(shraddhaa-vIrya smriti samaadhi prajnaa puravaka itarai shaam॥२०॥)
Moving beyond a simple practice of meditation to reduce stress and calm ourselves, to continue with absolute confidence (shraddha) and commitment towards one’s goal creates its own energy (virya). With constant mindfulness (smriti) and continuing to refine one’s spirit in order to reach a state of meditation where the physical senses are controlled and curbed is spiritual transformation (samadhi). Ultimately one finds the wisdom (prajna) to be free of one’s ego. (These are the steps to curbing the demands of the ego-self. They are addressed by Patanjali in Chapter II, in the Eight Limbs of Yoga.)
Sutra I.21 तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्नः॥२१॥
(tivra samvegaa naam asana-ha॥21॥)
This state is not so difficult to attain if one is focused and fervent about reaching it.
Even though Patanjali’s philosophy leads us where we cannot really go as it is so far from our secular world, the idea is that even while living this life one can develop spiritually by dissociating more and more from the experiences and thoughts that constantly drive us.
मृदुमध्याधिमात्रत्वात् ततोऽपि विशेषः ॥२२॥
mridu-madhya-adhimaatrat-vaat tato-api vishesha-ha ॥२२॥
Swami Satchidananda: “The time necessary for success further depends on whether the practice is mild, medium or intense.” So for those who practice with ardent intent and practice constantly the realization of the goal is near. There are many levels of 'being', and practice refers to the meditative state rather than a yoga workout.
Continuing to explain the process and techniques to access/reach ‘Godness’, Ishvara (Pure Consciousness – the Infinite and Unmanifest Energy which we often refer to as ‘God’), this sutra encourages the constant, committed and sincere practices that move us towards this goal.
ishvara = creative source, pure consciousness, purusha, God, supreme Guru or teacher
pranidhana = practicing the presence, sincerity, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice
va = or
क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः॥२४॥
(klesha karma vipaaka aashayaira para-amrishtaha purusha vishesha Ishvara-ha॥२४॥)
Only ‘Ishwara’ or the creative source, untouched by ignorance and the products of ignorance, is not subject to karma (the law of cause and effect), or samskara (deepest habits/experiences). This Being, ‘Ishwara’ alone is not affected by suffering.
तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञबीजम्॥२५॥
tatra nirati-shayam sarvagya-beejum॥25॥
What is absolute wisdom and compassion in the Infinite is only a germ in us mere mortals.
पूर्वेषाम् अपि गुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात्॥२६॥
poorvey-shaam api guruha kaalenana-vachhey-daath॥26॥
Unconditioned by time and beyond time itself, the Source is the ultimate teacher of the earliest wise ones.
तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः॥२७॥
tasya vaachak-ha pranavuh-ha॥27॥
The expression of the stream of Pure Consciousness is OM (pranava). According to Vyas Houston it is the ‘primary sound frequency of creation heard as an inner ringing sound current.’
When the mind wanders in your day, bring it back to the sound 'OM' (pranava) and sound it distinctly as 'aa', 'o', 'mmm'. Open the sound with a big and wide 'aaa' in the belly and up through to the throat, where it rounds in the mouth, and echoes through the oral chamber as 'oh'. Continue the sound forward to the lips and to the head. Lightly closing the lips allow the sound to end with the completion of the exhalation sounding 'mmm' till you run out of breath. Listen with complete attention to the silence. Repeat.
Sutra 1.28 तज्जपस्तदर्थभावनम्॥२८॥(tat-japah-tat-artha-bhavanam॥28॥)
According to Hariharananda Aranya, “Repeat It And Contemplate Upon Its Meaning.”
According to Barbara Miller, “Repetition of this syllable reveals it’s meaning”.
Our perceptions and our truths are limited to each one of us, individually. How I recognize truth, spirit, silence pertains to my experience of it.
We have to find a way to come to even ground where words and thoughts have no context. To do this, we have to unlearn what we know, and start again, constantly questioning the perception, the truth, the spirit and the silence.
We need to go backwards with the above-mentioned concepts:
What is this sound? 'OM' is universally recognized as an intrinsic part of the practice of Yoga. What is it? The last several sutras have been leading up to the actual expression of the vibration that comes close to encompassing all and everything, past-present-future. Anything you can imagine and everything you have experienced- the fullness of the Universe itself.
