sat Guru Publ. Delhi, 1990 comments:

"[The accomplished mind] of diminished fluctuations, like a precious (or clear) jewel assuming the color of any near object. has unity among grasper, grasping, and grasped."

See also Sutras II.20 and II.21

Sutra I. 42 Tatra shabdartha-jnana-vikalpaih sankirna sa-vitarka samapattih

This discoloration persists because (tatra) when knowledge (jnana) of an apparently separate object (artha) is produced through the process of mixing together (sankirna) words or naming (shabda) with processes of mere conceptualization, imputation, and logical reasoning (vikalpa), then an unsteady and vacuous state of coarse over objectification (savitarka samapatti) is produced [which prevents/interferes with the establishment of total integration in samadhi].

Commentary: Jnana-vikalpa is conceptionally based knowledge is based on specific meanings derived from words (shabdartha). It is a limited kind of knowledge which may have application in certain technological applications, but is an impediment when applied in yoga practice such as dhyana. Conceptualization (built on word meanings), imagination, and daydreaming (vikalpa) is defined by Patanjali as vrttis. When fed with the fuel of words (shabda) they reinforce vrttis even more (see I-6). These are the components of vikalpa (conceptual constructs and the discursive ramblings of the monkey mind) which as all of the sutras clearly indicate must be remediated for the inner consciousness to shine forth.

Ordinarily one becomes locked into habitual disconnection or spiritual estrangement. It becomes habitual and the normal individual mistakenly concludes that it is even necessary. This is one belief based on false ideas and conceptual processes (vikalpa) that must cease for spiritual progress to unfold. It produces unsteadiness in regard to the deeper state of non-dual union/absorption (in nirbija-samadhi) -- actually drawing us out from its completion. In meditation we learn how to let go of the the coarse oscillation (vitarka) toward various external separately defined objects of attention uphold the duality (the duality of the illusion of the separateness of an object, the observer of the object, and the process of observing). This process occurs in the mindstream of the novice meditator. Such coarseness (vitarka) interferes with the most subtle and beyond even the most subtle realms of consciousness which eventually must be pierced in yoga. So here the meditator must become conscious of the mistaken coarse fixations of the mental processes, how they arise and cease one after another, and how to release the process. This is done at first simply by noticing the process as it arises. Later, one gains insight, through the practice itself -- through awareness of the awareness.

The prefix, sa, means "with" or accompanied by. Vitarka means coarse or gross. So savitarka means thought processes that are based on gross or physical objectification -- physical objective or dualistic thoughts based on events in the objective world. This will later be differentiated from nir-vitarka (devoid of such an externalization) and savicara (subtle thoughts based on internal objects of thought itself). In other words the beginners energy and attention gets drawn out and distracted into the objective frameworks of the external world. We mistakenly think this dualistic distraction is reality and so the individual's conditioned mind has been trained to cling to it, but we can use yogic practices to uncondition/remediate such distractions.

We start then with the gross/coarse or physical objects/objectification processes (vitarka). Then we work toward the more subtle (vicara) which are the awareness of the thought process itself as objects of attention. That too must be seen as a distraction eventually. When all coarse and subtle thought processes cease (nirvitarka and nirvicara) then and only then, can the clear light of the natural mind spontaneously arise. This statement is not a statement of faith or belief, but comes from direct yogic experience. is not

Thus Patanjali is identifying an obstruction to realizing non-dual samadhi that arises in meditation practice, called vitarka. There our meditative absorption is distracted, disturbed, unstable, and limited by coarse objectifications -- fixations upon separate gross objects. This is because the objects and words start to come up, the mind starts to name them, objectify them as "this" is "that", differentiate and compare the objects, evaluate, conceptualize, daydream, etc. One's attention and energy is habitually distracted into such mind patterns or vrtti, but the meditator is attempting to recognize this distraction.

Patanjali here is helping us to recognize that such coarse distractions (savitarka) occur at first. That is normal. With continued practice (abhyasa) they will cease. For us to recognize this process is still an attainment (a samapatti) because the non-meditator has no awareness of even this or even the inner workings of his/her own mental processes. Thus meditation practice is at first a retraining and reconditioning process where one starts to wake up to our way of seeing and being in the world -- how our innate knowledge or Gnosis (jnana) becomes dissolute upon objects (artha-jnana) and we simply become objectified, fixated, separate extracted, and estranged -- that is where the union of yoga becomes corrupted. Knowledge of the causes of distraction/disunion of course is not an end in itself. Rather it simply allows us to drop our dissolute ways as soon as we become aware of them. With continued practice in meditation these savitarka (accompanied with coarse or gross) thought tendencies of the dualistic mind are recognized as they arise and thus the awareness itself no longer disappears with the momentum of the distracted thought, but rather the energy of that momentum is brought back to the source of the awareness -- the cit-prana is no longer dissipated. Eventually the mind moves from the coarse (vitarka) to the more subtle (vicara), to devoid of even the most subtle objectification/separation. Savitarka is like the inability to "see the forest for the trees (American Idiom). This then eventually is a landmark step that gradually leads in steps of consciousness from coarse (savitarka) , to devoid of coarse (nirvitarka), to vicara (subtle) awareness to eventually ultimate and authentic samadhi (beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara), in distinction to these limited states of integration called samapatti.

Thus in meditation before a conceptualization is formed, before the mind wanders in thought, before a sentence is formed, before a word appears first, but as the process itself just begins arise, it is recognized and released into the vast ocean pure awareness. Beginning meditators learn to watch the words arise, become aware of it arising, then no longer feed their arising. The resultant stillness and silence becomes naturally and increasingly more recognizable and constant. The words stop arising by themselves as we become more aware of the subtle energy behind their arising as we move more fully and naturally toward that great stillness and vast open space of pure awareness. Hence the ordinary dualistic mind stops revolving (the citta-vrtti cease in nirodha). The great peace, light, and beauty of primordial consciousness overcomes the sadhak (as long as he/she remains conscious).. This occurs naturally through focused practice without grasping. The the individual consciousness is merged with the universal mind, the Universal Citta -- it rests in the innate effulgence clear light stillness - HERE awareness recognizes itSelf.

Another definition of vitarka is, "gross thoughts being accompanied by names of physical objects or designations not free of I/it duality", i.e., thus one recognizes how absorption becomes disturbed and noisy by the process which distracts attention from Self by displacing it toward such gross thought forms. As the distraction/dissuasion processes dominate they keep on arising/coming forth producing an unsteady and wavering body/mind uncenteredness subject to the whims of the constantly morphing distractions. Thus at that stage one may temporarily experience some connection with the Primordial Self or the innate evolutionary power, but it is fleeting until one experiences nirvitarka (devoid of gross objectification processes). In nirvitarka conditions quiet dow quite a bit, but disturbances still occur, albeit more subtly.

