Patanjali Yoga Sutra Ch 1 Sutra 13 (Parisamvad)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra
Transcribed from Parisamvad at The Yoga Institute.

Chapter 1, Sutra 13

Exertion to acquire Sthiti or a tranquil state of mind devoid of fluctuations is called practice.
Tatra : of these two (Abhyasa & Vairagya )
Sthitau : stability , undisturbed calmness
Yatno : sustained or persistent
Abhyasa : by or with repeated practice
Abhyasa is stopping the current, being stable on one particular state, objective and not having too many interests. Efforts have to be made continuously, not just once. This is a very distinguishing point. We get excited, decide and do, but it doesn’t last. This idea has been taken up in several Sutras subsequently.

Keeping the mind fixed on 1 Tattva – friendship, compassion and such kind of virtue – they all imply that the mind should be full of certain ideas, thoughts, images – that also can hold the mind. Making the mind free of all kinds negativity and full of positivity – that can also help. A mind that is free of desires, aversions – that can help. Taking help of deep sleep, sleep and dreams, that also can help. Deciding on something and keeping up to that – like that, various techniques are mentioned.

The idea is to see that the mind remains one-pointed for a long time and continuous effort is in that direction. It is considered as one of the two virtues in yoga – Abhayasa and Vairagya. Through them, one can gain the highest. There is a story in the Mahabharata. The teacher is teaching archery. The instruction is to aim at a particular spot. After the trial, the teacher asks and students to speak out various things that they can see. Somebody’s attention is on the tree, somebody’s attention is on leaves and it goes on. Finally when Arjuna’s turn comes, he says I am able to see just the eyes of the bird. The teacher says, here is the person who will succeed. So that kind of a determination, not getting frustrated, impatient – that is the essence.

These are two important words – Abhyasa and Vairagya. They are stepping stones for stopping the Citta. Stopping the Citta is the proposition and continuous, non-stop effort and total disinterest in anything else, is the answer. To start with this continuity, the motivation has to be very clear. If there is a variety of interests, we will not succeed. If the interest is just one, we may succeed. We have to examine ourselves – have we created that sort of strong motivation? Generally we have not. Learning yoga is a side business. There are other main businesses and we are interested in them. Any spare time, thinking is used in that manner. This is true in any art. Great musicians don’t keep one hour for rehearsal. Right from the time they get up in the morning, they begin and it goes on the whole day. That is how they become great musicians. The objective has to be such that it totally grips us. We don’t allow that to happen. We get bored. Sometimes we get frightened. Are we born to be just musicians? These are the arguments. That continuous effort is not there.
Abhyasa is very very necessary. The human mind is so restless, anything can effect us. We have to make our mind steady and one-pointed. The whole attention has to be diverted to God. We have to put in a good amount of effort for years.

About Parisamvad
On every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz holds Parisamvad sessions – Free interactive sessions that are open to all. These session begin at 7:20 am and end around 7:45 am.
The Friday Parisamvad is dedicated to explanation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by our esteemed Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji.
All are welcome to attend.

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