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Patanjali's Yoga Sutras Samadhi Pada 1-15


Raja Yoga: Patanjali Yoga Sutras; Samadhi Pada 


Raja Yoga Definition: The understanding and complete mastery over the mind. 

There are five types of yoga including Juana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga.


Raja Yoga is also called Kingly Yoga, the yoga of control or mastery over the mind. The primary text for Raja Yoga is called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, or Yoga Darsanam. In the yoga sutras, yoga itself is defined as the cessation of the movements of consciousness, in other words obtaining stillness of mind rather than a mind filled with random thoughts. Raja Yoga includes Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of yoga and the yoga sutras. Today’s lesson is on Sutras 1-15 of Patanjali’s Samadhi Pada of the Yoga Sutras.  



Introduction to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 


It is not known exactly when Patanjali Maharishi lived or if he was a single person or several persons using the same title. It is estimated that the date of the sutras range 5,000 BC to 300 AC. Patanjali did not invent the system of Raja Yoga, he rather compiled the ancient teachings and systemized the philosophy of pre-existing ideas and practices. 


Patanjali Maharishi, often called the “Father of Yoga” comprised the first and foremost Raja Yoga scripture of yoga, organizing yogic thought. It is important to know that Patanjali didn’t write the sutras themselves, they come from talks his students wrote down and compiled by Sri Swami Satchidanada. The sutras are shorthand notes from his students, not even complete sentences, yet containing the entire philosophical message to ponder and discuss.  


Satchidananda whom compiled all the shorthand notes and ideas in this book was a sage who guided thousands of people through the practice of Raja Yoga and brought the sutras to life. He grew up in a small village in South India, became a scholar in agriculture, technology and science. Disillusioned with his work he became a full-time yogi, practicing under many Indian sages, and finally becoming a monastic under Master Sivananda in 1949. Satchadananda served in the ashram of his teacher as well as traveled to bring Raja Yoga and the Sutras of Patanjali to Southeast Asia and the West. Satchadananda did not belong to any one faith or country…  he was dedicated to the principle of “Truth is One, Paths are Many.” He included people of all backgrounds and beliefs, respecting all paths leading to peace. He won many humanitarian and peace awards. A humble soul who taught his students to take what is useful in the sutras and leave what is not, as well as offering students to “Meditate on anything one chooses which is elevating.” Both Patanjali and Sri Swami Sathidanada were accepting of all, their teachings are universal and all-inclusive of all faiths.  


Prayer from Sri Swammi… “May the grace of all the realized yogis of every tradition be upon us that we may succeed in realizing the peace and joy which is the Divine Truth within us.” 


Because of this broad-minded acceptance of all methods, yoga has remained a universal practice which can be studied and practiced by people of all faiths and backgrounds. It is all-inclusive and based on science. The sutras expand students’ spiritual path and the experience of their religion, philosophy and most important moment to moment life events. 


Raja Yoga is the science of Mind, it is the control of the mind. It is the most ancient form of yoga…. for centuries Raja Yoga was simply yoga, yet it is contemporary and useful in present time. Because Raja Yoga arose thousands of years before Hatha Yoga (including the physical poses), many traditional yoga schools in India teach a primarily Raja Yoga philosophy that is called Kriya.  

Raja Yoga is an integral approach including all aspects of the Self, physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and social. It is a scientific approach including the whole life of a student, aiming to transform the student from a limited ego consciousness to a fully illuminated, awakened being living in perfect peace, sharing their love and divine gifts and living their highest joy and service to God and Humanity.  


Therefore, if you desire to be a yoga instructor and learn the philosophy of yoga and live a yogic lifestyle, and be a mentor as a yoga teacher, you will want to learn and apply Raja Yoga, which includes primarily the Yoga Sutras, which include Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. A main goal of the 8 Limbs is yogic lifestyle and ethics and reaching the state of Samadhi, expanded awareness, becoming your Souls Presence, one with your Source. The main goal of the Sutras is mastery of the mind. Controlling the diversions of the mind. Turning away from the lies the mind believes (Anytime we are resisting and in upset) and choosing powerfully (Over and over) to listen to the Voice of Truth only. Committing to your own inner peace. 

