Rev. Jaganath, Integral Yoga Minister and Raja Yoga master teacher, has spent a lifetime delving into the deepest layers of meaning in Patanjali’s words within the Yoga Sutras. Our series continues with the 21st sutra of Chapter 1 in which Patanjali defines the conditions for attaining samadhi. Rev. Jaganath unpacks the word “saṃvegānām” to illustrate Patanjali’s intent in this sutra.
Sutra 1.21: tīvra-saṃvegānām āsannaḥ
To the keen and intent practitioner this [samadhi] comes very quickly (Swami Satchidananda translation). Success is near for those whose resolve is unrestrained—fervent and unwavering (Rev. Jaganath translation).
tīvra = fervent. keen, intense, strong, extremely energetic, intense ardor
from root tu = strong, to have authority, severe, intense, hot, pervading, excessive, ardent, sharp, acute, pungent, horrible
saṃvegānām = fervent, unrestrained, unwavering; intense or vehement, intent, violent, agitation, excitement, flurry, vehemence, intensity, high degree, desire for emancipation
from sam = with, together + vega = to be agitated, shock, a stream, flood, current (of water, tears), rush, dash, impetus, momentum, vehemence, haste, speed, velocity, the flight of an arrow, outbreak, outburst (of passion), agitation, emotion, semen
Success—enlightenment, liberation—is near for those whose practice is samveganam. This important term suggests an attitude, practice, and lifestyle found in one who has addressed their doubts and is filled with, and driven by, enthusiasm for Yoga’s ultimate objectives.
Samveganam is intensity without attachment. When samveganam arises, success in Yoga is near; enlightenment will soon dawn, and with it, the eradication of suffering.
Look at the roots of vega. It includes agitated, shock, flood, vehemence, speed, the flight of an arrow, outbreak, outburst of passion, semen. Taken at face value, it would seem that success in Yoga is for those who are about ready to explode emotionally. Instead, think about these words in the context of a passionate relationship. When we meet the one we love, the one who we have faith in, we naturally wish to commit to that person for life. In this, there is an elation, a sense of rising above all our troubles, and a joyful natural focus trained on the one we love.
Samveganam is free from fear, anxiety, doubt, or craving. It is fueled by curiosity to gain knowledge regarding the self, the Self, and life in this universe. It is a quiet fire fed by increasingly deeper insights and experiences. It is like a cosmic dinner composed entirely of appetizers (usually the best part of a meal), that stokes our digestive fire, never leaves us in a food coma, but inspires us to keep eating shamelessly and with joy.
In practice, samveganam also expresses as simplicity. It involves assessing the use of personal time, effort, and resources, looking for harmony of purpose. Activities, possessions, and aspirations that occupied large swaths of time and expenditures of energy either naturally dwindle or are systematically and conscientiously dropped. As our excess baggage reduces, our burden lightens, and the journey to enlightenment is easier and quicker.
The ultimate reward for a life permeated with the focus, energy, enthusiasm, and simplicity is liberation from ignorance and the suffering it brings. Samveganam is all heart and purpose. It is the joy of a journey, a pilgrimage, that can only end in peace, joy, love, light, and harmony.
Success in Yoga is assured for those whose practice is like an arrow, flying free, and heading inevitably toward the bull’s-eye.
About the Author:
Reverend Jaganath Carrera is and Integral Yoga Minister and the founder/spiritual head of Yoga Life Society. He is a direct disciple of world renowned Yoga master and leader in the interfaith movement, Sri Swami Satchidananda—the founder and spiritual guide of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville and Integral Yoga International. Rev. Jaganath has taught at universities, prisons, Yoga centers, and interfaith programs both in the USA and abroad. He was a principal instructor of both Hatha and Raja Yoga for the Integral Yoga Teacher Training Certification Programs for over twenty years and co-wrote the training manual used for that course. He established the Integral Yoga Ministry and developed the highly regarded Integral Yoga Meditation and Raja Yoga Teacher Training Certification programs. He served for eight years as chief administrator of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville and founded the Integral Yoga Institute of New Brunswick, NJ. He is also a spiritual advisor and visiting lecturer on Hinduism for the One Spirit Seminary in New York City. Reverend Jaganath is the author of Inside the Yoga Sutras: A Sourcebook for the Study and Practice of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, published by Integral Yoga Publications. His latest book, Patanjali’s Words, is a work-in-progress.