The title of Chapter Three of the Yoga Sutra, vibhuti, may be translated as penetrating, abundance, welfare, wealth, magnificence, great power, prosperity, splendor, greatness, and fortune. The overall theme in this chapter is the advanced meditation practices and how they reveal the subtle aspects of reality. The sutras in this chapter can be organized in the following groups:
With the first five limbs of yoga, the practitioner increases harmony between life and awareness, thereby reducing internal levels of reactivity. The final three limbs of yoga, concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and integration (samadhi), complete the system of yoga. When applied together these three limbs are called Samyama and through gradual cultivation result in insight into the highest wisdom. Samyama is more internal than the first five limbs, yet it is still not as deep as the highest level of integration. Samyama is a process that continues the journey from pratyahara, inward sense orientation, to concentration that becomes effortless and invites growing inner silence. Since most of the obstacles to connecting to our true nature result from our misidentification, the release of erroneous beliefs about ourselves brings about a deep level of integration. This integration happens as a gradual transformation at the physical, physiological, mental, and emotional levels manifesting as growing inner peace and inward focus. As a result, a new tendency towards inner silence takes hold, becoming deeply rooted so that all distractions dissolve and single-pointed awareness gets established. Consequently, the illusion of separateness dissolves, and it is possible to notice the similarities between one instant and the next. Having released the limiting filters used to interpret all experiences, awareness attunes through the senses to the direct and unobstructed experience of life in its constitutive elements including their properties, characteristics, and states. Consequently, changes can be perceived with unparalleled clarity offering insight into all phenomena.
By directing meditative integration (samyama) into the dimensions of change, past and future become evident. Meditative integration can reveal languages and communication with all beings, knowledge of previous lives, a person’s state of mind, and the time of one’s death. Samyama can also confer imperceptibility. It can enhance qualities and strengths; offer perception of what is hidden as well as knowledge of the subtle realms of the universe, stars and constellations; understanding of the body; control of thirst and hunger; communication with perfected disembodied beings; access to the inner light of awareness; knowledge of one’s mind; impartiality; extraordinary intuition; capability to enter somebody else’s body; levitation; radiance; traveling through space; awareness beyond the body; extraordinary sense perception; extraordinary physical powers; bodily perfection; independence from sense organs; omniscience and omnipotence. However, only through detachment from these achievements can temptation be averted. By releasing all misidentification (avidya), the conditioning imposed by all the ways of being is finally removed. Only through discerning the distinction between one’s true nature and one’s ways of being can absolute liberation manifest. The practitioner becomes an embodiment of true insight into all aspects of reality, absolutely free from conditioned existence.
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of the sutras in this chapter is by chanting them.
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This is an excerpt from the book Unravel the thread: Applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to live a happy life
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