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[Great Western Vehicle] [Vedic & Buddhist Studies] [Pali-English Dictionary] [Pali Language Resource Guide] [Ecstatic Meditation Archive]

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali

A Translation from Sanskrit to English

By the contemplative recluse monk Sotapanna Jhanananda (Jeffrey S, Brooks)

Revision 1.1 rendered July 23, 2005

Copyright 2005

Book I. The Foundations of Meditative Absorption

1.1 "Now, the teaching of the path of spiritual union (yoga).

1.2 Spiritual union (Yoga) through the stilling of the activities of cognition.

1.3 Then, the contemplative abides in his or her true nature.

1.4 Otherwise, one identifies with the activities of the mind.

1.5 There are five kinds of cognitive processes that are either harmful or benign.

1.6 They are right perception (pram‰–a), misperception (viparyaya), conceptualization and imagination (vikalpa), unconsciousness (nidr‰) and memory (smriti).

1.7 Accurate perception (pram‰–a) [of the path to enlightenment (dharma)] arises from direct experience, inference, canonical references and the words of the wise.

1.8 Misperception (viparyaya) and falsehood are not wisdom, because they are based upon the superficial (rupa).

1.9 Conceptual (vikalpa) knowledge is devoid of substance (vastu).

1.10 The mental state of unconsciousness (nidr‰) rests upon a lack of spiritual development (abh‰va).

1.11 Memory (smriti) is when the objects of experience are not forgotten.

1.12 These (cognitive processes) are mastered (nirodha•) by spiritual practice and dispassion.

1.13 Spiritual practice requires stillness and diligence.

1.14 And, this (spiritual practice) becomes skillful when it is firmly rooted upon continuous effort for a long time.

1.15 The accomplishment of mastery over attachment to the objects of things seen or heard is dispassion.

1.16 Pure awareness and insight are the products of non-attachment to the fundamental aspects of nature (gunas).

1.17 Cognitive absorption (Samprajnata samadhi) is accompanied by applied and sustained attention, a sense of self and blissful physical sensations. (DN 22)

1.18 Diligent practice is required to still the perceptions and storehouse of latent impressions (samskara).

1.19 Upon death if one is bonded to a sense of body, identity and perceptions one is likely to be reborn.

1.20 Otherwise wisdom is preceded by faith, energy (v”rya), mindfulness and meditative absorption (samadhi).

1.21 Those who are intense in their spiritual practice are very near (to enlightenment) (Dhammapada 372).

1.22 One's nearness depends upon whether one's spiritual practice is mild, moderate, or intense.

1.23 Or, surrender wholly to the Divine (Iswara), who is pure awareness.

1.24 God (Isvara) is a distinct, incorruptible form of the pure awareness (Purusha) within and is untouched by the hindrances (kleŒa) that are the causes of the ripening of the storehouse of demerits (karma).

1.25 That incomparable, all- knowing source,

1.26 who is unbounded by time, and who was also the teacher of the ancients,

1.27 is signified by the sacred sound.

1.28 Through repetition its meaning is realized.

1.29 And, from this practice comes inward attainment of consciousness and the obstacles disappear.

1.30 The obstacles are: Sickness, apathy, doubt, carelessness, laziness, hedonism, delusion, lack of progress, backsliding and a disturbed mind (anxiety).

1.31 They are accompanied by dissatisfaction, depression, the trembling of limbs, asthma and distraction.

1.32 These obstacles can be subdued with one of the following practices:

1.33 A calm mind radiating friendship (maitr”), compassion (karu–‰) and sympathetic joy (mudita) is equanimous (upek¾‰–‰þ) during pleasant and unpleasant (sukha & dukkha) times and when around the virtuous and the wicked. (Brahma viharas)

1.34 Or, during the cessation of breath.

1.35 Or, maintaining a stable mind as sensations arise.

1.36 Or. (through meditation) upon the supreme, ever-blissful light.

1.37 Or, maintaining one's mind free of desire for the objects of senses.

1.38 Or, resting upon the wisdom that comes from the dreams of sleep.

1.39 Or, through any desired meditation technique.

1.40 A contemplative's mastery can extend to the infinite or the infinitesimal.

1.41 Through becoming saturated in meditative absorption (samadhi) the habits of the mind, perceiver, perceiving and perception, dwindle until transparent as a jewel.

