Mind Wholeness, Absent-Mindedness and Torpid Mind. Mistakes in Meditation

Summing up the block of seven lines that Patanjali dedicated to exercising the state of mind wholeness (chitta-prasadanam), I shall try to explain why this subject has been essentially significant. One can by intuition guess that mind non-wholeness (chitta-vikshepa) correlates with vritti. And indeed, this opinion was shared by all commentators of Yoga Sutras We… Continue reading Mind Wholeness, Absent-Mindedness and Torpid Mind. Mistakes in Meditation

Sutra 1.34. Breath control as a method of gathering chitta up

The next line of Yoga Sutras does not involve any difficulty for translation, as well as for commentary and understanding.   प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य ॥ ३४॥ 1.34 pracchardana-vidhāraṇābhyām vā prāṇasya
 pracchardana (n.) – a well-known word that in terms of literature on yoga denotes “exhalation”. It consists of the prefix pra + cchardana – a… Continue reading Sutra 1.34. Breath control as a method of gathering chitta up

Sutra 1.33. Meditation for overcoming hostility

As it has been said earlier, maitri – “amicability” – comes as one of the yogi’s basic features. Yet most people, especially those brought up in the post-USSR environment, have difficulties in experiencing this feeling. For several generations they were being habituated to take counter-revolutionists, Germans, Americans, capitalists and others of the kind for foes.… Continue reading Sutra 1.33. Meditation for overcoming hostility

Sutra 1.33. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part 2. Yogi’s “Virtues” of anahata nature

In his next sutra Patanjali offers a totally different and very original approach to the issue of restoring the integrity of chitta that is grounded upon development of anahata experience: मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां  भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥ ३३॥ 1.33. {maitrī-karuṇā-muditā-upekṣāṇāṃ} {sukha-duḥkha-puṇya- apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṃ} bhāvanātaś {citta prasādanam}
 In this line the author made use of nominal compound structures called “samasas”… Continue reading Sutra 1.33. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part 2. Yogi’s “Virtues” of anahata nature

Sutra 1.32. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part one. Totalness

Having laid down the criteria of chitta scattering (chitta-vikshepa) in shloka 31, Patanjali dedicated further 8 shlokas (32 to 39) to methods aimed at withstanding this state, while another 2 shlokas that follow (40 and 41) speak about the results of “bringing” chitta together. So far as these methods are quite applicable and highly topical, I… Continue reading Sutra 1.32. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part one. Totalness

«Obstacles to Yoga» and Defence Mechanisms of Psyche

The next two sutras of Patanjali, the lines 1.29 и 1.30, are dedicated to the so-called barriers in yoga: ततः प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमोऽप्यन्तरायाभावश्च ॥ २९॥1.29. tataḥ pratyakcetanādhigamo’pyantarāyābhāvaśca  व्याधिस्त्यानसंशयप्रमादालस्याविरति-भ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपास्तेऽन्तरायाः ॥३०॥1.30. vyādhi-styāna-saṃśaya-pramāda-ālasya-avirati-bhrānti-darśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāste’ntarāyāḥ The traditional translation of these lines is as follows: 30. Disease, mental laziness, doubt, calmness, cessation, false perception, non-attaining concentration, and falling away from the state when… Continue reading «Obstacles to Yoga» and Defence Mechanisms of Psyche

Sanskrit and Mantra-Yoga

The following two lines of Yoga Sutras are dedicated to mantras and power of the sound. तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः  ॥२७॥1.27. tasya vachakah pranavah तज्जपस्तदर्थभावनम्  ॥२८॥1.28. tajjapas tad-artha-bhavanam Sutras 27 and 28 tell that “the expression of that (Isvara) is OM (pranava)” and “the repetition of it (Om) in one mind’s eye allows one to experience… Continue reading Sanskrit and Mantra-Yoga

Ishvara and the World Tree. The Metaphysics of Plato

The line 25 of Yoga Sutras compares Ishvara with a seed that contains omniscience (sarva-jnana-bidja): तत्र निरतिशयं सार्वज्ञबीजम् ॥ २५॥25. tatra niratiśayaṃ sārva-jña-bījam  25. In Him [Ishvara] is the complete manifestation of the seed of omniscience. [Engl. transl. by Swami Satchidananda – translator’s note]. This happens to be in a remarkable manner aligned with an… Continue reading Ishvara and the World Tree. The Metaphysics of Plato