Next Patanjali addresses nir-vitarka as meditation or consciousness devoid of gross thought processes, but still containing subtle thought processes (savicara). So to reiterate, vitarka is still a coarse stage in meditation practice, then nirvitarka (devoid of coarse objectification) smoothes things out, while vicara is the next more subtle stage, then nirvicara (devoid even of the most subtle mind processes). It is in nirvicara that one reaches into samadhi. Both both vitarka ad vicara engage dualistic thought processes (objects of the mind) and are thus temporary stages of limited and transitional realization leading from the coarse to more subtle, then beyond object/subject duality entirely -- into samadhi. according to Patanjali, there are only two types of samadhi as we will see. Sabija (temporary) and permanent (nirbija). That is where Patanjali is headed in Samadhi Pada.

"Just sit in the Reality of Life seeing hell and paradise, misery and joy, life and death, all with the same eye. No matter what the situation, we live the life of the Self. We must sit immovably on that foundation. This is essential; this is what “becoming one with the universe” means.

If we divide this universe into two, striving to attain satori and to escape delusion, we are not the whole universe. Happiness and unhappiness, satori and delusion, life and death; see them with the same eye. In every situation the Self lives the life of the Self -- such a self must do itself by itself. This universal Life is the place to which we return."

Uchiyama Kosho Roshi

See also the commentary in Sutra I.9 on on vikalpa, sutra 49, sutra 43 (on holding on), sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems), I.15, I.16, 17, 49, and also sutra III.17.

Sutra I. 43 Smrti-parishuddhau svarupa-sunye va artha-matra-nirbhasa nir-vitarka

However when the mind stream which is normally polluted and conditioned by past impressions (smrti) is completely purified (pari-shuddham) from any taint of the mental contents toward a coarse and limited objectivity (nirvitarka) is characterized by (iva) [the absence of wandering (vikalpa)], then the innate natural effulgent light (nir-bhasa) of inner realization devoid of the delusion of an independent or separate self (svarupa-sunye) naturally shines forth. This purification increases our alignment with our true purpose (artha-matra) allowing for the subtle light to brighten ever more.

Commentary: Another way of saying the same thing is that nirvitarka samapatti is produced by virtue of pure rememberance of our unobscured non-dual true nature (svarupa-sunyam) not defined and limited in terms of form, separate objects, words, or name (free of the limitations of mere gross objectivism and cognitive faculties -- free from the limitations of vitarka). Here one becomes re-membered in communion with All Our Relations.

Here the prefix, nir, means without or devoid of. Thus the coarse wandering of the mind is stilled in nirvitarka samadhi. How does this voiding occur? Here we no longer assign words to the objects nor limit them in any dualistic system nor process them through any dualistic of object oriented relations method. This is easily experienced in meditation but difficult to conceptualize because we have moved beyond the limitations of individual cognitive or conceptional functions. Here we must experience what is meant.

Patanjali says it is through the application of swarupa-sunya which purifies the relationship between separate subject and object which allows space for the inner effulgence to be be invoked (nirbhasa). Here the profound truth of the emptiness (sunya) of separateness is simultaneously revealed and applied, i.e., there is no separate reflection of "self", no stain, no separate object, no dissuasion, etc. Through the emptiness of a separate "i-ness", our inherent true nature (swarupa) magically shines forth (bhasya) while meditating so that a state may be created that may be called nirvitarka samadhi. I hesitate to call this a samadhi in order to avoid confusion that this is an end. Rather I prefer to call this plateau, a stage (necessary as it is).

Here the coarse fixations of the mind are eradicated, so that the light (nirbhasa) of our true purpose (artha-matra) can shine through, but yet the subtle (vicara) mental obscurations may still remain. Here we are gradually learning to abide more frequently in our true nature -- aligning and approximating more closely our unobstructed true self nature, yet nirvicara samadhi let alone nirbij samadhi is still to be unveiled. Here we are purifying the memories and impressions of the past so that our true purpose (artha-matra) can shine forth (nirbhasa). See more about the key point of swarupa-sunyam in III.3 or most simply -- "JUST LET GO!".

Also please notice the commentary in Sutra I.9 on vikalpa, sutra I.49 (on inference and external authority), sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems)) and sutra I.17 on vitarka and the preceding sutra I.42. See also III.3 and III.17. All point to a samadhi experience beyond thought, belief, scriptures, or separate "self" of any kind, or other manmade mental constructs/artifices. Indeed all speak to a universal timeless natural law, the Sanatana Dharma.

Sutra I. 44 Etayaiva savicara nirvicara ca suksma-visaya vyakhyata

In a similar fashion, the mental state which is accompanied by subtle thoughts (sa-vicara) and the stage of realization devoid even of the most subtle thought (nir-vicara) upon even the most pure domain (suksma-visaya) is now illumined and clarified (vyakhyata).

Commentary: Where vitarka describes the thought processes and contemplations that become attached to gross/coarse physical objects, the world of form (such as pictures, sounds, lights, etc.), external events, or our experiences framed in an objectified dualistic world, vicara is differentiated, as it connotes the subtle or non-externalized objects of thought itself, thought processes, and even the most inner workings of the mind. Here the thinking process is an object, the awareness process is an object. The energy processes are objects of awareness. This is akin to the yogic practice of antar dharana (focusing of the inner and subtle processes) except that here, the savicara processes are not consciously brought into being rather they are on automatic. By becoming aware of these we can notice how they arise and eliminate them (nirodha). So here Patanjali now describes the thought processes that become attached to the more subtle objects of thought and boundaries such as concepts, conceptual frameworks, beliefs, ideas, the conceptional process itself, cognitive function, etc. Not that he says that we should focus on these, but rather that we should go beyond such fixation by letting them go. Nirvicara is akin to the cessation of even the arising of the first word in a thought process -- to even the urge to think itself. This creates the stillness where the energy is no longer distracted and dissipated into any objectification process -- it is the stillness that invites the innate light.

An example: The mind is thinking to itself, "there is no mind, there is no mind, Siva is All -- All is Siva". This is still savicara samapatti, because there is still an object and fixation and thus a limitation is produced by the thought process. In order to enter into the more complete and wholesome samadhi such thought processes (even the most subtle) still must be purified so that one can know THAT which is greater than even the most subtle -- greater than any or all the words -- THAT which is simultaneously all Inclusive Universal Eternal and Non-dual.

Here Patanjali is simply delineating the graduated stages of meditation from coarse fixations, to more subtle, to the most subtle, and eventually free from any objective fixation whatsoever -- Infinite Mind. These higher samapattis (nirvitarka and nirvicara) are stages leading to samadhi (inseparable spiritual identification in All Our Relations as the universal holotropic unbiased reality.

Sutra I. 45 suksma-visayatvam ca alinga-paryavasanam

As thought wanderings become more rarified and subtle (suksma), the attachments to objects (visayatvam) subsides and eventually ceases (paryavasanam) in an undifferentiated and attributeless stage -- falling short of (parya-avasanam) any possibility to define, name, or quantify (alinga).

