III.12 ततः पुनः शान्तोदितौ तुल्यप्रत्ययौ चित्तस्यैकाग्रतापरिणामः


tataḥ punaḥ śantoditau tulya-pratyayau cittasyaikāgratā-pariṇāmaḥ
tataḥ punaḥ śanta-uditau tulya-pratyayau cittasya-ekāgratā-pariṇāmaḥ

“Again then, the pacified thought and the rising thought become equal. That is ekāgratā transformation of citta.

Patañjali describes a third way that citta (consciousness) transforms with yoga practice. As in sūtras III.9 and III.11, he uses the dual case to describe the movements of consciousness. Those two sūtras conjured a sense of a wave pattern, and they set up what seemed to be a kind of opposition between rising and settling thoughts (III.9), and between the wide, “all-purposed,” view and the focused one (III.11).

Here, Patañjali again uses the dual case to expresses thoughts, or pratyaya (from prati-, “towards,” + i, “to go,” the Sanskrit word suggests the always-moving nature of citta). Yet, marvelously, there is no opposition. Patañjali says that the pacified thought (śanta pratyaya) and the rising thought (udita pratyaya) are equal in the consciousness. They are tulya–equal in worth, in weight or value.

Some commentators interpret tulya to mean that the successive thoughts are literally the same–like images of an object succeeding each other in the frames of a film. These writers emphasize the continuous flow of attention as an ultimate yogic ability.

However, ekāgrata does mean more than single-pointed focus. As B.K.S. Iyengar has written, it also means “one without a second.” It is the ultimate value. The ekāgrata transformation of consciousness happens as the ultimate is experienced–in oneself, in another–the waves of old and new patterns, of many purposes versus one goal–no longer seem contradictory.

Old patterns in the consciousness are never entirely removed. The samskaras are deep within. They continue to shape citta. They make themselves felt, in various ways. We may find this baffling and frustrating: “I thought I had changed that pattern!” An old injury, an old hurt, once again seems paramount, as though we had not recovered from it at all. Bernard Bouanchaud, in his commentary on this sūtra, says that the transformation described here is equanimity: we no longer “pass judgment” on our old patterns. Matthew Remski, likewise, describes developing equanimity about the changes of life, the ongoing movement that we continue to be part of. We develop acceptance of, as it were, our own lack of transcendence.

Similarly, this “equality of thought” leads us to see that others’ perspectives are critical to the whole, even that are own various interests, some perhaps petty and symbolic only to us, are worthy of care. This, says Rohit Mehta, is discovering “silence in the midst of noise.” We can hold a sense of purpose and a wide view as well.

The Bhagavad Gītā describes a transformation in which one comes to “see the self in all beings” and “all beings in the self.” There is something that stands in us, charges us with life and strength, and we are all soaked through with it. We live in it:

sarvabhūtastham ātmānām

sarvabhūtāni cātmani 

īkṣate yogayuktātmā

sarvatra samadarśanaḥ

The self connected in yoga sees the self standing in all beings and sees that all beings exist in the self–everywhere, she sees this equality.

Bhagavad Gītā, VI.29

The self (ātman) can be understood to be the agra–the ultimate value. It is the web of life. It is what holds that web. Once one sees this, Krishna says, one sees it everywhere. We are all connected.


“The above sūtra speaks of śāntoditau tulya-pratyaya. It means that the pratyaya or the content of the mind remains tulya or unchanged whether there is the subsiding of distractions or emergence of distractions. A mind that is undistracted experiences silence in the noise itself. The silence that comes from the cessation of noise is superficial; it is only the silence that is discovered in the midst of noise that has depth; in fact, such silence has enormous depth…. Communication from the base of silence never fails.” –Rohit Mehta, Yoga, the Art of Integration, p. 301, 303

“As integration deepens, the stresses of consciousness–maintaining a self-sufficient story along with an identity to tell it–resolve into equanimity, so that the changes of life, things rising and dissipating, are not only tolerated, but expected, and perhaps even quietly enjoyed. Like watching waves on the sea.” –Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga, p. 165

“Following contemplation is transformation to one-pointedness, in which one experiences with equanimity both mental peace and the return to a less coherent former state…. This aphorism describes a state in which we no longer pass judgment, but fully accept our own reality, whatever it may be. At this point, success, or the lack of it, no longer directly influences the direction we choose. That does not mean it is an immobile state free of questioning, but a state that perpetually evolves toward a stable course.” –Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga, commentary on III.12

• Have you experienced silence in the midst of noise? What resulted from that?
• What does it mean to you to communicate from the best part of yourself?
• How do you respond to success and failure? What disturbs your equanimity more?
• Is your practice bringing you to more acceptance? of old patterns in yourself? of other people?



from that, then





masculine adjective in compound

quieted, peaceful (from śam, “to be calm”)


masculine adjective in compound

arisen (from ut, “up,” + i, “to go”)


masculine adjective in compound

same, equal (from tul, “to weigh, to compare”)


masculine noun, 1st case dual

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


neuter noun, 6th case singular

mind, consciousness, life field (from cit, “to perceive, to observe, to know”)


feminine noun in compound

one-pointedness, ability to choose a focus and hold it, the understanding of what is the primary thing (from eka, “one,” + agra, “first, foremost, goal, point” + -ta, “-ness”)


masculine noun, 1st case singular

transformation, change (from pari-, “around,” + nam, “to bend”)

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