Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra





Yoga Sutras 3.4-3.6: 
Samyama is the Finer Tool
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Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Samyama: Samyama is the collective practice (3.4) of concentration (dharana, 3.1), meditation (dhyana, 3.2), and samadhi (3.3), which are the sixth, seventh, and eighth of the eight rungs of Yoga.

Purpose of the first five rungs: The primary purpose of all the preparation work and the first five rungs of Yoga is to build this tool called samyama.

Samyama is for subtler practice: This tool is the means of reaching the ever subtler levels of non-attachment, which was introduced near the beginning of the Yoga Sutras as one of the primary practices (1.12-1.16). Samyama is applied to numerous objects, which are outlined throughout the remaining sutras of Chapter 3 (3.17-3.37, 3.39-3.49).

Like the surgeon's scalpel: Samyama is like the surgeon's scalpel, the razor sharp tool of discrimination (2.26-2.29) that is used for the deep introspection, which eventually uncovers the jewel of the Self, in the core of our being. Once the inner light dawns through samyama (3.5), it is used to examine the stages of subtle objects (3.6), whether normally veiled or far away (3.26). The finest discrimination finally leads to liberation (4.26).

Going past avidya or ignorance: This process of discrimination allows the yogi to gradually move past the many forms of the four types of ignorance or avidya, which are: (1) regarding that which is transient as eternal, 2) mistaking the impure for pure, 3) thinking that which brings misery to bring happiness, and 4) taking that which is not-self to be self. (2.5)


3.4 The three processes of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, when taken together on the same object, place or point is called samyama.
(trayam ekatra samyama)

  • trayam = the three
  • ekatra = together, as one
  • samyama = dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi taken together

The last three rungs are known as samyama: Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi are the final three rungs of Yoga, and are collectively known as samyama.

  • Dharana: Concentration is the process of holding or fixing the attention of mind onto one object or place. (3.1)
  • Dhyana: Meditation is sustained concentration, whereby the attention continues to hold or repeat the same object or place. (3.2)
  • Samadhi: Samadhi is the deep absorption, wherein only the essence of that object, place, or point shines forth in the mind, as if the mind were devoid even of its own form. (3.3)

Stages of attention: It is attention itself, which is progressively moving inward through these few stages: 

  • Attention leads to concentration. (3.1)
  • Concentration leads to meditation. (3.2)
  • Meditation leads to samadhi. (3.3)

Samyama is on the same object: The three stages of concentration, meditation, and samadhi are applied on the same one object. In other words, attention is applied to the object, leading to meditation on the object, and then to absorption or samadhi with that object.

The object is then seen clearly: Through samyama the true nature of the object is seen, and it is set aside (3.38) with non-attachment (1.15), as it is seen to be another aspect of avidya or ignorance (2.5). In this process, the coloring of the kleshas (1.5, 2.3) is weakened through stages (2.4).


3.5 Through the mastery of that three-part process of samyama, the light of knowledge, transcendental insight, or higher consciousness (prajna) dawns, illumines, flashes, or is visible.
(tad jayat prajna lokah)

  • tad = of that
  • jayat = achievement, mastery
  • prajna = light of knowledge, transcendental insight, higher consciousness
  • lokah = flashes, illumines, becomes visible, dawns

Light of knowledge is experienced: When the Yogi achieves samyama the light of knowledge coming from that process becomes visible; the knowledge of samadhi is experienced. The attainment of the experience of samadhi is not the end of practice, but is a beginning of sorts.

Then comes mastery of samyama: As the Yogi practices and gradually attains mastery over the process of samyama, the light of knowledge coming from that samadhi also becomes increasingly clearer. The practice brings greater depth of experience, insight, and realization.


3.6 That three-part process of samyama is gradually applied to the finer planes, states, or stages of practice.
(tasya bhumisu viniyogah)

  • tasya = its, of that
  • bhumisu = to the planes, states, stages
  • viniyogah = application, practice 

The finer states naturally come forward: When the practice of samyama is applied to the finer states, the subtler aspects naturally reveal themselves during the deeper practices. It does not necessarily mean that you will know the details of those ahead of time. Rather, the inner journey itself reveals the subtler aspects.

The finer states are set aside: As those finer states come forward, they are explored with the razor-sharp attention of samyama, and are set aside (3.38) through the process of discrimination (2.26-2.29). They are each seen to not be the truth, reality, or eternal Self that is being sought (1.3). This is an ever finer application of the process of non-attachment (1.15-1.16).

Stages are usually not skipped: Typically, the stages are experienced one after the other, as they reveal themselves, without skipping any of the stages of subtle experience along the way.

We need not experience all the stages: Even though the subtle states naturally come forward in a systematic order, it is not essential that we seek out and experience each and every one of the stages. If one is practicing the higher practices, such as with AUM and Ishvara (1.23-1.29), it is not necessary to seek out the lower practices, such as the psychic powers from the subtle realm. The sage Vyasa explains that samyama may not be needed on all of the stages because proficiency might be attained through the gift of grace. He points out that, "Yoga is to be known by Yoga, and Yoga itself leads to Yoga." Through the higher practices, along with grace or gift of higher consciousness, God, or guru, both the lower and higher revelations may come without going step by step through the subtle stages.


The next sutra is 3.7 

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This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.