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Yoga Sutras 3.39-3.49: 
More Attainments
from Samyama
(Previous Next Main)

Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Continuation of attainments: The experiences and subtle practices described in the immediately preceding sutras (3.17-3.37, 3.38) are continued here in this section, in sutras 3.39-3.40. 

About these sutras: The experiences and subtle practices in this section are handled in the same way as in the previous section. For a discussion of dealing with these subtle experiences, and on approaches to reading these sutras, review the introduction to the section entitled Experiences from Samyama, sutras 3.17-3.37

What to do with these experiences: As with the experiences with those previous sutras, so too are the experiences of 3.39-3.49 encountered, experienced, and renounced (3.38).

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3.39 By loosening or letting go of the causes of bondage and attachment, and by following the knowledge of how to go forth into the passages of the mind, there comes the ability to enter into another body.
(bandha karana shaithilyat prachara samvedanat cha chittasya para sharira aveshah)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.37 or 3.38]

  • bandha = bondage, attachment
  • karana = cause 
  • shaithilyat = relaxation, letting go, loosening
  • prachara = passages, means of going forth, moving through
  • samvedanat = by knowledge of
  • cha = and
  • chittasya = of the consciousness of the mind-field
  • para = another, other
  • sharira = body
  • aveshah = entering into

Entering another body: By loosening or letting go of the causes of bondage and attachment, and by following the knowledge of how to go forth into the passages of the mind, there comes the ability to enter into another body. The advanced yogi may use this power to operate through another body in service of others, such as for guiding sincere students of meditation.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.40 By the mastery over udana, the upward flowing prana vayu, there is a cessation of contact with mud, water, thorns, and other such objects, and there ensues the rising or levitation of the body.
(udana jayat jala panka kantaka adisu asangah utkrantih cha)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.38 or 3.39]

  • udana = one of the five prana vayus (upward flow of prana in the body)
  • jaya = by mastery
  • jala = water
  • panka = mud, as in a swamp
  • kantaka = thorn
  • adisu = and with others, et cetera
  • asangah = no contact, no adhesion, cessation of contact
  • utkrantih = rising, ascension, levitation
  • cha = and

Rising or levitation: By the mastery over udana vayu there ensues the rising or levitation of the body.

Udana vayu: Udana vayu is one of the five vayus. It operates from the throat and drives exhalation, operating in conjunction with prana vayu, which deals with inhalation. (See the Vayu section of Kundalini Awakening)

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.41 By mastery over samana, the prana flowing in the navel area, there comes effulgence, radiance, or fire.
(samana jayat jvalanam)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.39 or 3.40]

  • samana = one of the five prana vayus (prana in navel area)
  • jaya = by mastery
  • jvalana = effulgence, radiance, fire

Radiance or aura: By mastery over samana vayu, there comes a radiance or aura around the body.

Samana vayu: Samana vayu is one of the five vayus. It operates from the navel area, deals with digestion, and allows the mental discrimination between useful and not useful thoughts. (See the Vayu section of Kundalini Awakening)

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.42 By samyama over the relation between space and the power of hearing, the higher, divine power of hearing comes.
(shrotra akashayoh sambandha samyamat divyam shrotram)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.40 or 3.41]

  • shrotra = ear, the power of hearing
  • akasha = space, ether
  • sambandha = over the relation
  • samyama = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together (3.4)
  • divyam = higher, divine
  • shrotram = ear

Divine or psychic hearing: By samyama over the relation between space (one of the five elements) and the power of hearing, the higher, divine power of hearing comes.

Space, hearing, and the chakras: Space is one of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space) and hearing is one of the five karmendriyas. Both of these operate from the fifth chakra, which is at the throat. It is through samyama of one that mastery over the other is attained. The same principle applies to the other elements, karmendriyas, and jnanendriyas. (See the Chakras section of Kundalini Awakening)

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.43 By Samyama on the relationship between the body and space (akasha) and by concentrating on the lightness of cotton, passage through space can be attained.
(kaya akashayoh sambandha samyamat laghu tula samatatti cha)
[
Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.41 or 3.42]

  • kaya = body
  • akasha = space, ether
  • sambandha = relationship
  • samyamat = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together (3.4)
  • laghu = light
  • tula = cotton fiber
  • samatatti = attainment, become one with
  • cha = and

Moving through space: By Samyama on the relationship between the body and space (akasha) and by concentrating on the lightness of cotton, passage through space can be attained. While sutra 3.40 described levitation, this sutra describes moving through space.

Note the quality of opposites: A universal principle is relatively easy to see in this sutra. The samyama is on the relationship between the body and space. This results in the body having a lightness that is likened to cotton. The samyama allows a releasing or a cessation of the process of heaviness or earth element. Then, the natural lightness is experienced. It is not that a new quality of lightness is being attained or added on. Rather, it is a ceasing to be connected with the quality of earth or heaviness of body. Over and over, this process or practice (1.2) of cessation of identity (1.4) is repeated until the Self comes shining through (1.3).