Commentary: The subtle nature behind conditions and situations become revealed as the underlying process of waking up. As the mind ceases to wander on even the subtlest object of thought, nirvicara samapatti is reached where there exist no objects of thought -- a formless (nirguna) and non-dual attributeless (alinga) place is entered upon which is no separate place at all. This is a realization that is won through yogic practice (such as dhyana) which is beyond the present knowledge of science or man's intellect to grasp.

Albeit subtle, the yogi still needs to extend beyond (paryavasanam) even the most subtle condition (nirvicara) to truly reveal the undifferentiated unborn (alinga) intelligence underlying all of existence. This is where a truly open and boundless HeartMind is called for. Vyasa the oldest commentator on the Yoga Sutras says that alinga refers to the most subtle cause of prakrti, thus unmodified prakrti, but others say that it simply relates to the unmanifest param-purusa or isvara.

Interestingly BKS Iyengar translates this sutra as:

"The subtlest level of nature (prakrti) is consciousness. When consciousness dissolves in nature, it loses all marks and becomes pure."

Chip Hartranft, similarly translates this as:

"Subtle objects can be traced back to their origin in undifferentiated nature."

Compare that with Sutra I.19

"Bhava-pratyayo videha-prakrti-layanam

By melting into (layanam) the true nature of nature (prakrti) a special spiritual transcognitive [asamprajnata samadhi] samadhi or full feeling awareness (bhava-pratyayo) permeates and replaces the content of the mind, allowing the practitioner to directly merge into a non-dual transpersonal experience and relationship which entirely transcends the idea of a separate corporeality (videha) having identified with the larger body of creation and its stainless formless sourceless nature (the true nature of nature, purusa). This allows conscious awareness to be informed directly from the source of the created universe taken as a whole, free from vrtti."

Perhaps this may be due to the samkhya philosopher, Vyasa's, confusion with the word, nirvicara, which he often confuses with an object of cognition, but seems to be object free while insisting that prakrti and purusa ne'er the twain shall meet. Hence he needed to create a mechanism to connect prakrti with alinga.

Only in the nirvicara phase (devoid of even the most subtle objectification processes), then can one speak of truly tasting transcognitive samadhi albeit temporarily. As the subtle thoughts become cleared away substantially, leading toward nirvicara samadhi, only here experiencing the absence of even the most subtle thought can one begin to speak of true samadhi. Alinga is the most subtle objectification state, but it is not yet devoid of subtlety -- of form. Rather the formless unconditioned nature of nature beyond the boundaries of man's systems of classification in nirvicara (absence of even any trace of subtle object) goes beyond alinga, which remains undesignated, attributeless, empty (sunya) of form. It is not calling for a name or description so it is capable of whispering god's name for those whose ears have become so attuned -- aum. This then approximates emptiness (sunyam), which is described in Patanjali's definition of Samadhi in Sutra III.3 as

III. 3 Tad evarthamatra-nirbhasam svarupa-sunyam iva samadhih

Samadhi is realized when the artificial separations between the object (arthamatra) being meditated upon, the meditator, and the process of meditation are voided (sunya) disappearing into its true state, then the natural self existent effulgent source of the luminosity (nirbhasam) of the object in its natural unbiased place in all of existence as-it-is (swarupa) is known. In samadhi all prejudice and limited consciousness not only are illuminated but are also dissolved in the implicate self effulgent light of ultimate truth which is our true nature (natural precondition).

Here where the vrtti have become considerably stilled and the obstructions rarified so that glimpses of the eternal light of the unobstructed natural unconditional mind which is our true nature becomes more accessible and integrated. Please notice that Patanjali has not yet called the nirvicara stage a samadhi.

"A seeker has to swim a stormy ocean from savitarka to sasmita samadhi. During that period, he experiences joy and depression over and over again. When a seeker has divine experiences, he becomes overjoyed and feels very enthusiastic, but these excessive feelings often invite contradictory thoughts. As a result, he considers untruth to be truth. When he has such divine experiences in the state of excessive perturbance, he takes truth to be untruth. Thus he is often led astray. Savitarka, savicara, sananda and sasmita--these four samapattis are linked one to the other. Because of this, even when a seeker suddenly climbs to a higher samapatti from a lower one, he is led astray and thinks ‘now samadhi is within my grasp.’ When this experience does not last, he becomes disheartened. The more he has such experiences, the less impact joy as well as depression has on his mind. Finally, he reaches the safe bank of sasmita samapatti and becomes completely free from the impact of joy and depression. This is because he begins to attain the higher wisdom in this state. In spite of this, the detachment generated in his mind at this stage is called apara vairagya (incomplete detachment, also known as vasikara vairagya). Asamprajnata samadhi can be mastered only after attaining para vairagya (complete detachment), which considers even the power of omniscience to be a trifle, and enables the seeker to go forward."

Swami Kripalu, from "Science of Meditation", chapter 10.

Sutra I. 46 ta eva sa-bijah samadhih

All these previous attainments lead us to samadhi, but with seeds (sa-bijah samadhi) for falling back into karmic entanglements.

Commentary: These practices indeed brings one to the wide open gate of a temporary satori (grand view) but we normally fall back propelled by samskaras (past conditioning/programming such as embedded psychic imprints which are the results of karmic residues). Sabija samadhi (samadhi with seed) is a temporary alignment, approximation, and glimpse of our everlasting true nature, but still the mind is propelled backward by karmic residues belonging to past negative conditioning. These prior samapattis (minor stages of communions) still have a dualistic seed which are mostly destroyed in nirvicara (beyond being subtle) and alinga (free from separate or solid designators) realizations. But even in nirvicara and alinga realizations devoid of the even the most subtle cognitive state of taking any limited form whatsoever, they are still less than samadhi. "Sa" means, with and "bija" means, seed. Savicara extends up to even the most subtle objects of cognition i.e., the modality of consciousness that still ascribes to an "I-it", dualistic or relative world consisting of manmade (artificial and conditioned) cognitions and designators, but not including the direct interconnected integration or union/fusion of siva/shakti (purusha/prakriti, etc.). Nirvicara however is direct spiritual non-dual realization beyond any process of individual ideation or cognition. The barriers of the mind (citta-vrtti) have been lifted and thus one's mind has taken on the non-dual form of what-is-as-it-is as swarupa-sunyam.

All the previous attainments (samapattis) before the nirvicara stage contain seeds because their vision is still occluded and limited by the false identification of separate objects. They are dependent upon them still. In such dualistic dependence for support, universal Clear Heart Consciousness is still not liberated. One remains unstable in non-dual realization eventually falling back into dependency. As long as one identifies as a separate object with a separate object, one is still afflicted in mundane fragmented relationships. When that separateness is rarified through the realization and application of sunya, then one has arrived -- abiding in union -- the unitive stage of All Our Relations. In nirvicara a samadhi is obtained as genuine insight, but is discontinuous, temporary, and incomplete. The sadhak continues to fall back at other times into the dualism of savicara or savitarka. Even if all all false notions of separation is relinquished, the union can still become rended until the final residual programming (samskaras) are deconstructed and dissolved. Samadhi is our innate natural state, but it has become covered over and discolored by avidya and citta-vrtti.

