Meditation as Spiritual Culmination  -  Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali   (2- Vol. Set)

Meditation as Spiritual Culmination - Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali (2- Vol. Set)

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Author: Swami Sarvabhutananda
Publisher: Advaita Ashram
Year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 1611
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175053097/8175053100


This set of books is a transcription of Swami Sarvagatananda’s classes on the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali recorded between September 1977 and June 1981.

Here the reader is taken on a fascinating spiritual journey in which he encounters the deep intricacies and mysteries of the mind, and learns about the methods of concentration and its culmination in meditation. The Swami’s intimate and first-hand knowledge of this difficult subject is evident in each of his talks.

What distinguishes this book from others on the same subject is its extremely exhaustive treatment of each aphorism and its intensely practical approach. It will be immensely helpful to all spiritual aspirants in their quest for control of the mind, which, in the words of the Swami, will help them to make their lives more happy, sublime, peaceful, and integrated.

The question and answer sessions held at the end of each class are a valuable wonderful addition to the book.

Profound Bacgrounders:

“As a lamp in a windless place does not flicker –“ that is the figure used for the disciplined mind of a yogi practicing concentration on the Self.
- Bhagavad Gita

The wavy waters in the picture are symbolic of Karma, the lotus, of bhakti, and the rising-sum, of jnana. The encircling serpent is indicative of yoga and the awakened kundalini sakti, while the swan in the picture stands for the Paramatman. Therefore, the idea of the picture is that by the union of Karma, jnana, bhakti, and yoga, the vision of the Paramatman is obtained.
- Swami Vivekananda




The Kingly Path
The Mind


1.1 Now yoga is explained
1.2 Yoga is the control of the urges, modifications or tendencies that arise out of the mind-stuff.
1.3 At that time the seer-that is, the perceiver, the one who experiences, the individual – rests in his own state.
1.4 At other times – other than that of the true state, when the mind is not resolved, silenced, purified – the seer is identified with the modifications.
1.5 There are five classes of modifications, some are painful and some are not.
1.6 These are right knowledge, indiscrimination, verbal delusion, sleep and memory – anything that comes from the subconscious mind.
1.7 Direct perception, inference and competent evidence, are proofs.
1.8 Indiscrimination is false knowledge not established in real nature.
1.9 Verbal delusion follows from words having no corresponding reality.
1.10 Sleep is a vrtti which embraces the feeling of void ness.
1.11 Memory is when vrttis of perceived subjects do not slip away and though impressions come back to consciousness.
1.12 Their control is by practice and non-attachment.
1.13 Continuous struggle to keep the vrttis, the tendencies, perfectly restrained is practice.
1.14 It becomes firmly grounded by long constant efforts with great love and devotion for the end to be attained.
1.15 That effect, which comes to those who have given up their thirst after objects either seen or heard, and which wills to control the objects, is non-attachment.
1.16 That is extreme non-attachment which gives up even the qualities, and comes from the knowledge of the Purusa.