1.42 Meditative absorption (sam‰patti•) that is combined with sounds (Œabda), forms (artha) and concepts (j›‰na) is a conceptual meditative absorption with (sa) applied attention (vitarka) (savitarka samadhi) (upon objects).

1.43 Meditative absorption (samadhi) that is free of the (objects) of memory, thought and an awareness of a physical body, which is radiant in the emptiness of its own true nature, is meditative absorption without (nir) applied attention (vitarka) (nirvitarka samadhi).

1.44 In this way subtle phenomenon arise during conceptual (savic‰r‰) and non-conceptual (nirvic‰r‰) meditative absorption (samadhi).

1.45 Ending in subtle objects and without form.

1.46 These meditative absorptions (samadhis) occur also with the seed sound

1.47) In the non-conceptual (nirvic‰ra) meditative absorption (samadhi) the soul (adhy‰tma) is lucidly revealed.

1.48 This is consciousness in its absolute truest state

1.49 This wisdom is uniquely different from that which is acquired through testimony, scholarship and inference.

1.50 Its impressions efface all other impressions.

1.51 In seedless (nirb”ja•) meditative absorption (samadhi) all impressions are stilled, even the impressions of meditative absorption (samadhi).

Book II The Foundation of the Practice

2.1 Selfless Union (kriya yoga) with the divine (Isvara) is accomplished through discipline, study and devotion.

2.2 And, the purpose of meditative absorption (samadhi) is to weaken the obstacles of the mind (kleŒa).

2.3 The obstacles of the mind (kleŒa) are: the lack of wisdom (avidy‰), egotism (asmit‰), craving (raga), aversion (dve¾a), self-preservation (abhiniveŒ‰•).

2.4 Whether the obstacles (kleŒ‰•) are active, suspended, or weak, ignorance (avidy‰) is the breeding ground for them.

2.5 The lack of wisdom (ignorance) is seeing the impermanent (anitya) as permanent, the impure as pure, anxiety (dukkha) as happiness (sukha), the not-self as self.

2.6 Egotism is conflating the seer with the instrument of seeing and the powers (siddhis) as a product of self.

2.7 Lust follows pleasure.

2.8 Aversion follows anxiety (dukkha).

2.9 Self-preservation is rooted in following one's own tastes, thus follow a wise one.

2.10 Subtle are these ways with regard to overcoming the flow of the obstacles.

2.11 Meditation (dhyana) overcomes these tendencies.

2.12 The obstacles (kleŒa) are rooted in the storehouse of habitual behavior (karma) and can manifest in the present or in future births.

2.13 Materialism (bhog‰•) is the root of existence that ripens during the span of life.

2.14 The cause of either pleasure or suffering is due to the fruits of merit or demerit,

2.15 thus all people of discrimination transform anguish, tendencies, anxiety, the natural forces, habitual behavior and conflict,

2.16 less they be overcome by anxiety in the future.

2.17 Overcoming the causes of suffering the seer units with the seen.

2.18 The purpose of what is seen is liberation and illumination. activity and inertia (the three gunas), nature, the elements, the sense organs; consist of material existence.

2.19 The states of distinct and indistinct, definite and indefinite are the fundamental qualities of nature (gunas).

2.20 Although perception appears as if the mind is seeing, it is the pure awareness that has the power to see.

2.21 The revealing of the self (atman) is the only purpose of what is seen.

2.22 Although nature (Prakriit) ceases to be real for the one who has attained liberation. It (Prakriit) remains real as the common experience of others.

2.23 Through the true nature one recognizes the cause of the union between the owned (Prakriti) and the owner (Purusha) and their power.