"As such, samadhi is only one, but it has two stages: the first is called samprajnata, savikalpa, sabija, or cetana samadhi; the other is asamprajnata, nirvikalpa, nirbija, or acetana samadhi. The difference between these two stages is very clear. The mind exists in the first samadhi, but not in the second. The second stage can also be called atimanasa (super-mind).

Bija (the seed) of all desires is the mind. Since the mind (manas) exists in the first or the lower samadhi, it is called sabija (with seed) samadhi. This state is also known as samprajnata samadhi since in it, one attains doubtless and true knowledge about the object of concentration. It is also called prasantavahita since the prana and apana vayus, moving upward through the passage of susumna, stabilize the external organs and generate concentration of mind. Moreover, this state is also known as savikalpa samadhi or cetana samadhi, because sankalpa (volition) and smrti (memory) do not exist in it.

Since the susumna passage of the seeker who has reached savikalpa samadhi is purified, the feeble and upward-flowing prana and apana produce physical and mental stability, further resulting in deep concentration. In common concentration, one has to make a decision, and therefore, many favorable as well as contradicting thoughts occur. But in the state of perfect concentration or samadhi a decision is reached naturally, and there are no contradicting thoughts. Meditation devoid of conflicting thoughts is called savikalpa samadhi, and meditation without either favorable or contradicting thoughts is called nirvikalpa samadhi.

Since the mind exists in savikalpa samadhi, ‘I’ exists until the end. Because of the existence of ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘they’ remain also. Thus duality prevails until the end of savikalpa samadhi. This means that as long as the seeker is in the stage of savikalpa samadhi there is still the duality jiva (soul) and Isvara (God). In nirvikalpa samadhi, mind becomes non-mind and jiva merges into Siva (God). As a result, duality disappears. The cause of duality is the drsta (the one who sees). In the state of advaita (non-dual state) there is no drsta (seer) at all. Without mastering savikalpa samadhi, one cannot practice nirvikalpa samadhi. Savikalpa samadhi is the base of nirvikalpa samadhi."

Swami Kripaluananda from "Science of Meditation", Chapter 10.

Although Patanjali himself only denotes two variants of samadhi, i.e., temporary (sabija) and full and permanent (nirbija) samadhi, many commentators have commonly delineated many lesser kinds of samadhis (as mere states of mind) causing some confusion. Indeed "there is only one samadhi", but many obscurations of it. For example, when someone denotes "nirvikalpa samadhi", they are indicating a mental state devoid of a conceptual basis or conceptual limitations, but samadhi is more than that. Similarly, samprajnata samadhi (as we have seen in I.17) is a limited state as well. Samadhi proper is beyond samprajnata (asamprajnata) as stated in I.18 and I.19. It is thus free from subject/object duality, conceptual limitations, gross or subtle thought. It is free from vrtti and free from falling back. It called nirbija samadhi and produces final and unconditional natural liberation (Kaivalya).

Here Swami Kripalu explains further:

From the "Kripalu Upanishad" by Swami Kripalu

"In the beginning, kundalini sakti is awakened by various rituals, and then made ascendant. In the end it reaches the sahasrara cakra and meets Siva. Raj yoga, unmani, manonmani, amaratva, laya, tattva, sunyasunya, paramapada,  amanaska, advaita, niralamba, niranjana, jivanmukti, sahajavastha, and turyavastha are various names given to samadhi.

In samadhi, prana diminishes and the mind is destroyed; that is, all modifications of the mindstuff cease and the individual self becomes established in its own form. The final stage of yoga is samadhi. Yogi Maharshi Gherand has said that there is no yoga which is different from samadhi. A yogi who reaches samadhi is most fortunate. Samadhi is not the result of physical efforts by a yogi; it is the result of a yogi's devotion to his Sadguru and that guru's blessing.. Yogi Yajnavalkya says that the word yoga means the union of jivatman (the individual self) with paramatman (that which is beyond the self).

There is only one samadhi, but it occurs in different stages. The first stage is called sabija, samprajnata, sa-vikalpa, kriya yoga, or cetana samadhi. It is the forerunner of the final samadhi. In the Yoga darsana, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi are all defined as samyama. The seed of desire is the mind, which is still present in this type of samadhi. Therefore, it is called sa-bija samadhi. In this samadhi one experiences uncertainty regarding the form to be taken, and perceives a Reality which is void of sexual desire.
Samprajnata samadhi (cetana samadhi) has four stages: sa-vitarka, sa-vicara, sa-ananda, and sa-asmita. Pranotthana leads to the awakening of kundalini, after which the stage of sa-vitarka samadhi begins. In this stage a sadhak's mind is disturbed when he sits for meditation. He becomes overwhelmed with sexual desires. Only if such a sadhak has the guidance of an experienced guru will his sadhana remain intact. Otherwise, his progress will stop or he will resort to another path. At this stage, if a determined sadhak does not have a guru, he will be destroyed and become a raving lunatic. In savicara samadhi, the disturbances of the first stage become less. However, the sadhak becomes stupefied and spends a lot of time sleeping.

Sa-nanda samadhi is the third stage. In this stage rajoguna and tamoguna decrease, and sattvaguna takes their place. As a result, the sadhak's body is full of energy and his mind is full of joy.

Sa-asmita samadhi is the final stage of sabija samadhi. In this stage a sadhak's mind is full of concentration. The fruits of sabija samadhi are:Divine Consciousness, detachment, the Divine Body filled with yogic fire, and the ability to practice nirbija samadhi. The body is made of five elements. A yogi purifies these five elements through the yogic rites and emerges victorious over them. Then the eight siddhis come to him: anima (to become as small as he wants and go anywhere without being noticed), laghima (to become as light as he wants and fly through the air), mahima (to become as large as a mountain), prapti (to touch anything, no matter how far away), prakamya (to realize or materialize anything; his resolve never fails), vasitva (to make any animate or inanimate thing behave as he wishes, while he is beyond control), isitva (to create, sustain, and destroy any element or piece of matter), and yatrakamavasayitva (to change the qualities of any matter). In sabija samadhi the mind goes through four types of experiences: ksipta (depression), mudha (perplexion), viksipta (elation), and ekagra (concentration). Then it reaches the fifth, unobstructed stage of nirbija samadhi.

In sabija samadhi the mind and body are separated. In sabija samadhi many efforts are made to make the free prana and the extroverted senses introspective. Then, after many years of sadhana, restraint of the senses is accomplished. In nirbija samadhi the mind is separated from the atman.

