Sunday, October 9, 2011




Why do we feel sorrowful frequently? The main cause of our sorrow is the coming into contact of the pure witness (i.e., I, the seer or the real self), called as Drasta  with the Drisyam or the world of experience. Drisham is the Universe, which we experience – and consists of the three Gunas of Sathva, Rajas and Thamas – which make it illuminated, active or inert respectively , by their imbalance.

The universe exists only for 2 purposes – (i) for experience of Drasta and (ii) then, for his liberation. Universe is like a training school -where the Karma has to be extinguished by experience – and then, the Drasta can liberate from the experience of the universe.

The Drasta is basically pure, but by his coming together with Drisyam, he appears to take on the virtthis of the Drisyam.

As earlier said, Drisyam has no other purpose than being there for the experience of Drasta. But, Drastas are many. When one Drasta gets liberated, the Drisyam does not become extinguished. It is needed for experience of other Drastas.

The reality of the Prakrithi and Purusha (or Drisyam and Drasta) become evidenced only when these two come together in Samyoga.  The cause of this Samyoga is Avidya or Ignorance enveloping the Drasta from the Drisyam. If Avidya is extinguished (i.e., when knowledge happens), Samyoga disappears automatically and then, the Drastaa become liberated. This liberation is called Kaivalyam. Incessant pursuit of Nitya-Anitya-Viveka or discrimination between the permanent and impermanent is the way for achieving this liberation.

Seven kinds of ultimate insight come to one who has attained this degree of discrimination. This is the way Moksha comes to us in seven types of changes. The seven stages are :- 1. The yearning to learn – will go away  2. The various needs and wants we feel- will go away. 3. The Desire to attain some thing or other always – will go away. 4. The Desire to do various things – will go away. 5. All Sorrows – will vanish from us. 6.All fears will dissolve. 7. All false knowledge will go away. All these go away when we attain the ultimate knowledge needed for Kaivalyam or Liberation


yoga anga anusthaanaad
ashuddhi kshaye jnaana deepthih
aa viveka khyateh

Ø  yoga-anga = parts or steps of yoga
Ø  anusthaanaad = sustained, continued  practice
Ø  ashuddhi = impurities in the mind
Ø  kshaye = elimination,  destruction
Ø  jnaana = wisdom
Ø  deepthih = radiance
Ø  aa = up to
Ø  viveka-khyatih = discriminative knowledge; Knowledge that finally gives us liberation 

Now – Patanjali is starting a very important part of Yoga Saadhana. This is the famous Ashta-Anga-Yoga. It is here that Saadhaka can become very clear about the path he has to take , the practices he has to follow – to achieve kaivalyam or liberation. 

This verse says that - through  practice of the different steps or parts of Yoga, the impurities in the mind of the Saadhaka are completely eliminated. Then arises the illumination in him – which takes him up to the discriminative wisdom needed for Kaivalyam or liberation.


 yama niyama aasana
praanaayama pratyaahara dhaarana
dhyaana samaadhi ashtau angaani

Ø  yama = regulation of self
Ø  niyama = various disciplinary codes
Ø  aasana = Posture for meditation
Ø  praanaayama = control of praana energy through breathing practices
Ø  pratyaahaara = withdrawal of the senses inward
Ø  dhaarana = concentration
Ø  dhyaana = meditation
Ø  samaadhi = deep absorption in meditation
Ø  ashtau = eight
Ø angaani = steps or Parts

The eight parts or steps of Yoga are – (1) Yama (regulation of self), (2) Niyama (various disciplinary practices and codes), (3) Aasana (Posture for meditation), (4) Praanaayaama (control of praana energy through breathing practices), (5) Prathyaahaara (withdrawal of the senses inward), (6) Dhaarana (concentration), (7) Dhyaana (meditation) and (8) Samaadhi (deep absorption in meditation).

Patanjali has first given us just the names of the eight parts or limbs or steps of Yoga. In the coming verses, he is about to explain to us these eight parts of Yoga. 

While the term “angaani” means parts – these parts are also the steps which must be climbed one after another. A Saadhaka cannot skip yama and niyama and hope to attain Samaadhi. But, the practices of yama and niyama must become a way of life for Yoga Saadhakas. In general, even while these practices (of yama and niyama) are proceeding apace, saadhakas also move on to aasana and praanaayaama. From the practice of Pratyaahaara – the vigorous practice of yama and niyama become more essential for success.

The last three practices are special in many ways – which we will see later on. Our success in them depend on our success in the first five steps.  But, first and foremost, the Saadhaka’s mind should get tuned to achieve complete success in the Ashtaanga Yoga. Then, he can find ways to achieve success in each step in his own way.

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