There are 55 sutras in the second book of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras that is the portion on practice, sadhana pada. Patanjali touches on many things in this book and this book will be reviewed in four separate parts to keep it clearer to understand. The first part will go over sutras 1 to 18, part two will cover sutras 19 to 27, part three will review sutras 28 to 45 and part four will discuss sutras 46 to 55. In this book, Patanjali discusses what people need to do in daily life to actually follow a yogic path. Kriya yoga is introduced, which tells yogis what to follow to lay the proper foundation in this path of yoga.
Kriya yoga consists of three parts: tapas, to burn or create heat; svadhyaya, to study scripture to elevate self; and isvara pranidhana, which is surrendering oneself to God.
Starting with tapas,which can be seen as a form of purification, there are many ways to purify oneself. It is accepting pain in the mind, which will make the mind steady and strong, but not through torturing oneself. Tapas is considered a form of discipline. There are austerities the yogi may work on through the body, speech and the mind. Austerities of the body include worship, purity, straightforwardness, celibacy and non-injury. Austerities of speech are to only speak what is true and what is pleasant. So, no lying, but don’t speak harshly either. Austerities of the mind include serenity of mind, being good hearted, having self-control and a purity of nature.
The second kriya, svadhyaya, is to study to elevate the true Self. Yogis should study uplifting scripture, but the yogi must not only read these scriptures, but live it. Study this scripture with one’s heart, whether it’s the Bhagavad Gita, The Bible, The Koran or any other uplifting book, including The Yoga Sutras for that matter, the yogi must take what he or she has studied and apply it to life. It is through this that the yogi will become God him/herself.
The third kriya Patanjali discusses in the first 18 sutras of book two is isvara pranidhana, which means surrender to God. The yogi should dedicate everything that he/she does to God. Every action, every possession is for the Lord, whatever belief system one is following. The yogi should view possessions not as own, but as something that he/she is holding onto for a little while; these will later be passed on.
Patanjali then states that if these kriyas are practiced, obstacles will be diminished and the yogi will be able to attain samadhi, or bliss. That leads Patanjali to discuss what these obstacles, also called kleshas, are that are trying to block the road to bliss. There are five of them: avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga (attachment), dvesha (hatred), and abhinivesah (clinging to bodily life). The kleshas exist because of one’s ego and according to The Yoga Sutras, can be removed by meditation. The kleshas are the yogi’s misperceptions of the world, viewing life in ignorant ways. For example, ignorance is seen as viewing things as permanent when temporary, the impure as pure, one’s personality as his/her true divine Self and the painful as pleasant. Egoism is thinking that one’s body and mind are his/her power. The yogi that is bothered by the klesha raga, avoids pain and seeks pleasure, not realizing that happiness is created on the inside, not from worldly things. One must not cling to the bodily self and realize that he/she will come back.
This brings Patanjali to touch upon karma. There are three kinds of karma discussed in this part of book two. Prarabda karma, which is one’s karma that is used in this birth. The second is agami karma, which are the new karmas that are being created during this birth. The last is sanjita karma, which are the karmas that are waiting to be fulfilled in future births. It is then brought to the yogi’s attention that he/she creates one’s own happiness, or unhappiness for that matter, but if can join with nature, which is called prakriti, the seer (purusha), can avoid pain that hasn’t come yet. So long as the seer stays in one’s true Self, and not change, pain can be avoided. This part one of the second book will wrap up with a brief introduction to the elements of nature, the gunas. Through the gunas, one can find liberation. The three gunas consist of sattva-prakasa (illumination), rajas-kriya (action), and tamas- sthiti (inertia).
Nature will continue in the discussion in the second part of book two of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.