“In Yoga, after you have practiced bringing or directing your attention to a common center or objective, first using gross and then subtle objects, the aim is to eventually make your focal point the essence and meaning of OM.
You metaphorically move from the bottom of the symbol to the top and eventually focus on the dot at the top of the symbol, which represents the pure source of all of creation (as discussed in our previous weeks’ Sutra Studies), and you merge back into the true self through these efforts of concentration.”
Vyadhi: disease | Styana: dullness | Samsaya: doubt | Pramada: carelessness | Alasya: laziness | Avirati: sensuality, intemperance | Bhranti: false | Darsana: perception | Alabdhabhumikatva: failure to reach firm ground | Anavasthitatva: slipping down from ground gained | Ani (an ending to the nine words that groups them together) | Citta: mind-stuff | Viksepah (Viksepas): distraction | Te: these | Antarayah (‘Ntarayah): obstacles
According to Patanjali, there are 9 main hurdles that Yogis encounter and may, therefore, have to overcome on their journey towards Samadhi and Asamprajnata Samadhi.
These 9 hindrances include 1) disease-illness (of the mind, body, and spirit), 2) dullness-boredom or lack of enthusiasm, 3) doubt-lack of confidence, 4) carelessness-indifference, 5) laziness-neglect of practice, sensuality-overindulgence of the senses, 6) false perception-incorrect thinking/views, 7) failure to reach firm ground- failure to gain security in maintaining your practice/goals, 8) slipping from any firm ground gained-losing sight of your practice/goals, and 9) distractions-mental confusion that may turn you away from your practice, goals, and learning altogether.
Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 27: Tasya Vacakah Pranavah
Tasya: of [Isvara] | Vacakah: word | Pranavah: mystic sound “OM”
OM/AUM, in Yoga, is a symbol, word, and sound that encompasses all of existence and also reflects the full expression of consciousness embodied in all forms from the tangible and impermanent to the very subtle and Absolute. OM/AUM “is a universal process that leads us from the grossest level of our being to the center of consciousness” (Swami Jnaneshvara). It is a “roadmap” to the center of consciousness that also reflects the goal of any true Yoga practice.
The symbol/word, and the sound, OM, can be generally broken down into four main parts that represent the four levels of being/self/consciousness as one moves from the grossest aspects of the self and the tangible form of the physical body to more subtle states of consciousness and being, and then ultimately to the Source/Absolute/stillness/emptiness (that is paradoxically also pregnant with potential) which can be merged with/into after achieving Asamprajnata Samadhi.