The Yoga-sūtras of


The thread of the science
of uniting one's consciousness


Patańjali with Ādi S'esha as his alter-ego above him.
The Yoga-sūtras of Patańjali are a classical concept. They constitute together with the Bhagavad Gītā the backbone of the discipline of yoga: the science of uniting one's consciousness. There are many interpretations though of this analytical masterpiece of the incarnation of Ādi-S'esha who is Patańjali. He, who as the ego expansion of Vishnu wrote this summary so to say about the discipline of connecting oneself with the soul,  formed therewith the ego of yoga. The existence of the many interpretations of this text pleads for the quality of this text as much as the music of J.S. Bach is to be considered good because it cannot be spoilt by interpretation. Each interpretation shines in the glory of its own truth to harness the I-awareness of the yogi. The authenticity and comprehensibility of such an interpretation is the litmus test one might say for the quality of someone's self-realisation in yoga, as much as the Bhagavad Gītā  stands for the fundamental purport of someone's respect for the integrity of the original personality of uniting consciousness. This literary philosophical monument from the Indian realm here is represented from the perspective of filognosy: the time, the ether, and gross matter are all equally fundamental expressions of nature's divinity and thus yoga is actually the most concrete of all sciences around. For it relates directly to these fundamental absolute truths when it offers us the discipline to live with them. Yoga turning away from time, space and matter lands, meditating on it, right in the middle of it as the one and only correct vision upon it, as the only right consciousness of unifying therewith, ... of the natural order of  consciousness of time therewith.

Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu



The Yoga-Sūtras


the Thread of Uniting One's Consciousness


Nederlandse versie


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read by the translator (44 min.)

   I) Absorption

(1) And now, let's talk about the instructions of uniting one's consciousness, of yoga. (2) Connecting oneself in yoga means that the rumination of the materially motivated mind comes to a stop. (3) Then the witness, that one is for oneself, will be found in its original position of service. (4) In all other cases one could say that one has been allured by, that one identifies with, the ruminating mind. (5) There are five forms of rumination which are either pleasant, or possibly of a problematic nature. (6) They stem from a) direct experience, b) from setbacks, c) from instability, d) from sleep, and e) from one's memory.

a) (7) The knowledge of direct perception draws from the source of that which appears to the senses, from the conclusions one draws therefrom and from scriptural authority, the basic reference for one's thinking.

b) (8) Setbacks are the product of a wrong vision, which entails a certain estrangement.

c) (9) Instability is based upon clinging to superficial notions.

d) (10) Sleep means a form of rumination in which one, being absent, relies upon, rests upon a purely mental state.

e) (11) Memory is based upon the experience of a matter one is not willing to give up.

(12) In case one wants to put and end to these five forms of rumination, one must a) carry on with and b) refrain from.

a) (13) Carrying on one time and again tries to find peace. (14) One succeeds in finding a firm basis with protracted, uninterrupted, sustained devotion.

b) (15) Refraining, or detaching, from the listening to a superficial thing that one notices of oneself when one is ruminating, is based upon consciousness, the comprehension one achieves when one is free from longing, when one has subdued one's desires. (16) That lofty notion of one's own person is achieved when one is free from the three operating modes of nature, viz. when one is not too slow, too agile, or too much of all the good.

(17) The right form of knowing is associated with weighing things, discriminating things, feelings of happiness and self-awareness. (18) When one in the state of rest builds upon the carrying on, another equilibrium comes about, a purer outlook than one had before. (19) In that state of being, one builds upon the not physically, not sensually, clinging to nature. (20) Belief, courage, memory, absorption and true knowledge then constitute the opposite of what one had before. (21) For those who are enthused and of sincere effort it is within reach. (22) One may be differently engaged in it in an unsteady way, a moderate way or a zealous way.

(23) On the other hand one may also be of devotion for the person of God, viz. the Lord of Yoga and His representatives. (24) The person of God is a person different from others in being a reservoir apart from sorrow, profit-minded work and the consequences thereof. (25) That reservoir is the unsurpassed source of all knowledge. (26) What counts with that source is the involvement with time that is stable, which there is  before all other things, which ranks first and which is also the teacher. (27) He, that source, is indicated with the syllable of AUM, the Pranava. (28) The purpose of that syllable is to be repeated time and again for oneself. (29) The thoughts then turn inward to find there next to an absence of hindrances also the control over them. (30) The hindrances consist of disease, unsteadiness, indecision, inattentiveness, laziness, misconception, discouragement and a wandering mind. (31) There are also worries, despair, physical ups and downs, and wrong breathing as the things that further lead astray.

(32) To counter that one must carry on with that one true state, as a principle and reality. (33) One needs to keep a benevolent disposition in mind that is of friendliness, compassion and gladness in equanimity concerning happiness and grief, virtue and vice. (34) Another possibility is to fix one's attention upon the outgoing or retained breath. (35) Or else one fixes one's attention upon an object which offers the mind a hold. (36) One can also put an end to one's worries with the help of a bright source of light. (37) Another possibility is to direct oneself at a holy object or a conscious spirit free from attachments [a saint e.g.]. (38) Or else in the basis that is fundamental to one's sleeping, waking and dreaming. (39) Further one may meditate upon anything one feels attracted to.

(40) Mastering this one is able to find the greatest even in the most insignificant. (41) With the rumination dissolving the knower, the knowing and the known find their stable foundation as if it were a clear diamond, and a transformation is realized. (42) Completely absorbed in that transformed state all that one hears, the meanings, the knowing and the considerations, roll in one. (43) When one's mind, going over things of the past is completely purged, is freed from its own nature so to say, the singular envisioning emerges in its purest form which is free from any consideration. (44) From this singular envisioning operating without the need of any consideration, also the subtle itself is then disclosed. (45) The subtle which is there from elsewhere, is then - without it being seen - included in the knowing. (46) This being absorbed inevitably depends on the basis of something existing in reality. (47) Having experience in this unreflected knowing there is the serenity of the pure soul, the supreme spirit. (49) What is hearsay or of one's own concluding is completely unrelated to this purpose of pure intelligence. (50) The insight emerging in that state contrasts sharply with the processing of other impressions. (51) When one also stops that and thus puts an end to everything, one is of the deep absorption that is without an object.


  II) The practice

(1) When one practices the uniting of one's consciousness there is penance, self study and the contemplation of the person of God. (2) The absorption is there to realize that that which is an obstruction weakens and that what is wished for comes about.

(3) That what gives trouble is a) a lack of knowledge, b) being egocentric, c) passion, d) aversion and e) stubbornness.

a) (4) One may be ignorant concerning the field of action, the reactions to something, sleep, that which found its end, and that which is appropriate. (5) To take the temporal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, what is unhappy for the happy and the inauthentic for the authentic, is what one calls ignorance.

b) (6) When the seer sees it as such that he is one and the same as that what he is capable of, that is egoism.

c) (7) Happiness is closely followed by attachment.

d) (8) Unhappiness is closely followed by aversion.

e) (9) In his emphasizing his own grip even the wise man is just as stubborn.

 (10) These problems must be stopped as soon as one can. (11) The moment they manifest they must be countered with meditation. (12) For the workload accruing from them constitutes a source of trouble one is faced with in the life one leads now as well as in the life one is heading for. (13) Because of that load one may time and again start all over, from that karma one is stuck to a certain life and from that attachment one has to suffer the consequences. (14) That can be pleasant or else painful, depending the consequences of virtue and vice. (15) A person of discrimination sees that the complete of these consequences, the turning away from them, the impressions one has of them, the worries thereof and the changing quality thereof, because of the contrast they form, indeed constitute the misery. (16) The misery not there yet can be averted. (17) The association of the one experiencing with that what is experienced - the identifying one does - is the cause that one - in one's meditating - has to forego. (18) Whether that what one experiences leads to the clarification of the path of liberation, or is the servant of sensual pleasure, depends on a) the elements of nature, b) the nature of things, c) the senses and one's acting to them, d) the fortitude, e) someone's constitution and, f) the action one engages in.

a) (19) The changing quality of nature one knows, b) either in the spirit or in matter, as a general condition of change as well as a certain state subject to change. (20) The seer is nothing but pure consciousness, even though he witnesses c) a certain - changeable - state of mind. (21) The knowable of nature is there only for the sake of the soul. (22) Opposing matter material nature has played its part when one d) successfully meditates, while on  the contrary such is not the  case in the normal state. (23) The purpose of uniting consciousness is found in the to one's e) own mastery, realizing of one's own nature. (24) It has to be so because of the lack of self-knowledge; the ignorance. (25) The beatitude of the knower is found in the absence thereof, in f) countering the not coming about of that uniting of consciousness.

