Yoga Sutras of Patanjali : Chapter-1 : Concentration (Samadhi Pada)

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

       Yoga Sutras of Patanjali succinctly outlines the art and science of Yoga meditation for Self-Realization. Yoga Sutras is a process of systematically encountering, examining, and transcending each of the various gross and subtle levels of false identity in the mind field, until the jewel of the true Self comes shining through.

       In the tradition of the Himalayan masters, Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra complement one another, leading one systematically along the path to Self-realization. The aspirant clears the mind through the practice of Yoga meditation as codified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, does self-enquiry of Vedanta, and then breaks through the final barrier with Tantra, experiencing the heights of kundalini awakening.

       Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or books (Sanskrit – Pada), containing in all 196 aphorisms, divided as follows :

Concentration (Samadhi Pada) : Chapter-1 of Yoga Sutras

What is Yoga? (1 to 4 aphorisms)

1. Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.

(atha yoga anushasanam)


2. Yoga is the control (nirodhah, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, stilling, quieting, setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought patterns) of the mind field.

(yogash chitta vritti nirodhah)


3. Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self- realization.

(tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam)


4. At other times, when one is not in Self-realization, the Seer appears to take on the form of the modifications of the mind field, taking on the identity of those thought patterns.

(vritti sarupyam itaratra).

Un-coloring your thoughts (5 to 11 aphorisms)

5. Those gross and subtle thought patterns (vrittis) fall into five varieties, of which some are colored (klishta) and others are uncolored (aklishta). 

(vrittayah pancatayah klishta aklishta)


6. The five varieties of thought patterns to witness are:

  • 1) knowing correctly (pramana),
  • 2) incorrect knowing (viparyaya),
  • 3) fantasy or imagination (vikalpa),
  • 4) the object of void-ness that is deep sleep (nidra), and
  • 5) recollection or memory (smriti). 

(pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smritayah)


7. Of these five, there are three ways of gaining correct knowledge (pramana):

  • 1) perception,
  • 2) inference, and
  • 3) testimony or verbal communication from others who have knowledge.

(pratyaksha anumana agamah pramanani)


8. Incorrect knowledge or illusion (viparyaya) is false knowledge formed by perceiving a thing as being other than what it really is.

(viparyayah mithya jnanam atad rupa pratistham)


9. Fantasy or imagination (vikalpa) is a thought pattern that has verbal expression and knowledge, but for which there is no such object or reality in existence. 

(shabda jnana anupati vastu shunyah vikalpah)


10. Dreamless sleep (nidra) is the subtle thought pattern which has as its object an inertia, blankness, absence, or negation of the other though patterns (vrittis).

(abhava pratyaya alambana vritti nidra)


11. Recollection or memory (smriti) is mental modification caused by the inner reproducing of a previous impression of an object, but without adding any other characteristics from other sources.

(anubhuta vishaya asampramoshah smritih)

Practice and non-attachment (12 to 16 aphorisms)

12. These thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered (nirodhah, regulated, coordinated, controlled, stilled, quieted) through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).

(abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah)


13. Practice (abhyasa) means choosing, applying the effort, and doing those actions that bring a stable and tranquil state (sthitau).

(tatra sthitau yatnah abhyasa)


14. When that practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.

(sah tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih)


15. When the mind loses desire even for objects seen or described in a tradition or in scriptures, it acquires a state of utter (vashikara) desirelessness that is called non- attachment (vairagya).

(drista anushravika vishaya vitrishnasya vashikara sanjna vairagyam)


16. Indifference to the subtlest elements, constituent principles, or qualities themselves (gunas), achieved through a knowledge of the nature of pure consciousness (purusha), is called supreme non-attachment (paravairagya).

(tat param purusha khyateh guna vaitrshnyam)

Types of concentration (17 & 18 aphorisms)

17. The deep absorption of attention on an object is of four kinds,

  • 1) gross (vitarka),
  • 2) subtle (vichara),
  • 3) bliss accompanied (ananda), and
  • 4) with I-ness (asmita),

and is called samprajnata samadhi.

(vitarka vichara ananda asmita rupa anugamat samprajnatah)


18. The other kind of samadhi is asamprajnata samadhi, and has no object in which attention is absorbed, wherein only latent impressions remain; attainment of this state is preceded by the constant practice of allowing all of the gross and subtle fluctuations of mind to recede back into the field from which they arose.

(virama pratyaya abhyasa purvah samskara shesha anyah)

Efforts and commitment (19 to 22 aphorisms)

19. Some who have attained higher levels (videhas) or know unmanifest nature (prakritilayas), are drawn into birth in this world by their remaining latent impressions of ignorance, and more naturally come to these states of samadhi.

(bhava pratyayah videha prakriti layanam)


20. Others follow a five-fold systematic path of

  • 1) faithful certainty in the path,
  • 2) directing energy towards the practices,
  • 3) repeated memory of the path and the process of stilling the mind,
  • 4) training in deep concentration, and
  • 5) the pursuit of real knowledge, by which the higher samadhi (asamprajnata samadhi) is attained.

(shraddha virya smriti samadhi prajna purvakah itaresham)


21. Those who pursue their practices with intensity of feeling, vigor, and firm conviction achieve concentration and the fruits thereof more quickly, compared to those of medium or lesser intensity.

(tivra samvega asannah) 


22. For those with intense practices and intense conviction (21), there are three more subdivisions of practice, those of mild intensity, medium intensity, and intense intensity. 

