Notes on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

by Dr. Ari Wahlstedt

The following is a preliminary study (coursework) of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras first (full) and second chapter (selected) and estimation of thought behind it. Study was conducted during Ashtangayoga intensive course in Miami Life Center under the propitious guidance by Kino MacGregor. Chapter one is interpret through. From the chapter two only verses 2.1-2.11, 2.28-2.32 and 2.41 are interpret. This subjective study don't reach the true objective consideration without e.g. years of deeper and meditative study of Sanskrit language. Thus, study of Yoga Sutras is continuous effort. For index, the Sanskrit text in devangari, phonetic form and translations are retrieved [1]. The effort for finding equivalent English words for each Sanskrit words in sutras can be found e.g. from interpretive translation by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati [2]. Thus, the following notes are not exact translations as in references mentioned, but individual and subjective interpretations.

Chapter I – Samadhi Pada

About perfect concentration

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

atha yoga-anuśāsanam ||1||

Yoga in the here and now: an introduction to the study and practice of yoga ||1||

1.1. First term "atha" (now, present) is kind of abstract of the whole Yoga Sutras. To be present fully at the moment is a gift for realization of Purusa. The teachings of yoga, when the student is ready, are considered as a way of opening the gift if it’s wrapped - hidden in the moment. The following sutras are for explaining it. Explanation may be necessary for to complete teaching – to entertain and sharpen the mind of the seeker.

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥

yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ ||2||

When you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear. ||2||

1.2. Next Patanjali helps to better understand "atha" and 1.1. by explaining the meaning of yoga - the way through changing states of mind. He also describes Praktri-side of intellectual inquiry - there is illusion of individual minds.

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् ॥३॥

tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe-'vasthānam ||3||

For finding our true self (drashtu) entails insight into our own nature. ||3||

1.3. Patanjali explains what happens after Yoga. As described, true nature of things is experienced, but not anymore by individual inquiry. Seeker has become part of seer and seer is being in its own nature.

वृत्ति सारूप्यमितरत्र ॥४॥

vṛtti sārūpyam-itaratra ||4||

Lacking that, misconceptions (vritti) skew our perceptions. ||4||

1.4. When there is fluctuation of mind - illusion is present and the mind is "occupied".

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाक्लिष्टाः ॥५॥

vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭākliṣṭāḥ ||5||

There are five types of misconceptions (vrittis), some of which are more agreeable than others: ||5||

1.5. The amount of changing states of mind is given. From cognitive science point of view, five as an amount of things is decent for e.g. processing things in the short term-memory. These five states are neither good nor bad for Yoga.

प्रमाण विपर्यय विकल्प निद्रा स्मृतयः ॥६॥

pramāṇa viparyaya vikalpa nidrā smṛtayaḥ ||6||

insight, error, imaginings, deep sleep, and recollections.

1.6. Patanjali lists the five states of the mind. Next each of them is explained more.

प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि ॥७॥

pratyakṣa-anumāna-āgamāḥ pramāṇāni ||7||

Insight arises from direct perception, conclusions, or learning that are based on reliable sources. ||7||

1.7. First the right knowledge is explained. It’s the base for insight.

विपर्ययो मिथ्याज्ञानमतद्रूप प्रतिष्ठम् ॥८॥

viparyayo mithyā-jñānam-atadrūpa pratiṣṭham ||8||

Error arises from knowledge that is based on a false mental construct. ||8||

1.8. Then the false knowledge - opposite of the previous – is explained

शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः ॥९॥

śabda-jñāna-anupātī vastu-śūnyo vikalpaḥ ||9||

Imaginings are engendered by word knowledge without regard for what actually exists in the real world. ||9||

1.9. Third is imagination consisting both of the two previous

अभावप्रत्ययालम्बना तमोवृत्तिर्निद्र ॥१०॥

abhāva-pratyaya-ālambanā tamo-vṛttir-nidra ||10||

Deep sleep is the absence of all impressions resulting from opacity in that which is mutable in human beings. ||10||

1.10. Deep sleep has no content - the opposite of Memory

अनुभूतविषयासंप्रमोषः स्मृतिः ॥११॥

anu-bhūta-viṣaya-asaṁpramoṣaḥ smṛtiḥ ||11||

Recollections are engendered by the past, insofar as the relevant experience has not been eclipsed. ||11||

1.11. Memory is collection of objects from 1.7.-1.9.

अभ्यासवैराग्याभ्यां तन्निरोधः ॥१२॥

abhyāsa-vairāgya-ābhyāṁ tan-nirodhaḥ ||12||

The state of yoga is attained via a balance between assiduousness (abhyasa) and imperturbability (vairagya). ||12||

1.12. Practise is needed to not use or get attach to the previously mentioned states of mind.

तत्र स्थितौ यत्नोऽभ्यासः ॥१३॥

tatra sthitau yatno-'bhyāsaḥ ||13||

Assiduousness means resolutely adhering to one’s practice of yoga. ||13||

1.13. Concentration of the mind is different from the previously stated states of mind. The practice is concentration - point of concentration is explained in verses 1.1., 1.23. and 2.45.