(26) To be uninterrupted of true discrimination in the perceiving, is the way to overcome the self-alienation. (27) In that fullness of knowing there are seven realms. (28) When one by conscientiously maintaining one's position unites the different elements in consciousness,  all impurities will thereof disappear so that the knowledge will radiate in its true glory. (29) The innerly being united, the absorption, further entails - the seven of - a) renunciation, b) regulation, c)  posture, d) breath control, e) turning inward, f) concentration and g) meditation; and thus there are the eight limbs.

a) (30) Nonviolence, love of truth, non-stealing, celibacy and the not striving for possessions together constitute the renunciation. (31) This is the great universal vow valid independent of the place, the time, the circumstance and one's birth.

b) (32) Cleanliness, contentment, penance, consideration and surrender to the person of God constitute the regulation.

(33) Speculations, theories, opinions, constitute the contrary which brings about the misery in life. (34) Speculative knowledge has as its consequence that matters are done harm and such, it is based upon desires, anger and misconceptions which may manifest rarely, reasonably often or intensely. Thus situated in ignorance one continuously reaps the fruit of misfortune, which finds its peace by contemplating the contrary. (35) When one is not of unnecessary violence one finds stability in relation to one's environment and is there a decrease of enmity. (36) When one is truth loving one is of a stable position and one's actions are fruitful. (37) When one does not misappropriate with everything which is of value, a vested order will come about. (38) With celibacy a firm basis is achieved for one's life energy and effort. (39) When one is of stability by not acquiring possessions one will understand in what way one had to start all over, or in what way one took rebirth. (40) Being clean within and without one is with body and soul of reticence in the - sexual - cohabitation with others. (41) Of sense control enjoying in pure goodness and a one-pointed mind one qualifies for the vision of the soul. (42) In contentment, in benevolence, one reaches unsurpassable happiness. (43) By penance all impurities are subverted and is an optimal functioning attained of the sensory apparatus. (44) By means of consideration one contacts the divinity of one's own choice. (45) By means of surrender to the person, the integrity, the authority of God, one reaches the perfection of absorption.

c) (46) By body postures durable happiness is found. (47) By training oneself in becoming empty one can contact the infinite. (48) From this one is then no longer perturbed by opposites, by the duality.

d) (49) When this is attained, thus on the condition of proper postures, breath control is found in the interruption of the movements of the in- and outgoing breath. (50) The going outward and inward of the movements of breath and the retaining of it must be tuned subtly and fine according to time and circumstance, for frequency as well as duration. (51) A fourth option is found in the sphere raising above the in- and outgoing breath. (52) From that position that what veils the light of knowledge is annihilated. (53) Also the mind is then ready to concentrate.

e) (54) When one to the image offered by the senses keeps that image in mind,
one has separated oneself from the objects producing that mental image; that is called the turning inward or the internalization of one's attention. (56) Thus one has one's senses under control from the transcendental position.


 III) The control one achieves

f) (1) Concentrating oneself means that one fixes one's consciousness on the place where one resides.

g) (2) Meditation means that one fixes one's attention at the one point of that place.

(3) When there is nothing but that one purpose, the authenticity emerges, the original nature, which is then, so to say, empty; at that time one is perfectly absorbed. (4) The combination of these three matters constitutes the self-control. (5) Having mastered that there is the wisdom of that vision. (6) It finds its use in different earthly realms. (7) Relative to the previous limbs these latter three ones constitute the inward position. (8) Just as well that is again the outer position of the absorption without an object. (9) With the emergence in one's imagination of thoughts and their ending the consciously countering decreases and the coherence, the integration of consciousness, increases, so that as the effect of the reticence consciousness of the moment ripens. (10) The state of its consciousness is one stream of serene peace. (11) In developing absorption the divided attention decreases and the one-pointed attention of consciousness increases. (12) The alternatively being peaceful and then again the just as well emerging of motives in one's consciousness, constitutes the changeability of the undivided attention. (13) With this the transformation of the sensory in all its divisions has been described as for proper conduct, characteristics and the ultimate state.

