Yoga Sutra 1.18

Translation and Commentary


The highest state of samadhi (spiritual absorption) is that where, due to the practice, all modifications of mind, including subtle impressions of all previous actions, have come to an end.
Yoga Sutra 1.18 Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, Phd

virāma cessation; coming to a halt; the end
pratyaya cognition; modification; thought constructs
abhyāsa practice
pūrvaḥ preceded by; that which existed before; anterior
samskāra subtle impressions of past deeds; impressions stored in the form of memories; unconscious mind-stuff
śeṣaḥ residue; remainder
anyaḥ the other

Consciousness Without an Object

Freed from every limitation, in the highest samadhi, the self dwells in the glory of the now.

This is a state of perfect freedom. Such yogis are free from all karmas and the fruits of karmas.

As discussed earlier, samadhi, or spiritual absorption, is twofold: lower and higher. The lower level, based on the nature of the object of focus, is fourfold (see sutra 1.17). Regardless of the focal point, in the lower level of samadhi an aspirant is aware of a trinity: the object of meditation, the process of meditation, and oneself as a meditator. Therefore in the strictest sense in this state of spiritual absorption an aspirant is not perfectly onepointed. In the highest level of spiritual absorption, the trinity is left behind. All modifications (mental operations) completely cease and the mind stands so still that even subtle impressions of the past lying dormant in the unconscious mind no longer influence the mindfield. This perfect stillness of mind defines this state of samadhi.

Yogis of this stature have no past, no future. They live in the present; yogi and the present are one and the same. This is a state of perfect freedom. Such yogis are free from all karmas and the fruits of karmas. In this state, they are able to see the truth in its purity and perfection. They are able to decide their destiny. Inspired by the divine will, they may come to this world, live in the world while remaining above it, and—guided by the divine will—leave this world again. This is called freedom from the cycle of birth and death, for this coming and going is not motivated by the forces of karma. The question is, how to reach this state of samadhi? The answer can be found in sutra 1.19

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