III: Vibhuti / Siddhi Pada (Accomplishments)

The Vibhuti are all the accomplishments which come as by-products of your Yoga practice. They are also sometimes called the Siddhis, or supernatural powers. These powers begin to come with the practice of the final three limbs of Raja Yoga: Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (contemplation). On Books 3 and 4, I have translated all the sutras but I have chosen not to comment on them all. Those who wish to study the no-comment sutras can consult one of the books on the Yoga Sutras listed in the Selected Reading. -- Satchidananda

That being the case, no problem. I have included commentaries by the AIs on all sutras for Books 3 and 4. Surprisingly though, I did not find any 'sensitive' information about Siddhi that would be cause for a non-comment by Satchidananda.

1. Dharana: training the mind to concentrate

"Dharana (concentration) is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea."

(p 373) When the cittam, (sum-total of the mind) is being bound by one thing or bound in one place, it is in Dharana. It is the beginning of meditation. Concentration is the beginning of meditation; meditation is the culmination of concentration. They are more or less inseparable.

Let's get Physical First
Imagine you just want to fix the mind on a beautiful rose. The best practice would be to keep a physical rose in front of you as it's easier for the mind.

Gazing with Intention
Tradak is actually gazing at something, sometimes without even blinking. Don't strain the eyes. Just look at your object as long as you can. You'll be able to look longer if you put your mind on the idea behind the object: Trataka on candle light, the light is healing the eyes. The gaze will be forgotten; but you will still be gazing without blinking. Don't try to gaze just for the purpose of gazing; if you do that the eyes will get tired quickly.

Imprinting the Object in the Mind
After a while, you can gently close the eyes and try to bring a mental picture of your object of concentration. First it is outside; then you try to bring it within the mind. It might come for a while, and then you lose it. Again, open the eyes. Slowly learn to grasp it within the mind alone. That means you will be developing that impression in your mind. After a while, you will easily be able to see it within, without the aid of any physical object outside. At that stage you no longer need altars and this and that.

E.g. Even in your Puja (worship service) this is what is supposed to be done. You do the Puja physically and then sit back and try to bring the whole picture in your mind. How did you begin the Puja? What did you do next, next, next? Bring the whole procedure to mind in the proper sequence. Once it becomes easy, you don't even need the physical objects or Puja anymore.

Accept: the mind will drift
The mind drifts. But it doesn't matter. That's the nature of the mind. There's no point in getting frustrated. Accept that as part of the process. Persevere.

Running after the Mind
This very practice itself is called concentration: the mind running, your bringing it back; its running, your bringing it back. You are taming a monkey. Once it's tamed, it will just listen to you. Training your mind to meditate is what is called Dharana.

"Concentration is the binding of the mental powers to a physical object."

Patanjali explains that Dharana, or concentration, involves binding or fixing the mental faculties to a specific point or object. This point of focus could be an external physical object, an internal concept, or even the breath. The purpose of Dharana is to develop one-pointed concentration, a crucial step on the path towards meditation and heightened states of awareness.

Google Gemini:
"The fixing of the mind upon a specific location or object is [one form of] Dharana."

Unlike other forms of Dharana that might focus on internal aspects like the breath or a mantra, deshabandha Dharana involves directing the mind's attention outward to a specific point in space or a physical object. E.g. Gazing at a flame or a mandala, focusing on the space between the eyebrows.

Concentration develops one-pointedness, trains the mind to resist distractions and external stimuli, serves as a springboard for developing vivid mental imagery, beneficial for meditation and other yogic practices.

Start with short practice sessions and gradually increase the duration as your concentration improves. Don't get discouraged if your mind wanders - it's part of the training process. Gently bring your attention back to the chosen object with patience and compassion (interestingly, Gemini only talks about external concentration and not bring the mental focus within. But this still works - you can time your meditation into 1 min intervals. If no drifting, time it to 2 mins until drifting happens. You become aware how long you can concentrate before the focus is lost).

There are good days and bad days with Dharana. Sometimes, I can focus my mind for long periods (like finishing a full body scan). Other times, it's just hopeless. When it's hopeless, I don't push it. I give the mind some slack. When I do that, I notice the mind rebounds next time for deeper concentration.

2. Dhyana: uninterrupted flow

"Dhyana is the continuous flow of cognition toward that object."

(p 378) The Hindu scriptures give a beautiful example of this "continuous flow." They say it is like pouring oil from one pot into another. It is a continuous string; it doesn't break. The mind is fixed. Communication between meditator and object of meditation is steady. That's what is called Dhyana. After long practice of Dharana, gradually the "flow of cognition" gets a little longer and it becomes Dhyana.

Meditating vs Concentrating
When would you know that you have really meditated? There are some signs for that. When an hour of meditation felt like 5 mins, then you were meditating in Dharana. But when you feel 5 minutes as one hour, you are not meditating; you are still concentrating in Dharana.

Time has no meaning in meditation and space also is lost. You don't know where you are. If you break that meditation all of a sudden, you may wonder, "What happened to my body?" Even the body is forgotten in real meditation. In this sense, meditation is similar to sleep. You don't know you have a body. Even though you still have it, you don't know it (this is exactly my analogy of meditation. Dharana is you trying to fall asleep but you are still wide awake, Dhyana is you between being awake and sleeping, and Samadhi is being asleep where you are no longer aware that you are trying to sleep).

There are other signs of meditation also - you get beautiful visions, or you see beautiful light or you just hear beautiful sounds. These are all various signs you may come across.

"There, the continuity of the thought of that object is meditation."

This sutra introduces the concept of Dhyana. Patanjali explains that in Dhyana, there is a continuous flow of awareness or thought directed towards the chosen point of concentration. It involves sustained focus on the object of meditation, without distraction or interruption. Dhyana is a state of profound concentration where the practitioner becomes fully absorbed in the object of meditation, leading to a deeper level of awareness and inner stillness.

Google Gemini:
"The uninterrupted flow of one-pointed mental focus is called Dhyana."

This sutra suggests that when the state of Dharana (concentration) becomes refined and sustained, it transforms into Dhyana, a deeper state of meditative absorption.

Key features of Dhyana

Uninterrupted flow: The mind remains focused on the object of concentration without significant distractions or fluctuations.

One-pointedness: The attention is completely absorbed in the chosen object, with no peripheral awareness or mental chatter.

Effortlessness: Compared to Dharana, which often requires some mental effort to maintain focus, Dhyana arises spontaneously when concentration becomes effortless and deeply rooted.

Dharana vs Dhyana
Dharana is like gathering kindling and starting the fire. Dhyana is like the fire burning steadily and consistently on its own. Reaching Dhyana requires consistent practice of Dharana

Benefits of Dhyana

Deep inner peace and tranquility: The mind transcends the limitations of thoughts and emotions, finding stillness and spaciousness within.

