Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated into English by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.

I want to give thanks to Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya for translating Patanjalis Sutras into English for us and infinite thanks to Sri Sri Patanjali for this wonderful gift to Humanity. I also want to thank all the countless people teaching quality yoga past, present and future..

(Apologies for any type-errors or mistakes in this post.. I have posted this here for purely educational reasons.)

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali


Here begins the authoritative instruction on Yoga.

Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively towards an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.

Then the ability to understand the object fully and correctly is apparent.

The ability to understand the object is simply replaced by the mind’s conception of that object or by a total lack of comprehension.

There are five activities of the mind. Each of them can be beneficial and each can cause problems.

The five activities are comprehension, misapprehension, imagination, deep sleep, and memory.

Comprehension is based on direct observation of the object, inference, and reference to reliable authorities.

Misapprehension is that comprehension that is taken to be correct until more favorable conditions reveal the actual nature of the object.

1.9 ​
Imagination is the comprehension of an object based only on words and expressions, even though the object is absent.

Deep sleep is when the mind is overcome with heaviness and no other activities are present.

Memory is the mental retention of conscious experience.

​The mind can reach the state of Yoga through practice and detachment.

1.13 ​
Practice is basically the correct effort required to move toward reach and maintain the state of Yoga.

1.14 ​
It is only when the correct practice is followed for a long time, without interruptions and with a quality of positive attitude and eagerness, that it can succeed.

At the highest level there is an absence of any cravings, either for the fulfillment of the sense or for extraordinary experience.

1.16 When an individual has achieved complete understanding of his true self, he will no longer be disturbed by the distracting influences within and around him.

1.17 Then the object is gradually understood fully. At first it is at a more superficial level. In time, comprehension becomes deeper. And finally it is total. There is pure joy in reaching such a depth of understanding. For then the individual is so much at one with the object that he is oblivious to his surroundings.

1.18 The usual mental disturbances are absent. However, memories of the past continue.

1.19 There will be some who are born in a state of Yoga. They need not practice or discipline themselves.

1.20 Through faith, which will give sufficient energy to achieve success against all odds, direction will be maintained. The realization of the goal of Yoga is a matter of time.

1.21 The more intense the faith and the effort, the closer the goal.

1.22 Inevitably the depth of faith varies with different individuals and at different times with the same individual. The results will reflect these variations.

1.23 Offering regular thoughts to Isvara with a feeling of submission to its power, surely enables the state of Yoga to be achieved.

1.24 Isvara is the Supreme Being whose actions are never based on misapprehension.

1.25 ​He knows everything there is to be known.

1.26 He is eternal. In fact he is the ultimate teacher. He is the source of guidance for all teachers: past, present and future.

1.27 In order to relate to him it is necessary to regularly address him properly and reflect on his qualities.

1.28 ​In the way most appropriate to his qualities.

1.29 The individual will in time perceive his true nature. He will not be disturbed by any interruptions that may arise in his journey to the state of Yoga.

1.30 There are nine types of interruptions to developing mental clarity: illness, mental stagnation doubts, lack of foresight, fatigue, overindulgence, illusions about one’s true state of mind, lack of perseverance, and regression. They are obstacles because they create mental disturbances and encourage distractions.

1.31 All these interruptions produce one or more of the following symptoms: mental discomfort, negative thinking, the inability to be at ease in different body postures, and difficulty in controlling one’s breath.

1.32 If one can select an appropriate means to steady the mind and practice this, whatever the provocations, the interruptions cannot take root.

1.33 In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate towards those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.

1.34 The practice of breathing exercise involving extend exhalation might be helpful.

1.35 By regular inquiry into the role of the senses we can reduce mental distortions.

1.36 When we inquire into the what life is and what keeps us alive, we may find some solace for our mental distractions.

1.37 when we are confronted with problems, the counsel of someone who has mastered similar problems can be a great help.

1.38 Inquiry into dreams and sleep and our experiences during or around these states can help to clarify some of our problems.

1.39 Any inquiry of interest can calm the mind.

1.40 When one reaches this state, nothing is beyond comprehension. The mind can follow and help understand the simple and the complex, the infinite and the infinitesimal, the perceptible and the imperceptible.

1.41 When the mind is free from distraction, it is possible for all the mental processes to be involved in the object of inquiry. As one remains in this state, gradually one becomes totally immersed in the object. The mind then, like a flawless diamond, reflects only the features of the object and nothing else.

1.42 Initially, because of our past experiences and ideas, our understanding of the object is distorted. Everything that has been heard, read, or felt may interfere with our perception.