स तु दीर्घकाल नैरन्तर्य सत्कारादरासेवितो दृढभूमिः ॥१४॥

sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra-ādara-āsevito dṛḍhabhūmiḥ ||14|

Success can definitely be achieved via sound and continuous practice over an extended period of time, carried out in a serious and thoughtful manner. ||14||

1.14. Patanjali describes here that the strong ground of practise needs devotion over long period of time. The amount of long is not described in detail. Perhaps because in the absent of fluctuation of mind there is only "now", the opposite of series of moments constructing the periods of time.

दृष्टानुश्रविकविषयवितृष्णस्य वशीकारसंज्णा वैराग्यम् ॥१५॥

dṛṣṭa-anuśravika-viṣaya-vitṛṣṇasya vaśīkāra-saṁjṇā vairāgyam ||15||

Imperturbability results from a balance in the consciousness, and when the desire for all things that we see or have heard of is extinguished. ||15||

1.15. The non-attachment of mind mentioned in 1.12 is explained.

तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेः गुणवैतृष्ण्यम् ॥१६॥

tatparaṁ puruṣa-khyāteḥ guṇa-vaitṛṣṇyam ||16||

The highest state of imperturbability arises from the experience of the true self; in this state even the basic elements of nature lose their power over us. || 16||

1.16. When mind has no attachment to the things in nature, knowledge about Purusa is higher. This is not the same as giving up all the things, but that the mind is not-attached to the things in nature.

वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारुपानुगमात्संप्रज्ञातः ॥१७॥

vitarka-vicāra-ānanda-asmitā-rupa-anugamāt-saṁprajñātaḥ ||17||

This absolute knowledge is engendered incrementally by divination, experience, joy, and ultimately the feeling of oneness. ||17||

1.17. Patanjali describes the Samprajnata samadhi, with is a one of the stages before non-objective awareness

विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषोऽन्यः ॥१८॥

virāma-pratyaya-abhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṁskāra-śeṣo-'nyaḥ ||18||

The other state of insight, which is based on persistent practice, arises when all perception has been extinguished and only non-manifest impressions remain. ||18||

1.18. Patanjali describes the samadhi without objective awareness, but with samskaras

भवप्रत्ययो विदेहप्रकृतिलयानम् ॥१९॥

bhava-pratyayo videha-prakṛti-layānam ||19||

Some people are born with true insight, whereas others attain it via a divine body or oneness with nature. ||19||

1.19. In here the unbodied beings are considered. The samadhi with objective awareness is characterized by absorption in states of prakrti.

श्रद्धावीर्यस्मृति समाधिप्रज्ञापूर्वक इतरेषाम् ॥२०॥

śraddhā-vīrya-smṛti samādhi-prajñā-pūrvaka itareṣām ||20||

And then there are some for whom trust, determination, memory and divination lay the groundwork for insight. ||20||

1.20. Patanjali gives five things which precedes samadhi without objective .

तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्नः ॥२१॥

tīvra-saṁvegānām-āsannaḥ ||21||

The goal is achieved through intensive practice. ||21||

1.21. Samadhi is near to those who apply themselves intensively. Work of concentration pays.

मृदुमध्याधिमात्रत्वात्ततोऽपि विशेषः ॥२२॥

mṛdu-madhya-adhimātratvāt-tato'pi viśeṣaḥ ||22||

This practice can be light, moderate or intensive. ||22||

1.22. Among these mind workers, there are those who proceed with different ratio between distance (between start to finish) and time (periods of moments).

ईश्वरप्रणिधानाद्वा ॥२३॥

īśvara-praṇidhānād-vā ||23||

The goal can also be attained via submission to the concept of an ideal being (ishvara). ||24||

1.23. Opposite of need to travel certain amount, a straight way to Samadhi is given.

क्लेश कर्म विपाकाशयैःपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः ॥२४॥

kleśa karma vipāka-āśayaiḥ-aparāmṛṣṭaḥ puruṣa-viśeṣa īśvaraḥ ||24||

Ishavara is a special being that is unaffected by the obstacles of the spiritual aspirant (klesha), specific actions and consequences (karma), or recollections or desires. ||24||

1.24. Patanjali explains more of this special soul (Lord) that is free and untouched.

तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञबीजम् ॥२५॥

tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajña-bījam ||25||

Ishavara is unmatched and is the source of all knowledge. ||25||

1.25. Lord contains the seed of omniscience.

स एष पूर्वेषामपिगुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात् ॥२६॥

sa eṣa pūrveṣām-api-guruḥ kālena-anavacchedāt ||26||

Ishvara is each and every one, and is even the teacher of the first ones; he is unaffected by time ||26||

