Sutra 1.39
Photo Credit: Neil Williamson, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons,

Photo Credit: Neil Williamson, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons,

‘Or by contemplating or concentrating on whatever object or principle one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind becomes stable and tranquil.’ Interpretation by Swami J.

This sutra is the last of the series that refer to setting up the foundations in readiness for meditation. Mantra meditation is a perfect example. It is the bringing together of all aspects of one’s Be-ing to the single-pointedness of full attention and focus. It is the point where one can begin to go deeper into the state of meditation itself.

Chris Johnson
Sutra 1.40

परमाणु परममहत्त्वान्तोऽस्य वशीकारः॥४०॥
para-maannu param-amahatt-vaanto-asya vashi-kaaraha ॥40॥

In the translation of Ravi Ravindra, “For one whose mind is clear, mastery extends from the most minute particle to the largest expanse.” No longer are we talking of how to clear the mind in order to meditate, nor the importance of meditation, but how to practice, and what to expect beyond the process. True meditation is defined by Patanjali as 'pure awareness', beyond the ego personality with thoughts, mind and feelings. Just absorbed into pure consciousness, an Awareness that one is. And everything and everyone in the Universe is. Beyond time and space, beyond past, present and future, ALL IS!

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.41
Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

क्षीणवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनतासमापत्तिः॥४१॥
kshina-vritter-abhijaatasy-eva maneh-grahItri-grahana-grahyeshu tat-stha-tada~anjanataa-samaapattihi ॥41॥

When the mind is still, whatever is perceived is without our personal discolorations of thought and experience. It is as though one is observing through a crystal clear jewel, such that the observer, the observed and the object of observation all become the one object of meditation without any distortion. Then the internal gaze can rest upon Itself, or Pure Consciousness, without any shape or form – remember Sutra 1.3?

Chris Johnson
Sutra 1.42

तत्र शब्दार्थज्ञानविकल्पैः संकीर्णा सवितर्का समापत्तिः॥४२॥
Tatra shabda-arthaj-jyana-vikalpayiha samskirnaa samapathee-ha ॥42॥

Bringing one's body, mind and Being to one space is knowledge (jnana) based on thought, words and their meaning.

It is not possible to go from our very mundane, ‘householder’ existence into the clarity of vision beyond vision. We have to clear the thinking, analytical and judgmental mind by slow, sustained and deliberate effort. Just to get to this point of savitarka samapatti, where the observer, the observed and the object are all one and the same, is an achievement. It is the climax of a process using mantra meditation, mindfulness and other techniques of meditation.

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.43

Sutra 1.43 स्मृतिपरिशुद्धौ स्वरूपशून्येवार्थमात्रनिर्भासा निर्वितर्का॥४३॥
smriti-pari-shuddhau svarupa-shoonyeh-vaartha-maatra-nirbhaasaa nirvi-tarkaa ॥43॥

When memory is purified, emptied of its subjectivity (based on one’s personal interpretations and concepts), and the object alone shines through – this is known as ‘nirvitarka samadhi'. It is a state where nothing but the object of meditation exits.

This is not a level of meditation that most of us can get to while still being focused on our daily lives and living. BUT surely, this is a state we can aspire to through a regular meditation practice focusing on simple things such as our breath, a mantra, loving kindness and positiveness towards others and so on.

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.44
The Flammarion engraving, an anonymous 19th century wood carving, was captioned, "A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch..."

The Flammarion engraving, an anonymous 19th century wood carving, was captioned, "A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch..."

एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता॥४४॥
etaya-iva savi-chaaraa nir-vichaaraa cha sukshma-vishayaa vyaakh-yaataa ॥44॥

Barbara Miller translates this aphorism as, 'When the turnings of thought cease completely, even wisdom ceases, and contemplation bears no seeds.' 'Contemplation bears no seeds' means that there is NO THING/nothing, in or at the end of meditation. Controlling personal thoughts, reactions and ruminations is achieved through a process of contemplation and meditation. Ultimately, through successive stages of thought, subtle thought, and no thought, and with no attachment to any of it (Sutra 1.15), one recognizes that this individual (you or I) is 'not-self', and the serene nothingness is actually the 'true-self' (Sutra 1.3) and it is Everything, and it is Forever!


PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.45
Photo Credit:  Ingrid Taylar, CC BY 2.0 , 

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar, CC BY 2.0

सूक्ष्मविषयत्वं चालिङ्गपर्यवसानम्॥४५॥
sooksham-avishayat-vam chaalingga-parya-vasaa-nam॥45॥

Swami Satchitananda: ‘The subtlety of possible objects of concentration ends only at the indefinable.’ 
While we can define any object it still has meaning in the conventional sense. We see it in our mind’s eye in a particular way, as we have been taught to see it, or as we have determined what and how it is. It remains connected with the psyche in a predetermined way. Hence it cannot get us to a state of mind where the subject (unmanifest) and the object (seen and manifest to the senses) can become one. We have to be able to reach beyond the thought of anything manifest…stillness containing everything that is nothingness.

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.46
Photo credit: Siripatwongpin, CC BY-SA 4.0,  via Wikimedia Commons . 

Photo credit: Siripatwongpin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

ता एव सबीजः समाधिः॥४६॥
taa eva sabeejaha samaadhihi॥46॥

Swami Satchitananda translates this as, ‘All these samadhis are sabija (with seed), which could bring one back into bondage or mental disturbance.’ Remember that samadhi means connecting with the ‘Source’ beyond the individual mind. However, the various ways suggested in the past few aphorisms still use the mind to stop the mind. Our minds are the product of our experiences and define everything uniquely for each of us. Despite achieving hard earned samadhi, if we do so at all, when that brief blissful state is over we return to the world of the mind we escaped from. There we find the ‘seeds’ that are still there just waiting to germinate and grow back again like weeds, filling our minds with chatter. It is an ongoing and relentless process all our lives.

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.47
Photo Credit:  Thomas Leuthard , CC BY 2.0. 

Photo Credit: Thomas Leuthard, CC BY 2.0. 

nirvichaara-vaishaara-dhye-adhyaatma-prasaada-ha ॥47॥

Nirvichara is the silent mind when there are no thoughts. On attaining this stillness, there is a profound clearing of the entire being into openness and silence.

Is this kind of silence even a possibility when new experiences and old thoughts constantly fill our heads? Perhaps not, but this is the goal towards which we must strive if we are to know any ongoing peace in our lives.

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.48

 ऋतम्भरा तत्र प्रज्ञा॥४८॥
Rutam-bharaa tatra praj-jaa॥48॥

Referring to Sutra 1.47, the preceding aphorism, Swami Prabhavananda translates Sutra 1.48: ‘In that samadhi, knowledge is said to be "filled with truth."

In this state of pure and seedless consciousness, there are no preconceptions, false interpretations, misrepresentations, imaginings – It Is. That’s all there is!

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.49
Photo credit: By TorbjørnS, CC BY-SA 3.0,  via Wikimedia Commons . 

Photo credit: By TorbjørnS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

श्रुतानुमानप्रज्ञाभ्यामन्यविषया विशेषार्थत्वात्॥४९॥
shruta-anumaana-prajjaabhyaam-anya-vishayaa vishesha-arthatvaat॥49॥

Swami Vivekananda translates, ‘The knowledge that is gained from testimony and inference is about common objects. That from the Samadhi just mentioned is of a much higher order, being able to penetrate where inference and testimony cannot go.’

What we call knowledge is based on language and concepts, often limited and incorrect. Once we have experienced this total absorption we see that what we considered to be true isn’t really the TRUE nature of things. The considerations that were so essential to our thinking and Being aren’t really relevant anymore, and our stresses and anxieties become irrelevant and drop away. At this point one can begin to observe that the Observer and the Observed are the same. (Sutra 1.3)

PatanjaliChris Johnson
Sutra 1.50 & Sutra 1.51

Sutra 1.50 तज्जः संस्कारोऽन्यसंस्कारप्रतिबन्धी ॥५०॥

(tajjas-samskāronya-samskāra pratibandhī ॥50॥) 
Swami Prabhavananda, ‘The impression which is made upon the mind by that samadhi wipes out all other past impressions.’ Samadhi, you remember, is that awesome, awful glimpse into the Spirit, a moment of fullness and emptiness, almost like glancing into the 'eye of the storm' multiplied thousandfold.

Sutra 1.51 तस्यापि निरोधे सर्वनिरोधान्निर्बीजः समाधिः ॥५१॥

(tasyāpi nirodhey sarva-nirodhān-nirbījaḥa samādhiḥi ॥51॥) 

Barbara Miller, 'When the turnings of thought cease completely, even wisdom ceases, and contemplation bears no seeds.' It is being 'born again' following an ego shattering experience - that of 'nirbija samadhi'.

These two sutras conclude Chapter 1, Samadhi Pada, the Path to Enlightened Being. After an experience of Nirbija Samadhi, an awareness of clarity, in its absolute sense, there is no going back to our old ways of thinking, perceiving, behaving. Those 'seeds' are destroyed. It is a new and novel state after which nothing is the same as before.

PatanjaliChris Johnson