Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Jnana Yagna (Knowledge Series) on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was held from Nov 6th through Nov 9th 2017, at the Chinmaya Hanuman Ashram in London, ON.  Over 4 days Acharya Vivek ji expounded on the meaning and practice of the most misused word “Yoga”, direct from the source, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

For those of who could not attend these sessions, you can watch the day by day discourse at the links below.

Yoga Sutras  –  Day 1

Yoga Sutras Jnana Yagna – Day 2

Yoga Sutras Jnana Yagna – Day 3


Yoga Sutras Jnana Yagna – Day 4


Yoga is a vision not a business. Rishi Patanjali understood this ancient philosophy and so has been able to share how to make this a modern practice. The only way to slow and stop the dilution of philosophy-practice which we are experiencing individually and institutionally is knowledge of the truth at the relative level. This Jnana Yagna prepares us for Knowledge of the Truth at the Absolute Level.

Some thoughts shared by Acharya Vivek ji earlier on, on this topic through E-Vichara :

Yogashchittavrttinirodah — the Yoga Sutras are expounded in 4 sections: the Purpose, the Practice, the Power and the Peace — in the Purpose section, the 2nd sutra shares, transcending thoughts of the mind is yoga
tapah svadhyayeshvarapranidhanani kriyayogah — not having studied this 1st sutra of the Practice section, many teachers and their organizations proclaim kriyayogah is asana and/or pranayama — when our shastras are not carefully examined in a parampara (lineage), naturally individual interpretations will manifest sharing asana is the ends when this is only for outer balance, sharing pranayama is the ends when this is only for inner strength
tapah — discipline is the fire to burn down comfort zones which express as likes / dislikes — when we know there is more to living than studying, working, enjoying, we burn within and this is the catalyst to accepting we need to change
svadhyaya — reflecting on one’s limited self one comes to appreciate one’s Limitless Self — we naturally and endlessly exert to know more about investments, politics, relationships, and to shift this exertion to knowing oneself is to evolve to a seeker
ishvarapranidhana — tapah is knowing one has to change, svadhyaya is knowing how one has to change and finally ishvarapranidhana is changing by infusing every moment with the presence of Bhagavan — God is the Creator, God is the creation and living with the feeling that all that is received is from the Divine and all that is offered is to the Divine is logical
tatah kleshakarmanivrttih — in one of the last sutras of the Peace section, Rishi Patanjali shares by immersing oneself in discipline, discrimination and devotion one is freed from the sorrow of ignorance — thus kriyayogah is not a secret, is not a phenomenon, is not a technique, kriyayogah is not a beach, is not beauty, is not a brand, for those seekers who care not for dilution, ease, popularity, kriyayogah is practicing egolessness

Yoga is Transcending the Thoughts of the Mind – Part 1

  • Purpose pulls performance – Rishi Patanjali unambiguously shares the purpose of the Yoga Sutra-s is yogah chitta vritti nirodah (yoga is transcending the thoughts of the mind)
  • yama – the mind has been created extrovert hence the need to use abstinence to guide the mind inward – by following ahimsa (non-harming), aparigrah (non-collecting), asteya (non-stealing),
  • brahmacharya (non-indulging) and satya (non-lying) we will quieten the mind
  • niyama – the mind has been created extrovert hence the need to use observance to guide the mind inward – by following Ishvara-pranidhana (devotion), santosha (contentment), saucha (purity), svadhyaya (introspection), tapasa (discipline) we will quieten the mind
  • asana – when the body is controlled in postures, mental energy is conserved – just as a rocket needs sufficient escape velocity to be free of the Earth’s gravity, we need sufficient energy to change
  • pranayama – when the breath is controlled in flows, mental energy is concentrated – we lack interest not concentration and this practice trains us to be interested in more than the material
  • The conflict between humans, religions, etc., is because we live at the surface where the only meaning is literal – if we study more and reflect more, we will listen more and think more, we will go deeper than the literal to the intention of a human, a religion, etc.

Yoga is Transcending the Thoughts of the Mind – Part 2

  • Jina means conqueror, not of man rather of mind – by following the means of yama (abstinence), niyama (observance), asana (controlled postures) and pranayama (controlled breathing) one is preparing for Silence by calming the body / breath
  • Pratyahara – after dis-identifying with the food / physiological sheaths, we have to be vigilant to not let our identification be usurped by the mind and forced to the senses – by practicing prati (lessening) + ahara (inputs) an environment is created where the mind is disengaged allowing for identification with the intellect
  • Dharana – the body interacts, the breath inputs, the mind interprets and the intellect instructs – the evolution of our efforts is to shift our concentration from the earlier verbs to holding on to the Awareness illumining the verbs
  • Dhyana – steady and sincere efforts to call the intellect to Awareness naturally grows to become effortless – establishing one’s self as Awareness is the only way to breaking one’s self from ignorance
  • Samadhi – the ego is ever converting us to become this, to become that – with our identification dha (placed) + sama (fully) in the Self, the noise of the ego is silenced
  • Rishi Patanjali unambiguously shares the purpose of the Yoga Sutra-s is yogah chitta vritti nirodah (yoga is transcending the thoughts of the mind) – such Freedom is only possible if we are engaged in yoga full-time…