Hathayoga starts from the muladhara cakra and continues through the visuddha cakra. Raj yoga covers the ajna cakra and the sahasrara cakra, and the restraint of the mind is accomplished.  A sadhak who begins dhyana without first clearing the susumna through the rites of niskamakarma yoga does not achieve samadhi, but only goes into murcha (unconscious trance).

Though sabija samadhi is very important, it is not very significant in comparison to nirbija samadhi. Because, after pranotthana, a sadhak  usually practices cetana samadhi for many years, he will begin to think that cetana samadhi is the final samadhi. However, this view is illusionary. Only when both prana and bindu are steady does a yogi reach nirbija samadhi. In nirbija samadhi a yogi has no sense of sound, touch, sight, taste, or smell. He has no sense of difference between "his" body and "another's" body The final result of yoga is kaivalya; in this stage the jivatman manifests in its true being and has no bondage to nature. Some karma yogis divide samadhi into four stages: nada yoga, rasananda yoga, laya yoga, and bhakti yoga. Some further separate nada yoga into the stages of arambhavastha, bhatavastha, paricayavastha, and nispatyavastha.

From the rituals of jnana yoga, the jivatman becomes established in its own form, which is called jivanmukti (liberation while still alive). The asamprajnata samadhi of yoga is itself the final self-experience of jnana.

The final result of the bhaktimarga is the achievement of God, which is liberation. In bhakti yoga there are five stages: sa-lokya, sa-mipya, sa-yujya, sa-rupya, and sa-starya. In the sa-lokya form of liberation, a devotee associates with saints, listens to scripture, sings hymns, and chants God's name. In the sa-mipya form of liberation a devotee has a glimpse of the divine lila of God's incarnations. In the sa-yujya form of liberation a devotee becomes a complete devotee of God. This stage is called the awakening of the kundalini by a practitioner of yoga. In the sa-rupya form of liberation a devotee becomes like God. In the yoga marga this is called samprajnata samadhi. During this stage one achieves the Divine Body filled with yogic fire, and Divine Consciousness comes, along with total dispassion. In the sa-starya form of liberation the devotee achieves all powers of God. In the yogamarga this last stage is called asamprajnata samadhi.

All perfect yogis achieve Divine Consciousness, Divine Body, and total dispassion. While the ways of achieving these are different, the yogic rites are similar. I end by saying that I bow again and again to the Susumna; the underlying power, Kundalini; the Nectar emanating from the moon; and to the powerful Manonmani samadhi (mind-beyond-the mind samadhi) in the form of Atman. "


Sitting in dhyana (meditation), first thoughts of the past or future most commonly will arise. Thoughts about "self" as object or other objects of thought might arise. With practice gross thoughts are replaced by subtle thoughts. Then the mind wanders less onto objects of thought and increasingly into that most subtle and rarified/empty space of pure consciousness (swarupa-sunyam) as even beyond any ned to designate words, concepts, or form. With practice there are no longer any more mental objects that arise, no image of a separate self as observer, no need or dependence upon changing anything or even meditating.

Increasingly we become stabilized in the experience of bathing in this pure and open space continuously, as the mindstream becomes clear, suitable and open for samadhi.

Sutra I. 47 Nirvicara-vaisaradye adhya-atma-prasadah

Upon directly experiencing that sphere devoid even of the most subtle thought processes or reflection upon a so called "separate object" (nirvicara samadhi arises); i.e., when the restlessness of the mind is completely satisfied, quieted, rested, and still -- when the mental faculties abide entirely in the deep nourishing sweet peace and clarity of grace (prasadah), a very clear and sweet lucidity and uninterrupted natural transparency (vaisharadya) spreads forth -- the authentic spiritual light emanating from the Supreme Source dawns which is none other than the recognition of our authentic transpersonal and primordial non-dual self (adhyatma).

nirvicara: beyond even the most subtle thought formation process. The end of thought fabrications and conceptualization processes. The end of even the most subtle contemplative inquiry. Asamprajnata which is devoid of subject/object duality. When the mind is empty of fabrication, then authentic samadhi dawns.

Adhyatma: Primordial; Self or Supreme Source

prasad: sweet grace.

vaisaradye: Strengthened form of visarada: uninterrupted, extremely broad, and profound sphere of open clarity. Seamless clarity reflecting the whologram in each expression -- in All Our Relations. Boundless and undisrupted profound flow of infinite wisdom. In modern times it has come to connote, broadly learned, some one with extensive experience or skill.. Mirrorlike wisdom. Pellucidity, limpidity.

Commentary: Here is described non-dual realization or union, even though it may be temporary. In nirvicara samadhi, the reflection process has become stilled and clarified as the peace of grace (prasadah) giving birth to the transparency (vaisharadya) of the innate light of the inner primal Source to shine forth on its own (without obscuration). All conceptual processes (vikalpa) of course also cease. Here what is often called nirvicara (free from even the most subtle thought) samadhi is described, which is pre-requisite to attaining the sacred grounds of nirbija (seedless samadhi) in the sacred continuous transpersonal state of All Our Relations. This corresponds with the last sutras in Pada 4 describing Kaivalyam (ultimate liberation).

The Guhyasamaja Tantra states:

In terms of ultimate reality, meditate on the things of the three worlds as insubstantial. The actual meditation on insubstantiality is meditation having nothing on which to meditate .Therefore meditation on substances and non-substances is without an object.

The Primary Tantra states:

The cultivation of single-pointed contemplation entails thinking of nothing whatever.

The Glorious Tantra of Royal Ambrosia States:

By meditating on the clear light, whose nature is empty,It is not found, nor is it found by not meditating. Meditation itself is conceptualization,and not meditating is also conceptualization.

Without having a speck of anything on which to meditate, do not be distracted for an instant".

from "Naked Awareness: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen" by Karma Chagme, Snow Lion 2000

Here mirror-like wisdom shines through entirely undistorted by the viewer. Beyond even the most subtle thought form connotes total independence from dualistic support forms. It connotes emptiness of object and a clear and open mind. That brings forth a very comfortable feeling of sweet grace. In mirror-like wisdom, the mirror itself remains unchanged, yet the images may come and go. This is part of the process of waking up where the shining forth of inner wisdom is awakened.

Sutra I. 48 Rtambhara tatra prajna

Then Supreme Truth Bearing (rtam-bhara) Inner Wisdom (prajna) self-arises, dawns and prevails.

Commentary: Here the inner truth, knowledge, or Gnosis (prajna) which bears the truth within itself (rtambhara) shines forth on its own unimpeded, hence self-arisen and innate. This is a pivotal statement of the most sublime goal of Yoga according to Patanjali. It should be noted that Patanjali once again states that this wisdom is intrinsic and innate, but was simply obscured (by the citta-vrtti). It is innate, unconditioned, and natural, not needing cultivation or contrivation but simply the elimination of the citta-vrtti . Thus yoga works on the pre-existing contrived and conditioned mental processes (the vrtti) and eliminates them (by eventually eliminating all samskara) so that the practitioner abides in their natural true Self (swarupa).