2.24 Ignorance of this is the cause of the union.

2.25 The emancipation of the seer is from the absence of this ignorance.

2.26 Uninterrupted discriminative discernment is the means for the cessation of this ignorance.

2.27 The final stage of wisdom is seven fold.

2.28 By the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the impurities dwindle away revealing the light of wisdom, which leads to discriminative discernment.

2.29 The eight limbs (of yoga) are: external discipline (yama), internal discipline (niyama), posture (asana), breath observation (pranayama), withdrawal from the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) meditative absorption or union (samadhi).

2.30 1- External discipline (Yama) is: not harming, truthfulness, not stealing, celibacy, no greed.

2.31 This great vow is a universal.  It is not limited by class, place, time, or circumstance.

2.32 2- Internal discipline (Niyama) is: purity, contentment, intensity, scriptural study, and surrender to the divine.

2.33 Cognitive spiritual development (bh‰vanam) is paying attention (vitarka) to wholesome thoughts and repelling unwholesome thoughts.

2.34 When the attention (vitarka) is drawn to violence, etc., whether acted upon, instigated, or approved of, either slight, moderate or extreme, are always preceded by greed, anger and delusion and produce endless suffering and ignorance, thus cultivate (bh‰vanam) the opposite.

2.35 Hostility is abandoned in one who is firmly established in non-violence.

2.36 The fruit of selfless action (kriya) is based upon truthfulness.

2.37 Wealth comes to the one who is established in not stealing.

2.38 Energy (Vigor/v”rya/kundalini) is acquired through a practice that is based upon celibacy.

2.39 Insight and understanding into one's birth come to one who is not greedy.

2.40 Through purification one develops detachment from one's body and that of others.

2.41 And, the capacity for self-realization is based upon sattva, purity, gladness one-pointedness and mastery of the senses.

2.42 From contentment unsurpassed joy is acquired.

2.43 Intense discipline decreases bodily and sensory impurities and increases occult powers (siddhis).

2.44 Through study of the scriptures we commune with the sacred.

2.45 Through devotion to the sacred meditative absorption is attained.

2.46 3- Asana is a stable and comfortable posture.

2.47 Meditative absorption (samadhi) in the infinite is achieved through effort and relaxation,

2.48 therefore seek to be undisturbed by the dualities.

2.49 4- When the (posture) has been acquired, breath discipline (pranayama) is observing the flow of the breath in and out and its cessation.

2.50 The movement (of the breath) is to be scrutinized upon inhalation and exhalation, long, short or stationary, by space, time and number (frequency) (Anapanasati sutta MN 118].

2.51 This is the fourth limb. Transcending the objects of the senses externally and internally, [5) pratyahara sense withdrawal].

2.52 from this the veils covering the light are destroyed.

2.53 Thus the mind becomes fit for concentration (dharana).

2.54 In withdrawal from the senses (praty‰h‰ra) one uncouples the consciousness from following the sensory apparatus,

2.55 therefore the sensory apparatus will become one's ideal servant.

Book III The Foundations of the Powers (siddhis)

3.1 6- Concentration (Dharana) is binding consciousness in one place (one-pointedness).

3.2 7-Meditation (Dhyana) is continuously directing the attention (toward one object).

3.3 8- In meditative absorption (samadhi) there is only the shining form of one's (meditation) object (consciousness) is devoid of all other forms.

3.4 Contemplation (samyama) is these three [concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and meditative absorption (samadhi)] in one discipline.

3.5 Through mastership comes illumination (the light of wisdom).

3.6 Progress comes in stages.

3.7 These three [concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and meditative absorption (samadhi)] are the internal limb with respect to the preceding (five limbs).

3.8 Even they are external to the seedless (absorption-samadhi).

3.9 The transformation is made by the stilling of the latent impressions (saþsk‰rayo•) as they arise in the mind (which produces tranquility).

3.10 Tranquility is established through habit.

3.11 Through decreasing the non-contemplative habits of the mind, and increasing the contemplative habits of the mind meditative absorption is developed.

