Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Knowledge Sheet 17
"Shraddhveerya smrutisamadhiprajnapurvaka itaresham"
By faith, by vigor or courage, by memory of having experienced the Self and through the deep state of equanimity, a state of heightened awareness is gained.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #20
Samadhi Through Faith
This is a vital sutra. Shraddha means faith. Faith makes your consciousness stable, steady and solid. Doubt in consciousness makes you vulnerable, fearful and uncertain. Faith brings totality in you. It pulls together all loose ends of consciousness. It integrates your whole personality. Doubt scatters you and destroys you. Doubt disseminates you and your energy. Doubt is something that pulls you apart. Dissemination of energy is doubt. Consolidation of your energy is faith. The very feeling of you having faith is a sort of consolidation, of strength.
That is why Jesus also said that faith is your strength. They are synonymous — faith and strength. When you are strong and bold, you have faith. When you are weak and feeble, you have doubts. Doubt and uncertainty are signs of weakness. When there is faith, then samadhi (equanimity) is also achieved (just out of faith).
Samadhi Through Valor
Veerya is valor. For example, the force with which a soldier marches on is veerya. Have you not noticed how valor rises in people when they say, "We fight for our country, my country. My country is in danger, my religion is in danger." You think they simply do it without getting any joy out of it? In that moment of valor or extreme sense of patriotism, they get such a tremendous joy. That is why this world is facing wars again and again. If people would completely condemn war, if nobody liked war, then war cannot and would not happen.
Though the result of war is not palatable, the process of war is very thrilling for people. Every cell of your body becomes united, the whole consciousness becomes one, and the whole defence system in you gets awakened. That is again strength: defence against fear. When defence against fear comes to its peak, it is joyful because there is equanimity. There is a sense of gratitude, patriotism, and devotion. That sense of patriotism, valor or vigor also takes you to a state of meditation.
Samadhi Through Memories of Peace
Smruti is memory. Once you have had a very peaceful, beautiful state of mind (experience), the very memory of it will make you relive that. Memory of samadhi reproduces memory of the Self, freedom, devotion, surrender, love, joy and this brings you back to yourself, Often, we do not remember nice things. What we keep remembering is bad things. We do not remember compliments but we remember somebody's insults. But yoga is turning the wheel around (a full circle). Remember those wonderful moments you have had. Sit and be with it. In that very memory, your entire being gets back to that state.
Then through samadhi, through deep meditation, through a deep equanimous mind also awareness is gained. Pragya or heightened awareness is the result of samadhi. An equanimous mind gives rise to a heightened awareness. These many ways are there so that you can blossom in life. These are the other ways of being aware of the Self.
(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)