Insight and self-awareness: Dhyana provides a profound sense of clarity and understanding of oneself and the nature of reality.

Increased focus spills over into daily life: The ability to hold attention effortlessly in Dhyana spills over into daily life, improving focus and productivity.

Dhyana is a gradual process, not an instant achievement. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress towards sustained concentration.

"Uninterrupted flow" - I'm not there yet. But it's a good practice to start with a short time frame and build from there. Maybe 1 min, then 2 mins...

3. Samadhi: the final stage of complete absorption and union with the divine

"Samadhi is the same meditation when there is the shining of the object alone, as if devoid of form."

(p 381) There is not much I can say about this one. You will easily understand when you have a little experience. Meditation culminates in the state of Samadhi. It's not that you practice Samadhi. Nobody can consciously practice Samadhi. Our effort is there only up to meditation. Here is how it goes:

  1. Dharana - you put all your effort in Dharana. You think first with a lot of interruptions; that is Dharana.
  2. Dhyana - the effort becomes effortless in Dhyana and you are just there, knowing that you are in meditation
  3. Samadhi - you don't even know you are in meditation. Then when you become what you think, that is Samadhi. You are not there to know it because you merge with the object of meditation and the process of meditation (you, the object of meditation and the process of meditation are fused together into one). In Samadhi there is neither the object or the meditator. There is no feeling of 'I am meditating on that.'

In meditation you have three things:
meditator, the meditation and the object meditated upon. In Samadhi, all that merge into one.

Alkaline Analogy:
To give a scientific analogy, if you keep on adding drops of an alkaline solution to an acid, at one point the solution becomes alkaline. At that point you are simply adding alkali to alkali; there's no more acid there. The giver and receiver become one. You and God become one. That's Samadhi.

Sabija Samadhi: 4 Lower Samadhis
It's rather difficult to put it in words. If you just keep working, you will know what Samadhi is. Of course, there are different lower Samadhis, as we talked about in the first book, where you attain that level and then come back. These are Samadhis connected with form, with idea, with bliss and with pure ego. All these four still leave some parts of the mind with hidden desires. You are not completely free. The ideas in the mind are not completely free of desire. They could still germinate again. That's why all these four are called Sabija Samadhi. Bija means seed. They are with seed. Don't think you are all clean and everything is okay. As long as the seed is in the bag it seems to be innocent. But the minute you take one seed out, dig a little hole, put it in and pour a little water, then up it comes again. The sprouting tendency is still there. As long as you have that tendency, you are still in the Sabija or savikalpa Samadhi. But once you get completely roasted, even that germinating capacity goes away. The seeds are still there. In all external appearance they are the same. But, even if they are put into holes and watered they won't germinate.

Nirbija/Nirvikalpa Samadhi
When the hidden desires are taken out, you become completely free. You enter Nirbija Samadhi / Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is the final state of Samadhi. One who has achieved this may look similar to anyone else. But there is no more desire. no more strings to the external material world.

The difference between ordinary people and the Jivanmuktas (liberated beings who are still alive) is the absence of desire. Jivamuktas also eat, sleep and do everything like everybody else. They may be doing anything, but they are not affected by what they do. There is no desire to cause attachment. They are living liberated people. Liberation is not something you experience when you die. While living, you should be liberated. Jivanmukta: mukta means liberated, Jivan, while living.

Being Jivanmukta is not sitting stiffly with eyes closed, as some people think. No. You will be useful; you will be active - more active than other people. Your actions are more perfect than other people's. You are dynamic, but unruffled.

Google Gemini:
"In Dhyana, the essence of the object shines forth, as if devoid even of its own form, that is called Samadhi."

Sutra 3.3 describes the final stage of yogic practice, Samadhi, which is a state of complete absorption and union with the divine. This sutra suggests that in the state of Samadhi, the mind becomes so deeply absorbed in the object of concentration that it loses all sense of separation between itself and the object. The object is no longer perceived as an external thing, but rather as an expression of the yogi's own true nature.

In this state, the mind is completely still and empty of thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It is as if the mind has disappeared altogether, leaving only the pure awareness of the object.

Samadhi is a profound and transformative state of consciousness that can lead to a deep understanding of the nature of reality and the Self. It is the culmination of yogic practice and the ultimate goal of the yogi's journey.

Here are some of the characteristics of Samadhi:

Unity: The yogi feels a deep sense of unity with the object of concentration, with other beings, and with the entire universe.

Emptiness: The mind is completely still and empty of thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

Awareness: There is a deep sense of awareness and presence, even in the absence of thoughts and emotions.

Ineffability: Samadhi is a state that is beyond words and concepts. It can only be experienced directly.

Samadhi is not an easy state to achieve. It requires years of dedicated yogic practice and discipline. Samadhi is a precious gift that can transform your life. It is a state of deep peace, clarity, and understanding that can lead to a profound sense of fulfillment and well-being.

My analogy about 'not being aware of being in meditation while in Samadhi', is dreaming. When you want to go to sleep, you are make an effort to fall asleep [Dharana], then the effort is gone and there is fluidity where you hover between that spacey realm of being between awake and sleeping stage [Dhyana], then you finally fall asleep [Samadhi]. While being asleep, you are no longer aware that you are sleeping because you, sleeping and your dreams become its own reality. Samadhi is perhaps stepping into another dimension where you lose touch of default reality...just like being in a dream.

This is all speculation as I'm still struggling in Dharana (making an effort to be in a meditative state, dealing with mental fluctuations and aberrations), let alone Samadhi.

4. Siddhis / Vibhuti: nature reveals her secrets

"The practice of these three [Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi] upon one object is called Samyama."

(p 386) From this practice, come the Siddhis. You dive deeply into an object or idea, and it releases its secrets. In a way, scientists have done Samyama on the atomic particles. The particles released their energy, and the scientists got the knowledge of them. They accomplished the truth behind the particles. When the results come, you call them siddhis or Vibhuti.

"The three, taken together, is called Samyama"

Patanjali is emphasizing that these three stages of mental discipline, when practiced together, constitute the complete practice of Samyama.

Dharana (Concentration): This is the initial stage where the mind is focused on a single point or object. It involves bringing the attention back to the object whenever the mind starts to wander.

Dhyana (Meditation): As concentration deepens, it transforms into meditation. In this stage, there is a continuous and unbroken flow of awareness toward the object. The practitioner becomes absorbed in the object of meditation.

Samadhi (Absorption): The final stage is absorption, where the practitioner experiences complete union with the object of meditation. The distinction between the meditator, the act of meditation, and the object of meditation dissolves, leading to a state of oneness.

Google Gemini:
"The integration of the three [dharana, dhyana, Samadhi] in one place."

This sutra suggests that dharana (focused concentration), dhyana (meditative absorption), and Samadhi (union with the object) are not three separate stages but rather interconnected aspects of the yogic journey towards self-realization. It emphasizes the importance of their unification within a single, integrated experience.

