Yoga Sutras 1.19 and 1.20 essentially describe two types of people: those who were born into (almost) pure enlightenment and those who aren’t. The majority of us fit into 1.20.
Yoga Sutra 1.19 : Yogis who have not attained asamprajnata samadhi remain attached to Prakriti (changeable vs. parusha or unchangeable) at the time of death due to continued existence of thoughts of becoming.
Yoga Sutra 1.20 : To the others, asamprajnata samadhi is preceded by faith, strength, mindfullness, samadhi (cognitive) and discriminative insight.
Let’s first define Prakriti and Purusha:
– Prakriti is the changeable. As I understand this, it is basically our bodies, our minds, the earth, anything that can (and will) change.
-Purusha is the Universal Consciousness, Self, Spirit or God. This is something that is unchangeable. This is timeless and transcends all forms that change.
So once we decide whether we are in the bucket of 1.19 (which I certainly am not!) or maybe in the camp where we have a bit of work to do in this life before we are enlightened- then we can start to discern how to get to work. The good news: 1.20 hands it to us!
To attain enlightenment, or work towards it, we must work with these concepts:
1. Sraddha // Faith : We must have faith that the path we choose is leading us to enlightenment. This could mean a religious faith, an emotional or spiritual faith, or however you view faith. Have faith or practice, and all is coming.
2. Virya // Strength or Courage: Be strong in your path to enlightenment and have courage. The path will not always be easy. It will, at times, be easier to choose sitting on the couch than getting on your mat or reading a book. We must be stronger than our habits and have courage to push through when we don’t want to. At times, it’s also easy to abandon our path. For example, if we follow the yogic principle ahimsa (non-harming) we have to always have the strength to choose that. It’s easier to gossip about people and be malicious at times, but we have to have the courage to turn back to our practice and choose the path of non-harming.
3. Smrti // Mindfulness : Be mindful ALWAYS, not just on your mat, but off your mat. If you choose your path to be a Christian or another devout faith, don’t just be religious at church. Be mindful of this path ALWAYS.
4. Samprajnata Samadhi // Unity and Distinction : This is a state of knowing that most of us can come to in our meditation practice now. Knowing that in the end everything is in union, but having the distinction in our meditation that we are still one body and the Divine is (or rather, feels) separate from us. One day, when we are fully enlightened beings we will be able dissolve that distinction, that we are all one.
5. Prajna // Wisdom : I translate this to be approaching our practice with wisdom and knowledge. To constantly dive deeper for a more credible source (which many times is the teacher within ourselves). Approach your practice with wisdom and curiosity to study more and more about your practice. Get to know your own practice, which also translates to getting to know ourselves.
If you are like me, and are pretty sure you weren’t born enlightened ( I still throw the bird, cuss like a sailor and don’t always have the nicest things to say about myself or others), the yoga sutra of 1.20 will help guide you to a consistent, healthy and (hopefully) enlightened self/ practice over time.
If you’re in the 1.19 group, I’d love to meet you and chat you up!
Namaste! Practice and all is coming, yogis!