The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Translation Comparison

Drawing by Pham Thi My Hanh




The Project


I recently stumbled across a Facebook posting for a primary-series workshop; the copy brightly proclaimed that the ashtanga yoga of Pattabhi Jois was based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  I felt lines of age etch into my face.


There are six series in Sri Jois’s legacy, and they are a progressive system of physical practice.  Patanjali describes none of the postures of Pattabhi Jois ashtanga yoga.  Indeed, Patanjali has precious little to say on the topic of asana at all.  He identifies asana as the third limb of yoga (2.30), famously says something like “posture firm pleasant” (“sthirasukhamasanam”, 2.46), seemingly comments on the perfection of posture by relaxation and meditation in the following sutra (2.47), and that’s about it.


Add to that the small problem that to Patanjali “asana” meant simply “a still, firm, seated position” (Ranganathan, 35) and not any version of Virabhadrasana or Adho Mukha Rikshasana (there’s no evidence that any yogasana beyond cross-legged sitting even existed in Patanjali’s time), and the connection between Patanjali and modern postural yoga becomes even more remote.  Whatever Patanjali’s Sutras are, they are no kind of physical practice manual.


Ergo, the naming of Sri Jois’s system has less to do with any putative connection to Patanjali’s Sutras and more to do with the impressive testicular diameter of Sri Jois himself.  But I looked at the kindly, smiling face of the teacher in the Facebook post, and did not comment to ask how, with specific reference to the Sutras, Sri Jois’s sequences had anything at all to do with that profoundly mysterious work of unknown antiquity.


Nothing but net, controlling my long-standing and still-growing irascibility on this occasion.  I’ve been far more irritated than that on the subject.  Attend enough satsang, and one will inevitably find oneself confronted with some speaker raising a stentorian forefinger and declaiming “PATANJALI SAID [blah blah blah blah].”


These are valuable occasions for me, golden opportunities to deepen my practice of not striding to the front of the room, grabbing the fool by the ears and shaking his head like a paint can whilst spitting furious inchoate contumely into his face, a reaction that could conceivably be interpreted as ill-befitting an alleged teacher of yoga.


Beware the one who tells you what “Patanjali said”.  Best case, he’s negligent in his teaching.  Most likely, he’s ignorant.  Not impossibly, he’s a con artist and hoping to sodomize you.


Happens.  All.  The.  Time.


The problem with blithely confident interpretations of Patanjali’s meaning is in the nature of the text itself.  Like many [more or less] contemporaneous sutras, Patanjali is not written in ordinary, grammatical Sanskrit prose.  There are too many nouns and adjectives and not enough verbs.  The resultant effect has been likened to the encoded point-form notes of a lecturer, and indeed Patanjali’s survival probably owes much to the exegesis of the later Sanatan intellectual giant Vyasa, because “But for Vyasa’s explanations, some sutra-s would be absolutely unintelligible.” (Ranganathan, 28).


Furthermore, Sanskrit, like English, is a language rich in homonyms.  Words have many possible meanings, and it is a principle of classical sutra interpretation that writers, including Patanjali, meant to include all possible meanings of the words they chose.  I can do no better than to quote Ranganathan: “Patanjali wrote his text in the dense, cryptic sutra style of classical Indian literature.  This style of writing relied upon ambiguity in order to create a linguistically economical text.  By choosing ambiguous terms, Patanjali, like all sutra authors, was able to compress into dense aphorisms many meanings.  Thus, wherever possible, Patanjali is to be understood in a manner that affirms the full range of significances of the words that comprise his sutra-s. “(Ranganathan, 27).


I have trouble wrapping my brain around the notion that Patanjali meant every possible permutation of meanings in every sutra; it seems that the combination of the cryptic sutra syntax and an all-inclusive interpretation of terms would result in a range of meanings so broad as to make the work effectively meaningless.  But Patanjali may well have intended some plurality of meanings for each or any specific sutra, and the result is obviously a translator’s nightmare.  That hasn’t interdicted a multiplicity of translations and interpretations in the intervening 2000 years or so, and each commentator of course puts his preferred philosophical spin on Patanjali’s words, further muddying the waters.  Interpretations are sometimes irreconcilably divergent; they can’t all be correct.


And so, I aver, it behooves us to relate Patanjali with just a smidgeon of fucking tact.  No-one knows to a certainty what “Patanjali said”.


I’ve intended to make my point by way of a sutra-by-sutra comparison of some various translations for a couple of years now.  I have our unnamed primary-series teacher to thank for lighting a fire under me.  I hope the resultant product is useful to someone, somewhere; it was certainly helpful to plod through the data-entry work of compiling it.



Etic vs. Emic


This is a dichotomy of epistemological approach.  “Etic” describes the detached approach of the scientist or academic, studying from outside.  “Emic” describes the approach of the true believer, studying from within.  Of the translators included in this collection, Iyengar and Vivekananda are both clearly emic students of yoga; Woods is clearly etic, and Ranganathan is a little harder to place; I lean towards etic, but suspect he would be uncomfortable with being classified within the dichotomy at all.


It is for you to decide if the distinction is important.  There may be a dividend in objectivity accruing to an etic analysis, but there may as well be a debit from a want of experiential understanding.  On the other side, emic students may be subject to the [potentially] corruptive or reductive influence of a given guru/shishya parampara.  We might also be more likely to occasionally give ourselves over to flights of enthusiastic bullshit.


Whatever significance you assign to the dichotomy, I commend you to remain cognizant of its existence.  Merely remembering that it exists will remind you that everybody is coming from somewhere, and that no interpretation of anything need be taken as the final word.  A commitment to continual learning and reassessment is, I believe, much better than certainty.



The Players




Swami Vivekananda’s translation is the first rendered in the comparison because his translation was the chronological first, and he might be described as the first great importer of Vedanta to North America.  He attended the “Parliament of Religions” conference in Chicago in 1893, and his speech there was much-lauded by his fellow delegates.  A cynic might think of him as the first international rock-star super-yogi.


Vivekananda was both an innovator and a man with a mission:  the importation of Indian philosophy to the West.  To that end, he was willing to nip-and-tuck yoga philosophy as he perceived would make it fit Western sensibilities better.  As David Gordon White, the indisputable 400-pound silverback gorilla of contemporary etic yoga scholarship, puts it: “…Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga was something totally new.  A bold, modern fusion of Yoga philosophy and Western science, religion and the occult, this earnest and impassioned effort to make Indian though accessible to Western audiences often succeeded at the expense of accuracy.” (White, 125).


Vivekananda’s faithfulness to Patanjali’s intent cannot be trusted, but I do not intend this observation as an indictment of Vivekananda generally.  Maybe if and where Vivekananda strays, he’s simply overstepping on an otherwise worthy enterprise.  Certainly he initiated the cross-pollination of Eastern and Western spirituality: “Vivekananda gives shape to Modern Yoga by blending Neo-Vedantic esotericism and avant-garde American occultism.  Thus Neo-Vedantic ideology became an integral part of Western occultism and, conversely, Western occult ideas were integrated into Neo-Vedanta.  These ideas were then transmitted back to India” (De Michelis, 110).


There is a persistent theme in Sanatan philosophy that elevates calcification to a virtue.  Texts and practices and mantras were passed down from pre-literate origins with [alleged] uncompromising accuracy, largely by a Brahmanic class with a vested interest in canonizing that practice, in no small part to protect their purpose and legitimacy.  I make so bold as to question the value of unthinking, unwavering, dogmatic conservatism generally.  Maybe every way of doing things should be subject to review.


Vivekananda’s translation was the jumping-off point for Patanjali’s modern revival, and remains a gold standard, often appearing as required reading in yoga teacher training courses.  I couldn’t fail to include him here.





B.K.S. Iyengar needs no general introduction; the observation that I believe is relevant here is that he was a deeply religious man who “always remained deeply attached to his religion of birth, South Indian Srivaishnavism” (De Michelis, 195).  He valued hard-headed scientific inquiry, and vigorously resisted that which he considered woo, but he was certainly an emic scholar and his devotional sensibilities are evident in his translation.  If he deliberately followed any earlier translation or commentary, he does not report it in his introduction.





Shyam Ranganathan is a professor of philosophy at York University, Toronto, and a teacher of yoga.  His website at describes him as a teacher of the philosophy of yoga, and interprets “kaivalya” as “philosophical autonomy”.  I am particularly fond of Professor Ranganathan’s translation in large part because his introduction makes his approach disarmingly transparent.


Professor Ranganathan relates that he undertook the daunting project of generating a new translation of Patanjali because he believed that all previous translations suffered from one or both of these shortcomings:  either they failed to preserve the content of ethics and morality (dharma) inherent to classical Indian philosophy generally and Patanjali particularly, or they interpreted Patanjali as an exponent of some existing philosophical school when in fact Patanjali intended his approach to be entirely novel.


Professor Ranganathan’s translation is particularly credible because he is unusually forthright in identifying the problems inherent to the project that I’ve described here.  He even implies that any translation of any sutra into English is in a sense doomed to failure: “The attempt to translate a Sanskrit sutra into English literally and have the final English product itself as a dense sutra text is impossible(Ranganathan, 32).  The reader might sense him wrestling with his conscience in his frequent (and endearingly jittery) resort to brackets and alternate translations.


I’m not sure that Professor Ranganathan is correct in his preoccupation with morality; I note that the inclusion of the word “moral” in sutra 1.2 seems entirely superfluous, indeed rather forced.   Nonetheless, Professor Ranganathan has the courage to pick a hill to die on, the integrity to plant his flag, and the humility to explicitly acknowledge the limitations of his project.  He is a stone-cold badass.





James Haughton Woods is the only entirely etic scholar in this collection.  He was a professor of Asiatic studies at Harvard in the early 20th Century, and his translation is also something of a gold standard.  I’m not sure what to make of that, or of it, or of him.  I find his translation to be the least accessible of the four, perhaps because it is the most uncompromisingly faithful and perhaps because he just didn’t get it.


I fret that perhaps I’m throwing him under the bus here, and that juxtaposition with more accessible translations may make him appear (undeservedly) as a flailing outsider operating above his pay-grade.  He was a legitimate and credentialed scholar of Sanskrit and had no personal axe to grind, no emotional investment in any lineage of interpretation.  He could approach the problem with relative objectivity, and if his renderings of specific sutras are sometimes dauntingly impenetrable, then his inclusion only bolsters my fundamental point.



Patanjali Himself


The story goes that Lord Vishnu was sitting on Adidesa, Lord of Serpents, and watching Lord Shiva dance.  Lord Vishnu was so affected by the dance that his body grew extraordinarily heavy.  Adidesa asked why, and when he heard the explanation, he decided that he wanted to learn to dance to honor Lord Vishnu.


Adidesa meditated, and saw an elderly yogini named Gonika praying to the Sun God for a son to pass on her knowledge to.  Adidesa descended to earth, and as Gonika raised a handful of water to the sun, she looked into her palms and saw a tiny snake, which then grew into a young man who prostrated himself before her and asked her to adopt him.  She did, and named him Patanjali.


And that’s as good a theory as any of who Patanjali was and where he came from.  Dates for Patanjali range from the 2nd Century BCE to the 5th Century CE; many (if not most) scholars believe there was more than one Patanjali.  He is variously credited as a scion of Sanskrit grammar, ayurvedic medicine and classical Indian dance (and thus, I suppose, is a great-grandfather of Bollywood).  Exactly when he wrote his Yoga Sutras is not known.



Other Notes


Two of these translations, Ranganathan’s and Iyengar’s, include renderings of the original Sanskrit in both the original and phonetic Romanic texts, along with word-for word translations.  I have elected not to reproduce a word-for-word translation, as my attempts to do so turned the formatting of the comparison into a dog’s breakfast.  It was a sacrifice, as the word-for-word translations are demonstrative of the grammatic eccentricity of the original, but I believe the point of the exercise is better served by the present format.


I have excluded the diacritical marks often added to Romanic-alphabet renditions of Sanskrit.  For the purposes of this resource, they would be more trouble than they were worth.


Vivekananda translates only 54 sutras in Book II and 33 in Book IV, while the other translators have 55. and 34 respectively.  The discrepancy is seldom noted, let alone explained.


I present this post in unreviewed and self-proofread condition.  I throw myself upon the mercy of the hivemind, and will be most grateful for any corrections that may come my way.



For What It’s Worth


Maybe there is written material that will assist you in your personal yogic journey, and maybe there isn’t.  Yoga is an experiential epistemology, it’s individuated and phenomenological, and every path takes its own twists and turns.  Some of us benefit by study and contemplation of a more cerebral or academic nature, and some of us don’t.  You have to figure it out for yourself.


The only legitimate master of yoga I ever knew, when I asked him about Patanjali, rolled his eyes, told me not to waste my time, and sent me down into his spider-infested cave to meditate with orders to not show my face topside for at least an hour.  I took his point then and take it now, but I find I can’t help myself.  I like this rabbit-hole.  I prepared to accept that in studying Vedanta (to the limited extent that I do), I am engaging in an exercise entirely separate to the journey inwards that is yoga.  But the exercise is kind of fun.  So here we are.


Vedanta is rife with an Aristotlean fetish for taxonomy, and Patanjali is no exception. He demonstrates some fondness for lists: yamas, niyamas, afflictions to avoid, qualities to cultivate.  But to me, his Sutras feel less like dogma and more like a travel guide to the journey inward.  I can’t shake the feeling that the Sutras are primarily intended as inspiration and encouragement with some advice and some cautions, some words to the wise, some counsel to fellow adventurers.  I don’t think Patanjali wrote to charter chapter and verse.  I think he wrote to leave a trail of breadcrumbs.  Down our mats.  To our cushions.  Into the wild woods of each of us.


I think he’s pulling for us, cheering us on, celebrating our journeys.  He must be.    Else, why would he put stylus to palm-leaf at all?





White, David Gordon, The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography, 2014

De Michelis, Elizabeth, A History of Modern Yoga, 2004

Swami Vivekananda, Raja Yoga, 1896

Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1996

Ranganathan, Shyam, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, 2008

Woods, James Haughton, The Yoga System of Patanjali. 1914









Vivekananda: Now concentration is explained.

Iyengar: With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga.

Ranganathan: Thus, with certainty, (we) delve into the definitive explication of yoga.

Woods: Now the exposition of yoga [is to be made].


Vivekananda: Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrttis).

Iyengar: Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.

Ranganathan:  Yoga is the control of the (moral) character of thought.

Woods: Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of mind-stuff.


Vivekananda: At that time (the time of concentration) the seer (the Purusa) rests in his own (unmodified) state.

Iyengar: Then, the seer dwells in his own true splendour.

Ranganathan:  Then, the seer can abide in its essence.

Woods: Then the Seer [that is, the Self] abides in himself.


Vivekananda: At other times (other than that of concentration) the seer is identified with the modifications.

Iyengar: At other times, the seer identifies with the fluctuating consciousness.

Ranganathan:  Otherwise, there is identification with character of thought.

Woods: At other times it [the Self] takes the same form as the fluctuations [of mind-stuff].


Vivekananda: There are five classes of modification, painful and not painful.

Iyengar: The movements of consciousness are fivefold. They may be cognizable or non-cognizable, painful or non-painful.

Ranganathan:  There are five characters of thought – some afflicted, others not afflicted.

Woods: The fluctuations are of five kinds and are hindered or unhindered.


Vivekananda: (These are) right knowledge, indiscrimination, verbal delusion, sleep, and memory.

Iyengar: They are caused by correct knowledge, illusion, delusion, sleep and memory.

Ranganathan:  The five epistemic states are: knowledge, illusion, verbal delusion, sleep and memory.

Woods: Sources-of-valid-ideas and misconceptions and predicate-relations and sleep and memory.


Vivekananda: Direct perception, inference, and competent evidence, are proofs.

Iyengar: Correct knowledge is direct, inferred or proven as factual.

Ranganathan:  The proper means of knowledge are three: (empirical) perception, inference (i.e. logic) and the (Vedic) scriptural tradition.

Woods: Sources-of-valid-ideas are perception and inference and verbal communication.


Vivekananda: Indiscrimination is false knowledge not established in real nature.

Iyengar: Illusory or erroneous knowledge is based on non-fact or the non-real.

Ranganathan:  Illusion is the improper comprehension (of real objects) not based on their true form.

Woods: Misconception is an erroneous idea not based on that form [in respect of which the misconception is entertained].


Vivekananda: Verbal delusion follows from words having no (corresponding) reality.

Iyengar: Verbal knowledge devoid of substance is fancy or imagination.

Ranganathan: Verbal delusion arises when words do not track (real) objects.

Woods: The predicate-relation (vikalpa) is without any [corresponding perceptible] object and follows as a result of perception or of words.


Vivekananda: Sleep is a Vrtti which embraces the feeling of voidness.

Iyengar: Sleep is the non-deliberate absence of thought-waves or knowledge.

Ranganathan:  Deep sleep is the morally evaluatable character of mentality conditioned by the relationship between the awareness of nothing and nothingness.

Woods: Sleep is a fluctuation of [mind-stuff] supported by the cause of the [transient] negation [of the waking and the dreaming fluctuations].


Vivekananda: Memory is when the (Vrttis of) perceived subjects do not slip away (and through impressions come back to consciousness).

Iyengar: Memory is the unmodified recollection of words and experiences.

Ranganathan: Memory is the prevention of loss of experienced content.

Woods: Memory is not-adding-surreptitiously to a once experienced object.


Vivekananda: Their control is by practice and non-attachment.

Iyengar: Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.

Ranganathan:  Continuous endeavor and non-attachment are both required to constrain that (i.e. mentality or memory).

Woods: The restriction of them is by [means] of practice and passionlessness.


Vivekananda: Continuous struggle to keep them (the Vrttis) perfectly restrained is practice.

Iyengar: Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations.

Ranganathan:  Abiding (in the true nature of the self) is the result of the will’s determination to stay in that stillness.


Practice, the repeated effort, is resting in stillness as a result of will power.

Woods: Practice is [repeated] exertion to the end that [the mind-stuff] shall have permanence in this [restricted state].


Vivekananda: Its ground becomes firm by long, constant efforts with great love (for the end to be attained).

Iyengar: Long, uninterrupted alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations.

Ranganathan: (The abiding is) verily procured when it is cultivated assiduously for a long time, without interruption, and with reverence, for it is then resolute and grounded.

Woods: But this [practice] becomes confirmed when it has been cultivated for a long time and uninterruptedly and with earnest attention.


Vivekananda: That effort, which comes to those who have given up their thirst after objects either seen or heard, and which wills to control the objects, is non-attachment.

Iyengar: Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires.

Ranganathan: The absence of desire for things – whether seen directly or learnt through hearing – which comes about by subjecting such things to the will, is the sign of non-attachment.

Woods: Passionlessness is the consciousness of being master on the part of the one who has rid himself of thirst for either seen or revealed objects.


Vivekananda: That extreme non-attachment, giving up even the qualities, shows (the real nature of) the Purusa.

Iyengar: The ultimate renunciation is when one transcends the qualities of nature and perceives the soul.

Ranganathan: In this highest objective, from the knowledge of the person, qualities (of Nature) are not desired.

Woods: This [passionlessness] is highest when discernment of the Self results in thirstlessness for qualities [and not merely for objects]


Vivekananda: The concentration called right knowledge is that which is followed by reasoning, discrimination, bliss, unqualified ego.

Iyengar: Practice and detachment develop four types of samadhi: self-analysis, synthesis, bliss, and the experience of pure being.

Ranganathan:  The cognitive state focusing on the single object (for example, the person) can be brought about by logical analysis, introspective inquiry, bliss or the keen awareness of individuality.

Woods: [Concentration becomes] conscious [of its object] by assuming forms of either deliberation [upon coarse objects] or of reflection upon subtile objects or of joy or of the feeling-of-personality.


Vivekananda: There is another Samadhi which is attained by the constant practice of cessation of all mental activity, in which the Chitta retains only the unmanifested impressions.

Iyengar: The void arising in these experiences is another samadhi.  Hidden impressions lie dormant, but spring up during moments of awareness, creating fluctuations and disturbing the purity of the consciousness.

Ranganathan:  The other (state of) abiding is preceded by a condition of cessation, in which only the stores of residual imprints remain.

Woods: The other [concentration which is not conscious of objects] consists of subliminal-impressions only [after objects have merged], and follows upon that practice which effects the cessation [of fluctuations].


Vivekananda: (This Samadhi, when not followed by extreme non-attachment) becomes the cause of the re-manifestation of the gods and of those that become merged in nature.

Iyengar: In this state, one may experience bodilessness, or become merged in nature.  This may lead to isolation or to a state of loneliness.

Ranganathan:  The condition of such a state of being is the collapse of the body into Nature.

Woods: [Concentration not conscious of objects] caused by worldly [means] is the one to which the discarnate obtain and to which those [whose bodies] are resolved into primary-matter obtain.


Vivekananda: To others (this Samadhi) comes through faith, energy, memory, concentration, and discrimination of the real.

Iyengar: Practice must be pursued with trust, confidence, vigour, keen memory and power of absorption to break this spiritual complacency.

Ranganathan:  In contrast, others yet (achieve a state of trance like abiding) following the inculcation of faith, vigour, remembrance, liberating states of absorption (samadhi) and intuitive wisdom about the self.

Woods: [Concentration not conscious of objects] which follows upon belief [and] energy [and] mindfulness [and] concentration [and] insight, is that to which the others [the yogins] attain.


Vivekananda: Success is speeded for the extremely energetic.

Iyengar: The goal is near for those who are supremely vigorous and intense in practice.

Ranganathan: (Success in yoga is) near for those who are intense.

Woods: For the keenly intense, [concentration] is near.


Vivekananda: They again differ according as the means are mild, medium or supreme.

Iyengar: There are differences between those who are mild, average and keen in their practices.

Ranganathan:   And is also proportional to the degree of intensity: feeble, moderate, or above measure.

Woods: Because [this keenness} is gentle or moderate or keen, there is a [concentration] superior even to this [near kind].


Vivekananda: Or by devotion to Isvara.

Iyengar: Or, the citta may be restrained by profound meditation upon God and total surrender to Him.

Ranganathan: Or (success in yoga may be had by) prostrating to and meditating upon the Lord.

Woods: Or [concentration] is attained by devotion to the Isvara.


Vivekananda: Isvara (the Supreme Ruler) is a special Purusa, untouched by misery, the results of actions, or desires.

Iyengar: God is the Supreme Being, totally free from conflicts, unaffected by actions and untouched by cause and effect.

Ranganathan:  The Lord is a special kind of person untouched by afflictions, actions, effects of actions and stores (of latent tendency-impressions).

Woods: Untouched by hindrances or karmas or fruition or by latent-deposits, the Isvara is a special kind of Self.


Vivekananda: In Him becomes infinite that all-knowing-ness which in others is (only) a germ.

Iyengar: God is the unexcelled seed of all knowledge.

Ranganathan:  In That (i.e. the Lord) is the unsurpassed seed of omniscience.

Woods: In this [Isvara] the germ of the omniscient is at its utmost excellence.


Vivekananda: He is the Teacher of even the ancient teachers, being not limited by time.

Iyengar:   God is the first, foremost and absolute guru, unconditioned by time.

Ranganathan: Also, That (i.e. the Lord) was the teacher of earlier (teachers), for It is unbound by time.

Woods: Teacher of the Primal [Sages] also, forasmuch as [with Him] there is no limitation by time.


Vivekananda: The repetition of this (Om) and meditating on its meaning (is the way).

Iyengar: He is represented by the sacred syllable aum.  He is represented in aum.

Ranganathan: The syllable ‘om’ is Its significator.

Woods: The word-expressing Him is the Mystic-syllable.


Vivekananda: The repetition of this (Om) and meditating on its meaning (is the way).

Iyengar: The mantra aum is to be repeated constantly, with feeling, realizing its full significance.

