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

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is an excellent exposition of the philosophical rules, deep truths, and disciplines of yoga. It organizes the disciplines into eight “limbs,” or classes, of yoga apply. Particular meditation methods aren’t given; solely sorts of disciplines are mentioned. Lots of its sutras (aphorisms) describe and touch upon these practices. This timeless treatise by an enlightened yogi addresses the common human situation of obvious separation from God (avidya, not figuring out the Supreme Actuality) and exhibits us the right way to overcome the psychological tendencies and illusions that preserve us on this situation.

Like tree limbs, which emerge in sequence, the primary disciplines come first. As they develop, mature and bear fruit, the subsequent ones are practiced. For instance, yama prepares one to apply niyama. Patanjali calls the final three components of niyama “kriya yoga” (“kriya” means motion). Marshall Govindan takes the place that these three components of kriya (or motion) yoga represent the entire of Patanjali’s yoga. Nonetheless, all eight limbs are mentioned in nice element in verses 2.30 via 3.Eight of the Sutras and supply a much more full description of yoga.

In verse 2.1, Patanjali says: “Kriya yoga consists of tapas (austerity, self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara pranidhana (devotional give up to God).” (Word: The phrases in parentheses are generally accepted translations of the Sanskrit phrases.) Within the “eight-limbed” path, the kriya yoga practices of niyama precede asana (meditation posture), pranayama (breath management), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from their objects), dharana (focus), dhyana (uninterrupted, deep focus), and samadhi (oneness with the item of meditation). Because of this, “kriya yoga” is typically interpreted “preliminary yoga.” Nonetheless, the primary of the eight limbs, yama, consists of 5 abstentions (don’ts), and the 5 components of niyama are observances (dos), so the kriya yoga practices of niyama can be interpreted “motion yoga,” which means doing one thing.

The next feedback from Govindan’s ebook on the Sutras contradict Yogananda and different enlightened yogis, who concur that the yoga of Patanjali is the “eight-limbed” path.

Foreword (xiv, xv) by G. Feuerstein: “… whereas Patanjali’s instructing has develop into nearly equated with eight-limbed yoga (ashtanga yoga), he himself referred to as his path that of motion yoga (kriya yoga) in pada 2.1.” “The aphorisms within the Yoga Sutras dealing particularly with the eight limbs seem to have been quoted by Patanjali or subsequently added to his textual content. There isn’t a actual passable rationalization for why Patanjali used the label kriya yoga for his teachings.”

Introduction Half 2 (xxiii) by M. Govindan: “Feuerstein has identified, nevertheless, that Patanjali’s yoga was not the “ashtanga” or “eight-limbed” yoga, described in verses 2.28 to three.8, as has been generally thought by most translators. Textual evaluation has revealed that these verses had been merely quoted from one other unknown supply.”

Quite the opposite, Patanjali by no means referred to as his path that of motion (or kriya) yoga; not in verse 2.1 (pada 2.1), nor in another verse, nor did he say it consisted of something apart from ashtanga yoga. And if he had quoted the verses pertaining to ashtanga yoga, it might point out that he agreed with them.

In Chapter Three of The Holy Science by Swami Sri Yukteswar a yoga instructing that features the practices of ashtanga yoga is introduced, however it’s considerably totally different from that of the Yoga Sutras and seems to characterize a distinct college of yoga. This illustrates that the rules, truths and practices of yoga are common and will be found by yogis independently of one another. After all, two totally different individuals would by no means understand, categorize or clarify these rules, truths and practices in precisely the identical means, so until verses 2.28 to three.Eight of the Sutras had been compiled from numerous sources, they’re the distinctive creation of a single particular person. That particular person seems to be Patanjali as a result of there may be good settlement and concord between these verses and the opposite verses within the Sutras.

With regard to the concept that Patanjali’s yoga was not the eight-limbed path however solely kriya yoga and that verses 2.28 to three.Eight had been both quoted by him or added to his textual content afterward, the next factors ought to be thought-about. If Patanjali had quoted these verses it might imply that he agreed with what they are saying. One in every of them, verse 2:29, states that yoga consists of eight limbs, and different verses talk about every of the practices of kriya yoga, treating them as components of the second limb. Furthermore, other than the verses about ashtanga yoga, which in accordance with Govindan and Feuerstein, didn’t come from Patanjali, there are solely two verses within the Yoga Sutras about kriya yoga. If Patanjali’s path was kriya yoga and the verses pertaining to ashtanga yoga had been added to his textual content afterward, we’d anticipate him to have devoted greater than two verses to describing and commenting on his path.

As talked about earlier than, kriya yoga consists of tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranidana. The austerities or self-disciplines of tapas contain rising above bodily wishes and enduring ache or discomfort, by the use of dedication and can; “svadhyaya” means deep examine of the character of the Self; and Ishvara pranidhana consists of each devotion to God and acceptance of God’s will.

Verses 1.23, 2.2, and a pair of.45 of the Sutras inform us that Ishvara pranidhana and kriya yoga result in samadhi. By devotional give up to God one rises above the affect of ego, dangerous wishes, and illusions, which darken the thoughts and preserve one from figuring out God. The center’s pure love shines forth and illumines one’s interior life. One follows the steering of Spirit and practices the ethical disciplines of yama with higher resolve. Not solely do the blessings of yama come into one’s life, however as well as, the primary two levels of niyama naturally come up: one’s ideas and physique develop into extra pure and one finds contentment inside. By devotional give up to God, one finally turns into completely absorbed in God. However, in accordance with the Yoga Sutras, limbs three via seven, practiced together with the primary two limbs, additionally result in samadhi, and all eight limbs represent yoga. (The seventh limb of yoga, “dhyana,” is often translated as “meditation,” however in trendy, on a regular basis utilization “meditation” is commonly taken to imply all or a number of of the limbs that observe niyama: assuming an appropriate posture, controlling breath and life power, withdrawing consciousness from objects of the senses, calming and focusing the thoughts, deep focus on a specific facet of God, and totally uniting with God in blissful oneness.)

In verses 3.16 to three.54, verses that Govindan and Feuerstein attribute to him, Patanjali feedback on numerous features of samyama, which consists of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Inasmuch as his teachings included these closing, culminating limbs of ashtanga yoga, to be full they should have additionally included the 5 disciplines that precede samyama and facilitate its apply. As a result of he by no means stated his path was kriya yoga and since the verses about ashtanga yoga describe what are typically thought-about to be important elements of yoga and slot in along with his teachings in different components of the Sutras, it appears extremely unlikely that his path was kriya yoga quite than ashtanga yoga, and that these verses had been quoted by him or afterward added to his textual content. They’re an integral a part of his masterful treatise, completely in accord with the opposite aphorisms within the Sutras, and seem like his personal teachings.

Victor Bigler

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