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 34th–39th sutras of Chapter 1. In sutra 1.33, Patanjali described how we can cultivate “citta-prasādanam,” a calm and clear mind. A calm and clear mind is a prerequisite in order to be established in the goal of Yoga: Self-realization. How can we see who we truly are, without a peaceful mind to clearly reflect the Self? Thus, in sutras 1.34–39, Patanjali continues to describe various ways to cultivate citta-prasādanam and these truly showcase his universal approach—a hallmark of yogic science of mind.
Sutra 1.34: pracchardana-vidhāraṇābhyāṃ vā prāṇasya
Or that calm is retained by the controlled exhalation or retention of breath (Swami Satchidananda translation). Or by smooth, regulated exhalation and by retention of the breath (Rev. Jaganath translation.
pracchardana = exhalation; emitting, vomiting
from pra = to come forth, before, forward + chṛd = to vomit, expel, eject
vidhāraṇābhyāṃ = retention; holding, restraining
vidārana = tearing, breaking, splitting, piercing, a tree or rock in the middle of a stream to which a boat is fastened, opening the mouth wide
from vi = asunder, apart, different, away + dhārana = to hold, keep, bear, from dha = to hold + abhyām = to advance violently against, pain, hurt
vā = or
This word generally comes immediately following the word to which it refers.
prāṇasya = of the breath; life
from pra = before, forward + ana = breath, respiration
Sutra 1.35: viṣayavatī vā pravṛitti utpannā manasaḥ sthiti-nibandhanī
Or the concentration on subtle sense perceptions can cause steadiness of mind (Swami Satchidananda translation). Or clear steadiness of mind is attained when focus on a sense object causes a subtle sense perception to arise (Rev. Jaganath translation).
viṣayavatī = sense object; having a condition, involved in a sphere of sense activity, taking up an object of desire
from viṣaya = object, condition, dominion, sphere of activity or concern (See 1.11 & 1.23) + vati = feminine form of a suffix indicating possessive adjective
vā = or
pravṛitti = subtle sense perception; activity, moving onward, cognition, advance, progress, coming forth, appearance, manifestation, rise, source, origin, activity, exertion, efficacy, function, active contemplative devotion (defined as consisting of the wish to act, knowledge of the means, and accomplishment of the object), conduct, behavior, practice, continuance, fate, lot, destiny, news, tidings, cognition (See 1.35, 2.26, 4.5)
from pra = before, forward, in front of, forth + vṛitti = a commentary, comment, gloss, explanation (especially of a sutra), being, existing, occurring or existing in, common practice, rule, mode of being, nature, kind, character, disposition, mode of conduct, mood of the mind, devotion or addiction to, working, activity, function, rolling, rolling down, business, practice, behavior, course of action, from vṛt = to turn, twirl, whirl
Pravritti can mean spiritual engagement and creating a self-identity based on material, tangible factors.
Nivritti means spiritual disengagement from worldliness and self-identity based on that which transcends the world. Yoga teaches a balance, or better yet, the intrinsic harmony between these two apparently conflicting orientations.
utpannā = arise; risen, gone up, born, produced, appeared, come forth, ready, mentioned
from ut = up, forth + panna = fallen, gone, from pad = fall
manasaḥ = the mind; organ of cognition and perception
from man = think, believe, conjecture
Manas, most often translated as mind, does not represent the totality of the mind (citta is the word for the totality of the mind). Manas, closely associated with the senses, is one of the three basic functions of citta. It is that aspect of individual consciousness that takes in impressions as part of citta’s effort to discover which objects and situations are pleasant and which bring pain and suffering.
The impressions taken in by manas are directed to the buddhi (intelligence, discriminative faculty) which categorizes the impressions it receives. When the mind is peaceful, clear, and one-pointed, buddhi acts as the intuitive faculty, revealing insights into subtle aspects of the universe and self.
The third aspect of the mind is ahamkara, the ego sense. This faculty of mind constructs our sense of self by claiming thoughts and accumulated memories and subconscious impressions as the self. The self created by ahamkara is not the Self, Seer, or Purusha, but the body/mind misperceived as the Self.
In Buddhism, manas is considered almost like a sixth sense that is suited for rationality, the quality of being able to think logically; the ability to reason. It is similar to the tongue being suited for taste, the ears for sound, etc.
sthiti = steadiness; standing upright, staying (See 1.13, 1.35, 2.18, 3.52)
from sthā = to stand, to stand firmly, station one’s self, stand upon, to take up a position on, to stay, remain, continue in any condition or action, to remain occupied or engaged in, be intent on, make a practice of, keep on, persevere in any act, to continue to be or exist, endure, to be, exist, be present, be obtainable or at hand, to be with or at the disposal of, belong to, abide by, be near to, be on the side of, adhere or submit to, acquiesce to, serve, obey, stop, halt, wait, tarry, linger, hesitate, to behave or conduct oneself, to be directed to or fixed in, to be founded or rest or depend on, to rely on, confide in, resort to, arise from, to remain unnoticed, be left alone, to affirm, settle, determine, direct or turn towards
nibandhanī = attains; hold, bind, causing
from ni = down, into + bandh = to bind
Sutra 1.36: viśokā vā jyotiṣmatī
Or by concentrating on the supreme, ever-blissful Light within (Swami Satchidananda translation). Or by contemplating the supreme radiant light in the heart that is beyond sorrow (Rev. Jaganath translation).
