Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali with Bhasvati - Hariharananda Aranya

Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali with Bhasvati
- Hariharananda Aranya
Published by Calcutta University Press

This has to be the most complete and insightful work on Patanjali yoga in English, containing as it does, the sutras, Vyasa's commentary and Swami's own further explanations which not only include his own profound insights but call on the authority of all the other important commentators on the sutras.

Raja Yoga - By Sri Swami Sivananda
Raja Yoga - By Sri Swami Sivananda

The Philosophy of Yoga
It is said that the original propounder of classical Yoga was Hiranyagarbha Himself. It is Patanjali Maharishi who formulated this science into a definite system under the name of Ashtanga Yoga or Raja Yoga. This forms one of the Shad-Darsananas or Classical Systems of Philosophy. Vyasa has explained the original aphorisms or Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and this has been further elaborated through a gloss by a learned author named Vachaspati Mishra, and through the celebrated writings of Vijnana Bhikshu.

Samadhi Pada - Raghavan Iyer
“Through study let one practise yoga. Through yoga let one concentrate on study. By perfection in study and in yoga the Supreme Soul shines forth clearly.” (Vyasa)

The classic text of Patanjali opens with the simplest statement: “atha yoganushasanam,” “Now begins instruction in yoga.” The typical reader today might well expect this terse announcement to be followed by a full explanation of the term yoga and its diverse meanings, perhaps a polemical digression on different schools of thought and some methodological guidance concerning the best way to use the text. None of this occurs. Rather, Patanjali set down his most famous words: “yogash chitta-vritti-nirodhah,” “Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind.” He stated the essential meaning of yoga without any argument or illustration, as if he were providing a basic axiom. He thus showed at the very start that he was concerned with practical instruction rather than theoretical exposition. He thereby took for granted that the user of the text already had some understanding of the task of yoga and was ready to undergo a demanding daily discipline.
Sadhana Pada - Raghavan Iyer
"A person without self-discipline cannot attain perfection in yoga.... An undisturbed course of self-purificatory conduct should be practised. " - Yogabhashya

Patanjali initiated his teaching concerning praxis by calling attention to the three chief elements in the discipline of yoga: tapas, austerity, self-restraint and eventually self-mastery; svadhyaya, self-study, self-examination, including calm contemplation of purusha, the Supreme Self; and ishvarapranidhana, self-surrender to the Lord, the omnipresent divine spirit within the secret heart. The threefold practice or sadhana can remove the kleshas or afflictions which imprison purusha and thus facilitate samadhi or meditative absorption. This arduous alchemical effort was summed up succinctly by Shankaracharya: “Right vision (samyagdarshana) is the means to transcendental aloneness (kaivalya).... Yoga practice, being the means to right vision, comes before it.... Ignorance is destroyed when directly confronted by right vision.”
Vibhuti Pada - Raghavan Iyer
"Attention is the first and indispensable step in all knowledge. Attention to spiritual things is the first step to spiritual knowledge."   Charles Johnston

Patanjali commenced the third pada of the Yoga Sutras with a compelling distinction between three phases of meditation. Dharana is full concentration, the focussing of consciousness on a particular point, which may be any object in the world or a subject chosen by the mind. The ability to fix attention is strengthened by the practice of the first five angas of Patanjali’s ashtangayoga, for without some cultivation of them the mind tends to meander and drift in every direction. Dhyana is meditation in the technical sense of the term, meaning the calm sustaining of focussed attention. In dhyana, consciousness still encounters some modifications, but they all flow in one direction and are not disturbed by other fluctuations of any sort. Rather like iron–consisting of molecules clustered together in various ways, their axes oriented in different directions–undergoes a shift of alignment of all molecules in a single direction when magnetized, so too consciousness can become unidirectional through experiencing a current of continuity in time.
Kaivalya Pada - Raghavan Iyer
"With the fulfillment of their twofold purpose, the experience and the emancipation of the SELF, and with the cessation of mutations, the gunas cannot manifest even for a moment." - Yogabhashya

Patanjali provided a vast perspective on consciousness and its varied levels, as well as the necessary and sufficient conditions for sustained meditation. He set forth the essential prerequisites to meditation, the persisting obstacles to be overcome by the conscientious seeker, and the awesome powers and exhilarating experiences resulting from the progressive attainment of samadhi. In the fourth pada, the heart of which is kaivalya, the ultimate aim and transcendental culmination of the discipline of Taraka Raja Yoga, Patanjali epitomized the entire process from the standpoint of the adept yogin in meditation. He was thus able to offer a rounded exposition which might otherwise remain obscure. The Yoga Sutras is for daily use, and not dilettantish perusal. Its compelling logic is intrinsically self validating as well as capable of continuous self testing. Its reasonableness and efficacy are endorsed by a long succession of accredited seers and seekers.