Dharana: Lays the foundation by anchoring the mind to a single object of focus.

Dhyana: Refines the concentration, leading to a state of effortless flow and deep absorption.

Samadhi: Represents the culmination of the process, where the mind transcends the duality of subject and object, merging with the essence of the chosen focus.

Reaching Samadhi isn't just about achieving a specific state; it's about cultivating a holistic approach where all three limbs work together seamlessly. Focusing solely on attaining Samadhi might neglect the crucial groundwork laid by dharana and dhyana. Each limb has its own value and plays a vital role in the overall journey towards self-awareness and liberation.

Don't get caught up in chasing Samadhi as an end goal. Focus on deepening your concentration, awareness, and surrender in each stage of the process.

Samyama? Not there yet. No comment.

5. Prajna: deep and intuitive wisdom

"By the mastery of Samyama comes Prajna (light of knowledge)."

(p 387) This means that the truth behind the object on which we do Samyama becomes known to us (e.g. like unleasing the nuclear energy of the atom). That is what we call discovery. The truth was "covered" before; now we "discover" it. It's not that anyone creates anything new. Some truth was hidden (e.g. that the infinitesimally small atom can unleash enough energy to erase a city from the map). By Samyama, we understood what it was. That's the true meaning of discovery.

"From mastery over Samyama, the light of knowledge."

By gaining mastery over the process of Samyama (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi), the practitioner experiences an inner illumination or insight that leads to profound knowledge and understanding - Prajna.

In essence, when one successfully engages in and masters the practice of Samyama, it brings about a heightened state of awareness, clarity of perception, a deeper understanding of the self/the nature of consciousness, and the true reality - beyond the limitations of ordinary perception. It reflects the idea that through the disciplined practices outlined by Patanjali, individuals can attain a state of profound wisdom and insight.

Google Gemini:
"From its victory, the world of wisdom arises."

When one masters the state of Samadhi, the blossoming of Prajna, a deep and intuitive wisdom, takes place. Prajna impacts on every aspect of life. It's like stepping into a new realm of clarity, understanding, and purpose. Prajna includes:

Intellectual knowledge: Nature's secrets are revealed.

Intuitive understanding: Seeing beyond the surface of things, grasping the deeper nature of reality and oneself.

Discernment: The ability to distinguish between truth and illusion, right and wrong, with clarity and precision.

Creativity: Accessing new and previously unimagined possibilities and solutions.

Compassion: Cultivating a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings, leading to selfless love and empathy.

For someone who has mastered Samadhi, here are some ways Prajna manifests in daily life:

Making wise decisions: They intuitively grasp the consequences of their actions and choose the path that aligns with their highest good and the well-being of others.

Living with purpose: Their life becomes guided by a deeper understanding of their true nature and role in the world.

Responding to challenges with calmness and clarity: They face difficulties with equanimity and find creative solutions based on insight rather than reactive emotions.

Sharing their wisdom with others: They become natural guides and teachers, inspiring others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

Reaching Samadhi and unlocking the transformative power of Prajna is a long-term journey. Dedicate yourself to consistent practice that supports the blooming of Prajna. We unleash the boundless wisdom within, allowing us to live a life of profound understanding, purpose, and joy.

Prajna seems to be inherent in us, but 'calcified' until unleased. I'm far from Samadhi, but I get fleeting glimpses of Prajna already - equanimity in times of turmoil, creative problem solving, developing a deeper understanding of nature and human fallibility, etc. Maybe it's 10% of what full Prajna can deliver. So, I could just imagine what Prajna is like when you actually attain the level of Samyama.

6. Prajna: accomplished in stages

"Prajna is to be accomplished in stages."

(p 388) (no explanation offered by Satchidananda)

"Its application is in stages."

This sutra refers to the progressive application of Samyama (combination of concentration, meditation, and absorption) in stages based on the practitioner's readiness, understanding, and spiritual development.

This sutra underscores the importance of a systematic and gradual approach to spiritual practice, indicating that the practitioner should progress step by step in their journey toward higher states of consciousness and self-realization.

ChatGPT interprets "stages" as stages in one's spiritual growth. The problem with the sutras is that it doesn't specify what it means when it throws words. Like 'stages'. Stages in life? Stages in spiritual progression? Stages in the development of Prajna? This also means any guru will interpret this according to his own bias.

Google Gemini:
"Prajna's application in the stages [of life]."

Prajna gained through Samadhi isn't a static achievement but a dynamic force that can be applied and integrated into all stages and situations of life. Just as land provides various platforms for building and farming, the different "stages" or "levels" of life become fertile ground for applying and expressing Prajna.

These "stages" could refer to:

Physical and mental development: Applying Prajna to maintain health, make informed decisions, cultivate positive relationships, and navigate challenges with maturity and clarity.

Professional and creative pursuits: Utilizing Prajna to find your calling, make meaningful contributions, solve problems creatively, and inspire others with your wisdom.

Spiritual growth and understanding: Integrating Prajna into your spiritual practice, deepening your self-awareness, and serving as a beacon of knowledge and compassion for others.

Applying Prajna in your life is an ongoing process. Be patient with yourself as you learn to translate your inner wisdom into your outer actions. Seek opportunities to express your Prajna through your unique skills, interests, and talents. Sharing your wisdom has the power to positively impact the lives of others.

The benefits of applying Prajna extend far beyond personal gain. It contributes to a more harmonious and enlightened world by inspiring others to cultivate their own wisdom and live with purpose and compassion.

Sutra 3.6 invites us to see our lives as a canvas where the wisdom gained from Samadhi can be expressed in countless ways. It leaves us with a powerful message: by applying Prajna in every stage of life, we can transform ourselves and become forces for positive change in the world.

Gemini sees 'stages' as stages in life, not necessarily stages of development of Prajna itself.

This sutra is not specific enough for me to even give a guess. But as a general rule, I take my practice one step at a time, building progression from session to session. It's never wise to do shortcuts because the body may not be ready to take the ensuing energetic surge. Step-by-step builds a more stable foundation for expansion of consciousness.

7. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are all internal

"These three [Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi] are more internal than the preceding five limbs."

(p 389) In Ashtanga Yoga, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are the more inner practices. Even to practice yama and niyama, you need the outside world. How will you practice non-injury if there is nothing outside to injure? How to deal with the outside world is taught through yama and niyama. Even your body is an outside world for you, so in Asana you do something with your body; in Pranayama you do something with your Prana; in Pratyahara you do something with your senses. But Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are totally inward. They are on the mental level. That is what Patanjali means by saying these three are more inner than the preceding five.

"These three are more intimate than the preceding ones."

The sutra suggests that these three aspects of Samyama (concentration, meditation, and absorption) are more internal or closer to the essence of yogic practice compared to the preceding limbs.