3.12 One-pointedness develops when the mind sees the subsiding past and the arising present equally.

3.13 By what has already been explained the elements, the senses the concepts, and the time dependent functions are transformed.

3.14 The seeker (dharmi) follows the path (dharma) from the past through the present and into the future.

3.15 The flow of these phases is the reason for differences in development.

3.16 Knowledge of the past and future can be developed through contemplation (samayama) on the three phases (past, present and future).

3.17 Through contemplation (samayama) upon the inner sound (Œabda) one moves beyond the confusion of superimposed distinctions in language, meaning and perception.

3.18 (Through contemplation/samyama) Knowledge of previous lifetimes can be had through direct observation of the mental impressions.

3.19 Through contemplation upon the characteristics of another, knowledge of their mental impressions is revealed.

3.20 The individual need not be present.

3.21 One can become invisible through contemplation (samyama) by uncoupling the light that enters the eye the power of perception can be interrupted.

3.22 In the same way as explained sound and the other faculties can be suspended, so that one disappears.

3.23 Through contemplation (samayama) knowledge of karma, either slowly or quickly manifesting, the time of death and signs and omens can be known.

3.24 Contemplation upon loving kindness, compassion, delight, and equanimity, one acquires occult powers.

3.25 Contemplation upon the elephant and other creatures yields their powers.

3.26 Contemplation upon the light within reveals the subtle, hidden and remote.

3.27 Contemplation upon the sun yields insight into the universe.

3.28 Contemplation upon the moon reveals knowledge about the arrangement of the stars (astrology).

3.29 Contemplation upon the polestar directs the flow of insight.

3.30 Contemplation upon the navel chakra yields insight into the organization of the body.

3.31 Contemplation upon the throat chakra eradicates hunger and thirst.

3.32 Contemplation upon the Ôtortoise channel' (a subtle tortoise-shaped tube located below the throat), one cultivates steadiness.

3.33 Contemplation upon the top of the head (sahasrara chakra) one receives the vision of the luminous one.

3.34 Or, through spontaneous illumination one realizes all these things.

3.35 Contemplation upon the heart chakra one understands the mind.

3.36 Wisdom comes from Contemplation upon the true self (soul/Purusha). The soul (Purusha) is unrelated to the intellect.   Cognition creates indistinct experiences of self-interest, whereas the Purusha exists for the interests of others (not self-serving).

3.37 From Contemplation (samyama) arises luminous (charismatic) hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting and smelling.

3.38 These occult powers (siddhis) and the obstacles of worldly pursuits can emerge from meditative absorption.

3.39 By loosening one's attachment to the body, and becoming profoundly sensitive to its currents, consciousness can leave this body and enter another's body (astral).

3.40 And, through mastery of the higher energies one can rise up and travel above water, swamp, thorns, and other obstacles without touching them.

3.41 Through mastery of the energies, one becomes radiant.

3.42 Through contemplation upon the relationship of sound in space, one acquires divine hearing.

3.43 Through meditative absorption upon the relationship of the body in space, intent upon being light as cotton one can travel through space.

3.44 When, through contemplation one has become unidentified with the external patterns of the mind, the veils are destroyed revealing the light of the great bodilessness (OOB).

3.45 Through contemplation (samyama) one gains mastery over one's gross and subtle forms and one understands their pervasive relationship and function,

3.46 through that one can attain the power to become as small as an atom and other attainments, such as the attainment of a perfect indestructible body with all of its functions.

3.47 This perfect body will have beauty, grace, strength and imperviousness.

3.48 Through contemplation (samyama) one gains mastery over the senses, the essential nature, the identity, and their relationship, meaning and purpose.

3.49 Therefore, through mastery over the foundation one gains the ability to move as quickly as the mind, and function without the aide of sense organs.

3.50 Seeing the difference between the essential pure nature and the soul (Purusha) one gains supremacy over all of the states, as well as omniscience.

