11 Feb Yoga Sutra – || Isvara-pranidhanat-va ||-1.23
Yoga Sutra – || Isvara-pranidhanat-va ||-1.23
This is a very short sutra, only one word – Yoga Sutra 1.23, “Isvara-pranidhanat-va.”
Yoga Sutra talks about the different paths that are there for different types of students to reach the Highest State of Consciousness. For the most sincere and dedicated student, the path of Abhayasa and Vairagya is recommended. Abhayasa refers to the non-stop and continuous effort with positive feelings and intentions. Vairagya refers to the total disinterest in other areas. An earlier sutra also mentions that some people are born saintly, that they do not need any path. They are born only to finish their karma and then they will go away. For others, the path recommended is ‘Shraddha, Virya, Smriti, Samadhi, and Pradnya’. That is the path of faith and momentum.
It needs some element of divinity in us to recognize the grandeur of the Divine. – Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra
This particular sutra, Isvara-pranidhanat-va- means surrendering to the will of the Divine or Absolute. ‘Va’ means an alternate path to reach the Highest State of consciousness. This is not the path for those who do not believe in God (Ishvara). There are other paths for them. ‘Isvara-pranidhanat-va’ is the path for those who think God is a support system for them, that they would rather take the support of God than any other human being. This is an alternate path recommended by Yoga. Different types of people have different types of needs and that’s why the sutras have recommended different paths accordingly.
Now, the question comes of ‘what to surrender?’ For that we have to understand what Ishvara is. Yoga does not talk about Ishvara anywhere else, but here (i.e. in Yoga Sutra). Yoga is not a religion. The next few sutras will talk about Ishvara / God from yoga’s perspective and not God of a particular name, form or religion.
To sum-up, ‘Isvara-pranidhanat-va’ is channelizing one’s emotions towards God. It is taking God’s help in progressing. This is a scientific path. Personally, I feel that if everyone learns yoga, the entire fanaticism, blind faith and conflict about religion will disappear.