When there is absolute concentration (dhāraṇa), automatically all distractions cease and we are able to fix our attention only on that particular object, which reveals its true nature. Apart from sensory control, level of compassion also increases. When senses and mind are controlled, Divine Grace is showered. With the descent of Divine Grace, one begins to remain in the state of Bliss and enters the state of samādhi. For entering into samādhi, proper control of senses and mind is required. Otherwise, experience of samādhi could be deceptive in nature. During deceptive samādhi, one remains conscious and various thoughts appear before him or he gets himself engrossed in a particular thought where he also becomes a participant in that thought process.

Undistracted attention is repeatedly emphasised by Sage Patañjali, which alone leads to true samādhi and ultimate realization. Mind always acts in two ways. One, it chews on the past and second, the mind gets engrossed in the present happenings. Either way, the mind is not subdued. When the past and the present become one, the mind becomes inactive, the mind is said to be in single pointed nature. During this time, the mind transcends both past and present and remains in one pointedness (ekāgratā citta pariṇāma), leading to quality and true samādhi state, which alone helps in Self-realization.

Direct or visible characters and indirect or subtle characters of an object make us experience the underlying truth of that object. It is like synchronising organs of perception and action to know about an object. This does not end here. All the five sensory organs can do the actions of other organs. For example, eyes can also hear, provided, we are able to concentrate on two persons conversing with each other. By keenly observing with eyes, sages and saints say that this conversation can be understood. This is known as avasthā pariṇāma. What is emphasized here is concentration without any distraction.

Every object or every life has its own characteristics and this is called substratum of that object or life. This depends upon its past life saṁskāra-s (the faculty of memory, mental impression or recollection, impression on the mind of acts done in a former state of existence; referring to karmas). It is said that through yoga, these latent impressions can be modified. Those who are able to achieve this, is called a true yogi. It should be understood that karmas cannot be wiped out, but phased out due to yoga and this is subtly conveyed here.

These saṁskāra-s are responsible for one’s evolution. Many happenings in life though continuous in nature, but happens in succession; for example ageing process. Everyone grows in different manner. Some are rich and some are poor. For this, one’s saṁskāra-s are responsible. More than anything, Divine Grace is important for proper growth/evolution.

A human being has past, present and future – three divisions of time. When one is able to connect between the past and the present, he is able to know about his future (this is one of the siddhi-s). When all the three divisions of time are connected or merged, he attains knowledge (which is essential for realizing the Self).

From now on, Patañjali speaks about siddhis. When a word is uttered, one understands the meaning of that word. For example, if one says a car, then one can visualize a car easily, as he would have seen and heard about this car previously and it hardly takes time for him to recollect the impressions of the car in his mind. Only this mental impression makes him to understand any word. But, there are three factors in a word - the word, its sound (pronunciation) and the meaning it conveys. A yogi understands a word from all the three factors. Cow also makes sound (moo). It cannot be understood by ordinary men. But a yogi can understand moo of a cow as he not only goes with the sound, but also its meaning. Again, the mood of the sound differs, based upon the circumstances. A cow in trouble moos differently and the one in hunger moos differently. When this is practiced, one can easily understand the sounds of all animals and can help them in times of distress. He understands all sounds, beyond languages.

If we can understand the impressions in our mind, we can know about our previous births. Whatever we experience, they are formed as impressions in our mind. They appear in our mind like waves, one after another. Of these impressions, certain impressions are highly subtle in nature and are carried along with one’s karmic bag. What is memory power? When we are able to recollect about the past in this birth, it is called memory power. A yogi can perform saṃyama on the subtle impressions of the mind, and he can know about his past life. (III: 11 – 18)

Further Readings: