I.17 वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारूपानुगमात् सम्प्रज्ञात:

vitarka-vicārānandāsmitā-rūpānugamāt samprajñātaḥ
vitarka-vicāra-ānanda-asmitā-rūpa-anugamāt samprajñātaḥ
“[Nirodha] is samprajñāta (with thought) when it connects to forms and is accompanied by reasoning, intuition, joy, and a sense of ‘I am.'”

In sūtras I.17-22, Patañjali continues the discussion of nirodha. Here, he says there is a kind of nirodha that is samprajñāta, with cognition, a state dependent on an object for contemplation, a state tied to the world of forms.

In the practice of yoga, the choice of a point of focus is important. The object or form that is that point of focus must engage the mind and, as Rohit Mehta says, it must bring joy or “abundant interest.” The terms vitarka and vicāra,  difficult to translate in English, describe the activity of the mind  related to objects. Vitarka comes from the root tark, to think, while vicāra comes from car, to move. So while they are both forms of examination and discernment, vicāra suggests a movement in, a deepening of the mental process. The joy of penetrating contemplation is accompanied, Patañjali says, by an experience of “I am.”


“It is true that Yoga is a movement beyond the frontiers of the mind, but it is useless to talk of ‘beyond the mind’ unless and until one has developed the mind to its utmost possibilities. One can understand the limitations of the mind only when one has explored the possibilities of the mind.” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, p. 37

“Take for example the performance of an āsana, or movements of breath in prānāyāma. In the beginning, these are done at a physical level. As understanding deepens, the body is penetrated internally, its movements are connected with the intelligence, and the āsana is grasped as a single unit in all directions: front to back, top to bottom, side to side. It is absorbed and held by the body’s intelligence for the soul to perceive. One learns that one’s body is the bow, the āsana is the arrow, and the target is the soul. When the āsana is perfected, the target is struck: the field and knower of the field are united. The logic and reasoning of the āsana are fulfilled. The sādhaka, having lost the consciousness of the āsana and of his body, is one with himself. His āsana, his breath, his effort and his very being are one with the millions of cells in his body. He has reached sāsmita, the auspicious state of asmitā.” –B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, commentary on I.17

• How has yoga practice affected your power of Reasoning? Observation? Concentration?
• Consider how, in āsana practice as taught in the Iyengar tradition, the āsana is an object of contemplation. How might you describe—in your own experience—the different levels or aspects of this contemplation?
• Reflect on the aspects of samprajñāta nirodha in your own mind and consciousness: what is the difference between reason and insight? logic and intuition? between impartial observation and compassion? In what way is joyful contemplation its own distinctive state?
• Might joy be a guide to practice?


masculine noun in compound

reasoning (from vi-, prefix with multiple meanings, here, “distinct, “+ tark, “to think”)


masculine noun in compound

reflection, discernment, insight, intuition (from vi-,  “distinct,” + car, “to move”)


masculine noun in compound

joy (from the prefix ā-, “all around,” + nand, “to be happy”)


feminine noun in compound

“I-am-ness” (from asmi, “I am,” + – to form an abstract noun)


neuter noun in compound

form (from rūp, “to form or fashion”)


masculine noun, 5th case singular, “due to”

accompaniment (from anu-,
“along with,” + gam, “to go”)


adjective, 1st case singular

with cognition (from sam-, “with, + pra-, “towards,” + jñā, “to know”)

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