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.44 When the formless thought patterns of mind are projected outside of the body, it is called maha-videha, a great disincarnate one. By samyama on that outward projection, the veil over the spiritual light is removed. 
(bahih akalpita vrittih maha-videha tatah prakasha avarana ksayah)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.42 or 3.43]

  • bahih = external, outside, passing outward, projected outside
  • akalpita = formless, outside, unimaginable, unidentified,
  • vrittih = operations, activities, fluctuations, modifications, changes, or various forms of the mind-field
  • maha-videha = great one existing without a body, disincarnate
  • tatah = by that
  • prakasha = spiritual light
  • avarana = covering, veil 
  • ksayah = removed, destroyed

Removing the veil over the light: When the formless thought patterns of mind are projected outside of the body, it is called maha-videha, a great disincarnate one. By samyama on the process of that outward projection, the veil over the spiritual light is removed.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.45 By samyama on the five forms of the elements (bhutas), which are gross form, essence, subtleness, interconnectedness, and its purpose, then mastery over those bhutas is attained.
(sthula svarupa suksma anvaya arthavattva samyamad bhuta-jayah)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.43 or 3.44]

  • sthula = gross
  • svarupa = in its own nature, own form or essence; ( sva = own; rupa = form)
  • suksma = subtle, astral
  • anvaya = connectedness, conjunction, connection, interpenetration
  • arthavattva = purposefulness
  • samyama = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together (3.4)
  • bhuta = the elements (earth, water, fire, air, space)
  • jayah = mastery

Breaking the alliance with the five elements: In the section entitled Breaking the Alliance with karma (2.12-2.25), it was described that breaking the alliance between the seer and the seen was the connection to be avoided (2.17). It also explains that a part of this alliance to be broken has to do with the elements (2.18), and the current sutra deals with breaking the alliance with the elements. The way in which the elements arises from the transition process is described in 3.13.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.46 Through that mastery over the elements, comes the abilities of making the body atomically small, perfect, and indestructible in its characteristics or components, as well as bringing other such powers.
(tatah anima adi pradurbhavah kaya sampad tad dharma anabhighata cha)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.44 or 3.45]

  • tatah = by that
  • anima = making miniature, atomic size
  • adi = and others (other such powers)
  • pradurbhavah = manifestion of
  • kaya = body
  • sampad = perfection
  • tad = their
  • dharma = characteristics, components
  • anabhighata = non-resistance, without obstruction, indestructible
  • cha = and

Powers with the body: Through that mastery over the elements, comes the abilities of making the body atomically small, perfect, and indestructible in its characteristics or components, as well as bringing other such powers.

Mastery over the five elements: In this sutra a generalized statement is being made that a variety of experiences and abilities come from samyama on the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space), while specific comments were made in other sutras (3.42, 3.43, 3.45). Recall that the inner process naturally unfolds through the planes or states of subtle reality (3.6).

Evidence that mind is under control: While such mastery is not sought for its own sake, it does indicate a level of mastery over the mind. It was pointed out in Chapter 1 (1.40) that the ability to focus on the smallest and the largest is evidence that the mind is truly under control.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.47 This perfection of the body includes beauty, gracefulness, strength, and adamantine hardness in taking the blows that come.
(rupa lavanya bala vajra samhanana kaya-sampat)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.45 or 3.46]

  • rupa = form, beauty, appearance
  • lavanya = gracefulness, charm, ability to attract
  • bala = strength, energy
  • vajra = adamantine, hardness
  • samhanana = ability to bear strokes or hardness
  • kaya-sampat = perfection of the body

Perfections of the physical body: Perfection of the body (3.46) includes beauty, gracefulness, strength, and adamantine hardness in taking the blows that come.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.48 By samyama on the process of perception and action, essence, I-ness, connectedness, and purposefulness of senses and acts, mastery over those senses and acts (indriyas) is attained.
(grahana svarupa asmita anvaya arthavattva samyamad indriya jayah)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.46 or 3.47]

  • grahana = process of perception and action
  • svarupa = in its own nature, own form or essence; ( sva = own; rupa = form)
  • asmita = I-ness, individuality
  • anvaya = connectedness, conjunction, connection, interpenetration
  • arthavattva = purposefulness
  • samyamad = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together (3.4)
  • indriya = mental organs of actions and senses (indriyas)
  • jayah = mastery

Samyama on perception and actions: Samyama on the five cognitive senses or means of perception (jnanendriyas) brings mastery over those senses. Samyama on the five means of actions (karmendriyas) brings mastery over those means of action. However, these practices of samyama are purposively done in conjunction with ones own individuality and essence. It is the samyama on the relationship, which is the key. Repeatedly, the nature of relationship is examined in the Yoga Sutras, so that the false identities can be broken (1.4), allowing the true Self to be experienced (1.3), beyond the layers of ignorance or avidya (2.5).

Rising of the senses: The rising and falling of the senses (indriyas) is quite significant, and was described in the transition process in 3.13.

Tapas and the senses: The practice of training the senses (tapas) was discussed as part of the niyamas (2.41). [note mastery of senses in 2.41]

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

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3.49 By that mastery over the senses and acts (indriyas), there comes quickness of mind, perception with the physical instruments of perception, and mastery over the primal cause out of which manifestation arises.
(tatah mano-javitvam virarana-bhavah pradhaua jayah)
[Note: In some renditions this is sutra 3.47 or 3.48]

  • tatah = by that
  • manas = mind
  • javitva = quickness, speed
  • virarana-bhavah = perception with instrument of perception, i.e., with the body or physical senses
  • pradhaua = the primal cause out of which there is manifestation
  • jayah = mastery

Fruits of mastery over the indriyas: From mastery over the five cognitive senses (jnanendriyas) and the five means of action (karmendriyas) there comes quickness of mind, perception with the physical instruments of perception, and mastery over the primal cause out of which manifestation arises.

Attainments and obstacles: As with the other subtle experiences this is seen to be both an attainment and an obstacle, and is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15).

 

The next sutra is 3.50 

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