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Reason for the Eight Rungs of Yoga

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    REASON FOR THE EIGHT RUNGS OF YOGA Swami Jnaneshvara The Eight Rungs of Yoga are well known, and are (including Yoga Sutra references): 1) Yama: codes of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2007
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      Swami Jnaneshvara

      The Eight Rungs of Yoga are well known, and are (including Yoga Sutra

      1) Yama: codes of restraint, abstinences (2.30, 2.31)
      2) Niyama: observances, self-training (2.32)
      3) Asana: meditation posture (2.46-2.48)
      4) Pranayama: expansion of breath and prana (2.49-2.53)
      5) Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses (2.54-2.55)
      6) Dharana: concentration (3.1)
      7) Dhyana: meditation (3.2)
      8) Samadhi: deep absorption (3.3)
      Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are together known as Samyama, which is
      described in Sutras 3.4-3.6:


      However, WHAT IS THE REASON for doing those Eight Rungs? This is
      often overlooked. The Eight Rungs are presented in the 29th Sutra of
      Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras. The reason for doing them is presented
      in the three sutras just before that. According to Patanjali,
      codifier of the Yoga Sutras, the reason for the eight rungs is
      DISCERNMENT or DISCRIMINATION (viveka) so that one may gradually
      reveal the true self that remains after all of the false identities
      are set aside. It is an extremely important principle for the Yogi or
      Yogini to be aware of. All of the work with body, breath, and the
      more surface levels of mind is done so as to cultivate this subtler
      tool of enlightenment.

      From YOGA SUTRAS 2.26-2.29:

      Clear, distinct, unimpaired DISCRIMINATIVE KNOWLEDGE is the means of
      liberation from this alliance [referring to the alliance of
      consciousness with thoughts and avidya, ignorance described in
      previous sutras]. Seven kinds of ultimate insight come to one who has
      attained this degree of discrimination. Through the practice of the
      different limbs, or steps to Yoga, whereby impurities are eliminated,
      there arises an illumination that culminates in DISCRIMINATIVE
      WISDOM, or enlightenment [VIVKEKA KHYATIH]. The eight rungs, limbs,
      or steps of Yoga are the codes of self-regulation or restraint
      (yamas), observances or practices of self-training (niyamas),
      postures (asana), expansion of breath and prana (pranayama),
      withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana),
      meditation (dhyana), and perfected concentration (samadhi).

      MORE INFO from the website on the Reason for the Eight Rungs:

      NEWSLETTER on Yoga Sutras:

      MAIN PAGE of Yoga Sutras:

      INTRODUCTION to Yoga Sutras:
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