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Introduction to Classical Yoga

Historical & Philological remarks
The Text of Patañjali's "Yoga-Sûtra"
Understanding important terms
Short Bibliography

©  Wim van den Dungen
Antwerp, 2015.

also visit : The Yoga-sûtra : a Buddhist Commentary

Historical & Philological remarks

History :

(§ 1) The available evidence about the author of these Sûtra's is not without the usual confusion typical for more than one Indian text. Earlier scholars affirmed that Patañjali -the yogin- and Patañjali -the grammarian- (who wrote the Mahâbhasya in the 2th century B.C.) were most probably not the same person. According to the intelligent mayority these Sûtra's are the product of the third century A.D. This school of yoga is known as 'classical'. Legend explains how Patañjali was an incarnation of Visnu, called Ananta. In the 11th century A.D. Al-Bîrunî translated the Yoga-Sûtra in Arab. This allowed one of the six classical schools of philosophy of India to directly influence Sufism. These Sûtra's may be regarded as the 'Crown' of the 'darsana' (point of view) called : 'yoga'. No commentary on these Sûtra's by a member of the classical school has been found. The two classical commentators (Vyâsa in the 5th & Vâcaspati Mishra in the 9the century) were outsiders (Vyâsa belonged to the school of Sâmkhya).
(§ 2) The story of yoga goes back to the Indus-civilization (3th & 2th millenium B.C.), expanding from the Arab Sea till the first mountains of the Himalayas. Eliade & others found evidence of early forms of yoga. Carved seals in the south (Mohenjo-Daro) suggest Siva. Iconographical material only. The literal start of the yoga system is to be found in the commentaries on the Veda's, especially Katha, Svetâsvatara, Maitrâyanîya, Îsa, Mundaka, and Mândûkya. Around the time of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ (i.e. chapters 13 till 40 of the sixth book of the great epic Mahâbhârata) all various forms of yoga were present (hatha, karma, bhakti, jñâna, mantra, kriyâ, kundalinî, sahaja, laya, dhyâna, nâda etc.) but a systematic & synthetic picture was lacking. The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali, also called the 'Royal Path' or 'Râja Yoga' offers this, although not in a simple & straightforward manner.

Philology :

(§ 1) As the reader may have observed, most punctuations necessary for an accurate transliteration of the Sanskrit-terms are not supported. However, 'Siva', 'Visnu', 'purusa', 'Îsvara', etc. are not written as 'Shiva', 'Vishnu', 'purusha', 'Îshvara', etc. Important terms are left untranslated, whereas 'samâdhi' is rendered as 'union' and 'samskâra' as 'reactors'.
(§ 2) This work is a technical treatise on yoga, not a popular digest. Most renderings of this text are naive because they misunderstand the importance of this fact. Mysticological investigations make it belong to the category of canonical discourses. Being the 'magnum opus' of a well-established group-identity, the Yoga-Sûtra initiated an era of yoga in which the variety & the wealth of the past are assimilated using ideas unlike Sâmkhya. Because of the activity of Patañjali and his school, yoga is a 'classical' perspective on a reality which radically differs from all realms of nature.
(§ 3) My study of the Yoga-Sûtra dates back over 15 years. My first translation of this treatise into Dutch was finished in 1985. The critical work of Feuerstein was most helpful to understand the Sanskrit involved. In 1987 I prepared an English translation which was gradually superseded by many more translations as my practice & study of classical yoga made progress. In 1995 a French translation was completed. This helped me considerably to finalize the English translations of Patañjali's text. This final English translation focuses on the technical, scientific & methodological rendering of the text, whereas in the French I allow a more liberal definition of some Sanskrit-expressions to surface, suggesting broader, more poetical perspectives.
(§ 4) Most technical Sanskrit-terms can not be translated using our everyday vocabulary. A commentary will be necessary to elucidate the more recondite, abstruse sûtra's. The rubrics were invented by the translator.

The Text of the "Yoga-Sûtra" of Patañjali (ca.3th century AD).

Translated by Wim van den Dungen,
Antwerp, 1997.

This Sûtra is the unity of 195 mnemonic verses divided into four books :

samâdhi-pâda : the path of enlightenment ;
sâdhana-pâda : the path of the yogin ;
vibhûti-pâda : the path of the powers ;
kaivalya-pâda : the path of aloneness.

