This is my personal study on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali based on my life experiences, self-studies and studies.
Yoga is not separated from life.

THYSELF

In the frontal columns at the Temple of Apollo on the Mt. Parnassus, in Delphi, central Greece, were engraved the 147 aphorisms and one of those concise aphorisms reads: Know Thyself (γνῶθι σεαυτόν: gnōthi seauton).

If there would be any suggestion how to open the folds of the being one after another and eventually to accomplish this huge work on one own’s self, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a text of aphorisms which date is ranging from 400 B.C. to 400. A.D., would be the most fruitful suggestion.

MODERN AND YOGIC PSYCHOLOGY

Even though the root of the word psychology comes from the greek words ψυχή (psihi: soul) and λόγος (logos: science), a modern psychology is defined as „the study of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of human experience.“
The Yoga Sutras are an in-depth guide which begins with personal and collective psychology and over the highest personal philosophy leads to the evolution of the soul.
The practice of Yoga, which is not only the practice of physical postures, leads to the state which is much beyond the ordinary logical experience, to the metaphysical, intuitive insight of the mind at his highest frequencies. Everything will be easier if we were just piles of bones and flesh, and liters of blood and lymph. But we are not and that is where the confusions come from. If a man wants to find the solution for those confusions, he should start with opening the levels of himself one after another, then bring the connection between the various levels, and after all to transcend them.

MAN’S MIND

Man is never satisfied. He always feels something to be missing in his life, especially in a life of a westerner. The Western societies, especially those the most developed whatever that hierarchy may mean, unlike Eastern, look perfectly polished. But even western people get sicknesses. Why do people get mental or physical illnesses if everything is so perfect?

ABOUT YOGA SUTRAS

The Yoga Sutras are divided into four chapters:
1. Aims of Yoga, or samadhi pada with 51 sutras which explains the aim of concentration, the psychosomatic obstacles and how to overcome them.
2. Practice of Yoga, or sadhana pada with 54 sutras which explains the nature and causes of obstacles and how to eliminate them. This chapter is actually meant for those who are at the beginning of the path.
3. Divine or supernatural powers, or vibhuti pada with 56 sutras, defines the higher concentration, the synthesis of the previous practices and the result, explains the concept of time, how to apply the highest experience, and the results which lead to the perfection of the recognition.
4. Liberation, or kaivalya pada with 33 sutras, the chapter about the genesis of the extraordinary powers, changes and their cause, explains the form of time, connection to the source and its highest reflexion. Kaivalya means aloneness as a freedom of the soul from the bondage of body, mind, desire and pride of success.

The classical eight folded Yoga of Patanjali begins with the Sutra 29 of the second chapter and ends with the Sutra 4 of the third chapter. My study on the Yoga Sutras completes the whole third chapter and ends with the first sutra of the fourth chapter. The most of the quoted translations of the Yoga Sutras are translations by Swami Prabhavanananda and Christopher Isherwood from the „Patanjali, Yoga Sutra“.

EIGHT FOLDS OF YOGA

The eight folds of Yoga are not disconnected and unrelated processes but rather a interrelated and unified stages, just like ladder with seven rungs. These eight stages or folds are not promising the transformation to anyone, especially not to those who are just reading but not practicing, but the eight folds of Yoga are the fundament of the fulfilled life and peaceful happiness which each and every human being wishes for himself.

With the practice of the lower stages of Yoga one will develop a right thinking (sadvichara) and therewith the right acting. The higher stages lead to the deepest understanding and the recognition on the highest level.
The eight rungs of Yoga are like gates in a circle. Opening one gate leads to opening of another until the next gate closes the circle and move to the next level of evolution, to the self realization which is nothing else than the transformation and the deep knowing of the self. The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are very clear aphorisms and teachings how to use the whole being on the journey of life to the Self-Realization. This path is in different cultures and their belief and thought systems called by different names, like Self-Knowledge, bodhi, nirvana, awakening, kaivalya, union of the Shakti (individual soul) and Shiva (the universal soul), mystical union etc.
No step here is to be imitated. Life will bring each and every one of us exactly there where we should arrive. This natural law applies to everyone even to identical twins.  
If you don’t start you don’t finish. Life permanently offers vast opportunities and no one stops you to use your wonderful congenital carriage and to make the most of each and every opportunity to open the windows at your cocoon of habits, prejudice, believes, conviction, ignorance, in order to free your mind and to replace the surface connections with deep and meaningful ones, whether the connection with your inner self and with others or with nature and the Universe. In spite of all obstacles, the enlightenment is possible.
You are the creator.

„We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.“
– Albert Einstein

The first five paths are the lower stages and the last three the higher stages of Yoga.

Patanjali writes in his Yoga Sutras (2.29):
„The eight limbs of Yoga are: the various forms of abstention from evil-doing, the various observances, posture, control of the prank, withdrawal of the mind from sense objects, concentration, meditation and absorption in the Atman (Self, Spirit, immutable existence).“

PRACTICE OF YOGA

The first two stages, Yamas and Niyamas are the foundations of the Unity, or Yoga, or the Self Realization which is the same as the Self Knowledge.
These are ethics which can be applied to everyone and everywhere at any time. The Yamas are moral, collective ethics and Niyamas are the personal ethics or the relationship to ourselves.

YAMAS or self discipline, or morality.

Yoga Sutras (2.30):
„Yama is abstention from harming others, from false-hood, from theft, from incontinence and from greed.“

There are five Yamas, the five restraints: Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Apiragraha and Brahmacharya.

1. Ahimsa is the first principle and it is a very large field of life.

Yoga Sutra 2.35:
„When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from harming others, then all living creatures will cease to feel enmity in his presence.“

Ahimsa means not to injure, oneself as well as other living beings, mentally or physically. Words and deeds are like a boomerang and coming the way back they will cut many other hearts and issues.
Many people who practice any of yogas are for this reason vegetarian.
Ahimsa is a principle of the great importance in the practice of yoga postures. Ahimsa is far away from any boasting, self-affirmation, greed. Hurting others always end in own pain. Is ahimsa, non injuring, not the essence of all the world religions?

Why we do not put it in this way: may all who you love be like the sun when it rises in its strength?

„Neminem laede; imo omnes, quantum potes, juva.“
„Verletze niemanden, vielmehr hilf allen, soweit du kannst. Dieser ist und bleibt der wahre reine Inhalt aller Moral.“
„Injure no one; on the contrary, help everyone as much as you can.“
– Schopenhauer

„A big man judges another by his virtues, a little man judges another by his faults.“
– Jovan Dučić

2. Satya

Yoga Sutra 2.36:
„When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from falsehood he gets the power of obtaining for himself and others the fruits of good deeds, without having to perform the deeds themselves.“

Satya is a honesty, truth, veracity, firstly towards oneself than to others. It is a very challenging principle in society. To say what one feels and thinks is the basis of serenity and freedom. People who talk from the heart, even if other laugh or sneer at them, are very serene and warm people. On the contrary, the manipulation of others, permanent persuasion, mind control whether within a smaller group or a larger society, exaggeration, extreme fears and guilt feelings are huge obstacles for both personal and the collective evolution, since everything is interconnected. The selfish actions will close one’s heart which will destroy trust, and trust is the base for love. Absence of trust is the reason why there is very little reflexion between people, if any.

Be gentle, talk and act from the heart. The heart is very powerful. Share this power with others. What you put in, it comes out.
Yeah, easily spoken but hardly adopted. How to talk and act from the heart which is so vulnerable? Take a challenge and open your dusty heart up. This cultivation will make you a different human being.

To accept your self as you are, is the starting point for plenty roads which will lead you to a fulfilled life. The only constant is change and each animal, plant, each human cell, tissue, muscle, organ, bone, goes through changes, hour after hour, day by day, year by year. Developing our bones take up to twenty six years, some are accomplished even later. The intelligence is developing up to thirty years of age and later. The consciousness changes. We should accept this truth and to allow us to flow with it not try to stop it making the things in life unnecessary complicated.

On the other side of the mirror called Honesty, there is a fact that sometimes, in order to keep the harmony up and to prevent the cruelty, it is better to be silent and to withdraw his own self from discussions, because:
„Tongue cut more heads than sword.“

Jorge Luis Borges so nicely said:
“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.”

3. Asteya

Yoga Sutra 2.37:
„When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from theft, all wealth comes to him.“

Asteya is not stealing or not taking something what does not belong to us. Asteya also means to be satisfied with what you have and not to strive for something what others have. Every man is a hidden treasure and there is no reason to copy and imitate others. A copier is a machine that copies. People are not machines, that is why the copyist look ridiculous. If a man recognizes and develops his own worth and creativity, his jealousy, envy, hatred and awe will dissolve. What remains is the true Self, the true treasure, to the other individual and to society. It is always better not to have than to grab using any mean.
In the Western society most people have more than they need. A good way is to give freely, both emotionally and materialistically. To share life with others. It will bring harmony and balance in human hearts and in the cosmic energies.

„It is better not to have, than to grab by force.“

4. Apiraghara

Yoga Sutra 2.39:
„When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from greed, he gains knowledge of his past, present and future existences.“

Apiragraha is non-possessiveness, or non-covetousness.
Abundance make us intolerant, cold, uncreative, insecure, closed, anxious. That is why even the poorest one can become a king (Raja), the richest man on the Earth, with his straw mat. In order to live a free and easier life, it is good to get rid of the things we don’t need.

Apiragraha is also the wisdom about not recklessly accepting sweet words and (mostly) empty promises, as these things lead to a new enslavement and harder disappointments. Try to achieve your goals through your hard work and sincerity, let the sycophantic life and the life of expectations go. It is hard work but it brings immeasurable peace to the mind and serenity in the heart.

„Who wants more, loses what is already in the sack.“
– Serbian Proverb

5. Brahmacharya

Yoga Sutra 2.38:
„When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from incontinence, he acquires spiritual energy.“

Brahman means „the ultimate, hidden reality, the divine, the absolute, infinitive consciousness“ and charya means „to live in“ or „the path“.

Brahmacharya can be interpreted in different ways.

On the mental level, brahmacharya is the abstinence of sexual thoughts, fantasies and the conversation about sex. It is also the control of all the other senses, the speech and the deeds.

