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3Yoga Sutra 1.2: Definition of Yoga

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Jun 13, 2005
      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.2:
      (Useful graphics are shown at this link along with text)

      YOGA SUTRA 1.2: Yoga is the control (nirodhah, regulation,
      channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, stilling, quieting,
      setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought
      patterns) of the mind field.
      (yogash chitta vritti nirodhah)

      YOGA = of yoga, union; literally, to yoke, from the root yuj, which
      means to join; same as the absorption in samadhi

      CHITTA = of the consciousness of the mind-field

      VRITTI = operations, activities, fluctuations, modifications,
      changes, or various forms of the mind-field

      NIRODHAH = control, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration,
      coordination, understanding, stilling, quieting, setting aside of

      NIRODHAH SUGGESTS SELF-TRAINING: This single sentence is a most
      succinct definition of the science of Self-realization, or Yoga. The
      key to understanding is the word nirodhah, which defies translation
      or description. When translated poorly or misunderstood, it can sound
      like the suppression or repression of thoughts and emotions, which is
      definitely not what Yoga is about. Rather, it has to do with a
      process more like coordinating and setting aside what is not
      significant or not-self (2.5). It means finding the jewel of Truth
      that is underneath or behind all of the other activities in the mind-
      field. This comes through a self-training program dealing with the
      relationships, senses, body, breath, and mind. Ultimately, the
      meaning of nirodhah, and thus, of Yoga itself begins to emerge
      experientially through doing the practices.

      names five states of mind, of which the nirodhah state of mind is the
      desired state of mind for the realization of the true Self. These
      five states of mind are described just above in the discussion of
      Sutra 1.1. It is extremely useful to be mindful of the five states of
      mind, so as to better understand their relationship to this most
      desired state of mind.

      UNCOLORING YOUR THOUGHTS: To find the jewel of the Self requires
      getting past the coloring of thought patterns (1.5), such as
      attachment, aversion, and fear (2.3). This involves witnessing your
      own inner process.

      PRACTICE AND NON-ATTACHMENT: Two principles remain at the core
      throughout this self-training program: 1) Practices leading to
      stability and tranquility and 2) non-attachment. (1.12-1.16)

      ATTITUDES, EFFORTS, AND COMMITMENTS: Five attitudes, efforts, and
      commitments are cultivated: faith in your direction, energy to go
      there, mindfulness and memory to stay there, and the ongoing
      commitment to seek the higher states of concentration and wisdom.

      STABILIZING AND CLEARING THE MIND: Preparatory practices including
      meditation on attitudes towards people and ways to focus attention,
      are done to train the mind so that the subtler meditations can then
      be practiced. (1.33-1.39)

      REDUCING THE GROSS COLORINGS OF MIND: The more gross colorings of
      mind, dealing mostly with attractions, aversions, and fears are
      reduced through a process of training the senses, inner study, and
      surrender. (2.1-2.9)

      DISCRIMINATION THROUGH EIGHT RUNGS: Cultivating inner discrimination
      through the eight rungs of yoga (2.26-2.29), so as to systematically
      uncover that jewel of the Self. (1.3)