Book 1 – The Steps to Union
1. The Yoga of action, leading to union with the soul is fiery aspiration, spiritual reading and devotion to Ishvara.
2. The aim of these three is to bring about soul vision and to eliminate obstructions.
3. These are the difficulty producing hindrances: avidya (ignorance) the sense of personality, desire, hate and the sense of attachment.
4. Avidya (ignorance) is the cause of all the other obstructions whether they be latent, in process of elimination, overcome, or in full operation.
5. Avidya is the condition of confusing the permanent, pure, blissful and the Self with that which is impermanent, impure, painful and the not-self.
6. The sense of personality is due to the identification of the knower with the instruments of knowledge.
7. Desire is attachment to objects of pleasure.
8. Hate is aversion for any object of the senses.
9. Intense desire for sentient existence is attachment. This is inherent in every form, is self-perpetuating, and known even to the very wise.
10. These five hindrances, when subtly known, can be overcome by an opposing mental attitude.
11. Their activities are to be done away with, through the meditation process.
12. Karma itself has its root in these five hindrances and must come to fruition in this life or in some later life.
13. So long as the roots (or samskaras) exist, their fruition will be birth, life, and experiences resulting in pleasure or pain.
14. These seeds (or samskaras) produce pleasure or pain according as their originating cause was good or evil.
15. To the illuminated man all existence (in the three worlds) is considered pain owing to the activities of the gunas. These activities are threefold, producing consequences, anxieties and subliminal impressions.
16. Pain which is yet to come may be warded off.
17. The illusion that the Perceiver and that which is perceived are one and the same is the cause (of the pain-producing effects) which must be warded off.
18. That which is perceived has three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas (rhythm, mobility and inertia); it consists of the elements and the sense organs. The use of these produces experience and eventual liberation.
19. The divisions of the gunas (or qualities of matter) are fourfold; the specific, the non-specific, the indicated and the untouchable.
20. The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis). Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.
21. All that is exists for the sake of the soul.
22. In the case of the man who has achieved yoga (or union) the objective universe has ceased to be. Yet it existeth still for those who are not yet free.
23. The association of the soul with the mind and thus with that which the mind perceives, produces an understanding of the nature of that which is perceived and likewise of the Perceiver.
24. The cause of this association is ignorance or avidya. This has to be overcome.
25. When ignorance is brought to an end through non-association with the things perceived, this is the great liberation.
26. The state of bondage is overcome through perfectly maintained discrimination.
27. The knowledge (or illumination) achieved is sevenfold and is attained progressively.
28. When the means to yoga have been steadily practised, and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place, leading up to full illumination.
29. The eight means of yoga are, the Commandments or Yama, the Rules or Nijama, posture or Asana, right control of life-force or Pranayama, abstraction or Pratyahara, attention or Dharana, Meditation or Dhyana, Contemplation or Samadhi.
30. Harmlessness, truth to all beings, abstention from theft, from incontinence and from avarice, constitute yama or the five commandments.
31. Yama (or the five commandments) constitutes the universal duty and is irrespective of race, place, time or emergency.
32. Internal and external purification, contentment, fiery aspiration, spiritual reading and devotion to Ishvara constitutes nijama (or the five rules).
33. When thoughts which are contrary to yoga are present there should be the cultivation of their opposite.
34. Thoughts contrary to yoga are harmfulness, falsehood, theft, incontinence, and avarice, whether committed personally, caused to be committed or approved of, whether arising from avarice, anger or delusion (ignorance); whether slight in the doing, middling or great. These result always in excessive pain and ignorance. For this reason, the contrary thoughts must be cultivated.
35. In the presence of him who has perfected harmlessness, all enmity ceases.
36. When truth to all beings is perfected, the effectiveness of his words and acts is immediately to be seen.
37. When abstention from theft is perfected, the yogi can have whatever he desires.
38. By abstention from incontinence, energy is acquired.
39. When abstention from avarice is perfected, there comes an understanding of the law of rebirth.
40. Internal and external purification produces aversion for form, both one’s own and all forms.
41. Through purification comes also a quiet spirit, concentration, conquest of the organs, and ability to see the Self.
42. As a result of contentment bliss is achieved.
43. Through fiery aspiration and through the removal of all impurity, comes the perfecting of the bodily powers and of the senses.
44. Spiritual reading results in a contact with the soul (or divine One).
45. Through devotion to Ishvara the goal of meditation (or samadhi) is reached.
46. The posture assumed must be steady and easy.
47. Steadiness and ease of posture is to be achieved through persistent slight effort and through the concentration of the mind upon the infinite.
48. When this is attained, the pairs of opposites no longer limit.
49. When right posture (asana) has been attained there follows right control of prana and proper inspiration and expiration of the breath.
50. Right control of prana (or the life currents) is external, internal or motionless; it is subject to place, time and number and is also protracted or brief.
51. There is a fourth stage which transcends those dealing with the internal and external phases.
52. Through this, that which obscures the light is gradually removed.
53. And the mind is prepared for concentrated meditation.
54. Abstraction (or Pratyahara) is the subjugation of the senses by the thinking principle and their withdrawal from that which has hitherto been their object.
55. As a result of these means there follows the complete subjugation of the sense organs.
Continue to Book 3
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