The Self within is different from buddhi (intellect, one of the components of antaḥkaraṇa). Buddhi exists to function under the Self, whereas Self is no way related to buddhi. There are four stages in one’s spiritual evolution. First stage is to remain just as a mundane being and this stage is often referred as paśu; second stage is jīva, where egocentrism is marginally left aside; third stage is ātman, which refers to the individual soul; the last stage is śiva, which means liberation or final emancipation. One advances from one stage to another stage based upon his spiritual practices. If saṁyama is done on the Self and the buddhi, knowledge of the Self is revealed. This revelation happens in four stages, discussed above.

After attaining the state of śiva, one is blessed with intuitive qualities.

This is the stage, most spiritual aspirants get stuck with these siddhis. If one is able to discard siddhis, he is surely Liberated at the end of his life; of course after exhausting all his karmas.

A yogi brings under his control his entire nervous system (also referring to sensory organs). By disconnecting his mind from his body, he enters into another body, known as paraśarīrāveśa or parakāyapraveśa. For this he uses only his mind power.

By doing saṁyama on udāna (one of the five prāṇa-s), which prevails in the throat region and raises upwards, one can make his body very light. This gives siddhis of flying in the air or walking on water.

Samāna is one of the five five prāṇa-s, which is located in the abdomen and enables digestion. Samāna in association with jaṭharāgni (digestive fire) causes proper digestion of food. When saṁyama is done on samāna, one’s aura becomes distinctly visible.

When saṁyama is done on ears and ākāśa, a yogi can listen to celestial sounds.

Similarly when saṁyama is done on the body and ākāśa, body becomes light like a feather and a yogi can walk through the sky.

Patañjali says ātma darśan is possible. Ātman can be realized, provided veil of māyā is removed. When mind is made free, uncontrolled by ego, it is called mahāvideha. When saṁyama is done on mahāvideha, the veil of māyā will be removed, leading to realization of the Self within, in the form of illuminating Light (Self is always Prakāśa or self-illuminating).

When saṁyama is done on each of the pañcabhūta-s, mastery over them is attained. For example, if one wants to attain mastery over fire, saṁyama should be done on fire and its subtle and inherent qualities.

When a yogi attains mastery over pañcabhūta-s, they can experience aṣṭama siddhis. (aṇimā, laghimā, prāptiḥ, garimā prākāmyam, mahimā, īśitvaṁ, vaśitvaṁ  (aṇimā laghimā prāptiḥ prākāmyam mahimā tathā īśitvaṁ ca vaśitvaṁ tathā kāmāvasyāyitā Kāmāvasāya means suppression of all desires and passions, which is attributed only  to Lord Śiva).

Patañjali now speaks about kāyasaṁpat (kaya refers to body and saṁpat refers to wealth; contextually it refers to lakṣaṇa or characteristics of body). Beauty, attraction, strength, valour and completeness are said to be kāyasaṁpat. (Sāmudrikālakṣaṇa, a Scripture that talks about marks on various parts of body).

One attains mastery over five senses, if saṁyama is done on the nature of sensory organs and the egoism (asmitā).

What is the benefit of attaining mastery over senses? The body that is active with sensory organs, becomes active with the mind. Gross and subtle bodies function by entering into causal body (kāraṇaśarīra). When all the three bodies work in unison, the body becomes indestructible.

If one is able to understand the difference between the Self and sattva guṇa, he has complete knowledge. He also develops spiritual discipline (which is required for ultimate Liberation).

When a yogi is not attached to these siddhis (when he ignores these siddhis, which are addictive in nature), he reaches the state of kaivalya (perfect isolation, detachment from all other connections, detachment of the soul from matter or further transmigrations). Fourth Chapter of Patañjali Yoga Sūtra discusses about kaivalya.

Even various gods and goddesses induce a yogi with their beauty and may offer, wealth, etc. A yogi should never be distracted by their charm and offers.

Time taken for winking of eye is known as kṣaṇa. There are three time period for a kṣaṇa; a moment before the kṣaṇa, kṣaṇa itself and a moment immediately after kṣaṇa. When a yogi does saṁyama on these three moments, he comes to know of three time period – past, present and future. Such a yogi is known as dīrghadarśi (farsightedness).

By attaining the siddhi discussed above, a yogi is able to understand the differences between different classes of species.

For Liberation, knowledge is essential. But it is not the mundane knowledge; it is the knowledge derived from intuition. Intuitive knowledge is developed from practicing saṁyama on all beings under different conditions of their existence. Only this knowledge leads to Liberation.

Before proceeding to describe kaivalya pāda, Patañjali explains the crux of kaivalya. This is the state, when the mind sheds all its afflictions, so that the mind can identify itself with the ever illuminating Self within. At every stage, a yogi experiences blocks. First he experiences his own karmas; second he has to face yoga siddhis discussed above and go past them; finally, he has to transcend the blockades created by knowledge (spiritual knowledge). Only after crossing all the hurdles, kaivalya is attained.

(Further reading on kaivalya: Kaivalya is the final stage of life of a living being.  Nobody is there with that being during that time.  He is all alone without any help around and he has to achieve on his own.  This is the final stage of one’s evolution.  The soul is about to leave its present body and getting ready to merge with the Brahman.  Kaivalya is liberation or salvation and hence it is called the final stage.  This final stage can be reached in two ways.  One is the mundane stage associated with desires and attachments where soul gets ready for rebirth.  The other stage is the stage of samādi, where the soul gets ready for its union with the Brahman not to be born again.  This is kaivalya.  Lalitāmbikā is the giver of this stage.

Pada means four types of consciousness. They are sālokya, sarūpa, samībha and sāyujya. Beyond this is kaivalya.  Sālokya is the stage where one performs ritual worship, worshipping idols or portraits of gods.  In sarūpa he leaves idol worship and does not differentiate himself from god.  In samībha he goes near the god and in sāyujya stage he merges with god.  These are the stages of one’s consciousness that finally lead to kaivalya.  One has to progress from one stage to another and this progression happens depending upon the level of spirituality.  By being spiritual does not mean one has to be religious.  Spirituality transcends religious affinities, though religion forms the foundation of spirituality.  

To attain kaivalya stage one has to progress from ritual worship to mental worship (meditation).  By making sufficient progress in meditation, one has to search for the Brahman within.  Once the Brahman is located and realized within, the practitioner moves to the stage of kaivalya, by detaching himself from worldly affinities by staying connected with his Creator.  His soul is now under preparation to merge with Him, for final liberation. Finally, he gets liberated with no further transmigration for that soul.)

With this vibhūti pāda is concluded and kaivalya pāda follows.

(III. 36 – 56)

Further Readings: