Sutra I.44 – Chapter I, Sutra 44

एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता॥४४॥

etaya-eva savicara nirvicara ca suksma-visaya vyakhyata

Through these (etaya), the next two levels of meditation with subtle (suksmah) objects (visaya), savicara and nirvicara are explained (vyakhyata).

PRACTICAL LIVING     The previous two sutras (see Sutra I.42 and Sutra I.43) describe the first two stages of meditation that involve gross or more tangible objects of meditation:

  1. sa-vitarka-samapatti is meditation on an object relating to knowledge of the object, words related to it, thoughts and imagination
  2. nir-vitarka-samapatti is meditation where the memory has been purified and the mind no longer relies on thoughts to relate to the object.

In this sutra, Patanjali now defines the next two stages:

1. sa-vicara samapatti is meditation on a subtle object. What does that mean exactly? Well, instead of a person, a tangible object or an image, this involves concepts such as Love, Compassion, Surrender or anything that we are working cultivating more of in our lives. These objects of meditation are more of a feeling rather than a mental image. If, for example, someone is experiencing extreme lethargy during the winter, meditating on the concept of energy (virya) and experiencing the feeling of vigor will help that individual out of their present. On the other hand, if someone is struggling with anxiety or agitation, meditating on the feeling of calmness and peace could be very beneficial.

2. nir-vicara samapatti is meditation that does not even require a subtle object. With a pure mind, the person experiences profound joy, bliss and peace, which are not linked to any object.

We can see these four categories of meditation as four different stages on a spectrum of practice. Just like Sutra I.17 described, Yoga is a process. It requires commitment, discipline, enthusiasm and ideally the help of a teacher/mentor who can guide us throughout the journey.

IN THE YOGA WORLD     There are no specific descriptions of what “subtle” means. Yoga asks us to begin wherever we are (self-acceptance) and proceed in our own rhythm. Therefore, the four stages of meditation should be seen as an individual path: no two people will have the exact same experiences. Our objects of meditation will change as we find it is appropriate. It is like peeling layers off of an onion – we cry a little bit at each stage, but it gets juicier and juicier, getting us closer to our True Nature 🙂

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     Oh my Jodi! What an extraordinary human being! This woman is so devoted to Sutra I.44-Jodiconnection. As far as I have known her, she spends her days, hours, minutes connecting to others and connecting people to each other. Her subtle object of meditation is CONNECTION. Her bubbly and charismatic personality unites people and brings smiles to those around her. One of my first friends in this chapter of my life, she has connected me to several people, helping bring purpose and laughter to my life. I am forever thankful for our friendship lady! Love you 🙂

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 the results of moving on the spectrum of meditation!

2 thoughts on “Sutra I.44 – Chapter I, Sutra 44

  1. The first level of mediation from this sutra shows that we can mediate on a subtle level or feelings that would overcome any present blockage in the mind. I think of this level as being able to train the mind to flip to a positive mode and maintain it there with mediation just as a lotus thriving in a middle of puddle of muddy water. To me, the 2nd level sounds like a result from the previous level. At that stage, bliss is obtained, mind is purified and we are free.

  2. In yoga there is a lot of emphasis on tuning into the subtle – in both the body and mind. That subtle things can be tangible, real and accessible with practice is very attractive to me. Things that are difficult to access like this can sometimes be the most profound and/or transformative!

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