Ranganathan:  Through repetition, the meaning (of om) comes to life.

Woods: Repetition of it and reflection upon its meaning [should be made].


Vivekananda: From that is gain (the knowledge of) introspection, and the destruction of obstacles.

Iyengar: Meditation on God with the repetition of aum removes obstacles to the mastery of the inner self.

Ranganathan: Hence (one is led) inward to the knowledge of consciousness, intelligence and volition (the characteristics of purusa), and also to the nullification of the impediments to that knowledge.

Woods: Thereafter comes the right-knowledge of him who thinks in an inverse way, and the removal of obstacles.


Vivekananda: Disease, mental laziness, doubt, calmness, cessation, false perception, non-attaining concentration, and falling away from the state when obtained, are the obstructing distractions.

Iyengar: These obstacles are disease, inertia, doubt, heedlessness, laziness, indiscipline of the senses, erroneous views, lack of perseverance, and backsliding.

Ranganathan:  Illness, apathy, doubt, negligence, sloth, non-restraint, delusion, perpectivism, failing to be grounded (flightiness/hyperactivity), and inconsistency, scatter the mind and constitute an impediment (to yoga).

Woods: Sickness and languor and doubt and heedlessness and worldliness and erroneous perception and failure to attain any stage [of concentration] and instability in the state [when attained] – these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles.


Vivekananda: Grief, mental distress, tremor of the body and irregular breathing, accompany non-retention of concentration.

Iyengar: Sorrow, despair, unsteadiness of the body and irregular breathing further distract the citta.

Ranganathan: Accompanying these distractions are discomfort, depression, trembling of the body, and disturbed inhalation and exhalation.

Woods: Pain and despondency and unsteadiness of the body and inspiration and expiration are the accompaniments of the distractions.


Vivekananda: To remedy this practice of one subject (should be made).

Iyengar: Adherence to single-minded effort prevents these impediments.

Ranganathan: One can avoid the significance of these obstacles (to the practice of yoga) by the implementation of just one of the following truths.

Woods: To check them [let there be] practice upon a single entity.


Vivekananda: Friendship, mercy, gladness, indifference, being thought of in regard to subjects, happy, unhappy, good and evil respectively, pacify the Chitta.

Iyengar: Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favourably disposed, serene and benevolent.

Ranganathan: Mentality brightens, and gets to be of a serene disposition and good humour, when one takes on an attitude of friendliness towards the pleasant, of compassion for those who suffer, of joy for the meritorious, and of equanimity towards the unmeritorious.

Woods: By the cultivation of friendliness towards happiness, and compassion towards pain, and joy towards merit, and indifference towards demerit.


Vivekananda: By throwing out and restraining the Breath.

Iyengar: Or, by maintaining the pensive state felt at the time of soft and steady exhalation and during passive retention after exhalation.

Ranganathan: Or by the expulsion and retention of breath.

Woods: Or [the yogin attains the undisturbed calm of the mind-stuff] by expulsion and retention of breath.


Vivekananda: Those forms of concentration that bring extraordinary sense perceptions cause perseverance of the mind.

Iyengar: Or by contemplating an object that helps to maintain steadiness of mind and consciousness.

Ranganathan: Or by binding the mind into stillness to observe the contents of the mind as they arise.

Woods: Or [he gains stability when] a sense-activity arises connected with an object [and] bringing the central-organ into a relation of stability.


Vivekananda: Or (by the meditation on) the Effulgent One which is beyond all sorrow.

Iyengar: Or, inner stability is gained by contemplating a luminous, sorrowless, effulgent light.

Ranganathan: Or when the heart is set on being luminescent and free from sorrow.

Woods: Or an undistressed [and] luminous [sense-activity when arisen brings the central-organ into a relation of stability].


Vivekananda: Or (by meditation on) the heart that has given up all attachment to sense objects.

Iyengar: Or, by contemplating on enlightened sages who are free from desires and attachments, calm and tranquil, or by contemplating divine objects.

Ranganathan: Or by thoughts free from objects of desire.

Woods: Or the mind-stuff [reaches the stable state] by having as its object [a mind-stuff] freed from passion.


Vivekananda: Or by meditating on the knowledge that comes in sleep.

Iyengar: Or, by recollecting and contemplating the experiences of dream-filled or dreamless sleep during a watchful, waking state.

Ranganathan: Or by insights gained from sleep and dream states.

Woods: Or [the mind-stuff reaches the stable state] by having as the supporting-object a perception in dream or sleep.


Vivekananda: Or by meditation on anything that appeals to one as good.

Iyengar: Or by meditating on any desired object conducive to steadiness of consciousness.

Ranganathan: Or by meditating on any desired object conducive to steadiness of consciousness.

Woods: Or the mind-stuff [reaches the stable state] by contemplation upon any such an object as is desired.


Vivekananda: The Yogi’s mind thus meditating, becomes un-obstructed from the atomic to the Infinite.

Iyengar: Mastery of contemplation brings the power to extend from the finest particle to the greatest.

Ranganathan: Control of the internal organ (yields comprehension of) sub-atomic and maximally large objects.

Woods: His mastery extends from the smallest atom to the greatest magnitude.


Vivekananda: The Yogi whose Vrttis have thus become powerless (controlled) obtains in the receiver, receiving, and received (the self, the mind and external objects), concentratedness and sameness, like the crystal (before different coloured objects.)

Iyengar: The yogi realizes that the knower, the instrument of knowing and the known are one, himself, the seer.  Like a pure transparent jewel, he reflects an unsullied purity.

Ranganathan: When the mode of being (of mentality) has subsided to the state of the well-born, (it is) like a jewel that captures (and reflects) those objects that stand by it.  This is (called) the ‘grasping objects by taking their shape’ engrossment.

Woods: [The mind-stuff] from which, as from a precious gem, fluctuations have dwindled away, reaches the balanced-state, which, in the case of the knower or of the process-of-knowing or of the object-to-be-known, is in the state of resting upon [one] of these [three] and in the state of being tinged by [one] of these [three].


Vivekananda: Sound, meaning, and resulting knowledge, being mixed up, is (called Samadhi) with reasoning.

Iyengar: At this stage, called savitarka samapati, the word, meaning and content are blended, and become special knowledge.

Ranganathan: (If) in knowledge of linguistic meaning there is mixed with it verbal delusion, it is (called) the engrossment ‘with supposition’.

Woods: Of [these balanced-states] the state-balanced with deliberation is confused by reason of predicate-relations between words and intended-objects and ideas.


Vivekananda: The Samadhi called without reasoning (comes) when the memory is purified, or devoid of qualities, expressing only the meaning (of the meditated object).

Iyengar: In nirvitarka samapatti, the difference between memory and intellectual illumination is disclosed; memory is cleansed and consciousness shines without reflection.

Ranganathan: (When) remembrance is purified (of the two engrossments) and its essence is like (what is) empty, (awareness of) the object or meaning alone remains – (this is) illumination without conjecture.

Woods: When the memory is quite purified, [that balanced-state] – which is, as it were, empty of itself and which brightens [into conscious knowledge] as the intended-object and nothing more – is super-deliberative.


Vivekananda: By this process (the concentrations) with discrimination and without discrimination, whose objects are finer, are (also) explained.

Iyengar: The contemplation of subtle aspects is similarly explained as deliberate (savicara samapatti) or non-deliberate (nirvicara samapatti).

Ranganathan: In the same manner reflection and non-reflection on subtle objects (can be) explained.

Woods: By this same [balanced-state] the reflective and the super-reflective [balanced-states] are also explained.


Vivekananda: The finer objects end with the Pradhana.

Iyengar: The subtlest level of nature (prakrti) is consciousness.  When consciousness dissolves in nature, it loses all marks and becomes pure.

Ranganathan: And subtle objects, without (intermediary) signs, (are) comprehended.

Woods: The subtile object also terminates in unresoluble-primary-matter (alinga).


Vivekananda: These concentrations are with seed.

Iyengar: The states of samadhi described in the previous sutras are dependent upon a support or seed, and are termed sabija.

Ranganathan: They only are the seeds of liberating states of absorption (samadhi).

Woods: These same [balanced states] are the seeded concentration.


Vivekananda: The concentration “without reasoning” being purified, the Chitta becomes firmly fixed.

Iyengar: From proficiency in nirvicara samapatti comes purity.  Sattva or luminosity flows undisturbed, kindling the spiritual light of the self.

Ranganathan: The skilled, clear intellect that eschews (discursive) inquiry has the disposition of tranquility and good humour belonging to the real self.

Woods: When there is the clearness of the super-reflective [balanced-state, the yogin gains] internal undisturbed calm.


Vivekananda: The knowledge that is gained from testimony and inference is about common objects. That from the Samadhi just mentioned is of a much higher order, being able to penetrate where inference and testimony cannot go.

Iyengar: When consciousness dwells in wisdom, a truth-bearing state of direct spiritual perception dawns.

Ranganathan:   In that wisdom Rta flows forth.


This gnostic wisdom that flows abundantly forth is filled with Rta.

Woods: In this [calm] the insight is truth-bearing.


Vivekananda: The resulting impression from this Samadhi obstructs all other impressions.

Iyengar: This truth-bearing knowledge and wisdom is distinct from and beyond the knowledge gleaned from books, testimony and inference.

Ranganathan: It is different in content from the wisdom of scripture and inference, for it relates to the essence of things.

Woods: Has another object than the insight resulting from things heard or from inferences, inasmuch as its intended-object is a particular.


Vivekananda: The resulting impression from this Samadhi obstructs all other impressions.

Iyengar: A new life begins with this truth-bearing light.  Previous impressions are left behind and new ones are prevented.

Ranganathan: The impression generated from this is an antidote to other latent and stored tendency-impressions.

Woods: The subliminal-impression produced by this [super-reflective balanced-state] is hostile to other subliminal-impressions.


Vivekananda: By the restraint of even this (impression, which obstructs all other impressions), all being restrained, comes the “seedless” Samadhi.

Iyengar: When that new light of wisdom is also relinquished, seedless samadhi dawns.

Ranganathan:   From that also comes the constraint of all (thought) and the constrained liberating state of absorption (samadhi) that is ‘seedless’.

Woods: When this [subliminal-impression] also is restricted, since all is restricted, [the yogin gains] seedless concentration.






Vivekananda: Mortification, study, and surrendering fruits of work to God are called Kriya Yoga.

Iyengar:  Burning zeal in practice, self-study and study of scriptures, and surrender to God are the acts of yoga.

Ranganathan: Action in Yoga consists of penance, study (of the Vedas or self) and surrendering to the Lord.

Woods: Self-castigation and study and devotion to the Isvara are the Yoga of action.


Vivekananda: (They are for) the practice of Samadhi and minimizing the pain-bearing obstructions.

Iyengar: The practice of yoga reduces afflictions and leads to samadhi.

Ranganathan: And manifesting the targeted liberating state of absorption (samadhi) by minimizing affliction is the working objective.

Woods: For the cultivation of concentration and the attenuation of hindrances.


Vivekananda: The pain-bearing obstructions are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and clinging to life.

Iyengar: The five afflictions which disturb the equilibrium of consciousness are:  ignorance or lack of wisdom, ego, pride of the ego or the sense of ‘I’, attachment to pleasure, aversion to pain, fear of death and clinging to life.

Ranganathan: Suffering comes about by ignorance, egotism, attachment, aversion and clinging to bodily security.

Woods: Undifferentiated-consciousness (avidya) and the feeling-of-personality and passion and aversion and the will-to-live are the five hindrances.


Vivekananda: Ignorance is the productive field of all them that follow, whether they are dormant, attenuated, overpowered, or expanded.

Iyengar: Lack of true knowledge is the source of all pains and sorrows whether dormant attenuated, interrupted or fully active.

Ranganathan: Ignorance of the field (of experience, that is Nature) (results in suffering) whether dormant or active, attenuated or interrupted.

Woods: Undifferentiated-consciousness is the field for the others whether they be dormant or attenuated or intercepted or sustained.