The sutra encourages practitioners to recognize the profound inner work involved in concentration, meditation, and absorption, suggesting that these aspects bring the yogi into a more intimate relationship with their own consciousness and the ultimate reality. It underscores the transformative power of these internal practices in the path of yoga.

Google Gemini:
"The three [dharana, dhyana, Samadhi] are more internal than the previous ones."

Sutra 3.7 offers a nuanced understanding of the relationship between the three limbs of yoga leading to Samyama: dharana (focused concentration), dhyana (meditative absorption), and Samadhi (union with the object).

This sutra suggests that dharana, dharana, and Samadhi, the limbs directly related to meditation and self-realization, are more "internal" or "intrinsic" in nature than the preceding limbs of Yama (ethical principles) and Niyama (self-discipline).

Here's how to understand the progression:

Yama and Niyama: Lay the foundation by cultivating ethical conduct and self-discipline within the external world and yourself, creating a conducive environment for inner exploration.

Dharana: Marks the inward turn, directing the mind's attention to a specific object for sustained focus.

Dhyana: Deepens the internal process, refining the concentration and leading to effortless flow of awareness towards the object.

Samadhi: Represents the culmination of inner exploration, where the mind transcends duality and merges with the essence of the object.

The journey towards Samadhi is a progressive deepening of inward exploration. Yama and Niyama provide the external framework for creating an inner landscape conducive to meditation. Dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi operate on a more subtle and internal level, focusing on the mind's relationship with itself and the object of concentration.

Cultivating all limbs of yoga, both external and internal, is crucial for a balanced and integrated practice. Don't neglect the importance of Yama and Niyama as they create the foundation for internal progress. As your practice deepens, expect your focus to shift more inwards, towards dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi. Sutra 3.7 offers a valuable perspective on the internal journey of yoga, encouraging practitioners to move beyond external practices and explore the vast depths of their own minds.

This is probably semantics but I see the first 4 limbs as external because you need to interact with the outside world including your physical body to make progress - it's what you need to work with. However, beginning in Pratyahara to Samadhi, you shut the doors to the outside world and begin to deal with the mind. I see the wisdom of progression with the 8 limbs of yoga beginning with morality and ending in enlightenment or unification with all.

8. Internal becomes External with progress

"Even these three are external to the seedless Samadhi."

(p 390) When these three are compared with the preceding five steps, they are more internal. But when they are compared with Nirbija / Nirvikalpa Samadhi, they become external and gross.

"Even Sabija Samadhi is external for one who has attained the seedless (Nirbija) state."

This sutra addresses the nature of Samadhi, the highest state of absorption, in the context of someone who has achieved a state of seedless or Nirbija Samadhi.

In the yogic tradition, Samadhi is often categorized as either Sabija (with seed) or Nirbija (seedless). Sabija Samadhi involves concentration on an object, mantra, or concept, while Nirbija Samadhi is a state of absorption where even the seed, or the object of concentration, dissolves, leading to a state of formless awareness.

Sutra 3.8 suggests that even the profound state of Samadhi is considered external or a lower stage for someone who has attained Nirbija Samadhi. In other words, for those who have transcended the need for a specific object of concentration and have entered a state of formless awareness, the experiences of Samadhi with a seed are seen as relatively external or less advanced.

This sutra highlights the progression in the yogic path, indicating that the ultimate goal is to go beyond even the highest states of absorption and reach a state of pure, unconditioned consciousness in Nirbija Samadhi.

Google Gemini:
"Even that [the three limbs] is external to the one without seeds."

This sutra suggests that despite being more internal than Yama and Niyama, the three limbs of dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi are still considered "external" compared to the ultimate state of "the seedless one," (no seeds from which desire can grow) often interpreted as Samadhi in its purest form - Nirbija / Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

The journey towards self-realization is a continuous process of going deeper and deeper within. Even the apparently internal practices of dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi are stepping stones on a path leading to a state beyond mental activity. The ultimate goal is not simply to master concentration or achieve meditative absorption, but to transcend the mind altogether and realize the infinite potential of consciousness.

Don't get attached to any specific stage of the practice, including dharana, dhyana, or even Samadhi. See them as tools to access the limitless state beyond. Cultivate non-attachment and surrender to the unfolding process of your inner journey. Sutra 3.8 offers a glimpse into the infinite depths of self-realization, reminding us that our journey inwards is ultimately a journey towards transcending any limitation and experiencing the absolute nature of our being.

This progression into deeper realms of absorption renders the previous Internal stage as now External.

9. Mind Drifts: it's okay, resume practice

"The impressions which normally arise are made to disappear by the appearance of suppressive efforts, which in turn create new mental modifications. The moment of conjunction of mind and new modifications is nirodha parināmh."

(p 390) No explanation

"By subjugating the habitual patterns that emerge when the restraint is lifted, the continuity of the restrained mind is in the moments of emergence and restraint. This is the transformation in restraint."

Sutra 3.9 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali talks about controlling the mind. It says that when we control the mind, we can change our habits and patterns. The sutra highlights that this change happens when we restrain the mind and deal with the moments when it tries to break free. So, it's saying that transforming the mind through restraint is a key part of the yogic journey.

Google Gemini:
"The rise and development of the impressions of suppression and rise are the modification of the mind in the moment of suppression. This is the transformation of suppression."

This sutra basically says that even though thoughts and emotions arise during meditation (Dharana), that's okay! It's part of the process. As you get better at meditation, these thoughts and emotions will subside more and more, leading to an uninterrupted flow (Dhyana) as you to a deeper state of peace and awareness (Samadhi).

Don't get discouraged if your mind isn't completely still during meditation. Just keep practicing, and eventually, you'll reach that calm and peaceful state.

This sutra is incomprehensible to me. I had to ask the AIs to rephrase their translation into simple English. They did with different interpretations - but I agree with both.

For me, I simply see the fluctuation of the mind as natural. It will inevitably happen so no need getting flustered over it. They key is to bring the mind back consistently when you catch yourself drifting. It should be easier with time until the mind is tamed.

10. Nirodha Parinamh: profound transformation of the mind

"The flow of Nirodha Parinamh (profound transformation of the mind that occurs when it attains a state of stillness and transcendence) becomes steady through habit."

(p 392) no explanation

"His past impressions being dormant, due to the suppression of those impressions."

When the practitioner successfully restrains the mind, the past impressions or mental imprints become dormant or inactive leading to a state of calmness and tranquility in the mind.

The mind is influenced by past experiences and impressions, and through the practice of restraint, one can achieve a state of mental quietude where these influences are subdued.

How is the mind restrained when it has its own life?

