Lahiri Mahasaya Mentions of Patanjali Yoga Sutras
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On this page is some gist from Lahiri Mahasaya's commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.
Gaining mind sway
Control of the mind can be had through tactics, says Panchanon Bhattacharya, a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.
It is generally supposed that kriya yoga fits into Patanjali's eight-step yoga form, where the beginner "rises into deep" meditation - subtilises his perceptions. It is not wrong to see yoga training as a way of such an awakening process. [cf. Iv 130] (2)
Panchanon Bhattacharya (1853-1919), a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-95), was permitted by him to publish many of Lahiri's commentaries on significant texts in Hinduism, including the Yoga Sutras, which is a terse sort of primer in one form of yoga. Bhattachariya stated in some of the Lahiri commentaries that the content was not understandable to other than yogis, and that some of the statements of Lahiri Mahasaya were not intelligible even to disciples. [cf. Iv 131] (3)
❖ It is not enough to read with an open mind.
Yoga - science or art or -?
When a yogi says "This yoga is a science," it is good to be aware that "science" has many meanings and many shades of meaning, unless well specified. He could mean, "This yoga stands out from ignorance (it is a science)" Or what he intends to say, could be "This yoga covers general truths that you can test thoroughly or systematically yourself by the methods devised."
Sniff out or ferret out which senses of the word "science" could be intended, for your own good.
Yogananda, a disciple of one of Lahiri's disciples, made his own simplified form of kriya yoga known in the West and also drummed up great hype after some years. He soon started to teach that the kriya yoga he spread, offered 144 times as good perspectives for the practitioner as his guru's kriya yoga - the kriya form he was supposed to spread among Westerners. Yogananda also told that kriya yoga worked like mathematics. But that is not true. How carefully you do a kriya determines the results, tells Lahiri somewhere where he speaks against doing many, improper kriyas. So you can't indiscriminately count the kriya rounds you perform; you also have to take into account how well you perform them - and most likely how far you and your buddies tear down your effects throughout the day, or maybe they help you! There are many factors, and somehow mathematics is not fit to determine the quality of kriya breathing and its enlarged performance full well. At least none has tried to find out of it, to my knowing.
Also, as far as I know, mathematics does not work, it shows. Do not be taken in by words.
Kriya as quite an art: According to one definition of art, it is something that is made and/or displayed with the intention of it being art. Kriya yoga is quite an art more than a "science wonder", for science is not contingent on devotion either, devotion which Yogananda instituted along with that breathing regimen. So take care. There are lots of disgusting plots, and some aim at enrolling you and dominate your life from then on.
Introducing the Tenets
Below are tenets that stem from Lahiri's sometimes plain commentaries on the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. There is a Yoga Sutras reader that seeks to make the Yoga Sutras better understandable on another page. I recommend reading that reader first, for if you do, you may grasp much more of what Lahiri seems to talk of. [Link]
The following "threads of thought", were prepared by me on top of Lahiri's Yoga Sutra teachings. The intention is to document how yoga gloss can be put to good use, and how a systematic presentation may enhance the value of fragmented sayings.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjani is divided into four chapters. Below is gist from Lahiri's comments in chapter 1. The numbers in brackets below refer to verses (sutras) of Patanjali, not to pages.
Self to Develop
You may notice that Lahiri focuses on meditation matters very much in his commentaries on other books. Practice that aims at ending up subtle, is going for results, and may thereby stultify finer results by hampering the mental glide inward. But marriages and one-pointed subtlety can help the plumbing mind or Self to develop somewhat.
The Self is above abandoning expectations for results too, and beyond being solely inside the mind
ABANDON expectations for results. [cf. 31]
Objects look void in some states of yoga. [cf. 43]
Established in the Self, the heart becomes one with the Self. [cf. 41]
Beyond time is the inner Self that is greater than the Creator. [cf. 26]
The calm, great state is more easily gained through great disinterest. [cf. 37]
The contemplative is to hold onto the Self. [cf. 33]
The Self is above the results of bad actions. [cf. 24]
Train awareness of the heart inside the mind. [cf. 30]
The pure and those free of reasoning, win the grace of Self in their lives. [cf. 47]
Yogic liberation is the ultimate Self. [cf. 51]
Inner wisdom is called illumination. [cf. 36]
Indifference is to be developed in very many cases. [cf. 33]
Practice to awaken in the subtle Self, needs to end up subtle, at least
BEING ineffective, in doubt, lethargic and unstable distract the yogi. [cf. 30]
The seeker is to develop disinterest. [cf. 16]
Unwillingness to do good yoga, and wrong notions, are hindrances of yoga. [cf. 30] [
Great contentment is to be sought on top of righteousness. [cf. 33]
Practice to make the mind focused, i.e., one-pointed. [cf. 32]
Subtlety is the gist. [cf. 45]
The heart calms down through yogic pranayama. [cf. 34]
The seed of omniscience is holding stably onto the inner Self, cultivating it. [cf. 25]
The state of calm can be had by dreams and drowsy feelings. [cf. 38]
Wisdom may be blessed by the grace of the Self. [cf. 49]
The sound of OM (AUM) reaches into Selfhood
LOOKING steadfastly upwards like a fool can be a clear sign of yoga trance. [cf. 1]
Reverence is generated by doing kriya [cf. 20]
The sound of OM is also known as pranava (pranaba). One should listen in to it. [cf. 27]
Some say the Self is above practice and results, but frankly, Selfhood is to be developed. And it takes time. There are plotters who teach differently.
