Patañjali and Knowledge Which Dreams Give

Book 1 Sutra 38

This from “The Yoga-sutra of Patañjali” by Chip Hartranft

38. Peace (steadiness of the chitta) can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give.

The significant words in Sutra 38 are the phrase “the knowledge which dreams give” and in this connection the commentary on Sutra 10 is of interest. The oriental occultist uses the word “dream” in a much more technical sense than does the westerner and this must be fully grasped by the aspirant. To the oriental, the deepest dream condition is that in which the real man is sunk when in physical incarnation. This corresponds to that dream state which we recognize as caused by the vibration of the cells of the physical brain. Chaos, lack of continuity and ill regulated eventualities are present, coupled with an inability to recollect truly and accurately when awake. This condition is physical plane dreaming. Then there is the dream condition in which the man participates when immersed in sensuous perception of one kind or another, either of pleasure or of pain. This is experienced in the astral or emotional body. The knowledge given by the physical plane condition is largely instinctual; that achieved through the astral dream condition is largely sensuous. One is racial and group realization, the other is relative to the not-self and to man’s relation to the not-self.

There comes in again a higher state of dream consciousness in which a faculty of another kind comes into play, and this might be called the imagination, bringing its own form of knowledge. Imagination involves certain mental states such as:

  • Memory of things as they have been known, as states of consciousness,
  • Anticipation of things as they may be known or of states of consciousness,
  • Visualization of the imaginary conditions and then the utilization of the invoked image as a form, through which a new realm of realization may be contacted, once the dreamer can identify himself with that which he has imagined.

In these three dream states we have the condition of the thinker in the three planes in the three worlds, from the state of ignorant savagery to that of the average enlightened man. It leads on then to a much higher state of dream consciousness.

The true use of the imagination necessitates a high degree of control and of mental power and where this is present leads eventually to what is called the “state of samadhi”. This is that condition wherein the adept can put the entire lower man to sleep, and himself pass into that realm wherein the “dreams of God” Himself are known, and in which knowledge of the “images” which the Deity has created can be contacted and seen. Thus the adept can intelligently participate in the great plan of evolution.

Beyond this state of samadhi lies the dream state of the Nirmanakayas and of the Buddhas, and so on up the scale of hierarchical life till that great Dreamer is known, who is the One, the only Narayana, the Lord of the World Himself, the Ancient of Days, our Planetary Logos. The student can only arrive at a very dim understanding of the nature of these dream states as he studies the idea conveyed in the earlier statement to the effect that, to the occultist, life on the physical plane is but a dream condition.


Excerpted from “The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali – Book 1 – The Problem of Union” by Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

Copenhagen Interpretation and Yoga

Patanjali was around way before the advent of quantum mechanics. In the post before he is saying that when your mind is clear and silent it is possible to observe the world around you as it evolves with an ever enhanced perception. One is aware that one is “in the act of observation” and the subsequent processing of the said observation. He implies that as awareness is honed the time interval between “observations” is shortened like a high speed video camera and then becomes pure flow of awareness. There is continuity not step function observation. He anticipates, if you wish, femtosecond spectroscopy.

He is not breaking this awareness down to cis-trans photochemical isomerism in the retina as in visuals but as the seer who sees with awareness and not sense {compound} faculties. It is a transcendent state of awareness above and beyond concrete mind processing. A state unknown to the vast majority of humanity, a state of complete union.

He suggests that objectivity is a real and non-coloured thing {wave functions are objective}. He does not suggest that observation changes the state of a system. {the wave function of the systems collapses} But it must because by observation knowledge and hence information is altered. The state may not be changed but the universe is. The act of perception changes the flow of the universe in an initial local way. Once an observation, however small has been made, the world is an altered place. Thus, there is tremendous responsibility in observing and assimilating. In reading this and perhaps thinking, you are changing the world.

Inherent in quantum mechanics of this kind is probability, which is not too far off the notion of fate. Certainty does not exist, chance rules.

Far out…

From Wikipedia:

There is no uniquely definitive statement of the Copenhagen interpretation.The term encompasses the views developed by a number of scientists and philosophers during the second quarter of the 20th century. This lack of a single, authoritative source that establishes the Copenhagen interpretation is one difficulty with discussing it; another complication is that the philosophical background familiar to Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and contemporaries is much less so to physicists and even philosophers of physics in more recent times. Bohr and Heisenberg never totally agreed on how to understand the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics,and Bohr distanced himself from what he considered Heisenberg’s more subjective interpretation.Bohr offered an interpretation that is independent of a subjective observer, or measurement, or collapse; instead, an “irreversible” or effectively irreversible process causes the decay of quantum coherence which imparts the classical behavior of “observation” or “measurement”.