Vivekananda: Ignorance is taking that which is non-eternal, impure, painful, and non-Self, for the eternal, pure, happy, Atman (Self).

Iyengar: Mistaking the transient for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pain for pleasure, and that which is not the self for the self:  all this is called lack of spiritual knowledge, avidya.

Ranganathan: (Unqualified) ignorance consists in declaring the transient as the permanent, the impure as the pure, the painful as the pleasant, and the non-self as the self.

Woods: The recognition of the permanent, the pure, of pleasure, and of a self in what is impermanent, impure, pain, and not-self is undifferentiated-consciousness (avidya).


Vivekananda: Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrument of seeing.

Iyengar: Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrumental power of seeing.

Ranganathan: Egotism consists in conflating the power of the seer (that is, the purusa) with the natural powers of perception into a single (conception of a) self.

Woods: When the power of seeing and the power by which one sees have the appearance of being a single self, [this is] the feeling-of-personality.


Vivekananda: Attachment is that which dwells on pleasure.

Iyengar: Pleasure leads to desire and emotional attachment.

Ranganathan: Attachment is a residue of pleasant experience.

Woods: Passion is that which dwells upon pleasure.


Vivekananda: Aversion is that which dwells on pain.

Iyengar: Unhappiness leads to hatred.

Ranganathan: Aversion is what comes on the heels of suffering.

Woods: Aversion is that which dwells upon pain.


Vivekananda: Flowing through its own nature, and established even in the learned, is the clinging to life.

Iyengar: Self-preservation or attachment to life is the subtlest of all afflictions.  It is found even in wise men.

Ranganathan: A taste for one’s self flows also for the learned, (and thus) a clinging for bodily security is rooted in them too.

Woods: The will-to-live sweeping on [by the force of] its own nature exists in this form even in the wise.


Vivekananda: They, to-be-rejected-by-opposite-modifications, are fine.

Iyengar:   Subtle afflictions are to be minimized and eradicated by a process of involution.

Ranganathan: When these are traced back to their source, their subtle form can be abandoned.

Woods: These [hindrances when they have become subtile] are to be escaped by the inverse-propagation.


Vivekananda: By meditation, their modifications are to be rejected.

Iyengar: Fluctuations of consciousness created by gross and subtle afflictions are to be silenced through meditation.

Ranganathan: Thoughts of these can by abandoned through meditation of a spiritual character (Dhyana).

Woods: The fluctuations of these should be escaped by means of contemplation.


Vivekananda: The receptacle of works has its root in these pain-bearing obstructions, and their experience in this visible life, or in the unseen life.

Iyengar: The accumulated imprints of past lives, rooted in afflictions, will be experienced in present and future lives.

Ranganathan: The root of affliction is past action.  It is latent, seen or unseen, and stays with us through births in the form of experiences that produce further karma.

Woods: The latent-deposit of karma has its root in the hindrances and may be felt in a birth seen or in a birth unseen.


Vivekananda: The root being there, the fruition comes (in the form of) species, life, and expression of pleasure and pain.

Iyengar: As long as the root of actions exists, it will give rise to class of birth, span of life and experiences.

Ranganathan:  These (lives) will vary in enjoyment or purgation depending upon whether the ripened (karma) is meritorious or demeritorious.

Woods: So long as the root exists, there will be fruition from it [that is] birth [and] length-of-life [and] kind-of-experience.


Vivekananda: They bear fruit as pleasure or pain, caused by virtue or vice.

Iyengar: According to our good, bad or mixed actions, the quality of our life, its span, and the nature of birth are experienced as being pleasant or painful.

Ranganathan: So long as this root exists, these (karmas) will ripen into a birth of a certain social status, a span of life and experience.

Woods: These [fruitions] have joy or extreme anguish as results in accordance with the quality or their causes whether merit or demerit.


Vivekananda: To the discriminating, all is, as it were, painful on account of everything bringing pain, either in the consequences, or in apprehension, or in attitude caused by impressions, also on account of the counter action of qualities.

Iyengar: The wise man knows that owing to fluctuations, the qualities of nature, and subliminal impressions, even pleasant experiences are tinged with sorrow, and he keeps aloof from them.

Ranganathan:  And the discriminating person also regards all these experiences as a nagging discomfort, whether they be the heat of impermanence, the remnants of past suffering, or whether they are the conflict of natural qualities in the character of thought.

Woods: As being the pains which are mutations and anxieties and subliminal-impressions, and by reason of the opposition of the fluctuation of the aspects (guna) – to the discriminating all is nothing but pain.


Vivekananda: The misery which is not yet come is to be avoided.

Iyengar: The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided.

Ranganathan: (Fortunately) future suffering can be prevented.

Woods: Only yogins are sensitive to future pain.  This may be avoided in that it has not expressed itself in actual suffering


Vivekananda: The cause of that which is to be avoided is the junction of the seer and the seen.

Iyengar: The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation.

Ranganathan: The cause to be abandoned is the tying of seeing with what is seen.

Woods: The correlation of the Seer and the object-of-sight is the cause of that which is to be escaped.


Vivekananda: The experienced is composed of elements and organs, is of the nature of illumination, action and inertia, and is for the purpose of experience and release (of the experiencer).

Iyengar: Nature, its three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas and its evolutes, the elements, mind senses of perception and organs of action exist eternally to serve the seer, for enjoyment or emancipation.

Ranganathan: Luminosity, action and stillness are the morally praiseworthy conduct of the elements constituting the nature of things seen.  Their purpose (in existing) is to provide the edifying experiences for the sensory apparatus and thus facilitate liberation (of the purusa).

Woods: With a disposition to brightness and to activity and to inertia, and with the elements and the organs as its essence, and with its purpose the experience and the liberation [of the Self], this is the object-of-sight.


Vivekananda: The seer is intelligence only, and though pure, seen through the colouring of the intellect.

Iyengar: The gunas generate their characteristic divisions and energies in the seer.  Their stages are distinguishable and non-distinguishable, differentiable and non-differentiable.

Ranganathan: The qualities (of Nature) progress from the indistinct to the distinct, from not having signifying tokens to having unique signifying tokens.

Woods: The particularized and the unparticularized [forms] and the resoluble only [into primary matter] and the irresoluble-primary-matter – are the divisions of the aspects (guna).


Vivekananda: The nature of the experience is for him.

Iyengar: The seer is pure consciousness.  He witnesses nature without being reliant ton it.

Ranganathan: While the seer who sees is pure (that is, not characterized by the contents of experience), it is also the condition of beholding each by each (that is, it is the condition of the plethora of distinct experiences).

Woods: The Seer who is nothing but [the power of seeing], although undefiled (suddha), looks upon the presented idea.


Vivekananda: Though destroyed for him whose goal has been gained, yet is not destroyed, being common to others.

Iyengar: Nature and intelligence exist solely to serve the seer’s true purpose, emancipation.

Ranganathan: The only purpose of what is seen is (to serve) the self.

Woods: The object-of-sight is only for the sake of it [the Self].


Vivekananda: Junction is the cause of the realization of the nature of both the powers, the experienced and its Lord.

Iyengar: The relationship with nature ceases for emancipated beings, its purpose having been fulfilled, but its processes continue to affect others.

Ranganathan:   When its end is accomplished, it disappears, though it continues (to serve) others in common experience.

Woods: Though it has ceased [to be seen] in the case of one whose purpose is accomplished, it has not ceased to be, since it is common to others [besides himself].


Vivekananda: Ignorance is its cause.

Iyengar: The conjunction of the seer with the seen is for the seer to discover his own true nature.

Ranganathan: The reason for the conjunction (of persons with Nature) is (to grant persons) the powers to be their own spiritual masters and to apprehend their own form.

Woods: The reason for the apperception of what the power of the property and of what the power of the proprietor are, is correlation.


Vivekananda: There being absence of that (ignorance) there is absence of junction, which is the thing-to-be-avoided; that is the independence of the seer.

Iyengar: Lack of spiritual understanding (avidya) is the cause of the false identification of the seer the seen.

Ranganathan: The reason for this (need for one to have one’s true form revealed) is ignorance.

Woods: The reason for this [correlation] is undifferentiated-consciousness (avidya).


Vivekananda: The means of destruction of ignorance is unbroken practice of discrimination.

Iyengar: The destruction of ignorance through right knowledge breaks the link binding the seer to the seen.  This is kaivalya emancipation.

Ranganathan: The end of ignorance is the end of the (pedagogic) union (of person with Nature).  Its cessation displays (the purusa in) Isolation.

Woods: Since this [non-sight] does not exist, there is no correlation.  This is the escape, the Isolation of the Seer.


Vivekananda: His knowledge is of the sevenfold highest ground.

Iyengar: The ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word, and deed destroys ignorance the source of pain.

Ranganathan: Declaration and discernment of discrimination (that puts an end to ignorance) can be continuously had by skillful means (upaya).

Woods: The means of attaining escape is unwavering discriminative discernment.


Vivekananda: His knowledge is of the sevenfold highest ground.

Iyengar: Through this unbroken flow of discriminative awareness, one gains perfect knowledge which has seven spheres.

Ranganathan: The wisdom gained from this extends to the ends of all seven worlds.

Woods: For him [there is] insight sevenfold and advancing in stages to the highest.


Vivekananda: By the practice of the different parts of Yoga the impurities being destroyed knowledge becomes effulgent, up to discrimination.

Iyengar: By dedicated practice of the various aspects of yoga impurities are destroyed:  the crown of wisdom radiates in glory.

Ranganathan: The practice of the limbs of yoga leads to the remission of impurities and the radiance of penetrating knowledge, bringing the aspirant towards discrimination from knowledge.

Woods: After the aids to yoga have been followed up, when the impurity has dwindled, there is an enlightenment of perception reaching up to the discriminative discernment.


Vivekananda: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, are the limbs of Yoga.

Iyengar: Moral injunctions (yama), fixed observances (niyama), posture (asana), regulation of breath (pranayama), internalization of the senses towards their source (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and absorption of consciousness in the self (samadhi), are the eight constituents of yoga.

Ranganathan: The eight limbs of yoga are:  1. Moral conduct, 2. Observances, 3. Posture, 4. Control of breath, 5. Withdrawal of the senses from their objects, 6. Fixed concentration, 7. Abstract spiritual meditation, and 8. Trance states of absolute absorption.

Woods: Abstentions and observances and postures and regulations-of-breath and withdrawal-of-the-senses and fixed-attention and contemplation and concentration.


Vivekananda: Non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving, are called Yama.

Iyengar: Non-violence, truth, abstention from stealing, continence, and absence of greed for possessions beyond one’s need are the five pillars of yama.

Ranganathan: The rules of moral conduct are abstaining from harm, truthfulness, abstinence from theft, sexual restraint and unacquisitiveness.

Woods: Abstinence from injury and from falsehood and from theft and from incontinence and from acceptance of gifts are abstentions.


Vivekananda: These, unbroken by time, place, purpose, and caste, are (universal) great vows.

Iyengar: Yamas are the great, mighty, universal vows, unconditioned by place, time and class.

Ranganathan: This Great Duty (adherence to the yama rules) is to be followed throughout the world, irrespective of station at birth, country or place, time or custom.

Woods: When they are unqualified by species or place or time or exigency and when [covering] all [these] classes – there is the Great Course-of-conduct.


Vivekananda: Internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God, are the Niyamas.

Iyengar: Cleanliness, contentment, religious zeal, self-study and surrender of the self to the supreme Self or God are the niyamas.

Ranganathan: The five observances are purity, contentment, penance, self-study, and surrendering to, and reflection on, the Lord.

Woods: Cleanliness and contentment and self-castigation and study and devotion to the Isvara are the observances.


Vivekananda: To obstruct thoughts which are inimical to Yoga contrary thoughts will be brought.

Iyengar: Principles which run contrary to yama and niyama are to be countered with the knowledge of discrimination.

Ranganathan: Hypothetical arguments that harass and oppose those who would follow these dictates must be countered by (becoming) an opponent who lives according to them (that is, the yama and niyama rules) and in opposition to the detracting arguments.