"Don't get burnt"
The purpose of doing kriya should be different from burning out in bliss. And then again, in old yoga works it is stated that yoga is a fire rite called tapas, i.e., sacrifice, penance - There you have it. Those who burn, seem to glow, and those who burn, may be manipulated into it.
Don't burn yourself to death. Don't burn and sacrifice more than you can afford - let sustainability into your daily schedule.Don't let anyone set a long-range destructive fire to you, then.
The slokas, or verses, that follow are from Lahiri Mahasaya's commentaries to the second chapter of Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
The Assumedly Deep Seer
The Deep Seer is strong to see and act on his tall wisdom given through the third eye in the forehead. And the Deep Seer needs to be strong to suffer troubles stemming from common people who do not understand a word of what he says and want to get him a doctor.
Far-out knowledge is somehow attuned to the Hovering Self
FROM GREAT purity Divinity can [at last] be generated, and the capacity for realizing the Self. [cf. 41]
When truth is established, kriya becomes fruitful. [cf. 36]
Enlightenment starts, and much wisdom can be attained. [cf. 148]
Knowledge of far-away-places can be had from looking steadfastly into the third eye in the forehead. [cf. 45]
By burning the seeds of suffering one goes to the ultimate Self. [cf. 10]
Ignorance . . . is a root of troubles in life. [cf. 5]
Righteous action can and should result in happiness. [cf. 14] [
To ordinary people mind tricks still exist. [[cf. 22]
Hatred is due to ignorance 
The Deep Seer is strong to see
BY [COMMON] contentment much happiness can be had. [cf. 42]
But the man of Knowledge considers all states of manifestation to be sorrow. 
The Deep Seer is consciousness. [cf. 20]
Do kriya to attain samadhi. [cf. 2] [
The seer and seen are the unreasonable association [cf. 23]
By doing Patanjali yoga, impurities are purified to enrich righteousness. [cf. 28]
Common people do not see too well
CULTIVATING good sentiments is necessary for removing doubts about how to live and regulate one's life (yama and niyama, do's and don'ts). [cf. 33]
Through purity one tends to dissociate from others. [cf. 40]
Ordinary people do not see the hollowness of the world's appearance. 
What is seen is meant for enjoyment of the seer. 
Anger stemming from sorrow is called hatred [cf. 8]
Deep knowledge may or may not harm the one that brings it out in the open. What
effects or fruits realizations have, depend on several other things as well, including how
many there are around to share them.
By meditation, gain in Selfhood
Start practicing to make the mind one-pointed. [1:32]
By the practice of pranayama, gradually dharana (focus) is formed. [2:53]
NOTE. The reverse is also true: In deep meditation kriyas (pranayama) come spontaneously.
From purity [santosha] are generated divinity, tranquility, concentration. [2:41]
NOTE. Santosh(a) means contentment and satisfaction, and not purity.]
By concentration on the strength of the elephant, strength is attained. [3:25]
NOTE. Strength normally is related to muscle size and muscle amount, sinews, tendons, bone structures, and so on. The strength talked of in this case appears to be of a taller kind.
In Patanjali's book, dharana is described after the first external five steps of his system. [3:1]
NOTE. What truly helps, is meditation, which is placed as the seventh step of eight in Patanjali's system. Meditation does not depend on all the preliminaries of Patanjali, and does hardly build much on them either. They may, however, "fill in" later, as time goes by, but "first things first" is not a bad idea. Transcendental Meditation, TM, maintains this.
In the background of Kaivalya ("aloofness") notions arise. [4:26]
NOTE. In Samkhya Yoga, kaivalya is presented as 'aloneness' and the end goal of yoga. But here we are informed that something goes on in the background of such "aloneness". At least it means that "aloneness alone" is not the end goal, then, contrary to what Lahiri's disciple, Yukteswar, teaches.
