I.18 विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्व: संस्कारशेषो ऽन्य:

virāma-pratyayābhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṁskāra-śeṣo ‘nyaḥ
virāma-pratyaya-abhyāsa-pūrvaḥ saṁskāra-śeṣaḥ anyaḥ
“The other [nirodha] is preceded by the practice of a movement toward cessation [of thoughts]. A residue of thought impressions will remain.”

There is another nirodha, says Patañjali. It comes after the practice of an intention to cease thought. This is described by most commentators as asamprajñātah, a “non-cognitive state.” Rohit Mehta describes it as a state in which psychological associations have been broken down.

(Note that the classical commentary, beginning with Vyāsa in the fifth century, consider the subject of I.17-22 to be the stages of samādhi. There is extensive analysis of these stages, as can be found in BKS Iyengar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, in Table 5, and in Edwin Bryant’s The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, pp. 60-80.)

—–

“The transparent consciousness is negative but not passive. That is why Patañjali speaks first of the activization of the mind and then rendering the mind free from all associative memory. ” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, p. 41

“The nearest we come to virāma-pratyaya in ordinary experience are those few moments before falling asleep, when the intellect relaxes its hold on thoughts and objects and the mind becomes silent. … Like a river joining the sea, the mind is dissolving into the self. The moment one loses the feeling of ‘I,’ one is in this state.” –B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, commentary on I.18

“It is beyond and superior to the preceding state of contemplation with an object. It occurs unexpectedly after being immersed over the years in contemplation with an object, and after persevering practice to stop the wandering mind. The believer attributes it to divine grace.” –Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga, p. 27

“The principle of individual I-am is transformed into universal I-AM beyond the body and mind, and it shines like the blue sky. This is the natural state of the still mind: ‘Be still and know I am That I-AM.’” –Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D., The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali

Questions:
• Consider the practice of yoga as defined as moving the mind toward nirodha. Are you better able to experience this alone or in a group? With your eyes open or closed? In an activity or in stillness?
• What for you has been the most useful object of contemplation in this process of stilling the mind? Have you experienced a quietness with no object in the mind at all?

virāma-

masculine noun in compound

cessation, rest (from vi-, prefix with multiple meanings, here, “away from” + ram, “to stay, to delight, to play”)

pratyaya-

masculine noun in compound

thought wave, movement towards something (prati-, “towards,” + i, “to go”)

abhyāsa-

masculine noun in compound

practice, repetition (from abhi-, “towards,” + as, “to throw”)

pūrvaḥ

masculine adjective, 1st case singular

preceded by

saṁskāra-

masculine noun in compound

impression on consciousness of past experience, conditioning (from sam-, “with,” + kṛ, “to do”)

śeṣaḥ

masculine noun, 1st case singular

residue, remainder

anyaḥ

masculine pronoun, 1st case singular

other

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