Different commentators and researchers have associated various ideas with the term. Asher Peres remarked that very different, sometimes opposite, views are presented as “the Copenhagen interpretation” by different authors.N. David Mermin coined the phrase “Shut up and calculate!” to summarize Copenhagen-type views, a saying often misattributed to Richard Feynman and which Mermin later found insufficiently nuanced. Mermin described the Copenhagen interpretation as coming in different “versions”, “varieties”, or “flavors”.

Some basic principles generally accepted as part of the interpretation include the following:

  • Quantum mechanics is intrinsically indeterministic.
  • The correspondence principle: in the appropriate limit, quantum theory comes to resemble classical physics and reproduces the classical predictions.
  • The Born rule: the wave function of a system yields probabilities for the outcomes of measurements upon that system.
  • Complementarity: certain properties cannot be jointly defined for the same system at the same time. In order to talk about a specific property of a system, that system must be considered within the context of a specific laboratory arrangement. Observable quantities corresponding to mutually exclusive laboratory arrangements cannot be predicted together, but considering multiple such mutually exclusive experiments is necessary to characterize a system.

Hans Primas and Roland Omnès give a more detailed breakdown that, in addition to the above, includes the following: 

  • Quantum physics applies to individual objects. The probabilities computed by the Born rule do not require an ensemble or collection of “identically prepared” systems to understand.
  • The results provided by measuring devices are essentially classical, and should be described in ordinary language. This was particularly emphasized by Bohr, and was accepted by Heisenberg.
  • Per the above point, the device used to observe a system must be described in classical language, while the system under observation is treated in quantum terms. This is a particularly subtle issue for which Bohr and Heisenberg came to differing conclusions. According to Heisenberg, the boundary between classical and quantum can be shifted in either direction at the observer’s discretion. That is, the observer has the freedom to move what would become known as the “Heisenberg cut” without changing any physically meaningful predictions. On the other hand, Bohr argued both systems are quantum in principle, and the object-instrument distinction (the “cut”) is dictated by the experimental arrangement. For Bohr, the “cut” was not a change in the dynamical laws that govern the systems in question, but a change in the language applied to them.
  • During an observation, the system must interact with a laboratory device. When that device makes a measurement, the wave function of the systems collapses, irreversibly reducing to an eigenstate of the observable that is registered. The result of this process is a tangible record of the event, made by a potentiality becoming an actuality.
  • Statements about measurements that are not actually made do not have meaning. For example, there is no meaning to the statement that a photon traversed the upper path of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer unless the interferometer were actually built in such a way that the path taken by the photon is detected and registered.
  • Wave functions are objective, in that they do not depend upon personal opinions of individual physicists or other such arbitrary influences.

Another issue of importance where Bohr and Heisenberg disagreed is wave–particle duality. Bohr maintained that the distinction between a wave view and a particle view was defined by a distinction between experimental setups, whereas Heisenberg held that it was defined by the possibility of viewing the mathematical formulas as referring to waves or particles. Bohr thought that a particular experimental setup would display either a wave picture or a particle picture, but not both. Heisenberg thought that every mathematical formulation was capable of both wave and particle interpretations.

Puruṣa and Patañjali, Yoga and Union.

These are the concluding sutras of The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, from book 4 – Freedom

These translated by Chip Hartranft. I like his terse style

Ponder on this last statement, it is ultra-profound.

From Wikipeadia

Purusha (puruṣa or Sanskrit: पुरुष) is a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Depending on source and historical timeline, it means the cosmic being or self, consciousness, and universal principle.

In early Vedas, Purusha was a cosmic being whose sacrifice by the gods created all life. This was one of many creation myths discussed in the Vedas. In the Upanishads, the Purusha concept refers to the abstract essence of the Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form, and is all-pervasive.

In Sankhya philosophy, Purusha is the plural immobile male (spiritual) cosmic principle, pure consciousness, unattached and unrelated to anything, which is “nonactive, unchanging, eternal, and pure”. Purusha uniting with Prakṛti (matter) gives rise to life.

