Patanjali: The Sexual Basis of Yoga

1. The practices which make for union [yoga] with the Soul are: fervent aspiration, spiritual reading, and complete obedience to the Master.

2. Their aim is, to bring soul -vision, and to wear away hindrances.

3. These are the hindrances: the darkness of unwisdom, self-assertion, lust, hate, attachment.

4. The darkness of unwisdom is the field of the others. These hindrances may be dormant, or worn thin, or suspended, or expanded.

5 The darkness of ignorance is: holding that which is unenduring, impure, full of pain, not the Soul , to be eternal, pure, full of joy, the Soul .

6. Self-assertion comes from thinking of the Seer and the instrument of vision as forming one self.

7. Lust is the resting in the sense of enjoyment.

8. Hate is the resting in the sense of pain.

9. Attachment is the desire toward life, even in the wise, carried forward by its own energy.

10. These hindrances, when they have become subtle, are to be removed by a countercurrent.

11. Their active turnings are to be removed by meditation.

12. The burden of bondage to sorrow has its root in these hindrances. It will be felt in this life, or in a life not yet manifested.

13. From this root there grow and ripen the fruits of birth, of the life-span, of all that is tasted in life.

14. These bear fruits of rejoicing, or of affliction, as they are sprung from holy or unholy works.

15. To him who possesses discernment, all personal life is misery, because it ever waxes and wanes, is ever afflicted with restlessness, makes ever new dynamic impresses in the mind, and because all its activities war with each other.

16. This pain is to be warded off, before it has come.

17. The cause of what is to be warded off, is the absorption of the Seer in things seen.

18. Things seen have as their property manifestation, action, inertia. They form the basis of the elements and the sense-powers. They make for experience and for liberation.

19. The grades or layers of the Three Potencies are the defined, the undefined, that with distinctive mark, that without distinctive mark.

20. The Seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out through the vesture of the mind.

21. The very essence of things seen is, that they exist for the Seer.

22. Though fallen away from him who has reached the goal, things seen have not altogether fallen away, since they still exist for others.

23. The association of the Seer with things seen is the cause of the realizing of the nature of things seen, and also of the realizing of the nature of the Seer.

24. The cause of this association is the darkness of unwisdom.

25. The bringing of this association to an end, by bringing the darkness of unwisdom to an end, is the great liberation; this is the Seer's attainment of his own pure being.

26. A discerning which is carried on without wavering is the means of liberation.

27. His illuminations are sevenfold, rising in successive stages.

28. From steadfastly following after the means of Yoga, until impurity is worn away, there comes the illumination of thought up to full discernment.

29. The eight means [Ashtanga] of Yoga are: the Commandments, the Rules, right Poise, right Control of the life-force, Withdrawal, Attention, Meditation, Contemplation.

1. Yama or Eternal Vows:

  • Ahimsa (non-violence)
  • Satya (truth)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (continence / chastity) and
  • Aparigraha (non-avariciousness);

2. Niyama or Observances:

  • Saucha (purity)
  • Santosha (contentment)
  • Tapas (austerities)
  • Svadhyaya (study) and
  • Ishvarapranidhana (surrender to God);

3. Asana (firm, comfortable meditative posture);
4. Pranayama (the regulation of the Vital Force);
5. Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses and mind from objects);
6. Dharana (concentration);
7. Dhyana (meditation) ; and
8. Samadhi (superconscious state or trance)

30. The Commandments are these: non-injury, truthfulness, abstaining from stealing, from impurity, from covetousness.

31. The Commandments, not limited to any race, place, time or occasion, universal, are the great obligation.

32. The Rules are these: purity, serenity fervent aspiration, spiritual reading, and perfect obedience to the Master.

33. When transgressions hinder, the weight of the imagination should be thrown on the opposite side.

34. Transgressions are injury, falsehood, theft, incontinence [lust], envy; whether committed, or caused, or assented to, through greed, wrath, or infatuation; whether faint, or middling, or excessive; bearing endless, fruit of ignorance and pain. Therefore must the weight be cast on the other side.

35. Where non-injury is perfected, all enmity ceases in the presence of him who possesses it.

36. When he is perfected in truth, all acts and their fruits depend on him.

37. Where cessation from theft is perfected, all treasures present themselves to him who possesses it.

38. For him who is perfect in continence [chastity / brahmacharya], the reward is valour and virility.

39. Where there is firm conquest of covetousness, he who has conquered it awakes to the how and why of life.

40. Through purity a withdrawal from one's own bodily life, a ceasing from infatuation with the bodily life of others.

41. To the pure of heart come also a quiet spirit, one-pointed thought, the victory over sensuality, and fitness to behold the Soul .

42. From acceptance, the disciple gains happiness supreme.

43. The perfection of the powers of the bodily vesture comes through the wearing away of impurities, and through fervent aspiration.

44. Through spiritual reading, the disciple gains communion with the divine Power on which his heart is set.

45. Soul -vision is perfected through perfect obedience to the Master.

46. Right poise must be firm and without strain.

47. Right poise is to be gained by steady and temperate effort, and by setting the heart upon the everlasting.

48 The fruit of right poise is the strength to resist the shocks of infatuation or sorrow.

49. When this is gained, there follows the right guidance of the life-currents, the control of the incoming and outgoing breath.

50. The life-current [sexual energy / prana] is either outward, or inward, or balanced; it is regulated according to place, time, number; it is prolonged and subtle.

51. The fourth degree transcends external and internal objects.

52. Thereby is worn away the veil which covers up the light.

53. Thence comes the mind's power to hold itself in the light.

54. The right Withdrawal is the disengaging of the powers from entanglement in outer things, as the psychic nature has been withdrawn and stilled.

55. Thereupon follows perfect mastery over the powers.

From Book Two of the Yoga Sutras

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