Becoming a neutral observer of the mind… letting go of what no longer serves, experiencing constant updating, evolution & transformation for your own consciousness. Aligning more and more, deeper and deeper with your inner-most truth. Thy own Self be True. 


Some Raja Yoga questions to ponder and experience.


What am I? 

What is the Mind? 

What is that within me that is conscious? 

Does the Mind determine our behavior and experience or do we create and sustain its activity? 

Can we go within and control the mind? 


For thousands of years yogis have contemplated the mysteries of the mind and consciousness, and Raja Yoga is a compilation of that wisdom. The intention of mastering the mind is ultimately acquiring the autonomy of peace of mind. Overcoming victim consciousness, letting go all past conditioning that no longer serves, finding peace within, listening to the voice of truth (Not insane lies), being responsive rather than reactive, living Thy Own Self Be True, Living as your Soul rather than the ego, living in unlimited Mind rather than fearful limited mind. Becoming fully alive, happy and free. 


Sutra means thread, each thread being the barest thread of meaning… leaving each yoga teacher to take the threads and add their own beads of experience and wisdom reflecting their lineage to support students in practicing yoga. You as a teacher will use your experiences and wisdom to share with your students in the contemplations of the sutras. Discussions with yoga students of these sutras are the pathway to living them. Wisdom lives within all, a teacher simply reminds the student and awakens their inner knowing so they can go on to teach and share their beads of experiences. 


There are 200 sutras divided into 4 sections called Pada’s: 


  1. Samadhi Pada, portion on; Contemplation of the theory of yoga and most advanced stage called Samadhi. 

  1. Sadhana Pada, portion on; The Practice of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. 

  1. Vibhuti Pada, portion on; Accomplishments and powers of faithful practice of the final 3 inner steps 

  1. Kaivalya Pada, portion on Absoluteness; Cosmic, philosophical Views on yoga. 



 Samadhi Pada


This is the first book of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and called Samadhi, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. Samadhi means to unify, to be absorbed into the all that isness, to become one with all that is. Patanjali has put the ultimate goal on the first pada, showing that yoga is not linear and that all the limbs and sutras are a part of a whole integration within a student.


To practice samadhi is to know the Infinite Self, the silent witness, the pure conscious awareness as your identity… to know yourself as pure love. This pada invites us to move out of the made up realm of separation and fear and move into a far vaster Reality of what you truly are.


Samadhi is coming home to your true eternal nature as perfect love, knowing deeply that there is only love, there is only the Self experiencing It’s Self.



Raja Yoga: Patanjali Yoga Sutras; Samadhi Pada 


Raja Yoga Definition: The understanding and complete mastery over the mind. 

There are five types of yoga including Juana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga is also called Kingly Yoga, the yoga of control or mastery over the mind. The primary text for Raja Yoga is called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, or Yoga Darsanam. Raja Yoga includes Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of yoga we have talked about in other lessons and discussions. Today’s lesson is on Patanjali’s Samadhi Pada of the Yoga Sutras.  




Below are sutras 1-11 of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali





Atha = Now; Yoga =  of Yoga; anusasanam = exposition or instruction.


Now the exposition of Yoga is being made.


Now is the magical word, inviting yoga students to attain toward deep moment to moment presence, being here now.


Exposition or instruction is pointing to not talking about yoga, not just discussing the philosophy of yoga, but rather actually living the philosophy, practicing the yoga poses, meditations and pranayamas. You cannot reach the goal of yoga unless you practice yoga.


Yoga is to be practiced, lived and experienced now, to deeply know the inner being now.




Yogas = Yoga; chitta = of the mind stuff; vrtti= modifications; nirodhah = restraint.


The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.


The fundamental modification of the mind is to believe you are a separate self, an “I” or ego. Transforming the identity from the individual self or “I” to what Patanjali calls our essential nature… the eternal Self, pure conscious awareness. This sutra invites us to wake up from vritti (modifications and deformed nature) of the mind (Chitta) to a deep experiential inner knowing of the true Self or samadhi… our true nature, pure infinite consciousness. In yoga this is referred to as sat chit Ananda… pure, alive, alert unbounded awareness.


