Dec 19, 2015

Sutra 1.33. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part 2. Yogi’s “Virtues” of anahata nature

In his next sutra Patanjali offers a totally different and very original approach to the issue of restoring the integrity of chitta that is grounded upon development of anahata experience:

मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां 
भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥ ३३॥
1.33. {maitrī-karuṇā-muditā-upekṣāṇāṃ} {sukha-duḥkha-puṇya- apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṃ} bhāvanātaś {citta prasādanam}

Dec 15, 2015

Sutra 1.32. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part one. Totalness

Having laid down the criteria of chitta scattering (chitta-vikshepa) in shloka 31, Patanjali dedicated further 8 shlokas (32 to 39) to methods aimed at withstanding this state, while another 2 shlokas that follow (40 and 41) speak about the results of “bringing” chitta together. So far as these methods are quite applicable and highly topical, I shall be giving a consequent review of each of them in the next few articles.

Now, sutra 32 goes as follows:

तत्प्रतिषेधार्थमेकतत्त्वाभ्यासः ॥ ३२॥
1.32 tat pratiṣedha-artham eka-tattva-abhyāsaḥ

Nov 23, 2015

Sutras 1.3 - 1.4. Svarupa. Genuine inwardness, or what happens after vrittis have been overcome??

The subject of chitta scattered character (chitta-vikshepa) that we have investigated in the previous articles allows returning to a more thorough consideration of the term that Patanjali introduced yet in the third line. Namely, the category of “svarupa” or, making it verbatim, “own form”, “proper form”, “proper inwardness”. Let me remind that the line as a whole goes as follows:

1.3. At that time (in the state of chitta-vriddhi-nirodha) the drashtar’s (the inner observer’s) svarupa (own form)
1.4. otherwise – merger with vritti

Sep 30, 2015

Chitta-vikshepa and energetic ties

There is a direct link between the theme of Chitta-vikshepa and another fundamental subject that Yoga and other esoteric systems have in their arsenal, namely – the subject of energetic “cords” or, as we refer to them in our slangy word – “tails and trails”. For non-practitioners I shall remind that when we speak about energetic cords, or ties, we mean a state when having had a disharmonious interaction with another person one has some stressing-out emotions left in respect of the said person so that in his mind (consciously or unconsciously) he returns to this communication (for instance, trying to explain post factum something that he hadn’t managed to explain live), or when the presence of the said person or some reminder of him comes as something unpleasant, results in breach of chakra or even occurrence of psychosomatic disease.

Sep 22, 2015

The archetypes of wholeness and “energy loss”

In the previous article dedicated to psychosomatics in Yoga Sutras I draw reader’s attention to the association between the state of “chitta-vikshepa – the scattering of chitta – and somatic responses that has been foregrounded by Patanjali. Let me remind that the word “vikshepa” in the framework of 

“Chitta-vikshepa” term is derived from the verbal root kṣip (क्षिप्) — to throw, with help of the prefix vi- (वि), that corresponds to the Russian “vy-“ and ‘ras-“ [or English “dis-“ as well as the particles“away”, “off”, “out” – transl. note]. Of the other hand I shall refer the reader to the opening articles of this blog where we were discussing in details the category of “chitta” having defined it as “substantiated self-sentiment of one’s mind” and were talking about impropriety of simplified definitions of chitta like “mental processes”, “mind/ consciousness” etc.

Jul 8, 2015

Sutra 1.31. The concept of psychosomatics in Yoga Sutras

The next line of Yoga Sutras has also been in a way neglected by commentators, probably due to the fact that its translation is rather simple while the words are almost monosemantic in their interpretation. At first glance the understanding of it seems to be simple as well. Yet in fact it is not. The understanding of this sutra from linguistic standpoint is not difficult but the actual meaning of what is said there is astonishing. And I am surprised that no one has ever before paid attention to and done justice to this line and the genius of its author!

The point is that in this sutra, 22 centuries prior to official discovery of psychosomatics by Reich, Jacobson and Lowen, prior to works of Darwin dedicated to the link between muscles and emotions, Patanjali has formulated the key principle of this concept: human psyche is projected onto the body, while our uncontrolled somatic performances are associated with the sphere of emotions.