1.17 The concentration called right knowledge is that which is followed by reasoning, discrimination, bliss, unqualified egoism.
1.18 There is another Samadhi which is attained by the constant practice of cessation of all mental activity, in which the citta (mind-stuff) retains only the unmanifested impressions.
1.19 This Samadhi when not followed by extreme non-attachment becomes the cause of the re-manifestation of the gods and of those that become merged in nature – not gods actually – these are enlightened souls who still have some attachment, hence have reached perfection though highly evolved.
1.20 To others this Samadhi comes through faith, energy, memory, concentration, and discrimination.
1.21 Success is speedy for the extremely energetic.
1.22 The success of yogis differs according as the means they adopt are mild, medium or intense.
1.23 Or by devotion to Isvara.
1.24 Isvara (the Supreme Ruler) is a special Purusa, untouched by misery, actions, their results, and desires.
1.25 In Him becomes infinite that all-knowingness which in others is (only) a germ.
1.26 His is the teacher of even the ancient teachers, being not limited by time.
1.27 His manifested word is ‘Om’. Pranavah is a sound symbol representing Isvara, the Ground.
1.28 The repetition of this and meditating on its meaning is the way.
1.29 From that (repetition) is gained introspection, and the destruction (removal) of obstacles.
1.30 Disease, mental laziness, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, lethargy, clinging to sense enjoyments, false perception, non-attaining concentration, and falling away from the state when obtained, are the obstructing distractions.
1.31 Grief, mental distress, tremor of the body, irregular breathing accompany non-retention of concentration.
1.32 To remedy this, this practice of one subject should be made – if you want to avoid tremors, grief, and mental distress, constant practice is necessary.
1.33 Friendship, mercy, gladness and indifference, being thought of in regard to subjects, happy, unhappy, good and evil respectively, pacify the mind-stuff.
1.34 By throwing out and restraining the Breath (Prana).
1.35 Those forms of concentration that bring extraordinary sense perceptions cause perseverance of the mind.
1.36 Or (by the meditation on) the Effulgent Light, which is beyond all sorrow.
1.37 Or (by meditating on) the mind-stuff that is free from all attachment to sense-perceptions.
1.38 Or by meditating on the knowledge that comes in dream or sleep.
1.39 Pr by meditation on anything that appeals to one as good.
1.40 The yogi’s mind thus meditating, becomes unobstructed from the atomic to the infinite.
1.41 The Yogi whose vrttis (modifications, urges of the mind, or mind-stuff) have thus become powerless
1.42 The Sound, meaning, and resulting knowledge, being mixed up, is called Samadhi with question.
1.43 The Samadhi called ‘without question’ comes when memory is purified.
1.44 By this process the concentrations with discrimination and without discrimination, whose objects are finer, are explained.
1.45 The finer objects end with Nature, Cosmic wholeness, pradhana.
1.46 These concentrations (or meditations) are with seed.
1.47 The concentration ‘without discrimination’ being purified, the citta becomes firmly fixed.
1.48 The knowledge in that is called “Filled with Truth”.
1.49 The knowledge that is gained from testimony and inference is about (other objects, or) common object.
1.50 The resulting impression from this Samadhi obstructs all other impressions
1.51 By the restraint of even this (impression, which obstructs all other impressions), all (become) restrained, there comes the seedless Samadhi.