As will be explained later rtam-bhara prajna is none other than the absorption and complete integration of the dharma-megha (the rain cloud of dharma), which is none other than the absorption of Sanatana Dharma (the unification with the stream of eternal truth or realm of dharmakaya). See: IV 29-30.

Christopher Chapple and Yogi Ananda in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" (Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1990) translate this as: "This wisdom sustains the movement of life. Ignorance is to fall from this [intrinsic] order."

As such it is the primordial innate timeless motif, the bodhi-citta, the param-purusa, or primordial and timeless wisdom seed, which has no prior seed. It is self-arising To summarize, nirvicara samadhi leads toward nirbija samadhi, but still is not capable by itself of destroying the seeds which cause the falling out of this intimate unitive state (samadhi) which is the realization/embodiment of our innate wisdom potential (the inner Buddha, Christ, Sat Guru, or Brahman) in the form of the jivamuktan. To remove this seed (caused by past samskaras), Patanjali next addresses the removal of samskaras.

Sutra I.49 Shrutanumana-prajnabhyam anya-vishaya visesa-arthatvat

This innate intuitive wisdom (prajnabhyam) must be differentiated (anya) from the mere objective forms of knowledge based on anumana (inference, deduction, logic) and shruti (scriptures, belief, faith, external or objective authoritative sources of knowledge) [no matter how "seemingly" authoritative], which is always less reliable and more coarse than this very special (visaya) intrinsic wisdom (prajnabhyam) which in turn stems from direct truth bearing wisdom (rtam-bhara), which is based on inner direct spiritual experience and knowledge and thus gleaned from practice.

Commentary: This is because the former knowledge is confined and limited to a particular object, language, limited attitude, symbols, and such dualistic perspectives, thus carrying the seed of a fractal taint, a prejudiced and particular relative "point of view", i.e., it is superficially based, externally imposed, alien, and artificial; while that Truth of Universal Reality or Infinite Mind (available only through rtam-bhara prajna) is inherent, self arising, unconditioned, omnipresent, universal, and infinite. The pre-existing state of chronic disconnection (which calls forth yoga as the remedy) is dictated by a preexisting external and over objectified knowledge where spiritual self alienation and duality are fixated; while recognition of rtambhara is the dawning of the intrinsic all encompassing universal inner wisdom. The former is artificially and objectively derived and imposed, while the latter is from our own subjective experience. There can be no comparison. Here unification, integration, and yoga reign. This is another clear statement by Patanjali that pramana-vrtti is an affliction/obscuration (see I.7).

For one to successfully continue to bathe in nirbija (seedless) samadhi, It is necessary to recognize the difference between true inherent spontaneously self arising wisdom (rtambhara prajna) on one hand, and shrutanumana-prajnabhyam on the other.

BKS Iyengar in his excellent translation of I.49 says:

"This truth bearing knowledge and wisdom is distinct from and beyond the knowledge gleaned from books, testimony, or influence."

Our experience must thus inform and instruct our world views and belief; i.e., in order for our daily consciousness to not get in the way and extract us from a living yoga in the context of All Our Relations -- such must correspond to our experience. Liberation does not occur the other way around; i.e., where ordinary people attempt to dictate their experience according to the domination of specific belief systems, bias, prejudice, thought patterns, samskaras, kleshas, preconceptions, and karma all of which simply produce more suffering (duhkha).

Yogic knowledge is not external to the yogi, nor is it found in books, grammar, or through conceptual processes; rather it is through yogic practice that elicits inner wisdom. . This sutra makes Patanjali's stance on yoga being revealed by yoga, crystal clear. It is primordial innate wisdom/awareness, the very essence-mind or buddhanature. It is not created, nor can it be destroyed; hence it is the vajra-mind of the vajrakaya -- immovable and unshakeable.

This enlightenment, this understanding, this realization is quite different from what one has heard about or deduced from teaching obtained from external sources. Whereas in the case of the latter the object of study, investigation and understanding is outside of the consciousness, the realization arrived at in the former is of a special category.

Swami Venkatesananda

Thus being able to tune into the inherent implicate inner wisdom and let it guide us stimulates a mutually synergistic acceleration once this mechanism is recognized (inner wisdom is brought forth and is increasingly respected, acknowledged, and accessed) -- where the now educated and vitalized mind in turn allows one hence greater breadth of experience. Then greater breadth of experience then in turn synergistically stimulates a broader consciousness and so on like that until boundless universal Mind is disclosed. Intelligently educated and informed awareness through experience in turn allows an even more greater expansion of experience, then further the education of the conscious mind even more is achieved, and so forth, until eventually synergistic synchrony coincides -- Yoga is accomplished -- All is Known and Self is Experienced in Satchitananda. See also the commentary in Sutra I.9 on on vikalpa, sutra I.42 (on words), sutra 43 on holding on, sutra I.7 (on pramana or belief systems), sutra I.17 on vitarka, sutra I.15, sutra 16, and also sutra III.17.

Sutra I. 50 Taj-jah samskaro'nya-samskara-pratibandhi

From the psychic signature (samskara) born from (taj-jah) [the inner self realization of the Age-old Supreme Truth Bearing Wisdom (rtam-bhara prajna)], all further samskaric seeds are annulled (pratibandhi).

samskara: the conditioned mind. Mental formations either latent/frozen or actively operating. Embedded latent triggers, which trigger biopsychic kleshic activities. See the bhavacakra (the wheel of samsara) for this relationship. Past frozen and non-integrated mental/energetic imprints. There is one primary samskara, that of our true original nature (buddhanature), which is essentially innate and imperishable.

Commentary: From the strong imprint that issues forth from the dawning of the innate wisdom (rtambhara) the arising of any further samskaras (past psychic imprints, psychic signatures, programmed latent triggers, and the like hidden in the cellular memory, neurology, energy body, and etheric body due to past unresolved trauma, conflict, habit, karma, or conditioning) are disengaged (pratibandhi), annihilated, and cease to operate. Here then Rtambhara and its innate wisdom imprint (of prajnabhyam) wells up from within as a great wave washing upon the entire being creating a deep shift so that the core/heart center now has become activated. That is the innate wisdom issuing forth from the universal evolutionary source potential (isvara) overriding all other imprints -- that which has arisen from the innate seed source (isvara or innate Buddhanature) which then integrates/aligns us with the Universal Self which resides simultaneously in all beings and things as well as within.

Self realization is the strongest experience and also the most subtle. It is not realized without sustained practice (yogic sadhana which produces grace) -- by the complete surrender of effort (vairagya). The innate source seed leaves a very deep and lasting imprint. This imprint thus triggers our nervous system, the dna, every cell and atom, the innate wisdom at a cellular self-organizing level, which in turn spontaneously responds to every possible holographic situation efficiently taking into consideration multidimensional contexts of all kin and kith in All Our Relations. Some say that this imprint is what the Sri Yantra represents. Others say that it realized through the repetition of the pranava, yet others say that nirvicara samadhi will in time set in motion, the samskara necessary to return us to our original true self nature (swarupa-sunyam) in nirbij-samadhi.