1.26. Lord is the supreme teacher because of e.g. 1.25

तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः ॥२७॥

tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ ||27||

OM is a symbol for ishvara. ||27||

1.27. Lord's name is prana-vah (the manager/holder/artist of prana)- Om.

तज्जपः तदर्थभावनम् ॥२८॥

taj-japaḥ tad-artha-bhāvanam ||28||

Repetition of OM (with this meaning) leads to contemplation. ||28||

1.28. Repeating and understanding the name of the Lord should be done.

ततः प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमोऽप्यन्तरायाभवश्च ॥२९॥

tataḥ pratyak-cetana-adhigamo-'py-antarāya-abhavaś-ca ||29||

Through this practice, the immutable self is revealed and all obstacles (antaraya) are removed. ||29||

1.29. Patanjali states that by doing 1.28., the Samadhi is achieved.

व्याधि स्त्यान संशय प्रमादालस्याविरति भ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपाः ते अन्तरायाः ॥३०॥

vyādhi styāna saṁśaya pramāda-ālasya-avirati bhrāntidarśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāḥ te antarāyāḥ ||30||

These obstacles (antaraya) (illness; inertia; doubt; neglect; sloth; desire; blindness; a lack of goals; irresoluteness) obscure that which is immutable in human beings (chitta). ||30||

1.30. All listed disturbances are distractions to for the mind - obstacles before 1.28.

दुःखदौर्मनस्याङ्गमेजयत्वश्वासप्रश्वासाः विक्षेप सहभुवः ॥३१॥

duḥkha-daurmanasya-aṅgamejayatva-śvāsapraśvāsāḥ vikṣepa sahabhuvaḥ ||31||

Suffering, depression, nervousness, and agitated breathing are signs of this lack of clarity. ||31||

1.31. These distractions are friends with pain, depression etc. They can be recognized through one's breath.

तत्प्रतिषेधार्थमेकतत्त्वाभ्यासः ॥३२॥

tat-pratiṣedha-artham-eka-tattva-abhyāsaḥ ||32||

He who practices assiduously overcomes these obstacles. ||32||

1.32. One-pointiness of the mind can balance the disturbances mentioned in 1.30.

मैत्री करुणा मुदितोपेक्षाणांसुखदुःख पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातः चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥३३॥

maitrī karuṇā mudito-pekṣāṇāṁ-sukha-duḥkha puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam ||33||

All that is mutable in human beings is harmonized through the cultivation of love, helpfulness, conviviality and imperturbability in situations that are happy, painful, successful or unfortunate. ||33||

1.33. In here Patanjali gives guidance how to interact with previously mentioned disturbances.

प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य ॥३४॥

pracchardana-vidhāraṇa-ābhyāṁ vā prāṇasya ||34||

The goal can be attained through breathing exercises involving holding your breath before exhaling. ||34||

1.34. Making mind work like focused laser e.g. in pranayama, disturbance can be overcome.

विषयवती वा प्रवृत्तिरुत्पन्ना मनसः स्थिति निबन्धिनी ॥३५॥

viṣayavatī vā pravṛtti-rutpannā manasaḥ sthiti nibandhinī ||35||

- Or by contemplating things and impressions, which promotes mental stability and consolidation ||35||

1.35. Here another way is given, thus focusing mind towards sense object, eg. In practise toward big toe.

विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती ॥३६॥

viśokā vā jyotiṣmatī ||36||

- Or by contemplating the inner light that is free of suffering. ||36||

1.36. When there is no darkness and light preveils, mind is steady.

वीतराग विषयम् वा चित्तम् ॥३७॥

vītarāga viṣayam vā cittam ||37||

- Or if what is mutable in human beings (chitta) is no longer the handmaiden of desire. ||37||

1.37. Within a non-desire state, the mind is pure and free seeking the knowledge of the true self.

स्वप्ननिद्रा ज्ञानालम्बनम् वा ॥३८॥

svapna-nidrā jñāna-ālambanam vā ||38||

- Or through knowledge that is derived from a nocturnal dream. ||38||

1.38. Patanjali tell us that dreams and sleep can provide knowledge of Purusha

यथाभिमतध्यानाद्वा ॥३९॥

yathā-abhimata-dhyānād-vā ||39||

- Or through contemplation (dhyana) of love. ||39||

1.39. What is agreeable can be object for meditation ( something actually chosen by Ishvara)

परमाणु परममहत्त्वान्तोऽस्य वशीकारः ॥४०॥

paramāṇu parama-mahattva-anto-'sya vaśīkāraḥ ||40||

A person who attains this goal has mastery over everything, from the smallest atom to the entire universe. ||40||

1.40. The yogi experiences micro- & macrocosmos. As purusa is e.g. timeless, the praktri is possible to perceive through experiencing purusa, trough the ways mentioned previous sutras.