Lead me from the unreal to the real,
From darkness to light,
From the fear of death to the knowledge of immortality.
viśokā = beyond sorrow; blissful
from vi = not + śoka = sorrow, from śuc = to burn, heat, glow, sorrow, affliction, anguish, pain, trouble, grief
vā = or
jyotiṣmatī = the supreme radiant light; sacred light, spiritual, pure, brilliant, sun, the world of light, star-illumined, luminous, having light
from jyotiṣ = light (of the sun, dawn, fire, lightning), brightness (of the sky), the light that illumines the three worlds, flash of lightning, moonlight, eye-light, the eye, astrology, celestial world, intelligence, light as the divine principle of life or source of intelligence, human intelligence, highest light or truth, light as a type of freedom or bliss or victory + matī = devotion, prayer, worship, hymn, sacred utterance, thought, design, intention, resolution, determination, inclination, wish, desire, purposely, to set the heart on, make up one’s mind, notion, idea, mindful, respect, perception. As a suffix, it indicates the possessive adjective.
Light is a universal symbol of wisdom, knowledge, the soul, the Absolute, and God. We experience light as that which allows us to see objects, people, and physical pathways. That same light, but on a much subtler level, is consciousness, allowing us to perceive our thoughts. It would certainly be correct to frame the entire Yoga life and its practices as a way of discovering that our innermost self—the Seer—as light.
Vedic sources present the idea that there are three suns: in the sky, in the eye, and in the heart. There are a number of interpretations that can be derived from this; one is that all three suns are manifestations of the principle of awareness: the power of perception. The sun and eye allow us to perceive physical objects, the heart allows us to “see” — understand, feel, communicate, connect, and hold spiritual truths.
We can interpret jyotishmati as the Purusha, the light in the heart that is beyond sorrow — duhkha. See 2.20.
Sutra 1.37: vīta-rāga-viṣayaṃ vā cittam
Or by concentrating on a great soul’s mind which is totally freed from attachment to sense objects (Swami Satchidananda translation). Or by contemplating the state of a great soul’s mind that is free from attachments to sense objects (Rev. Jaganath translation).
vīta = free; gone, released, gone away, departed, disappeared, vanished, without, lost, approached, desired, liked, loved, straight, smooth, trained, quiet, the driving or guiding of an elephant, a useless horse or elephant
from vi = asunder, away + ita = from i = go
rāga = attachment; any feeling or passion, affection, love, affection or sympathy for, vehement desire, act of coloring or dyeing, color, hue, tint, red color, inflammation, delight in, loveliness, beauty, seasoning, condiment
from rañj = reddened, be attracted
viṣayaṃ = state, sense objects; condition (See 1.11)
vā = or
citta = mind (See 1.2)
Sutra 1.38: svapna-nidrā-jñāna-ālambanaṃ vā
Or by concentrating on an experience had during dream or deep sleep (Swami Satchidananda translation).
Or by contemplating knowledge revealed through:
- A dream
- The tranquility of deep sleep
- The sense of individuality that persists through the states of wakefulness, dreamless sleep, and dreams (Rev. Jaganath translation)
The state of sleep provides three objects for meditation:
- A dream whose impact is striking and remains in the mind upon awakening. It could be a teaching or the experience of the visitation of a divine being.
- The tranquility that we experience from a good deep sleep that is recalled on awakening. This tranquil state provides a taste of the peace of the Self.
- The sense of individuality that persists through deep sleep and the other states of awareness: dream and the waking state.
There is a fourth state of consciousness, turiya, the superconscious state experienced in the highest samadhi.
svapna = dream; sleep, relating to sleep
from svap = sleep
nidrā = deep sleep; sleep, slumber, sleepiness, sloth, the budding state of a flower, a mystic, a moment of sleep, approaching the time of sleep, blind with sleep, dead asleep, fast asleep, a state of deep meditation which resembles sleep, long sleeping
from ni = down, into + drā = sleep
jñāna = knowledge; knowing, becoming acquainted with, conscience, engaging in, higher spiritual knowledge
Refer to 1.9 for more onjnana.
ālambanaṃ = revealed; resting on, depending on or from, that on which one rests or leans, support, prop, receptacle, asylum; from ā = hither, unto + lambana = hanging down, pendant, dangling, hanging by or down to, long, large, spacious, from lamb = to hang, dangle, sink
vā = or
Sutra 1.39: yathā abhimata-dhyānād vā
Or by meditating on anything one chooses that is elevating (Swami Satchidananda translation). Or by meditating on any suitable object that inspires you (Rev. Jaganath translation).
yathā = any; whichever way, according as, like, for instance, namely
abhimata = suitable, inspires; per choice, something thought to be fit or right, approved, honored, esteemed, respected, longed for, wished, desired, loved, dear, allowed, supposed, thought, believed, imagined, understood, regarded or considered as, taken or passing for, liked, intended, belief, doctrine, purpose, knowledge
from abhi = a prefix to nouns and verbs = to, towards, into, over, upon + mata, from man = to think, believe, imagine, suppose, conjecture, to regard or consider anyone or anything, to set the heart or mind on, to agree, to think of (as in prayer and meditation), declare, invent, to offer, present
dhyānāt = by meditating; meditation, thought, reflection (especially profound and abstract religious meditation), the mental representation of the personal attributes of a deity, attention, appreciation, contemplation, lost in thought, insensibility, dullness, mindfulness
from dhyai = to meditate, think of, contemplate, imagine, call to mind, recollect, from dhā = to hold, maintain, to put, place, lay on or in, bestow, have, cause, a name of the god Brahma
related to dhi = to perceive, think, reflect, wish, desire, religious thought, devotion, prayer, understanding, intelligence, wisdom, science, art, disposition, intention, splendor
Reviewing the roots of the word, we find an image of holding and maintaining. Meditation really begins in earnest when the mind learns to embrace, hold, and nurture the object of meditation.
Refer to sutras 3.1 – 3.12 for information detailing the progressive stages of meditation.
vā = or
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 coming soon from Integral Yoga Publications.