How to Know God … from Patanjali ..

Revised; originally published on 19 October 2014 

  • BOOK I  … THE BASICS OF YOGA
  • BOOK I  … ON PURIFYING THE MIND
  • BOOK I … ON NON-ATTACHMENT
  • BOOK I … YOGA PRACTICES
  • BOOK II … ON SEXUAL ACTS AND SEXUAL FANTASIES
  • THE SUTRAS OF PATANJALI … REFERRAL TO SWAMI JNANESHVARA BHARATI’S TEACHINGS

Dear Ones:

The teachings of Patanjali are one of my all-time favorite explanations about how to attain God-consciousness. (1)

Fortunately, there is a version of these teachings that is in the public domain: “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” by Charles Johnston. (2) It is from this text that I will quote, below, some of the most important things that I learned from Patanjali …

BOOK I  … THE BASICS OF YOGA

1. “OM: Here follows Instruction in Union.

2. “Union, spiritual consciousness, is gained through control of the versatile psychic nature [thoughtwaves (3)].

3. “Then the Seer comes to consciousness in his proper nature.

4. “Heretofore the Seer has been enmeshed in the activities of the psychic nature [thoughtwaves].

See also: “Yoga Sutras 1.1-1.4: What is Yoga?” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,” http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm ..

BOOK I  … ON PURIFYING THE MIND

5. “The psychic activities [thoughtwaves] are five; they are either subject or not subject to the five hindrances [painful things] (Book II, 3).

6. “These activities are: Sound intellection, unsound intellection, predication, sleep, memory.

7. “The elements of sound intellection are: direct observation, inductive reason, and trustworthy testimony.

8. “Unsound intellection is false understanding, not resting on a perception of the true nature of things.

9. “Predication is carried on through words or thoughts not resting on an object perceived.

10. “Sleep is the psychic condition which rests on mind states, all material things being absent.

11. “Memory is holding to mind-images of things perceived, without modifying them.”

See also: “Yoga Sutras 1.5-1.11: Un-Coloring Your Thoughts by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,” http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10511.htm ..

BOOK I … ON NON-ATTACHMENT

12. “The control of these psychic activities comes through the right use of the will, and through ceasing from self-indulgence.

13. “The right use of the will is the steady, effort to stand in spiritual being.

14. “This becomes a firm resting-place, when followed long, persistently, with earnestness.

15. “Ceasing from self-indulgence is conscious mastery over the thirst for sensuous pleasure here or hereafter.

16. “The consummation of this is freedom from thirst [desire] for any mode of psychical activity [any thoughtwave], through the establishment of the spiritual man.”

See also: “Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16: Practice and Non-Attachment” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,” http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm ..

BOOK I … YOGA PRACTICES

33. “By sympathy with the happy [happy people], compassion for the sorrowful [people], delight in the holy [people], disregard of the unholy [people], the psychic nature [the mind] moves to gracious peace.

34. “Or peace may be reached by the even sending forth and control of the life-breath.

35. “Faithful, persistent application to any object, if completely attained, will bind the mind to steadiness.

36. “As also will a joyful, radiant spirit.

37. “Or the purging of self-indulgence from the psychic nature [thoughtwaves].

38. “Or a pondering on the perceptions gained in dreams and dreamless sleep.

39. “Or meditative brooding on what is dearest to the heart.’

See also: “Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39: Stabilizing and Clearing the Mind,” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,”  http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-13339.htm .. 

BOOK II … ON SEXUAL ACTS AND SEXUAL FANTASIES

38. “For him who is perfect in continence, the reward is valour and virility.”

By ‘continence’, I feel is meant ‘self-control’ or ‘chastity’ and not ‘abstinence’ … otherwise, the term ‘virility’ would not have been added.

The commentary on this verse by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood (1) mentions sexual fantasies as well as the act of sex, and how these consume the vital force.

The commentary by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati explains that practicing God-consciousness results in celibacy, but celibacy does not create God-consciousness:

See “2.38. When walking …” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,” at http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.38 ..

THE SUTRAS OF PATANJALI … REFERRAL TO SWAMI JNANESHVARA BHARATI’S TEACHINGS

For explanations of the sutras I’ve not covered, see “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Raja Yoga – Ashtanga Yoga,” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, in “Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters,”  http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras.htm ..

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars

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FOOTNOTES

(1) I like this version, which is still under copyright: “How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali,” translated with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, available at amazon.com … The current link for this book on Amazon is: https://www.amazon.com/How-Know-God-Aphorisms-Patanjali/dp/0874810418 ..

There are also various online versions of Patanjali’s teachings. For instance, Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati provides an amazingly thorough explication of the “Aphorisms of Patanjali” at http://www.swamij.com/index.htm ..

…..

(2) from Project Gutenberg’s “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” by Charles Johnston … This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net … http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2526/pg2526-images.html ..

Title: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Author: Charles JohnstonPosting Date: March 28, 2010 [EBook #2526] Release Date: February, 2001
Language: English
Title: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Author: Charles Johnston

(3) The translation by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood (1) uses the term mental “thoughtwaves” rather than “psychic nature,” and I prefer this translation.

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Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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advaita, enlightenment, Hinduism, mastery of mind, sacred sexuality, Christopher Isherwood, how to know God, sexual fantasies, Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, Swami Prabhavananda, yoga, Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, celibacy, sexual continence, continence, sexual fantasies, God consciousness, chastity, Christopher Isherwood, Patanjali, yoga,

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