  1. Dharana - meditate regularly
  2. Sati - practicing awareness of the moment, the breath, the body sensation, etc.
  3. Pranayama - when we control the breath, we control the mind
  4. Yamas and Niyamas - when moral principles are adhered to, the mind is aligned with proper thinking and behavior
  5. Thoughts - observing thoughts with no reaction
  6. Yoga - consistent practice
The intention is not to forcefully control the mind through suppression, but cultivating harmony and balance to the mind for clarity, focus and a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Google Gemini:
"Its clear and fruitful bearing is due to impressions."

Restraining the mind and practicing control over its fluctuations (going to the past or to the future). When the practitioner successfully restrains the mind, the past impressions or mental imprints (memories of pain and happiness) become dormant or inactive. The impressions are suppressed, leading to a state of calmness and tranquility in the mind.

The transformed mind achieved through Nirodha Parinamh isn't just a temporary state. It acts as seeds for positive transformation in one's life. It has lasting beneficial effects that manifest in the world through one's thoughts, actions, and interactions.

The positive qualities and actions that naturally flow from a transformed mind increases clarity, compassion, creativity, inner peace, and positive influence on others.

The transformed mind isn't static; it continues to interact with the world and accumulate new impressions. However, the foundation of pure consciousness remains, influencing how new information is processed and integrated. Cultivating mindfulness and awareness practices helps ensure that new impressions align with the positive qualities gained through Nirodha Parinamh.

Nirodha Parinamh is the transformation achieved through meditation. It is not just an internal experience. It has the potential to ripple outwards, impacting your life and the lives of others in positive ways.

Thought vs Non-thought

What happens in the mind is the same thing, but how you deal with it can be described as Thought or Non-thought.

Thought streams are opinions, emotions, and judgments. This ongoing internal dialogue is referred to as thinking. We are sucked into this and engage accordingly as though an event in the past is happening all over again and we are actively participating to create a new outcome.

Non-thought isn't about shutting down this entire process entirely. It's about finding a different space where we still witness what's going on, but we are not engaged anymore. We transcend the usual engagement with this internal chatter.

e.g. Imagine your mind going through a busy market filled with vendors shouting their wares. You are attracted to some of the wares and begin to haggle. Now you are engaged. This is Thought. If you are passing through the noisy aisles without being affected by the merchandise or the vendors, when you are disengaged and unruffled by what is happening, then you are into Non-thought.

Key characteristics of Non-thought:

Spaciousness: There's a sense of openness and vastness within the mind, free from the usual mental clutter.

Stillness: The mind is calmer and quieter, not actively chasing thoughts or emotions.

Awareness: There's a heightened awareness of the present moment, without judgment or interpretation.

Presence: You're fully present in your experience, not lost in past memories or future projections.

Accessing Non-thought:

1) Deep meditation practices like mindfulness and focusing on the breath can help cultivate states of Non-thought.

2) Engaging in activities that require present-moment awareness, like nature walks or mindful eating.

Non-thought is not something to force. It's a natural shift in perspective that arises with consistent practice and self-awareness.

Benefits of Non-thought:
  1. Deep inner peace and tranquility
  2. Increased clarity and focus
  3. Greater creativity and intuition
  4. Reduced stress and anxiety
  5. More compassionate and authentic interactions with others
Be patient and enjoy the journey of exploring your inner landscape. Ultimately, "Non-thought" is not about becoming devoid of all mental activity. It's about developing a relationship with your mind where you can choose to engage with or disengage from internal chatter, allowing for greater peace, clarity, and connection with the present moment.

Even though I am far from reaching Dhyana and Samadhi, I can say I have fleeting moments of Nirodha Parinamh. Awareness helps. Once you become aware, you automatically disengage from reacting with your thoguhts. When that happens, it's easier to step back and get some mental space where you can see what's happening like you would in a movie, except that you are no longer sucked into the storyline. Instead, you observe the lighting, the acting, the cinematography and the soundtrack. You objectify the movie, you objectify your thoughts.

The mind is the hardest to control. You never catch the mind as it drifts off, anymore than you catch yourself drifting into sleep. You only realize you've drifted when you are already drifting (and never in the transition from meditation into drifting) and you could be drifting a long time before you catch yourself.

Lately, what I do is to time my concentration. First, 1 minute and see if I can hold a concentration (maybe Sambhavi mudra) before the 1-min alarm sounds. Then I try 2 minutes and progress from there. I noticed that at the 2-min range, I already catch my mind drifting. But it's easier to catch it because it's in a controlled situation.

11. Samadhi Parinamh: transformation through Samadhi

"When there is a decline in distractedness and appearance of one-pointedness, then comes Samadhi Parinamh (development in Samadhi)."

(p 392) no comment

"The transformation into Samadhi arises with the simultaneous destruction of mental fluctuations and the arising of one-pointedness in the dual modification of the mind, which comprehends all objects."

This sutra is describing the process of transformation leading to Samadhi. It suggests that Samadhi arises when there is the simultaneous destruction of mental fluctuations and the emergence of one-pointedness in the mind, which is capable of comprehending all objects.

In simpler terms, the sutra is highlighting that reaching a state of Samadhi involves the mind becoming free from distractions (destruction of mental fluctuations) and developing a concentrated, one-pointed focus that encompasses all aspects of experience. This transformation is crucial on the path of yoga towards the highest state of absorption and union.

Google Gemini:
"The dissolution and rise of being scatter-minded and unfocused of all objects are the transformation of the mind through Samadhi."

Sutra 3.11 unveils a profound insight into the transformative process of Samadhi, the state of union with the chosen object of meditation. The path to Samadhi involves a dynamic interplay between two seemingly opposing states of the mind:

Our minds naturally fluctuate between moments of concentration on a specific object and distractions that draw our attention elsewhere. Through Samadhi, both the distractions and the focusedness on the chosen object eventually dissolve.

Dissolution of distractions: As we deepen our meditation practice, we gradually learn to let go of mental chatter and external stimuli that pull our attention away from the object of focus. This is the "dissolution" of distractions.

Dissolution of focus: Interestingly, the sutra also alludes to the eventual dissolving of even the focusedness on the chosen object. This doesn't imply losing awareness altogether, but rather transcending the need for any specific point of concentration. In Samadhi, the mind rests in pure awareness, beyond the duality of subject and object.

The transformation of the mind through Samadhi involves:

Letting go of mental attachments: We release our grip on both distractions and the object of focus, allowing the mind to become spacious and open.

Merging with pure awareness: The mind transcends the limitations of its usual activity and experiences its true nature as pure consciousness, untouched by thoughts or emotions.

This process of dissolution and transformation is often gradual and may not happen in a linear fashion. Be patient with yourself and trust the unfoldment of your practice. Don't get attached to either the distractions or the focus. Observe them both with equanimity and allow them to naturally fall away.

Sutra 3.11 offers a fascinating insight into the dynamic nature of Samadhi. It reminds us that true transformation involves not just attaining focused concentration but also letting go of all limitations and merging with the boundless potential of pure awareness.

