3.48 Meditative integration (samyama) on perception, essential character, sense of self, inherent qualities and purpose results in mastery of the senses.
This sutra presents the culmination of the pratyahara practice introduced at the end of Chapter Two of the Yoga Sutra (2.54 & 2.55). In this case, the single-pointed focus of samyama is directed to the senses themselves. It follows a similar approach to the focus on the elements presented in aphorism 3.45. Like the rest of yoga, this is a gradual progression from one level of experience into a subtler one. It begins with attention to the perceptual process. Every stimulus activates one sense organ causing it to receive the generic and specific qualities of whatever is perceived. Going deeper, attention rests on the essential character unique to the sense organ that is active. This leads to the sense of self (“I”) manifesting through that sense. The tendencies of manifestation (activity-rajas, inertia-tamas, clarity-sattva, mentioned in sutras 2.18–2.19) inherent in that sense organ become more evident. Then, the process reveals the purpose of the sense as an instrument of experience for liberation from misidentification. True mastery of the senses liberates the practitioner from chasing after sensations. This sutra is an invitation to gain a profound experiential relationship with your senses as vehicles of freedom from sensory conditioning.
Is living in the world a never-ending journey of overloading your senses?
What are the sensory experiences you expose yourself to?
How in tune are you with your own perceptual systems and processes? What is the purpose of your sensory experiences?
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:
3.48 grahaṇasvarūpāsmitānvayārthavattvasaṃyamātindriya jayaḥ
ग्रहणस्वरूपास्मितान्वयार्थवत्त्वसंयमातिन्द्रिय जयः ॥४८॥
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