What is a sutra?
The yoga sutra is a type of writing which hold technical information in the shortest amount of words possible, because they have to be memorized. They are harder to comprehend in this way because of the lack of words. Therefore, there is always a commentary to further explain the meaning of the sutra ( they need to be unpacked- the words are just triggers to remember more information). Sutras help to preserve information. The yoga sutras as on how to unfold the eternal truths.
They are not sure who Patajani is, but they know he wrote ‘what is for the mind, that is yoga, and he wrote ‘gramma’ and he wrote a sutra for the ‘ills of the body’. ( mind, grammar, Ayurveda). However, they do say he is an incarnation of Vishnu.
Yoga Sutras: what is yoga?
1st Verse: tells you what we are going to do, going to discuss yoga. Now, as we have a human body we can acquire and learn this birth. If we only eat, sleep, mate etc then we are just embellished animals. Whereas, as humans as can inquire into truth. Learn we are more than the body, that we are the Atman. As humans we can choose if we want to reborn again or if we want to break through the cycle of birth and death. A human birth is so rare, there are millions of other ways consciousness can manifest. With a human form we have free will and so we can ask question and inquire. Everything we do plants a seed of karma and karma must burn itself out for liberation.
2nd Verse: Then go beyond inquiry and do yoga.
Truth is beyond the mind, consciousness is not absorbed in itself when it is using the mind to understand information
in a state of suffering, or incompleteness when we have not had consciousness actualize itself
awareness needs to become aware of itself
begins to systematize yoga and how to achieve realization, because there was many different explanations and by doing this is is preserved.
– consciousness is trapped in the mind, the mind is not alive it is dead but consciousness makes the mind alive.
What is this yoga? it is the still, to calm, to pacify, to block, to halt, to suppress the natural inclination of the mind ( to think wildly); the Chitta ( ego, the voice in our heads) and the Vriti ( never ending thoughts that are like waves that constantly coming out of our minds).
Metaphysically there is no difference in being totally identified with the mind as being identified with an object that is external to us.
There are 3 gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas that our mind can take on. Sattva is purity, wisdom, insight and rajas is desire, ambition, addiction and tamas is stillness, depression, procrastination etc. Not only does our mind hold the Gunas but the physical world as well. Different time periods in the day, about 18, alternating between sattva, Rajas and tamas. Before the sun rises it is sattva, during the day it is Rajas and when we eat and sleep it is tamas.People think that they are the mind, but Patanjali said we cannot still who we are, therefore we are not the mind or the thoughts that emanate from it. When we still the mind we are still present, consciousness begins to experience itself in a completely different way. Finally consciousness gets to become conscious of itself. The seer behind the seeing, hearing behind the sound.
Verse 4: If consciousness is not in its own nature than it is absorb in thoughts of the mind. Our mind can either be absorbed in the mind and our body etc ( when we die, mind comes into a new body with the same samskaras). Samsara is the repetition of birth and death ( can remain here, or consciousness can realize itself and break free of the cycle) , whereas samskaras are karmas embedded in the mind. Karmas can be internal and come through like depression, illness etc , or they can come out externally like life events etc.
SAT: consciousness, eternal atman.
there is no being that has seen the end of desire, because it never ends. No way to be fulfilled through desires.
when we first accept that we are unfulfilled, then we are ready for yoga.
Removal of all others, so that there is nothing else for the mind to focus on and so consciousness and can focus upon itself.
Verse 5 and 6: what are these vrittis? What is it that we are not? There are five kinds of vrittis. Vritiis can be useful for the goal of yoga or be counterproductive. Positive vrittis take us to yoga and living to realize the soul and help us go to meditate, and negative take use away from yoga and into ignorance.
Verse 7: list of vrittis, five states the mind can be in. The mind is not the atman.
when the mind is in the state of right knowledge: empiricism, image of an object is seen and consciousness acknowledges its existence. If the object is really there then it is right knowledge. Mind can reflect 3 ways; through the senses, deduction using logic, through words and what others tell us.
When the mind is in the state of wrong knowledge. When what is observed is not correct.
State of imagination
Deep sleep: when the mind is in complete state of tamas. While yoga is sattva. Highest samadhi is when consciousness has completely detached from its senses and there would be no reaction from the body. Deep sleep is not detachment from the body but rather the mind is in tamas.
Memory: stored vrittis. Can pick out memories that are in Chitta ( intellect) and they seem as real as when they were first experienced. Desires are only what we remembered that was good before and so if they are attainable in the present moment we try to achieve it again. All desires come from memory.
The goal of yoga is to still all vrittis ultimately. Consciousness always exists it just transforms into different states. Consciousness is blocked by the mind, like a lampshade covering the light.