So here Sutra 50 says that continuous and permanent samadhi (nirbija samadhi) occurs after all the samsaric samskaras (imprints due to conditioning) are over ridden by our innate Buddha/Christ potential -- intrinsic awareness which is always available, but widely ignored (because of samsaric conditioning and past imprints). One naturally asks what is this positive psychic signature (samskara) which brings forth the rain of rtam-bhara prajna -- the age old truth bearing wisdom if not the maturation of isvara (the intrinsic seed source), call it the awakening of our innate transpersonal buddhanature or bodhi-seed (the absolute bodhi-citta ripening and manifesting). All other samadhis are only approximations, alignments, incomplete, and temporary; however sitting in sabija samadhi (samadhi with seed) for extended periods of time will ripen the seed for final liberation in nirbija samadhi, just as a mother hen ripens her eggs or a farmer with a green farm brings his seeds to maturation. Being innate primordial wisdom it can be understood as the primal impression or ceaseless samskara whose characteristic is sublime auspiciousness.

So according to Patanjali yoga practice eliminates the veil of ignorance that has occluded/obscured that pre-existing inherent love/wisdom which has always existed from beginningless time. It's like a treasure awaiting to be discovered. Yogis are thus like treasure finders and maybe also if they are adept, able to point out to others where their own inner treasures are buried.

"A vrtti is a whirlpool or thought-wave in the mind-lake. Every vrtti or mental modification leaves behind a samskara or impression or latent tendency. This samskara may manifest itself as a conscious state when the occasion arises. Similar vrttis strengthen similar dispositions."

Swami Sivananda. "All About Hinduism"

If the residual cause (seed) still remains imbedded, then it will bear fruit (as an effect) when various conditions ripen. The authentic yogic practice is not to repress, inhibit, shutdown, limit, or escape from further experience or conditions, but rather to purge the residual karmic seed and to open to primordial consciousness fully unafraid.. Also see III. 9-12 for a discussion on the three parinamas (nirodha parinama, samadhi parinama, and ekgrata parinama) especially III. 11 for a discussion of samadhi parinama.

In IV.29-30 Patanjali says in this regard:

Thus freed from selfish motivation while abiding steadily (sarvatha) in self luminous discriminatory awareness ,the rain-cloud of natural law (dharma-megha) is completely integrated (prasankhyane) and absorbed (samadhih) as omniscience, thus, the cessation of samskaras, klesha, and karma are realized.

Rtam-bhara prajna is none other than the absorption of the rain cloud of dharma (dharma-megha). It is the true realization of the Sanatana Dharma. It is complete, but the yogi still is not completely stabilized in it as in nirbija samadhi

This special realization of spontaneous self-awareness completely transmutes the entire being and there is total change. All other habits and tendencies are overcome by habitual self-awareness .

From Swami Venkatesananda's translation of I.50.

Psychologically, latent impression which are embedded through the conditioning process are passive samskaras. When they are active/triggered, they form more complex formations. When this conditioning process ceases (when the samskaras are dissolved), so too do beings and things return back to their natural, original, unconditioned state. All is known, all at once, instantly, as they truly are - interdependent. 

"To win complete release from suffering — not only from experiencing suffering, but from the unsatisfactoriness intrinsic to all conditioned existence — we must gain release from sankharas. And what lies beyond the sankharas is that which is not constructed, not put together, not compounded. This is Nibbana, accordingly called the Unconditioned — asankhata — the opposite of what is sankhata, a word which is the passive participle corresponding to sankhara. Nibbana is called the Unconditioned precisely because it's a state that is neither itself a sankhara nor constructed by sankharas;  a state described as visankhara, 'devoid of formations,' and as sabbasankhara-samatha,  'the stilling of all formations.'

When, however, we take up the practice of the Dhamma, we apply a brake to this relentless generation of sankharas. We learn to see the true nature of the sankharas, of our own five aggregates: as unstable, conditioned processes rolling on with no one in charge. Thereby we switch off the engine driven by ignorance and craving, and the process of kammic construction, the production of active sankharas,  is effectively deconstructed. By putting an end to the constructing of conditioned reality, we open the door to what is ever-present but not constructed, not conditioned: the asankhata-dhatu, the unconditioned element. This is Nibbana, the Deathless, the stilling of volitional activities, the final liberation from all conditioned formations and thus from impermanence and death. Therefore our verse concludes: 'The subsiding of formations is blissful!' "

Bhikkhu Bodhi

Psychologically then, latent formative imprints samskaras due to past actions (karma) both cause and are the results of conditioning. Mostly such mental formations are impediments to waking up, but some can be helpful. Positive past actions (meritorious activities) produce positive samskaras (conditions).  Positive conditions in which to achieve liberation are to be cultivated as a transitional path leading from samsara to nirvana. When conditioning is deconstructed, then the natural state spontaneously expresses itself as it is no longer blocked.

"[In] the Upanisa Sutta in the Samyutta Nikaya, [there is found] a discussion of the conditions not for suffering, but for enlightenment are given. This application of the principle of dependent arising is referred to in Theravada exegetical literature as 'transcendental dependent arising'. The chain in this case is:

   1. suffering (dukkha)
   2. faith (saddha)
   3. joy (pāmojja, pamujja)
   4. rapture (piti)
   5. tranquillity (passaddhi)
   6. happiness (sukha)
   7. concentration (samadhi)
   8. knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathabhuta-nana-dassana)
   9. disenchantment with worldly life (nibbida)
  10. dispassion (viraga)
  11. freedom, release, emancipation (vimutti, a synonym for nibbana
  12. knowledge of destruction of the cankers (asava-khaye-nana)"

~ Wiki

Eventually in samadhi, the last past imprint is purified and nirbija samadhi is reached . Before that only temporary samadhi is possible (sabija samadhi) -- samadhi with seed where future seeds, as samskaras, remain. In yoga, all the samskaras are to be released except one, the innate seed source of awakening (isvara, our essential nature, the bodhi citta, innate buddha nature, the primal seed) whose source is primordial luminosity. Even that is surrendered upon awakening because by definition the samskaras are unconscious and potential, hence foreign to one who is completely awake -- embodied. That is the fruition of sublime template of the whole human being -- the natural man, Adam Kadmon. Hence, in yoga all samskaras must be annihilated in order to allow the mind essence, true self, or buddhanature to bloom. The yogi practices in melting the limited frozen samskaras while integrating at one with the all inclusive natural unconditioned state, instantaneously. It is not that one becomes forgetful or that pathways to primordial memories are disrupted; rather the thought constructs and associative thinking patterns that color and diminish the pristine present no longer arise.