This sutra points to our full responsibility and full empowerment over the vritti of the mind (chitta) and how we interpret each moment. Patanjali states that the entire of yoga is based on this sutra… mastery of the mind, creating Heaven or hell… it is all in our hands. These first two sutras are the basis of all the other sutras, if we attain these first two sutras we have attained Samadhi and mastered all the sutras and the goal of yoga. 




Tada = then, drastuh = Seer,  svarupe = in His own nature, avasthanam = abides.


Then the Seer (Self) abides in His own nature


The Seer abides in His own true nature when the vritti is surrendered and the mind rests in stillness. Satchidananda use’s the analogy of a lake or mirror, vritti being the ripples on the lake or the distortions within the mirror it is difficult to see any clear reflection yet, when a student allows those vritti or disturbances to calm within the mind just like a calm lake we can see the pure reflection of the eternal Self. By mastering the mind, creating silent stillness within, you enter into a natural remembrance of your original state.



Vrtti = modifications of the mind-stuff; sarupyam = assumes the forms; itaratra = at other times.


At other times (The Self appears to) assume the forms of the mental modifications.


We can get confused in believing in and identifying ourselves with labels, temporary states and forms, in this state we are not free. There will be times the yogi forgets their Infinite Self. Our identity is eternal, when we confuse our identity with temporary forms and titles like our thoughts, emotions, our body, being a man or a woman, a dentist or a teacher, tall or short we lose awareness of our True Nature. We are neither a body, our thoughts, our emotions nor any letters after our names. We are not our titles, degrees and awards. We are not our clothing style, our race, economic status, or faith. When our dominate identity is this fluctuating finite self we suffer from feeling fearful, anxious, competitiveness and conflict. We react rather than respond to life and live in the noisy busy mind because we are identified with the diversions, fluctuations, movements and surface identities rather than the eternal Identity.


We are that which is beyond all of that, the wholly free eternal awareness that allows all of that to rise and fall. Behind the ever-changing forms is an unchanging Oneness. In yoga we attain to move toward knowing ourselves as this Eternal Self with our daily yoga practices, knowing we may not always be perfect. However, it is the direction we move toward, more into love and away from fear through the practice of yoga. A yogi must be alert in observing the mind and notice when the mind moves into limitation and fear and away from love, and consciously move back into the awareness of your True Nature as the Unlimited Self.



Vrttayah = modifications of the mind stuff; panchatayyah = five kinds; klishta = painful; aklishtah = painless.


There are five kinds of mental modifications which are either painful or painless.


In Samadhi we experience only the I Am with no thought diversions at all. The goal of yoga is to master the mind to a state of samadhi at all times and therefore as students of yoga we aim toward that intention, and along the way we faulter at times, mastery doesn’t occur immediately.  We journey to the goal of yoga by being vigilantly watchful of our minds as thought forms arise, letting go of painful, fear-based and negative thoughts… thoughts that do not serve and replacing with certain selfless thoughts or thoughts that create peace in all minds.


As we go inward the consciousness corrects and heals the mind, the journey inward is where we need distinctions such as the five mental modifications, to help us be aware as we watch the mind to distinguish if the thoughts are not taking us in the direction of yoga or if they are taking us toward yoga, unity and correct knowledge.


Patanjali tells us there are five kinds of vrttis grouped into two categories; painful and painless. He distinguishes that it is not painful and pleasurable because painful circumstances can lead to growth and pleasurable circumstances can lead to pain. He mentions selfishness can lead to pain unless it is selfishness in our attainment of peace… selfish in your commitment to peace; selfishly committed to retaining your peace. This kind of selfishness brings peace to other’s minds and those who bring peace to themselves and others are happy.




Pramana = right knowledge; viparyaya = misconception; vikalpa = verbal delusions; nidra = sleep; smrtayah = memory.


Right knowledge, misconception, verbal delusion, sleep and memory are the five modifications of the mind.


In this sutra Patanjali states the five types of vrittis; right knowledge (Sutra 7), misconception (Sutra 8), verbal delusion (Sutra 9), sleep (Sutra 10) and memory (Sutra 11). He explains each in the following sutras 7-11. Though all of these five types of mental fluctuations or modifications can be broken down into subcategories, the basic thoughts or modifications can be useful in observing the activity of our minds. In yoga we want to be observant of our mental condition, knowing this raja yoga of mind mastery is just as important as the physical practice’s and asanas. Only when the mind is both absorbed and still are we truly practicing yoga.