Again, I'm not at that point where I smoothen out the fluctuation of the mind, let alone having a single-focus on my concentration. But I keep trying, I keep a regular practice of training my mind. The benefit I get though at this point, having wrapped my head around the 'mind' for months now, is that it's no longer just an abstract philosophical concept. It's almost real now even though I haven't experienced it. Analogy: devout Catholics haven't met God but to them, He is as real as their coffee in the morning.

12. One-Pointedness: witnessing fluctuation w/o being affected

"Then again when the subsiding past and rising present images are identical, there is ekagrata parinamh (one pointedness)."

(p 393) no commentary

"Transformation into one-pointedness occurs when the impressions in the mind are equally balanced between illumination and tranquility."

The sutra is describing the process of transformation leading to one-pointedness or concentration of the mind. When there is a harmonious balance between calmness and clarity in the mind, it becomes conducive to achieving one-pointed concentration.

Google Gemini:
"When both the arising and subsiding thoughts have the same understanding (identical perception), that is the transformation of the mind into one-pointedness within samadhi."

One is witnessing the fluctuations of the mind without getting attached to them. The distinction between subject and object dissolves, resulting in a unified experience. It is enabling us to see beyond the transient nature of thoughts and access a deeper state of being.

Sachidananda and Gemini are saying the same thing but ChatGPT4 is saying something else. My take in this sutra is that the mental fluctuations become weaker and weaker, enabling the mind to keep a single-pointed focus on the object of meditation. Of course, during Samadhi, all 3 converge into 1 - the meditator, the object of meditation and the process of meditation.

13. One-Pointedness goes beyond mind and affects our sense perception

"By this [what has been said in the preceding three sutras], the transformations of the visible characteristics, time factors and conditions of elements and senses are also described."

(p 394) no commentary

"Explaining the transformations of the characteristics and conditions of the elements and senses"

(I asked ChatGPT4 to give a dumb-down explanation from here going forward) Practicing the principles outlined in earlier sutras can lead to changes in the way our senses and elements behave. Imagine you're learning to play a musical instrument, like the guitar. At first, your fingers might struggle to find the right strings, and the notes may sound a bit off. But as you practice regularly and follow the techniques taught by your instructor, you start to notice changes. Your fingers become more agile, and you can hit the strings with better accuracy. The sounds you produce become clearer and more melodious.

Similarly, in yoga practice, when you follow the principles of concentration, meditation, and self-discipline, you begin to observe transformations in how your senses and elements behave. For example:

Improved Focus: Through concentration practices, like focusing on your breath during meditation, you may notice that your mind becomes less distracted and more focused on the present moment.

Heightened Awareness: As you become more mindful of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations through meditation and self-reflection, you may develop a greater awareness of your inner experiences and the world around you.

Better Control: Through self-discipline and ethical living (yamas and niyamas), you may find that you have better control over your actions, reactions, and habits, leading to positive changes in your behavior and lifestyle.

Just as regular practice and following instructions can improve your musical skills, consistent yoga practice and adherence to its principles can lead to positive changes in how your mind and body function, ultimately enhancing your overall well-being and inner harmony.

Google Gemini:
"By this (referring to the concept in 3.12), transformations of properties, characteristics, and states in both gross and subtle elements and organs of perception are explained."

(I asked Gemini to give a dumb-down explanation from here going forward) Imagine you're in deep meditation, focusing on a single candle flame. In this state (samadhi), your mind becomes super focused and chill. Sutra 3.12 talks about how even your thoughts about the flame become unified, almost like they blend in with the flame itself (the thought and the object are blending into one?).

But Sutra 3.13 goes beyond your mind. It says that this deep focus affects everything about you, not just your thoughts. It's like putting on special glasses that change how you see the world:

Things around you: Imagine the room you're meditating in. The walls, the furniture, even the air might seem different. They might feel more connected, like they're all part of the same energy. It's not that they physically change, but your perception of them does.

Your senses: Sounds might seem clearer, colors more vibrant, even your sense of touch might feel different. It's like your senses are dialed up to eleven, picking up on things you usually miss.

Yourself: You might feel more connected to your body, like it's not just a bunch of separate parts but a whole system working together. You might also feel more connected to everything around you, like you're part of something bigger than yourself.

This is just an analogy, and the experience in samadhi is much deeper and more subtle. Samadhi isn't just about calming your mind. It's about having a profound shift in how you experience the world and yourself.

True, even though I haven't experienced Samadhi, the constant practice of meditation and concentration has allowed me to see myself as part of the connected whole, I've become a better person. Even if I do something questionable, I am aware that it is questionable. I am more aware, more focused and more purposeful.

14. Everything has an essence, an unchanging core

"It is the substratum (Prakrti) that by nature goes through latent, uprising and unmanifested phases."

(p 395) no commentary

Google Gemini:
"No matter how things change (paint, wobble), the core of what they are stays the same (it's still a chair)."

Imagine a chair: it can be painted, wobbly, or comfy, but it's still a chair. Sutra 3.14 talks about what makes it essentially a chair despite all its different states.

Here's an analogy: Imagine a wave in the ocean. It seems to move and change, but the water itself remains. The wave is like the changing features, and the water is like the object's essence.

This applies to everything, not just physical objects. Even our moods and thoughts change, but there's a deeper sense of "us" that remains constant. In meditation, you can aim to tap into that stable core beneath the surface of all the ever-changing experiences.

Given my understanding of yoga, the 'Self' has an outer manifestation and an unchanging essence. The outer manifestation is that the 'Self' is the body (can be vibrant, strong, weak and can die), emotions (happy, sad, excited, ever fluctuating), ego (wealth, stature, power) - the things we usually call "I". But the inner unchanging essence of Self is pure Consciousness, eternal, doesn't die, has no beginning. Yoga attempts to reveal to us what our true essence is. When we realize that we are eternal, we are no longer affected by the fluctuation of the external manifestations - losing wealth, dying, aging, getting sick, becoming rich, etc.

15. Causality

"The succession of these different phases is the cause of the differences in stages of evolution."

(p 396) no commentary (without any commentary, Satchidananda's translation is gibberish)

"The sequential unfolding of events is the cause of transformation."

Imagine you have a seed that you plant in the ground. Over time, with the right conditions like sunlight, water, and nutrients, the seed sprouts, grows into a plant, and eventually bears fruit. This process of growth and transformation occurs sequentially, with each stage leading to the next (causality or the karmic effect).

Similarly, in the context of yoga practice, this sutra suggests that progress and transformation occur gradually and sequentially. Just as each stage of growth in the plant's life cycle is necessary for the eventual fruition of the plant, each step in the practitioner's yoga journey is essential for their personal growth and transformation (This suggests that the sequences in the yoga practice is already established and just needs to be followed, not changed, and that the result is predictable but it will take time and lots of work).