At the biological level brahmacharya is the control of libido, abstinence or celibacy.

Human evolution begins where the evolution of the animals stops. Life of both animals and humans is based on the sexual energy. Without sex we will not be here. It is biology and the grossest aspect of the unmanifested energy.
Animals do have kind of self-control but human beings can freely choose to control one’s own libido and instincts, to get rid of sexual thoughts and to transform this huge energy in higher. Brahmacharya is another step to self-realization, the higher Yoga.

As with any other aspect or stage of Yoga, one should be completely honest with himself. There are people, especially men (just a little reminder, this text is written by a woman) who live life by-the-book. They believe to live a yogic life and to practice brahmacharya, but this leads to even deeper frustrations, neuroses and duplicity. This path is a very challenging path especially for men. In their nature fertility is deeply imprinted. It is biology.

Once I met a very honest teacher of Advaita Vedanta who said:
„For us westerners it is very hard to be a Swami. One day comes a pretty woman in front of you and everything is over.“

Brahmacharya as a stage of life (Yoga) comes naturally when the aspirant is ready, there is no need to torture own body, mind and soul, and the natural/cosmic forces. Every true seeker on his path to the ultimate reality and truth will in some point of his life naturally become a brahmachari. As for every sincere path, to be a vegetarian and not to be addicted to any external entheogens is of a great importance.

Practiced honestly, regardless how long, this path opens new horizons in life, transforms the powerful sexual energies in creativity and powerful energy, the very fine Ojas, which strengthens the volition, rejuvenates the cells and prolongs the youthfulness of the mind and body. The body of a true brahmacharya radiates with huge energy and it is very attractive to the opposite sex.

Even married people could be a brahmachari and wisely use their powerful sexual energy, which is, alike all other human energies a part of a Cosmic Force (Maha Shakti).

NIYAMAS

Niyamas are wisdoms about how we should emerge our inner life by practicing different personal observances/ethics. There are five Niyamas: Shauca, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya and Ishvarapranidhana.

1. Shauca is purity.

Yoga Sutra 2.40-41:
„As the result of purity, there arises indifference toward the body and disgust for physical intercourse with others.
One achieves purification of the heart, cheerfulness of mind, the power of concentration, control of the passion and fitness for the realization of the Self.“

The entire Yoga path is a kind of purification.
The inner and outside purity are interconnected. To keep the inner speech under control redirecting it will detach one’s need to talk unnecessarities being in a wrong company. Silence keeps all answers. It inspires and fills the heart and mind with energy.

„How wonderfully useful and well speak those who know how to keep silent!“
– Ivo Andrić

To keep the place where one lives or works clean and tidy is the outside purity. Purity is unity, internal and external.
Of all three gunas, the subtle energies or powers of the nature which flow through everyone and everything, sattva (purity, lightness), raja (action, passion) and tamas (darkness, inertia), the dominated guna in one shauci is sattva.

2. Santosha (or Samtosha) is contentment.

Yoga Sutra 2.42:
„From contentment comes supreme happiness.“

There are basic biological needs in humans (and in animals) and these are breath, food, water, sex, sleep, relaxation, activity. There are also social needs in humans (and in some variations in animals but this needs deeper research) as need to be recognized and appreciated in the society, need for security, need to love and to be loved (need for affiliation). A need for achievement is the human inner drive (motivational force) and it varies from person to person as well from one social system to another. Other inner drives in humans are need for independence and, the most essential and wonderful features of man, a need for self-realization and creativity in all aspects of existence. This is how the modern psychology qualifies human’s motives (Abraham Maslow, David McClelland, J.W. Atkinson, H.A. Murray). Both the modern psychology and yogic psychology agree that those needs are all part of the Ego.
The difference between modern and the yogic psychology is that the modern psychology is a very young and (jet) limited science and, on the contrary to yogic psychology, it is occupied with the Ego, or the brain which thinks indeed very automatically. There is nothing bad in the Ego and no one needs to flinch hearing this word, on the contrary, the Ego could be helpful in attaining the goals but one should set the goals wisely otherwise the dark side of the Ego take it over which will end in never-ending circle of misery and suffering.
Yoga, as a main process, goes much beyond the electrochemical impulses in the brain (which is the thought process). Through the process of Yoga, a human being takes control over own thoughts transcending his egoistical nature, which are fears, complexes, false identifications and so on. The Yoga process is a perfect method which transforms the most ignorant and automatic in humans bringing them to the state in which they can see themselves and the world as they really are. The division between logic and emotions is a reason for insecurity. The Yoga practice brings logic and emotions to the unity and harmony.

Some people do incredible things to be liked and to gain name and fame but they shall understand one simple truth and that is that no one is jet born who will be liked by everyone, and also that, however one is doing good things, one will never be enough good for another because the human mind is programmed for never-ending expectations. Life is understood as a competition, a battle for success at any cost. This approach to life could be seen in many yoga classes all over the world. But how ever hard we try, there will be always someone who can do it better than we, so our ego sense (asmrita) will arise even more, and the aim of Yoga (and the purpose of Life) is not to expand the ego-feeling but to open the heart and therewith the higher centers in our brain. Accepting the own possibilities of body and mind is good beginning. It is call Vidya, a knowledge which is intuitive not intellectual. A psychology of Patanjali gives a very solid starting field to this journey.

Happiness is, like belief or any other faculty, a state of mind. It is a great truth that it is so little needed to be happy, the truth easily spoken but not easily adopted.
In this fast era a technology is developing rapidly, people’s mind and its ability made countless technological invention but the own soul and its beauty remains ad acta, thrown into forgottenness. One wants to have more, faster and one will (more or less) easily get it but it will be just a temporary contentment. Most of people will not stop there but will strive for more creating a chain of never-ending suffering. The desired mind is never satisfied.
Desire is not the best friend of contentment but it can construct a plan and constructing a plan is a creativity. Desire enslaves, it will create fear and fear will create aggression. The cause for all this is Avidya, the ignorance. We are coming here again back to Ahimsa („not to injure“), the first principle in Yoga and Life. Ahimsa is the issue of all ancient wisdoms and word’s religions.

Satisfaction with what one has right here and right now whatever it may be, leads to inner piece and serenity. It is a attitude of a wise man. A wise man desires very little. And he is serene. This is possible.
In this place I have to admit that in the society there are great numbers of pseudo-yogis who act humility and contentment. It is important not to confuse those pseudo martyrs with sincerely wise men. If you allow your heart to open up you will easily be able to make a difference between real and fake.

A possibility to transform complaints into satisfaction is the attribute of the very developed person, the true Yogi.

„It is not poor who has little, but who wants too much.“

Santosha is also austerity. To eat only as much as one really need is also Santosha. Food is very often used as supply for love and attention. Everybody needs love and attention, we are living beings, but it is a wise choice, instead to eat being hungry of love, to become a observer of own mind and be humble with food saying no to the eyes (indriya, one of the senses. Swami Sivananada: indriyas are prolongation of the mind) which are hungrier than the stomach. Very often people in the restaurants or in all-inclusive places (Ashrams are also all-inclusive places, my deepest respect to all this kind of places where this is not the case) continue eating (their paid meal) even if their stomach is full. It is a torture for health, both physical and mental.
It is good to discriminate this sense by using a strong volition (in a mind-level) and to eat to live and not vice versa. Discrimination of senses is called Viveka.

„When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.“

3. Tapas

Yoga Sutra 2.43:
„As the result of mortification, impurities are removed. Then special powers come to the body and the sense organs.“

Tapas is the psychological and physical rigor and constraint which invigorates the mind and gives it a great endurance and freedom.
It is about another self-discipline which leads to Self-Realization.

The word tapas means:
„Warmth, heat, fire, (paṅća tapāṉsi, the five fires to which an ascetic is exposed in the hot season, viz. four fires lighted in the several quarters and the sun burning from above), pain, suffering, religious austerity, penance, mortification, the practice of mental or personal self-denial or the infliction of bodily tortures, the meditation connected with such a practice, moral virtue, merit“ (Monier Williams Dictionary)

The mind has its own patterns, habits, laziness. To overcome these faculties of mind, one needs to use plenty of austerity, effort and struggle. The energy which comes out of this effort is heat, or tapas. Once a volition and effort take it over, the physical impurities will be burned leaving more space to purity and harmlessness. The mental impurities will be replaced with self control and clear thinking. The emotional impurities will be burned making more space for the self-observation and self-exploration and with more self observation one will get opportunity to realize and develop the dormant inner powers.

Luxury and material abundance make the mind even more uncertain and closes the heart.

„Modern mass culture, aimed at the ‘consumer’, the civilization of prosthetic, is crippling people’s souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being.“
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Perseverance in asana and pranayama practice is the physical rigor.

All the austerities, rigors and struggles should be taken honestly, consciously, with full responsibility and a great volition for challenge and change. Every torture of body and mind will imprison one’s heart. Each new torture will make a new cloud on the human heart. And the purpose of Life is to open the heart which means to be in tune with the higher awareness, truth, knowledge and reality. To be connected to the source.

“There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

4. Svadhyaya

Yoga Sutra 2.44:
„As the result of study one obtains the vision of that deity which one has chosen to worship.“

Svadhyaya literally means self-study. The word sva means „one’s own, self“ and adhyaya „study, lecture, scripture“.

The big truth is that every man can choose what he wants to be but for this, one needs to get all the layers of his own self know, and to get one own’s self to know, the self-study is necessary.

The word adhyaya means scripture and many sanskrit decoders will translate this sutra as the study of old wisdoms. Ancient scriptures carry the deepest knowledge about man, his psychology and existence, they tell that a man is a mortal body but a immortal being in his actual nature. But adhyaya is not about to learning these scripts by heart and repeating them being living quotations, or to identify oneself with the scriptures, but to recognize their echo with heart not with logic simultaneously being detached from the scriptures. The scriptures are one thing and the own experience another. The experience is that which will give wisdom, not the mechanical reading and memorizing.
We all listen but very few of us really know how to listen. If we do not feel well and happy, which is the natural state of each and every man, we should make a question are we actually surrounded by the right company, are we eating the right food, reading the right books, or do we allow ourselves to be taken in by the manipulation by the others. Words, whether spoken, heard or read, both with knowledge or without, are as impressions (samskaras) deeply implant in our subconsciousness becoming our thoughts, and our thoughts are becoming our feelings. Feelings then influence the complete body system, its cells, tissues, organs, fascia, nerves.

