All quotations from The Textbook of Yoga Psychology by Shri Brahmananda Saraswati
Tapah Svadhyaya Ishwara Pranidhanani Kriya Yogah
Your desire and intention must be hot. You must make the effort to continuously study the subject. You must devote all your efforts to the Supreme Self. These are the actions to be taken to realize Yoga. This Sutra is on the waterfall behind you, as a dedication to our practice.
By academic study in school and university, by prayer and worship in church and synagogue, and in the long run by concentration, contemplation, and meditation of samadhi, one is exploring subconscious chittam and discovering Supreme Consciousness which is hidden as the central foundation in beings immanently and transcendentally.
“I” and “mine” in relation to things that should be left apart become the main motivation of a selfish man. He is born again and again into this miserable world. He wants to have pleasure and to avoid pain. But he cannot accomplish this dual purpose since by taking one end of a thing he automatically receives the other end. A yogin and the world of living beings surrounded by the eternal flow of pain turn for refuge to right knowledge which is the cause of destruction of all pain. A yogin is undeceived by will-o’-the-wisp, which deludes others.
Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Knowledge is the cause of liberation. This is a figurative statement since knowledge itself is liberation.
Suffering cannot be removed without removal of its causes. The nature of suffering is the identity of Self with not-self, and the ultimate cause of identity and suffering is ignorance about the nature of Self.
Yama Niyama Asana Pranayama Pratyahara Dharana Dhyana Samadhyayo Astavangani
Restraint, observance, posture, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and ecstasy are the eight limbs of yoga.
- yama – strong will power for restraint
- niyama – strong will power for observance and application of truth
- asana – physical and mental exercise including postures
- pranayama – transformation of individual energy, physiological and psychological, into cosmic energy
- pratyahara– displacement and sublimation of psychic energy
- dharana – psychology of fixation of mind on various places, internal or external
- dyana – psychology and philosophy of suggestion
- samadhi – psychology and philosophy of sensation and perception, and evolution of consciousness from individuality to universality.
Ahimsa Satya Ashteya Brahmacharya Aparigrahah Yamah
Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, greedlessness. These are the five restraints. Speech is for the purpose of passing one’s knowledge to someone else. It should not be deceitful, mistaken, or barren of information. It should be used for the service of all, not for injury to any creature. Softness, sweetness, auspiciousness, wholesomeness, and kindness are the central foundation of truthfulness.
Saucha Santosa Tapah Swadhyaya Ishwara Pranidhanani Niyama
Cleanliness, contentment, self discipline, Self study, devotion to God. These are the five observances. The differnece between yamas and niyamas is this. The five yamas produce individual, social, national, and international peace and happiness. Hence they are called the universal great vows. To accomplish them one should follow niyamas, observances. Yamas are the universal great vows; they are restraints. Niyamas are individual observances. The act of yamas directly passes into others. The act of niyamas indirectly influences the universe although the mind is commonly active behind both yamas and niyamas.
Vitarka Badhane Pratipaksa Bhavanam
When disturbed by disturbing thoughts, think of the opposite.
Sthira Sukham Asanam
The connection to the earth should be steady and joyful. Posture is that which is steady, stable, and firm as well as easy and pleasant.
Asana, posture, is physical and mental exercise to help concentration, to develop body and mind by overcoming mental and physical diseases… By various postures and exercises, tension-producing elements accumulated in the body are released and anxiety, which is the main cause of psychoneurotic disorders, is released.
Patanjali does not advise regimented exercise but advises that this flow of physical posture be an internal flow of desires which should be natural, firm, pleasant, and easy. After performing these postures a man feels happy and refreshed… Yoga postures are especially designed to tone up the meditator physically, mentally, and emotionally by cultivating a postive thinking by which he becomes aware of Self-consciousness, unlimited self-confidence, strength, and ability for successful reasoning and thinking.
Hatha Yoga aims at perfectiom of body, senses, and mind, freeing them from liability to fatigue and arresting their tendency to decay and age.
Yogic postures must be smooth, calm, and peaceful because Yoga prepares a student to control his body, not kill it.