Pratyaksha = direct perception; anumana = intference; agama = scriptural testimony; pramanani = are those sources of right knowledge.


We gain correct knowledge and accurate information from our own direct experiences.


Things that we observe, see and hear fall into this category. Knowledge may also come from things that we figure out when from accurate sources of information. Learning through yoga practice that arching our back during a cow brings the spine into extension is a good example. We may also gain correct yogic knowledge from yoga masters or many years of controlled study and testing.

The sources of right knowledge are direct perception, inference and scriptural testimony.


Right knowledge is not based on perception, interpretation, judgement it is rather direct experience, inference or what all scriptures universally point to. However, it is also important to know that knowledge is infinite as we live in an infinite Universe. That we can never be rigid or stuck in what right knowledge is because ultimately only experience of deep samadhi can illuminate our minds. Deep Spiritual Knowing is not in words, rules or absolutes, but in an incomprehensible mystery.


What Patanjali expresses with these three aspects of right knowing can also be stated as right mindedness, a neutral direct observation rather than an interpretation of the observation. To infer is to see the sky as dark and infer it is nighttime, to see the ice melting and infer the temperature is above freezing. As with scriptures because right knowledge doesn’t change over time, we can look at main themes all sacred texts affirm, such as love your neighbor as yourself, the kingdom of Heaven dwells within. Right knowledge always illuminates.





Viparyayah = misconception is; mithyajnanam = false knowledge; atadrupa = not on that form; pratishtham = based.


Misconception occurs when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form.


Illusion or misconcenption may be thought of as incorrect knowledge. Basing your information and conclusions on inaccurate or incomplete perceptions is one way to get wrongful information. Illusions may be called distortions of reality.

In the dark you see a monster, yet in reality it is a tree. Your heart races and the flight or flight response kicks in. Even though there is no monster you have created impressions and thought waves into the Universe.


You believe you are not loved by a parent or lover because they didn’t do this or that, or they did this or that, yet in reality that thought is not at all true. You were making their action mean something that wasn’t true, a misconception. It can also be called ignorance, confusion, false conclusions or meanings, delusion, the mind telling you lies, or even insanity… because the mind falls out of reality. We know we are in  our right mind by our experience of peace, we know we are in misconception by our experience of conflict, regardless of the form it takes. This interferes with our spiritual evolution.




Sabdajnananupati = knowledge on words; anupati = arises; vastu = reality; sunyo = without any; vikalpah = verbal delusion.


An image that arises in hearing mere words without any reality (As it’s basis) is verbal delusion.


Any delusional information, not backed by knowledge, is not based on reality. Imagination may thought of as a creative form of delusion. Various mental illnesses are types of delusion, but so are daydreams where our mind roams free. Both delusional thoughts take us away from right thinking, bring us often into pain and delay us as we are pursuing yoga related goals.



I will give you an example from my own life. I had a friend that would only call me when she was upset with a mutual friend of ours. She would say things about this friend and get me all upset. Often, later I would find that things were not exactly, or even close to what my friend had shared with me, therefore, I was upset over nothing, over lies. After a while I became wise to this friend and knew that when she called she would be having trouble with this mutual friend and that I was NOT going to get upset. For many reasons, because I couldn’t know if what she was telling me was true, it wasn’t my business, it was between them, and it wasn’t good for me to be dragged down, especially when it may not be true. As her friend I would listen and allow her to vent, but I kept wise to not get upset myself knowing the facts were probably more like fiction or her twist on the events. This is verbal delusion, and it is not worth getting upset about something you don’t even know is true.


This happens when we become attached to beliefs without true knowledge or inquiring deeper, believing the news and becoming upset when it is always spun and twisted to that program’s views. Even becoming attached to any belief system can be hurtful because there are many beliefs, many points of view, many perceptions yet it all dwells in the realm of interpretation rather than reality. Patanjali warns us to not get attached or stuck on words conceptually, but to rather go deeper and come to the lived experience of the word. For example, if you talk about creating peace, yet you yourself have hate and disturbance within… it is better to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is wise to not become attached to anything you hear, any particular belief system, not even yoga, but to instead live your truth… in the end it is your hearts moment to moment wisdom that is your greatest guide, and even that will change from moment to moment. Reality is an experience of samadhi, your pure conscious awareness… beyond words, thoughts, meanings, and beliefs… that permanent Self which allows the temporary physical world and thoughts to arise and fall.




