Sutra I.36 – Chapter I, Sutra 36

विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती॥३६॥

visoka va jyotismati

Or (va) we can visualize and connect with a radiant light (jyotismati) within us, which is a place of serenity and one that knows no pain (visoka).

PRACTICAL LIVING     In this sutra Patanjali reminds us of the philosophy that Yoga is based on: Samkhya (see History). Samkhya states that every living being is composed of two parts: one which is always changing (body, thoughts, emotions), and one which is unchanging (jyoti – this inner light which knows no suffering). It is said that this light resides in the center of our chest. Ancient texts mention that in the body there is a heart, which is the home to a lotus, which has a light sourced by inner peace.

The visualization of this light may be beneficial for some people, bringing them to a calmer mental state. When combined with breath awareness, this could be a powerful meditation, taking us from a state of agitation or distraction to one of clarity and joy. Below are some ideas to put this sutra into practice:

  1. Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the head, neck and spine in a straight line. Bring awareness to the breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly through the nose. With each inhale, visualize a light in the center of your chest (choose a color that brings you calmness) getting brighter. With each exhale, visualize yourself spreading that bright light all around your body.
  2. If you enjoy chanting, you can use one of the following ideas to either mentally chant or verbally express as you exhale: “jyoti”, “I am light”, “visoka va jyotismati”. Inhale and feel yourself filling up with peace, exhale and chant either out loud or mentally to yourself.
  3. Another meditation technique involving the concept of light is called trataka. This involves placing a candle flame a few inches in front of you. Focus on the flame for 5-10 minutes, keeping your gaze on the flame without distraction. Then close the eyes and concentrate on the image of the flame that remained in the mind.

IN THE YOGA WORLD     Different traditions and texts describe this place of inner peace in various parts of the body such as in between the eyebrows and on the crown of the head. The precise location is not important. Each individual will find a place that they connect to, that feels “right” to them. Once found, this space can lead us to a place beyond fear, anxiety and worry. If this sounds like the right tool for you in this moment of your life, choose one of the above suggestions and begin a daily meditation practice. Begin with 5 minutes and increase the amount gradually.

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     In Brazil we say that when a woman gives birth she “gives Sutra I.36-Santi S.light”. Last week two of the most wonderful human beings I know “gave light” to Santiago. I could only think about this wonderful little being for this sutra. A newborn brings light into the world. Santiago saw sunlight for the first time when he was born. He brought light into his parent’s life like no other human being could. For a parent, the object of meditation becomes this child, this light, this miracle of life. I can’t wait to meet you little Santiago! You have already brightened the world so much by simply being born 🙂

Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!

Thanks and next week we will look at how detachment and looking for another person’s experience can help us on our paths.

11 thoughts on “Sutra I.36 – Chapter I, Sutra 36

  1. Pingback: Sutra I.37 – Chapter I, Sutra 37 | weeklysutra

  2. My meditation that I shed my inner light while doing is playing guitar. Something about making noise with my own hands. Generating a sound people can get down to is nothing like anything I’ve felt before. As in free styling, it comes from the heart. Very few can make the same sound as you without copying your idea first. It’s my organic way of truly expressing myself<3

  3. What’s the core characteristics in me? What is that light in me that is permanent and unchanging? Maybe it is gentleness, kindness and mischief (yes, it’s there) that all make me who i am, and no matter what changes, those remain me in through all the joy and pain. A lot of times, these are hidden, and not being exposed to reflect myself upon others. And that’s okay. As long as i acknowledge there are there, and connect to them, maybe somehow i can let them shine and bring em out to everyday’s life so i can always be true to myself and others 🙂

  4. Pingback: Sutra II.11 – Chapter II, Sutra 11 | weeklysutra

  5. although mind and body are intimately and necessarily connected, thinking of a component of your self (not just your mind) as being distinct and not-physical brings to my awareness the concept of the koshas…if i meditate on the subtle body, i really do get this awareness of these overlapping layers, with the assumption that there is some essential core/light at the base. i also liken it to how we understand stars – literally radiating cores of energy – and although the forms appear differently, every physical object is a manifestation of this principle. i mean, it sounds nice/right!

  6. Connecting with the radiant light within, so often forgotten. Acknowledging this flame, its light ever-present in the midst of the ever-changing body, thoughts, emotions. Necessary are the gentle reminders that I should be as kind to myself as I am to others. Slowing down to notice this jyoti, this inner light. And I do. I feel it in my heart.

  7. I am SO happy to know that this is something that exists. My daughter, now 6 years old, IS this light. As she grows older the light starts to dim by expectations and judgement. I will do my best to cultivate a practice with her that allows her to recognize this light. Also by practicing myself as an example. What a great tool for meditation. Thank you!

  8. I know I have an inner light, I just sometimes just take it for granite, and I don’t alway appreciate my light. I always seem to look for the light in others, and forget about my light. I know what I give to others, comes back to me. I need a little more kindness and celebrating my own light. Lots of work to do!

  9. A place beyond worry, I need that! I’m going to visualize the most wonderful warm ocean blue and mentally chant jyoti. I think this would be a great practice for me for night time when my mind gets going and fears and worries seem to surface and swim around my brain, keeping me awake.

  10. A very dear friend of mine lost her mother who she called the light of her life and several hours later in the same day meet her new granddaughter. She said, funny how a couple of hours ago I thought that light shut off and now I see another beautiful light come on. I thought that was so amazing. We see these beautiful lights shine and how often we forget we have this light in us.

    • Beautiful story Cheryl! We can see the birth-death cycle as the transportation of light. Light gets transported from one body into the next. And yes, we need constant reminders that this light lives right inside of us 🙂

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