One must reflect upon what is contrary to those vital steps of yoga and be an opponent who cultivates in themselves what is contrary to them.

Woods: If there be inhibition by perverse-considerations, there should be cultivation of the opposites.


Vivekananda: The obstructions to Yoga are killing etc., whether committed, caused, or approved; either through avarice, or anger, or ignorance; whether slight, middling, or great, and result is innumerable ignorances and miseries. This is (the method of) thinking the contrary.

Iyengar: Uncertain knowledge giving rise to violence, whether done directly or indirectly, or condoned, is caused by greed, anger or delusion in mild, moderate or intense degree.  It results in endless pain and ignorance.  Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance.

Ranganathan: Hypothetical arguments promoting harm and the like, that cause actions to be done in accordance with euphoria, greed, anger or infatuation, are preceded by mild, moderate and extreme suffering.  Without penetrating knowledge, such fruit (of suffering) is endless.  Thus, one must become an opponent to such influences by living in a contrary manner.

Woods:  Since perverse-considerations such as injuries, whether done or caused to be done or approved, whether ensuing upon greed or anger or infatuation, whether mild or moderate or vehement, find their unending consequences in pain and lack of thinking, there should be cultivation of their opposites.


Vivekananda: Non-killing being established, in his presence all enmities cease (in others).

Iyengar: When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.

Ranganathan:   That (being, the yogic activist,) is based upon non-harmfulness, and that has the effect of making opponents renounce their hostility.

Woods: As soon as he is grounded in abstinence from injury, his presence begets a suspension of enmity.


Vivekananda: By the establishment of truthfulness the Yogi gets the power of attaining for himself and others the fruits of work without the works.

Iyengar: When the sadhaka is firmly established in the practice of truth, his words become so potent that whatever he says comes to realization.

Ranganathan: Those whose word is grounded in truthfulness are able to produce results for those who depend upon them.

Woods: As soon as he is grounded in abstinence from falsehood, actions and consequences depend upon him.


Vivekananda: By the establishment of non-stealing all wealth comes to the Yogi.

Iyengar: When abstention from stealing is firmly established precious jewels come.

Ranganathan: Those who live by avoiding theft have all wealth materialize for them.

Woods: As soon as he is grounded in abstinence from theft, all jewels approach him.


Vivekananda: By the establishment of continence energy is gained.

Iyengar: When the sadhaka is firmly established in continence, knowledge, vigour, valour and energy flow to him.

Ranganathan: Those who are grounded in sexual restraint acquire vitality.

Woods: As soon as he is grounded in abstinence from incontinence, he acquires energy.


Vivekananda: When he is fixed in non-receiving he gets the memory of past life.

Iyengar: Knowledge of past and future lives unfolds when one is free from greed for possessions.

Ranganathan: Those who live by non-acquisitiveness have the perfect knowledge of, and are able to relate to, (the meaning of) life.

Woods:  As soon as he is grounded in abstinence from the acceptance of gifts, an illumination upon the conditions of birth.


Vivekananda: Internal and external cleanliness being established, arises disgust for one’s own body, and non-intercourse with other bodies.

Iyengar: Cleanliness of body and mind develops disinterest in contact with others for self-gratification.

Ranganathan: Once one is pure in body, there is an abhorrence to other (things) not of the same bent.

Woods: As a result of cleanliness there is disgust at one’s own body and no intercourse with others.


Vivekananda: There also arises purification of the Sattva, cheerfulness of the mind, concentration, conquest of the organs, and fitness for the realization of the Self.

Iyengar: When the body is cleansed, the mind purified and the senses controlled, joyful awareness needed to realize the inner self, also comes.

Ranganathan: (And purity of body) yields clarity in thought, purity of heart, cheerfulness of mind, one-pointedness in concentration, mastery over the sense organs, and fitness for a vision of the self.

Woods: Purity of sattva and gentleness and singleness-of-intent and subjugations of the senses and fitness for the sight of the self.


Vivekananda: From contentment comes superlative happiness.

Iyengar: From contentment and benevolence of consciousness comes supreme happiness.

Ranganathan: Contentment yields an unsurpassed experience of the pleasant.

Woods: As a result of contentment there is an acquisition of superlative pleasure.


Vivekananda: The result of mortification is bringing powers to the organs and the body, by destroying the impurity.

Iyengar: Self-discipline (tapas) burns away impurities and kindles the sparks of divinity.

Ranganathan: Austerities decrease impurity, and result in supernormal attainment in body and the senses.

Woods: Perfection in the body and in the organs after impurity has dwindled as a result of self-castigation.


Vivekananda: By repetition of the mantram comes the realization of the intended deity.

Iyengar: Self-study leads towards the realization of God or communion with one’s desired deity.

Ranganathan:   A bond with one’s chosen deity (The form through which one approaches Isvara) is the result of self-study.

Woods: As a result of study there is communion with the chosen deity.


Vivekananda: By sacrificing all to Isvara comes Samadhi.

Iyengar: Surrender to God brings perfection in samadhi.

Ranganathan: Surrendering to the Lord results in the attainment of liberating states of absorption (samadhi).

Woods: Perfection of concentration as a result of devotion to the Isvara.


Vivekananda: Posture is that which is firm and pleasant.

Iyengar: Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit.

Ranganathan: Posture to be assumed should be both still and pleasant.

Woods: Stable-and-easy posture.


Vivekananda: By slight effort and meditating on the unlimited (posture becomes firm and pleasant).

Iyengar: Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.

Ranganathan: Continuous effort and endless relaxation are the twin attainments (of asana, in particular, or yoga in general).

Woods: By relaxation of effort or by a [mental] state-of-balance with reference to Ananta.


Vivekananda: Seat being conquered, the dualities do not obstruct.

Iyengar: From then on, the sadhaka is undisturbed by dualities.

Ranganathan: From this follows a freedom from disturbances of opposing characteristics of Nature.

Woods: Thereafter he is unassailed by extremes.


Vivekananda: Controlling the motion of the exhalation and the inhalation follows after this.

Iyengar: Pranayama is the regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention.  It is to be practiced only after perfection in asana is attained.

Ranganathan: On the realization of this (the perfection of posture), control of breath should be practiced.  It consists in breaking the mal-flow of inhalations and exhalations.

Woods: When there is [stability of posture], the restraint of breath, a cutting off of the flow of inspiration and expiration, follows.


Vivekananda: Its modifications are either external or internal, or motionless, regulated by place, time, and number, either long or short.

Iyengar: Pranayama has three movements:  prolonged and fine inhalation, exhalation and retention; all regulated with precision according to duration and place.

Ranganathan:  It may be interrupted externally or internally, or it may be constrained mid-flow.  It may be regulated by taking into account place (of the breath in the body), time (that is, duration of the breath), or in accordance with a fixed number of long or non-extended breaths, as propriety dictates.

Woods: [This is] external or internal or suppressed in fluctuation and is regulated by place and time and number and is protracted and subtile.


Vivekananda: The fourth is restraining the Prana by directing it either to the external or internal objects.

Iyengar: The fourth type of pranayama transcends the external and internal pranayamas, and appears effortless and non-deliberate.

Ranganathan: The fourth (exercise in the control of breath) discards the subject matter of ‘internal’ and ‘external’.

Woods: The fourth [restraint of breath] transcends the external and the internal object.


Vivekananda: From that, the covering to the light of the Chitta is attenuated.

Iyengar: Pranayama removes the veil covering the light of knowledge and heralds the dawn of wisdom.

Ranganathan: Then that which covers the light is destroyed.

Woods: As a result of this the covering of the light dwindles away.


Vivekananda: The mind becomes fit for Dharana.

Iyengar: The mind also becomes fit for concentration.

Ranganathan: And the mind is rendered fit for concentrating.

Woods: For fixed-attentions also the central organ becomes fit.


Vivekananda: The drawing in of the organs is by their giving up their own objects and taking the form of the mind-stuff.

Iyengar: Withdrawing the senses, mind and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards towards the seer, is pratyahara.

Ranganathan: When the mind withdraws from its objects and resides in its own form, in a like manner the sense organs imitate the mind by withdrawing from their objects.

Woods: The withdrawal of the senses is as it were the imitation of the mind-stuff as it is in itself on the part of the organs by disjoining themselves from their object.


Iyengar: Pratyahara results in the absolute control of the sense organs.

Ranganathan: Then the sense organs reside under the control of the ultimate (that is, the purusa)

Woods: As a result of this [withdrawal] there is a complete-mastery of the organs.






Vivekananda: Dharana is holding the mind on to some particular object.

Iyengar: Fixing the consciousness on one point or region is concentration (dharana).

Ranganathan: Concentration binds the mind on to a single area.

Woods: Binding the mind-stuff to a place is fixed-attention.


Vivekananda: An unbroken flow of knowledge to that object is Dhyana.

Iyengar: A steady, continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is mediation (dhyana).

Ranganathan: In that is the condition for the singular, uninterrupted reflection of a  profound spiritual character (dhyana).

Woods: Focusedness of the presented idea upon that [place] is contemplation.


Vivekananda: When that, giving up all forms, reflects only the meaning, it is Samadhi.

Iyengar: When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost.  This is samadhi.

Ranganathan: Its only purpose is the singular radiance that reveals one’s nature (or essences in general) and nothing else – on the way to this goal comes about the liberating state of absorption (samadhi).

Woods: This same [contemplation], shining forth [in consciousness] as the intended object and nothing more, and, as it were, emptied of itself, is concentration.


Vivekananda: (These) three (when practiced) in regard to one object is Samyama.

Iyengar: These three together – dharana, dhyana and samadhi – constitute integration or samyama.

Ranganathan: These three –  concentration, reflection of a profound spiritual character, and the liberating state of absorption (samadhi) – are the perfect constraint (of the mind).

Woods: The three in one are constraint.


Vivekananda: By the conquest of that comes light of knowledge.

Iyengar: From mastery of samyama comes the light of awareness and insight.

Ranganathan: The mastery of that (perfect constraint of the mind) results in the luminescence of wisdom.

Woods: As a result of mastering this restraint, there follows the shining forth of insight.


Vivekananda: That should be employed in stages.

Iyengar: Samyama may be applied in various spheres to derive its usefulness.

Ranganathan: Its progression occurs in stages.

Woods: Its application is by stages.


Vivekananda: These three are nearer than those that precede.

Iyengar: These three aspects of yoga are internal compared to the former five.

Ranganathan These three parts (of yoga, namely concentration, reflection of a profound spiritual character and the liberating state of absorption) are more internal (compared to the former five parts).

Woods: The three are direct aids in comparison with the previous [five].


Vivekananda: (These) three (when practiced) in regard to one object is Samyama.

Iyengar: Similarly, samyama is external when compared to seedless (nirbija) samadhi

Ranganathan: In relation to the liberating state of absorption (samadhi) that is ‘seedless’, these parts of yoga are external.

Woods: Even these [three] are indirect aids to seedless [concentration].


Vivekananda: By the suppression of the disturbed modifications of the mind, and by the rise of modifications of control, the mind is said to attain the controlling modifications – following the controlling powers of the mind.

Iyengar: Study of the silent moments between rising and restraining subliminal impressions is the transformation of consciousness towards restraint (nirodhaparinamah).

Ranganathan: The positive direction of the mind towards small moments of time facilitates the transformation (of consciousness) towards restraint.  This consist of constraining thoughts as they arise, and overpowering latent tendency-impressions by being conscious of the process of checking.

Woods: When there is a becoming invisible of the subliminal-impression of emergence and a becoming visible of the subliminal-impression of restriction, the mutation of restriction is inseparably connected with mind-stuff in its period of restriction.


Vivekananda: Its flow becomes steady by habit.

Iyengar: The restraint of rising impressions brings about an undisturbed flow of tranquility.

Ranganathan:   This result in the serene flow of latent tendency-impressions.

Woods: This [mind-stuff] flows peacefully by reason of the subliminal-impression.


Vivekananda: Taking in all sorts of objects and concentrating upon one object, these two powers being destroyed and manifested respectively, the Chitta gets the modification called Samadhi.