Ishvarapranidhana (continued). Ishvarapranidhana and Purusha

In my two previous posts I have without further ado explicated to the reader my understanding of the “ishvarapranidhana” category introduced by Patanjali. Yet an attentive reader might remember that the author of Yoga Sutras tends to give the definition of the new concepts in the lines that follow their introduction. Now, does the understanding… Continue reading Ishvarapranidhana (continued). Ishvarapranidhana and Purusha

The Lessons of Mahabharata and “Traditional” Values

Have you ever paid attention to the fact that allgrand classic epicsare utterly tragic and their endingsare worlds away from thosehappy-ends of Hollywoodthat we are used to? So that even if the principal(allegedly positive) characters attain their goals they experience heavy disappointment all the same.Gilgamesh loses the magical herb of immortality andaccepts his destiny of… Continue reading The Lessons of Mahabharata and “Traditional” Values

Some More Words About Vairagya

It was the very same period the year before that I was in Varanasi and in this blog of mine I was blissfully and deliberately reflecting upon Vairagya as one of the fundamental methods of yoga. Yet the recent situation in my country [Ukraine, Dec.2013-March, 2014 – transl.note] not only encourages me to get back to this subject – this… Continue reading Some More Words About Vairagya

The Arabic Translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras made by Al-Biruni. The Problem of Yoga Impact on Sufism

“And when these [Hindu] books were read to me letter by letter and I comprehended their contents, my conscience could  in no way have me fail to impart them to those yearning to read them. After all, avarice is the worst crime and the deepest sin when it is related to knowledge” . Al-Biruni It… Continue reading The Arabic Translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras made by Al-Biruni. The Problem of Yoga Impact on Sufism

Sutra 1.20. Prerequisites to Cognition

So, developing his idea, in the line 1.20:   श्रद्धावीर्यस्मृतिसमाधिप्रज्ञापूर्वक इतरेषाम् ॥२०॥ 1.20. śraddhā-vīrya-smṛti-samādhi-prajñāpūrvaka itareṣām  Patanjali tells that for others (itareṣām), i.e. different from those that we dealt with in the line 1.19 and whom I have referred to as the people of [spiritual] flow, the knowledge (prajna) is preceded (pūrvaka) by four factors: śraddhā, vīrya, smṛti and samādhi. Let… Continue reading Sutra 1.20. Prerequisites to Cognition

Vyasa’s Standpoint. The Buddhist Influence upon Yoga

Having set forth my interpretation of the few latest slokas of Yoga Sutras I cannot help but consider the following issue: why and where from there occurred the opinion (that I so much subject to criticizing) about the existence of asamprajnya samadhi as the “superior” samadhithat eliminates contemplations and so on. No matter how strange… Continue reading Vyasa’s Standpoint. The Buddhist Influence upon Yoga

Sutra 1.19. Supernatural Beings vs People of Spiritual Flow. Mysterious Pratyaya

Would it occur to anyone to invite tenders for the most ambiguously understood and intricate sloka of the Yoga Sutras, the line 1.19 would be the safe winner. Sorting out this case is not an easy thing to do, so that I beforehand beg the reader’s pardon for this article to be this complicated. Now,… Continue reading Sutra 1.19. Supernatural Beings vs People of Spiritual Flow. Mysterious Pratyaya

Meditation in the Context of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

The word “meditation” is one of the brands that the mass consciousness has inseparably linked to yoga, spiritual practices and person’s development. And this opinion is justified: yoga is not yoga without psycho-practices, since it was yet in Hatha Yoga Pradipika that they wrote that “All the methods of hatha are meant for gaining success… Continue reading Meditation in the Context of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Sutras 1.12 – 1.18. Vairagya and Samprajna. The Logic of the Few Latest Slokas Arrangement

I hope the reader remembers that the lines 1.12-1.16 were dedicated to abhyasa and vairagya. In particular, the line 1.15 gave an extensive definition of vairagya:   1.15 the disengagement from emotions [related to] the seen and heard objects is the sign of mastery in vairagya,    while the 1.16 defined the ultimate experience of… Continue reading Sutras 1.12 – 1.18. Vairagya and Samprajna. The Logic of the Few Latest Slokas Arrangement

Sutra 1.17. Fundamental Meaning of the Sloka 1.17. Correlation Between the Dimensions of Human Existence