Today many interpretations of the ancient scripts could be find on the book market and at the internet, many indeed are written with the massive ignorance about the topic, as Swami Vivekananada has said: „A silly man reads three letters of Sanskrit and translates a whole book“.
However, if you are not fortunate to read the scriptures in their original issue, it is better to read the texts translated and commented by the sincerely dedicated knower of the topic, and certainly do not let your self to be stuck with one single book but instead involve yourself in study of different spiritual books, as adhyaya means also „entering into“. Reading a books and blindly focusing the mind on only one issue will definitely make a mind even narrower, therewith the heart. Open minded means open hearted. Svadhyaya is not about blindly accepting rules, formalities and dogmas but questioning. Insecure and passive seeker will enslave his mind following one guru (guru means „ a dispeller of darkness“), or one belief system and its rituals. The person who blindly follows one single idea or one single person is not a free person. His mind is very often not an open but instead an inflexible and intolerant mind. Such mind can not move forward from his frozen heart and it can be very dangerous for the whole humanity and environment.
People slaughter each other in the name of the book, or better because of wrong understanding the messages.

On the other side, Adi Sankaracharya notes in the VIVEKACHUDAMANI that:

„The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.“

The most of the ancient scriptures are actually written as the echo for those who already have overcame the lowest ignorant mind, and for many people the ancient scriptures will remain understandable.
It can easily happen that one loses himself in the ocean of informations which an ordinary mind can not easily perceive.

If we read books does not mean that we have knowledge. Wisdom definitely does not come by reading books, and further, even the wisdom itself is definitely not the realization of the higher Truth.

The perpetual game between microcosmos, which is the world within your self, and macrocosmos, which is the world outside your self is the best teacher. But if you don’t know the microcosmos there will be no teacher.
What is of the biggest value is observing own mind and study the source of own thoughts, words, acts, fears, and their reflexions (is it really only the government, the politics or other individuals to blame for our unhappy life? No, it is our own darkness of ignorance. Can we change others? No, just ourselves. Is taking the responsibility for own life challenging? Yes, it is a vast challenge, but it is the only real way to move from the frozen life toward melting.). Confronting fears opens new doors giving the mind and consciousness a new possibility to progress.
A self-enquiry does no stand alone but is part of all yamas and niyamas. A man is not just a plain reproductive machine, a human mind is very powerful and it also has dreams and visions. They are giving us sings all the time. For those who have more spiritual abilities than material, it is worth to dedicate time to decoding own dreams and visions jet being detached from them and also not be lost in imaginary identifications. Some people will manage to recognize, get in contact to and to decode own visions. Many people will not manage it in lifetime.
Who am I? Why did I come here? What is the essence of my existence?
Life must be something else than only arguing, working, saving money, paying therapies.

Dedicated sadhana (practice) will naturally become a self-study.
Silence is a great companion for a self study. Silence will successfully tame the restless substance called mind, especially if there is a great volition in man to deprogram the old patterns. One can see the truth only when the mind is still, as the Yoga Sutras and many other philosophers, mystics and modern speakers say.

One can also study by repeating a mantra. Pranava is a cosmic sound of OM. The mantra is defined as: mananat trayate iti mantraha, which means „that which liberates the mind is mantra“.

Yoga Sutra 2.1:
„Austerity (tapas), study (svadhyaya) and the dedication of the fruits of one’s work to Lord (ishvara-pranidhana) are the preliminary steps toward yoga.“

5. Ishvarapranidhana

Yoga Sutra 2.45:
„As the result of devotion to the Lord (ishvara-pranidhana) one achieves Samadhi.“

Ishvara means „creative source or supreme teacher“ and pranidhana is practice of presence.

Swami Sivananada:
„By self-surrender comes attainment of Samadhi, the superconscious state.“

Yoga Sutra 1.24:
„Ishvara is a special kind of Being, untouched by ignorance and the products of ignorance (avidya), not subjects to karma or samskaras (impressions) or the results of action (kriya yoga, yoga of action, not to confuse with kriyas as purifications).“

Ishvara is the recognition that there is the highest reality. It is not the intelectual knowledge but the feeling of its presence in the heart. Once experienced, this feeling transforms into the great respect towards everyone and feelings for everyone. The namaste mudra, a gesture with palms together, presents the higher respect to the higher Being in others from the higher Being within and it is, from the true Yogis, performed with an open heart and deepest honesty.

In the history, the supreme Reality is called God, higher awareness, the Universe, the universal consciousness. To every human being is given freedom and opportunity to realize his self. The paths are different but the goal is the same.

Ishvara-Pranidhana is the recognition and acceptance that there is something what is bigger then the own self. For the rational mind it is not possible (and there is no need for it) to describe Ishvara-Pranidhana.

* * *

Yamas and Niyamas remove the mental conflict forming the fundament for the harmony and serenity in every and each men. Those steps are a basement for the firm mental health which is more important than physical health, since one can eat perfectly healthy food but his mind could still be deeply confused. Hence, even the most healthy nutrition will have no big effects on the mental health if one does not move from there where he is with the great will-power for transformation of own mind,

The next tree steps are the external steps. Those are: steady posture (asana), control and expanding of the vital force through conscious breathing (pranayama) and control of the senses (pratyahara).

3. ASANA

We are coming now to the fold which is today the most misunderstood and most misused topic on Yoga in the western world. Practicing yoga postures the westerners understand that they practice (or do) Yoga. There is a massive ignorance on this subject.

The opportunity to experience the transformation at the level of matter is given by the practice of asanas or yoga postures. An asana is not an exercise but a body posture.

Yoga Sutra 2.46:
sthira-sukham-asanam
Sthira: steady, firm
Sukham: relaxed, pleasant
Asanam: seated position

„Asana (posture) is to be seated in a position which is firm but relaxed“
Hence, those who do painful and unhealthy positions do not practice yoga, they don’t find themselves on the path of the self-realization, or direct knowledge of one own’s self, but on the path of self-torturing, the path which definitely does not guide to the inner piece and serene heart.

The Sanskrit root of the word asana is as which means sitting. Asana is therefore not the body exercise but a body posture which should be performed totally deliberately. Beside to numerous positive effects on the body level, each posture has a different effect on the consciousness.
At the beginning of each yoga asana practice it is quite normal that the aspirants are more focused on the muscle stretching and other anatomical sensations but in the course of time a practitioner will get closer and closer to the inner world and he will better understand his own mind and its layers. This experience will be transferred to everyday life since the aim of complete yoga practice is to be a yogi in each part of everyday life. When the yoga postures are practiced dedicated and with no competition, one’s mind and thoughts start to change and therewith the inner attitude both mental and physical. This change happens because the practice of asanas changes the function of the endocrine glands, the nervous, immune and all the other body systems.
In the body, according to yogic science which is much older than modern medicine, there are certain obstacles of psychological nature which no medical instrument can record, in Yoga they are known as granthis, or psychic knots: Brahma Granthi is connected with the reproductive glands, Vishnu Granthi with the thymus and thyroid gland and Rudra (other name for Shiva) Granthi with the pituitary gland, hypophysis.
The human body is a valuable temple and practice of yoga asanas gives us the opportunity for the transformation. That is why it is important to practice with no logic and competition braking tendons and mind, but with an open heart and open mind. Yoga asana practice is about to transcend the selfishness and to brake the barriers.

The practice of yoga postures unfortunately does not change the brain patterns responsible for depression, anxiety, hate, jealousy, greed or any of the human qualities which stop the human being to live happy life. This is why the practice of yoga postures should not stand aside of all other Yoga folds and their opportunities. Only the combination of the folds of Yoga is called Yoga.

Asana practice has, alike the complete journey of life, own stages and when the last stage of the asana practice is reached, an asana will be performed completely effortless. It is the stage when „someone else will do the asana“, where the (transcended) mind is separated from the body in the most spontaneous and natural way. The mastering of yoga asanas is called Jaya Asana and it is a long path which gives you the knowledge of the matter in your body, knowledge of the game between the matter and the gravity. It opens the doors of other paths to the higher layers of your human existence.
The practice of yoga postures is hence not the issue of boasting, disputing, disagree or not, or a issue for a coffee meeting and quarrels. Yoga is both the main process and the aim, and to reach the yoga state (unity) it really, but really does not matter whether one practice this kind of sun salutation or another and breathe like Darth Vader or not while performing postures.
Who on the globe can know your body better that you yourself?
Practice of yoga postures leads you exactly to this knowledge but only of you are honest and respectful to your own body and your own self.
As long as you are in your practice of hatha yoga postures still in the contradiction with your inner piece, serenity and clarity, or if you are injuring you self physically, mentally or emotionally, you are missing the point.

Kularnava Tantra:
„Because it yields self fulfillment (atmasiddhi), prevents all diseases (sarvaroga) and gives the nine siddhis (occult, psychological, yogic powers) (navasiddhi) it is called asana.“

Yoga Sutra 2.47:
„Posture becomes firm and relaxed through control of the natural tendencies of the body and through meditation on the infinite“

To sit perfectly calm with straight back and head is simply impossible for many people especially for those who are right at the beginning of the yoga asana practice.
The yoga asana practice makes body steady and healthy (see more under Hatha Yoga) and it prepares the body for meditation, the higher stage of yoga, as for meditation a good and stable body position is necessary.

Yoga Sutra 2.48:
„Thereafter, one is no longer troubled by the dualities of sense experience“

It is possible to practice yoga asanas without pranayama but practice of Hatha Yoga is in that case very limited and it remains on the level of sport.

4. PRANAYAMA

Prana is the vital energy, a force which pervades every flower, every tree, every living being and every cell. Wind blows thanks prana, the sea moves through prana. Our body and mind, whether we sleep or we are awake, can not function without prana. Food and light also sustain prana. The word prana means the force in constant motion.