क्षीणवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनता समापत्तिः ॥४१॥

kṣīṇa-vṛtter-abhijātasy-eva maṇer-grahītṛ-grahaṇa-grāhyeṣu tatstha-tadañjanatā samāpattiḥ ||41||

Once the misconceptions (vritti) have been minimized, everything that is mutable in human beings (chitta) becomes as clear as a diamond, and perceptions, the perceived, and perceiver are melded with each other. - One builds on and colors the other. This is enlightenment (samapatti). ||41||

1.41. When the mind is like a mirror (without judgement), it does not reflect samskaras back..

तत्र शब्दार्थज्ञानविकल्पैः संकीर्णा सवितर्का समापत्तिः ॥४२॥

tatra śabdārtha-jñāna-vikalpaiḥ saṁkīrṇā savitarkā samāpattiḥ ||42||

In conjunction with word and object knowledge, or imagination, this state is savitarka samapatti. ||42||

1.42. In this stage, the knowledge is possible to achieve as the mind get awareness of words, meaning and idea

स्मृतिपरिशुद्धौ स्वरूपशून्येवार्थमात्रनिर्भासा निर्वितर्का ॥४३॥

smṛti-pariśuddhau svarūpa-śūnyeva-arthamātra-nirbhāsā nirvitarkā ||43||

Once all previous impressions (smriti) have been purged and one’s own nature is clearly perceptible, then only the object of contemplation emanates light. This is nirvitarka samapatti. ||43||

1.43. When the mind is empty, the one’s nature, the object of mediation, shines.

एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषय व्याख्याता ॥४४॥

etayaiva savicārā nirvicārā ca sūkṣma-viṣaya vyākhyātā ||44||

If the object of concentration is of a subtle nature, these two described states are known as savichraara and nirvichara samapatti. ||44||

1.44. If there is subtle nature with the object of concentration, there is distinction in naming.

सूक्ष्मविषयत्वम्चालिण्ग पर्यवसानम् ॥४५॥

sūkṣma-viṣayatvam-ca-aliṇga paryavasānam ||45||

An object can be subtle to the point of indefinability. ||46||

1.45. Subtle objects can reach up till non-defined prakti, thus to the border of purusa.

ता एव सबीजस्समाधिः ॥४६॥

tā eva sabījas-samādhiḥ ||46||

All of these states of consciousness are called sabija samadhi. ||46||

1.46. All four stages has a common name.

निर्विचारवैशारद्येऽध्यात्मप्रसादः ॥४७॥

nirvicāra-vaiśāradye-'dhyātma-prasādaḥ ||47||

If you regularly experience the clearest of the four aforementioned states known as nirvichara samapatti, then you are about to experience a state of absolute clarity. ||47||

1.47. After regular Nirvichara samapatti the clarity will come.

ऋतंभरा तत्र प्रज्ञा ॥४८॥

ṛtaṁbharā tatra prajñā ||48||

- Then consciousness will be filled with truth. ||48||

1.48. The truth is then dominant. This truth is within ultimate wisdom, which clears what is purusa and what is praktri. The macro- and microcosmos is clearly understood to all the way to the subtle object level. This means that all other is part of purusa.

श्रुतानुमानप्रज्ञाभ्यामन्यविषया विशेषार्थत्वात् ॥४९॥

śruta-anumāna-prajñā-abhyām-anya-viṣayā viśeṣa-arthatvāt ||49||

Consciousness is characterized by a special relationship to the object. This relationship exceeds the bounds of knowledge that is received and followed. ||49||

1.49. This vast consciousness give more knowledge of the object than words or other concepts.

तज्जस्संस्कारोऽन्यसंस्कार प्रतिबन्धी ॥५०॥

tajjas-saṁskāro-'nya-saṁskāra pratibandhī ||50||

This experience gives rise to an impression (samskara) that supplants other impressions (samskara). ||50||

1.50. When this seedless samadhi burn the samskaras, the burning samaskaras prevent /obstruct other samskaras from emerging. It's like the flame of truth gives so much heat as it pushes away (like heat expands the air) inpurities. Or like in asana practice, the inner heat makes us sweat J.

तस्यापि निरोधे सर्वनिरोधान्निर्बीजः समाधिः ॥५१॥

tasyāpi nirodhe sarva-nirodhān-nirbījaḥ samādhiḥ ||51||

Nirbiija samadhi is attained once even these impressions have become tranquil and when everything has become tranquil. ||51||

1.51.Here the tranquil may be actually about having faith in god and god will set you free.

Ending of chapter one.

Chapter II – Sadhana Pada

About Sadhaka-life and personal practice.

तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः ॥१॥

tapaḥ svādhyāy-eśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyā-yogaḥ ||1||

Practice characterized by rigor and vigilance toward itself, without attachment to the outcome, is known as kriya yoga. ||1||

2.1. Kriya-yoga is devotional practise accepting pain that leads to purification, consisting the Lord.

समाधिभावनार्थः क्लेश तनूकरणार्थश्च ॥२॥

samādhi-bhāvana-arthaḥ kleśa tanū-karaṇa-arthaś-ca ||2||

If your practice is aligned with your goal (samadhi), the obstacles along your spiritual path (klesha) will disappear and ultimately you will reach your goal. ||2||

2.2. The aim for yoga is to achieve the feeling of samadhi and weaken the obstacles hindering it.

अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशः क्लेशाः ॥३॥

avidyā-asmitā-rāga-dveṣa-abhiniveśaḥ kleśāḥ ||3||

The obstacles along the spiritual path (klesha) are as follows: a lack of insight (avidya); identification with the mutable (asmita); the belief that happiness (raga) or unhappiness (dvesha) result from outer circumstances; deep seated anxiety (abinivesha). ||3||

2.3. Obstacles are ignorance of purusa itself, ego, desire, aversion and clinging to life. The ignorance is the undermost layer of spiritual obstacles, above is ego, then desire/attachment, aversion and fear of death - lost of self. Interesting for latter is that in human physiology the same areas of brain are activated when experiencing fear and excitiment.

अविद्या क्षेत्रमुत्तरेषाम् प्रसुप्ततनुविच्छिन्नोदाराणाम् ॥४॥

avidyā kṣetram-uttareṣām prasupta-tanu-vicchinn-odārāṇām ||4||

A lack of insight (avidya) is the source of most kleshas (obstacles) and can be latent, incipient, full fledged or overwhelming. ||4||

2.4. Ignorance is the playground klesa for other klesas.

अनित्याशुचिदुःखानात्मसु नित्यशुचिसुखात्मख्यातिरविद्या ॥५॥

anityā-aśuci-duḥkha-anātmasu nitya-śuci-sukha-ātmakhyātir-avidyā ||5||

A combination of the eternal and transitory, purity and impurity, joy and suffering, or the mutable and immutable in human beings are all referred to as a lack of insight (avidya). ||5||

2.5. If the true self is not really understood as a part of purusha, thus purusha & Ishvara is ignored, it will be confused with painful, unclean and temporary non-sel.f

दृग्दर्शनशक्त्योरेकात्मतैवास्मिता ॥६॥

dṛg-darśana-śaktyor-ekātmata-iva-asmitā ||6||

Confusing the immutable core with the transient shell is referred to as identification with the mutable (asmita). ||6||

2.6. Ego is first to get the power of ignorance, and it is the nature of seer.

सुखानुशयी रागः ॥७॥

sukha-anuśayī rāgaḥ ||7||

The presumption that happiness depends on external circumstances is referred to as desire (raga). ||7||

2.7. After bliss there is suffering.

दुःखानुशयी द्वेषः ॥८॥

duḥkha-anuśayī dveṣaḥ ||8||

The notion that pain and suffering are caused by external circumstances is referred to as aversion (dvesha). ||8||

2.8. There is tendency to avoid suffering.

स्वरस्वाहि विदुषोऽपि समारूढोऽभिनिवेशः ॥९॥

svarasvāhi viduṣo-'pi samārūḍho-'bhiniveśaḥ ||9||

Anxiety (abhinivesha) arises spontaneously and can even dominate your entire existence. ||9||

2.9. Living itself has a natural tendency to clinging to life and the loose of self.

ते प्रतिप्रसवहेयाः सूक्ष्माः ॥१०॥

te pratiprasava-heyāḥ sūkṣmāḥ ||10||

This burden (klesha) should be nipped in the bud. || 10||

2.10. The subtle klesas not eternal.

ध्यान हेयाः तद्वृत्तयः ॥११॥

dhyāna heyāḥ tad-vṛttayaḥ ||11||

Medidating (dhyana) on that which we wish to overcome eliminates such misconceptions that arise from human mutability (vritti). ||11|

2.11. The cure for the outcomes of klesas is meditation.

क्लेशमूलः कर्माशयो दृष्टादृष्टजन्मवेदनीयः ॥१२॥

kleśa-mūlaḥ karma-aśayo dṛṣṭa-adṛṣṭa-janma-vedanīyaḥ ||12||

2.12 Obstacles (kleshas) are the breeding ground for tendencies that give rise to actions and the consequences (karma) thereof. Such obstacles are experienced as visible or invisible obstacles. ||12||

सति मूले तद्विपाको जात्यायुर्भोगाः ॥१३॥

sati mūle tad-vipāko jāty-āyur-bhogāḥ ||13||

2.13 The outcome of these circumstances is manifested by a person’s station in life, longevity, and the extent to which they achieve happiness. ||13||

