Oct 30, 2016

Sutra 1.38. Yoga and Interpretation of Dreams

In his developing the subject of chitta stabilization techniques Patanjali offers another group of methods, namely – the mechanisms of dreams interpretation. The corresponding sutra is very short and almost completely ignored by modern commentators, whereas classical scholiasts did not pay much attention to it as well. However puzzling it out is possible. 

Now, the sutra 1.38 reads as follows:

स्वप्ननिद्राज्ञानालम्बनं वा ॥ ३८॥
1.38 svapna-nidrā-jñāna-ālambanaṃ vā

Oct 21, 2016

Sutra 1.37. Emotions and Wholeness

In the recent articles of the blog I have wandered a little off the point of Yoga Sutras’ text sequential analysis in favor of sharing interesting reports made at Krakow conference. Now I’m coming back on the track of the main issue.

Let me remind the reader that starting from sutra 1.33. Patanjali draws a successive specification of the mind integrity (chitta-prasadanam) attainment methods - the methods that outline the principles of numerous yoga schools, techniques and traditions.

Oct 20, 2016

Nirvana in the Context of Yoga

The word “nirvana” must be familiar to every more or less educated person living. It has been assimilated by every language – this is what also happened to the word “guru” (for we have all heard about IT-gurus and marketing-gurus…) - and has just the same way changed its meaning more than once. 

Most probably – in the vein of the afore given ad – a philistine considers nirvana to be a kind of very pleasant state that occurs during one’s doing nothing on a divan-bed, and connotes it to the word keif (by the way another interesting word of Turkish origin worthy of a separate article). Maybe some of the lay audience even have certain associations between the word nirvana and something oriental, for instance yogis that ‘get high’ in lotus pose… Maybe on nails…

Jul 23, 2016

Krakow Lectures 1. Yoga and Siddhis. Dominik Wujastyk

I've made up my mind to write a number of articles dedicated to lectures given at Yoga Darsana, Yoga Sadhana conference in Krakow. I believe this to be quite acceptable in the context of this blog because at least one third of the papers presented were dedicated to Yoga Sutras. Besides, in consideration of the huge gap between academic community dealing with yoga issues and yoga practitioners, as well as the gap between European and post-Soviet science I believe this to be so far the best way of introducing to our yoga community a number of important ideas advanced at the said conference. With early summer being one of the busiest periods of my year, I shall make this in the form of short messages’ series, although I don’t promise them to come very soon and on a regular basis.

Jun 21, 2016

History of Yoga

As you remember, this year's March was my public lecture on the history of yoga. And it was announced that there will be an English translation of this lecture and presentation. So today, on the Day of Yoga I am glad to share the first series of videos in English, thanks to Ivan Ulitko. Presentations are available on my youtube channel:

Apr 28, 2016

Sutra 1.36. Methods of Chitta stabilization. Part 5. Grand Thoughts and Reflections on abstract notions as a part of yoga

The next sutra can be well understood in the context of the previous ones, and it complements the earlier sutra 1.35 in terms of logic. Let me remind that the latter stated that the activity filled with an object, a target, facilitates retaining of personal wholeness. Or, to be more specific, it prevents chitta from scattering (chitta-vikshepa). The sutra 1.36 suggests another elegant method of chitta control. As always, we shall start with translation, the more so in this case it is not at all difficult.

Sutra 1.35. Methods of chitta stabilization. Part 4. Thoughtless brains beget evil ideas

In the next lines Patanjali proceeds with methods of chitta stabilization and bringing together that, as you might remember, have been already said to include the development of Anahata experience and control of breath. The line 1.35 offers one method more, yet its interpretation requires that we overcome a few challenges.

The first challenge is the fact that there are two variants of this line reading:

Jan 27, 2016

Sutra 1.34. Breath control as a method of gathering chitta up

The next line of Yoga Sutras does not involve any difficulty for translation, as well as for commentary and understanding. 

प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य ॥ ३४॥
1.34 pracchardana-vidhāraṇābhyām vā prāṇasya

pracchardana (n.) – a well-known word that in terms of literature on yoga denotes “exhalation”. It consists of the prefix pra + cchardana - a noun produced from the root chṛd – “to eject”, “to outthrow”.

Sutra 1.33. Meditation for overcoming hostility

As it has been said earlier, maitri - “amicability” - comes as one of the yogi’s basic features. Yet most people, especially those brought up in the post-USSR environment, have difficulties in experiencing this feeling. For several generations they were being habituated to take counter-revolutionists, Germans, Americans, capitalists and others of the kind for foes. The habit of hostility (that is a direct opposition to amicability) and aggressive attitude to the Universe has become a deep-seated feature which extirpation requires some dedicated practices.