Embarking on the Path of Yoga: Insights from Ancient Texts

Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah – Yoga Darshan 1:1

Yoga is the control of the changing states of the Mind.

Tadaa drashtuh swaroope’wa-sthaanam – Yoga Darshan 1:2

When this control is accomplished, the seeing Soul abides in his true nature and finds stability in the Bliss of God.

Vritti saaroopyam itaratra – Yoga Darshan 1:3

Without this control, the Soul is absorbed in the changing states of the Mind.

Abhyaasa vairaagyaa-bhyaam tan nirodhah – Yoga Darshan 1:12

The changing states of the Mind can be controlled by Practice and Dispassion.

Tatra sthitau yatno abhaaysah – Yoga Darshan 1:13

Practice is the effort to be fixed in concentration.

Sa tu deergha kaala nairantarya 

Sat-kaara aasevito dridha-bhoomih – Yoga Darshan 1:14

Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly, and with devotion and reverence, over a prolonged period of time.

Drishta anu-shravika vishaya vi-trishnasya

Vashee-kaara sanjyää vairaagyam – Yoga Darshan 1:15

Dispassion is the controlling consciousness of someone who has no craving for enjoyment that is either seen or heard of.

Yadaa panchaa’wa-tishthante – Jyäänaani manasaa saha

Buddhish cha na vi-chesh-tati – Taam aahuh paramaam gatim – Katha 2:3:10

Taam yogam iti manyante – Sthiraam indriya dhaaranaam

A-pra-mattas tadaa bhawati – Yogo hi prabhawaa’pya-yau – Katha 2:3:11

The wise say that a person reaches the Highest State when his five Senses, along with his Mind, find stability in Soul and God, and his Intellect no longer acts contrary to Knowledge. The wise consider this Steady Control of the Senses to be Yoga. In this State of Yoga, the Soul becomes undistracted and vigilant. Yoga causes the Light of Knowledge to be born and the Darkness of Ignorance to be destroyed.

These two verses from the Katha Upanishad tell us that this Yoga State is the highest state, for it witnesses the victorious emergence of Senses, Mind, Intellect out of the debris of dark impressions and inclinations [Sanskaar and Vaasanaa], and the consequent dawning of Light that reveals Soul and God. It is to help mankind achieve this State of Tranquility and Realization that India’s Rishis codified a Science of Spirituality which they called Yoga.  

Yadaa vini-yatam chittam – Aatmanye’vaa’va-tishthate 

Nih-sprihah sarva-kaamebhyo – Yukta ityu’chyate tadaa Bhagavad Gita 6:18

A person is said to be harmonized in Yoga when his Mind is completely settled, finds stability in God alone, and consequently, he is free from cravings for all sense-pleasures

Yathaa deepo nivaatastho – Ne’ngate so’pamaa smritaa 

Yogino yata-chittasya – Yunjato yogam aatmanah Bhagavad Gita 6:19     

The Yogi of subdued thought, practicing communion with God, is likened to a lamp that does not flicker in a windless place.

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