Book 1 : Samâdhi-Pâda (path to union)

general definitions

1.1. Now, an exposition of Yoga. 1.2. Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness. 1.3. Then the seer stands in his own form. 1.4. At other times there is conformity with this flux.

five fluctuations

1.5. This flux is fivefold & afflicted or non-afflicted. 1.6. They are : valid cognition, misconception, conceptualization, sleep & memory. 1.7. Valid cognition is based on perception, inference and testimony. 1.8. Misconception is false knowledge not founded on the appearance of its object. 1.9. Conceptualization is without perceivable object, following verbal knowledge. 1.10. Sleep is a fluctuation resting on the thought of non-occurrence. 1.11. Remembering is not being deprived of the experienced object.

instruments of yoga

1.12. Restrict these through practice & dispassion. 1.13. Practice is the effort to gain stability in that restriction. 1.14. This is firmly grounded only when cultivated properly & for a long time uninterruptedly. 1.15. Dispassion is the smart volition of one without thirst for sensoric & revealed objects. 1.16. Superior to that is non-thirsting for the strata of Nature resulting from the vision of purusa.

two basic types of union

1.17. Union-with-seed is called "cognitive" by being connected with cogitation, reflection, joy & I-am-ness. 1.18. The other (union-without-seed) has a residuum of reactors & follows the former when the thought of cessation is practiced. 1.19. The union of those who have merged with Nature & those who are bodiless is due to their focus on the thought of becoming. 1.20. Union-without-seed is preceded by faith, energy, mindfulness, union-with-seed, supra-cognition.

the condition of progress

1.21. This is near to him who is extremely vehement in Yoga. 1.22. Because this can be modest, medium or excessive, the result differs.

a special way to achieve union

1.23. Or union through devotion to the Lord. 1.24.The Lord is a special purusa untouched by the causes of sorrow, karman & its fruition and the deposit in the depth-memory. 1.25. In Him the seed of all-knowing is unsurpassed. 1.26. He was also the mentor of the earlier ones by virtue of His temporal non-boundedness. 1.27. His word is om. 1.28. Recite it to realize its meaning. 1.29. Hence the attainment of inwardmindedness and also the disappearance of the get betweens.

the get betweens to union

1.30. Sickness, languor, doubt, heedlessness, sloth, dissipation, false vision, non-attaining the stages of Yoga and instability are the distractions of consciousness ; these are the obstacles. 1.31. Pain, depression, tremor of the limbs, wrong inhalation & exhalation jointly become with the distractions. 1.32. In order to counteract these practice Yoga on a single principle. 1.33. To show friendliness, compassion, gladness and equanimity -be they joyful, sorrowful, meritorious or demeritorious-pacifies consciousness.

other paths to union

1.34. Controlled expulsion & retention of breath. 1.35. Or it comes about when a supernal sensoric activity has arisen which holds the mind steady. 1.36. Or by the sorrowless & illuminating. 1.37. Or when consciousness takes those who conquered attachment as its object. 1.38. Or when resting on knowledge arising from dream & sleep. 1.39. Or through contemplation as desired. 1.40. Mastery from the most minute to the greatest magnitude ensues.

the essence of union

1.41. And when fluctuations have dwindled consciousness is like a precious jewel ; there results with reference to the 'grasper', the 'grasping' and the 'grasped' a coincidence with that on which consciousness abides & by which it is 'anointed'.

the subtypes of union

1.42. When there is conceptual knowledge based on the meaning of words, the state is called 'coincidence mixed with cogitation' (conceptual union). 1.43. When the depth-memory is purified, as it were empty of its essence and the object alone is shining forth, the state is empty of cogitations (non-conceptual union). 1.44. Thus by these forms the other two types of union, subtle & ultra-subtle are explained ; they use subtle objects. 1.45. And the subtle objects terminate in the undifferentiate. 1.46. These forms of coincidence (conceptual, non-conceptual, subtle & ultra-subtle) verily are with seed.

