Book 1, Sutra 40: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
“WITH A CONCENTRATED, UNDISTRACTED MIND COMES MASTERY OVER EVERYTHING FROM THE SMALLEST PARTICLE TO THE UNIVERSE AS A WHOLE.”
In the sutras of Book 3, Patanjali will focus on developing “siddhis,” or super powers. In this sutra he indicates them with a broad wave of his hand, vaguely saying that everything, from the smallest to the largest thing, comes under the sovereignty of one who has reached an undistracted mental state. He doesn’t give us any more detail in this sutra about what kind of power he is referring to but by looking ahead to book 3 we can make guesses. In book 3 Patanjali mentions the ability to know extensive facts about a wide variety of objects so we can guess that this sutra also indicates to a broad range of knowledge about the physical world. In book 3 Patanjali also talks about the yogi’s ability to travel in super human ways so we can guess that this sutra also indicates an ability to move around the universe quite easily, on the smallest scales as well as on the largest ones.
In book 3, Patanjali talks about the “siddhis” but also warns that they are obstacles to the yogi on his or her path to complete realization. We can assume that is because having super powers can actually increase the busy-ness of the mind and that is opposite to the goals Patanjali stated in the beginning of book 1. He doesn’t warn us about the super powers, like the one mentioned in this sutra, in book 1 however, probably because he is mentioning them only cursorily. Mentioning the super powers here, he is making sure that the instructions of book 1 contain the fruits of the other books as well. In other words, Patanjali is telling us that, although each of the four books of his Yoga Sutra contain different descriptions of yogic practices, they are all really leading to the same place and will all eventually produce the same (fantastic) results.