Continuously looking at one Star like a fool is called samadhi (variously described as a state of union, or of deep, inner attunement). [1:1]
The tranquil state can be attained even by the means of dreams and drowsy feelings. [1:37-38]
There are eight steps in Patanjali's Yoga: yama (restraint) is one half of one of the steps: The following points constitute yama: Ahimsa (non-violence); Satya (truth); asteya (non-stealing); brahmacharaya (celibacy, or restraining the senses to hold onto the Self); and aparigraha (not accepting help from others). [2:29-30] [Did Lahiri seek to help others by commentaries, then?]
Due to the expansion of heart into another's body, the yogi can enter another's body, and the senses follow the mind. [3:39]
When these three - meditation, careful focus, and deep-going attunement - are unified and well mastered this is called sanyama, or "good focus". [3:4]
Four kinds of samadhi or Self-attunements include "the seed of the intellect". [1:46]
Having yogic powers may soon become obstructions to attaining samadhi, Self-attunement, although they are effective in bringing fruits to the practical life. [3:38] ◊
The other half of the step is called niyama (rule): Saucha (external purity); santosh (internal purity); tapa (that which can be known personally from the Guru); swadhyaya (listening to the sound of Om); and pranidhana (holding onto the Self). [2: 32]
To remove doubts about yama and niyama, cultivating good sentiments is necessary. [2:33]
By concentration on the lumbar center, knowledge of the physical body is achieved. [3:30]
One may experience doubts and certainties manifesting from the state of Realisation
In any state other than samadhi, the Self is experienced according to the waves of the heart. There are five kinds of vrittis, or "deep mind waves (or stirs)," and they are centered around attachment due to pleasure and detachment due to suffering. [1:4-5]
The following [qualities may be] attained: handsomeness, loveliness, strength and the power for bearing hardship. [3:47]
To remove doubts, focus on Venus. [* [cf. 2:33 and 3:34]
By focusing on Venus, obstructions may become fruits somehow. [* [cf. 3:34 and 3:38]
Absolute knowledge and all relative knowledge are due to inner Realization. [3:55] ◊
By concentration on Venus, all knowledge is attained. [3:34]
It helps to practice for major benefits as undisturbedly as can be
Remain steadfast to the great, help-offering universals in life [as long and as fast as you can]. [cf. 2:31] (5)
By focus on "character, definition and different states", knowledge of the past and future is attained. [3:16]
By concentration on the relation between the body and the sky, the body becomes as light as cotton and moves in the sky. [3:43]
When the attachments of the heart are transcended, then the transcendental state is attained. [3:6]
To remove suffering and to attain samadhi (union), kriya koga [can] be practiced. And gradually, some "inner sound," is heard. Afterwards, the supreme Being and inner wisdom are both attained. [2:2]
The radiant Self is not seen by ordinary eyes. [4:18]
When the seeker continuously and undistractedly holds onto a fit focal place for one's Self) this is called dhyana, or "meditation". [3:2]
By santosh, or "contentment," a great deal of happiness is achieved. [2:42] ◊
When inhaling and exhaling naturally stop, then pranayama is held. [2:49]
Whoever masters this concentration becomes poised in the inner Light of Wisdom. Whenever he concentrates, he will receive inner wisdom, that is, inner Realization. [3:5]
Pranayama is derived from prana ("Life Force") and ayama ("expansion"). The expansion of Life Force in the state of Tranquil Breath is the state of pranayama. [2:55]
NOTE. 'Ayama' means such as length, extension, length, and restraint. Thus: "prana-extension" along with "prana-control" or "prana mastery" and the like. A related understanding is "yoga trance induced by stopped breathing" (!). and still other understandings of 'ayama' are found too, such as non-restraint; indulgence. If these understandings are tidily applied, you may end up with something like "sweet indulgences" related to one's life" too - and that is indeed a key to non-ascetic tantric yoga.
By holding onto the Kutastha with efforts to keep the mind tranquil, can one stop those waves of the heart. [1:12-13]
When Satya, or "Truth" [Satya also means integrity] is established, then Kriya becomes fruitful. [2:36]
The Seer is Consciousness only. -- The Atom of Brahman, or "the ultimate Self", is beyond objects. [2:20; 1:36]
NOTE. It consciousness only sees the "atom of Brahma", beyond "things", it means your core is not a thing, not something physical, and only is discernible by subtle consciousness. ◊◊
The inner Self is beyond time. [1:13]
NOTE. It means your core may discern past and future things too.
Dhyana, Dharana and Samadhi - meditation, a focus, and Deep-Self-attunement - are of the inner side and external to the state beyond the inner Sound that is called Omkara (Om, Aum). [3:7-8]
You can gain in Self-awareness and Being by meditation, and practice meticulous sanyama (intense yet lax focus in deep meditation) along with it for gaining other yoga benefits, such as those Patanjali divulge.
Iv: Satyeswarananda, sw., tr: Inner Victory: With Lahiri Mahasay's Commentaries. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1987.
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