Iyengar: The weakening of scattered attention and the rise of one-pointed attention in the citta is the transformation towards samadhi.

Ranganathan:  A transformation obtains, where all purpose becomes one-pointed (by melding into a singularity), and mental chatter diminishes as the liberating state of absorption (samadhi) surfaces.

Woods: The mutation of concentration is the dwindling of dispersiveness and the uprisal of singleness-of-intent belonging to the mind-stuff.


Vivekananda: The one-pointedness of the Chitta is when it grasps in one, the past and present.

Iyengar: When rising and falling thought processes are in balance, one-pointed consciousness emerges.  Maintenance of awareness with keen intensity from one-pointed attention to no-pointed attentiveness is ekagrata parinama.

Ranganathan: With the mind singularly focused, the condition for the transformation of the mind is set.  It then resolves itself back into peace, and equanimity arises.

Woods: Then again when the quiescent and the uprisen presented-ideas are similar [in respect of having a single object], the mind-stuff has a mutation single-in-intent.


Vivekananda: By this is explained the threefold transformations of form, time and state, in fine or gross matter, and in the organs.

Iyengar: Through three phases, cultured consciousness is transformed from its potential state (dharma) towards further refinement (laksana) and the zenith of refinement (avastha).  In this way, the transformation of elements, senses and mind takes place.

Ranganathan:   By this, the transformation of things given in the senses – the transformation of their generic moral character, their particular marks and conditions – are fully comprehended.

Woods: Thus with regard to elements and to organs, mutations of external-aspect and of time-variation and of intensity have been enumerated.


Vivekananda: That which is acted upon by transformations, either past, present or yet to be manifested, is the qualified.

Iyengar: The substrata is that which continues to exist and maintain its characteristic quality in all states, whether manifest, latent, or subdued.

Ranganathan: When peace has surfaced, there is a mystical knowledge of the moral character of (all) things (objects as well) and what follows from their fundamental character)

Woods: A substance conforms itself to quiescent and uprisen and indeterminable external-aspects.


Vivekananda: The succession of changes is the cause of manifold evolution.

Iyengar: Successive sequential changes in consciousness are caused by the changing order of sequence in the method of practice.

Ranganathan:   The reason for the orderly change in objects is the transformation of other objects.

Woods: The order of the sequence is the reason for the order of the mutations.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the three sorts of changes comes the knowledge of past and future.

Iyengar: By mastery of the three transformations of nature (dharma), quality (laksana) and condition (avastha), through samyama on the nirodha, samadhi, and ekagrata states of consciousness, the yogi acquires knowledge of the past and the future.

Ranganathan: Perfect constraint directed onto these three – moral character, their particular marks and conditions – yields a deep comprehension of past and future events.

Woods: As a result of constraint upon the three mutations, [there follows] the knowledge of the past and the future.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on word, meaning, and knowledge, which are ordinarily confused, comes the knowledge of all animal sounds.

Iyengar: Words, objects and ideas are superimposed, creating confusion; by samyama, one gains knowledge of the language of all beings.

Ranganathan: Normally, concepts denoting conditions are superimposed on one another and thoroughly muddled.  In perfect constraint, these distinctions and all things spoken of through language are perfectly comprehended.

Woods: Word and intended-object and presented-idea are confused because they are erroneously identified with each other.  By constraint upon the distinctions between them, [there arises the intuitive] knowledge of the cries of all living beings.


Vivekananda: By perceiving the impressions, knowledge of past life.

Iyengar: Through direct perception of his subliminal impressions the yogi gains knowledge of his previous lives.

Ranganathan:   By actively inspecting the latent tendency-impressions, knowledge of former births is revealed.

Woods: As a result of direct perception of subliminal-impressions there is [intuitive] knowledge of previous births.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the signs in another’s both knowledge of that mind comes.

Iyengar: He acquires the ability to understand the minds of others.

Ranganathan:  (And) the condition of other people’s minds is revealed.

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon a presented-idea [there arises intuitive] knowledge of the mind-stuff of another.


Vivekananda: But not its contents, that not being the object of the Samyama.

Iyengar: A yogi who is able to read the minds of others in general, can also, if necessary, precisely identify specific contents which are beyond the reach of the mind.

Ranganathan: Yet, what is not present (to the yogi) is the thing belonging to the other person’s mind – that is, the object of their thought – for that is a relationship between the other person’s consciousness and the object.

Woods: But [the intuitive knowledge of the mind-stuff of another] does not have that [idea] together with that upon which it depends [as its object], since that [upon which it depends] is not-in-the-field [of consciousness].


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the form of the body the power of perceiving forms being obstructed, the power of manifestation in the eye being separated, the Yogi’s body becomes unseen.

Iyengar: By control over the subtle body the yogi can suspend at will the rays of light emanating from himself so that he becomes invisible to onlookers.  Me may again make himself visible by bringing back the power of perceptibility.

Ranganathan: When the body’s form is rasped with ultimate discipline, and the ego is disengaged from incoming light, there comes the power of suspending the body and rendering it imperceptible (to others).

Woods: As a result of constraint upon the [outer] form of the body, when it’s power to be known is stopped, then as a consequence of the disjunction of the light and of the eye there follows indiscernibility [of the yogin’s body].


Vivekananda: By this the disappearance or concealment of words which are being spoken is also explained.

Iyengar: In the same way as described above, he is able to arrest sound smell, taste, form and touch.

Ranganathan: The disappearances of sound and other sensations can be explained by this means.

Woods: Advancing and not-advancing is karma; as a result of constraint upon this [two-fold karma] or from the signs of death [there arises an intuitive] knowledge of the latter end.


Vivekananda: Karma is of two kinds, soon to be fructified, and late to be fructified. By making Samyama on that, or by the signs called Aristha, portents, the Yogis know the exact time of separation from their bodies.

Iyengar: The effects of action are immediate or delayed.  By samyama on his actions, a yogi will gain foreknowledge of their final fruits.  He will know the exact time of his death by omens.

Ranganathan: And, by turning perfect constraint to the two types of karma – those that are currently bearing fruits and those whose fruits are delayed – or by divination of omens, knowledge of (the time of) death can be had.

Woods:  [As a result of constraint] upon friendliness and other [sentiments there arise] powers [of friendliness].


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on friendship, etc., various strength comes.

Iyengar: He gains moral and emotional strength by perfecting friendliness and other virtues towards one and all.

Ranganathan: (By directing ultimate discipline towards) friendliness and so on one gains their strengths.

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon powers [there arise] powers like those of an elephant.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the strength of the elephant, etc., that strength comes to the Yogi.

Iyengar: By samyama on strength, the yogi will develop the physical strength, grace, and endurance of an elephant.

Ranganathan: (By directing ultimate discipline towards) elephants and other animals, one gains their strength.

Woods: As a result of casting the light of a sense-activity [there arises an intuitive] knowledge of the subtile and the concealed and the obscure.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on that effulgent light comes the knowledge of the fine, the obstructed, and the remote.

Iyengar: Concealed things, near or far, are revealed to a yogi.

Ranganathan: By directing effort towards the illumination, the yogi can have knowledge of subtle, hidden and distant things.

Woods: As a result of casting the light of a sense-activity [there arises an intuitive] knowledge of the subtile and the concealed and the obscure.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the sun, (comes) the knowledge of the world.

Iyengar: By samyama on the sun the yogi will have knowledge of the seven worlds, and of the seven cosmic centres in the body.

Ranganathan: Ultimate discipline focused on the sun reveals knowledge of the (entire) world,

Woods: As a result of constraint upon the sun [there arises the intuitive] knowledge of the cosmic-spaces.


Vivekananda: On the moon, (comes) the knowledge of the cluster of stars.

Iyengar: By samyama on the moon, the yogi will know the position and system of the stars.

Ranganathan:  (Upon the) moon it reveals comprehension of the arrangements of the stars,

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the moon {there arises the intuitive] knowledge of the arrangement of the stars.


Vivekananda: On the pole star (comes) the knowledge of the motions of the stars.

Iyengar: By samyama on the Pole Star, the yogi knows the course of destiny.

Ranganathan: (Upon the) North Star it reveals the flow of these (stars),

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the pole-star [there arises the intuitive] knowledge of their movements.


Vivekananda: On the navel circle (comes) the knowledge of the constitution of the body.

Iyengar: By samyama on the navel the yogi acquires perfect knowledge of the disposition of the human body.

Ranganathan:   (Upon the) navel, it provides comprehension of the arrangement of the cakra-s in the body.

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the wheel of the navel [there arises the intuitive] knowledge of the arrangement of the body.


Vivekananda: On the hollow of the throat

Iyengar: By samyama on the pit of the throat, the yogi overcomes hunger and thirst.

Ranganathan: (Upon the) hollow of the throat leads to the termination of hunger and thirst,

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the well of the throat [there follows] the cessation of hunger and thirst.


Vivekananda: On the nerve called Kurma (comes) fixity of the body.

Iyengar: By samyama on kurmanadi, at the pit of the throat, the yogi can make his body and mind firm and immobile like a tortoise.

Ranganathan: (Upon the) ‘Tortoise duct’, one gains absolute stillness,

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the tortoise-tube [there follows] motionlessness of the mind-stuff.


Vivekananda: On the light emanating from the top of the head sight of the Siddhas.

Iyengar: By performing samyama on the light of the crown of the head (ajna cakra), the yogi has visions of perfected beings.

Ranganathan: (Upon the) radiance of the head, the adept gains philosophical vision,

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the radiance in the head [there follows] the sight of the Siddhas.


Vivekananda: Or by the power of Pratibha all knowledge.

Iyengar: Through the faculty of spiritual perception the yogi becomes the knower of all knowledge.

Ranganathan: Or, all (of these) can be had through a flash of intuitive insight.

Woods: Or as a result of vividness the yogin discerns all.


Vivekananda: In the heart, knowledge of minds.

Iyengar: By samyama on the region of the heart, the yogi acquires a thorough knowledge of the contents and tendencies of consciousness.

Ranganathan: (By directing ultimate discipline towards) the heart, one gains understanding of mentality.

Woods: [As a result of constraint] upon the heart [there arises] a consciousness of the mind-stuff.


Vivekananda: Enjoyment comes by the non-discrimination of the very distant soul and Sattva. Its actions are for another; Samyama on this gives knowledge of the Purusa.

Iyengar: By samyama, the yogi easily differentiates between the intelligence and the soul which is real and true.

Ranganathan: The condition of unqualified experiential enjoyment – the naturalistic quality of illumination and buoyancy (sattva) – is an objective other than the innermost person, that is absolutely distinct.  By directing ultimate discipline towards one’s own value, penetrating comprehension of the innermost person is had.

Woods: Experience is a presented-idea which fails to distinguish the sattva and the Self, which are absolutely uncommingled [in the presented-idea].


Vivekananda: From that arises the knowledge of hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling, belonging to Pratibha.

Iyengar: Through that spiritual perception, the yogi acquires the divine faculties of hearing touch, vision, taste, and smell.  He can even generate these divine emanations by his own will.

Ranganathan:   From this knowledge come special powers of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.

Woods: As a result of this [constraint upon that which exists for its own sake], there arise vividness and the organ-of-[supernal]-hearing and the organ-of-[supernal]-touch and the organ-of-[supernal]-sight and the organ-of-[supernal]-taste and the organ-of-[supernal]-smell.


Vivekananda: These are obstacles to Samadhi; but they are powers in the worldly state.

Iyengar: These attainments are impediments to samadhi, although they are powers in active life.

Ranganathan: The emergence of these accomplishments are an obstacle to liberating states of absorption (samadhi).

Woods: In concentration these [supernal activities] are obstacles; in the emergent state they are perfections [siddhi].


Vivekananda: When the cause of bondage has become loosened, the Yogi, by his knowledge of manifestation through the organs, enters another’s body.

Iyengar: Through relaxation of the causes of bondage, and the free flow of consciousness, the yogi enters another’s body at will.

Ranganathan: And, through relaxing the cause of being bound (to one’s karmas), and from sensitivity to the flow mentality, one can enter the body of another.

