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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.23

Samaadhi is attained by worshiping God also.

Isvara = God
pranidhaanaat = contemplation, worship
vaa = also

We know that intense enthusiasm puts one in the proximity of Asamprajnaata Samadhi.  Now it is said that by the devotion of God also. It is to be noted here that the devotion of God is prescribed as one of the means to attain Samadhi. According to Patanjali, it is the path or the way and not the goal. 


The constant practice of intense dispassion is the one way and devotion of God is yet another way, to reach the proximity of Samadhi of the extreme end.


The extreme devotion makes the aspirant surrender completely to the God. He sees everything as the manifestation of God. Every activity as the will of the God. The attribution of everything and every activity to God makes the worshipper not to bother about anything or about any activity. According to him, no activity is good or bad. He finds nothing as favourable or unfavourable because there is no need for any judgement. A complete dispassion towards anything is the result of such surrender. Nothing has the capacity to disturb his mind to make any modifications. Samadhi is reached automatically by such surrender.   

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is one of the best examples who opted this path.


Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

Or by devotion of God

The Supreme God favours him because of the intensity of devotion. The intense devotion enables the accomplishment of Samadhi and its ends.


Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

Or by devotion to Isvara.

Commentary by Sri Osho



Just a footnote, just to indicate that the other path is also there. This is the path of will – effort intense, sincere, total. Bring your wholeness to it. But Patanjali is aware; all those who know, are aware. And Patanjali is very considerate, he is a very scientific mind; he will not leave a single loophole. But that is not his path, so he simply gives a footnote just to remember that the other path is there.


Effort or surrender, but the basic thing is the same: totality is needed. Paths differ, but they cannot differ absolutely. Their shape, their form, their direction, may differ, but their inner meaning and significance have to remain the same because both lead to the divine. Effort: your totality is needed. 

Surrender: again your totality is needed. So to me, there is only one path, and that is: bring your totality.

Whether you bring it through effort – yoga – it is up to you, or you bring it through samarpan – surrender, let-go – it is up to you. But remember always that a totality will be needed; you have to stake yourself completely. It is a gambling – a gamble with the unknown. And nobody can say when it will happen – nobody can predict, nobody can give you a guarantee. You gamble. You may win, you may not win. The possibility of not winning is always there because it is a very complex phenomenon. It is not as simple as it looks. But if you go on gambling, it has to happen one day.

If you miss one time don’t be depressed, because even a Buddha has to miss many times. If you miss, just get up and risk again. Some time, in some unknown manner, the whole existence culminates to help you. Some time and in some unknown way, you hit the target exactly the right time when the door was open. But you have to hit many times. You go on throwing your arrow of consciousness. Don’t bother about the result. It is very dark and the goal is not fixed; it goes on
changing. So you go on throwing your arrow in the dark. Many times you will miss, and I say to you so that you don’t become depressed. Many times everybody misses, that is how it is. But if you go on and on and on and don’t get depressed, it will happen. It has always happened. That’s why infinite patience is needed.

What is surrender to God? How can you surrender? How surrender will become possible? That too becomes possible if you make many efforts, and you go on failing. You make many efforts, you depend on yourself; effort depends on oneself. It is a willpower – the path of will. You depend on yourself. You fail and you fail and you fail. You stand up, again you fall, you stand up again, and you again start walking. And then a moment comes, when you have been failing and failing and failing, and you come to see that your effort is the cause, because your effort has become your ego.

That is the problem on the path of will. Because a man who is working on the path of will – making efforts, methods, using techniques, doing this and that – is bound to accumulate a certain sense of ”I am”: ”I am superior, special, extraordinary. I am doing this and that – austerities, fasting, sadhana. I have done this much.”


On the path of will one has to be very, very watchful is the ego, because the ego is bound to come. If you can watch the ego, and you don’t accumulate ego, there is no need to surrender – because if there is no ego, there is nothing to surrender. This has to be understood very, very deeply. And when you are understanding – trying to understand Patanjali – this is a very fundamental thing.

If you make your effort continuously for many lives, the ego is bound to arise. You have to be very watchful. You should work, you should make all efforts, but don’t gather the ego. Then there is no need to surrender; you may hit the target without surrendering. There is no need because the disease doesn’t exist.

If the ego is there, then the need arises to surrender. That’s why Patanjali says – after talking about intense, sincere, total effort, he suddenly says – 


If you feel continuously failing, then remember that the failure is not because of the divine. The failure is happening because of your ego, from where the arrow is being thrown, the source of your being, there something is happening – a diversion. Ego is collecting there. Then there is only one possibility: surrender it! You have failed with it so totally, in so many ways. You did this and that, you tried to do this and that, and you failed and failed and failed. When frustration becomes final and you cannot see what to do, Patanjali says, ”Now surrender to God.”

Patanjali is very rare in this sense. He does not believe in God; he is not a God-believer. God is also a technique. Patanjali doesn’t believe in any God, that there is some God. No, he says God is a technique. Those who fail, for them this technique – the last. If you fail in that also, there is no way.

Patanjali says it is not a question whether God exists or not; that is not the point at all. The point is that God is hypothetical. Without God it will be difficult to surrender. You will ask, ”To whom? So God is a hypothetical point just to help surrender. When you have surrendered you will know there is no God, but that is when you have surrendered and when you have known. For Patanjali even God is a hypothesis to help you. It is a lie. That’s why I told you Patanjali is a sly Master. It is just a help. Surrender is the basic thing, not God. And this difference you must note, because there are people who think God is the basic thing – because there is God you surrender.

Patanjali says that because you have to surrender, posit a God. God is a posited thing. When you have surrendered, you will laugh. There is no God But one thing more: there are gods – no God – a multiplicity of gods, because whenever you surrender you become a god. 

Everybody is just a seed, a potentiality to become a god. When you reach to the highest beyond which nothing exists, you become a god. Many have reached before you, many will reach – and many will be reaching alter you. Everyone becomes a god finally, because everyone is a god potentially, infinite gods. Whether you know it or not, you carry a god within your womb. And you may miss many times, but how can you miss it ultimately? If you carry it within you, some day or the other the seed is going to flower. You cannot miss it absolutely – no. 


Nobody is sitting as a despot on the world; nobody is forcing you or creating you. Freedom is absolute. You can sin because of freedom, you can move away because of freedom. You suffer because of freedom, and when you understand this, there is no need to suffer; you can come back, that too because of freedom. Nobody is bringing you back. Nobody is there to judge you except your own being. You are the doer, you are the judge, you are the criminal, you are the law. You are all! You are a miniature existence.



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