1.43 When the direction of the mind toward the object is sustained, the ideas and memories of the past gradually recede, The mind becomes crystal clear and one with the object. At this moment there is no feeling of oneself. This is pure perception.

1.44 This process is possible with any type of object, at any level of perception, whether superficial and general or in-depth and specific.

1.45 Except that the mind cannot comprehend the very source of perception within us, its objects can be unlimited.

1.46 All these processes of directing the mind involve an object of inquiry.

1.47 Then the individual begins to truly know himself.

1.48 Then, what he sees and shares with others is free from error.

1.49 His knowledge is no longer based on memory or inference. It is spontaneous, direct, and at both a level and an intensity that is beyond the ordinary.

1.50 As this newly acquired quality of the mind gradually strengthens, it dominates the other mental tendencies that are based on misapprehensions.

1.51 The mind reaches a state when it has no impressions of any sort. It is open, clean, simply transparent.



2.1 ​The practice of Yoga must reduce both physical and mental impurities. It must develop our capacity for self- examination and help us to understand that, in the final analysis, we are not the masters of everything we do.

2.2 Then such practice will be certain to remove obstacles to clear perception.

2.3 The obstacles are misapprehensions confused values, excessive attachments, unreasonable dislikes, and insecurity.

2.4 Misapprehension is the source of all the other obstacles. They need not appear simultaneously and their impact varies. Sometimes they are obscure and barely visible; at other times they are exposed and dominant.

2.5 Misapprehension leads to errors in comprehension of the character, origin, and effects of the objects perceived.

2.6 False identity results when we regard mental activity as the very source of perception.

2.7 Excessive attachment is based on the assumption that it will contribute to everlasting happiness.

2.8 Unreasonable dislikes are usually the result of painful experiences in the past connected with particular objects and situations.

2.9 ​ Insecurity is the inborn feeling of anxiety for what is to come. It affects both the ignorant and the wise.

2.10 When the obstacles do not seem to be present, it is important to be vigilant.

2.11 ​Advance toward a state of reflection to reduce their impact and prevent them from taking over.

2.12 Our actions and their consequences are influenced by these obstacles. The consequences may or may not be evident at the time of the action.

2.13 As long as the obstacles prevail they will affect action in every respect: in its execution, its duration, and its consequences.

2.14 The consequences of an action will be painful or beneficial depending on whether the obstacles were present in the concept or implementation of the action.

2.15 Painful effects from any object or situation can be a result of one or more of the following; changes in the perceived object, the desire to repeat pleasurable experiences, and the strong effect of conditioning from the past. In addition, changes within the individual can be contributing factors.

2.16 Painful effects that are likely to occur should be anticipated and avoided.

2.17 The cause of actions that produce painful effects is the inability to distinguish what is perceived from what perceives.

2.18 ​All that is perceived includes not only the external objects but also the mind and the senses. They share three qualities: heaviness activity and clarity. They have two types of effects; to expose the perceiver to thier influences, or to provide the means to find the distinction between them and itself.

2.19 ​All that is perceived is related by the common sharing of the three qualities.

2.20 ​That which perceives is not subject to any variations But it always perceives through the mind.

2.21 All that can be perceived has but one purpose: to be perceived.

2.22 The existence of all objects of perception and their appearance is independent of the needs of the individual perceiver. They exist without individual reference, to cater for the different needs of different individuals.

2.23 All that is perceived whatever it is and whatever its effect may be on a particular individual, has but one ultimate purpose. That is to clarity the distinction between the external that is seen and the internal that sees.

2.24 ​The absence of clarity in distinguishing between what perceives and what is perceived is due to the accumulation of misapprehension.

2.25 As misapprehension is reduced there is a corresponding increase in clarity. This is the path to freedom.

2.26 Essential the means must be directed toward developing clarity so that the distinction between the changing qualities of what is perceived and the unchanging quality of what perceives becomes evident.

2.27 The attainment of clarity is a gradual process.

2.28 The practice and inquiry into different components of Yoga gradually reduce the obstacles such as misapprehension (Sutra 2.3). Then the lamp of perception brightens and the distinction between what perceives and what is perceived becomes more and more evident. Now everything can be understood without error.

2.29 There are eight components of Yoga. There are :
1) yama, our attitudes toward our environment.
2) Niyama, our attitudes toward ourselves.
3) Asana, the practice of body exercises
4) Pranayama, the practice of breathing exercises.
5) Pratyahara, the restraint of our senses.
6) Dharana, the ability to direct our minds.
7) Dhayana, the ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand.
8) Samadhi complete integration with the object to be understood.

