The Ultimate Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali Study Guide | Read All Sutras


Chapter Three (Vibhuti Pada – Power Foot | Section on Spiritual Accomplishments And The Powers of Manifestation)


A discussion of the powers that one gains as a Yoga practitioner. Provides an overview of Yoga Limbs 6-8.


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  1. Dharana is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea.
  2. Dhyana is the continuous flow of cognition toward that [one] object.
  3. Samadhi is the same meditation when there is the shining of the object alone, as if devoid of form.
  4. The practice of these three (dharana, dhyana and samadhi) upon one object is called samyamh.
  5. By the mastery of samyama comes the light of knowledge.
  6. Its practice is to be accomplished in stages.
  7. These three (dharana, dhyana and samadhi) are more internal than the preceding five limbs.
  8. Even these three are external to the seedless samadhi.
  9. The impressions which normally arise are made to disappear by the appearance of suppressive efforts, which in turn create new mental modifications. The moment of conjunction of the mind and new modifications is nirodha parinamh.
  10. The flow of nirodha parinamh becomes steady through habit.
  11. When there is a decline in distractedness and appearance of one-pointedness, then comes samadhih parinamh (development in samadhi).
  12. Then again when the subsiding past and rising present images are identical, there is ekagrata parinamh (one pointedness).
  13. By this (what has been said in the preceding three sutras), the transformations of the visible characteristics, time factors and conditions of elements and senses are also described.
  14. It is the substratum (Prakrti) that by nature goes through latent, uprising and unmanifested phases.
  15. The succession of these different phases is the cause of the difference in stages of evolution.
  16. By practicing samyama on the three stages of evolution comes knowledge of the past and future.
  17. A word, its meaning and the idea behin[d] it are normally confused because of superimposition upon one another. By samyama on the word (or sound) produced by any being, knowledge of its meaning is obtained.
  18. By direct perception, through samyama, of one’s mental impressions, knowledge of the past birth is obtained.
  19. By samyama on the distinguishing signs of other’s bodies, knowledge of their mental images is obtained.
  20. But this does not include the support in the person’s mind (such as the motive behind the thought, etc.), as that is not the object of samyama.
  21. By samyama on the form of one’s body and by checking the power of perception by intercepting light from the eyes of the observer, the body becomes invisible.
  22. In the same way, the disappearance of sound (and touch, taste smell, etc.) is explained.
  23. Karmas are of two kinds: quickly manifesting and slowly manifesting. By samyama on them, or on the portents of death, the knowledge of the time of death is obtained.
  24. By samyama on friendliness and other such qualities, the power to transmit them is obtained.
  25. By samyama on the strength of elephants and other such animals, their strength is obtained.
  26. By samyama on the Light within, the knowledge of the subtle, hidden and remote is obtained. (Note: subtle as atoms, hidden as treasure, remote as distant lands.)
  27. By samyama on the sun, knowledge of the entire solar system is obtained.
  28. By samyama on the moon, comes knowledge of the stars’ arrangement.
  29. By samyama on the pole star comes knowledge of stars’ movements.
  30. By samyama on the navel plexus, knowledge of the body’s constitution is obtained.
  31. By samyama on the pit of the throat, sensation of hunger and thirst is achieved.
  32. By samyama on the kurma nadi (a subtle tortoise-shaped tube located below the throat), motionlessness in meditative powers is achieved.
  33. By samyama on the light at the crown of the head (sahasrara chakra) visions of masters and adepts are obtained.
  34. Or, in the knowledge that dawns by spontaneous enlightenment (through a life of purity), all the powers come by themselves.
  35. By samyama on the heart, the knowledge of the mind-stuff is obtained.
  36. The intellect and the Purusa (Atman, Self) are totally different, the intellect existing for the sake of the Purusa, while the Purusa exists for its own sake. Not distinguishing this is the case of all experiences; and by samyama on the distinction, knowledge of the Purusa is gained.
  37. From this knowledge arises superphysical hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling through spontaneous intuition.
  38. These (superphysical sense) are obstacles to [nirbija] samadhi but are siddhis (powers of accomplishments) in the worldy pursuits.
  39. By the loosening of the cause (of the bondage of mind to body) and by knowledge of the procedure of the mind-stuff’s functioning, entering another’s body is accomplished.
  40. By mastery over the udana nerve current (the upward vital air), one accomplishes levitation over water, swamps, thorns, etc. and can leave the body at will.
  41. By mastery over the samana nerve current (the equalizing vital air) comes radiance to support the body.
  42. By samyama on the relationship between ear and ether, supernormal hearing becomes possible.
  43. By samyama on the relationship between the body and ether, lightness of cotton fiber is attained, and thus traveling through the ether becomes possible.
  44. By samyama on the thought waves unidentified by and external to the body (maha-videha, or the great bodilessness), the veil over the light of the Self is destroyed.
  45. By samyama on the gross and subtle elements and on their essential nature, correlations and purpose, mastery over them is gained.
  46. From that comes attainment of anima and other siddhis, bodily perfection and non-obstruction of bodily functions by the influence of the elements.
  47. Beauty, grace, strength, adamantine hardness and robustness constitute bodily perfection.
  48. By samyama on the power of perception and on the essential nature, correlation with the ego sense and purpose of the sense organs, mastery over them is gained.
  49. From that, the body gains the power to move as fast as the mind, the ability to function without the aid of the sense order the primary cause (Prakrti).
  50. By recognition of the distinction between sattva (the pure reflective nature) and the Self, supremacy over all states and forms of existence [omnipotence] is gained, as is omniscience.
  51. By non-attachment even to that [siddhis], the seed of bondage is destroyed and thus follows kaivalya (independence).
  52. The Yogi should neither accept nor smile with pride at the admiration of even the celestial beings, as there is the possibility of getting caught again in the undesirable.
  53. By samyama on single movements in sequence comes discriminative knowledge.
  54. Thus, the indistinguishable differences between objects that are alike in species, characteristic marks and positions become distinguishable.
  55. The discriminative knowledge that simultaneously comprehends all objects in all conditions is the intuitive knowledge which brings liberation.
  56. When the tranquil mind attains purity to that of the Self, there is Absoluteness.

Chapter Three Study Overview

Chapter ThRee Introductions & Prompts

Chapter Three Check-ins

Chapter Three Reflections

Page 1: Introduction | Page 2: Overview | Page 3: Chapter 1 | Page 4: Chapter 2 | Page 5: Chapter 3 | Page 6: Chapter 4 | Page 7: Additional Learning

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