Steadiness, in spite of being in any sensory activity, is Samadhi

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 42

Contd. from knowledge sheet 41

"Ksheenavruttihi" - When all these five activities, which we have dealt with before, are subdued. Subduing these activities.

(I Sūtra 41)


Kshena = powerless; vruttihi = modulations of the mind; abhijatasya = transparent; iva = like; manehe = crystal; grahitri = the knower; grahana = knowing; tatstha = remaining in it; tadanjanata = in spite of being with objects; samapattihi = samadhi.

"On making the modulations of the mind powerless and on becoming a transparent crystal, (the mind which holds the senses of the objects, in spite of being engaged in the world of senses), all the three (mind, senses and objects) are in a state of harmony, in samadhi."

The consciousness, which grabs or holds, and the object which it holds, and the senses through which it holds: when all the three are in harmony, that is samadhi. Do you get this point? The one who is seeing, the mind, and the Self, which is seeing, are in harmony. The senses are in harmony, the eyes are in harmony.

The eyes are the instruments through which the beholder sees. Ears are the instruments through which you hold the sound. So your ears, the sound, and from where the sound is coming - you see all the three are connected. They all become keen, crystal clear.

When can this happen? When your mind is not going on its own trip of regret, anger, anticipation or all that. Proof, wrong knowledge, fantasy, sleep and memory. You know, when you look at a mountain, you don't just look at the mountain; you say, "Oh! This is beautiful", and then it does not stop there, "Oh this is like Canada, this is like Himalayas". Immediately, something is added to it.

So you are not seeing it as it is, but you are seeing it through comparison, memory. That is not samadhi.

There is an old story in India. A king had heard about a garden that a person had created with sunflowers. It was a beautiful sunflower garden in the middle of a desert. Rajasthan (a state in India) is all desert.

So amidst that desert, a man had cultivated, toiled and created a sunflower garden. The king had heard about it and since it was believed to be beautiful, he thought that he should go and see it. When he went there, he saw only one sunflower.

 The man who was cultivating it had removed all the other flowers but one. The king said, "What is this? I have heard a lot about your garden". The gardener said, "See, this is the flower for you! When there are many flowers, you will compare. Just to make it easy for you to look at the flower, I removed everything else. Your calculating mind will start, this is bigger, this is bigger, that is bigger. This one has blossomed, that one has blossomed."

Now, the king had no choice but to look at only one flower!

Graheetrugrahanagrahyeshu. That which holds. What holds? The mind, the soul holds the sight, the sound. It holds the space, it holds the memory, it holds the senses and the objects, and all the three are in samadhi. This is Sampattihi Tadasthatadanjaata.

Though you are engaged in the activities of the senses, there is no feverishness. There is steadiness. Do you see what I am saying? You are eating food and every bit of it you taste and it is just moving gracefully through your throat. Otherwise, you are stuffing your food inside and it is like a stampede.

The more anxious you are, the more nervous you are, the more shaky you are, you stuff food very fast. Have you noticed this? This is not samadhi. Eat the food thoroughly. Sixty percent of the food gets digested in the saliva of the mouth itself. Forty to sixty percent.

Steadiness: in spite of being in any sensory activity. Patanjali goes on to explain a few more things, such as very subtle modification of the senses. Okay, you are experiencing. Even in this, the mind is coming up, the knowledge about it. "This is an apple which I am seeing, this is a rose which I am seeing, this is so and so…" All this is a very subtle discussion or awareness about the knowledge of the past and the future. Patanjali calls this Savitarka.

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)