The very profound science of yoga and tantra (the oldest science about man which goes much beyond than the „ego-transformation“, the westerners with their belief that tantra are sexual exercises are once again stuck in a vast darkness of ignorance) considers that the cosmic vital energy is manifested in the physical body as the individual vital energy, which is divided into five energy bodies or levels (koshas, the five layers, the panca kosha vishleshana, as explained in the Taittiriya Upanishad). Those koshas of the Self are interconnected sheaths and each sheath is subtler than the other:

The first sheath is the physical sheath which is food, air, water or annamaya kosha.
The second is the sheath of vital energy or pranamaya kosha.
The third is the mental sheath, the conscious experience, or manomaya kosha.
The fourth is the intuitive experience of the outer world or vijnanamaya kosha.
The fifth is anandamaya kosha which is the experience of the unification with the cosmic prana, with the higher knowledge where all other forces melt into each other (Yoga generally means unity, harmony). The first tree sheets are connected to the matter and the last two to the spirit.

Prana is the vital energy which we draw into ourselves from the surrounding universe.
The individual prana is constantly connected to its source like with some invisible thread, both energies are in constant movement and if prana stops there will be no life.
Prana which surrounds us has a very strong vibration and breath is the grossest manifestation of that vibration. What connects the universal energy with the individual is breath. What we do firstly when we come out of our mother’s womb is breathe in.
Finer oscillations than breath are of the nerve currents, of our thoughts, wishes, emotions and if we control our breath we can control our thoughts and emotions as well. This is what pranayama (also) does.

Pranayama is the expansion of prana and also the conscious control of breath and it is the most important step of Yoga, for the breath is the most important source of energy. It is the most direct path to the awakening of Kundalini energy, the naturally given but hidden power in every and each human being.
Today it is common to use the term pranayama as breathing techniques but the yogic breathing techniques actually expand the individual vital energy, what the meaning of pranayama is.
Thoughts, or mind waves, reflect the breathing. When the mind is unsettled the breathing is irregular, rapid and shallow, when the mind is relaxed the breathing is slow and deep. And vice versa, controlling the breath one can control the mind bringing it to complete stillness. This tranquil state of shakti, or life force, is called shanta which is a great power full of life, since the power lies in a tranquility and not in a hectic.

Yoga Sutra 2.49:
„After mastering posture one must practice control of prana by stopping the motions of inhalation and exhalation.“

It is believed that pranayama techniques increase the amount of oxygen in the brain but the scientific studies have confirmed that the pranayama techniques regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the brain which affects the pain and thermal receptors in the brain and reduce or eventually eliminate panic and anxiety. This is done by the breath retention (kumbhaka) which is in the center of the complete pranayama. The breath retention should be practiced very aware and gradually, not torturing breathing organs as well as mind.

Swami Sivananda has said:
„A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths.“

Yoga Sutra 2.50:
„The breath may be stopped externally or internally or fixed in mind motion (suspension) and regulated according to place (space), time and a fixed number of moments, so that the stoppage is either protracted or brief.“

The breathing practices cultivate, in fact the totally natural processes, the exhalation, the inhalation and the suspension of breath, fixing them in the chosen parts of the body and for the chosen period of time. Kumbhaka is the sanskrit word for breath retention but this yoga aphorism refers to the suspension of breath (stambha) which everyone of us performs very often naturally not even noticing it. Yoga is a process which transforms the automatic machines in us making us  conscious beings.

Based on my rich experience with pranayama and its techniques and quite big experience in teaching some of those techniques to the others, I would say that the duration of inhalation, the exhalation and the retention of breath should be chosen personally, especially for those who find themselves right at the beginning of this multileveled practice, because the quantity and nature of the waves of mind and their expressions differ in every and each person, each and every hour, each and every day. To those who are right at the beginning of the pranayama techniques it may be a bit difficult to keep the mind concentrated on breathing but, as this is just a passing phase, one should not give up. The most important for the pranayama techniques is to practice them with complete awareness, big patience and with absolute ahimsa (in this case not injuring own self). Just in that way one can get his own inner sea to know and to transcend it making the Earth and life much better place to be.

Yoga Sutra 2.51:
„The fourth kind of pranayama is the stoppage of the breath which is caused by concentration upon external or internal objects.“

This happens completely naturally and effortless. It is also called kevala kumbhaka, or spontaneous retention of breath.

Yoga Sutra 2.52:
„As the result of this, the covering of the Inner Light is removed.“

This is like a high-end breathing. It is the feeling and the experience/knowledge of transcendental energy.

The benefits of the breathing exercises are numerous, to mention a couple: pranayama practices produce heat which burns the impurities within body as well mind, produce sweat and clean the body of toxins, clean the respiratory tract, strengthen the lungs, influence the energy sheaths and bring balance and harmony between them, rise the individual prana and move to the higher level, reduces anemia, rejuvenate the complete being and his mind, regulates the ratio between CO2 and oxygen and many more. All modern breathing techniques and breathing therapies are more or less based on the old yogic techniques. The modern breathing therapies for the regulation the ration between CO2 and oxygen, such as Capnometry-assisted-respiratory-training or CART, or other therapies whereby the patient uses various devices, are used to heal the patients suffer of depression, anxiety, impulsivity, lack of attention, concentration.

Prana pervades the complete surroundings but it certainly makes a vast difference whether the pranayama practices are done in the nature or in the polluted environment and surroundings with stagnated air. The sea, mountains, waterfalls, woods are all pervaded with huge amount of strong prana. There is no actual division between us and trees. Trees inhale what we exhale and we inhale what trees exhale.

Our prana, body and spirit go through different phases during each and single day from morning to night and with help of breathing techniques we can keep the mind firmly and relaxed keeping the concentration of prana on the same level so that we can stay awake and useful to ourselves and to others.

Doing regular pranayama practice we can influence, control, cultivate and transform the restless emotions such as anger, greed, envy, jealousy, but also love, kindness, joy and gladness, as even those nicest human qualities when „overdosed“ could be restless and self-destructive and can very easily lead to the other side of the coin.

Pranayama practice lead to the the state where the sense of time is changed, which will help us to go along much better in every day duties with no stress, as stress (or sense of stress) is very often connected with time (or sense of time).

Pranayama leads to the transcendence within.
Regular and long practice of pranayama awakes the Anahata Nada, which are the inner sounds, the sounds of the soul, of the own heart chakra which is the link between the inner and the outer world. Hearing this sounds, which are heard mostly at the back of the head, one will be fully concentrated on the mind. Being in this state one should not investigate the sources and the nature of this sounds but give himself up to them without fears and doubts. The practice in this state becomes itself the natural curiosity but with no judgment. This will bring to Sahaja Samadhi, a state of a natural accomplishment which seems to be something like a „double life“, as the practitioner does his everyday activities simultaneously living his naturally accomplished „again-born“ inner life fully aware of both inner and outside world. Those persons who have experienced the spontaneous oneness, which are in Yoga called the sahaja siddhas (the „realized souls“), might seem to the others as numb, cold or selfish persons of strange behavior. This is a normal pattern of the ordinary (untransformed) mind because if mind does not understand something it has fear of it and the shortest way to get rid of fear is to discard what is unknown. Since the ego of the people who have experienced the spontaneous oneness is dissolute, their hearths are compassionated mirroring of other things and people in their most natural appearances with no religious, national, political or any other devision. Those siddhas view the world in a different way. This is why those people may seem like not normal, even though in the society everyone whose behavior or view does not fit to the majority is always going to be declared by others as being abnormal if not insane.

Pranayama is a vast issue in the oldest science about human being, a very sophisticated philosophy which is called tantra.

“No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.”
– Jorge Luis Borges

Methods and practice of both asanas and pranayama bring the waves of the mind to stillness, and mastery of both methods lead to the transformation of the consciousness and the withdrawal of the senses regardless of which surroundings one find himself in.

Yoga Sutra 2.53:
„The mind gains the power of concentration“

But before arriving to the state of the full concentration, one has to go through another stage which is a withdrawal of the senses.

HIGHER YOGA

5. PRATYAHARA

The complete imagination about the world we have thanks to informations which are collected by the instruments of our senses. The eyes are the instruments which send their impressions through the organs to the mind and are the biggest „collectors“ of informations. Without eyes we would not know how the world looks like. The mind is like a clumsy restless child who wants to be all the time all over and this restlessness is followed by desire, wish or need to see, to smell, to touch, to hear, to taste. Like the skeletal muscles can not move without having the command from the brain, so the all five senses can not stop their clumsiness without getting a command from the mind, and just a volition of the strong mind can tame the clumsiness of its senses.
This state is compared with a snail or a turtle pulling their senses into the houses experiencing neither pain nor pleasure.

Pratyahara is the conscious withdrawal of the senses.

Yoga Sutra 2.54:
„When the mind is withdrawn from sense objects, the sense organs also withdraw themselves from their respective objects and thus are said to imitate the mind. This is known as pratyahara.“

Pratyahara is not easy as the most minds are used to listen to the other’s no rather than to the own no. The state of pratyhara as a very natural state done without much effort is, on the other side, well known to the painters, musicians, or anyone of us who can dive into the issue turning the senses inwards. This state does not mean that we are absent, on the contrary, we are fully present and we are witnessing the sense objects. The difference is only that the senses are in this case purified. The detachment from the sense object is called vairagya. This is done from the deepest of the heart.

„The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.“
Helen Keller

Goodness of the heart is the infinity and the infinity can not be measured.

Being in the nature and listening to the language of the sea, trees, birds, wind, waterfalls, or gazing the stars, moon or sun, naturally transcend the senses. In the nature, unlike to the social life, there is no need to be someone who we are not. Being in nature, mind does not have need to measure, analyze, calculate and estimate people and contact with people, but instead it will use the offer given to his eyes, hands and heart to enjoy right here and right now. This new freedom of mind will than be transferred to every day life and contacts with other people. This is why it is important to be in the nature. Because it can free us of the vanity and prejudice and it can make us not to run away from uncertainty in any aspect of our life, but to take what is given to us right here and right now.

The self-enquiry whether in pranayama or in the silent research in complete intimacy is the most direct and powerful way to the realization of the Self.

One of the good ways to control the senses is a restrain of the breath (kumbhaka).

When the five senses are tamed, the sixth and further senses will awake.