ते ह्लाद परितापफलाः पुण्यापुण्यहेतुत्वात् ॥१४॥

te hlāda paritāpa-phalāḥ puṇya-apuṇya-hetutvāt ||14||

2.14 The outcome of an action is felicitous or infelicitous depending on whether the foundation is successful or unsuccessful. ||14||

परिणाम ताप संस्कार दुःखैः गुणवृत्तिविरोधाच्च दुःखमेव सर्वं विवेकिनः ॥१५॥

pariṇāma tāpa saṁskāra duḥkhaiḥ guṇa-vṛtti-virodhācca duḥkham-eva sarvaṁ vivekinaḥ ||15||

2.15 Suffering is caused by change in the outside world, as well as impressions, desires (samsakra), misconceptions (vritti) and conflict. Suffering is omnipresent for those who have the capacity to differentiate. ||15||

हेयं दुःखमनागतम् ॥१६॥

heyaṁ duḥkham-anāgatam ||16||

2.16 But future suffering can be avoided. ||16||

द्रष्टृदृश्ययोः संयोगो हेयहेतुः ॥१७॥

draṣṭṛ-dṛśyayoḥ saṁyogo heyahetuḥ ||17||

2.17 For identificaiton of the true self (drashtu) with that which is mutable is the cause of suffering. ||17||

प्रकाशक्रियास्थितिशीलं भूतेन्द्रियात्मकं भोगापवर्गार्थं दृश्यम् ॥१८॥

prakāśa-kriyā-sthiti-śīlaṁ bhūtendriya-ātmakaṁ bhoga-apavarga-arthaṁ dṛśyam ||18||

2.18 Objects and situations in the physical world can be characterized by purity, unrest, or inertia; they are physical or etheric and result in short term pleasure or long term redemption ||18||

विशेषाविशेषलिङ्गमात्रालिङ्गानि गुणपर्वाणि ॥१९॥

viśeṣa-aviśeṣa-liṅga-mātra-aliṅgāni guṇaparvāṇi ||19||

2.19 Physical objects exhibit the following states: determinable; unspecific; symbolic; beyond symbols ||19||

द्रष्टा दृशिमात्रः शुद्धोऽपि प्रत्ययानुपश्यः ॥२०॥

draṣṭā dṛśimātraḥ śuddho-'pi pratyaya-anupaśyaḥ ||20||

2.20 Only the true self (drashtu) sees; it is immutable, although seeing is based on accurate perception. ||20||

तदर्थ एव दृश्यस्यात्मा ॥२१॥

tadartha eva dṛśyasya-ātmā ||21||

2.21 Physical objects can only be deemed to such if perceived by the true self (atma) ||21||

कृतार्थं प्रतिनष्टंप्यनष्टं तदन्य साधारणत्वात् ॥२२॥

kṛtārthaṁ pratinaṣṭaṁ-apy-anaṣṭaṁ tadanya sādhāraṇatvāt ||22||

2.22 Once an object has fulfilled its purpose, it does not disappear but instead remains in existence as such for others; for the object is valid for all. ||22||

स्वस्वामिशक्त्योः स्वरूपोप्लब्धिहेतुः संयोगः ॥२३॥

svasvāmi-śaktyoḥ svarūp-oplabdhi-hetuḥ saṁyogaḥ ||23||

2.23 The sole purpose of linking the mutable with the extant is to recognize the true enduring form. ||23||

तस्य हेतुरविद्या ॥२४॥

tasya hetur-avidyā ||24||

2.24 The root cause of identification with the mutable is a lack of insight (avidya). ||24||

तदभाबात्संयोगाभावो हानं तद्दृशेः कैवल्यम् ॥२५॥

tad-abhābāt-saṁyoga-abhāvo hānaṁ taddṛśeḥ kaivalyam ||25||

2.25 When a lack of insight (avidya) disappears, this identification likewise disappears. Once this identification has completely disappeared, liberation (kaivalya) of the true self (drashtu) has occurred. ||25||

विवेकख्यातिरविप्लवा हानोपायः ॥२६॥

viveka-khyātir-aviplavā hānopāyaḥ ||26||

2.26 The capacity to make distinctions (viveka) and uninterrupted insight are the path to this goal. ||26||

तस्य सप्तधा प्रान्तभूमिः प्रज्ञ ॥२७॥

tasya saptadhā prānta-bhūmiḥ prajña ||27||

2.27 This path to insight has seven steps. ||27||

योगाङ्गानुष्ठानादशुद्धिक्षये ज्ञानदीप्तिराविवेकख्यातेः ॥२८॥

yoga-aṅga-anuṣṭhānād-aśuddhi-kṣaye jñāna-dīptir-āviveka-khyāteḥ ||28||

Through practice of these limbs of yoga, impurity is overcome and wisdom and an enduring capacity to make distinctions are achieved. ||28||

2.28 by following the path of yoga (e.g. Devotion to Ishvara) the true knowledge is achieved behind the impurities. This knowledge helps to discriminate between purusha and praktri.