Sutra I. 51 Tasyapi nirodhe sarva-nirodhan nir-bijah samadhih

Upon the final dissolution, cessation, and removal of all samskaras (past conditioned latent imprints) thus Seedless Samadhi (Nirbija Samadhi) spontaneously co-arises [from the beginningless pure sky free from any blemish].

Commentary: When all the samskaras (past imprints and trigger points that have run the reactive programs in the past) have been purified and have ceased (nirodha), there is no longer any wavering, no turning back into ignorance. Here citta-vrtti nirodha is realized. "Nir" means devoid of or free; while bija is "seed"or germ. Thus nirbija samadhi is translated as the union or absorption without seed -- without ay cause toward being propelled back into ignorance or duality. One may play at shifting scenes or contexts, but one is free from the pulls of unconscious impressions (samskaras) and hence Pure Primordial Consciousness and Pure Beingness (experience) have coincided -- they have merged as one without a second.

Here the sadhak abides joyfully because his samskaras have been washed clean, being bathed and matured in and by the self luminous light inherent in his/her own true natural abode (swarupa) which is of the same taste inside or out in the non-dual reality of All Our Relations. Here even nirodha ceases as one enters into the non-dual abode of non-doing -- of absolute stillness and openness where all latent seeds of past impressions have been removed -- where all and everything reside as-it-is. This is not the annihilation of consciousness (citta), but on the contrary, the end of the vrtti, prejudice, bias, and spin of citta. HERE is great abundance and fulfillment where santosha (spiritual fullness), integrity (asteya), satya (authenticity), and all the other yam/niyams are perfected and effected spontaneously all at once.

To summarize the end of Pada I, the vrtti are thus eliminated (nirodha) through first the integration or dawning of rtambhara, which produces a core/primordial seed impression, which in turn remediates and ends all the other past conditioned triggers Rtambhara is a precious innate truth bearing wisdom which is not derived from scripture (sruti), agama, from inference (anumana), nor from objective partial data gleaned from things or events. Rather, it is a core way of knowing, where the realization of the inner Heart (bodhicitta) purifies and clarifies all as it is opens and ripens.

Patanjali is giving us very practical advice on practice. It is not abstract philosophy. We can just ask ourselves how does I.41-51 work in practice? Say we are sitting in meditation, These are stages going from gross distractions (vitarka), to more subtle (vicara) ort subtle, to beyond the most subtle (nirvicara), to sunya, absolute cessation of the citta-vrtti, the dawning of the intrinsic transcendental wisdom (prajna), and then everlasting oneness/union (samadhi).  At first we may become distracted by some coarse (vitarka) external noises, a spider on the wall, the cushion,  clothes, or perfume or any such coarse distractions.  After practice these type of gross distractions (vitarka) of the mental processes become attenuated and live in the background, because a far deeper underlying heart/core background has grown and is revealed. Thus a nirvitarka stage is accomplished.

After even more intelligent and joyous practice, maybe even in the same sit, we become aware of thoughts arising (mental objects), like one is remembering some “thing” that occurred in the past or some  “thing” that one has to do in the future, or some “one”, and so forth. The conditioned mind can wander with even subtle objects of thought  That is vicara ( subtle) thought processes at work. Eventually these become rarified and emptied with practice -- empty spaces between the words and thoughts become longer.  Great light and clarity start to intercede for longer periods of time in this space (nirbhasa, jyoti, prakasha, prajna, etc.). We start to get used to residing in the sweet space of the HeartMind (prasadanam) more readily. Up to this point this corresponds to the apara-vairagyam (the lower form of vairagya) which is dualistic (samprajnata) -- with asmita as a cognizer and a separate cognized object. (See I.17) .

Then, with further practice even the most subtle thought processes cease (nirvikalpa and nirvicara). Then one rests in samadhi empty of self ownership (asmita) and empty of objects and empty of the process of objectification. This corresponds to the para-vairagyam (see I.18 and 19. This is asamprajnata samadhi (transcognitive). and non-dual  and transpersonal of which the more common form is sabija samadhi (temporary with seed), while the permanent kind is (nirbija) without seed. Eventually the intrinsic self-luminous and self-arising light of transcendental wisdom (prajna) informs us as to the heart/core or mind-essence, as the seed source becomes recognized increasingly, the yogi matures in that recognition, and blossoms as final unconditioned liberation (kaivalyam) is won -- with practice.

Nirbija samadhi is the summum bonum of yoga, because there is no longer any falling back into the estrangement and disempowerment of separateness (dualism). There is no disruption or discontinuity in residing ceaselessly and continuously. There is no place else go but HERE - from original self to limitless and boundless omniscience. This is our natural uncontrived, unconditioned, primordial state (swarupa-sunyam) prior to avidya's conditioning, the disturbances of the vrtta, vasana, samskara, karma, klesha, and any other mentally induced habitual formation. Although timeless, it is expressed in the Sacred Now as sacred presence.

Nirbija samadhi is not discontinuous, although the yogi may enter at will into many worlds, contexts, dimensions, and "situations", the overall context of Ultimate Integrity -- of Eternal Spirit is never lost sight of, it is always recognized within the sphere of sacred presence, always present -- as such, sacred space is continuously present always and all ways as vajra-space being immutable. Here Divine Grace is known as samadhi -- as non-dual union.

Although theoretically accessible to all people at all times, most are still getting their thrills riding on karmic roller-coasters; few have cut through to the core of their masks and veils; obscurations; long time false identifications, propensities, mental habits, and tendencies; and burned up their past karmic residues, except for the true yogi. Thus, being driven by the seas of karma, samskaras, or avidya has ended for such a yogi, for such acknowledges unending and beginningless bliss. For such a one, All Our Relations is the way it is, and hence all interaction for such a yogi occurs in sacred space as a communion between creation/creator, shakti and shiva, the evolutionary power and absolute consciousness extending the Buddhafield as doorways are created into and out of the Buddhaverse.



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Yoga Sutras Pada 3 (Vibhuti)

Yoga Sutras Pada 4 (Kaivalyam)

Sanskrit to English Annotated Glossary

Table of Contents: The Yoga Sutras As-It-Is

Yoga Sutra Index Page

Plain Language Short Translation

The Samkhya Interpretation of Brahmacharya: Alien Gods and Anti-Nature Cults

The Integration of Spirit and Mater in the Yoga Sutras (Professor Ian Whicher)

Countering World-Negation: The World Affirming and Integrative Dimension of Classical Yoga by Ian Whicher

A Review of S. N. Tandon's. A Re-appraisal of Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras in the Light of the Buddha’s Teaching by Georg Feuerstein

A Review of Ian Whicher's. The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga by George Feuerstein

Addiction and Tapas

Sri Pungaliya on Patanjali and Jnaneshwar

Yoga Sutras Made Accessible: Extracted from the morass of over intellectualization

Yoga Sutra FAQ

A Short History of the Yoga Sutras

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