Woods: As a result of slackening the causes of bondage and as a result of the knowledge of the procedure [of the mind-stuff], the mind-stuff penetrates into the body of another.


Vivekananda: By conquering the current called Udana the Yogi does not sink in water, or in swamps, and he can walk on thorns.

Iyengar: By mastery of udana vayu, the yogi can walk over water, swamps and thorns without touching them.  He can also levitate.

Ranganathan:   When one masters one of the five vital airs called ‘udana’, one can rise above water, mud, thorns and the like, without making contact with these, and levitate.

Woods: As a result of mastering the Udana there is no adhesion to water or mud or thorns or similar objects, and [at death] the upward flight.


Vivekananda: By the conquest of the current Samana he is surrounded by blaze.

Iyengar: By samyama on samana vayu, a yogi glows like fire and his aura shines.

Ranganathan: When one masters one of the five vital airs called ‘samana’, one becomes brilliant.

Woods: As a result of mastering the Samana [there arises] a radiance.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the relation between the ear and the Akasa comes divine hearing.

Iyengar: By samyama on the relation between space and sound, the yogi acquires the power of hearing distant and divine sounds.  The organ of hearing, the ear, grasps sound in space.  This is the conquest of air.

Ranganathan: By directing ultimate discipline towards the relation between that which is in space and that which is of hearing, one gains the divine capacity for hearing.

Woods: As a result of constraint of the relation between the organ-of-hearing and the air, [there arises] the supernal organ-of-hearing.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the relation between the Akasa and the body the Yogi becoming light as cotton wool goes through the skies.

Iyengar: By knowing the relationship between the body and either, the yogi transforms his body and mind so that they become as light as cotton fibre.  He can then levitate in space.  This is the conquest of ether.

Ranganathan:  And by directing ultimate discipline towards the relationship of the body to space, and through the coalescence (of the mind) with the lightness of cotton, one gains the power to journey through space.

Woods: Either as a result of constraint upon the relation between the body and the air, or as a result of the balanced-state of lightness, such as that of cotton-fibre, there follows the passing through air.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the real modifications of the mind, which are outside, called great disembodiness, comes disappearance of the covering to light.

Iyengar: By samyama on mahavideha (the disembodied state), where consciousness acts outside the body, the veil covering the light of illumination is destroyed.

Ranganathan: When the morally evaluatable character of thought is such that it s no longer focused on the external, and there occurs the Great Disembodiment, the obstruction to luminosity remits.

Woods: An outwardly unadjusted fluctuation is the Great Discarnate; as a result of this the dwindling of the cover to the brightness.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the elements, beginning with the gross, and ending with the superfine, comes mastery of the elements.

Iyengar: By samyama on the elements – their mass, forms, subtlety, conjunction and purposes, the yogi becomes Lord over them all.

Ranganathan: By directing ultimate discipline towards the gross, the essences, the subtle, the causal nexus and value, one gains mastery over material objects.

Woods: As a result of constraint upon the coarse and the essential-attribute and the subtile and the inherence and purposiveness, there is a mastery of the elements.


Vivekananda: From that comes minuteness, and the rest of the powers, “glorification of the body,” and indestructibleness of the bodily qualities.

Iyengar: From that arises perfection of the body, the ability to resist the play of the elements, and powers such as minuteness.

Ranganathan: From these arise powers such as the ability to become as small as an atom, and to manifest a perfect body.  These (powers) can help a yogi lead an ethical life, free from disturbances.

Woods: As a result of this, atomization and the other [perfections] come about; [there is] perfection of the body; and there is no obstruction by the properties of these [elements].


Vivekananda: The glorifications of the body are beauty, complexion, strength, adamantine hardness.

Iyengar: Perfection of the body consists of beauty of form, grace, strength, compactness, and the hardness and brilliance of a diamond.

Ranganathan: Perfections of body include beautiful form, grace, strength, and adamantine firmness.

Woods: Beauty and grace and power and compactness of the thunderbolt – [this is] perfection of the body.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the objectivity, knowledge and egoism of the organs, by gradation comes the conquest of the organs.

Iyengar: Through samyama upon the purpose of the conjunction of the process of knowing, the ego, and nature, there is mastery over the senses.

Ranganathan: By directing ultimate discipline towards comprehension, essence, egotism, the causal nexus and value, one gains mastery over the sense organs.

Woods: As a result of constraint upon the process-of-knowing and the essential-attribute and the feeling-of-personality and the inherence and the purposiveness, [there follows] the subjugation of the organs.


Vivekananda: From that comes glorified mind, power of the organs independently of the body, and conquest of nature.

Iyengar: By mastery over the senses of perception the yogi’s speed of body, senses and mind matches that of the soul, independent of the primary causes of nature.  Unaided by consciousness, he subdues the first principle of nature (mahat)

Ranganathan: Hence follows swiftness of mind, freedom from the sensory apparatus and mastery over primordial matter.

Woods: As a result of this [there follows] speed [great as that] of the central-organ, action of the instruments [of knowledge] disjunct [from the body], and the subjugation of the primary-cause.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on the Sattva, to him who has discriminated between the intellect and the Purusa comes omnipresence and omniscience.

Iyengar: Only one who knows the difference between the illuminative intelligence and the seer attains supreme knowledge of all that exists and all that manifests.

Ranganathan: When the utter distinction between persons and the natural quality of luminescence and buoyancy (sattva) is discerned, there comes lordship over all things and omniscience.

Woods: He who has only the full discernement into the difference between sattva and the Self is one who has authority over all states-of-existence and is one who knows all.


Vivekananda: By giving up even these comes the destruction of the very seed of evil; he attains Kaivalya.

Iyengar: By destruction of the seeds of bondage and the renunciation of even these powers, comes eternal emancipation.

Ranganathan: This state consists in an absence of worldly attachments and the remission of the seed of moral failings:  this is ‘Isolation’.

Woods: As a result of passionlessness even with regard to these [perfections] there follows, after the dwindling of the seeds of the defects, Isolation.


Vivekananda: The Yogi should not feel allured or flattered by the overtures of celestial beings, for fear of evil again.

Iyengar: When approached by celestial beings, there should be neither attachment nor surprise, for undesirable connections can occur again.

Ranganathan: When beings of high esteem hold out an invitation for association, one should avoid actively associating with them, lest one relapse to an undesirable state of indulgence characterized by pride.

Woods: In case of invitations from those-in-high-places, these should arouse no attachment or pride, for undesired consequences recur.


Vivekananda: By making Samyama on a particle of time and its multiples comes discrimination.

Iyengar: By samyama on moment and on the continuous flow of moments, the yogi gains exalted knowledge, free from the limitations of time and space.

Ranganathan: By directing ultimate discipline on the flow of extremely small portions of time, speedy discrimination of a penetrating character is born

Woods: As a result of constraints upon moments and their sequence [there arises the intuitive] knowledge proceeding from discrimination.


Vivekananda: Those which cannot be differentiated by species, sign and place, even they will be discriminated by the above Samyama.

Iyengar: By this knowledge the yogi is able to distinguish unerringly the differences in similar objects which cannot be distinguished by rank, qualitative signs or position in space.

Ranganathan: From this follows understanding that is unbounded by (the) country (one is in), the social group one is born into, or other differentiating characteristics, but is equal (to all).

Woods: As a result of this there arises the deeper-knowledge of two equivalent things which cannot be distinctly qualified in species or characteristic-mark or point-of-space.


Vivekananda: The saving knowledge is that knowledge of discrimination which covers all objects, all means.

Iyengar: The essential characteristics of the yogi’s exalted knowledge is that he grasps instantly, clearly and wholly, the aims of all objects without going into the sequence of time or change.

Ranganathan: This penetrating knowledge born of comprehension thus allows one to quickly transcend all unhelpful contents of experience.

Woods: The [intuitive] knowledge proceeding from discrimination is a deliverer, has all things as its object, and has all times for its object, and is an [inclusive whole] without sequence.


Vivekananda: By the similarity of purity between the Sattva and the Purusa comes Kaivalya.

Iyengar: When the purity of intelligence equals the purity of the soul, the yogi has reached kaivalya, perfection in yoga.

Ranganathan: When the mind’s clarity and luminescence (sattva) has been brought to the level of the purity of the innermost person, this is Isolation (that is, liberation).

Woods: When the purity of the sattva and of the Self are equal there is Isolation.






Vivekananda: The Siddhis (powers) are attained by birth, chemical means, power of words, mortification or concentration.

Iyengar: Accomplishments may be attained through birth, the use of herbs, incantations, self-discipline or samadhi.

Ranganathan: The accomplishments of the adept can be achieved by birth, herbs, the recitation of revealed incantations and penance.

Woods: Perfections proceed from birth or from drugs or from spells or from self-castigation or from concentration.


Vivekananda: The change into another species is by the filling in of nature.

Iyengar: The abundant flow of nature’s energy brings about a transformation in one’s birth, aiding the process of evolution.

Ranganathan: Birth into a new social context occurs according to the great flow of Nature.

Woods: The mutation into another birth is the result of the filling-in of the evolving-cause.


Vivekananda: Good deeds, etc., are not the direct causes in the transformation of nature, but they act as breakers of obstacles to the evolutions of nature, as a farmer breaks the obstacles to the course of water, which then runs down by its own nature.

Iyengar: Nature’s efficient cause does not impel its potentialities into action, but helps to remove the obstacles to evolution, just as a farmer builds banks to irrigate his fields.

Ranganathan: Verily, Nature, differentiable into the causally efficient and the causally inert, serves the purpose of treating all things.  Hence, it is like a farmer.

Woods: The efficient cause gives no impulse to the evolving-causes but [the mutation] follows when the barrier [to the evolving-cause] is cut, as happens with the peasant.


Vivekananda: From egoism alone proceed the created minds.

Iyengar: Constructed or created mind springs from the sense of individuality (asmita).

Ranganathan: Mentality s created from egotism alone.

Woods: Created mind-stuffs may result from the sense-of-personality and from this alone.


Vivekananda: Though the activities of the different created minds are various, the one original mind is the controller of them all.

Iyengar: Consciousness is one, but it branches into many different types of activities and innumerable thought-waves.

Ranganathan: Mentality is one (feature of Nature), but is differentiated into many according to the various endeavours.

Woods: While there is a variety of actions, the mind-stuff which impels the many is one.


Vivekananda: Among the various Chittas that which is attained by Samadhi is desireless.

Iyengar: Of these activities of consciousness of perfected beings, only those which proceed from meditation are free from latent impressions and influences.

Ranganathan: In that meditation of a profound spiritual character (dhyana) is born the state without tendency-impressions.

Woods: Of these [five perfections] that which proceeds from contemplation leaves no latent-deposit.


Vivekananda: Works are neither black nor white for the Yogis; for others they are threefold, black, white, and mixed.

Iyengar: A yogi’s actions are neither white nor black.  The actions of others are of three kinds, white, black or grey.

Ranganathan The action of the yogi goes beyond contraries like white and black (enjoyment producing and pain producing) whereas the actions of others are threefold (enjoyment producing, pain producing, or both).:

Woods: The yogins karma is neither-white-nor-black; [the karma] of others is of three kinds.


Vivekananda: From these threefold works are manifested in each state only those desires (which are) fitting to that state alone. (The others are held in abeyance for the time being.)

Iyengar: These three types of actions leave impressions which become manifest when conditions are favourable and ripe.

Ranganathan: Of the lingering effects issuing from these three types of action only those that are in conformity (to the natural conditions) will ripen.

Woods: As a result of this there follows the manifestation of those subconscious-impressions only which correspond to the fruition of their [karma].


Vivekananda: There is connectiveness in desire, even though separated by species, space and time, there being identification of memory and impressions.

Iyengar: Life is a continuous process even though it is demarcated by race, place and time.  Due to the uninterrupted close relationship between memory and subliminal impressions, the fruits of actions remain intact from one life to the next as if there were no separation between births.

