I.21 तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्न:

tīvra-samvegānām āsannaḥ
“ It is near for those with enthusiasm.”

Where there is intensity, whole-hearted intention, commitment–nirodha, which we might call the state of yoga, is close at hand. Tīvra-samvega means all these things–it carries with it a sense of agitation,  like a sudden rush of movement, or as Rohit Mehta points out, passion.

Reinforcing this point is the meter of the sūtra: it is brief, with eight heavy, long syllables and just one short and light one. It is beautiful to chant.


It is perhaps a paradox that the goal is both near and far. Mystics have written of this tension. The fifteenth-century poet Kabir:

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours….
When you really look for me you will find me instantly–
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.


“To the door of Reality one must go with an intensity of thought-emotion, for this is like the Lover meeting the Beloved. Patañjali uses the word tīvra-samvega meaning a great intensity of impulse.” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, The Art of Integration, p. 43

“The special faith of the yogic path lies in the proximity of realization. When Patañjali says that it is near, he doesn’t simply mean soon but also nearby. Just as an acorn holds the potential to become an oak tree, we already possess the capacity to awaken….Pure awareness underlies all thought and perception right now, he insists, and one need only recognize it fully in order to be free of suffering.” –Chip  Hartranft, The Yoga-Sūtra of Patañjali, p. 11

“Theoretically, there is no reason why we should not achieve the state of perfect yoga within the space of a single second.” –Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, How to Know God, p. 52


• Consider your motivation and commitment to practice. How did it begin? What has helped build or deepen intensity?
• How does the joy Patañjali describes in sūtra I.20 relate to intensity and to enthusiasm? What about fun? Investigation? Exploration?
• Do you experience the state of yoga to be “near”? How would it affect your practice if you assumed it was “near”?
• How do you maintain cheerfulness about practice?


adjective in compound

strong, extreme (from tīv, “to be strong”)


masculine noun that is here part of an adjectival compound, 6th case plural ending, “of those whose”

intensity (from sam-, “with” + vij, “to move with a quick darting motion”)


masculine adjective, 1st case singular (subject understood)

near, immanent (ā-, “near to,” + sad, “to sit”)

3 thoughts on “I.21 तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्न:

  1. wonderful teachers ignited my passion – exploration brings me joy – don’t think state is too ‘near’ after all those years but will start chanting tivra samveganam asanah all day today w/hope & humor!

  2. Re-reading as I prepare for a class. These teachings and offerings of yours are so rich and full of helpful insights.
    Thank you so much! I really look forward to them.

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