top of page

Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.16
तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेः गुणवैतृष्ण्यम्
tatparaṁ puruṣa-khyāteḥ guṇa-vaitr̥ṣṇyam

The Supreme Purusha is realised by showing indifference to the qualities of the objects of nature. 

tat = that
param = supreme
purusa = purusa, the seer 
khyati = realisation
guna = qualities (sattva, rajo and tamo)
vaitrsnyam = absence of desire

The qualities of the elements of nature (Prakriti) are three-fold: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Prakriti is the manifested one that includes living things, matter, senses and sense organs. Whereas Purusha is unmanifested one and free from the three the Gunas.


The qualities of Sattva are purity, illumination, benevolence and enlightenment. The qualities of Rajas are activity, passion and restless and Tamas are dark, ignorance and passivity.


When the mind identifies itself with the qualities of Prakriti, it is bound attached to objects of desire. In dispassion, mind shows indifference towards the objects of Prakriti and as a result, it reflects Purusha.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

Indifference to the attributes, conducive to the knowledge of Spirit, is the highest kind of it.

The agent who recognises the discrepancies in temporal and spiritual objects becomes dispassionate. A person whose internal organ is calmed in supreme consciousness become detached by means of spiritual practice from the attributes of manifested and unmanifested objects. Among these two types, second one is better because it shows the sole effulgence of wisdom where in the agent equipped with knowledge had attained  what it had to be attained. The objects and troubles are destroyed being cut-off the chain of birth and death (the cycle of the birth of dead and the death of the born). Dispassion is the highest state of knowledge and the necessary concomitant of this is Isolation.

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

That extreme non-attachment, giving up even the qualities, shows (the real nature of) the Purusa.

It is the highest manifestation of power when it takes away even our attraction towards the qualities. We have first to understand what the Purusa, the Self, is, and what are the qualities. According to Yoga philosophy the whole of nature consists of three qualities; one is called Tamas, another Rajas and the third Sattva. These three qualities manifest themselves in the physical world as attraction, repulsion, and control. Everything that is in nature, all these manifestations,are combinations and recombinations of these three forces. This nature has been divided into various categories by the Sankhyas; the Self of man is beyond all these, beyond nature, is effulgent by Its very nature. It is pure and perfect. Whatever of intelligence we see in nature is but the reflection from this Self upon nature. Nature itself is insentient. You must remember that the word nature also includes the mind; the mind is in nature; thought is in nature; from thought, down to the grossest form of matter, everything is in nature, the manifestation of nature. This nature has covered the Self of man, and when nature takes away the covering the Self becomes unveiled, and appears in Its own glory. This non-attachment, as it is described in Aphorism 15 (as being control of nature) is the greatest help towards manifesting the Self. The next aphorism defines Samadhi, perfect concentration, which is the goal of the Yogi.

Commentary by Sri Osho


How it happens? Just by knowing the innermost core of yourself, the purusha, the dweller within. Just by knowing it! Patanjali says, Buddha says, Lao Tzu says, just by knowing it all desires disappear.

This is mysterious, and the logical mind is bound to ask how it can happen just by knowing themselves all desires disappear. It happens because now knowing themselves all desires have arisen. Desires are simply the ignorance of the self. Why? All that you are seeking through desires is there, hidden in the self. If you know the self, desires will disappear.

For example, you are asking for power. Everybody is asking for power. Power creates madness in everybody. It seems to be just human society has existed in such a way that everybody is power-addicted.

The child is born; the child is helpless. This is the first feeling you all carry always with you. The child is born, he is helpless, and a helpless child wants power. That’s natural because everybody is more powerful than him. The mother is powerful, the father is powerful, the brothers are powerful, everybody is powerful, and the child is absolutely helpless. Of course, the first desire that arises is to have power – how to grow powerful how to be dominating. And the child starts being political from that very moment. He starts learning tricks how to dominate.

If he cries too much, he comes to know that he can dominate through crying. He can dominate the whole house just by crying. He learns crying. And women continue it even when they are not children. They have learned the secret, and they continue it. And they have to continue it because they remain helpless. That’s power politics.


He knows a trick, and he can create a disturbance. And he can create such a disturbance that you have to accept and compromise with him. And every moment he feels deeply that the only thing that is needed is power, more power. He will learn, he will go to school, he will grow he will love, but behind everything – his education love, play – he will be finding how to get more power. Through education, he will want to dominate, how to come first in the class so he can be dominating, how to get more money so he can be dominating, how to go on growing the influence and the territory of
domination. The whole life he will be after power.

Many lives are simply wasted. And even if you get power, what you are going to do? Simply a childish wish is fulfilled. So when you become a Napoleon or a Hitler, suddenly you become aware that the whole effort has been useless, futile. Just a childish wish has been fulfilled, that’s all. Now, what to do? What to do with this power? If the wish is fulfilled you are frustrated. If the wish is not fulfilled you are frustrated, and it cannot be fulfilled absolutely, because no one can be so powerful that he can feel, ”Now it is enough” – no one! The world is so complex that even a Hitler feels powerless in moments, even a Napoleon will feel powerless in moments. Nobody can feel the absolute power, and nothing can satisfy you.

But when somebody comes to know one’s self, one comes to know the source of absolute power.

Then the desire for power disappears because you were already a king and you were only thinking that you were a beggar. And you were struggling to be a bigger beggar, a greater beggar, and you were already the king. Suddenly you come to realize that you don’t lack anything. You are not helpless. You are the source of all energies, you are the very source of life. That childhood feeling of powerlessness was created by others. And it is a vicious circle they created in you because it was
created in them by their parents, and so on and so forth.