So, this sutra is highlighting the importance of patience, persistence, and that yoga is a gradual process that unfolds step by step.

Google Gemini:
"The difference in sequence is the cause for the difference in transformation."

Simply put: Sutra 3.15 tells us that the order in which things change determines the outcome of that change.

Think of it like baking a cake. You can use the same ingredients, but if you mix them in a different order or bake for a different time, you'll get a different result (a delicious cake or a burnt mess!).

Transformation isn't random: Every transformation results from a specific sequence (causality or the karmic effect), even if we don't always understand it.

The order matters: Small changes in the sequence can lead to vastly different outcomes (exactly, like the Butterfly Effect. If Hitler's parents never met, WW III may not have happened. Not sure if this implies that the benefits of yoga will differ if you do Shoulderstand first before Headstand, given that the dictum of Krishnamacharya is that Headstand comes first.).

This applies to everything: From physical processes to our thoughts and emotions, the order in which things happen makes a difference.

In yoga practice, understanding this can help us observe how our actions, thoughts, and even breath affect our emotions and overall well-being. We can consciously choose the "recipe" for change we want to see in our lives by mindful attention to the sequence of our actions.

Being aware of the sequence of change empowers us to create the transformations we desire.

Cause and effect are understandable and self-explanatory. Changes in the sequence changes the outcome - also self-explanatory. The yoga lesson being? That we should be aware in the sequence of our practice? Hmmm...it seems so trite. There must be something more.

16. Samyama: transcending time

"By practicing samyama on the three stages of evolution comes knowledge of past and future."

(p 397) In this and in the following sutras, Patanjali describes various samyamas and the siddhis which will result.

"Knowledge of the past and future can be obtained through the practice of samyama."

Through the practice of samyama [concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption (samadhi)], one can gain knowledge or insight into the past and future.

Google Gemini:
"Through intense meditation, knowledge of the past and future is seen."

Basically: The sutra says that through deep meditative concentration (samyama) on how things change in three ways, you might gain insights into the past and future. Now, let's unpack those changes:

1. Properties (dharma): Imagine a building. Its fundamental "properties" are the materials it's made of, its purpose, etc. Deep meditation might connect you to these core qualities, revealing connections to its past (who built it?) and potential future (will it be renovated?).

2. Characteristics (laksana): These are the changing features of the object, like the building's color, cracks, or decorations. By understanding these changes, you might glimpse its history and predict future alterations.

3. Conditions (avastha): This refers to the temporary states of the object, like the building being empty or bustling. Deep meditation might allow you to see its past uses and predict future events happening within it.

Even physics is saying that the fundamental nature of time is not linear but a singularity. It's only the limitation of our human faculties that limits our perception. It is often said that we are in the 3rd dimension, but once we transcend into the 4th dimension, time becomes a singularity. As wild as that might sound, this phenomena already exists in our reality - with photons. Photons can only travel at the speed of light and with time dilation, it means time already stops for them - they are no longer moving away from the past and neither are they moving towards the future. All three time frames exist in the here and now for the photon.

17. Samyama: revealing the true meaning of word, meaning and concept.

"A word, its meaning and the idea behing it are normally confused because of superimposition upon one another. By samyama on the word [or sound] produced by any being, knowledge of its meaning is obtained."

(p 398) no commentary

Through the practice of samyama (the combined practice of concentration, meditation, and absorption) on the relationship between word (sabda), meaning (artha), and concept (pratyaya), one can gain knowledge or awareness of the communication of all beings.

In essence, this sutra suggests that by deeply concentrating, meditating, and absorbing oneself on the relationship between words, meanings, and concepts, one can clarify confusion and gain insight into the communication of all beings. This understanding can lead to greater clarity and effectiveness in communication and interaction with others.

Google Gemini:
"Because of the confusion between word, meaning, and understanding, there is a blending. From practicing focused meditation (samyama) on their distinction, knowledge of the sounds of all beings arises."

This sutra explores the limitations of language and how it can lead to misunderstandings. It suggests that through deep meditation, we can overcome these limitations and access a deeper understanding.

The problem: We tend to confuse the word (a sound), its meaning (the concept it represents), and our understanding of that meaning. This "blending" can limit our perception and communication.

The solution: By practicing samyama (focused meditation) on distinguishing between these three elements, we can gain a clearer understanding. The benefit: This deeper understanding leads to knowledge of the sounds of all beings. This doesn't necessarily mean literal language comprehension, but rather an intuitive understanding of their communication and emotions, transcending the limitations of words.

This sutra doesn't claim we can literally understand any animal's language. It emphasizes the potential for deeper connection and empathy beyond the limitations of human language.

Even between 2 people speaking the same language, misunderstandings arise. How much more between people of different tongues? How much more of fauna of different species? Samyama bridges the gaps, transcends the limitation of language, and allow authentic communication at an ephemeral level. Ramana Maharshi understands the limitations of words, so he transmits his teachings to his disciples telepathically.

Being able to communicate authentically with other humans is an enhanced human capability. But to communicate with animals? That's Siddhi.

18. Samyama: knowing your past lives

"By direct perception, through samyama, of one's mental impressions, knowledge of past birth is obtained."

(p 399) no commentary

"By directly perceiving one's past impressions (samskaras), knowledge of previous lives (past experiences) is obtained."

By directly perceiving or becoming aware of one's past impressions or samskaras, one gains insight into their previous experiences.

By developing the ability to directly perceive and understand one's past impressions or samskaras, one can gain insight into their previous lives or past experiences. This understanding can provide valuable insights into patterns of behavior, relationships, and karmic influences, leading to personal growth and spiritual evolution.

Google Gemini:
"Accessing memories from past lives through Samyama."

The sutra suggests that by practicing Samyama and gaining direct insight into our Samskaras (the imprints left by past experiences on our consciousness), we might be able to unlock memories from previous lives.

Samskaras are like mental imprints or grooves created by our thoughts, emotions, and actions. They can be positive or negative, and they shape our current life experiences.

According to the Yoga Sutras, our Samskaras carry over from past lives to the current. By accessing these imprints through deep meditation, we might be able to tap into memories and experiences from past lives.

Benefits of exploring Samskaras:

  1. Gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and our current life experiences
  2. Identifying and releasing negative patterns and beliefs that may be holding us back
  3. Cultivating greater self-awareness and compassion

I believe in reincarnation, thus I believe in past lives. Arahants gain this knowledge and claim to see thousands of lifetimes that they've journeyed through. By seeing a past life, you tend to understand why you behave in certain ways that may seem out of explanation - could be a carry over. This level of awareness helps in navigating through the current life.

19. Samyama: reading minds

"By samyama on the distinguishing signs of other's bodies, knowledge of their mental images is obtained"

(p 400) no commentary

"Knowledge of another's mind (or consciousness) can be obtained through their thoughts or mental impressions."