Notwithstanding the apparent simplicity of the sloka 1.17 it has a fundamental value in scope of Patanjali’s concept of Yoga and in understanding the principles of spiritual advance in general. As for its application significance, this line probably comes as the second most important after the one defining Yoga as chitta-vritti-nirodhah. In fact, in this… Continue reading Sutra 1.17. Fundamental Meaning of the Sloka 1.17. Correlation Between the Dimensions of Human Existence

Sutras 1.17 – 1.18. The Legend of Asamprajna Samadhi (continuation)

Let us proceed with analysis of the line 1.18. विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषोऽन्यः ॥ १८॥ 1.18 virāma-pratyayābhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṃskāra-śeṣo’nyaḥ I shall draw several classical variants of its translation for the reader to get a better picture of what the legend is, as well as to see the difference in interpreting this sloka: 1.18 There is another Samadhi which… Continue reading Sutras 1.17 – 1.18. The Legend of Asamprajna Samadhi (continuation)

Sutras 1.17 – 1.18. Samprajna. The Legend of Asamprajna Samadhi

Let us come back to the text of Yoga Sutras. The sloka 1.17 introduces the category of Samprajna(ta). वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारूपानुगमात् सम्प्रज्ञातः ॥ १७॥ 1.17 vitarka-vicāra-ananda-asmita-rūpa-anugamāt samprajñātaḥ   The exact understanding of this line on the basis of translation taken “from the dictionary” shall be difficult since in fact the whole line is drawn of psycho-technical terms… Continue reading Sutras 1.17 – 1.18. Samprajna. The Legend of Asamprajna Samadhi

Sutra 1.16. The Gunas: Psychological Interpretation

So, as we have already mentioned earlier, the shloka 1.16 of the Yoga Sutras links the practice of vairagya to the category of gunas. तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेर्गुणवैतृष्णयम् ॥१६॥ 1.16 tatparaṃ puruṣakhyāterguṇavaitṛṣṇayam First of all let us outline the translation of the shloka. tat – that. In this case this word denotes the vairagya from the previous… Continue reading Sutra 1.16. The Gunas: Psychological Interpretation

The Modern Scientific Methods of Describing Psyche and Psychologic Experience

In order to proceed further with interpreting the Yoga Sutra text we need to take a look at different methods of describing the psyche and the object-matter of psycho-practices. I have already analyzed this issue in my monographs thus I shall not draw a new article but shall cite an excerpt from my last monograph… Continue reading The Modern Scientific Methods of Describing Psyche and Psychologic Experience

Sutras1.12 – 1.15. The Methods Abhyasa and Vairagya and Ajna Chakra Petals

Let us step back from our reflections on gunas and return to abhyasa and vairagya. Having taken another thought about these methods I have noticed an apparent analogy with the way the right and left petals of ajna chakra are unctioning. And after this I recalled my concept of right- and left-petal meditations that I… Continue reading Sutras1.12 – 1.15. The Methods Abhyasa and Vairagya and Ajna Chakra Petals

Sutra 1.6. PRAMANA: the Methods of “Valid” Cognition. Gnoseology and Ajna Development in Yoga

As we have said earlier, Patanjali has singled out pramana, or “valid”, “true” knowledge, as the first vritti. However it strikes the eye here that, unlike with all other vrittis, when speaking about pramana the Yoga Sutras author has not only provided its definition but has also listed the main concepts of traditional Indian gnoseology.… Continue reading Sutra 1.6. PRAMANA: the Methods of “Valid” Cognition. Gnoseology and Ajna Development in Yoga

Sutras 1.5, 2.3. – 2.9. Klesha. A very conceptual article:)

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाऽक्लिष्टाः ॥५॥ 1.5. vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā’kliṣṭāḥ The category of “klesha” by no means refers to the group of words that should be rather explained than translated. Moreover, the situation with this category translation is just as confusing as it is with other key psycho-technical terms. The Russian-Sanskrit dictionary offers the following translation variants:… Continue reading Sutras 1.5, 2.3. – 2.9. Klesha. A very conceptual article:)

Sutra 1.2. Nirodha. The problem of emotional content of the practice

Probably the fewest discrepancies and variant readings have been caused by the dictionary translations of the word nirodha (निरोध). 1) curb; 2) confinement; 3) encirclement; 4) holdback, hindrance; 5) difficulty, obstruction; 6) suppression, quench; 7) destruction. Some translators also used the terms “cessation”, “obedience”, “retention”, “containment”, “oppression”. It would seem that they all speak about… Continue reading Sutra 1.2. Nirodha. The problem of emotional content of the practice