3.51 Through non-attachment the seeds of bondage are destroyed and one is emancipated.

3.52 Even when the celestial beings admire one, one should not have pride or there maybe the inclination of repeating the undesirable.

3.53 Through contemplation (samyama) in every moment discriminative knowledge is born.

3.54 Through discriminative knowledge one can penetrate the seemingly indistinguishable characteristics of birth, appearances and, place.

3.55 And thus, knowledge born of discrimination simultaneously penetrates all experiential phenomena in all circumstances.

3.56 When the mental quality of purity (satva) is equal to the purity of the soul (Purusha), then one is emancipated.

Book IV The Foundations of Emancipation

4.1 Through previous births, medicine (or potions), intonation (mantra), austerity and meditative absorption one achieves occult powers (siddhis).

4.2 Through the flow of nature beings are transform from one class or species to the next.

4.3 Therefore, like a farmer prepares a field (by removing weeds, stones, tree limbs and trunks, etc.) nature effortlessly prepares us by presenting obstacles then removing them.

4.4 Only the ego forms cognition.

4.5 It is the (ego) who is the director of the many seemingly different functions of cognition.

4.6 That which is born from meditation (dhyana) is not part of the storehouse of latent impressions (psyche).

4.7 The actions (karma) of a contemplative (yogi) are neither white (good) nor black (bad), but for others they have three kinds (good, bad and neither good nor bad).

4.8 It is through favorable conditions that the latent impressions ripen and manifest.

4.9 Memory (smriti) and the latent impressions (samskaras) are identical, although they are separated by birth, place and time.

4.10 And, since the desire to exist is eternal the impressions are without beginning.

4.11 When the foundation for cause and effect disappears, so does cause and effect.

4.12 The path of differing characteristics of the past and future of one's form (body),

4.13 whether manifest or un-manifest, is the Nature of the gunas.

4.14 Our perception of reality is due to the ever-changing nature of the gunas.

4.15 Due to differences in cognitive abilities, perceptions vary.

4.16 An object's existence does not depend upon a single mind. Otherwise what would become of that object when that mind no longer perceived it? (If there is no one there to hear it, does a tree falling in the forest make a sound? Of course it does).

4.17 An object is perceived or not perceived depending upon whether or not the mind has been touched by it.

4.18 Changes in the cognitive mind are always known by the unchanging pure awareness (Purusha), its Lord,

4.19 The cognitive mind is not self-luminous but it is perceivable.

4.20) It, however, cannot be both the perceived and the perceiver.

4.21 If it were the perceiver of perceivers then there would be endless confusion of memory.

4.22 Consciousness is unchanging. It (the mind) assumes its shape from the Purusha and becomes self-conscious.

4.23 The cognitive self understands all, when it is touched by both the seer and the seen.

4.24 Though having countless tendencies, the mind exists for the sake of another (the Purusha, awareness) because it can act only in association with it.

4.25 The difference between one who sees and one who becomes the Self (Atman) is realizing cessation forever.

4.26 Discrimination bends the cognitive mind to gravitate toward emancipation.

4.27 A gap in discrimination allows distracting thoughts to arise due to habitual cognitive patterns.

4.28 The removal of the habitual cognitive patterns, like the obstacles (kleŒa), have been described before (see book 2, sutras 1, 2, 10, 11 and 26).

4.29 One who has achieved the highest summit of attainment and has dispassion and discriminative discernment in all circumstances has arrived at the meditative absorption of pervading wisdom called "cloud of truth," (dharma megha•).

4.30 From this absorption all obstacles and habitual behaviors end.

4.31 Then, all of the coverings and imperfections are removed, due to this boundless wisdom. What is left to be known is insignificant.

4.32 Through meditative absorption the fundamental qualities of nature (gunas) have fulfilled their purpose of the transformative sequence.

4.33 At the other end (enlightenment) the succession of moments that is the transformative sequence can be recognized.

4.34 Having no more purpose the fundamental qualities of nature (gunas) are reabsorbed upon emancipation into the foundation of its own nature or the power of pure consciousness. 

The end."

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