यम नियमासन प्राणायाम प्रत्याहार धारणा ध्यान समाधयोऽष्टावङ्गानि ॥२९॥

yama niyama-āsana prāṇāyāma pratyāhāra dhāraṇā dhyāna samādhayo-'ṣṭāvaṅgāni ||29||

The limbs of the eight-fold path are as follows: respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi). ||29||

2.29. Eight limbs are a like long ladders, the highest rung is Samadhi or like cartwheel with eight spokes, where in the pole is ahimsa (as the most near the center of one spoke :)

अहिंसासत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहाः यमाः ॥३०॥

ahiṁsā-satya-asteya brahmacarya-aparigrahāḥ yamāḥ ||30||

Respect for others (yama) is based on non-violence (ahimsa); truthfulness (satya); not stealing (asteya); non-covetousness (aparigraha); and acting with an awareness of higher ideals (brahma-charya). ||30||

2.30. Within yamas, ahimsa (non-violence) is the elementary yama – the base for other yamas.

जातिदेशकालसमयानवच्छिन्नाः सार्वभौमामहाव्रतम् ॥३१॥

jāti-deśa-kāla-samaya-anavacchinnāḥ sārvabhaumā-mahāvratam ||31||

Showing respect for others without regard for social station, or for place, time, or circumstance in all spheres of this respect is a great virtue. ||31||

2.31 Yamas are universal and are kind of code for humanity.

शौच संतोष तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः ॥३२॥

śauca saṁtoṣa tapaḥ svādhyāy-eśvarapraṇidhānāni niyamāḥ ||32||

Cleanliness (shaucha), contentment (santosha), self-discipline (tapas), learning from yourself (svadhyaya) and accepting your fate (iishvara-pranidhana) automatically translate into the practice of respect (niyama). ||32||

2.32 As Patanjali seems to be believer of Ishvara, devotion of God is in here the highest of niyamas, thus giving the way to samadhi. Other niyamas bring good things as described in 2.40, 2.42, 2.43 & 2.44.

वितर्कबाधने प्रतिप्रक्षभावनम् ॥३३॥

vitarka-bādhane pratiprakṣa-bhāvanam ||33||

2.33. Uncertainty concerning implementation can be overcome via orientation with the reverse. ||33||

वितर्का हिंसादयः कृतकारितानुमोदिता लोभक्रोधमोहापूर्वका मृदुमध्य अधिमात्रा दुःखाज्ञानानन्तफला इति प्रतिप्रक्षभावनम् ॥३४॥

vitarkā hiṁsādayaḥ kṛta-kārita-anumoditā lobha-krodha-moha-āpūrvakā mṛdu-madhya adhimātrā duḥkha-ajñāna-ananta-phalā iti pratiprakṣa-bhāvanam ||34||

2.34 Violent thoughts (himsa) induce unending suffering and ignorance. In such cases, it makes no difference whether you’re the perpetrator, the person who gives the orders, or the instigator; or whether the thoughts are provoked by greed, anger, or delusion; or whether small, medium or large scale action is involved. This is why orienting yourself toward the reverse is helpful. ||34||

अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायं तत्सन्निधौ वैरत्याघः ॥३५॥

ahiṁsā-pratiṣṭhāyaṁ tat-sannidhau vairatyāghaḥ ||35||

2.35 Once a condition of durable non-violence (ahimsa) has been established, all enmity will be abandoned in your environs. ||35||

सत्यप्रतिष्थायं क्रियाफलाश्रयत्वम् ॥३६॥

satya-pratiṣthāyaṁ kriyā-phala-āśrayatvam ||36||

2.36 Once a state of truth (satya) has been permanently established, each statement will form the basis for a truthful result. ||36||

अस्तेयप्रतिष्ठायां सर्वरत्नोपस्थानम् ॥३७॥

asteya-pratiṣṭhāyāṁ sarvaratn-opasthānam ||37||

2.37 Once non-stealing has been permanently established, all riches will be available. ||37||

ब्रह्मचर्य प्रतिष्ठायां वीर्यलाभः ॥३८॥

brahma-carya pratiṣṭhāyāṁ vīrya-lābhaḥ ||38||

2.38 Performing each action with an awareness of a higher ideal (brahma-charya) engenders tremendous strength. ||38||

अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथंता संबोधः ॥३९॥

aparigraha-sthairye janma-kathaṁtā saṁbodhaḥ ||39||

2.39 The permanent reign of non-covetousness (aparigraha) engenders knowledge concerning the goal of earthly life. ||39||

