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 3.7-3.8: 
Internal is Seen to be External
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Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Skin is seen as the boundary: The skin of our body is usually seen as the boundary line between inner and outer; the world is out there, and the aspects of me are in here. In the beginning, it seems as if stilling the body, calming the breath, and dealing with the senses are inner practices. 

The boundary systematically moves inward: However, the perceptual boundary line itself moves inward as we move along the steps of meditation. Once you move past the stilling of the physical body and are well absorbed in awareness of the breathing process, it starts to seem as if the body itself is external, or out there. When attention moves further inward, beyond the breath and into the sensory processes of the mind, both the body and breath are external, or out there

Body, breath, and senses are external: Once the mind truly begins to be concentrated (dharana, 3.1), the perceptual boundary between inner and outer has moved significantly inward. The body, breath, and the sensory process themselves, all three, seem to be external or out there, while we are at a doorway of the deeper realities that now seem to be the only realities left, which are internal or in here (3.7).

Meditation and samadhi become external: Compared to the seedless samadhi (nirbija), the boundary line moves so far inward that even concentration, meditation and the lower samadhis are external (3.8).


3.7 These three practices of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and samadhi are more intimate or internal than the previous five practices.
(trayam antar angam purvebhyah)

  • trayam = these three
  • antar = more internal, inner, intimate
  • angam = rungs, limbs, accessories, components, steps, parts, members, constituents (2.28)
  • purvebhyah = preceding, previous

Outer awareness falls away: When asana (postures), pranayama (breath/prana), senses (pratyahara) are seen to be external, they have been left behind, and fall away from awareness. This is much like the way the external world seems to vanish for us when we are intimately involved with our body and breath awareness practices. It is as if the body, breath, and senses no longer exist for us; we have gone beyond them, now truly entering into the mind field. The mind field is now perceived in a very different way, compared to the noisy, monkey mind when earlier trying to just sit still. 

Concentration, meditation, and samadhi are intimate: When asana, pranayama, and pratyahara (body, breath, senses) fall away, or are left behind, then concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and samadhi are seen as quite intimate or internal. The boundary line between out there and in here has significantly shifted; we are now ready to explore the subtler realities, and to begin the process of setting those aside as well (vairagya, non-attachment, 1.15-1.16), still seeking the eternal Self at the core of our being (1.3). 


3.8 However, these three practices are external, and not intimate compared to nirbija samadhi, which is samadhi that has no object, nor even a seed object on which there is concentration.
(tad api bahir angam nirbijasya)

  • tad = these, they
  • api = even, also, compared to
  • bahir = outer, external 
  • angam = rungs, limbs, accessories, components, steps, parts, members, constituents
  • nirbijasya = seedless samadhi, having no seed (nir = without; bijah = seed) (1.51)

Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi also become external: The three part process of concentration, meditation, and samadhi are practiced in relation to objects. Nirbija samadhi is seedless samadhi (1.51), and has no object, not even the tiniest seed of an object. From the vantage point of this seedless samadhi, the process of samyama (dharana, dhyana, samadhi) comes to be seen as external, just like happened in the case of the first five rungs, as mentioned in the last sutra (3.7). Thus, eventually, all eight rungs of the Yoga Sutras come to be seen as external practices, when considered in relation to nirbija samadhi. 


The next sutra is 3.9 

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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.