on the brink of seedless union

1.47. When there is a autumnal brightness in ultra-subtle union, the state is the clarity of the inner being. 1.48. This state of prajñâ is truth-bearing. 1.49. The scope of this differs from that gained from what one heard & inferred ; this owing to its particular purposiveness. 1.50. The reactor born from that binds all others.

how seedless union is achieved

1.51. When also this is restricted, owing to the restriction of all, union-without-seed ensues.

Book 2 : Sâdhana-Pâda (path to realization)

on the path : aims & means

2.1. Ascesis, self-study and devotion to Îsvara constitute the Yoga of Action. 2.2. This Yoga aims at cultivating union & attentuating the causes of sorrow.

the five causes of sorrow

2.3. Nescience, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion, the will-to-live are the five causes of sorrow. 2.4. Nescience is the field of the other ; they can be dormant, thin, cut off or aroused. 2.5. Nescience is the seeing of the eternal, pure, joyful and the Atman in the ephemeral, impure, sorrowful and the non-Atman. 2.6. I-am-ness is the identification as it were of the seer and the capacity of seeing. 2.7. Attachment is that which rests upon pleasant experiences. 2.8. Aversion rests on sorrowful experiences. 2.9. Thus the will-to-live, flowing along by its own inclination, is rooted even in the sages. 2.10. The subtle form of these (causes of affliction), namely the reactors & thoughts during union, has to be overcome by the process of (spiritual) counter-flow.  2.11. The crude form of these causes of sorrow are to be left behind by contemplation.

the mechanisms of the karmic law

2.12. The causes of sorrow are the root of the action-deposit and this may be experienced in this or in a future incarnation. 2.13. So long as the root exist there is fruition from it in the form of birth, a span of life and enjoyment. 2.14. These have delight or distress as results, according to the meritorious or demeritorous causes. 2.15. Because of the sorrow present in the transformation of Nature, in its anguish, in its reactors and due to the conflict between the movements of Nature, to the discerner all is merely sorrow.

the supreme goal of yoga

2.16. What is to be abandoned is the sorrow yet to come.

the seen & the seer

2.17. The correlation made between the seer and the seen is the cause of that which is to be overcome. 2.18. The seen has the character of brightness, activity & inertia ; is embodied in elements & sense-organs and serves the purpose of enjoyment and emancipation. 2.19. The strata of Nature are : the particularized, unparticularized, differentiate & undifferentiate. 2.20. The seer is sheer seeing but though pure sees through the mind (and its thoughts). 2.21. The essence of the seen is only for the sake of this seer. 2.22. Although the seen has ceased to exist for he who has accomplished his purpose, it has nevertheless not ceased to exist, since it is a common experience to all others. 2.23. The correlation causes the seer to apprehend the own form of the power of the owner and of the owned. 2.24. The cause of this is nescience. 2.25. When this disappears the correlation ceases ; this is cessation, the aloneness of seeing.

prajñâ is the supreme tool

2.26. The means of cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment. 2.27. For he who possesses this there arises, in the last stage, prajñâ, which is sevenfold.

the tool differentiated

2.28. Through the performance of the members of Yoga and with the dwindling of impurity, the radiance of true knowledge comes about, up to the vision of discernment.

the eight phases of the process-of-evolution

2.29. Restraints, observances, posture, breath-control, sense-withdrawal, concentration, contemplation & union are the eight.


2.30. Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and greedlessness are the restraints. 2.31. Valid in all spheres, irrespective of birth, place, time and circumstance are these. They are the great vow. 2.32. Purity, contentment, austerity, self-study and devotion to the Lord are the observances. 2.33. For the repelling of unwholesome thoughts cultivate the opposite. 2.34. Thoughts such as harming et cetera, whether done, caused to be done or approved, whether arising from greed, anger or delusion, whether modest, medium or excessive - these find their unending fruition in nescience and sorrow ; so cultivate the opposite. 2.35. When grounded in non-harming, all enmity is abandoned in one's presence. 2.36. When grounded in truthfulness, one masters action & its fruition. 2.37. When grounded in non-stealing, all jewels appear. 2.38. When grounded in chastity, vitality is obtained. 2.39. When settled in greedlessness one secures knowledge of the wherefore of one's births.


2.40. Purity gives a distance towards one's limbs and the desire of non-defilement by others. 2.41. Also purity of beingness, gladness, one-pointedness, mastery of the sense-organs & the capability of seeing one's âtman are achieved. 2.42. Through contentment unexcelled joy is gained. 2.43. Through austerity, as impurity dwindles, power over body & sense-organs. 2.44. Through self-study a contact with the chosen deity. 2.45. Through the devotion for the Lord, union.


2.46. Posture is steady and comfortable. 2.47. This is accompanied by the relaxation of tension & the coinciding with the endless. 2.48. Hence the pairs of opposites are unable to strike.


2.49. When this is achieved, breath-control (the cutting off of the flow of inhalation & exhalation) should be practized. 2.50. Breath-control is external, internal & fixed in its flux, it is regulated by place, time & number, it can be protracted or contracted. 2.51. Transcending the external and the internal sphere is called 'the fourth'. 2.52. So the covering of the (inner) light disappears. 2.53. And the mind is fit for concentration.


2.54. Sense-withdrawal is the imitation as it were by the sense-organs of the own form of consciousness by disuniting from their objects. 2.55. Hence the supreme obedience of the sense-organs.

Book 3 : Vibhûti-Pâda (path to power)


3.1. Concentration is the binding of consciousness to a single spot. 3.2. Here, the one-directionality of the thoughts related to the object of concentration is contemplation. 3.3. That, shining forth as the object of concentration -as it were empty of its own form- is union. 3.4. The three together are constraint. 3.5. Through mastery of that prajñâ flashes forth. 3.6. Its progression is gradual. 3.7. Compared with the previous members these three are inner. 3.8. Yet in relation to union-without-seed they are outer members.

the three transformations

3.9. The restriction-transformation connected with consciousness in its moment of restriction is the subjugation of the reactors of emergence & the outgoing of that of restriction. 3.10. The calm flow of this is effected through reactors. 3.11. Union-transformation is the dwindling of all-objectness and the uprising of one-pointedness. 3.12. Then, when the quiescent and the uprisen thoughts are similar, the one-pointedness-transformation of consciousness occurs. 3.13. By this are explained the transformations of form, time-variation & condition with regard to the elements and the sense-organs. 3.14. The form-bearer is that which follows the quiescent, the uprisen or the indeterminable. 3.15. The cause of the difference in the transformations is the differences in the sequence.

objects of constraint

3.16. Through constraint on the three forms of transformation comes knowledge of past & future. 3.17. The sound, the object & the thought are superimposed on one another in a confused way. Through constraint on the distinction of these, there arises knowledge of the sounds of all living beings. 3.18. Through a perception of the reactors, knowledge of previous births. 3.19. Through the thoughts of another, knowledge of his consciousness. 3.20. But not of that which supports this, for it is absent from it. 3.21. Through constraint on the form of the body, upon the suspension of the capacity to be perceived, meaning the disruption of the light travelling from that body to the eye, invisibility. 3.22. Karman is acute or deferred. Through constraint thereon, or from omens, knowledge of the time of death. 3.23. Through constraint on friendliness etc, the powers of that quality. 3.24. Through constraint on the power of the elephant etc, the strength of it. 3.25. By focusing the flashing-forth of mental activities on any object, knowledge of its subtle, concealed & distant aspects.

special objects of constraint

3.26. Through constraint on the sun, knowledge of the world. 3.27. Through constraint on the moon, knowledge of the arrangement of the stars. 3.28. Through constraint on the pole-star, knowledge of their movement. 3.29. Through constraint on the navel wheel, knowledge of the organization of the body. 3.30. Through constraint on the throat wheel, the cessation of hunger & thirst. 3.31. Through constraint on the tortoise duct, steadiness. 3.32. Through constraint on the light in the head, vision of the perfected ones. 3.33. Or in a flash-of-illumination all is known. 3.34. Through constraint on the heart, understanding of consciousness.

the cause of nescience & knowledge of purusa

3.35. Experience is a thought based on the non-distinction between absolutely unblended purusa & beingness. Knowledge of purusa comes from constraint on the own-purpose of purusa, apart from the other-purposiveness of Nature. 3.36. Hence a flash-of-illumination in hearing, sensing, sight, taste & smell. 3.37. These are obstacles to union but attainments in the waking-state.

the powers attained through constraint

3.38. Consciousness can enter another's body on relaxation of the cause of attachment and through the experience of going forth. 3.39. Through mastery of the up-breath, one gains the power of non-adhesion to water, mud & thorns and levitation. 3.40. Through mastery of the mid-breath one acquires effulgence. 3.41. Through constraint on the relation between ear and ether, the divine ear. 3.42. Through constraint on the relation between body and ether and through the coincidence with light objects such as cotton, the power of traversing the ether. 3.43. An external, non-imaginary fluctuation is the 'great incorporeal' from which comes the dwindling of the coverings of the light. 3.44. Through constraint on the coarse, the own form, the subtle, the connectedness and the purposiveness of objects, mastery over the elements. 3.45. Hence the manifestation of powers such as atomisation, the perfection of the body and the indestructibility of its constituents. 3.46. Beauty, gracefulness and adamant robustness are the perfection of the body. 3.47. Through constraint on the process of perception, the own-form, I-am-ness, connectedness & purposiveness, mastery over the senses. 3.48. Hence fleetness of mind lacking sense-organs & mastery over the matrix of Nature.

omnipotency & omniscience

3.49. For he who has merely the vision of discernment between purusa & beingness the supremacy over all states and omniscience ensues. 3.50. Through dispassion even to that, with the dwindling of the seed of the defects, aloneness.

warning to those already very evolved

3.51. The invitation of the high-placed gives no cause of attachment or pride, because of the renewed and undesired inclination.

the supreme constraint

3.52. Through constraint on the moment and its sequence, knowledge born of discernment. 3.53. Hence the awareness of the difference between similars which cannot normally be distinguished due to the continuity of the distinctions of class, appearance & position. 3.54. The knowledge born of discernment is the 'deliverer' and is omni-objective, omni-temporal and non-sequential. 3.55. Thus, with the equality in the purity of beingness & purusa, aloneness.

Book 4 : Kaivalya-Pâda (path to aloneness)

the possible causes of para-normal powers

4.1. The powers are the result of birth, herbs, mantra, ascesis or union.

the metapsychology of conscious evolution

4.2. The transformation into another category of existence is possible because Nature is superabundant. 4.3. The cause without measure does not initiate Nature but -as a farmer- singles-out possibilities. 4.4. Individualized consciousness proceeds from the primary I-am-ness. 4.5. These individualized consciousnesses are engaged in distinct activities, but the one consciousness is the originator of the others. 4.6. Of these, that born out of contemplation is without subliminal deposit.

karmic effects of yogic evolution

4.7. The karman of the yogin is neither black or white ; that of the others is threefold. 4.8. Hence the manifestation only of those subliminal traits corresponding to its fruition. 4.9. On account of the uniformity between the depth-memory and the subliminal activators there is a causal relation, even though separated in terms of place, time & birth. 4.10. These are without beginning because of the perpetuity of the primordial will. 4.11. Because of the connection with cause, fruit, substratum and support, it follows that with the disappearance of these, the disappearance of those is brought about.

does time still exist ?

4.12. Past and future as such exist, because of the difference in the paths of the forms. 4.13. These are manifest or subtle and composed of the gunas.

do objects still really exist ?

4.14. The 'that-ness' of an object derives from the homogeneity in the transformation. 4.15. In view of the multiplicity of consciousness as opposed to the singleness of an object, both belong to separate levels. 4.16. And the object is not dependent on a single consciousness. This is unprovable. Besides, what could this possibly be ? 4.17. An object is known or not by reason of the required coloration of consciousness by it.


4.18. Because of the immutability of purusa, the fluctuations of consciousness are always known by its 'superior'. 4.19. That fluctuating consciousness has no self-luminosity because of its seenness. 4.20. And so it is impossible to cognise both consciousness and its object simultaneously. 4.21. If consciousness were perceived by another this would lead to a regress from cognition to cognition, confusing memory. 4.22. When the unchanging awareness assumes the shape of that consciousness, experience of one's own cognitions becomes possible. 4.23. Provided consciousness is coloured by the 'seer' & the 'seen', it can perceive any object. 4.24. That consciousness, though speckled with countless subliminal traits, has its own other-purpose due to its collaborate activity.