Jul 4, 2015

Sutras 1.29 - 1.30. «Obstacles to Yoga» and defence mechanisms of psyche

The next two sutras of Patanjali, the lines 1.29 и 1.30, are dedicated to the so-called barriers in yoga: 

ततः प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमोऽप्यन्तरायाभावश्च ॥ २९॥
1.29. tataḥ pratyakcetanādhigamo'pyantarāyābhāvaśca 

व्याधिस्त्यानसंशयप्रमादालस्याविरति-भ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपास्तेऽन्तरायाः ॥३०॥
1.30. vyādhi-styāna-saṃśaya-pramāda-ālasya-avirati-bhrānti-darśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāste'ntarāyāḥ

The traditional translation of these lines is as follows:

Sutras 1.27 - 1.28. The mechanisms of mantras effect (continuation)

In addition to and in confirmation of the foregoing I shall adduce a popular article in which they give the results of the latest speech physiology studies. 

Our particular interest is drawn by the “mechanics of phonetics” section [the original English text is here – transl.note], the investigation in which they have used the state-of-the-art methods of brain study (and I admit to look on this with admiring envy since in our research work we can so far use classical encephalography only) to show that the process of different sounds articulation involves different zones of the brain. 

May 29, 2015

Sutras 1.27 - 1.28. Sanskrit and mantra-yoga

The following two lines of Yoga Sutras are dedicated to mantras and power of the sound.

तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः ॥२७॥
1.27. tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ

तज्जपस्तदर्थभावनम् ॥२८॥
1.28. tajjapastadarthabhāvanam 

Sutras 27 and 28 tell that “the expression of that (Isvara) is OM (pranava)” and “the repetition of it (Om) in one mind’s eye allows one to experience it (the Isvara)”. Without getting into specifics of what the Om-sound means let us raise a more important question: why do mantras generally exist and how do they work?

Sutra 1.25. Ishvara and the world tree. The metaphysics of plato

The line 25 of Yoga Sutras compares Ishvara with a seed that contains omniscience (sarva-jnana-bidja):

तत्र निरतिशयं सार्वज्ञबीजम् ॥ २५॥
1. 25. tatra niratiśayaṃ sārva-jña-bījam 
1. 25. In Him [Ishvara] is the complete manifestation of the seed of omniscience. [Engl. transl. by Swami Satchidananda – translator’s note].

This happens to be in a remarkable manner aligned with an amazing line from Katha Upanishad:

Mar 24, 2015

An aesthetically-linguistic note on Yoga and samadhi

I cannot stop marveling at the way how deeply, almost at the archetypic level those various aspects of ancient Indian views – yoga, philosophy, grammar and medicine – happen to be intertwined. Here is the recent fact that has astonished me.
As I have already written in one of my previous articles almost all words in Sanskrit (except the borrowed ones) have derived from the so called verbal roots which complete list and classification have been drawn in “Dhatupatha” directory that was compiled more than two thousand years ago. 

Sutra 1.26. Learning from the universe. The problem of yoga schools classicality

The next line of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras that we shall today consider continues the theme of Ishvara.

स पूर्वेषामपि गुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात् ॥ २६॥
1.26. sa pūrveṣāmapi guruḥ kālenānavacchedāt ॥ 

sa ( - he;

pūrveṣām (m.Gen. pl) – previous, prior, senior; with Genitive case and plural form considered – “of the previous”, “of the senior”;

Feb 2, 2015

The Fundamentals of sanskrit grammar

Whenever someone suggests that you translate Yoga Sutras using only a dictionary and without knowing enough about Sanskrit grammar – don’t fall for it! This person is either not aware of what he is talking about and has never been doing it himself, or it is no further than the third or fourth line of the original text that he himself has managed to “advance”. Sanskrit is a fairly sophisticated language which grammar is intricate enough. Words that have been “distorted” in the course of morphologic transformations, including the rules of guna and sandhi, may bear little resemblance to their dictionary forms, while the logic of cases is somewhat different from what we are used to in our languages [Russian and Ukrainian – translator’s note].

Jan 27, 2015

Sutra 1.26. Ishvara, prakriti and sanskrit grammar

In the previous article I have mentioned the Tantric concept of Purusha (Ishvara) and Prakriti in which Ishvara comes as a static “male”, passive-ordering principle that is opposed to Prakriti – the active and chaotic, “female” one. This correlation of principles is symbolized in many different ways, for instance, by the therein given figure of Kali dancing on the sleeping Shiva (who despite being asleep still has his phallus erect). As we can see, this concept differs from the traditional European idea about relations between male and female principles that is borrowed from popular versions of Taoism where Yan is both male as well as ordering and active principle, while Ying is female, chaotic and passive.