Abgava = nothingness; pratyaya = cognition;  alambana = support; vrittir = modifications of the mind; nidra = sleep.


That mental modification supported by cognition of nothingness is sleep.


Sleep is an experience that takes place in an area of our brain. While we sleep our body is awake, it continues to breathe, the heart continues to pump blood, our organs continue to process chemicals, even our hair and fingernails continue to grow. The bio-mechanisms of the body continue to function during sleep.


Patanjali states that even in deep sleep, void of dreaming there is an event in the field of consciousness. There is a thought wave of nothingness that occurs in sleep that human physiological studies have confirmed. Mentally, we are inert and not connected to our senses of perception.

Through consistent practice our awareness can reach a level of stillness beyond sleep.




Anubhuta = experienced; vishaya = objects; asampramosha = not forgotten; smrtih = memory.


When the mental modification of an object previously experienced and not forgotten comes back to consciousness, that is memory.


Memory takes us out of Presence.. What we recollect may be based on any of the other states of consciousness, for example, correct knowledge or delusion. Though our memory may incorrectly recall the past, it may also, when used with discrimination, allow us to compare current actions or conditions against previous experiences.

Memories can be internal or external, memories can arise during wakefulness or sleep. Memories can be vritti when they arise from unresolved experiences. Memories can also have value when making our mental activity aligned, favorable and happy.


These are the five kinsa of vritti’s that must be controlled in order to attain samadhi or deep inner stillness and peace.




Abyasa = by practice; vairagyabhyam = by non-attatchment; tat(n) = they; nirodhah = restrained.


These mental modifications are restrained by practice and non-attachment.


Patanjali states that through continued practice you will master the vritti of the mind, reach a state of non-attachment and liberation… a birth of a transcendental state of consciousness.




Tatra = of these; sthitau = steadiness; yatno = effort; Abhyasah = practice.


Of these two, effort toward steadiness of mind is practice.


Patajali states continuous practice is necessary, he states not just a few days or months, but continuous, always being at it, eternally watchful, scrutinizing every thought, every word and action. He urges students to keep coming back to the practice of yoga, the whole practice… all 8 Limbs, mind, body and spirit and you will find your natural freedom.


Patanjali shares three qualifications in the following sutras to help us be eternally mindful.




Sah = this; tu = and; dirgha =long; kala = time; nairantarya = without break; satkara = earnestness; asevitah = well attended to; dridhabhumih = firm ground.


Practice become firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnest.


A yogi practices meditation regularly, a yogi observes the mind, observes the inner patterns that are not serving them, observes the frustrations, practice’s observation, practice’s turning away and turning them over… over and over again. This begins the journey of overcoming them, a journey of patient practice so the mind becomes settled and firmly grounded in stillness. It is not done in a week or a month or even a year, it needs to be ongoing throughout the entire physical life… a yogi lives a yogic lifestyle of regularly quieting the mind & connecting within. The ongoing practice of yoga will heal obsessive thinking, grudges, toxicity and victimhood within the mind and interrupt the negative conditioning so you can be a non-resistant, wholly free and a radiantly clear conduit for the Divine to flow through. This leads to authentically loving relationships, true happiness and deep enjoyment life.



Drishta = seen; anusravika = heard; visaya = object; vitrishnasya = of him who is free from craving; vasikara = mastery; samjna = consciousness; vairagyam = non-attachment.


The consciousness of self-mastery in one who is free from craving for objects seen or heard about is non-attachment.


A yogi observes the mind, observes the patterns of cravings and aversions that are not serving them, observing frustrations that come from attachment. By practicing observation they begin the journey of overcoming them. It is a committed process, yet the ultimate goal is freedom. The ongoing practice of yoga will heal obsessive thinking, addictions, grudges, toxicity, victimhood and attachments within the mind. Then a state of allowing, being with what arises, non-resistance, and becoming a wholly free and clear conduit for the Divine to flow through. To be truly happy and enjoy life. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

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