Definition and purpose of yoga

Definition and purpose of yoga

||Atha‬ Yoganusasanam||1||

Meaning of Sanskrit words in the phrase:
Atha: now therefore; yoga (regarding) yoga; anusasanam: complete instructions

Meaning in English: Now, therefore, complete instructions regarding yoga.

Atha means now, anusasanam means putting into practice or to start the practice. In this sutra Patanjali explains that yoga is practice and not just a discourse. It is the practical side of just every thing. Yoga is not to be treated as philosophy for study but to be seen as a practice. Taking a small step without focusing on the result could bring about a big forward movement.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras-sutra-2- Samadhi Pada-Yogashchitta vritti nirodhah

||Yogashchitta vritti nirodhah||2||

Meaning of the sanskrit words:
Yogah: yoga;
chitta: consciousness;
vritti: patterns or circular patterns;
nirodhah: blocking, stopping

Meaning: To block the patterns of consciousness is yoga.

This sutra speaks on the aim or the vision a yoga practitioner can arrive at in due course. One is said to better understand the meaning of this sutra after reading the other 194 sutras that explain how to achieve this. Practicing step by step one reaches the “nirbhija Samadhi” [translation- Samadhi – a state of super consciousness, a state transcending all mind activity; nirbija – without seed (the highest form of Samadhi)].

Patanjali Yoga sutras- Verse 3- Samadhi Pada-‪‎tadādraṣṭuḥsvarūpevasthānam‬

 ‪‎||Tadādraṣṭuḥsvarūpevasthānam‬||3||

The meanings of the Sanskrit words in the sutra is as follows:
Tada = then
Drashtuh = the seer’s
Svarupe = one’s own essential nature
Sva = own
Rupa = form
Avasthanam = establishment

English meaning: For finding our true self entails insight into our own nature.This sutra throws light on the culmination of Yoga.

Culmination of yoga is Self-realisation. Avasthanam is Sanskrit to restoration to the original state of self-realization. Mind that is conditioned by likes, dislikes, false beliefs, erroneous conceptions, false thinking- all related to the ego or ‘I’ principle has to be restored to its purity, complete sense-control, state of no desire to reach the goal of self-realisation. This realisation comes from within and a conditioned mind prevents the realisation from happening. Just as the bottom of the lake becomes visible when the waves stop in a lake, so can a calm mind help in realising our true nature. We can remain our own selves. In Sutra 3 we saw the culmination of Yoga where the seer (Purusha) is established in his own essential nature. Self-realised.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras-Verse 4-Samadhi Pada-Vritthisarupyamitaratra‬

||Vritthisarupyamitaratra‬||4||

Meaning of the Sanskrit words:
Vritti – modifications
Sarupyam – identification
Itaratra – in other state
Lacking that, misconceptions (vritti) skew our perceptions.
When not in Kaivalya or state of self-realisation, when without concentration (one pointed working with love), the seer, the self or soul (Purusha) identifies himself with the modifications. Somebody blames me and it affects my mind, creates modifications in the mind, I identify with it and create misery in myself. This is a type of wrong identification. Forgetting that we are mere spectators and getting absorbed with what is portrayed is identifying oneself with the ‪Chitta‬ and its patterns or modifications to that extent that we find it difficult to break away from it. So what is the state in which the seers become aware of its true nature? The state of ‪#‎Nirodha ‬- how does one achieve Nirodha? Patanjali recommends different techniques to take care of differing temperaments in order to arrive at the state of Nirodha.

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