शौचात् स्वाङ्गजुगुप्सा परैरसंसर्गः ॥४०॥

śaucāt svāṅga-jugupsā parairasaṁsargaḥ ||40||

2.40 Purity (shaucha) results in the abandonment of physicality and the cessation of physical contact with external things. ||40||

सत्त्वशुद्धिः सौमनस्यैकाग्र्येन्द्रियजयात्मदर्शन योग्यत्वानि च ॥४१॥

sattva-śuddhiḥ saumanasya-ikāgry-endriyajaya-ātmadarśana yogyatvāni ca ||41||

Also the capacity for clarity, cleanliness, cheerfulness and intentness, as well as mastery over the senses, ultimately give rise to self realization. ||41||

2.41 Yogi's mind when it is purified is here described .

संतोषातनुत्तमस्सुखलाभः ॥४२॥

saṁtoṣāt-anuttamas-sukhalābhaḥ ||42||

2.42 An attitude of contentment (santosha) gives rise to unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy, and satisfaction. ||42||

कायेन्द्रियसिद्धिरशुद्धिक्षयात् तपसः ॥४३॥

kāyendriya-siddhir-aśuddhi-kṣayāt tapasaḥ ||43||

2.43 Through self discipline, mental impurities are destroyed and the body and senses take on supernatural powers. ||43||

स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवता संप्रयोगः ॥४४॥

svādhyāyād-iṣṭa-devatā saṁprayogaḥ ||44||

2.44 Self-study and reflection on yourself (svadhyaya) brings you into contact with the desired ideal. ||44||

समाधि सिद्धिःीश्वरप्रणिधानात् ॥४५॥

samādhi siddhiḥ-īśvarapraṇidhānāt ||45||

2.45 By accepting your fate (ishvarapranidhana), you achieve self knowledge and supernatural power. ||45||

स्थिरसुखमासनम् ॥४६॥

sthira-sukham-āsanam ||46||

2.46 Practicing yoga with strength and in a relaxed manner gives rise to harmony with the physical body (asana). ||46||

प्रयत्नशैथिल्यानन्तसमापत्तिभ्याम् ॥४७॥

prayatna-śaithilya-ananta-samāpatti-bhyām ||47||

2.47 The key to success in this regard is practice with effort, which becomes progressively easier, combined with deep contemplation (samapatti). ||47||

ततो द्वङ्द्वानभिघातः ॥४८॥

tato dvaṅdva-an-abhighātaḥ ||48||

2.48 This results in a victory over the duality of life. ||48||

तस्मिन् सति श्वासप्रश्वास्योर्गतिविच्छेदः प्राणायामः ॥४९॥

tasmin sati śvāsa-praśvāsyor-gati-vicchedaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ ||49||

2.49 Once harmony with the physical body has been achieved, through interruption of the movement engendered by inhaling and exhaling you attempt to harmonize your energy (pranayama). ||49||

बाह्याभ्यन्तरस्थम्भ वृत्तिः देशकालसन्ख्याभिः परिदृष्टो दीर्घसूक्ष्मः ॥५०॥

bāhya-ābhyantara-sthambha vṛttiḥ deśa-kāla-sankhyābhiḥ paridṛṣṭo dīrgha-sūkṣmaḥ ||50||

2.50 Exhalation, inhalation, retention, technique, time and number must be very precisely regulated over a lengthy period. ||50||

बाह्याभ्यन्तर विषयाक्षेपी चतुर्थः ॥५१॥

bāhya-ābhyantara viṣaya-akṣepī caturthaḥ ||51||

2.51 The fourth pranayama technique ultimately transcends breath retention after exhaling or inhaling. ||51||

ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम् ॥५२॥

tataḥ kṣīyate prakāśa-āvaraṇam ||52||

2.52 The veil covering the light of the true self then vanishes.

धारणासु च योग्यता मनसः ॥५३॥

dhāraṇāsu ca yogyatā manasaḥ ||53||

2.53 And the mind develops the capacity for harmony with thoughts (dharana). ||53||

स्वविषयासंप्रयोगे चित्तस्य स्वरूपानुकारैवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहारः ॥५४॥

svaviṣaya-asaṁprayoge cittasya svarūpānukāra-iv-endriyāṇāṁ pratyāhāraḥ ||54||

2.54 Harmony with the emotions (pratyahara) is achieved when the senses cease to be engaged with external objects and thus that which is mutable in human beings (chitta) becomes similar to true nature. ||54||

ततः परमावश्यता इन्द्रियाणाम् ॥५५॥

tataḥ paramā-vaśyatā indriyāṇām ||55||

2.55 Thus do you gain supreme mastery of your senses. ||55||


1. Ronald Steiner & Team. International info-page for Ashtanga yoga. Yoga-Sutra Patanjali. Retrieved from 2.8.2015 from

2. Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati (2007) Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Interpretive translation. Retrieved 1.8.2015 from