Wednesday, June 29, 2011






The last Post on Patanjali Yoga Sutras was on V.17 = under the URL :   

V.16 talked of the Guna thrayam or the three Gunas. It says that we must transcend the three Gunas and go beyond them to reveal our true self, the Purusha.

Patanjali assumes a good knowledge of the three Gunas, their characteristics, their influence on us – and how we must deal with them in ordinary life – and how we can transcend them.

The detailed exposition on Guna thrayam is  given by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita in several Chapters, chiefly, Guna thraya Vibhaga Yoga.

So, we  analyzed in detail, the three Gunas, their functions and how we can use them.

We saw in Lord Krishna’s own words – I am now going to give you that knowledge, which is the best of all knowledge. Knowing this – all sages are instantly freed from all Sorrow – even in the most  disastrous catastrophes (Like Pralaya)”.

The knowledge of the three Gunas is therefore so important for study of Yoga sutras. Having now understood the Gunathrayam – we reverted back to Yoga sutras with Vs.17.

In Vs.17 – Patanjali spoke of Samprajnaatha Samaadhi. Samprajnaatha means – that which is accompanies by prajna, or the highest wisdom.

There are 4 steps for Samprajnaatha Samaadhi. (i) Vitharka, which means sound, good reasoning, which is interested in finding the Truth only. (ii) Vichaara – Vitharka leads you into Vichaara, which is deep, quiet, inner contemplation. This happens automatically. Whether you perform vitharka on your own physical body or an external object, the vichaara will lead you from the external object to your inner mental impressions and deeper from them to the one who is the ‘ Contemplator’.  At one stage, there is no more any external object, there is only the contemplator. (iii) Aananda : In this quiet, inner contemplation, when the answers are streaming in, to your questions, you feel a rare bliss. This bliss is the third stage (Aananda). Why the bliss? Because – the answers you are seeking are streaming in. And, the answers are removing all doubts, suspicions, dissensions etc and leading you to pure, highest wisdom of your own self. (iv)Asmitha – Now, you reach a stage of egoless “I”ness. Your deepest core is now known to you. You now are in contact with your self. This is the answer that was streaming in to you. This inward bound tharka and vichaara always leads you to this egoless “I”. And Samprajnaatha starts then.

Is there a Samaadhi other than Samprajnaatha Samaadhi? The answer comes in V.18.


viraama pratyaya
abhyaasa poorvah
samskaara shesha anyah

Ø  viraama = pause; cessation, stopping,
Ø  pratyaya = cause, content of mind, cognition
Ø  abhyaasa = practice
Ø  poorvah = previous, preceding,
Ø  samskaara = deep impressions in the unconscious, traces of sub conscious impressions
Ø  shesha = residual, subliminal
Ø  anyah = the other (the other samadhi)

In this verse, Patanjali is telling us of another Samaadhi – other than Samprajnaatha Samaadhi.

This Samaadhi is Asamprajnaata Samaadhi. Even the prajna related to the egoless “I”ness  will disappear in this Samaadhi. The total content of the mind ceases. Even the deepest impressions (called samskaaraas) in the mind which remained at the Samprajnaatha Samaadhi will disappear now. We may call it a “no-mind” State. 

There is no need for any intelligence in this stage. As we go from the egoless “I” state further in Samaadhi – and deeper and deeper into it, through abhyaasa (practice) we arrive at this stage where there is no more need for any wisdom or intelligence of the nature of prajna also. 

In Samprajnaatha Samaadhi, all other samskaaraas vanish when the pure, egoless self arises; but we remain in a state of cognition with this I-ness. This means, some very deeply embedded samskaaraas have still remained within us – and these can come out later and infuse all the old habits into us. 

But, in Asamprajnaatha Samaadhi – even these deepest subliminal samskaaraas do not exist.

The verse says – we need constant practice for effacing these deep rooted samskaaraas and settle in Asamprajnaatha Samaadhi.

We are transcending the mind totally to arrive at this stage.

Now let us see the 5 stages in vs.17 and 18 vitharka, vichara, Aananda, asmita, abhyaasa.

The first 4 relate to Samprajnaatha. Either the vitharka can be on you (Your body) – or even on an external object, But, when vichaara or deep contemplation comes, the external object, (or external body of you) vanish and you will only contemplate on your mental impressions.

Gradually, a realization occurs that you are contemplating on  YOU and not any object. This contemplation on Your own self and realization of that state gives rise to Aananda (or Bliss) and gradually leads us to the realization of the egoless ‘I’. This is such a pure state that there is no need for any traces of Ego in it. The I – is merely an acknowledgement, a realization.

In this stage, evidently, the total body consciousness becomes redundant for the Saadhaka. He experiences the “I” – within himself, independent of the object, whether it is his body or any other object with which he started the vitharka. 

His dependence on the body is no more there, when he experiences the asmitha (Bliss) state and is fixed in Samprajnaatha Samaadhi – and therefore, he is now called a videhi, the bodyless one. The dependence on gross body is no more there for the Videhi. It implies a total mastery on the Prakrithi – for this Saadhaka.

But then, the I-ness consciousness is still there-and  it relates to his Sookshma Sareera or subtle body.

And, it still possesses certain deeply embedded samskaaraas or impressions. These can again give rise to Chittha Vritthis.

If these are also totally rejected, through deeper practice or abhyaasa, the Saadhaka comes to the state of  “Asamprajnaatha Samaadhi’. The Saadhaka becomes a Muktha, a totally liberated person, now. He has totally transcended the Prakrithi now.

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