(14) The position of one's own nature resulting from the proper approach is either dormant, calm or in a state of rapture. (15) Different angles result in different effects.

(16) The threefold self-control results in a higher insight in what came to pass in the past and what lies ahead.

(17) Noises, motives and feelings which, crowding, are mingling, can be distinguished in the self-control with which one gains insight in the noises caused by all living beings.

(18) Impressions which, carried along in the self, surface, give insight in previous states of life.

(19) One arrives at a better understanding for the consciousness with which other people face reality.

(20) Solely on that basis one is able to deal with that what in life is out of one's reach.

(21) By self-control relating to the form in which one dwells, one is able to suppress the force thereof and may, with the link to the light in the eyes broken, that light disappear.

(22) This way one is also able to make sounds and other sense perceptions disappear.

(23) One's actions have immediate consequences as also consequences which are of effect later. By mastering that the threefold way (III 1, 2, 3), one acquires insight in the final outcome of actions or else in the signs to them.

(24) One gains in strength by kindness and such.

(25) Enlightened by that strength one becomes as strong as an elephant.

(26) Knowledge of hidden matters, matters elsewhere, and subtle matters one acquires by the transcendental perception of projected images.

(27) By
controlling oneself with the light of the sun one acquires knowledge of the different worlds.

(28) By
developing mastery with the moon one acquires insight in the order of the celestial sky, the galaxy.

(29) To be of control
with the center of the galaxy results in knowledge of progress.

(30) Controlled from the center
there is knowledge of the structure of the different forms of cyclic time, the cakra order.

(31) Controlling the entrance of the throat one controls hunger and thirst.

(32) Mastery over the gastric area, regulating the habits of food intake, gives equilibrium.

(33) Controlling the light images in one's head gives the perfection of direct perception.

(34) Furthermore the self-control with what emerges in the mind results in knowledge of everything in existence.

(35) Mastering the interest of the heart one acquires insight in the functioning of consciousness.

(36) The good sense and nature of a person differs absolutely from his consciousness, which, being unified with it, leads to experience; but separated in the control of what is one's own, true knowledge of the person comes into being. (37) Therefrom perceiving, hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling finds its existence. (38) These abilities thus called into existence constitute obstacles to one's being absorbed. (39) Letting go of this cause of bondage and the movement of thought to it, one acquires access to the consciousness of someone else's body. (40) With the control of the ascending breath one rises above mud, water, thorns and such, so that one is not in touch with them. (41) Controlling the diaphragm one realizes one's radiance. (42) In control with the hearing process in relation to the ether, one develops the divine, transcendental ear. (43) Controlling the body in relation to the ether it becomes as light as a ball of cotton wool and one is, unified with it, capable of moving through the ether. (44) Being outside of one's body the thoughts about what's outside become real, the covering of the light is then broken. (45) One achieves mastery over the elements by controlling oneself as to their application, association, subtlety, form and mass. (46) Therefrom the power is found to enter the smallest, the ability to have out-of-body encounters and the ability to offer response in that position, according to nature and function. (47) Manifesting oneself physically one may assume a compact, hard, strong and attractive form. (48) In controlling oneself with the false ego, or the intention of associating the I-awareness of the process of knowing with the form of an outer appearance, the control over the senses is found. (49) One is then, with one's leading an existence outside of one's senses, as swift as one imagines and then of mastery over the original state of the primordial matter.

(50) Only he who knows the difference between the good sense and nature of a person on the one hand and his consciousness on the other, achieves dominion over and omniscience with all that exists. (51) True progress is achieved when one, as being the root of bondage, even gives up on this - this desire to control and know. (52) Being called for a superior position it is very well possible that the unwanted recurs when one doesn't laugh about such a way of dealing with reality. (53) It is so, that by controlling oneself with the succession of the moments of time [thus with the help of a good schedule of meditation no longer being disturbed in time] one reaches the spiritual insight of full realization. (54) From this one is of understanding for that what stays the same separate from another state of being, place, characteristic or birth. (55) Everything in existence radiates for him when he [as the self-aware witness] at all times is positioned outside of the order of that what exists; this now is elevated knowing. (56) This pure existence for itself equals the pure goodness of the person.


