Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Patañjali NULL

Indian Philosopher and Compiler of Yoga Sūtras and the Mahābhāṣya, Patañjali is a Sanskrit proper name. Several important Sanskrit works are ascribed to one or more authors of this name, and a great deal of scholarship has been devoted over the last century or so to the issue of disambiguation

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."

"Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind."

"Man’s life is subject to afflictions from ignorance, desire, aversion, ego, and attachment – ignorance being the root cause of all afflictions."

"In God knowledge is infinite; in others it is only a germ."

"To identify consciousness with that which merely reflects consciousness - this is egoism."

"Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked."

"As we climbed down-hill for our pleasure, so must we climb up again for our purification and restoration to our former high estate. The process is painful, perhaps, yet indispensable. "

"And from these long past ages, in hours when the contest flags, will come new foes, mind-born children springing up to fight for mind, reinforcements coming from forgotten years, forgotten lives. For once this conflict is begun; it can be ended only by sweeping victory, and unconditional, unreserved surrender of the vanquished. "

"A man’s cheerfulness is a measure of his faith. "

"By sympathy with the happy, compassion for the sorrowful, delight in the holy, disregard of the unholy, the psychic nature moves to gracious peace. "

"For it is not ordained for the Spiritual Man that, finding his high realm, he shall enter altogether there, and pass out of the vision of mankind. It is true that he dwells in heaven, but he also dwells on earth. He has angels and archangels, the hosts of the just made perfect, for his familiar friends, but he has at the same time found a new kinship with the prone children of men, who stumble and sin in the dark. Finding sinlessness, he finds also that the world’s sin and shame are his, not to share, but to atone; finding kinship with angels, he likewise finds his part in the toil of angels, the toil for the redemption of the world. "

"Correct knowledge is dependent upon direct perception, inference and authoritative scriptural testimony."

"Concentration, meditation, reflection. These three constitute samyama—detached awareness. Through mastery of samyama, the essence of wisdom is illuminated."

"At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure; we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning. "

"For those who have an intense urge for Spirit and wisdom, it sits near them, waiting. "

"Here is, in truth, the whole secret of Yoga, the science of the soul. The active turnings, the strident vibrations, of selfishness, lust and hate are to be stilled by meditation, by letting heart and mind dwell in spiritual life, by lifting up the heart to the strong, silent life above, which rests in the stillness of eternal love, and needs no harsh vibration to convince it of true being."

"If we only look within, we will see the Light as if we were seeing our own image in a mirror. "

"If you do not pour water on your plant, what will happen? It will slowly wither and die. Our habits will also slowly wither and die away if we do not give them an opportunity to manifest. You need not fight to stop a habit. Just don’t give it an opportunity to repeat itself. "

"I feel we don’t really need scriptures. The entire life is an open book, a scripture. Read it. Learn while digging a pit or chopping some wood or cooking some food. If you can’t learn from your daily activities, how are you going to understand the scriptures? "

"In deep meditation the flow of concentration is continuous like the flow of oil. "

"If you have done something meritorious, you experience pleasure and happiness; if wrong things, suffering. A happy or unhappy life is your own creation. Nobody else is responsible. If you remember this, you won’t find fault with anybody. You are your own best friend as well as your worst enemy. "

"In not only the physical science, but in the real mental silence, the wisdom dawns."

"Incorrect knowledge is mistaking the identity of one thing for the other or one object for another."

"Our own bodies are changing every second. Yet we take the body to be our Self; and, speaking in terms of it, we say, I am hungry or I am lame; I am black or I am white. These are all just the conditions of the body. We touch the truth when we say, My body aches, implying the body belongs to us and that therefore we are not that. "

"It is not enough to have intuitions; we must act on them; we must live them. "

"It is the very nature of the Soul to be unconquerable. "

"It is, therefore, vital for us to realize that the Yoga system, like every true system of spiritual teaching, rests on this broad and firm foundation of honesty, truth, cleanness, obedience. Without these, there is no salvation; and he who practices these, even though ignorant of spiritual things, is laying up treasures against the time to come."

"Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for stabilizing the consciousness."

"Peace can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give. Peace can also be reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart."

"Mere philosophy will not satisfy us. We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone. Without practice, nothing can be achieved. "

"Practice and detachment are the means to still the consciousness."

"Practice is an effort to still the mind’s fluctuations in order to silence the consciousness."

"Progress in meditation comes swiftly for those who try their hardest."

"Rightly understood, the desire for sensation is the desire of being, the distortion of the soul’s eternal life. The lust of sensual stimulus and excitation rests on the longing to feel one’s life keenly, to gain the sense of being really alive. This sense of true life comes only with the coming of the soul, and the soul comes only in silence, after self-indulgence has been courageously and loyally stilled, through reverence before the coming soul."

"Purification, self-inquiry, and surrender to God are the practices that lead to Unity. These practices cultivate awareness and remove the afflictions that obstruct Realization of Truth."

"Temples and churches have become social centers. They have lost their original purpose because the minds of the people are more attracted to worldly things than to prayer. The lips repeat the prayer mechanically like a phonograph record, but the mind wanders to other places. "

"So with the finer husbandman of diviner fields. He tills and sows, but the growth of the spiritual man comes through the surge and flow of divine, creative forces and powers. Here, again, God gives the increase. The divine Self puts forth, for the manifestation of its powers, a new and finer vesture, the body of the spiritual man. "

"The five points of yama, together with the five points of niyama, remind us of the Ten Commandments of the Christian and Jewish faiths, as well as of the ten virtues of Buddhism. In fact, there is no religion without these moral or ethical codes. All spiritual life should be based on these things. They are the foundation stones without which we can never build anything lasting. "

"The eight means of yoga are self-restraint, faithful observance, right posture, intentional breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and awareness."

"The cause of bandha and moksha (bondage and liberation) is our own minds. If we think we are bound, we are bound. If we think we are liberated, we are liberated. . . It is only when we transcend the mind that we are free from all these troubles. "

"The purification of the mind is very necessary. "

"The battle is long and arduous. Let there be no mistake as to that. Go not forth to this battle without counting the cost. Ages have gone to the strengthening of the foe. Ages of conflict must be spent, ere the foe, wholly conquered, becomes the servant, the Soul’s minister to mankind."

"The identification of pure awareness with the mind and the creations of the mind cause the apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it."

"The witness is Self, pure awareness, which, though boundless and unchanging, appears to perceive creation through the construct of mind."

"The purpose of life, therefore, is the realizing of that prophesy; the unveiling of the immortal man; the birth of the spiritual from the physical, whereby we enter our divine inheritance and come to inhabit Eternity. This is, indeed, salvation, the purpose of all true religion in all times. "

"The will, which, in its pristine state, was full of vigor, has been steadily corrupted by self-indulgence, the seeking of moods and sensations for sensation’s sake. Hence come all the morbid and sickly moods of the mind. The remedy is a return to the pristine state of the will, by vigorous, positive effort; or, as we are here told, by steady application to a principle. The principle to which we should thus steadily apply ourselves should be one arising from the reality of spiritual life; valorous work for the soul, in others as in ourselves."

"Those who have died, entered the paradise between births, are in a condition resembling meditation without an external object. But in the fullness of time, the seeds of desire in them will spring up, and they will be born again into this world. "

"We are to think of ourselves as immortals, dwelling in the Light, encompassed and sustained by spiritual powers. The steady effort to hold this thought will awaken dormant and unrealized powers, which will bring us to the nearness of the Eternal. "

"There’s no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. If you leave that to dig another well, all the first effort is wasted and there is no proof you won’t hit rock again. "

"We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? "