The Yogasūtras of Patañjali
Book II: The Hard Won Path
Whereas Book I was the heart of Patañjali’s Yoga sutras—the Hardcore Teachings of eradicating all thought-obstructions in order to “Yoke” with the Unborn—Book II is a practicum—a “how to guide” of developing the yogic discipline needed in order to successfully navigate through the turbulent samsaric seas before experiencing the Re-Union (Yoked-ness) with the Nirvanic Shore of Suchness. This is the Yoga of Action.
Here Patañjali begins by utilizing a form of kriyā-yoga, a three-fold methodology requiring daily ascetic disciplines, the study of Sacred Texts that is accompanied with inner-yoga techniques like chanting, and an unequivocal devotion to the Lord of Yoga (Unborn Spirit). As was discussed in the first blog of this series, Patañjali’s teachings are adaptable to a wide variety of spiritual disciplines; each one substituting certain variables that coincide with Patañjali’s mystical equations. For instance, our purposes here—the Yoga Sutras in Light of the Unborn—Lankavatarian principles have been and will be inserted at the appropriate junctions. Continuing in this vein my own Lankavatarian Path and lifestyle is as follows:
Daily ascetic Discipline: Eremitical Meditations with the Dhyani Buddhas
Study of Sacred Texts & Chanting: Various sutras and meditations from spiritual writers whose teachings correspond with appropriate spiritual growth. The chanting occurs throughout the day utilizing the above meditations with the Dhyani Buddhas.
Devotion to the Lord of Yoga: This is the Unborn Spirit.
Patañjali does not beat around the bush—there needs to be a daily purification of the sattva, of one’s being.
ii.1-11 Overcoming the Obstructions that hinder Spiritual Growth
2.1 Coming to terms with suffering via spiritual study and devotion to the Lord of Yoga.
There is no escape from samsaric-sufferage. It can only be transcended through spiritual-means like the Four Noble Truths that are accompanied with faithful study of the Buddhadharma and total devotion to the Lord of Yoga. Readings from spiritual resources like the Buddhaic-Sutras are a transforming event in themselves. Each time one turns to them something new is discerned and deposited in one’s developing spiritual constitution.
2.2 This three-fold yogic methodology empowers samādhi and alleviates all sufferage.
Samādhi does not mature in some kind of a vacuum. It needs to be diligently cultivated in the three-fold manner so that one is holistically attuned with the Unborn Spirit.
2.3 There are five primary obstacles to the development of samādhi: Ignorance (avidya), egoism (asmita), attachment (raga), hatred (dvesha), and excessive clinging to psychophysical impingements (klesahs), like the fear of death and the love of life.
Generally in Buddhism and also for Patañjali as well, ignorance (avidya) is the main culprit from which the other four obstacles originate in one form or another; all of them revolve around an unhealthy attachment to the no-Self persona—one that has been artificially created by outside influences over the course of one’s life. Once aware of this, one needs to cultivate the aforementioned methodology in order to transcend them all. One needs to reassert the Authentic-Self That alone holds the keys that will open the Gateless-Gate to Liberation.
2.4 Avidya generates the other obstructions whether they be dormant, weak, suspended, or fully active.
We need to ask ourselves, are these “obstructive seeds” operative in us? If so, at what stage are they? If we choose to remain oblivious to them they will automatically take root, geminate, and eventually dominate us.
2.5 Avidya is alive and well in those of us who mistake the false for the true, whether if something is impermanent or permanent, the impure for the pure, pleasure for pain, and the non-Self as the Self.
This speaks of the mind-demon of materiality that accepts everything at face value, without first inquiring and discerning for oneself. In Buddhist Materialism this avidya runs rampant in equating the no-Self AS the Self.
2.6 The sense of the ego-personality is a mistaken identity of what is perceived as Real as seen exclusively through the eyes of the Skandhic-beholder.
The old adage “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” holds true for all other attributes as well. The Skandhic-Beholder is not the Authentic-Self but an imposter. This imposter creates its own self-image through which all other phenomena are weighed. This is true of even coloring the Absolute after its own soiled image. If one fails to discern that the Self is completely other than this imposter, then all is lost.
2.7 Attachment is clinging to the imposter’s interpretation of what is pleasurable.
Pleasurable experiences, as seen through the eyes of the Non-Self, are either carnal or spiritual in nature—yet they lead to its excesses in either realm.
2.8 Hatred is the avoidance of pain.
One hates because one cannot accept one’s own inadequacies, which oftentimes overcompensates for painful realities by projecting this aversion to pain (dukkha) unto others.
2.9 The maintenance of sentient-existence at all costs over the Eternal Truths places the love of life and the fear of death at a higher premium than the True-Selfhood that transcends them both.
For the True-(Unborn) Self there is no birth or death or anything in-between; anything less than this Deathless Self-Realization condemns one to the charnel-house forevermore.
2.10 When their subtleties are exposed, these five demons can be overcome by reverting them to the nothingness from which they originate.
Of themselves these five demons that afflict Mind’s Quiescence are limp and lifeless when exposed under the Luminous Light of the Unborn. They are ominous emissaries from the Dark Lord (Mara) himself and in reality are just malevolent vibrations from his abyss of nothingness.
2.11 When these dark seeds become stimulated, they can become deactivated through Dhyana.
The Art of Meditation is key in dissolving away the Five Obstructions. Under the mantle of Deep-Dhyana, the yogin/yogini is protected through the intercession of immeasurable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as untold numbers of Dharma-Protectors who know the appropriate Dharani to invoke for the dissolution of these unhealthy influences.