Tuta-ha pratyak-chetana-adhigumo pey-anta-raya-bhavashchuh॥29॥
As translated by Hariharananda Aranya, "From That Comes Realization Of The Individual Self And the Obstacles Are Resolved." In the sutra, 'That' refers to the repetition of the Pranava sound, as well as THAT which is the energy of 'Godness' that animates the Universe and is within us as the true Self.
vyaadhi-styaana-samshaya-pramaada-alasya-avirati bhraanti-darshanaa-alabdhuh-bhumikatva-anavasthitatvaani chitta viksheypasstey’ntaraayaa-ha॥३०॥
Ravi Ravindra interprets this sutra as ‘Sickness, apathy, doubt carelessness, laziness, indulgence, confusion, unsteadiness, and feeling stuck are the interruptions which cause dispersion of attention.’ These are the negative states that will impose themselves as your yogic practice strengthens, getting in the way of progress. It is part of the natural and normal process. The important thing is not to be swayed by these distractions but return to your goal with steadfastness.
Dukkha-daurmanas-yaag-gamey-jayatva shvaasa-prash-vaasaa vikshay-pasaha-bhuva-ha॥31॥
Barbara Miller translates this aphorism as, “These distractions are accompanied by suffering, frustration, trembling of the body, and irregular breathing."
“The practice of concentration on a single subject [or the use of one technique] is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments.” –Swami Satchidananda. This aphorism suggests undertaking a regular and daily practice of meditation to calm down the mind and to prevent the negativity and indifference that always prevents our following a disciplined one-pointed direction in life. It also refers to finding that one singular vocation or hobby or service that completely grabs our attention and interest.
maitri-karu-naam-uditopeksha-naam sukha-duhkha-punya-apunya-vishayaa-naam bhavana-ata-chitta-prasaada-nam॥33॥
Hariharananda Aranya interprets this as, ‘The mind becomes purified by the cultivation of feelings of amity, compassion, goodwill, and indifference respectively towards happy, miserable, virtuous andsinful creatures.'
First, one has to learn to focus the mind, and only then can one start to see everything as equally important or trivial. All those negativities in our lives are no more relevant or permanent than that which makes us glad.
प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य॥३४॥
(prach-chardana-vidhaaranaabhyaam vaa praanasyuh॥34॥)
The mind also becomes purified by the cultivation of the breath. According to Krishnamacharya, “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.” Breath literally connects our body, mind, and spirit. Inspiration or inhalation is linking to the "Self" within, which is equated with the Universal Spirit (from the Latin, 'inspirare', to breathe into from a divine source): always present, always here, always there, always everywhere. Focus on your breath to control stress.
विषयवती वा प्रवृत्तिरुत्पन्ना मनसः स्थितिनिबन्धिनी॥३५॥
(vishaya-vati va pravruttir-ut-panna manasaha sthiti ni-bandhini॥35॥
Translating this sutra on continuing with ways to focus the mind, Ravi Ravindra says, “Or from steady attention to subtler levels of sensation.” In his exposition of this aphorism he continues, "The whole domain of sensations is vast and subtle...Sensations caused by outer objects are received through the external senses. Finer sensations in the body which are not caused by any externally perceivable objects are received by the inner senses. Attending to subtler inner sensations helps develop the inner senses...Things of the flesh are seen by the eyes of the flesh, and things of the spirit by the eyes of the spirit."
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विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती॥३६॥
vishokaa vaa jyotish-matI॥36॥
Hariharananda Aranya’s translation of this aphorism is that 'the mind can be stilled when one’s perception is free from sorrow and is radiant.' What is radiance? Radiance is described as an inner-glow. Look into your heart, not your mind, in order to silence the chattering mind. Placing one hand over the other on your heart, just bring your full focus to the light and heat at the center of your being. Stay focused as long as you can. Maybe a little longer tomorrow!
वीतरागविषयं वा चित्तम्॥३७॥
(Vita-raaga-vishayam vaa chittam॥37॥)
Swami J. of the Himalayan Tradition interprets this aphorism as, "Or contemplating on having a mind that is free from desires, the mind gets stabilized and tranquil." Try visualizing your mind as the screen on which the drama of your imagination is displayed; calm it by trying to see the blank screen behind your movie of the moment.
स्वप्ननिद्राज्ञानालम्बनं वा ॥३८॥
svapna-nidra-ajgyaanaa-lumbanam vaa ॥38॥
Swami Prabhavananda interprets this aphorism as, ‘The mind of a yogi can concentrate upon any object of any size, from the atomic to the infinitely great.’ Concentration is not studying an object as in a science, nor observing it, nor even the experience of it – all of which are accessed through the sensory world. It is more like what William Blake has in mind in this verse:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.