I.29 तत: प्रत्यक्चेतनाधिगमोऽप्यन्तरायाभावश्च

tataḥ pratyak-cetanādhigamo ‘pyantarāyābhāvaś ca
tataḥ pratyak-cetanā-adhigamaḥ api-antarāya-abhāvaḥ ca

“From [the repetition of OM], there is attainment of  inward-directed consciousness and also the removal of obstacles [to that inward connection].”

At the beginning of this chapter, Patañjali defined yoga as a process of coming to stand in one’s own true nature (sūtra I.3). Here, he elaborates that this standing–this discovery– entails an inward movement of awareness. Yoga involves “going in.” As Mr. Iyengar says in Light on Life, it is an Inward Journey.

The repetition of OM, the repetition of practice, works an effect on our consciousness that brings this inward-turning. It is an inward-turning to drastṛ, the Seer within, the one who knows, the full consciousness that is īśvara.

In sūtras I.23-29, Patañjali has described īśvara pranidhāna — and has suggested, by its prominent place in chapter one, that it is the most direct route to inward consciousness. Here, he pivots, and casts ahead to a discussion of obstacles.

In some ways, practice brings a discovery of blocks. That is, turning inwards reveals to ourselves our obstacles. We see ourselves. We see our inner workings, our adaptations to our experiences–happy, unhappy, pleasurable, painful, maybe traumatic. All our experience leaves a mark on us. The  thoughts, feelings, physical response to events–the vṛttis–make etchings on our consciousness.

As Patañjali stated in I.5, some vṛttis are helpful, wholesome (akliṣṭa); some are afflicting (kliṣṭa). Afflicting vṛttis, for the most part, are those that create the obstacles that prevent us from connecting inward–ultimately to our most essential self. Repetition slows things down, brings us inward, develops our sensitivity to who we are, our understanding of what we have been.

I love the dark hours of my being.
My  mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
–Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours, I.5

—–

“The repetition of the praṇava mantra with feeling and understanding of its meaning leads to the discovery of the Self, and helps to remove impediments to Self-Realization.” –B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, commentary on I.29

“Spiritual realization is the aim that exists in each one of us to seek our divine core. That core, though never absent from anyone, remains latent within us. It is not an outward quest for a Holy Grail that lies beyond, but an Inward Journey to allow the inner core to reveal itself.” –B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life, p. 3

“This sūtra introduces a key theme in Raja Yoga: the practices do not directly bring spiritual progress; they simply remove obstacles that prevent it.” –Jaganath Carrera, Inside the Yoga Sūtras, p. 72

Questions:
• This sūtra concludes Patañjali’s description of the “direct route” to inward consciousness that is īśvara pranidhāna  (see sūtras I.23-29). Has your perspective of OM or your experience chanting it changed in studying these sūtras?
• Much of yoga practice involves the body–whether through the vibration of mantra, the performance of āsana, or the unfolding of prāṇāyāma. What role does the body play, for you, on the Inward Journey?
•What obstacles have come up for you in practice? In life? Is there a benefit to confronting an obstacle?

 

tataḥ

indeclinable

from that

pratyak-

indeclinable

inwards, backwards (from prati, “back, + ac, “to go”)

cetanā-

feminine noun in compound

awareness, consciousness (from cit, “to perceive”)

adhigamaḥ

masculine noun, 1st case singular

attainment (from adhi, “completely,” + gam, “to go”)

api

indeclinable

also

antarāya-

masculine noun in compound

obstacle, what gets in the way (from antari, “to go between”)

abhāvaḥ

masculine noun, 1st case singular

disappearance, absence (from a-, “not,” + bhū, “to become”)

ca

indeclinable

and

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