Verse 8 -10 : how do we still the mind? It is done through repetition and practice. To start to become free from these chains that keep us bound to the world of samsara, which is desires. Aim is to become detached from desires. Mind becomes Sattvic. Desires will become less strong, however they will still be present as memories but have less power over the mind. As sattva increases Rajas and tamas decreases.
Verse 11-13: what is practice? Takes the right amount of effort. Naturally it is hard at first, then it becomes nectar. Rajas has pleasure at the beginning but at the end there is a crash and a hidden price tag. There has to be an effort to still the mind and a decision to control the mind.
Verse 14: practice becomes fixed and firm and permanent when it is done for a long time. Without interruptions, every day. The mind comes up with excuses and it’s the same mind we are trying to get rid of. Also with respect and devotion not getting tamasic and despondent.
Verse 15: detachment, as mind becomes more Sattvic starts to see that desires as they are and that they cannot be fulfilled. Freedom of desire is Moska and liberation. Our modern society is thriving off desire, creating desires where there are none and thereby creating more suffering as satisfying desire brings no happiness. When you go after a desire, keep a part of the mind observing and see if it was satisfying.
Verse 16: highest state of the mind has lost interest in things heard or seen about and finally the mind looses all interest in anything that is an object. The mind becomes totally satisfied in itself, in pure consciousness. As we get older we loose interest in what we liked as children, it is the same as we get wiser our desires change and fall away.
Chapter 2: kriya yoga
Verse 1 -25 kriya yoga involves discipline( controlling the senses, diet, what we listen to), study ( study sacred texts), dedicated to ishawara( supreme being, god). tapas, to regulate the senses and to control. Through study we implant wisdom into the mind and the mind comes to associate with teachers and this level of thinking. What we surround ourselves with our mind becomes that way. Tapas helps us to control the rajasic and tamasic in the mind.
Ishwara is a special soul that is made of consciousness. This soul is not affected by ignorance or karma. Ishwara removes ignorance if we surrender and are immersed in devotion. Ishwara surrenders to us as well out of love. Ishwara is a living being that has transcended this world and can take many forms. They can take the form of shiva, Krishna, Narayana etc. Hinduism is monotheism, just seeing one god that can take millions of forms. Do not confuse ishwaras with celestial beings. If one has very good karma they could be born into the celestial realm, but as karma depletes you can come back down to the earth realm. Karma is like a bank account and eventually runs out. A celestial being is not the same as Iswara. Choose a diety on the one you feel attracted to, your heart opens to it and it takes a personal form. Spontaneously become very attracted to one form and you can start my reading stories about them. Starts by the need to want one, the heart opens to grace. Then start reading about their stories and learn about them.
Iswara is omniscient. The atman is infinite and it is only when it is blocked is it contained. If there were no restrictions the atman, consciousness would be infinite. Our consciousness is trapped in the body and is trapped by the senses and therefore consciousness is restricted. Awareness can expand past the body when they are not identified with the body mind. However, although yogis can achieve a level of omniscience, ishwara has the highest level of omniscience that unsurpassed.
Verse 25: iswara was the teacher of the ancients, because they are not affected by time. Iswara can impart knowledge periodically. When dharma decreases and unrighteousness increases ishwaras come to teach knowledge.
Verse 26: iswara is the guru, the one who brings the sacred texts.
Verse 27: ishwara manifests as the sacred sound of Om. Om is the sonic presence of Brahman, it is not a representation or a symbol. As the word water is not water, it is just a social convention. Om is the absolute truth, all Sanskrit grammar comes from om, Om actually is Brahman. Use rituals to bring divine presence into the idol. The idol becomes the divine. Like an iron ball in fire, the ball takes on the fire.
Verse 28: you do japa, the repetition of the mantra in a devotional mood. Either mentally or in a low sound. Guru gives the mantra and then the disciple focuses the mind on the mantra and the mind rests upon it, developing concentration. The most important is japa, it is the best to use a mantra because the sound holds the divine presence. Need devotion and to surrender to the mantra and keep its meaning in mind. If love and total surrender is there than ishwara which rests in the mantra will come and capture and fix the mind. Ishwara participates in the grace of meditation and helps the devotees come to enlightenment.
Tapas is the study of sacred texts, austerity, surrender to ishwara. Heart becomes purified.
Do kriya yoga to minimize ignorance so that samadhi can manifest.
What are the obstacles ? These have trapped consciousness so that it is not aware of its own nature.
ignorance: supports the other obstacles. Ignorance is taking the atman to be the body mind, whereas the atman is pure, blissful and eternal.
Ego: from ignorance ego emerges. The state of ” I am- ness”. When the seer thinks that him and the seer of sight are the same thing. I am my instruments that allow me to live in the world is how ego develops. Consciousness is eternal and it cannot change. What cannot change is eternal. All that is impermanent is finite.
Fear of death.