The Sutras of Patanjali cover all aspects of human life, prescribe a code of conduct to lead a life of fulfilment and end with a glorious vision to reach our full potential. Yoga Sutras begin at the very root, mind and intelligence, called CHITTA.
In the first chapter SAMADHIPADA, Patanjali analyses the movement and functioning of the mind. The second chapter SADHANAPADA deals with practise. Patanjali goes on to provide deep insight into the nature of KLESHAS (afflictions) that affect the body and distract the mind, resulting in distorted behaviour patterns of an individual.
In SADHANAPADA, Patanjali reaches out to the lowest level of the seeker who is spiritually yet unevolved. He coins the term KRIYA YOGA . Kriya means action and Kriya Yoga emphasises the dynamic efforts on the part of the sadhaka.
Kriya Yoga comprises eight yogic discipline ——— yama, niyama, asana, pranayama,pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi. Through asanas, the seeker becomes familiar with his body and sense intelligence. Pranayama gives control over subtle qualities of the elements ——– sound, touch, shape, taste and smell. Pratyahara is withdrawal of the senses and organs of actions.
According to Patanjali, Yoga is a preventive healing art, with its science and philosophy. Pantanjali also warns us of the pitfalls that may impede spiritual growth and advises us to stabilise body and mind so that we are not shattered when confronted with tragic realities of human existence.
The 3rd chapter VIBHUTIPAD, deals with attainments. Patanjali exhorts us to continue the practise of yoga so that the intelligence of consciousness and soul may be equally balanced. Then we attain the highest state of wisdom where the person exists in a perfectly ‘integrated state’. This is known as KAIVALYA. This is the subject matter of the last chapter in the Yoga Sutras called KAIVALYAPADA that focuses on ‘absolute liberation’.
Yoga is an INTEGRATED SCIENCE which alone can restore the wholeness and integrity of our divided being and lets us enjoy real well-being.
——- Nivedita Joshi (she teaches yoga in Delhi)