2.1 Mortification, study and the surrendering of the fruits of work are called Kriya Yoga.
2.2 (It is for the) practice of Samadhi and minimizing the pain-bearing obstructions.
2.3 The five pain-bearing obstacles in your life are ignorance and its effects: which are egoism, attachment,
2.4 Ignorance is the productive field of all these that follow.
2.5 Ignorance is taking that which is non-eternal, impure, painful, and non-Self for the eternal, pure, happy, Atman (Self).
2.6 Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrument of seeing.
2.7 Attachment is that which dwells on pleasure.
2.8 Aversion is that which dwells on pain (or dislike, or some other cause of which I do not know).
2.9 Flowing through its own nature, and established even in the learned, is the clinging to life.
2.10 The fine samskaras are to be conquered by resolving them into their causal state (or eternal state)
2.11 By meditation their (gross) modifications are to be rejected.
2.12 The receptacle of works’ has its root in these pain-bearing obstructions (not pain-bearing, klesamulah means anguish )
2.13 The root being there, the fruition comes (in the form of) species, life, and experience of pleasure and Pain.
2.14 They bear fruit as pleasures or pain, caused by virtue or vice.
2.15 To the discriminating, all is, as it were, painful on account of everything bringing pain, either as consequence, or as anticipation of loss of happiness or as fresh craving arising from impressions of happiness, and also as counteraction of qualities.
2.16 The misery which is not yet come is to be avoided.
2.17 The cause of that which is to be avoided is the junction of the seer and the seen.
2.18 The experienced is composed of elements and organs, is of the nature of illumination, action, and inertia, and is for the purpose of experience and release (of the experience).
2.19 The states of the qualities are the defined, the undefined, the indicated only, and the signless.
2.20 The seer is intelligence only, and though pure, sees through the coloring of the intellect.
2.21 The nature of the experienced is for him.
2.22 Though destroyed for him whose goal has been gained, yet it is not destroyed, being common to others.
2.23 Junction is the cause of the realization of the nature of the powers, the experienced and its Lord.
2.24 Ignorance is its cause.
2.25 There being absence of that (ignorance) there is absence of junction, which is the thing-to-be-avoided; that is the independence of the seer.
2.26 The means of destruction of ignorance is unbroken practice of discrimination.
2.27 His knowledge is of the sevenfold highest ground.
2.28 By the practice of the different parts of yoga the impurities being destroyed, knowledge becomes effulgent up to discrimination.
2.29 Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyama, and Samadhi are the eight limbs of Yoga.
2.30 Non-hurting, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving are called yama.
2.31 These, unbroken by time, place, purpose and caste rules, are (universal) great vows.
2.32 Internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God are the niyamas.
2.33 To obstruct thoughts which are inimical to Yoga, contrary thoughts should be brought.
2.34 The obstructions to Yoga are killing, falsehood, and the rest, whether committed, caused or approved; either through avarice, or anger, or, ignorance; whether slight, middling, or great; and they result in infinite ignorance and misery.
2.35 Non-hurting being established, in his presence all enmities cease
2.36 By the establishment of truthfulness the Yogi’s words become effective.
2.37 By the establishment of non-stealing all wealth comes to the Yogi
2.38 By the establishment of continence, energy is gained
2.39 When he is fixed in non-receiving, he gets the memory of past life.
2.40 Internal and external cleanliness being established, arises disgust for one’s own body, and (non-contact) with others.
2.41 There also arises purification of the sattva, cheerfulness of the mind, concentration, conquest of the sense, and fitness for the realization of the Self.
2.42 From contentment comes supreme happiness.
2.43 The result of mortification is bringing powers to the organs and the body, by destroying the impurity.
2.44 By the repetition of the Mantra comes the realization of the intended deity.
2.45 By sacrificing all to Isvara comes Samadhi
2.46 Posture is that which is firm and pleasant
2.47 When first sitting for meditation effort and laxity is experienced, there being a constant encountering of these two; make an effort and when it breaks keep on trying.
2.48 Conquering the duality of effort and laxity one gains effortless, easy posture.
2.49 After taking up posture is the controlling of the motion of exhalation and inhalation.
2.50 Its modifications are either external or internal, or motionless, regulated by place, time and number, either long or short.
2.51 The fourth is restraining the prana, reflecting on external or internal objects.
2.52 From that, the covering to the Light of the citta is attenuated.
2.53 Therefore when one practices like this, the mind becomes fir for concentration.
2.54 The drawing in of the sense organs is by their giving up their own objects and taking the form of the mind-stuff, as it were.
2.55 Thence arises supreme control of the sense organs.


