3.24 Meditative integration (samyama) on friendliness (maitri) and the other qualities (compassion-karuna, inspiration-mudita, and equanimity-upeksha) brings about their powers and effects.
While some people tend to think about the chapters in the Yoga Sutra as independent paths for practitioners at different levels, it is also possible to notice that there is indeed a thread connecting the sutras so that each aphorism provides support, explanation or reinforcement for effective application into life. Similarly, it can be argued that Patañjali created a compendium of yoga practices coming from a variety of approaches and traditions. If that is your position on the Yoga Sutra, you may feel inclined to focus mostly on the parts of the Sutra that resonate with you, your opinions, and beliefs. On the other hand, you could be open to the possibility that yoga is an integrated approach to living that addresses the needs of your body, mind, and emotions as well as your own social nature and your role in the world at large. This aphorism expands on sutra 1.33, the invitation to cultivate friendliness, compassion, inspiration, and equanimity towards yourself and others. Samyama acts as a catalyst that accelerates the power of these qualities.
What happens when you focus fully on becoming an abode of friendliness (maitri)?
What do you notice when you meditate on compassion (karuna) by sending wholehearted wishes for freedom from suffering and for the well-being of all living beings without exception or condition?
What develops when you meditate on feeling inspired by the accomplishments of those who are making the world a more just and fairer place?
What happens when you meditate on equanimity, openness to give others the benefit of the doubt?
A simple approach to bringing these questions into application is by bringing into your mind an image or memory that triggers the desired feeling. Notice the resulting sensations and emotions. Gradually release the contents of your mind that triggered the sensations and emotions. Remain with sensations and emotions only. Stay with the subtle sensations, gradually softening your hold on the sensations. Witness whatever unfolds.
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
3.24 maitryadiṣu balāni
मैत्र्यदिषु बलानि ॥२४॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast:
This is an excerpt from the book Unravel the thread: Applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to live a happy life