(mridu madhya adhimatra tatah api visheshah)

Contemplation on AUM or OM (23 to 29 aphorisms)

23. From a special process of devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged (ishvara pranidhana), the coming of samadhi is imminent.

(ishvara pranidhana va)


24. That creative source (ishvara) is a particular consciousness (purusha) that is unaffected by colorings (kleshas), actions (karmas), or results of those actions that happen when latent impressions stir and cause those actions.

(klesha karma vipaka ashayaih aparamristah purusha-vishesha ishvara)


25. In that pure consciousness (ishvara) the seed of omniscience has reached its highest development and cannot be exceeded.

(tatra niratishayam sarvajna bijam)


26. From that consciousness (ishvara) the ancient-most teachers were taught, since it is not limited by the constraint of time.

(purvesham api guruh kalena anavachchhedat) 


27. The sacred word designating this creative source is the sound OM, called pranava.

(tasya vachakah pranavah)


28. This sound is remembered with deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents.

(tat japah tat artha bhavanam)


29. From that remembering comes the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles.

(tatah pratyak chetana adhigamah api antaraya abhavash cha)

Obstacles and solutions (30 to 32 aphorisms)

30. Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

(vyadhi styana samshaya pramada alasya avirati bhranti-darshana alabdha- bhumikatva anavasthitatva chitta vikshepa te antarayah)


31. From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are:

  • 1) mental or physical pain,
  • 2) sadness or dejection,
  • 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and
  • 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.

(duhkha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva)


32. To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.

(tat pratisedha artham eka tattva abhyasah)

Stabilizing and clearing the mind (33 to 39 aphorisms)

33. In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.

(maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam)


34. The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath, particularly attending to exhalation and the natural stilling of breath that comes from such practice.

(prachchhardana vidharanabhyam va pranayama)


35. The inner concentration on the process of sensory experiencing, done in a way that leads towards higher, subtle sense perception; this also leads to stability and tranquility of the mind.

(vishayavati va pravritti utpanna manasah sthiti nibandhani)


36. Or concentration on a painless inner state of lucidness and luminosity also brings stability and tranquility.

(vishoka va jyotishmati)


37. Or contemplating on having a mind that is free from desires, the mind gets stabilized and tranquil.

(vita raga vishayam va chittam)


38. Or by focusing on the nature of the stream in the dream state or the nature of the state of dreamless sleep, the mind becomes stabilized and tranquil.

(svapna nidra jnana alambanam va)


39. 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.

(yatha abhimata dhyanat va)

After stabilizing the mind (40 to 51 aphorisms)

40. When, through such practices (as previously described in 33-39), the mind develops the power of becoming stable on the smallest size object as well as on the largest, then the mind truly comes under control.

(parma-anu parama-mahattva antah asya vashikarah)


41. When the modifications of mind have become weakened, the mind becomes like a transparent crystal, and thus can easily take on the qualities of whatever object observed, whether that object be the observer, the means of observing, or an object observed, in a process of engrossment called samapattih.

(kshinna-vritti abhijatasya iva maneh grahitri grahana grahyeshu tat-stha tat-anjanata samapattih)


42. One type of such an engrossment (samapattih) is one in which there is a mixture of three things, a word or name going with the object, the meaning or identity of that object, and the knowledge associated with that object; this engrossment is known as savitarka samapattih (associated with gross objects).

(tatra shabda artha jnana vikalpah sankirna savitarka samapattih)


43. When the memory or storehouse of modifications of mind is purified, then the mind appears to be devoid of its own nature and only the object on which it is contemplating appears to shine forward; this type of engrossment is known as nirvitarka samapattih.

(smriti pari-shuddhau svarupa-shunya iva artha-matra nirbhasa nirvitarka)


44. In the same way that these engrossments operate with gross objects in savitarka samapattih, the engrossment with subtle objects also operates, and is known as savichara and nirvichara samapattih.

(etaya eva savichara nirvichara cha sukshma-vishaya vyakhyata)


45. Having such subtle objects extends all the way up to unmanifest prakriti.

(sukshma vishayatvam cha alinga paryavasanam)


46. These four varieties of engrossment are the only kinds of concentrations (samadhi) which are objective, and have a seed of an object.

(tah eva sabijah samadhih)


47. As one gains proficiency in the undisturbed flow in nirvichara, a purity and luminosity of the inner instrument of mind is developed.

(nirvichara vaisharadye adhyatma prasadah)


48. The experiential knowledge that is gained in that state is one of essential wisdom and is filled with truth.

(ritambhara tatra prajna)


49. That knowledge is different from the knowledge that is commingled with testimony or through inference, because it relates directly to the specifics of the object, rather than to those words or other concepts.

(shruta anumana prajnabhyam anya-vishaya vishesha-arthatvat)


50. This type of knowledge that is filled with truth creates latent impressions in the mind-field, and those new impressions tend to reduce the formation of other less useful forms of habitual latent impressions.

(tajjah samskarah anya samskara paribandhi)


51. When even these latent impressions from truth filled knowledge recede along with the other impressions, then there is objectless concentration.

(tasya api nirodhe sarva nirodhat nirbijah samadhih)


Chapter-1 of Yoga Sutras : Concentration (Samadhi Pada)

(Yoga Sutras of Maharshi Patanjali)

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