Patanjali Yoga Sutra Ch1 Sutra 17 (Parisamvad)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Transcribed from Parisamvad at The Yoga Institute.

Chapter 1, Sutra 17

वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारूपानुगमातः संप्रज्ञातः ॥ १७

Vitarka – Vichar – Ananda – Asmita – Anugamat – Samprajanatah

When Concentration Is Reached With The Help Of Vitarka , Vichar, Ananda And Asmita, It Is Called Samprajanata Samadhi.
Vitarka : gross thought or reasoning
Vichar : subtle thought
Ananda : bliss, ecstasy
Asmita : I-ness , individuality
Anugamat : accompanied by ,associated with
Samprajnatah : cognitive absorption, lower Samadhi

“Here we have the description about Samadhi. It’s a big word – total absorption in a given object. Samadhi is of two kinds – Samprajnata and Asamprajnata.

Samprajanata is when one is aware, conscious, knowledgeable – look at gross things, understands them, concentrates on even subtle things, knowing that one is concentrating on an object. Then we have the Asamprajnata stage where there is no awareness, it is just a continuous blank run. Mind is kept steady but no thoughts. This is the way they have divided the Samadhis. Samadhi is the highest continuous concentration on an object which you are conscious, aware of all the time or on object which you are not conscious of but mind is steady and holding on.

Asamprajnata is the highest state where there is no particular object, no thoughts – just a continuous run of the mind in a fixed area – till ultimately it makes the mind stop. This is just the description at the beginning. In the beginning the effort is to see that the mind is kept steady on some given object. In the beginning the object can be anything. Gross objects are easier. The question is, how long should one concentrate? At the learning stage, one can hold the mind for very long but knowledge will be only of the gross areas – the colour, the size, the shape and all that. The essence of the object is not reached. When the essence is reached, it is still a gross Samadhi. There are atoms, molecules and in that manner one can go on to thoughts, feelings. But these are learning things. Ultimately the attempt is to be aware of consciousness, which is not any object, not any table or chair. That is the beginning.

So we have the Samprajnata Samadhi for the beginners. Then the object is made to be subtler – no form, no colour. That again is a way to steady the mind. Then one goes further than that – to the awareness part, the ‘I’ sense. So these are ways to keep the mind fixed on given objects. When it is very very concentrated, it can take up even an object like the mind, spirit, etc. But still even those are objects. Ultimately, one has to switch off everything of the object. One just maintains a steady state. The mind has now been conquered and it can remain fixed for long ,long time. Then naturally the understanding is much better.

Asamprajanata Samadhi is where there is no object at all. The very thoughts are liquidated. The awareness remains. This takes us to the final stage, where the thinking itself is given up. One remains just conscious but not of any object. So these are stages of concentration. In our case, we are still at the early stage. We have to have an object. We have to concentrate on various colours, sounds, whatever details. Then overcome that and come to thoughts. These things take time. It is not that easy. The thing that does happen, is now the mind can be held for long time on a given object. That is also difficult in the beginning. When one is able to totally merge oneself with the object– no other thing except that object – then one has progressed sufficiently. One can then switch over to consciousness and that will be the ultimate stage. ‘Sabij’ is where there is some object – that’s what Samprajnata is. Then there is ‘Nirbij’, where there is no object.

We are discussing things which are very difficult. We should not be distracted by anything external. There have been instances in the Indian history where a person at a young age just naturally attended to an object and got fully involved and even obtained the highest. These are very rare occasions. It happens even nowadays. There was a person in Ichalkaranji (Maharashtra). He was a young boy, he would come out in the morning, sit near the river and get lost in the state. His family was worried. They married him off early. Even after that, he just continued the same thing. People would advise him against it. A stage came, when he was just sitting in Sukhasana for a very, very long time. People went up to him and they found that he had died. He was totally absorbed. So the mind can get absorbed so deeply. Generally it doesn’t happen.”

Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra:

“When does this state come? After Abhyasa and Vairagya. Unless this is practiced, the next stage can’t come. In our life what happens is that, we feel we am not interested in this, so we leave it. But you need to be interested in something. You need to have some focus in life, otherwise it can create more problems. When there is some object, then the stages are explained.

Using your (Pragna) Intellect / Buddhi and keeping some object for concentration. You are practicing now. That is how we train the mind. 1.) Vitarka is logic, reasoning with the object. 2.) Vichar is thought 3.) Ananda is experience of bliss and 4.) Asmita is awareness. These are the four stages in which you are training your mind, keeping some object and doing it step by step.

First there is object (Saguna) and then slowly, a stage when it is just an experience. This is how stage wise progress happens. This will happen when you are training your mind. This can come when Vairagya has come from the material world, when the mind doesn’t get distracted here and there. Then only can the mind can get focused. These are very organized stages. You cannot jump to the final state, leaving other stages aside.”


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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1 Comment
  • Kiran Koli
    Posted at 17:42h, 02 June Reply

    Your message will be very perfect with the expiriences are come in to yog sadhna, I have one question.

    1) After attaining coplete samadhi (Nirvikalpa) we can see the aatman or only expirience like the breeze

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