Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.18:
Five-fold Efforts and Commitments
YOGA SUTRA 1.20: Others follow a five-fold systematic path of 1)
faithful certainty in the path, 2) directing energy towards the
practices, 3) repeated memory of the path and the process of stilling
the mind, 4) training in deep concentration, and 5) the pursuit of
real knowledge, by which the higher samadhi (asamprajnata samadhi) is
(shraddha virya smriti samadhi prajna purvakah itaresham)
SHRADDHA = unconditional faith, trust, confidence, belief, certainty
VIRYA = energy, strength of will
SMRITI = memory, intentful remembrance, mindfulness
SAMADHI = deep absorption of meditation, entasy
PRAJNA = wisdom, discernment, super cognitive
PURVAKAH = preceding, coming before, prerequisite
itaresham = of other people
SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD OUTLINE: The five principles and practices in
this sutra form a very simple, straightforward outline of the
personal commitments needed to follow the path of Self-realization.
It is very useful to memorize these five, and to reflect on them
often. This five-point orientation works in conjunction with the
eight rungs of Yoga introduced in Sutra 2.28:
SHRADDHA is a faith that you are moving in the right direction. It is
not a blind faith in some organization, institution, or teacher.
Rather, it is an inner feeling of certainty that you are moving in
the right direction. You may not know exactly how your journey is
unfolding, but have an inner intuition of walking steadily towards
the goal of life.
VIRYA is the positive energy of ego that is the support for the faith
of going in the right direction. This energy of virya puts the power
behind your sense of knowing what to do. When you are strongly acting
on what you know to be your correct path, that is virya. When you
feel weak or uncertain, and are taking little action, that is from
lack of virya. Virya is that conviction that says, "I can do it! I
will do it! I have to do it!"
SMRITI is cultivating a constant mindfulness of treading the path,
and of remembering the steps along the way. This memory is not a
negative mental obsession, but rather, a gentle, though persistent
awareness of the goal of life, of your faith, and of your decision to
commit your energy to the process. Smriti is also the practice of
mindfulness of inner process, both witnessing at meditation time and
during daily life. See the article on Witnessing:
SAMADHI is intently pursued through the various stages of samadhi
already described (1.17-1.18). It means committing to systematically
moving through the levels or stages of samadhi, and to use these
skills of attention as the tools to discriminate (2.26-2.29) the
various forms of ignorance (2.5).
PRAJNA is the higher wisdom that comes from discrimination, and this
wisdom is assiduously sought through the process of introspection
(2.26-2.29), utilizing the razor-sharp tool of samadhi (3.4-3.6).
Numerous levels of wisdom are experienced through the practices in
Chapters 2 and 3, all of which are set aside with non-attachment
(3.38). See also the Prajna section of the Om Mantra Article, and
the Prajna section of the Levels and Dimensions of Consciousness
CONSTANT REMEMBRANCE: By cultivating a constant remembrance of these
five forms of efforts and commitments, the specific practices are all
understood in this simple context. This helps a great deal to inspire
one to follow through on doing the actual practices suggested
throughout the Yoga Sutras.