Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: Action (or Kriya) Yoga

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is a extremely good exposition of the philosophical ideas, deep truths, and disciplines of yoga. It organizes the disciplines into 8 “limbs,” or categories, of yoga exercise. Specific meditation techniques are not given; most effective kinds of disciplines are mentioned. Many of its sutras (aphorisms) describe and touch upon those practices. This timeless treatise with the aid of an enlightened yogi addresses the typical human condition of obvious separation from God (avidya, not understanding the Supreme Reality) and indicates us how to conquer the intellectual dispositions and illusions that hold us on this condition.

Like tree limbs, which emerge in sequence, the primary disciplines come first. As they broaden, mature and undergo fruit, the subsequent ones are practiced. For example, yama prepares one to exercise niyama. Patanjali calls the remaining 3 elements of niyama “kriya yoga” (“kriya” method motion). Marshall Govindan takes the position that these three factors of kriya (or action) yoga represent the entire of Patanjali’s yoga. However, all 8 limbs are mentioned in brilliant element in verses 2.30 thru 3.8 of the Sutras and provide a much greater whole description of yoga.

In verse 2.1, Patanjali says: “Kriya yoga consists of tapas (austerity, self-control), svadhyaya (self-observe), and Ishvara pranidhana (devotional surrender to God).” (Note: The phrases in parentheses are commonly general translations of the Sanskrit phrases.) In the “eight-limbed” path, the kriya yoga practices of niyama precede asana (meditation posture), pranayama (breath manage), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from their objects), dharana (awareness), dhyana (uninterrupted, deep concentration), and samadhi (oneness with the item of meditation). For this purpose, “kriya yoga” is occasionally interpreted “initial yoga.” However, the first of the eight limbs, yama, includes five abstentions (don’ts), and the five factors of niyama are observances (dos), so the kriya yoga practices of niyama also can be interpreted “movement yoga,” which means doing something.

The following feedback from Govindan’s e-book at the Sutras contradict Yogananda and other enlightened yogis, who concur that the yoga of Patanjali is the “8-limbed” path.

Foreword (xiv, xv) with the aid of G. Feuerstein: “… While Patanjali’s teaching has turn out to be in reality equated with 8-limbed yoga (ashtanga yoga), he himself known as his route that of action yoga (kriya yoga) in pada 2.1.” “The aphorisms inside the Yoga Sutras dealing mainly with the 8 limbs appear to had been quoted with the aid of Patanjali or subsequently added to his text. There isn’t any actual nice explanation for why Patanjali used the label kriya yoga for his teachings.”

Introduction Part 2 (xxiii) by means of M. Govindan: “Feuerstein has mentioned, however, that Patanjali’s yoga become not the “ashtanga” or “eight-limbed” yoga, defined in verses 2.28 to 3.8, as has been commonly concept through maximum translators. Textual analysis has discovered that those verses have been simply quoted from any other unknown supply.”

On the contrary, Patanjali in no way called his course that of movement (or kriya) yoga; no longer in verse 2.1 (pada 2.1), nor in some other verse, nor did he say it consisted of whatever other than ashtanga yoga. And if he had quoted the verses pertaining to ashtanga yoga, it might imply that he agreed with them.

In Chapter Three of The Holy Science by way of Swami Sri Yukteswar a yoga teaching that consists of the practices of ashtanga yoga is presented, however it’s miles extremely unique from that of the Yoga Sutras and appears to represent a special college of yoga. This illustrates that the ideas, truths and practices of yoga are general and may be found with the aid of yogis independently of each different. Of path, two extraordinary humans could by no means perceive, categorize or give an explanation for those principles, truths and practices in exactly the identical manner, so unless verses 2.28 to 3.8 of the Sutras have been compiled from numerous assets, they may be the particular creation of a single individual. That person seems to be Patanjali because there is perfect settlement and concord between those verses and the alternative verses inside the Sutras.

With regard to the idea that Patanjali’s yoga was not the eight-limbed direction however simplest kriya yoga and that verses 2.28 to a few.Eight had been either quoted via him or added to his textual content in a while, the following points need to be considered. If Patanjali had quoted those verses it’d mean that he agreed with what they are saying. One of them, verse 2:29, states that yoga consists of 8 limbs, and other verses speak every of the practices of kriya yoga, treating them as elements of the second one limb. Moreover, aside from the verses approximately ashtanga yoga, which in step with Govindan and Feuerstein, did now not come from Patanjali, there are most effective two verses inside the Yoga Sutras about kriya yoga. If Patanjali’s path changed into kriya yoga and the verses referring to ashtanga yoga had been brought to his text afterward, we would anticipate him to have committed more than verses to describing and commenting on his direction.

As noted before, kriya yoga includes tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranidana. The austerities or self-disciplines of tapas involve rising above physical desires and enduring ache or pain, via determination and will; “svadhyaya” way deep have a look at of the character of the Self; and Ishvara pranidhana consists of both devotion to God and attractiveness of God’s will.

Verses 1.23, 2.2, and a couple of.45 of the Sutras tell us that Ishvara pranidhana and kriya yoga cause samadhi. Through devotional surrender to God one rises above the have an impact on of ego, harmful dreams, and illusions, which darken the mind and hold one from knowing God. The coronary heart’s natural love shines forth and illumines one’s inner lifestyles. One follows the guidance of Spirit and practices the moral disciplines of yama with greater clear up. Not handiest do the advantages of yama come into one’s life, however further, the first two stages of niyama evidently stand up: one’s mind and frame become more pure and one reveals contentment within. Through devotional give up to God, one finally will become absolutely absorbed in God. Nevertheless, in step with the Yoga Sutras, limbs three via seven, practiced together with the first two limbs, also result in samadhi, and all eight limbs represent yoga. (The 7th limb of yoga, “dhyana,” is normally translated as “meditation,” but in cutting-edge, ordinary usage “meditation” is often taken to intend all or numerous of the limbs that follow niyama: assuming a appropriate posture, controlling breath and life force, taking flight consciousness from objects of the senses, calming and focusing the thoughts, deep concentration on a selected factor of God, and completely uniting with God in blissful oneness.)

In verses 3.16 to a few.54, verses that Govindan and Feuerstein attribute to him, Patanjali comments on diverse features of samyama, which consists of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Inasmuch as his teachings included those very last, culminating limbs of ashtanga yoga, to be entire they need to have additionally blanketed the five disciplines that precede samyama and facilitate its exercise. Because he never said his course became kriya yoga and because the verses about ashtanga yoga describe what are typically considered to be critical additives of yoga and fit in together with his teachings in other components of the Sutras, it seems notably unlikely that his course changed into kriya yoga as opposed to ashtanga yoga, and that these verses had been quoted with the aid of him or later on brought to his text. They are an critical part of his masterful treatise, flawlessly in accord with the other aphorisms within the Sutras, and look like his very own teachings.

George Johnston and his spouse, Mary Ann, have been married at Song of the Morning retreat in the yr 2000 and moved to Onekama, Michigan in 2016. Together they write approximately teachings that have been obtained in our time from Jesus, Yogananda and different masters to manual us in our modern international of complicated technology and an ever-converting way of lifestyles, and to open our hearts and minds as we input an age of extra religious awareness and knowledge of everlasting fact.

Christians could be amazed and blessed after they recognize that Christ is still guiding us thru those who are capable of spiritually talk with Him and acquire His inspiring messages of love and truth.

To study extra approximately the authors and examine free chapters from Mary Ann’s books, please visit:


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