 IV) What progress entails

(1) Starting a new life one can with penance, mantras, incense or natural medicine and absorption, see the perfections come about. (2) In a new existence there is the fulfillment of a transformation of material nature. (3) The direct causation of nature on itself has no purpose, but may on the other hand put things apart by setting boundaries like a farmer does. (4) It is only through the I-awareness that the different phenomena of consciousness become apparent. (5) Even though consciousness is one, there is in one's personal evolution the effect of countless different forms of existence and consciousness. (6) Of them are only they who are of meditation free from discontinuity in life. (7) That what is done by someone who is of uniting consciousness, is black nor white, but that what is done by others is of a threefold nature; viz. then of darkness, then clear, and then again in between. (8) That what he - the one starting all over time and again - carries with him ripens according to that what appears in the mind as thoughts and expectations. (9) In spite of the separation by place, time and birth, there is an uninterrupted memory of those attainments which is of an equal identity. (10) That what is carried along is there since time immemorial and constitutes an incessant flow of questions and desires in man. (11) Their coherence in the self is based upon the tight relationship between cause and effect; when that relation disappears, the questions disappear. (12) One's own nature exists in different conditions: someone's character in the past is maintained in the future. (13) The qualities or modes of that self are then manifest, and then again of the subtle body with the different conditions. (14) From the oneness of the self in the midst of the change there is thus the real existence of an essence. (15) Even though that what really exists stays the same, there is still the difference of consciousness because of the two different paths one travels - of existing manifest and subtle. (16) What if that what really exists wouldn't be noticed..., it doesn't depend on this or that consciousness. (17) What really exists is known or not known, depending on the expectations held in consciousness which color it. (18) With the changes of consciousness the master thereof, the person or the soul, is always known because he is unchanging. (19) Consciousness has no light of its own because it can be perceived as something existing on itself. (20) Furthermore consciousness cannot at the same moment realize itself both states. (21) With two consciousnesses there would, because of an excess of mutual self-considerations, be a confounded memory. (22) The seer having reached his own unchangeable status has in that an intelligence of his own. (23) Consciousness as well reflecting the knower as the known, then encompasses all and is no longer confounded. (24) Even though that consciousness is endowed with countless impressions, it is, because of the fact that it is directed at that higher purpose, of a good consistency. (25) The seer of discrimination assures himself of the existence of the soul and thus finds the way out. (26) Being profound consciousness is then attracted to the purpose of progress, the purpose of emancipation: the undivided, enlightened state of supreme happiness. (27) Latent impressions break through that firm faith, through that creed, in case of a breach of discipline. (28) As said (in 2.10 & 11) all that matters is the banishing of these difficulties.

(29) If one is even free from desires considering this reward, and with full discrimination is steadfast in it, one is of absorption in the cloud of the true nature of justice: one is of the complete of all forms of proper conduct - of God. (30) It is then that the fruitive motive dissolves and the end is found of one's difficulties. (31) Then freed from the covering of impurities one is of spiritual insight and the infinity of the knowable appears as something insignificant. (32) With that having successfully evolved the being subjected to the natural modes finds its perfection of order. (33) The order of things becomes crystal clear when one no longer fights the uninterrupted flow of moments, when one no longer wages against the course of time (see also III-30). (34) With the civil virtues taken care of (of regulating the lust, money, the right conduct, and the liberation united in devotion with it), the natural modes (of goodness, passion and ignorance) return to their primal state of equilibrium, which equals the establishment of the beatitude of one's original nature, or the power of pure consciousness, and with that it has all been said.

translation completed: 26-07-2006,
updated: June 19, 2011.


  Relevant links

- Biography Patańjali

- Swami Vivekananda's version of the sūtras

- Download the Sanskrit page for the sūtras 

- A word for word version to compare

- Another word for word version to compare

- Another version to compare (pdf-download)

- More links to other versions on the internet

- The Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary.

- About the Person of God: the Story of the Fortunate One

- Website Aadhar


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