From the Adi Sankara’s Vivekachudamani:

„Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense objects and placing them in their respective centers, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or self- withdrawal consists in the mind-function ceasing to be affected by external objects.“

„The resting of the mind steadfastly on its Goal after having detached itself from manifold sense objects by continually observing their defects, is called Shama or calmness.“

In the Bhagavad Gita the five senses are described as five horses and the mind as the chariot, and if the charioteer is ignorant and can not make the difference or to discriminate what is wrong (this is called viveka), the each of the five wild horses will pull the mind to his side what will bring to even bigger devision.
Ignorance hurts.

Katha Upanishad, 1.3.1, says it in this way:
„Know the body for a chariot and the soul for the master of the chariot: know Reason for the charioteer and the mind for the reins only.“

1.3.5:
„Now the that is without knowledge with his mind ever unapplied, his senses are to him as wild horses and will not obey their driver of the chariot.“

In the Yoga Sutras all five lower stages of Yoga are described in the second chapter as Yoga And Its Practice.

The next three stages, dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (the Self Realization which is equal with the Self Knowledge) are described in the third chapter as Powers, which are higher levels of Yoga and when the time comes, they occur effortless. Those three stages or practices narrow the mind, where this kind of narrowing of the mind leads to the depth of the heart and not to the endless suffering caused by deepest ignorance. There is no difference between those three states, they are rather degrees of transformation.
The practice of dharana and dhyana can awake the biggest potential of the brain.

6. DHARANA is concentration.

Beside the will and its product, a desire, one of the further causes for luck of concentration are fears, whether conscious or unconscious. Memories of the past, planing the future, analyzing and measuring situations, people or environment from the past and future are all the waves of mind which are twitting their „research“ all the time and all over. Those waves of mind disable one to discover the new. The fears are the biggest enemies of freedom, they are so strong that many people even do not realize that they are completely melted with them. Life of many is nothing else than a bound of fears, so strong people are identified with fears. Who can say no to own fears? Just a strong mind which is able to be observer of own self jet without any exaggeration or feeling of guilt. The lower stages of Yoga can bring one to this state where the mind or the soul are not only a tiny fragile reflexions of the real Self but the Real Self, himself.
The technique for detaching the mind from its turbulent activities is called concentration or Dharana. It is the last wave which remains to be cultivated in the whole sea of mind waves. Why to cultivate the waves of mind? To tame the animal nature in our ordinary primitive mind and to uncover the infinite, pure nature of our human existence.
Concentration is alike many other mental activities a choice which is made in mind. On the other side, the state of Dharana comes spontaneously after the mind and senses are purified through the lower stages of yoga.

Yoga Sutra 3.1:
„Concentration is holding the mind within a center of spiritual consciousness in the body, or fixing it on some form either within the body or outside it.“

The word Dharana comes from the root word dhri which means holding, carrying, to loose. Dharana is one-pointedness of mind. It is the state of complete concentration.
A dharana is nothing else than focusing the mind. The object of focusing the mind can be an internal or external, such as a candle flame, a star, moon, breath, mantra, a image, the eyes of other person or own, what will for the most of people be the hardest issue, to stay in front of the mirror and to watch deep into the own eyes. Many people might have fear of this because the mirror is not like it looks like. Even the mirror is not one single surface but it is made of many little holes and particles, just like a man. An ordinary mind has fear of the unknown.
Further example for dharana is my writing of this text. Your reading this text is your Dharana. It is a very powerful method which brings us to the state of understanding, whether understanding of the feeling, thought, breath, memories, idea, experience, person, past, present, future, purpose of life, meaning of existence, visions, symbols, dreams, the source.
It brings the mind in the present moment.

The state of fully concentration is, again, very well known to the artist. A painter can sit hours and hours in front of his canvas being totally imbibed in the emptiness of the whiteness. Out of this emptiness, which is in fact a fully concentration, it will come one line out and than another and after a while, often after a very short time, will come the colorful, fully realized perception, feeling, thought, idea, experience of the inner world or a powerful message out. It is a very nice feeling. It is a self expression in its purest creation. While creating the artist keeps his thought steady and trustful.
Dharana is like complete Yoga rather a way of living than a dry and mechanical practice.

If the practice of asanas, pranayama, kundalini, kriya, tantra yoga techniques is done correctly, the practice will some day naturally become a dharana.

Dharana is a central issue in the ancient text called Vijnana Bhairava Tantra.
If there will be a hierarchy in the pyramid of depth in rising being to the higher planes, the Yoga of Patanjali would be on the bottom of the pyramid but a necessary beginnings of purification, above Yoga will be vedanta and the pick of the pyramid will be tantra.
Yoga of Patanjali is the path of Self Realization, it belongs to the Kapila’s Sankhya philosophy by which is the pure consciousness (purusha) separated from the energy (prakriti). The buddhism and other systems are also based on the Kapila’s thought.
In Vedanta („the end of knowledge“) the pure consciousness is separated from the maya (illusion).
Tantra is a sophisticated and noble approach to life and the path of the unity between the individual self or soul with the universal soul, the cosmic consciousness. The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is a simple and profound text on Yoga, it is „The Yoga of Delight, Wonder and Astonishment“, as Jaideva Singh has called it. Vijnana Bhairava is a practical guide which offers many different ways of focusing and holding awareness (dharana) which leads to the state of Vijnana Bhairava, the higher understanding. It is the state or nirvikalpa samadhi, a thoughtless state with no mental chatter where one experiences the transcendence of the manifest world.

The state of perfect concentration is called ekagrata, where eka means one and agrata pointedness.

Between concentration and meditation is just a tiny thread. If one is able to hold the awareness on one thing, one will easily sink into the meditation.
According to the ancient wisdom, whether the eight folded or six folded yoga, the meditation is the highest state of spiritual altitude.

7. DHYANA is meditation.

Nothing in human life is more worth than inner peace, true love and serenity and these are nothing but a natural state of every and each human being. But, as the mind is covered by the huge cloud of ignorance these wonderful human virtues have been experienced only by those who succeeded to removed the cloud.
Thousands years ago, Rishis and Maharishis, the ancient sages and seers were practicing meditation, and their wisdoms are eternalized in Rig Veda, the most ancient scriptures of Indian culture, in the Upanishads (Katha, Svetasvatara, Mundaka, Brihadaranayaka, Chhandogya, Pingala Upanishad), in Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata. Meditation is in the Samkhya (or Sankhya) philosophy, one of the six classical schools of indian philosophy or visions (darshanas), defined as a tool to unite the two principles. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are based on the Samkhya philosophy.

Yoga Sutra 3.2:
„Meditation is the continuous and unbroken flow of perception (thought, idea, belief) in the direction of the object of concentration.“

Katha Upanishad 2.3.10:
„When the five senses cease and are at rest, and the mind rests with them, and the higher mind ceases from its workings, that is the highest state, say thinkers“
(Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads)

While in the concentration the sense of space and time is still present, in the meditation one is absorbed by the inner world and the sense of space and time is transcended. Also the me-myself thoughts and the body consciousness are transcended (videha). One becomes the observer. The mind (the subject) is merged with the object and in this melted state the mind discovers something what it did not know before. This recognition will then be reflected in a daily life. Meditation is not really a state, it is more that the person is absorbed by meditation.
Meditation is a very active absorption and complete inner clarity where the awareness flows spontaneously and freely. The creativity flows free of any judgments. In the state of meditation one receives the cosmic energy which flows through the energetic or etheric body. The etheric body is according to old yogic texts pervaded with 72000 energy channels called nadis which are the link between the maha akasha (space) and the body. In complete stillness the cosmic energy flows through the nadis purifying and loosening the blockades in them. This is also how the pranayama practice works at the beginning.

Both pranayama on the higher levels and meditation are the most direct way to detach the subtlest soul from the gross limitations of the body and mind. Other exterior means like praying are more indirect way. With each dedicated and proper meditation one is digging a deeper hole through the body, mind and intellect toward the Self simultaneously rising to the higher knowledge. For this it is useful to meditate in the same unchanged direction and way.
During meditation, over three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep, one will reach the fourth state (turiya), the state of the Self, in which there is neither conscious of the inner or subjective world nor of the outer or objective world. Only a pure, grounded, peaceful truth. It makes one knowledgeable.
A true yogi is always balanced between his feelings, thoughts, speech and acts. His mind and speech are steady with no duplicity and attachment to any other person or system. Having mastered the detachment, the true yogi is not indifferent toward the environment and love, at the contrary he is fully aware where he is, totally passionate.

The state of the meditator is a sattvic power of nature which is purity, harmony, light, lightness, steadiness, unselfish love. This powers abode in the highest centers in the crown of the head (there is no coincidence that we humans are coming to the physical world with the „open“ crown, the fontanelle, the brahma randra) which is again in contact with the supreme, higher consciousness. This is a great experience for meditator. The starting point is the already purified heart. I do not mean here the heart as the involuntary cardiac muscle but the psychic or spiritual center, the higher plane of mind, or higher energy center in the body where we all put our voluntary opened hands voluntary on, whether the left, right hand or both hands, when we want to thank the humanity, to express our passion, compassion, to say I Am Sorry (how many of us are able to say this?), or when we are crying or laughing experiencing emotional joy or pain. Both joy and sorrow are natural purifications.
But, in order to purify and cultivate the heart and mind one should first get to know them both. And, as the own’s fears and sufferings do not come from outside but live in own mind, the best start of the road which leads back to the source which is purity, harmony and unselfish love, is to analyze own thoughts, acts, wishes, dreams, visions, and before all to free the mind of any manipulation by other people. Silence and nature are definitely the best companions for this huge work. People who always talk about other people’s life usually know nothing about their own Self. How anyone on the globe could know your own soul better than you yourself?
The other adults are already grown up and can take care about their own lives, this is why is wise to take care about own realization. Life will bring each and every of us exactly there where we belong to.

