3.25 Meditative integration (samyama) on the strength of an elephant and similar qualities, delivers them.
Whenever you want to achieve something, the first step is to imagine that goal clearly in your mind. This is true, for instance, with the practice of asana, yoga postures. To be able to practice a posture it is most helpful to imagine clearly what the posture looks like and from there you begin your journey. In most spiritual traditions, there are archetypes representing a variety of virtues. Whenever people want to cultivate a certain virtue, they are advised to invite the archetype of that virtue to assist and support them in moving towards the desired objective by engaging in prayer or ritual with that archetype in mind. This sutra presents a similar idea by using meditative integration on whatever archetype represents the qualities one desires in order to embody those qualities. Although this notion may not seem realistic, consider that recent research has found that it is possible to gain muscle strength by imagining that one is exercising even when the muscles don’t move ( Some researchers have found that it is possible to gain strength from exercising mentally even without physically performing the exercise while other studies have also found that the nervous system can influence muscular strength or weakness). Thus, is it possible that Patañjali and the ancient yogis may have already established those connections through their own research using their own bodies and minds as their laboratories? You can empirically research the question Can I embody strength, kindness, intelligence, prosperity, compassion? It stands to reason that you are more likely to dedicate the necessary time and energy to this endeavor if the question is meaningful and relevant to you and your life. Otherwise, it may become a short-term project with less probability of success. Whatever quality you desire will be most valuable if it contributes to enhance your internal harmony. Usually, when something enhances your internal harmony, it will probably be uplifting for other beings and for life in general. Thus, if you choose to embark on the journey of bringing this sutra into your life, it will be wise to begin by clarifying your reasons for cultivating those qualities as well as by assessing the usefulness of the desired effects.
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:
3.25 baleṣu hastibalādīnī
बलेषु हस्तिबलादीनी ॥२५॥
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