2nd Chapter

Kriya Yog

The condensed definition of Kriya Yog [2:1] is focused on the 3 terms:

Tapah – derived from Tapa which primarily means to heat with intensity, in the text viewed as austerity (action without desire), as a self-discipline of purification

Svadhyaya – self-study of spiritual texts, scriptures, sacred lores

Isvara pranidhani – placement of oneself under the fullness of the Divine, full surrender to the Lord (of Love).  (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, pp. 16,79)

So we are introduced to a practical yoga (technique) which has its base on concepts of purification, continuous Self-study and acceptance to manifest as in the presence, light of the Divine – with devotion.

tapas – self-purification – needs to be clean from the roots so that will not grow again. Purification in a form of heat (it is not only physical heat; it’s also pranic, mental or spiritual heat):

  • ahimsa
  • brahmacharya (control doesn’t mean suppression)
  • pranayama (4 times a day)
  • hatha yoga
  • mudras
  • bandhas
  • concentration of the mind
  • silence (mauna)

Svad – the study – has to be done in 3 steps:

  • recitation / proper pronunciation (pathamun)
  • deep study (adryaymun)
  • reflexion (chitanum)

The term will also point to:

  • own analysis, own study, e.g. BG or Bible
  • sutra 32
  • trying to perceive your own self in different perspectives / mirror / on all levels:

o   physical
o   mental
o   emotional
o   spiritual

The practices of kriya yoga lead to perception of the self / own consciousness:

–          placing yourself completely in innermost awareness

–          placing your consciousness

–          ishwara is inner awareness = not a personal self anywhere outside

Kriya yoga – yoga (of) practical (techniques):

–          self-purification

–          self-observation

–          self-awareness

a raja yoga method.

Yogic view of pain and suffering

Continuing with the [2:2], Patanjali places the practice of Kriya Yog as cultivating an attitude which conduct on being absorbed in Spirit and minimize the power of the primal cause of suffering (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, p. 16).

As in [2:3-11] we receive a definition of primal cause of suffering,  the possible state of existence, 5 types and another way to reduce or overcome them, meditation.

[2:2] Kleshas – causes of afflictions, primal cause of suffering, obstacles are summarized under this following 5:

[2:3] causes of pain

–          Ignorance / errourness (avidya)

–          I – feeling / I-am-ness (asmita)

–          liking  (raga)

–          disliking / hatred (dvesa)

–          fear of death / a great urge to clinging the life (abhinivesah)

One could remember a similar definition from Patanjali in [1:33] when he talks about the spiritual path: “by cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward happiness, compassion toward suffering, delight toward virtue and equanimity toward vice, thoughts become purified and the obstacles to self-knowledge are lessened” (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, p. 10)

Pain is not rooted in the present but far in the past.

Klesha – kind of agony which is inside of our very being (even animals have kleshas – a very deep in the subconscious fear). The expression of kleshas can be also in behaviors as ambition, an effort for success.

[2:4] AVIDYA

the four states of kleshas:

–          dormant – cannot perceive them

–          thin – mild expression

–          scattered – rise to oscillating state

–          fully expressed

[2:5] Ignorance, pain, is also when we take something that is ephemeral as being permanent, taking something impure as being pure, taking as pleasure something that is pain and suffering.

Each and every pleasure will express on its culmination point in a form of pain.

[2:6] ASMITA – I – Feeling

–          identifying with the vehicle of the body “the bus is coming? or the driver inside is running it?”

–          identifying with body, mind, senses

–          the consciousness with the identify

One of the Yoga definitions is: individual self + universal self, self + SELF = Yoga.

Through yoga I know, I am not this body, I am not this intellect, yoga as a separation of the notion of the I, of the limits.

[2:7] Raya is the liking accompanying pleasure

[2:8] Dwesha is the repulsion accompanying pain

[2:9] Abhinivesha – clinging to life – the desire for life sustained by its own force which dominates even the learned

[2:10] kleshas can be reduced by [2:11] meditation


Ashtanga Yog

In [2:29] Patanjali is introducing a solution to clear all the impurities and to let wisdom’s radiant light to shine forth with discriminative knowledge:

Yoga’s eight component parts are self-control for social harmony, percepts for personal discipline, yoga pose, regulation of prana, withdrawal of the senses from their objects, contemplation of our true nature, meditation on our True Self and being absorbed in Spirit. (Stiles, 2002, p. 23)

“Self-restraints, fixed rules, postures, breath control, sense withdral, concentration, meditation and samadhi” (Saraswati, 2013, p. 185)

Through the understanding and practice of this limbs were identified 2 categories in Ashtanga Yog, Bahir (External) and Antar (Internal). Where the external could be concluded as voluntary practice of yoga (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara) which with their fruits or culminating with inward experiences (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadi).