2.30 Yama comprises :
1) Consideration for all living things, especially those who are innocent, in difficulty, or worse off than we are.
2) Right communication through speech, writings, gesture, and actions.
3) Noncovetousness or the ability to resist a desire for that which does not belong to us.
4) Moderation in all our actions.
5) Nongreediness or the ability to accept only what is appropriate.

2.31 When the adoption of these attitudes in our environment is beyond compromise, regardless of our social, cultural, intellectual or individual station, it approaches irreversibility.

2.32 ​ xxxxxxx comprises :
1) Cleanness, or keeping our bodies and our surroundings clean and neat.
2) Contentment, or the ability to be comfortable with what we have and what we do not have.
3) The removal of impurities in our physical and mental systems through the maintenance of such correct habits as sleep, exercise, nutrition, work and relaxation.
4) Study and the necessity to review and evaluate our progress.
5) Reverence to a higher intelligence or the acceptance of our limitations in relation to God. The all –knowing.

2.33 ​ When these attitudes are questioned, self-reflection on the possible consequences of alternative attitudes may help.

2.34 For example, a sudden desire to act harshly, or encourage or approve of harsh actions can be contained by reflecting on the harmful consequences. Often such actions are the results of lower instincts such as anger, possessiveness, or unsound judgment. Whether these actions are minor or major, reflection in a suitable atmosphere can contain our desires to act in this way.

2.35 ​ The more considerate one is, the more one stimulates friendly feelings among all in one’s presence.

2.36 ​ One who shows a high degree of right communication will not fail in his actions.

2.37 One who is trustworthy, because he does not covet what belongs to others, naturally has everyone’s confidence and everything is shared with him, however precious it might be.

2.38 At its best, moderation produces the highest individual vitality.

2.39 One who is not greedy is secure. He has time to think deeply. His understanding of himself is complete.

2.40 When cleanliness is developed it reveals what needs to be constantly maintained and what is eternally clean. What decays is the external. What does not is deep within us.

2.41 In addition one becomes able to reflect on the very deep nature of our individual selves, including the source of perception, without being distracted by the senses and with freedom from misapprehension accumulated from the past.

2.42 The result of contentment is total happiness.

2.43 ​The removal of impurities allows the body to function more efficiently.

2.44 Study, when it is developed to the highest degree, brings one close to higher forces that promote understanding of the most complex.

2.45 ​Reverence to God promotes the ability to completely understand any object of choice.

2.46 Asana must have the qualities of alertness and relaxation.

2.47 These qualities can be achieved by recognizing and observing the reactions of the body and the breath to the various postures that comprise asana practice. Once known, these reactions can be controlled step-by step.

2.48 When these principles are correctly followed, asana practice will help a person endure and even minimize the external influence on the body such as age, climate, diet, and work.

2.49 Pranayama is the conscious, deliberate regulation of the breath replacing unconscious patterns of breathing. It is possible only after a reasonable mastery of asana practice.

2.50 It involves the regulation of the exhalation, the inhalation, and the suspension of the breath. The regulation of these three processes is achieved by modulating their length and maintaining this modulation for a period time, as well as directing the mind into the process. These components of breathing must be both long and uniform.

2.51 Then the breath transcends the level of the consciousness.

2.52 The regular practice of pranayama reduces the obstacles that inhibit clear perception.

2.53 ​And the mind is now prepared for the process of direction toward a chosen goal.

2.54 The restraint of senses occurs when the mind is able to remain in its chosen direction and the senses disregard the different objects around them and faithfully follow the direction of the mind.

2.55 Then the senses are mastered.



The mind has reached the ability to be directed (dharana) when direction toward a chosen object is possible in spite of many other potential objects within the reach of the reach of the individual.

​Then the mental activities from an uninterrupted flow only in relation to this object.

​Soon the individual is so much involved in the object that nothing except its comprehension is evident. It is as if the individual has lost his own identity. This is the complete intergration with the object of understanding (samadhi).

​When these processes are continuously and exclusively applied to the same object it is called samyama.

​Samyama on a chosen object leads to a comprehensive knowledge of the object in all its aspects.

​Samyana must be developed gradually.

​Compared to the first five components of Yoga (sutra 2.29) the next three (sutras 3.1, 3.2, 3.3) are more intricate.

​The state where the mind has no impressions of any sort and nothing is beyond its reach (nirbijah samadhi) is more intricate than the state of directing the mind towards an object (samadhi).

​The mind is capable of having two states based on two district tendencies. These are distraction and attention. At any one moment, however, only one state prevails, and this stat influences the individual’s behavior, attitudes, and expressions.

​By constant and uninterrupted practice the mind can remain in a state of attention for a long time.

​The mind alternates between the possibility of intense concentration and a state where alternative objects can attract attention.

​The mind reaches a stage where the link with the object is consistent and continuous. The distractions cease to appear.

​As it has been established that the mind has different states (corresponding to which there arose different attitudes possibilities and behavior patterns in the individual) it can also be said that such changes can occur in all the objects of perception and in the senses. These changes can be at different levels and influenced by external forces such as time or our intelligence.

​A substance contains all its characteristics and, depending on the particular from it takes, those characteristics confirming to that form will be apparent. But whatever the form, whatever the characteristics exhibited, there exists a base that comprises all characteristics. Some have appeared in the past, some are currently apparent, and others may reveal themselves in the future.

​By changing the order or sequences of change, characteristics that are of one pattern can be modified to a different pattern.

​Samyama on the process of change, how it can be affected by time and other factors, develops knowledge of the past and the future.

Soo on the interactions between language, ideas and object is to examine the individual features of the objects, the means of describing them, and the ideas and their cultural influences in the minds of the describers. Through this, one can find the most accurate and effective way of communication regardless of linguistic cultural, and other barriers.

​Samyama on one’s tendencies and habits will lead one to their origins. Consequently one gains deep knowledge of one’s past.

​Samyana on the changes that arise in an individual’s mind and their consequences develops in one the ability to acutely observe the state of mind of others.

​No. The cause of the state of mind of one individual is beyond the scope of observation by another.

​Samyama on the relationship between the features of the body and what affects them can give one the means to merge with one’s surroundings in such a way that one’s form is indistinguishable.

The results of actions may be immediate or delayed. Samyama on this can give one the ability to predict the course of future actions and even his own death.

Different qualities such as friendliness, compassion, and contentment can be inquired into through samyama. Thus, one can learn how to strengthen a chosen quality.

​Samyama on the physical strength of an elephant can give one the strength of an elephant.

​Directing the mind to the life-force itself and sustaining that direction through samyama, results in the ability to observe fine subtleties and understand what is preventing deep observation.

​Samyama on the sun gives wide knowledge of the planetary system and the cosmic regions.

​Samyama on the moon gives a through knowledge of the position of the stars at different times.

​Samyama Polaris gives knowledge about the relative movements of the stars.

​Samyama on the navel gives knowledge about the different organs of the body and their dispositions.

​Using the throat as the point of inquiry for samyama provides an understanding of thirst and hunger. This enables one to control their extreme symptoms.

​Samyama on the chest area and inquiry into the sensations felt there in different physical and mental states gives one the means to remain stable and clam even in very stressful situations.

​Sama on the source of high intelligence in an individual develops supernormal capabilities.

​Anything can be understood. With each attempt fresh and spontaneous understanding arises.

​Samyama on the heart will definitely reveal the qualities of the mind.

The mind which is subject to change, and the Perceiver, which is not, are in proximity but are of distinct and different characters. When the mind is directed externally and acts mechanically toward objects there is either pleasure or pain. When at the appropriate time, however, an individual begins inquiry into the very nature of the link between the Perceiver and perception the mind is disconnected from external objects and there arises the understanding of the Perceiver itself.

​Then one begins to acquire extraordinary capacities for perception.

​For an individual who may revert to a state of distraction, this extraordinary knowledge and the capabilities acquired through samyana are worth possessing. But for one who seeks nothing less than a sustained state of Yoga the result of samyama are obstacles in themselves.

​By inquiring into the cause of this rigid situation binding the mind to the individual and examining the means of relaxing this rigidity there is great potential for an individual to reach beyond the confines of himself.

​By mastering the forces that transmit sensations form the body to the mind it is possible to master the external stimuli. For instance, one can tolerate water of any temperature or the effect of thorns or one can walk on unstable surface and even feel as light as a ballon.

​By mastering samana one can experience sensations of excessive heat.

​Samyama on the relationship between the sense of hearing and space develops an extraordinary sense of hearing.

​By samyama on the relationship between the body and space, and examining the properties of objects that can float such as cotton fluff, the knowledge to move about in space can be achieved.

​By examining these phenomena and developing conditions when the mind does not confuse perception, there arises an extraordinary faculty with which one can probe other minds. In addition the clouds that obscure correct perception are minimized.

​Samyama on the origin of matter in all its forms, appearances, and uses can develop into mastery of the elements.

​When the elements are mastered one is no longer disturbed by them . The body reaches perfection and extraordinary capabilities become possible.

​Perfection in the body means good features, attractiveness to others, physical firmness, and unusual physical strength.

​Mastery over the senses is achieved through samyana on the ability of the senses to observe their respective objects, how such objects are understood, how the individual identifies with the object, how the object, the senses, the senses, the mind, and the Perceiver are interrelated, and what results from such perception.