the realized yogins

4.25. For him who sees the distinction, there comes about the discontinuation of the cultivation of the false self-sense.

reaching union without seed

4.26. Then consciousness -inclined towards discernment- is borne onwards towards aloneness. 4.27. In the intervals of that consciousness, other thoughts may arise from the reactors. 4.28. Their cessation is achieved in the same way as described for the causes of sorrow.

moving beyond Nature

4.29. Always non-usurious even in that consciousness & through the vision of discernment, a union designated as 'cloud of dharma' ensues. 4.30. Hence the discontinuation of the causes of sorrow and of karman. 4.31. Then, when all coverings of imperfection are removed, little remains to be known because of the infinity of knowledge.

the final exit from the natural realm

4.32. Hence the termination of the sequences in the transformation of the gunas, whose purpose is fulfilled. 4.33. Sequence means that which is correlative to the moment, apprehensible at the terminal point of a transformation.

ultimate, final liberation

4.34. The process-of-evolution of the gunas, devoid of the purpose for purusa, is aloneness, the establishment of the power of awareness in its own form.


Important Terms

Philosophy :

Some terms are left in the original :

(§ 1) "yoga" : root "yuj", to bind together, yoke, union ;

(1.1.) Yoga is an action, not a philosophy, system or theory. Orthodoxy is absent. Only orthopraxis prevails. In the 'darsana' called 'yoga' different actions leading to the same goal (union or 'samâdhi') are studied & practiced. Major angles of approach can be classified as actional (karma), affectional (bhakti) or cognitive (jñâna), but other classifications exist. Râja yoga succeeded to unfold the underlying mechanisms of consciousness blocking the restriction of its fluctuations, causing suffering & absence of union. It offers the panoramic view on the discipline.
(1.2.) Yoga is the binding together of man with the ultimate potential as a result of a particular practice coupled with a 'smart volition' enabling one to be part of the world without having thirst for its activities. This union happens as an empirical datum, as witnessed by the perennial yogic tradition. Yoga is not interested in the nature or the metaphysics of union. Its aim is to find a technique allowing consciousness to clearly & permanently distinguish between nature & purusa. Once this absolute dyad is present in consciousness, union occurs.

(§ 2) "sûtra" : root "sîv", tread, cord, rule, aphorism, girdle of upper casts, plan ;

Man tries to educate the next generation. At some point a lofty oral tradition vanishes or is textualized. A tread is created, a rule or standard for future research & education.

(§ 3) "Îsvara" : root "îs", to own, be master of + "vara", choices ;

(3.1.) In post-vedic brahmanism, Îsvara, Îsa or Îsana is the personal form of "Brahman", bi-polar : unpersonal primal cause of existence (nirguna) and personal creator of all of existence (saguna). Patañjali understands this personal form as the archetypal yogin, a special purusa. He does not express himself mythologically but is apparently unable not to witness the influence of this special purusa during meditation.
(3.2.) The yogin is not asked to become one with Îsvara. Quite on the contrary. The thought of becoming has to be discarted. The divine mechanism of being is not purusa. So it is only suggested that the "cloud of dharma" implies "nirguna Brahman" : unpersonal, ultimate, pure potential, unmanifested, unfounded foundation of being & not-being.

(§ 4) "purusa" : unknown, possible related to a compound meaning 'man' ;

(4.1.) In Brihadâranyaka-Upanisad purusa is approached as 'he who lies in the citadel of the unmanifest world-ground'. As in many popular folk philosophies purusa is pictured in Chândogya-Upanisad as a sort of 'indwelling ghost' able to leave the body of a sleeping person. In later epic texts, purusa is identified with âtman.
(4.2.) Purusa is what is left when the universe (all natural & psychological process) is negated. Yoga (as in Sâmkhya) classifies both physical & mental states as part of the energetical realm of the world ("guna" & "prakriti"). No mental state is beyond the world. So purusa does not think, feel or act. (4.3.) Purusa describes the existence of the numinous as it occurs in seedless union. The first time a yogin merges without seed is also the last time s/he is not but a sheer witness of life. In the 4 unions with seed (cognitive, a-cognitive, subtle, ultra-subtle) it is possible to experience purusa as the infusion of the unmanifested (the absolute) in the manifested (the relative). In that consciousness the existence of superior beings & the special purusa or Îsvara is direct. The yogin who accepts Îsvara as his (her) mentor will receive intuitive insights allowing consciousness to move beyond union with seed.
(4.4.) Patañjali's synonyms : (sheer) seer, grasper, owner, superior, awareness, other.