Bahiranga – exoteric yoga

The yoga which is practiced with the objects outside, in relation to the body, society and many other things ouside onself (Saraswati, 2013, p. 185)

–          Yama [2:30] – self-control – the five restraints or the “don’ts” (Ashtanga Yoga – The Eight-Limbed Yoga):

o   Ahimsa – non-violence, non-injury, implies non-killing. But non-injury is not only non-killing, it is much more than that. More comprehensively, ahimsa means “entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word or deed. Non-injury needs a harmless mind, mouth and hand. Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injuring. It is positive, cosmic love.”(Swami Sivananda, Bliss Divine)

There are basically 3 types, expression of ahimsa, in action – body violence, in words and as thoughts. More than this, even we are under the chapter of Yama, one could understand to practice ahimsa also in respect to himself: not-forcing the body over the limit, not abusing the expression of communication, not thinking violently about himself like judging, false believing e.g. [2:3-11]

o   Satya – truth, truthfulness, leading one on a truthful path

Satya is truthfulness. It is more than just telling the truth. One’s actions should be in accordance with one’s words and thoughts. God and man’s true Self are truth, and in order to tune in with that consciousness we need to live truthfully at all times. Furthermore lying creates many thoughts in the mind which go against the raja yoga objective of calming the mind. (Ashrama)

e.g. the strory of Budha and the 3 men asking for the existence of God with the 3 different answers.

e.g.  Merchant of Venice:

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,

A goodly apple rotten at the heart:

O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

o   Asteya – Non-stealing, freedom from stealing, dwelling on things other people have and you don’t have

Reflection: What makes you happy? Do you think that one person’s smiles lies on the things he poses? Do you think that he’s really happy because of that smile you see? Do you think that what satisfies him will satisfy you? Know you own-self!

e.g. joke on difference between a different attitude between sexes on choosing a partner (as the person or the image)

In yoga we are taught that when we no longer desire something it will come to us by itself.

o   Brahmacharya – Control of the senses, behavior that respects the Divine as omnipresent.

One of the many reasons is that practicing the higher limbs of ashtanga yoga – dharana, dhyana, samadhi – requires a tremendous amount of energy or prana. Like all traditional spiritual traditions, yoga advocates restraining from indulging in sensual gratification. Often viewed as a reference to celibacy or chastity, then mastered as a practice of sexual continence, it points to the sexual energy on a correct cultivation of it.

Reflection on: What is the intention at the start, during or on the culminating moment of our sexual activities?

o   Aparigraha – freedom from greed, Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of gifts, freedom from ownership

They are viewed as a universal great discipline so there is not practice exception as birth, place, time or circumstances [2:31].

–          Niyama [2:32] – fixed rules, fixed observances, rules of conduct

o   Saucha – Purity, cleanliness

Focusing on both inner and outer aspects:

Body – external aspects as also attention on its visitors as food, air. Underlining also kriya practices, asana and pranayama as methods to cleans and unblock roads in our body.

o   Santosha – Contentment

o   Tapas – Austerity

o   Swadhyaya – Self-study, study of scriptures

o   Ishwara Pranidhana – Surrender to God’s will

[2:33] In order to remove disturbances, passions one should practice with the same intention their opposites.

–          Asana – stable and confortable pose [2:46]

Under the following yoga sutras [2:47-48] the word asana points more to the meditation posture than to physical yoga exercises.

Yoga pose is mastered when there is no physical effort, the breath is at peace and one could easily identify oneself with the infinite breath of life. When there is no more duality, reaction to criticism or disturbances.


Asanas main role, as underlined in this sutras, are for reducing the effort and preparing the body for higher yoga practices.

There are many ways to split asanas in categories, generally one would view:

4 focus categories:  60% hips (opening), 20% balancing, 10% meditative, 10% other.

3 traditionally: 66% cultivating for 26% meditative and 8% relaxation (H.P.)

So if we want to overview most of them help to attain or are a meditative pose.

From the traditional text we can identify from 15 to 85 asanas but it’s believed to be +34M, one reference with each animal species on earth.

If many will understand that the point of asana means aligning the body to some postures, to an observable universe, some practitioners are looking for an interaction with the intangible universe (from mind, soul to other ethereal concepts as prana, chi). This journey into different layers of Pacha Kosha can be attained by mastering one pose with the capacity of holding it for a higher period of time.

–          Pranayama [2:49] – cessation of the movements of inspiration and expiration – benefits: removal of the veil [2:52]

The moments of pranayama [2:50] external, internal or suppressed with regulation of place, time and number will become long and subtle.

The fourth kind of pranayama [2:51] is the one who transcends the internal and external object:  “In the fourth method of regulating one’s breath, prana is extended into  the divine life force and the range of prana is felt pearmating everywhere, transcending the attention given to either external or internal objects.” (Stiles, 2002, p. 29)

Medical no. of breaths for a healthy body:  12 / min

Yoga recommendations: 6-8 / min

Preparing for mediation: 2-3 /min – mind becomes fit for dharana.

Pranayama requires the body to be in one of this two states:

A mountain – stable, comfortable, not affected by any fluctuations, cloud, weather conditions.

Ocean – where many rivers unite, this is a state of a teacher, which has the power to influence with its breath, with its prana the fluctuations, the breath of their students.

At the beginning we are a dessert and the prana is the wind the blows over us, same time intoxicating the prana and disturbing our body when not fit for the practice.

–          Pratyahara

As the light can be viewed as distinct breams of different colors which can still convert back into a light fascicle, as so we have to control our senses, not by suppressing the organs but by choosing, by controlling voluntarily, the information, the impulses we receive and being able to control, to decide if we want to reply, action upon them.

Another analogy given to us is that of the tortoise which, under perceived danger, pulls in all its limbs and head.

Pratyahara is, as it were, the imitation by the senses of the mind by withdrawing them from their respective objects. (Saraswati, 2013, p. 219)

Antaranga – internal aspect of yoga

Brief study of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadi

Dharana – Concentration, Fixation of Attention

Dhyana – Uninterrupted Meditation, a natural flow of thought or consciousness between the meditator and the object of meditation

Samadi – Fully Integrated Consciousness / Complete Equilibrium

Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi cannot be practiced. A person cannot simply sit down and say, “Right now I am going to do dharana.” All the person can do is to create the right conditions to help bring about a state of dharana. (ICBS, 2007)

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