​Then the response of the senses will be as swift as that of the mind. They will perceive acutely and the individual will have the capacity to influences the characteristics of the elements.

​When there is clear understanding of the difference between the Perceiver and the mind, all the various states of mind and what affects them become known. Then the mind becomes a perfect instrument for the flawless perception of everything that need be known.

​Freedom, the last goal of Yoga, is attained only when the desire to acquire extraordinary knowledge is rejected and the source of obstacles is completely controlled.

​The temptation to accept the respectful status as a consequences of acquiring knowledge through samyana should be restrained. Otherwise, one is led to the same unpleasant consequences that arise from all obstacles to Yoga.

​Samyama on time and its sequence brings about absolute clarity.

​This clarity makes it possible to distinguish objects even when the distinction is not apparently clear. Apparent similarity should not deter one from the district perception of a chosen object.

​Such clarity is not exclusive of any object, any particular situation, or any moment. It is not the result of sequential logic. It is immediate, spontaneous, and total.

​Freedom is when the mind has complete identity with the Perceiver.



​Exceptional mental capabilities may be achieved by: genetic inheritance, the use of herbs as prescribed in the Vedas, reciting incantations, rigorous austerities, and through that state of mind that remains with its object without distractions (samadhi).

Change from one set of characteristics to another is essentially an adjustment of the basic qualities of matter.

​But such intelligence can only remove obstacles that obstruct certain changes. Its role is no more than that of a farmer who cuts a dam to allow water to flow into the field where it is needed.

​With exceptional mental faculties an individual can influence the mental state of other begins.

​This influence also depends on the state of the recipient.

​Influence on another by one whose mind is a state of dhyana can never increase anxiety or other obstacles. In fact, they are reduced.

​And they act without any motivation while others who also have exceptional capabilities act with some motivation or other.

​Because the tendency of the mind to act on the basis of the five obstacles, such as misapprehension, has not been erased, they will surface in the future to produce their unpleasant consequence.

​Memory and latent impressions are strongly linked. This link remains even if there is an interval of time, place, or context between similar actions.

​There is a strong desire for immortality in all men at all times. Thus these impressions cannot be ascribed to any time.

​These tendencies are both maintained and sustained by misapprehensions, external stimuli, attachment to the fruits of actions, and the quality of mind that promotes hyperactivity. Reduction of these automatically makes the undesirable impressions ineffective.

​The substance of what has disappeared as well as what may appear always exists. Whether or not they are evident depends upon the direction of change.

​Whether or not particular characteristics appear depends on the mutations of the three qualities.

The characteristics of a substance at one moment in time is in fact a single change in these qualities.

​The characteristics of an object appear differently, depending upon the different mental states of the observer.

​If the object were indeed the conception of a particular individual’s mind, then in the absence of his perception, would it exist?

​Whether an object is perceived or not depends on its accessibility as well as the individual’s motivation.

​Mental activities are always known to the Perceiver that is nonchanging and master of the mind.

In addition, the mind is a part of what is perceived and has no power of its own to perceive.

​The premise that the mind can play two roles is untenable because it cannot simultaneously fabricate and see what it fabricates.

​In an individual with such a series of minds of momentary existence there would be disorder and the difficulty of maintaining consistency of memory.

​When the mind is not linked to external objects and it does not respect an external form to the Perceiver, then it takes the form of the Perceiver itself.

​Thus the mind serves a dual purpose. It serves the Perceiver by presenting the external to it. It also respects or presents the Perceiver to itself for its own enlightenment.

​Even though the mind has accumulated various impressions of different types it is always at the disposal of the Perceiver. This is because the mind cannot function without the power of the perceiver.

​A person of extraordinary clarity is one who is free from the desire to know the nature of the Perceiver.

And their clarity takes then to their only concern; to reach and remain in a state of freedom.

​In the unlikely possibility of distraction from this aim, disturbing past impressions are able to surface.

​One must never accommodate even small errors because they are as detrimental as the five obstacles.

​There arises a state of mind full of clarity concerning all things all times. It is like a rainfall of pure clarity.

​This is, indeed, the state free from actions based on the five obstacles.

​When the mind free from the clouds that prevent perception, all is known, there is nothing to be known.

​The three basic qualities cease to follow the sequence of alternating pain and pleasure.

​A sequences is the replacement of one characteristic by one that follows it. This is linked to moment. A replacement of characteristics is also the basis of a moment.

​When the highest purpose of life is achieved the three basic qualities do not excite responses in the mind. That is freedom. In other words, the Perceiver is no longer colored by the mind.

( apologies for any mistakes or typos )

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