Ranganathan: Also, the near relationship between memory and latent tendency-impressions renders them into one category of phenomenon, uninterrupted by factors such as birth region and time.

Woods: There is an uninterrupted-causal-relation [of subconscious-impressions], although remote in species and point-of-space and moment-of-time, by reason of the correspondence between memory and subliminal impressions.


Vivekananda: Thirst for happiness being eternal, desires are without beginning.

Iyengar: These impressions, memories, and desires have existed eternally, as the desire to live is eternal.

Ranganathan: This (memory and tendency-impressions) is without beginning, for will is eternal.

Woods: Furthermore the [subconscious-impressions] have no beginning [that we can set in time], since desire is permanent.


Vivekananda: Being held together by cause, effect, support, and objects, in the absence of these is its absence.

Iyengar: Impressions and desires are bound together by their dependence upon cause and effect.  In the absence of the latter, the former too ceases to function.

Ranganathan: The cancelling out of that (that is, samskara-s spoken about in the last two sutra-s) results in the joint nullification of the cause, effect and foundation (of bondage), for they constitute and support these (that is, the cause, effect and foundation of bondage).

Woods: Since [subconscious-impressions] are associated with cause and motive and mental-substrate and stimulus, if these cease to be, then those [subconscious-impressions] cease to be.


Vivekananda: The past and future exist in their own nature, qualities having different ways.

Iyengar: The existence of the past and the future is as real as that of the present.  As moments roll into movements which have yet to appear as the future, the quality of knowledge in one’s intellect and consciousness is affected.

Ranganathan: The past and the future exist (eternally, just as what is called ‘the present’ exists) and have their distinct forms: the difference in the road owing to the difference of their moral character.

Woods:  Past and future as such exist; [therefore subconscious-impressions do not cease to be].  For the different time-forms belong to the external-aspects.


Vivekananda: They are manifested or fine, being of the nature of the Gunas.

Iyengar: The three phases of time intermingle rhythmically and interweave with the qualities of nature.  They change the composition of natures properties into gross and subtle.

Ranganathan: They (the moral characters) are manifest and subtle, owing to the essence of the qualities (of Nature).

Woods: These [external-aspects with the three time-forms] are phenomenalized [individuals] or subtile [generic-forms] and their essence is the aspects (guna).


Vivekananda: The unity in things is from the unity in changes. Though there are three substances their changes being coordinated all objects have their unity.

Iyengar: Unity in the mutation of time caused by the abiding qualities of nature, sattva, rajas and tamas, causes modifications in objects, but their unique essence, or reality, does not change.

Ranganathan: The singularity of modification (on a universal scale) constitutes the reality of each object.

Woods: The that-ness of a thing is due to a singleness of mutation.


Vivekananda: The object being the same, perception and desire vary according to the various minds.

Iyengar: Due to the variance in the quality of mind-content, each person may view the same object differently, according to his own way of thinking.

Ranganathan: Objects are equal in constitution relative to perceivers, yet two different minds may conceive of objects differently, owing to the difference in their paths.

Woods: Because, while the [physical] thing remains the same, the mind-stuffs are different, [therefore the two are upon] distinct levels-of-existence.


Vivekananda: Things are known or unknown to the mind, being dependent on the colouring which they give to the mind.

Iyengar: An object exists independent of its cognizance by any one consciousness.  What happens to it when that consciousness is not there to perceive of it?

Ranganathan: An object cannot be dependent upon a single mind to conceive it.  If it were, what would happen to it when it is unobserved by anyone?

Woods: And a thing is not dependent on a single mind-stuff, [for then in certain cases] it could not be proved [by that mind-stuff], [and] then what would it be?


Vivekananda: The states of the mind are always known because the lord of the mind is unchangeable.

Iyengar: An object remains known or unknown according to the conditioning or expectation of the consciousness.

Ranganathan: Objects are either known or unknown, depending upon what a mind projects and is open to.

Woods: A thing is known or not known by virtue of its affecting [or not affecting] the mind-stuff.


Vivekananda: Mind is not self-luminous, being an object.

Iyengar: Purusa is ever illuminative and changeless.  Being constant and master of the mind, he always knows the moods and modes of consciousness.

Ranganathan: The immutability of the person consists in being the mater of the character of the mind, which it always knows.

Woods: Unintermittingly the Master of that [mind-stuff] knows the fluctuations of mind-stuff [and thus] the Self undergoes-no-mutations.


Vivekananda: From its being unable to cognise two things at the same time.

Iyengar: Consciousness cannot illumine itself as it is a knowable object.

Ranganathan: Mentality is not self-illuminating, but it is known by its knowability (to the  person).

Woods: It does not illumine itself, since it is an object-for-sight.


Vivekananda: Another cognising mind being assumed there will be no end to such assumptions and confusion of memory.

Iyengar: Consciousness cannot comprehend both the seer and itself at the same time.

Ranganathan: And mentality and (its object) cannot be comprehended at once.

Woods: And there cannot be cognition of both [thinking-substance and thing] at the same time.


Vivekananda: The essence of knowledge (the Purusa) being un-changeable, when the mind takes its form, it becomes conscious.

Iyengar: If consciousness were manifold in one’s being, each cognizing the other, the intelligence too would be manifold, so the projections of mind would be many each having its own memory.

Ranganathan:  If mentality had to see itself in order to know, the second instance of mental cognition knowing the first would require an instance of mental cognition to be known, and so on, resulting in a vicious regress, and remembrance would thus become confused.

Woods: If [one mind-stuff] were the object-for-sight for another, there would be an infinite regress from one thinking-substance to another thinking-substance as well as confusion of memory.


Vivekananda: Coloured by the seer and the seen the mind is able to understand everything.

Iyengar: Consciousness distinguishes its own awareness and intelligence when it reflects and identifies its source – the changeless seer – and assumes his form.

Ranganathan: When the mental is stilled, it can assume the shape (of purusa) thus cognizing its own self.

Woods: The Intellect (citi) which unites not [with objects] is conscious of its own thinking-substance when [the mind-stuff] takes the form of that [thinking-substance by reflecting it].


Vivekananda: The mind through its innumerable desires acts for another (the Purusa), being combinations.

Iyengar: Consciousness, reflected by the seer as well as by the seen, appears to be all-comprehending.

Ranganathan: When the mentality is coloured with both the seer and what is seen, all things are apparent.

Woods: Mind-stuff affected by the Seer and by the object-for-sight [leads to perception of] all intended-objects.


Vivekananda: For the discriminating the perception of the mind as Atman ceases.

Iyengar: Though the fabric of consciousness is interwoven with innumerable desires and subconscious impressions, it exists for the seer on account of its proximity to the seer as well as to the objective world.

Ranganathan: While (mentality) contains countless and variegated tendencies and latent tendency-impressions, it exists for the sake [of?] another (the person) owing to its close contact (with natural objects and person).

Woods:  This [mind-stuff], although diversified by countless subconscious-impressions, exists for the sake of another, because its nature is to produce [things as] combinations.


Vivekananda: Then bent on discriminating the mind attains the previous state of Kaivalya (isolation).

Iyengar: For one who realizes the distinction between citta and atma, the sense of separation between the two disappears.

Ranganathan: When the self-existent becomes one who sees the distinction (between person and mentality, and Nature in general), (external) causes terminate.

Woods: For him who sees the distinction, pondering upon his own states-of-being ceases.


Vivekananda: The thoughts that arise as obstructions to that are from impressions.

Iyengar: Then consciousness is drawn strongly towards the seer or the soul due to the gravitational force of its exalted intelligence.

Ranganathan: Mentality is then oriented towards deep discrimination, and gravitates towards Isolation.

Woods: Then the mind-stuff is borne down to discrimination, onward toward Isolation.


Vivekananda: Their destruction is in the same manner as of ignorance, etc., as said before.

Iyengar: Notwithstanding this progress, if one is careless during the interval, a fissure arises due to past hidden impressions, creating division between the consciousness and the seer.

Ranganathan: Breaks in this deep discrimination are the conditions of deviant experiences, built on residual tendency-impressions.

Woods: In the intervals of this [mind-stuff] there are other presented-ideas [coming] from subliminal-impressions.


Vivekananda: Even when arriving at the right discriminating knowledge of the senses, he who gives up the fruits, unto him comes as the result of perfect discrimination, the Samadhi called the cloud of virtue.

Iyengar: In the same way as the sadhaka strives to be free from afflictions, the yogi must handle these latent impressions judiciously to extinguish them.

Ranganathan: These can be discarded, just as the abandonment of affliction was explained.

Woods: The escape from these [subliminal-impressions] is described as being like [the escape from] the hindrances.


Vivekananda: From that comes cessation of pains and works.

Iyengar: The yogi who has no interest even in this highest state of evolution, and maintains supreme attentive, discriminative awareness, attains dharma meghah samadhi: he contemplates the fragrance of virtue and justice.

Ranganathan: When one attains this summit (of yogic practice) characterized by a lack of selfish desires in all contexts and the ever presence of discriminative knowing, there comes the Rain Cloud of Morality Liberating State of Absorption (dharmameghasamadhi).

Woods: For one who is not usurious even in respect of Elevation, there follows in every case as a result of discriminative discernment the concentration called Rain-cloud of [knowable] things.


Vivekananda: Then knowledge, bereft of covering and impurities, becoming infinite, the knowable becomes small.

Iyengar: Then comes the end of afflictions and of karma.

Ranganathan: Hence, all afflictions and (past) actions terminate.

Woods: Then follows the cessation of the hindrances and of karma.


Vivekananda: Then are finished the successive transformations of the qualities, they having attained the end.

Iyengar: Then, when the veils of impurities are removed, the highest, subjective, pure, infinite knowledge is attained, and the knowable, the finite, appears as trivial.

Ranganathan: All imperfections are thus washed away, and so with it the covering that obstructs penetrating knowledge, rendering the infinity of the knowable a trifling (in comparison).

Woods: Then, because of the endlessness of knowledge from which all obscuring defilements have passed away, what is yet to be known amounts to little.


Vivekananda: The changes that exist in relation to moments, and which are perceived at the other end (at the end of a series) are succession.

Iyengar: When dharmameghah samadhi is attained, qualities of nature (gunas) come to rest.  Having fulfilled their purpose their sequence of successive mutations is at an end.

Ranganathan: Then, all activities (of the person) are fulfilled, and so the succession and transformation of natural qualities come to an end.

Woods: When as a result of this the aspects (guna) have fulfilled their purpose, they attain to the limit of the sequence of mutations.


Vivekananda: The resolution in the inverse order of the qualities, bereft of any motive of action for the Purusa, is Kaivalya, or it is the establishment of the power of knowledge in its own nature.

Iyengar: As the mutations of the gunas cease to function, time, the uninterrupted movement of movements, stops.  This deconstruction of the flow of time is comprehensible only at this final stage of emancipation.

Ranganathan: Succession (of Nature) is the counterpart of very small moments of time:  this is fully understood at the end [of?] the transformation (of Nature).

Woods: The positive correlate to the moment, recognized as such at the final limit of the mutation, is a sequence. The positive correlate to the moment, recognized as such at the final limit of the mutation, is a sequence.


Iyengar: Kaivalya, liberation, comes when the yogi has fulfilled the purusarthas, the fourfold aims of life, and has transcended the gunas.  Aims and gunas return to their source, and consciousness is established in its own natural purity.

Ranganathan: With no other goal of the person remaining (for they have all been fulfilled), the qualities (of Nature) resolve themselves back into the flow (of Nature).  Then (the person) stands only on its own form, or on (pure) power of knowing.  This is Isolation.  That is all.

Woods: Isolation is the inverse generation of the aspects, no longer provided with a purpose by the Self, or it is the Energy of Intellect grounded in itself.





2 Replies to “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Translation Comparison”

  1. Thanks for all your hard work Desmond Quinn! I am planning to hold a workshop on the yoga sutras and am intending to give out copies of your comparisons to the participants. Coming from the TM lineage and having practiced Maharishi’s siddhis, I have included Alistair Shearer’s translation as the fifth option. I do like it best but I suppose I would say that! JRL from Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand

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