By observing and understanding the thoughts or mental impressions of another person (their pratyayas), one can gain knowledge or insight into their mind or consciousness (their paracitta).

Google Gemini:
"Knowing the thoughts of others"

This sutra suggests the possibility of achieving a level of mental clarity and sensitivity where you can understand the thoughts and emotions of others, not through telepathy, but through deep introspection and understanding your own mind.

This sutra might also emphasize the interconnectedness of all beings, suggesting that at a deeper level, we all share a common consciousness.

Benefits of exploring this concept:

  1. Cultivating greater empathy and compassion for others
  2. Improving communication and relationships
  3. Developing a deeper understanding of human nature and behavior

The AIs gave flowery explanations that are also true. But the real gift of reading minds is that you will know who is loyal, who is there to use you, who pretends to be your friend but actually envies you, etc. Emperors and people of great power will beg for this.

20. Samyama: reading minds II

"But this does not include the support in the person's mind [such as the motive behind the thought, etc.], as that is not the object of the samyama"

(p 401) no commentary

Google Gemini:
"The understanding of another's mind is not obtained through dependence on anything external, because it directly becomes the object of that understanding itself."

This sutra clarifies that the ability to understand another's mind doesn't come from relying on external tools like telepathy or reading physical cues. By cultivating deep meditation and self-awareness, your mind becomes highly sensitive and attuned to subtle energies and vibrations. This allows you to intuitively grasp the thoughts and emotions of others without needing external cues. At a deeper level, all minds are interconnected and share a common consciousness. By accessing your own inner wisdom, you tap into this shared consciousness and understand others on a deeper level.

I don't really understand this. But my take from this is, from Samyama, our mind has the ability to pierce through another person's thoughts and thinking.

21. Samyama: becoming invisible

"By samyama on the form of one's body and by checking the power of perception by intercepting light from the eyes of the observer, the body becomes invisible."

(p 402) Oh boy! Do you want to become invisible? When you want to see something, the form comes onto the retina, gets recorded and then you see the image. Until that is done, you cannot see. So, if by samyama on my own body, I disconnect the light that would affect your retina, no image will be formed on your retina, and you won't see any form.

"Through the practice of samyama (the combined practice of concentration, meditation, and absorption), one can gain the power to render the eyes immovable and achieve the ability to see inner light."

By deeply concentrating, meditating, and absorbing oneself on the form or appearance of the body, one can develop the power to render the eyes immovable and achieve the ability to see the subtle illumination that arises from within during deep states of meditation, symbolizing spiritual insight and realization.

Google Gemini:
"Through deep meditation and transcending the limitations of our physical senses, we might gain the ability to perceive things that are normally hidden from our view."

Through Samyama, we become more sensitive to subtle energies and vibrations, allowing us to perceive things beyond the limitations of our physical sight. Hidden things are not actually hidden but exist on different vibrational frequencies that our normal senses cannot detect. Through meditation, we raise our own vibrational frequency and become able to perceive these hidden realities - clairvoyance.

Sachidananda talks about being invisible while Gemini talks about seeing invisible things. Maybe both are true. In some books, they say that with Anima Siddhi, you can become so small you cannot be seen anymore. This is not necessarily being invisible.

22. Samyama: disappearance of other sensory perception

"In the same way, the disappearance of sound [and touch, taste smell, etc.] is explained."

(p 403) no commentary

Through the practice described in the previous sutras (specifically, the practice of samyama, as discussed in Sutra 3.21), the disappearance or cessation of sounds and other objects of perception where external stimuli, such as sounds and sensory perceptions, fade away or become less prominent.

Google Gemini:
"By what was explained in the previous sutra (3.21) about transcending the body's limitations, the disappearance of sounds and other things is also explained."

This sutra builds upon the previous sutra (3.21) which discussed seeing what's invisible. Through deep meditation and transcending the limitations of the body, we might also experience a disappearance of external stimuli like sounds - not deafness, but a state of deep inner focus where external distractions no longer register.

By stilling the mind and raising our awareness, we become less attached to external sounds and sensations. They might still be present, but our perception of them shifts, and they no longer hold our attention.

The sutra might also suggest that in states of deep meditation, we access deeper levels of reality where external noise fades away, allowing us to connect with the stillness and silence within.

I once read that a yogi deep in meditation is oblivious to the firing of a gun close to him. Like being in a dream, you no longer know what is happening in your room - you are in your own world.

23. Samyama: karma

"Karmas are of two kinds: quickly manifesting and slowly manifesting. By samyama on them, or on the portents of death, the knowledge of the time of death is obtained."

(p 403) no commentary

"By practicing samyama on actions, whether they are performed with sequence (sopakramam) or without sequence (nirupakramam), one gains knowledge or awareness of the end or result of those actions."

Through Samyama on the nature of actions, practitioners can gain insight into the consequences or outcomes that will result from those actions, whether they are performed sequentially or not.

Google Gemini:
"Actions with a beginning, causing specific results in this lifetime. Actions without a beginning, accumulated over countless lifetimes and affecting our current state."

By practicing focused meditation on both past and present karma, one gains knowledge of the end (death) or is protected from misfortunes.

Through Samyama and understanding our karma (both its past and present impact), we can gain insights into various aspects of our lives, including:

  1. Knowing the time of death
  2. Protection from misfortunes

Through Samyama one can predict the future or control outcomes.

When attaining Samyama while meditating on karma, knowledge of the future like time of death is revealed. Many such sages knew the time of their death including Buddha.

24. Samyama: radiance in personality

"By samyama on friendliness and other such qualities, the power to transmit them is obtained."

(p 405) no commentary

"By samyama on friendliness and other such qualities, the power to transmit them is obtained."

This sutra suggests that through the practice of Samyama (the combined practice of concentration, meditation, and absorption) on qualities like friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, practitioners can develop the ability to transmit or radiate these qualities to others.

One harnesses the power to radiate or share these qualities with others, positively influencing their mental states and fostering a sense of connection, harmony, and well-being. Practitioners can develop the ability to embody these qualities more fully and extend their influence to others, creating a ripple effect of positivity and goodwill in the world.

Google Gemini:
"The power to transmit friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity is obtained"

By deeply cultivating these qualities within oneself through samyama, one gains the ability to influence and inspire others to develop them too.

Inner transformation through meditation can have a ripple effect, positively impacting the world around us. By cultivating positive qualities within ourselves, we can create a more harmonious and compassionate environment.

Through samyama, we deepen our understanding and embodiment of these qualities, making them more radiant and authentic. This can naturally inspire others who come into contact with us.

At a deeper level, we are all connected, and by cultivating positive qualities within ourselves, we contribute to the collective good.

With Samyama (having mastered Yama and Niyama), one no longer rebels against a world he never made. He becomes friendlier and radiates position vibrations. This causes a ripple effect to people around him.