Saturday, August 20, 2011




In the last post on Patanjali Yoga sutras we have completed the Samadhi Paadha (the first Chapter) along with a summary thereof.

The first chapter told us briefly about the goals of Yoga, like the 4 different types of Samaadhi, what are the enabling  factors, what are the obstructions and how to get over/ minimize them etc. 

The second chapter is called Sadhana Paadha. This chapter describes the step-by-step approach to Yoga and makes the path easy to traverse. Patanjali has taken care to tell us – every important step in the path to success, in Yoga – though brevity has always been a Rule with him.

Let us now see the verses, their meanings etc in the second chapter.


tapah svaadhyaaya 

Eeshvara-pranidhaanani kriyaa-yogah

Ø  tapah = the process of controlling the mind through various processes. Also, other purifying actions
Ø  svaadhyaaya = self-study of sacred scriptures
Ø  Eeshvara = the most ancient Yogi, the Guru of the most ancient Gurus, the one without beginning and end, earlier described in Ch.1
Ø  pranidhaanani = surrendering, devotion, surrender of fruits of actions
Ø  kriyaa-yogah = yoga of action

Yoga is actually a Path of action, though finally leading to lessening of all actions in Samaadhi. It is through this path of Kriyaa Yoga that we seek to go through all hurdles to yoga, attain control over our body and mind and attain to Samaadhi.

This Kriyaa Yoga also has 3 distinct parts.

First part is - Tapas, or a purifying process in which we achieve control over body and mind. The ancient sages involved themselves in Tapas of various kinds and durations. What matters is consistency and single-minded practice of Kriyaa Yoga.

Second part is – study of sacred scriptures which tell us about Yoga, Samaadhi, liberation etc which are told by the ancient Sages. These Sages are persons who have successfully traversed the Path and attained to liberation and their words are the most authentic. 

Therefore-we must study their prescriptions on Yoga for the Sadhakas. Readers of this blog may remember that we have covered great prescriptions by Lord Krishna himself on Dhyaana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Guna thrayam vibhaaga Yoga etc in this blog earlier. Likewise, we have covered many writings of the great teacher, Adi Sankaracharys – like Atma Bodha, Bhaja Govindam etc. 

There are many ancient, sacred texts dealing with different aspects of yoga, which the Sadhaka may study as Svaadhyaaya, or self study. Readers must note that Patanjali is emphasizing the study of ancient texts on the subject – clearly implying that he is not the first teacher or writer on the subject of Yoga. There is of course no doubt that his text is also a great text on the subject, a very comprehensive one at that.

The third is Eeshvara Pranidhaana – which has also been dealt with in the first chapter. This signifies surrender of the fruits of all of our actions to this great Adi yogi, who has no beginning and end, who is the teacher of the most ancient teachers, who remains always untouched by all types of human suffering. What is the purpose of surrender to Eeshvara? Eeshvara is the teacher of the most ancient teachers. His grace makes the path of Yoga very easy. Accept Eeshwara as your Guru; seek his guidance at every step and every difficulty.  He will guide you through all difficulties; The Sadhaka needs to experience the presence of Eeshvara (as his Guru) at every step of his Sadhana.

Thus, tapas, svaadhyaaya (self study) and surrender /devotion to Eeshwara are the three parts in Kriyaa yoga.


samaadhi bhavana arthah 

klesha tanoo karanaarthah cha

Ø  samaadhi = Deepest level of meditation
Ø  bhavana = to bring to success
Ø  arthah = for the purpos
Ø  klesha = painful
Ø  tanoo-karana =  to minimize
Ø  arthah = for the purpose
Ø  cha = and

We have seen the 3 parts of Kriyaa Yoga in verse.2.1
Patanjali now says that – the twin purposes of Kriyaa yoga are to (i) bring you to the level of Samaadhi and (ii) minimize all of your painful sufferings/ obstacles and difficulties in the path of Yoga.

So, the twofold purposes of Kriyaa Yogait should now be clear to the Sadhaka.

First is – the removal of all difficulties / obstructions and sufferings in the Path
Second is  – to make the Sadhaka reach the Ultimate goal of Samaadhi.

Patanjali is now ready to take us through the details of Kriyaa Yoga in the subsequent verses.

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