The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali
Chapter 3 - On Powers
Concentration is the binding of consciousness to one place.
Meditative absorption is when all the notions that fill the mind are directed towards that one place.
Enstasy occurs when, in that state of meditative absorption, the object of focus shines forth as if devoid of form and the observer merges with the observed.
All three of these techniques – concentration, meditative absorption and enstasy – practiced together are known as constraint.
With mastery of constraint comes the light of insight.
This mastery progresses in stages.
These three limbs – concentration, meditative absorption and enstasy are inner limbs, compared to the previous five which are outer limbs.
Even so, they are outer limbs compared to the process of seedless enstasy.
That moment of transition when latent impulses that tend towards action and consequence have been subjugated and new impulses that promote further restriction emerge is called the restriction transformation.
This transformation is a calm and steady flow of restrictive latent impulses.
The dwindling of outward dissipation and the rise of single-pointed focus is called the integration transformation.
That moment when the quieting and the rising notions of consciousness become similar is called the single-pointedness transformation.
The elements and the senses undergo transformations of quality, of time span and of condition as a result of the passage of time.
The underlying substance of these three things goes through latent, emergent and unmanifested stages.
The sequence of progression of these three stages is the reason for the differentiation of the above-mentioned transformations.
Through constraint on these successive transformations comes knowledge of the past and future.
The object, the notion of the object and the name of the object all become confused as a result of being superimposed on each other. Constraint on the distinction between these three brings knowledge of the language of all beings.
Through direct observation of latent impulses comes knowledge of one’s previous births.
Through direct observation of the notion of another one gains knowledge of that other’s consciousness.
This, however, does not include knowledge of the underlying notions of that consciousness as they are not the object of constraint.
By practicing constraint on the body’s form one becomes invisible. The ability to be perceived is suspended and the light that travels to the observer’s eye is disrupted.
The consequences of action are either imminent or deferred. Both omens and constraint on these consequences reveal knowledge of the yogin’s own death.
Constraint on friendliness, compassion and delight brings power.
Constraint on specific powers, such as those of an elephant, brings those powers.
Constraint on one’s inner light brings knowledge of that which is subtle, hidden or distant.
Constraint on the sun brings knowledge of the universe.
Constraint on the moon brings knowledge of the positions of the stars.
Constraint on the pole star brings knowledge of the stars’ movements.
Constraint on the navel chakra brings knowledge of the body’s organization.
Constraint on the throat chakra stops hunger and thirst.
Constraint on the “tortoise” subtle energy channel brings steadiness.
Constraint on the luminous crown chakra brings visions of those who are perfected.
Or all becomes known through a spontaneous flash of illumination.
Constraint on the heart brings understanding of the nature of consciousness.
Experience is caused by the lack of distinction between the true self and the luminous serenity of the material world. The material world exists for the sake of the true self, whereas the true self exists for its own sake. Constraint on the distinction between these two brings knowledge of the true self.
With this constraint comes spontaneous illumination through hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting and smelling.
These are obstacles to enstasy. They are achievements of ordinary awareness.
The entering of another’s body can be accomplished by relaxing the causes of attachment to one’s own and by understanding the working of consciousness.
Mastery over the rising current of life-force in the body brings the ability to levitate over such things as water, swamps and thorns.
Mastery over the balancing current of life-force in the body brings radiance of the body.
Constraint on the relationship between ear and ether brings clairaudience.
Constraint on the relationship between body and ether makes consciousness coincide with the lightness of cotton. In this way it becomes possible for the body to travel through space.
Constraint on a disembodied state of consciousness outside the body causes the veil that covers the inner light to dwindle.
Mastery over the elements is gained by constraint on their coarse and subtle aspects, on their essential nature, their interrelatedness and on their purpose.
From this come other powers, such as the ability to shrink to the size of an atom, perfection of the body and invulnerability.
This bodily perfection consists of beauty, grace, strength and diamond-like hardness.
Mastery over the sense organs comes from constraint on the act of perception itself, on the essential nature of the senses, on identification with them, on their interrelatedness and on their purpose.
With this the senses can function without aid of the sense organs, moving with the quickness of the mind, and gaining mastery over the underlying substance of nature.
Discernment between the true self and the luminous serenity of the material world brings omniscience and supremacy over all states of existence.
With dispassion for even this, the seeds of imperfection dwindle and pure, emancipated awareness is achieved.
Even under the attention of celestial beings, the yogin should not smile proudly nor give cause for attachment, lest undesirable inclinations should recur.
Constraint on the fundamental unit of time and its sequence of progression brings the wisdom of discriminative discernment.
With this it becomes possible to distinguish between similar things normally indistinguishable by type, appearance or position.
The wisdom of discriminative discernment encompasses all things and transcends time and its progression.
When the mind achieves qualities of serenity and tranquility equal to the purity of the true self it has achieved pure, emancipated awareness.
(Excerpt from "Practicing Freedom: The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali" by Witold Fitz-Simon, $14.95, available now from amazon.com or or from the store.)