Yoga Sutra 1.29
Translation and Commentary
Thereafter, the aspirant gains direct experience of inner being. Thereafter, obstacles also vanish forever.
Yoga Sutra 1.29 Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, PhD
tataḥ Ablative declension of Tat, That; thereafter; therefrom; from That; through That; from the grace of That
pratyak inner; inward; inwardly flowing; directly, without any mediator
cetanā consciousness; awareness
api also; in addition to; furthermore
antarāya that which creates a gap causing separation; obstacle
abhāva absence; removal
Leaving the Obstacles Behind
Once the mind gets a glimpse of the inner joy that flows from God-consciousness, it develops a taste for turning inward.
The mind is thus motivated to seek guidance from the inner light.
People in the past have invented countless methods of meditation intended to make the mind one-pointed and inward. But the only technique that enables us to achieve that goal is mantra meditation. This is because the charms and temptations of the world are powerful and the mind runs helplessly after these worldly pleasures and achievements. Further, because of its long-cherished habits, the mind operates under the influence of negative emotions such as anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear, and attachment. Such a mind finds endless excuses to remain outwardly oriented and to entertain a never-ending stream of thoughts and emotions.
It is only after the mind comes in touch with the living light of the inner being that it begins to see the possibility of attaining freedom from its self-created misery. This initial glimpse helps the mind to realize that the incessant engagement with the external world is tiresome, confusing, and disappointing. The mind is thus motivated to seek guidance from the inner light. Constant japa, the practice of meditation on this inner light manifesting in the form of mantra, helps the mind cultivate a taste for peace and inner repose.
Japa brings us closer to the inner being and infuses our mind and heart with God-consciousness. The closer we are to the inner being, the greater the experience of the joy that incessantly flows from the inner being. The greater the experience of inner joy, the less we crave sensory pleasures and material possessions. The less our body, mind, and senses are bombarded by sensory stimuli, the greater our chances of having a healthy body and a composed and balanced mind. A person with a healthy body and mind is naturally equipped to face, conquer, and rise above any obstacles that may appear during the spiritual journey.
In summary, we see that infusing our mind and heart with God-consciousness brings a two-fold result: all mental faculties turn inward toward the center of consciousness and all obstacles vanish. Patanjali is making two bold and definitive promises here: japa makes the mind become God-centered, and japa brings freedom from all obstacles. In making these definitive statements, Patanjali clarifies his position in regard to the role of God in our quest for freedom and happiness: the goal of yoga sadhana is to surrender to God, to replace our asmita (I-am-ness) with Godconsciousness. The quest to achieve this goal begins with attaining mastery over the modifications of the mind and turning that mind toward the living light of the inner being. But remember, both the initial impetus for the journey and the determination to see it through come from trust (shraddha) in God.
Spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than a quarter of a century, he is the author of fourteen books, including his recently-released The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, and his autobiography Touched by Fire: The Ongoing Journey of a Spiritual Seeker. Pandit Tigunait holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and another in Oriental Studies from the... Read more>>