Your parents are creating the feeling in you that you are powerless. Why? Because only through this they can feel they are powerful. You may be thinking that you love children very much. That doesn’t seem to be the case. You love power, and when you get children when you become mothers and fathers, you are powerful. Nobody may be listening to you; you may be nothing in the world, but at least in the boundaries of your home you are powerful. You can at least torture small children.

And look at fathers and mothers: they torture! And they torture in such a loving way that you cannot even say to them that ”You are torturing.” They are torturing for ”their own good”, for the children’s own good! They are helping them to grow. They feel powerful. Psychologists say that many people go to the teaching profession just to feel powerful, because thirty children at your disposal, you are just a king.

It is reported that Aurangajeb was imprisoned by his son. When he was imprisoned, he wrote a letter and he said, ”Only one wish, if you can fulfil, it will be good, and I will be very happy. You just send thirty children to me so that I can teach them in my imprisonment.”

The son has been reported to have said, ”My father has always remained a king, and he cannot lose his kingdom. So even in the prison he needs thirty children so he can teach them.” 

Look! Go into a school! The teacher sitting on his chair-and absolute power, just the master of everything that is happening there. People want children not because they love, because if they love, really, the world will be totally different. If you love your child the world will be totally different.


You will not help him to be helpless, to feel helpless, you will give him so much love that he would feel he is powerful. If you give love, then he will never be asking for power. He will not become a political leader; he will not go for elections. He will not try to accumulate money and go mad after it, because he knows it is useless – he is already powerful; love is enough.

But nobody is giving love, then he will create substitutes. All your desires, whether of power, of money, prestige, they all show that something had been taught to you in your childhood, something has been conditioned in your bio-computer and you are following that conditioning without looking inside, that whatsoever you are asking is already there.

Patanjali’s whole effort is to put your bio-computer in silence so that it doesn’t interfere. This is what meditation is. It is putting your bio-computer, for certain moments, into silence, into a non-chattering state, so that you can look within and hear your deepest nature. Just a glimpse will change you because then this biocomputer cannot deceive you. This bio-computer goes on saying that, ”Do this, do that!” It goes on continuously manipulating you, that ”You must have more power; otherwise you are nobody.”

If you look within, there is no need to be anybody; there is no need to be somebody. You are already accepted as you are. The whole existence accepts you, is happy about you. You are a flowering – an individual flowering, different from any other, unique, and God welcomes you; otherwise, you could not be here. You are here only because you are accepted. You are here only because God loves you or the universe loves you or the existence needs you. You are needed.

Once you know your innermost nature, what Patanjali calls the Purusha – the Purusha means the inner dweller... The body is just a house. The inner dweller, the inner-dwelling consciousness, is Purusha. Once you know this inner-dwelling consciousness, nothing is needed. You are enough, more than enough. You are perfect as you are. You are absolutely accepted, welcomed. The existence becomes a blessing. Desires disappear; they were part of self-ignorance. With self-knowledge, they disappear, they evaporate.

Abhyasa, constant inner practice, conscious effort to be more and more alert, to be more and more master of oneself, to be less and less dominated by habits, by mechanical, robot-like mechanisms – and vairagya, desirelessness: these two attained one becomes a yogi; these two attained one has attained the goal.

I will repeat: but don’t create a fight. Allow all this happening to be more and more spontaneous. Don’t fight with the negative. Rather, create the positive. Don’t fight with sex, with food, with anything. Rather, find out what it is that gives you happiness, from where it comes – move in that direction. Desires, by and by, go on disappearing.

And second: be more and more conscious. Whatsoever is happening, be more and more conscious. And remain in that moment, and accept that moment. Don’t ask for something else. You will not be creating misery then. If the pain is there, let it be there. Remain in it and flow in it. The only condition is, remain alert. Knowingly, watchfully, move into it, flow into it. Don’t resist!

When pain disappears, the desire for pleasure also disappears. When you are not in anguish, you don’t ask for indulgence. When anguish is not there, indulgence becomes meaningless. And more and more you go on falling into the inner abyss. And it is so blissful, it is such a deep ecstasy, that even a glimpse of it and the whole world becomes meaningless. Then all that this world can give to you is of no use.

And this should not become a fighting attitude – you should not become a warrior, you should become a meditator. If you are meditating, spontaneously things will happen to you which will go on transforming and changing you. Start fighting and you have started suppression. And suppression will lead you into more and more misery. And you cannot deceive.

Many people are there who are not only deceiving others, they go on deceiving themselves. They think they are not in misery; they go on saying they are not in misery. But their whole existence is miserable. When they are saying that they are not in misery, their faces, their eyes, their heart, everything, is in misery.

I will tell you one anecdote and then finish. I have heard once it happened that twelve ladies reached purgatory. The officiating angel asked them,”Were any of you unfaithful to your husbands while on earth? If someone was unfaithful to her husband, she should raise her hand.” Blushingly, hesitating, by and by eleven ladies raised their hands. The officiating angel took his phone, called into the phone, ”Hello! Is that hell? Have you got a room for twelve unfaithful wives there? – one of them, stone deaf!”

It isn’t needed whether you say or not. Your face, your very being, shows everything. You may say you are not miserable, but the way you say it, the way you are, shows you are miserable. You cannot deceive, and there is no point – because no one can deceive anybody else, you can only deceive yourself.

Remember, if you are miserable, you have created all this. Let it penetrate deep in your heart that you have created your sufferings because this is going to be the formula, the key. If you have created your sufferings, only then can you destroy it. If someone else has created them, you are helpless. You have created your miseries, you can destroy them. You have created them through wrong habits, wrong attitudes, addictions, desires.

Drop this pattern! Look fresh! And this very life is the ultimate joy that is possible to human consciousness

bottom of page