3.1. Dharana is holding the mind on to some particular phase, point, object, idea, and symbol, thought.
3.2. A unbroken flow of that concentration in that object is called dhyana.
3.3. When that, giving up all forms, reflects only the meaning, it is Samadhi: culmination, one with the highest.
3.4. These three put together is called samyama
3.5. By the conquest of that comes the light of knowledge (pure Consciousness).
3.6. That should be employed in stages
3.7. These three are more internal than those that proceed.
3.8. Concentration, meditation, culmination, these three also become external from the point of pure Consciousness.
3.9. By the control of the disturbed impressions of the mind, and by the rise of impressions of control, the mind, which persists in that moment of control is said to attain the controlling modifications?
3.10. Its flow becomes steady (or calm and serene) by habit.
3.11. Taking in all sorts of objects, and concentrating upon one object, these two powers being destroyed and manifested respectively the mind-stuff gets the transformation called Samadhi.
3.12. When the past and the present look similar, when you observe the mind, when the flow is constant, you don’t hold any thought.
3.13. By this is explained the threefold transformation of form, time and state, in fine or gross matter, and in the senses (or organs).
3.14. That which is acted upon by transformations, either past, present or yet to be manifested, is the qualified.
3.15. The succession of changes is the cause of manifold evolution.
3.16. By making samyama on the three sorts of changes comes the knowledge of past and future.
3.17. By making samyama on word, meaning, and knowledge, which are ordinarily confused, comes the knowledge of all animal sounds.
3.18. By perceiving the mental impressions – by making samyama on the impressions you can find out your past life.
3.19. By making samyama on associations of beings, one becomes aware of the knowledge or the mind-stuff of that person.
3.20. But not its contents – you know the attitude of the mind but not its contents – that not being the object of the samyama.
3.21. By making samyama on the form of the body, the perceptibility of the form being obstructed and the power of manifestation in the eye being separated, the Yogi’s body becomes unseen.
3.22. The disappearance of or concealment of words which are being spoken and such other things, are also explained.
3.23. Karma is of two kinds: soon to be fructified, and later to be fructified.
3.24. By making samyama on friendship, mercy, etc., the Yogi excels in the respective qualities.
3.25. By making samyama on the strength of the elephant and others, their respective strength comes to the Yogi.
3.26. By making samyama on the Effulgent Light, comes the knowledge of the fine, the obstructed, and the remote.
3.27. By making samyama on the sun, comes the knowledge of the world – not knowledge of the world, but knowledge of the planets.
3.28. By making samyama on the moon comes the knowledge of the cluster of stars.
3.29. On the polestar, when you make samyama, comes the knowledge of the motions of the stars.
3.30. By making samyama on the navel circle comes the knowledge of the constitution of the body.
3.31. If you make samyama on the hollow of the throat, you can control your hunger and thirst.
3.32. On the nerve called kurma comes fixity of the body.
3.33. When you make samyama on the upward light, upward consciousnesses, then you become aware of the higher levels of consciousness.
3.34. Or by the power of pratibha, all knowledge – vivid imagination – ending in intuition, a kind of genius.
3.35. If you make samyama in the heart, comes knowledge of minds, total perception, and illumination.
3.36. All enjoyment or experience is due to the false identification of the mind and the soul or self, which are completely.
3.37. From that arises the knowledge belongs to the pratibha, (that is: intuition, illumination; no supernatural perception) and hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling.
3.38. These are obstacles to Samadhi, but they are powers in their worldly state.
3.39. When the cause of the bondage of the mind-stuff, psycho-physical complex, becomes loosened, the Yogi, by his knowledge of its channels of activity has the power to influence other bodies.
3.40. By conquering the current called udana the Yogi does not sink in water, or in swamps, he can walk on thorns, etc., and can die at will.
3.41. By the conquest of the current samana he is surrounded by a blaze of light.
3.42. By making samyama on the relation between the ear and the akasa comes divine hearing.
3.43. By making samyama on the relation between this body and the space, this relationship, this contact between the body and the space, and becoming light as cotton – by that samyama on this space and body you make the body very light.
3.44. By making samyama on the “real modification” of the mind, outside of the body, called great disembodiedness comes disappearance of the covering to light.
3.45. If you make samyama on matter that is what you gain.
3.46. From that comes minuteness and the rest of the powers, “glorification of the body”, and indestructibleness of the bodily qualities.
3.47. The “glorification of the body” is beauty, complexion, strength, adamantine hardness.
3.48. By making samyama on perception, the nature of sensation, their association with the ego consciousness, and their purposive ness, one gains mastery over the senses.
3.49. From that comes to the body the power of rapid movement like the mind, power of the organs independently of the body, and conquest of nature.
3.50. By making samyama on the discrimination between Sattva and the purusa come omnipotence and omniscience.
3.51. By giving up even these powers comes the destruction of the very seed of limitation, this lead to Kaivalya.
3.52. The yogi should not feel allured or flattered by the overtures of celestial, or higher, brings for fear of evil, or temptations, again
3.53. By making samyama on a particle of time and its precession and succession comes discrimination.
3.54. Those things which cannot be differentiated by species, sings and place, even they will be discriminated by the above samyama.
3.55. The saving knowledge is that knowledge of discrimination which simultaneously covers all objects, in their variations.
3.56. By the similarity of the purity between the sattva and the purusa, comes kaivalya. Liberation is attained when the mind becomes as pure as the Self.