(§ 5) "prajñâ" : "pra" + root "jñâ", to know or intuitive insight ;

Intuition is a truth-bearing direct experience of reality-as-such. As a particular angle on absolute reality it can never fail 'sui generis'. It operates at the edge between union-with-seed & union-without-seed (i.e. in ultra-subtle union).

(§ 6) "âtman" : uncertain, possibly related to "tman", vital breath ;

Equated with purusa in a more recent period.

(§ 7) "karman" : root "kri", to do, action ;

The universe (physical + mental) is a multi-layered living organism. All parts are interlocked and different strata interpenetrate each other. The universe (prakrt) is organised. The law of cause & effect is operative throughout. Nothing is lost and no error is left uncompensated. The reactors make up the active deposit, or residuum of experience of the individual. They power the mechanism of consciousness and are organised in configurations, traces, traits. World-experience does not originate the reactor grids but reinforces them.

(§ 8) "guna" : lit."strand".

The forces operative in the universe are classified. The three gunas are the primary constituents of the world-ground or Nature. They are used in cosmology & psychology. Material phenomena & psychomental events (body, emotions & mind) are clearly distinguished but part of the same category. The Indian schemata anticipate the absolute distinction between the universe & the 'other'. According to Feuerstein the three gunas represent existence, discontinuity & continuity (sattva, rajas, tamas).

(§ 9) "samâdhi" : from "sam" + "â" + root "dhâ", to put ; lit. 'putting together' ;
related to "sampatti" : from "sam" + "â" + root "pat", to fall ; to fall together, coincide

(9.1.) As soon as the distinction between subject & object of experience is eliminated, which happens when 'ad perpetuam' seen (Nature) & seer (Self) are distinguished (so that no erroneous 'superimpositions' occur - cfr. Sankara's interpretation), destroying the false 'âtman'. This is linked with the 'superior' mode of detachment, eliminating all thirst for Nature.
(9.2.) The experience of union is structured. Its architecture being defined by the nature of the seed contemplated ('dhyâna'). If this is 'coarse' (i.e. stemming from the physical, particularized realm), union is restricted to the first degree of 'union-with-seed' and its negation. If 'subtle' (unparticularized, differentiate or undifferentiate), the complete flower of union-with-seed may be savoured & beyond.
(9.3.) Firstly, union-with-seed is cognitive, causing contemplative aggregates of meta-thought (the finer fluctuations of consciousness). Although these 'samadhic thoughts' are cogitative, joyous & I-centered, they should be negated (i.e. become 'a-cognitive') for the sake of one's spiritual evolution. If no subtle seeds are available, no further progress can be made. Secondly, union-with-seed is reflective. The contemplation of subtle seeds leads beyond cognitive & a-cognitive union to subtle & ultra-subtle union, the second degree of 'union-with-seed'.
(9.4.) Union-without-seed is the result of the practice of the thought of cessation during union-with-seed. When subtle seeds are contemplated, ultra-subtle union (the negation of subtle union) may be attained. The ultimate border of this state (at the edge of union-without-seed) is very special. This lucid state called 'prajñâ' is truth-bearing (direct experience of absolute reality), of the nature of a pure flash of insight and of enormous karmic importance. For if this state is attained, all other reactors are bound, leading -as soon as this binding of all possible deep-reactions is finished- to union-without-seed. At this point all suffering has ceased & the yogin needs but to take one step further to merge with the unmanifested ground of existence. Simultaneous with this final merging is the dissolution of the body of the yogin.

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Woods, J.H. : The Yoga-system of Patañjali ,
or the Ancient Hindu Doctrine of Concentration of Mind, embracing :
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- the comment, called Yoga-Bhasya , attributed to Veda-Vyâsa (between A.D. 650 - 850) ;
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Woods, R. : Understanding Mysticism , Image - New York, 1980.


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initiated : 1997 - last update : 05 IX 2013 - version n°3