Book 1, Sutra 32: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
“THE YOGI CAN AVOID THESE PROBLEMATIC STATES BY STEADILY APPLYING ONE ANTIDOTE WHEN THE OBSTACLE ARISES.”
The previous sutra mentioned the 4 problematic states of pain, mental and emotional unease, physical trembling, unconscious breathing and excited breathing that result from distractions occurring within yoga.
This sutra is also translated in many different ways because of Patanjali’s use of the phrase “eka tattva” which means single object or single truth or single principle. Many translators incorrectly assume that Patanjali is giving the instructions for how to overcome the problematic states in this sutra alone. “Eka tattva” is not the name for some profound but vague special practice nor does it refer to a specialized focus on the Absolute “I AM” consciousness. These translations miss the fact that Patanjali gives the specific instructions in the following sutras and in this one, only prepares us with the idea that for each obstacle we should apply “one single truth/principle/practice” in order to overcome it. In other words, when we encounter an obstacle we should focus and intensify our practice in one particular way.
The meaning of this sutra is clear for me because I am aware of a very similar teaching of the Buddha’s. Here is another sutra of Patanjali’s that mirrors the Buddha’s teachings closely. A central practice within the buddhadharma is the application of antidotes to the “afflictions” that a meditator may encounter. Each affliction has a specific antidote. The following sutras will list techniques for overcoming obstacles or, in other words, for purifying our minds. In this way, these yoga sutras become very practical and methodical.
Posted on February 12, 2016, in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and tagged Antidote, bhagavad gita, Buddha, diligence, distraction of the mind, effort, obstacles, persistence, yoga. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.