Bhagavad Gita 6.5:
„A man should uplift himself by his own self, so let him not weaken this self. For this self is the friend of oneself, and this self is the enemy of oneself.“
(Translation by Swami Swarupananda)

Bhagavad Gita 6.3:
„For the man of meditation wishing to attain purification of heart leading to concentration, work is said to be the way: for him, when he has attained such (concentration), inaction is said to be the way.“
(Translation by Swami Swarupananda)

Bhagavad Gita 6.7-8:
„To the self-controlled and serene, the Supreme Self is, the object of constant, realization, in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as well as in honor and dishonor.
Whose heart is filled with satisfaction by wisdom and realization, and is changeless, whose senses are conquered, and to whom a lump of earth, stone, and gold are the same: that Yogi is called steadfast.“
(Translation by Swami Swarupananda)

A TURBULENT MIND

The biggest obstacles to calm the mind and to harmonize the heart are beside temporary thoughts, ideas, beliefs also the impressions of the past (samskaras). Samskaras are deeply rooted in our psyche and, being repeated all the time and with no change, they are becoming our habits. All this is happening on the unconscious level of the mind. Those impressions live in every and each of us, they are there, and when the conditions become right, they will swim out on the surface relating our mood, behavior, reactions, fears, relationships, complexes, the ways of expressions, everything. They are very old mind patterns which date from the time of our spiritual birth, then from the time when we were in a mother’s womb, from the moment of our physical birth, from our childhood and school time when we could not express ourselves, or when the environment suppressed us in any field and any moment of our life. The only way to overcome those obstacles is to acknowledge, accept, confront and transform them creating new positive samskaras (in buddhist yoga it is called vipassana or the insight meditation). For this the strong willpower of own mind (ichchha shakti– power of will) is necessary. This is why so called life, yoga or spiritual coaching usually ends in unsuccessfulness.

Both dhyana (in sanskrit, a classical-yoga term for meditation) and bhavana (in pali, a buddhistic term for meditation and a sanskrit term in tantra) are based on the Yoga Sutra 3.2 and both lead to the same goal, to recognize that little me-myself is actually a pure, immortal, divine treasure with no devisions.
This is what dhyana or meditation in its tradition is.

PRACTICE OF MEDITATION

There are hundreds of different techniques of mediations and countless offers all over the world but we should not forget that the meditation is an ancient Eastern technique and that the westerners have very different attitude and approach to life and spirituality than easterners. A western man will mostly start using the meditation techniques to reduce stress and to solve other problems in life.
The modern research in psychology and neuroscience (even though our body-mind-soul system is an extremely intelligent and complexed system which we known very little about) has proved that meditation techniques have positive effects on the brain changing its electro-magnetic structure. But on the other side very often people report that they feel even more frustrated after meditation sessions than before. Many will fall asleep in a sitting position, some will fall onto their back and continue snoring which is, in contrast to psychological, behavioral and/or physical confusion (which the psychology and neuroscience have proved as well), a very soft product of wrong use or misunderstanding of meditation.
Please have in mind that the meditation will be healthy and fruitful only when one’s mind is stabilized in its honesty and in an open mind which means open heart, in yamas and niyamas, when the body is stabilized and strengthened through dedicate and passionate but not competitive asana practice, when one can withdraw own senses, fully discriminate what is real and not real through the practice of concentration, when one knows how to focus the awareness and after all, when one has love for life. This is why the meditation is said to be the highest stage in Yoga, vedanta, tantra (and its forms in Japan, China and Tibet), buddhism or any other system of thoughts. Meditating requires a good and solid preparation otherwise the unprepared person can be lost in his identity, pride, arrogance, expectations, values, superiority complex (which is a plaid for inferiority complex), meaning of life, attitude, and so the meditation will in this case, instead of relaxed mind and serene heart bring even bigger confusion. Both dharana and dhyana can awake the higher centers in the frequent brain by changing its electro-magnetic waves and if there is no preparation for this transformation, the input will be too much for the brain. One should not torture himself at any cost but honestly and aware of his temperament and mentality do what works on his way and discard what does not. This path of the self realization is called the path of discrimination (viveka) which can be taught by no book or person but only by honest looking into, inquiring (vichara) and changing the inner life with strong willpower jet without any feeling of guilt or any kind of exaggeration. For this path a grounding is necessary, whether you are a spiritualist, materialist, ideologist or a dreamer. Nothing is impossible. When a person practices meditation properly, the fruits will be transferred into his character and this transformation will unavoidable be felt and seen by all his environment, indeed only to those who themselves have enough open heart to receive. Sparkling eyes do not lie. Neither heart. Nor soul.

„There are good souls, calm and magnanimous, who do good to others as does the spring, and who, having themselves crossed this dreadful ocean of birth and death, help others also to cross the same, without any motive whatsoever.“
Adi Shankaracharya, Vivekachudamani

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

Meditation is in our society understood and practiced more as concentration (dharana).
The techniques of meditation/concentration range from contemplation which means deeply reflexive thinking about something, to the higher stages of yogic, vedantic, tantric or buddhistic thoughts.

One can meditate in any position but the sitting position on the pillow is the best. The eyes are doors of mind and they should be closed.

For focusing the mind which always prefers to be somewhere, there are countless choices of the objects. The object of meditation in Yoga (which is dualistic) and in vedanta (which is non dualistic) can be, according to one’s nature, external or internal, abstract or concrete. For more restless heads the objects of focusing the mind will be the objects with form and for more steady minds the formless objects.
It could be a loving person or even enemy (the later is a very challenging choice and it is able to an accomplished heart), a dream or vision, a divine cosmic person or form (ishtadevata), an idea, situation, a constructive conversation, place, space, stars, heart, anything what one choose to travel deeper into understanding of the true reality of the object. Understanding will then lead to the recognition and this is what Yoga is about.

In all, Yoga, vedanta and tantra the common object of meditation is the repetition of the mantra OM or other thousands years old mantras like Soham or Gayatri Mantra (oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, tát savitúr váreniyaṃ, bhárgo devásya dhīmahi, dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt). The repetition of mantra is called Japa, and it varies in stages, from aloud repeating the mantra (baikhari), lightly whispering (upanshu), in the mind (manasik) or writing the mantra on the paper (likhit) (because the approach to life and spirituality in the West differs from the Eastern way, such activities are in the modern science often called „personality disorder“, so, unlike yoga psychology, the western psychology sees the later as a mental disorder and will diagnosed those who have an extreme need to write as graphomaniacs, to mention some).
More advanced stages in the meditation are meditations on abstract objects such as the meaning of the mantra or ancient texts.
For all, the contemplation, yogic, vedantic, tantric or buddhistic techniques of mediation, the awareness of breath, which is a gross form of prana or vital energy, is used as a starting point (in a buddhistic terminology it is called anapana sati).

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, an ancient script on the knowledge of the mind, teaches 112 different techniques of meditation which are defined as dharanas (concentrations). Step by step and with no short cuts, with well prepared heart, body and focus, tantra will lead to opening to the last of the seven stages of consciousness, according to vedanta: 1. deep sleep, 2. dreaming (REM phase), 3. waking state, which are all the common states for each mind, 4. opening of the soul, a soul consciousness (when you, in your silent witnessing, become a observer not lead by thoughts but by intuition), 5. cosmic, universal consciousness (when you recognize that your soul pervades all states of your existence and everything else, in this state a person is immune to stress and with his tranquility is a nutrition for the others and for the environment), 6. divine consciousness (or witnessing of a reflexion of the divine), 7. unity consciousness (merging of the individual with universal soul in a full harmony with natural lows).
How you experience the world depend on the state of your state of consciousness.

This is how Yoga, which is a practice of tantra, guides us over three states of the consciousness, waking state (jagrat), dreaming state (swapna) and sleeping state (sushupti), to the fourth state (turiya) which is according to Patanjali’s Yoga the end and a new beginning.

Whether one uses one concentration/meditation technique or another is of no importance as long as the person has balanced behavior and a serene heart, as long as he can inspire others despite loads of daily duties and fast life, as long as he does not harm other living beings, as long as he makes no division between people’s nationality, race, education, skin color, religion. We are all part of the infinite.
It is not about to boast about anything.

What in the higher experiences of pranayama may happen is that the awareness and prana unite with the soul. This will be a spontaneous (kevala) meditation which transcends the mind or intellect. Spontaneous meditation will answer many questions.

Meditation is still not the perfect unity as between the Sadhaka (someone who does the Sadhana, practice) and the object there is still a little sense of separation.
When mind and prana are resolved, and when there are no limits one riches Samadhi.

This is how yoga helps human beings to call the things by the right names and to make a difference and why yoga relates to the terms such (to mention some) paranormal experiences, Overmind, Supermind, cosmic consciousness, light, enlightenment, out of body experience, intuitive knowledge, supreme knowledge, transcendental knowledge, higher reality, ultimate reality, extrasensory perception, parapsychology, mystical experience, metaphysic, cosmology, super natural powers, higher dimensions, psycho-physical phenomena, endlessness, unity, unification, reunification, quantum physic, space, time, no space, no time…, which are all, after all, just natural appearances.

Each and every human being comes to the Earth with the body, mind and soul already united but just a few succeed to realize themselves. The aware life-style based on this eight rungs of Yoga can unfold the levels of the self step by step and with no short cut. In that way, the human consciousness transcends to the reunification.
Transformation begins in the body and not outside.

„This idea, or belief, that we must go somewhere, meet someone, read something, to accomplish life’s best fulfillment is the first and last mistake. In the end, as in the beginning, we have nothing else to do except obey the ancient command to LOOK WITHIN.“
– Paul Brunton

„Then various wonderful powers are attained by the Yogin, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, ability to transport himself to great distances within a moment, great power of speech, ability to take any form, ability to become invisible and the transmutation of iron into gold when the former is smeared over with his excretion.“
Adi Shankaryacharya, Vivekacudamani

8. SAMADHI

It is a neutral state of melted knowledge in its fullness.
This state connects deep knowledge of the subject with the deep knowledge of the object.
There is no mental effort and no deliberation in this state. The things are flowing spontaneously in their purest streams. A breakthrough occurs. The past, present and future experiences are united and spontaneously expressed. The memory of the person is disabled and united with the ultimate reality. The perception is over sensed and the answers on the why, how, where, who questions are given by the highest, pure intuition with ease and with a perfect precision. To the person who achieved samadhi the things will be not unknown anymore. In the mind of such person the ideas are flowing spontaneously and the right things are just happening with no wish, desire, or any effort, with no obstacles and doubts.
With the purest intuition begins the knowledge of Yoga. This is the place where, as I love to say, the knowledge of the modern psychology stops and the knowledge of the ancient science of Yoga begins. In yoga, the intuition is what guides not the intellect.