4.1 Success in Samadhi or success in liberation or attainment is due to birth, food, mantra (or initiation) or self-control.
4.2 The change into another species is by the filling in of nature.
4.3 Good and bad deeds are not the direct causes in the transformations of nature, but they act as breakers of obstacles.
4.4 From egoism alone proceeds the created mind.
4.5 Though the activities of the different created minds are various, that one original mind is the controller of them all.
4.6 The mind that comes out of Samadhi or meditation alone is free from karma.
4.7 Karma is neither good nor bad for the yogis; for others they are threefold – good, bad and indifferent.
4.8 From these threefold works are manifested in each state only those desires fitting to that state alone.
4.9 There is consecutiveness in desires or subconscious contents even though separated by species, space, and time, there being identification of memory and impressions.
4.10 Thirst for happiness being eternal, desires are without beginning.
4.11 Being held together by cause and effect, support, and objects, in the absence of these is its absence.
4.12 The past and the future exist in their own nature, qualities having different ways.
4.13 These urges or karmas are manifested or unmanifested according to the nature of the gunas.
4.14 The unity of things is from the unity in changes
4.15 Though the object is the same, the projection is different because of the different nature of the mind stuff.
4.16 The object cannot be said to be depend on the perception of a single mind. There being no proof of its existence. It would then become non-existent.
4.17 Objects are known or unknown to the mind by virtue of their affecting or not affecting the mind itself.
4.18 The states of the mind are always known because the master of the mind, the purusa, is unchangeable.
4.19 The mind is not self-luminous, being an object.
4.20 From its being unable to cognize both at the same time.
4.21 Another cognizing mind being assumed, there will be no end to such assumptions, and confusion of memory will be the result.
4.22 The essence of knowledge (the purusa) being unchangeable, when the mind takes its form, it becomes conscious.
4.23 Colored by the seer and the seen, the mind is able to understand everything.
4.24 This mind, though variegated by innumerable desires, acts for another, because it acts in combination.
4.25 For the discriminating, the perception of the mind as Atman ceases.
4.26 Then, bent on discriminating, the mind attains the previous state of kaivalya (isolation or freedom)
4.27 The thoughts that arise as obstacles, or obstructions, to that are from the former impressions.
4.28 Their destruction is in the same manner as of ignorance, egoism and the rest, as said before.
4.29 No selfish desire or attachment of any kind is what is needed for the hightest illumination. Have desirelessness to the hightest degree, nothing stays with you, nothing is yours.
4.30 From that comes cessation of pain and works.
4.31 The knowledge, bereft of covering and impurities, becoming infinite, the knowable becomes small.
4.32 Then are finished the successive transformations of the qualities, they are finished the successive transformations of the qualities, they having attained the end.
4.33 The changes that exist in relation to moments and which are perceived at the other end are succession.
4.34 The resolution in the inverse order of the qualities, bereft of any motive of action for the purusa, the being, is kaivalya, freedom, or it is the establishment of the power of knowledge in its own nature.
4.35 Kaivalya and nirvana are completely identical; nirvana the cessation of the existential being
4.36 The freedom or liberation is the very state of this substance or the being. It is not to be attained, not that you experience something new, that liberation is the very nature of the Being.
4.37 In that state of liberation there is vision of the Being and in the being there is the vision of the entire universe.
4.38 Being with attributes is the truth, consciousness and bliss, then the attribute less Being is transcendental and the thing in itself tatvataha


Lecture 1: September 22, 1977 to Lecture 74: Pratyahara Review: November 8, 1979.

Lecture 75: Review end of Chapter 2: Begin Chapter 3.1: November 29, 1979 to Lecture 132: End of Chapter 4, review; June 18, 1981.