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  • Writer's pictureJérôme Jaquier

Now, yoga is explained

Updated: May 22, 2022

Yoga Philosophy of Patañjali. With Bhāsvatī

Samadhi Pada. On Concentration

Atha yogānuśāsanam 1.1

Now, yoga is explained

Yoga Philosophy of Patañjali. With Bhāsvatī

Samadhi Pada. On Concentration

Atha: By this would it is implied that with the first Sūtras the discourse relating to Yoga is being commenced.

Yoga: This term has various meanings like union of Jīvātmā(individual soul or self) and Paramātmā (universal or eternal soul), the union of Prāna and Apāna., as well as other technical, derivative and conventional meanings. But in the philosophy the term “Yoga” has been used in the sense of Samādhi or concentration which has been elaborated in the second Sūtras.

Anuśāsanam: Discourse. The science of Yoga delineated in these Sūtras has been based on the instructions transmitted by the ancient sages. It is not a science newly evolved by the framer of the Sūtras.

The habitual states in which a mind can be, have been indicated as five in number, viz. restless, stupefied or infatuated, distracted, one-pointed, and arrested. Of these, the mind which is naturally restless (Ksipta) has not the patience or intelligence necessary for contemplation of a super-sensuous subject and consequently cannot think of or comprehend any subtle principle. Through intense envy or malice, such a mind can at times be in a state of concentration, but that is not Yogic concentration.

The second is the stupefied (Mūdha) mind. The mind which through obsession or infatuation in a matter connected with the senses is unfit to think of subtle principles, is called a stupefied mind. People engrossed in thoughts of family or wealth generally concentrate on them. This is an example of concentration of an infatuated mind.

The third is the distracted (Viksipta) mind. This is different from the restless mind. Most of the spiritual devotees have this type of mind. A mind which can be calm sometimes and disturbed at other times is regarded as a distracted mind. When temporarily calm, a distracted mind can understand the real nature of subtle principles when it hears of them and can contemplate on them for a time. On account of difference in intelligence and other traits of character, there are innumerable varieties amongst men with distracted mind. There can be concentration even with a distracted mind but such concentration does not last long, because the basic trait of such a mind is calmness at one time and restlessness at another.

The fourth is the one-pointed (Ekāgra) mind. The mind which is pointed to one direction only, i.e. holds on to one thing only, is called a one-pointed mind. Patañjali has defined it later as a mind wherein, on the fading away of one thought, the same thought arises again in succession. In other words, when one thought vanishes from the mind and the next that arises is similar and there is a continuity of such successive states, then the mind is called one-pointed. When it becomes a habit of the mind, i.e. when the mind is occupied wholly with the same thought which continues even in dream, then the state of the mind can be really called one-pointed. When one-pointedness is mastered, it leads to Samprajñāta-samādi. That Samādi or concentration is real Yogic Samādhi leading to salvation. In the Vedas it is stated that even if a sinful thought comes unconsciously or irresistibly into the mind of such a wise person it cannot overpower him.

The fifth state is that in which the thought processes have been stopped or arrested at will by long disciplinary practice (Nirodha). This is the last state of the mind. When through practice, all thoughts can be shut out from the mind for a long time, the mind can be regarded as having reached an arrested state. When by this process the mind-stuff gradually ceases to function, then only is liberation achieved.

Concentration gives knowledge of the Bhūtas (element or protective spirit) and the Tanmātras (the subtle elements which are the objects of the five senses). Tanmātras are devoid of pleasure, pain or stupefaction, i.e. a Yogin who realizes Tanmātras is not affect by the external world. In the one-pointed mind, however, such a change is not possible, as the knowledge acquired in its concentration remains firmly fixed and is not obliterated by casual disturbance. In a one-pointed mind such renunciation will become firmly established. Gradually with the elimination of feelings of attachment etc., actions which would have been dictated by such feelings cease altogether and thus the process leads on to the arrested state of the mind.

** Tanmātras, the subtle elements which are the objects of the five senses: sound, touch, sight or form, taste and smell. The five tanmatras are the way in which people sense the objective, tangible world.


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