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Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

Mystic Aphorism of Patanjali

 


Maharishi Brighu

 

Raja Yoga is the king of Yogas. It concerns directly with the mind. In this Yoga there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. There are no Hatha Yogic Kriyas. The Yogi seats at ease, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind, restraints the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state or Asamprajnata Samadhi, Hence the name Raja Yoga. Though Raja Yoga is a dualistic philosophy and treats of Prakriti and Purusha, it helps the student in Advaitic Realization of oneness eventually. Though there is the mention of Purusha, ultimately the Purusha becomes identical with Highest Self or Purusha, or Brahman of Upanishads. Raja Yoga pushes the student to the highest rung of the spiritual ladder of Advaitic realization of Brahman.

 

Patanjali's Yoga system is written in Sutras. A 'Sutra' is a terse verse. It is an aphoristic saying. It is pregnant with deep, hidden significance. Rishis of yore have expressed philosophical ideas and their realization in the form of Sutras only. It is very difficult to understand the meaning of the Sutras without the help of a commentary, a gloss or a teacher who is well-versed in Yoga. A Yogi with full realization can explain the Sutras beautifully.

 

Literally, Sutra means a thread. Just as various kinds of flowers with different colours are nicely arranged in a string, to make a garland, just as rows of pearls are beautifully arranged in a string to form a necklace, so also Yogic ideas are well-arranged in Sutras. They are arranged into Chapters.

 

The First Chapter is Samadhi-pada. It deals with different kinds of Samadhi. It contains 51 Sutras. Obstacles in meditation, five kinds of Vritti and their control, three kinds of Vairagya, nature of Ishvara, various methods to enter into Samadhi and the way to acquire peace of mind by developing virtues are described here.

 

The Second Chapter is Sadhana-pada. It contains 55 Sutras. It treats of Kriya Yoga, viz., Tapas, study and self-surrender to God, the five Kleshas or afflictions, the methods to destroy these afflictions which stand in the way of getting Samadhi, Yama and Niyama and their fruits, practice of Asana and its benefits, Pratyahara and its advantage, etc.

 

The Third Chapter is Vibhuti-pada. It contains 56 Sutras. It treats of Dharana, Dhyana and various kinds of Samyama on external objects, mind, internal Chakras and on several objects, to acquire various Siddhis.

 

The Fourth Chapter is Kaivalya-pada or Independence. It contains 34 Sutras. It treats of the independence of a full-blown Yogi who has perfect discrimination between Prakriti and Purusha, and who has separated himself from the three Guna. It also deals with mind and its nature. Dharmamegha Samadhi also is described here.

 

Index of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
Book 1 Book 3
Book 2 Book 4

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