Yoga Sutra 3.3:
„When the true nature of the object in meditation shines forth not being distorted by the mind of the perceiver, that is absorption or samadhi.“

The true state of Yoga follows after a long, long road of purifying mind and body, by using only own power of mind with no any exoteric means. The slow but sure stages of Yoga are kind of, as I love to call them, the „natural, spontaneous, intuitive entheogens“. The word entheogen comes from greek: „το μέσο που γεννά/παράγει/σχηματίζει (σ’ ένα άτομο) το θείο συναίσθημα“, which means that entheogens are „the means which give birth/generate/form a divine feeling (in a person)“.
The road and the state of samadhi is traveled and achieved only once in life time and it has an open end. This is why cannabis, alcohol, psychedelics or any other entheogens are of no value for the path to the true, ultimate reality because the perception and reality of the entheogen(s) addicted person are spinning in the circle with no exit. The brain of an entheogens addicted person is not brought to the unity, at the contrary, alcohol is a very strong drug which is entering into some regions in a brain which are normally very well protected, to mention some of vast damages of the brain caused by the use of drugs. „Trance“, „nirvana“ or „ecstasy“ how the self-called liberated people describe their state using street drugs is done involuntary. Those things are done for self satisfaction, no more no less, and this path does not lead to the Truth. Besides it, the entheogen(s) addicted firstly has to earn money (borrow or steal) in order to come to an, after all, unconsciousness state.

Samadhi or the realization of the Self, liberation (kaivalya moksha), or the perpetual peace of mind is only possible if there is no attachment to any of the gross objects. In this highest yoga (Asamprajnata Yoga), one can stop all mental activity not by the external means but at own will.

The person who has realized his being has passed through different levels of transformations. Those people did not „change their mind“, as to change the mind also means being enslaved in own duplicity and hypocrisy. What happens (explained on the level of matter) is that the brain frequencies of the realized person have been changed and therewith the character of the person, to the better of course. Changes in the brain shape the new reality. Most of us expect that such people have some special appearances but many will be surprised that a person who has experienced samadhi does not look different than the others. The only thing is that we do not really know what is going on inside of the one who has experienced samadhi, as, ordinarily, the consciousness can not enter other consciousness.

„Success depends essentially on a qualified aspirant. Time, place and other such means are but auxiliaries in this regard.“
Adi Shankaracharya, Vivekachudamani

Although rare, especially in the Western society, those occult/yogic/psychic powers (siddhis) occur. Even though great, they are not harmless because the person could be easily taken in by his huge egotism becoming attached, this time to the new unique powers, spinning in the circle over again. The repeated misery in a new color. This is why a non attachment is important even to those new sweet powers. Many will try to exercise their powers and strive for more but due to this delusion most of the acts will be unsuccessful.
The other again will use those powers to control and manipulate other’s mind either for the sake of their own fame and name, or politically dividing people by their place of birth (therewith beliefs) or skin color.

Yoga Sutra 3.38:
„There are powers in a worldly state but they are obstacles to samadhi.“

Division of any kind is not given to us by birth. Goodness is what is given to us. As babies we are coming here pure and innocent. The adult who has become open, honest, spontaneous and pure like a child, and steady in his feelings, thoughts and acts, can say that he knows and has mastered Yoga. A master of Yoga has no doubts. Everything else is just a fabricated truth in the modern materialistic society.
Unlike an calculating and analytical (German: überlegt) mind, a yogic mind is free of any judge and it is spontaneous and pure as a child.

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi form the Samyama, a pure reflection, pure wisdom:

Yoga Sutra 3.4-6:
„When concentration, meditation and absorption are brought to bear upon one subject they are called samyama.
Through mastery of samyama comes the light of knowledge (wisdom).
This must be applied stage by stage.“

As every end is just a new beginning, so the state of samyama, the practice of concentration, meditation and samadhi, is just the beginning of the new life, the actual spiritual life. Everything what was up to this state unconscious now is conscious.
Being higher than the first five folds of yoga, those three states are still far from the highest transformation. This is what the Yoga Sutras 3.7-8 say.

HIGHER TRANSFORMATIONS

Even the state of samadhi, which is already a high level of transformation, has its stages.
First comes the lower stage of samadhi which, through different samyamas (the practice of concentration, meditation and absorption) leads to the highest absorption of everything, to the nirvikapla samadhi.
Even here the mind with its uniqueness, in this state can loose itself in its false identifications and exaggerations.
Even in fruits of Yoga there are forbidden fruits.

In the highest absorption, the me-myself feeling (egoism) and its narcissistic brother, the egotism, do not exist anymore. As the eyes are not the sense itself but just the instrument of the sense, so the mind (where the intellect lives) is in the higher samadhi just the instrument of the ultimate, intuitive knowledge.
The practical, not the theoretical, yogi sees no difference between pile of gold and pile of moldy wood. He has balanced behavior and life with no mood or any other swings. Once he has experienced greatness and purity he will be disconnected with mediocrity.

The highest transformation is not possible without a massive pre-knowledge or experience:

„Get the psychic being in front and keep it there, putting its power on the mind, vital and physical- so that it shall communicate to them its force of single-minded aspiration, trust, faith, surrender, direct and immediate detection of whatever is wrong in the nature and turned towards ego and error, away from Light and truth.
Eliminate egoism in all its forms; eliminate it from every movement in your consciousness.“
Sri Aurobindo, „Preparation for the Supramental Change“

Despite all mental efforts, only a good fertilized soil will give a birth of high transformed mind. This transformation/absorption is, despite all efforts, given by the grace of the faith, or by the powers which are much bigger than our little selves, whether those powers are powers of the terrestrial or non terrestrial spirits.
If given, this transformation can not be suppressed by any effort neither inner nor outer.
It is important to note that some people posses a natural access to a rich unconscious stream of knowledge and can get to the very high levels of energy without rungs of Yoga. But those people are very rare.

„The conviction of the Truth is seen to proceed from reasoning upon the salutary counsel of the wise, and not by bathing in the sacred waters, nor by gifts, nor by a hundred Pranayamas (control of the vital force).“
Adi Shankaracharya, Vivekachudamani

The three gunas or the three powers, also called the qualities of nature, are transformed in this state. As there are no really good or bad people, so there are no good or bad gunas. There are only good and bad actions of people and good and bad expressions of their powers. Goodness is not unnatural, goodness is given to a man by birth. There are only conscious or unconscious people, not really good or bad. Conscious people do good things and unconscious bad things. Those who do bad things live in a prison of fears, fear to love, fear to be loved, fear to be.

The Yoga Sutras are written by Patanjali but those aphorisms are based on the experiences of the ancient hindu sages who gained the knowledge about space, time, consciousness. Those ancient sages achieved and described the state of the ultimate reality with no modern instrument to measure any of their experiences.

The Patanjali says in the first aphorism of the Yoga Sutras:
1.1:
„Yoga is the control of the waves of thoughts in the mind.“, and in the Yoga Sutra 3.9:
„The achievement of control of the waves of thoughts in the mind is attained when the vision of the lower samadhi is suppressed by an act of conscious control so that there are no longer any thoughts or visions in the mind.“

3.10-15
When this suppression of the waves of thoughts becomes continuous, one attains the deepest state of one-pointedness. In this state, the gross matter, like body and sense organs transforms in the subtle matter of form, time, condition. To the artist who works with changeable materials this will be well known. The artist takes a clay and water (which are the gross matter) in his hands and in a while out of that bench of clay will become a new form. Wanting to make a break after his wonderfully done work, maybe picking up the a cup of tea he will accidentally crash his work which will in a second be not the master piece anymore but bench of dusty clay, again. Thus, the substance remains the same, but over time it takes different forms. In regard to the grade of success, this process will be called the evolution. The example of the clay could de applied to the consciousness and its evolution.

3.16
If one can make the proper samyama on this three kind of transformations, one obtains the knowledge about past and future.

POWERS WHICH COME AFTER THE LOWER STAGE OF SAMADHI HAVE BEEN REACHED

In the next sutras in the third chapter Patanjali explains different occult/yogic/psychic powers (siddhis) which occur after the lower stage of samadhi and what comes as the result of different samyamas, or practices of concentration, meditation and samadhi:
3.17
With samyama on the sound of the word, one can separate the sound, meaning and the action of the meaning of the word. The example for this is a person whose senses are so extraordinary developed that he can understand the language of nature and animals, as well as the language of all humans with no worldly linguistically knowledge.

3.18
When the waves of mind have been stilled, one’s memory is transformed and one gains the insight of the past lives.

3.19-20
With samyama on the other people’s „marks“, which are thoughts and acts, jet being detached from them, one gains the knowledge of the nature of another’s mind. This is only possible if it is simultaneously done with the samyama on the another’s heart with own already purified heart.

3.21-22
When one can fully control and rise above his own natural abilities in knowing, learning and understanding at own will detached from the gross body-senses organs, one can rise above all own past misery and pain and he and his sounds can be „invisible“ to the other’s perception.

3.23
With samyama on two different karmas, the one which will manifest in earlier and another which will manifest in later life, one will gain knowledge about the exact time of his death.

3.24 with the Sutra 1.33
With samyama on friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, joy in the wholesome, disinterest for the harmful and nasty, one develops good qualities.

3.25
With samyama on the strength like of the elephant, one gains the straight.

3.26
With samyama on the inner light, one attains the knowledge about the subtle and hidden, and about the far away.

3.27-29
With the samyama on the sun, one gains the knowledge of the cosmic dimension, with the samyama on the moon, the knowledge of the arrangement of the stars and with the samyama on the polestar, one gains the knowledge of the movement of the stars.

3.30-31
With the samyama on the navel centre, one gains the knowledge of the body structure, and on the inner of the throat, one can control hunger and thirst.

3.32
With the samyama on the tube within the chest, one attained complete steadiness.

3.33
With the samyama on the radiant light (jyotisi) within the back of the head, one is able to come in the psychic contact with one’s masters, the psychic, or celestial beings.

3.34
To the siddhis (persons who posses occult powers) who already have achieved higher state of purification of the mind, nothing will be unknown and they can experience the enlightenment without doing other samyamas.

3.35
With the samyama on the heart, one gains finer knowledge of the mind.

3.36
One will gain the knowledge of the Self only if one can detach his experience of joy, which is a sattvic power of nature, from the Atman, or the true Self, the soul in its purest immortal essence, or Purusha (when pervades in the body). Only when one can distance himself even from the joy of the reflexion of the true Self, which is still worldly, one can be the joy of the pure soul, itself.

3.37
This joy without attachment leads to the spontaneous illumination which transcendence the hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell to the supernatural.

3.38
If worldly, even this powers can be the obstacles to the highest transformation.
Even the siddhis live in the mind. When the mind is detached even from it own’s powers, there will be a chance for the real liberation (kaivalya moksha). The state when the mind is „nowhere“, is called nirmal sthiti, a continued thoughtless state in its highest purity.
A liberated soul while still living is called a Jivanmukti (not to be confused with the similar labeled physical yoga style).

FUTHER ABILITIES OF THE HIGHER POWERS.
THE SIDDHIS.

3.39
If a yogi can let the causes of the attachment to his body, using his own siddhis (powers) and the knowledge of the energy channels his consciousness can enter into and handle through the other body.

3.40
A yogi who has mastered the up breath or udana prana, the life force which flows the neck upwards (one of the five prana vayus, pancha pranas, five different life forces) and operates with the ability to respond to the outside world, can rise his body above water and swamps, or to walk on the thorns. In the moment of death, the udana prana is responsible for the detachment of the astral body from the physical body, and the extreme advanced yogi who has mastered the udana prana, can die at will.

3.41
A yogi who has mastered the mid breath or samana prana, the life force which governs the region between the heart and the navel and relates to expansion of the consciousness and transformation, can radiates the rays of light.

3.42
With samyama on the relation between the ear and ether (space, akasha), one obtains the divine, supernatural hearing of all sounds.

3.43
With samyama on the relation between the body and space, or by achieving through the meditation the lightness of the cotton fibre, one can travel through air, or levitate being freed of the power of gravitation.

3.44
With samyama on the external waves of mind which are separated from the body and ego, the covering of the inner light, darkness and ignorance disappear. The consciousness of the yogi can then enter into another body without imagination.

3.45
With samyama on the gross elements, their forms, on the subtle elements, on the essential characteristics in both gross and subtle elements, and on the influences which they have on the soul, the yogi gains mastery over the elements.

3.46
Through the mastery over the elements, one gains the power of making the body atomically small (anima) and similar powers, and of perfection of the body.
If the yogi has attained those powers (mahasiddhi), he can make himself small as a atom or huge as a mountain (mahima), heavy (gharima) or light (laghima), he can realize anything he desires (prakamya). He can rule own body and spiritual powers (ishitva). He can also rule over other beings and elements (vashitva).

Nothing and no one stands in his way.

3.47
The perfection of the physical body (kaya-sampat) includes beauty (rupa), gracefulness (lavanaya), strength (bala) and adamantine hardness (vajra). Nothing can destroy it (samhanana), there are no sicknesses and pain, until the yogi wishes it (the later has a very deep meaning, not a surfaced).

3.48
With samyama on the perception (grahana) and knowledge of the object, its nature or form (svarupa) and transformation which occurs due this perception and knowledge, on the ego-sense or I-ness (asmita) which is in the center of the indriyas (mental forms of actions and senses), on the relation (anvaya) between three innermost nature of the organs (gunas) and on the experience of them (arthavattva), one gains the mastery of the organs.

3.49
With this mastery (tato), the body gains the power of movements fast like the mind (manojavitvam), power of extrasensory perception (as clairvoyance or clairaudience) or power of the sense organs (vikaranabhavah) separately from the body and the mastery of the primal cause, prakriti (pradhanajayasca).

The power of the control of nature, prakriti, is a high and sweet power but to one who has arrived to this state, those powers might not be the reason for the attachment to those powers, since such person already possesses the essential and intuitive knowledge of his being.

ON THE WAY TO LIBERATION

3.50
The one who realized the difference between (anyata) the purest aspect of mind (sattva) and pure consciousness (purusha) on the high level, and who raised himself above the spinning circles of the gunas, he gains the excellence over all forms of beingness and knowledge, the omnipotence or all-powerfulness and omniscience or infinitive knowledge.

3.51
Through detachment from desire for possession of those psychic powers, the seed (bija) of evil is destroyed and one achieves liberation or isolation (kaivalya).

The liberation is a true knowledge and like every knowledge it isolates but it frees of darkness of ignorance.

LIFE OF POWER, POWER OF LIFE

3.52
In case of invitation (upanimantrane) by the celestial beings (sthani), one should give himself no cause (akaranam) to attache (sanga) himself to this invitation, smile or pride (smaya), because he will once again (punuh) be undesirable (anista) caught (prasangat) by ignorance.

The one who finds himself on the higher level of existence and development shines with wisdom and warmness and has the affinity to attract other beings may these be terrestrial beings on their lower or on a bit higher level of existence, or the beings from the higher places, the heavenly beings, which are much older in existence and superior to humans. If a man allows himself to be caught by this sweetness, he will loose the purpose of his path. If he resists the enjoyment of the sweet attractions of any kind and continue his path, the liberation stands him on the way. Such person will enrich the life of other persons he meets, indeed only of those who are able to receive the massage. Closed heart is not alive, anyway. Around such heart there is no vibration of any kind.

3.53
With samyama on single moments (ksana) and their sequence (krama) one gains knowledge (jnana) based on discrimination (viveka).

As long as pulsates, the body moves together with consciousness through time and space (place), which is life, which is again a time game. When life is given to us, the death is given as well. When stops pulsating, the body will stop moving but the consciousness will continue to exist.

The idea of time is understood or experienced by each of us different but the truth is that in our daily functioning the time or better our sense of time is what will often cause a stressful life.
It is said that time is an illusion but this could only be acknowledged through concentration, meditation and samadhi which is samyama. In deepest samyama there is no time and no space, there will be no beginning and no end of time, no beginning or end of life, just the pure undivided intuitive life which is a pure reality, the pure soul. But this state can only be experienced by those who can detach themselves from the body as a physical, mathematically known structure. In this state one will get the precise answers about one’s mysterious being, about the past and future and the insight of the change, transiency and immortality.

3.54
With possession of that knowledge based on discrimination, one gets the ability to make a difference (anyata) between two (apparently) same objects which normally can not be differentiated (anavachchhedat) by species or genus (jati), specific characteristics or signs (laksana) and place (desha).

It is not about discrimination done by the intellect but about the intuitive ability to make not the gross but the subtle difference between the innermost nature of any kind of living beings, or objects, with no doubts.

3.55

Knowledge which is born (ja) of knowledge of discrimination (viveka) is a transcendent (tarakam) comprehensive knowledge of all (sarva) objects (visayam) in every moment and in all their aspects (sarvatha), and it is with no logical order (akramam).

Logic is useful for discrimination in everyday life and this path is better than no path, but since the logical path is a done-by-low path and, alike all rules and laws, it forms a set of limits making self-destructive and generally wastingly mistakes. A man can train his reason in one particular area of interest but in many other areas such mind will be totally blind and incapable.
Pure intuitive knowledge is a knowledge on the high energy level beyond time and place. One who has achieved this kind of knowledge will know each and every person immediately and deeply, in every aspect of his existence. This mystical intuitive knowledge makes no mistakes and is beyond doubt. It is a trespassing knowledge in the ocean of aloneness and independency of both own and other little, lower selves.
This is a faculty of a sage. A sage has purified his native egoism by meditation, which is of a great value for inner peace and serene heart. Reading the books does not make one a sage. There are people walking on the Earth who got knowledge but they did not read the books. They simply know.
Just after all the previous rugs of Yoga are step-by-step undergone even in their detachment, one’s existence can be lead by pure and not by false intuition, since an intuition is a moment which can also be controlled by the mind. There are very few persons who have sincerely undertaken their journey, who have achieved this knowledge and who have wisdom to let even this knowledge be proved. Many sages took a life time to prove whether their knowledge is true or is false. The real insight is a realization where fullness becomes emptiness. There are no emotions, no dreams, no visions, just entire meditative peace with full insight, jet passionate.

“Man is not by any means convinced as yet of his immortality. All the great religions have in concert, more or less positively, affirmed it to him; but no safe logic proves it, and no entirely accepted voice from some farther world proclaims it. There is a restless instinct, an unquenchable hope, a silent discontent with the very best of transitory pleasures, which perpetually disturb his skepticism or shake his resignation; but only a few feel quite certain that they will never cease to exist. The vast majority either put the question aside, being absorbed in the pursuits of life; or grow weary of meditating it without result; or incline to think, not without melancholy satisfaction, that the death of the body brings an end to the individual. Of these, the happiest and most useful in their generation are the healthy-minded ones who are too full of vigor or too much busied with pleasure or duty, to trouble themselves about death and its effects. The most enviable are such as find, or affect to find, in the authority or the arguments of any extant religion, sufficing demonstration of a future existence. And perhaps the most foolish are those who, following ardent researches of science, learn so little at the knees of their “star-eyed” mistress as to believe those forces which are called intellect, emotion, and will, capable of extinction, while they discover and declare the endless conservation of motion and matter.”
– Sir Erdwin Arnold

3.56
When the sattva and purusha become equally pure, the absolute liberation (kaivalya) is attained. This is the end (Iti).

Sattva is the purest, the most balanced energy of the intellect and when this purified substance reaches the unification (Yoga) with the purusha, which is a pure consciousness, which is again a man himself, such soul is said to be liberated.

The other two gunas, rajas, a very active energy and tamas, a dark state of nature, can not disturb the purity and balance of an sattvic energy. Purusha is pure consciousness. Purusha literally means person, being, man. When knowledge and being become one, a highest realm of human existence is achieved.
Kaivalya also means isolation. Difference between the ordinary mind and liberated soul of the sage is unbridgeable, jet both the ultimate Truth and liberation are beyond any explanations by words.

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4.1:
The siddhis (powers) are attained by birth (janma), herbs (ausadhi) (special herbs used in ancient India, not the street drugs), mantras (powerful words), asceticism or mortification (tapah), or by samadhi.

With this sutra begins the fourth chapter of the Yoga Sutra and ends my study on the eight folds of Yoga.

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You are the creator.
Create worlds.