In Kashmir Shaivism, Purusha is enveloped in five sheaths of time (Kāla), desire (Raga), restriction (Niyati), knowledge (Vidya) and portion of time (Kalā); it is the universal Self (Paramatman) under limitations as many individual Selfs (Jīvātman).


Patañjali (Sanskrit: पतञ्जलि), also called Gonardiya, or Gonikaputra, was a sage in Ancient India. Very little is known about him, and no one knows exactly when he lived. It is estimated from analysis of his works that it was between the 4th and 5th centuries CE.

He is believed to be an author and compiler of a number of Sanskrit works. The greatest of these are the Yoga Sutras, a classical yoga text. There is speculation as to whether the sage Patañjali is the author of all the works attributed to him, as there are a number of known historical authors of the same name. A great deal of scholarship has been devoted over the last century as to the issue of the historicity or identity of this author or these authors.

Amongst the more important authors called Patañjali are:

 The author of the Mahābhāṣya, an ancient treatise on Sanskrit grammar and linguistics, based on the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini. This Patañjali’s life is dated to mid 2nd century BCE by both Western and Indian scholars. This text was titled as a bhashya or “commentary” on Kātyāyana-Pāṇini’s work by Patanjali, but is so revered in the Indian traditions that it is widely known simply as Mahā-bhasya or “Great commentary”. As per Ganesh Sripad Huparikar, actually, Patanjali (2nd century BCE), the forerunner among ancient grammatical commentators, “adopted an etymological and dialectical method of explaining in the whole of his ‘Mahābhāshya’ (Great Commentary), and this has assumed, in the later commentary literature the definite form of ‘Khanda-anvaya’.” So vigorous, well reasoned and vast is his text, that this Patanjali has been the authority as the last grammarian of classical Sanskrit for more than 2,000 years, with Pāṇini and Kātyāyana preceding him. Their ideas on structure, grammar and philosophy of language have also influenced scholars of other Indian religions such as Buddhism and Jainism.

The compiler of the Yoga sūtras, a text on Yoga theory and practice, and a notable scholar of Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. He is variously estimated to have lived between 2nd century BCE to 4th century CE, with more scholars accepting dates between 2nd and 4th century CE.The Yogasutras is one of the most important texts in the Indian tradition and the foundation of classical Yoga. It is the Indian Yoga text that was most translated in its medieval era into forty Indian languages.

The author of a medical text called Patanjalatantra. He is cited and this text is quoted in many medieval health sciences-related texts, and Patanjali is called a medical authority in a number of Sanskrit texts such as Yogaratnakara, Yogaratnasamuccaya and Padarthavijnana. There is a fourth Hindu scholar also named Patanjali, who likely lived in 8th-century CE and wrote a commentary on Charaka Samhita and this text is called Carakavarttika. According to some modern era Indian scholars such as P.V. Sharma, the two medical scholars named Patanjali may be the same person, but completely different person from the Patanjali who wrote the Sanskrit grammar classic Mahābhashya.

Patanjali is one of the 18 siddhars in the Tamil siddha (Shaiva) tradition.

Patanjali continues to be honoured with invocations and shrines in some forms of modern postural yoga, such as Iyengar Yoga and Ashtānga Vinyāsa Yoga.

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is a collection of Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga – 195 sutras (according to Vyāsa and Krishnamacharya) and 196 sutras (according to other scholars including BKS Iyengar). The Yoga Sutras was compiled in the early centuries CE, by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions.

The Yoga Sutras are best known for its reference to ashtanga, eight elements of practice culminating in samadhi, concentration of the mind on an object of meditation, namely yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration of the mind), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption). However, its main aim is kaivalya, discernment of purusha, the witness-conscious, as separate from prakriti, the cognitive apparatus, and disentanglement of purusha from prakriti’s muddled defilements.

The Yoga Sutras built on Samkhya-notions of purusha and prakriti, and are often seen as complementary to it. It is closely related to Buddhism, incorporating some of its terminology. Yet, Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, as well as Jainism and Buddhism can be seen as representing different manifestations of a broad stream of ascetic traditions in ancient India, in contrast to the Bhakti traditions and Vedic ritualism which were prevalent at the time.

The contemporary Yoga tradition holds the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali to be one of the foundational texts of classical Yoga philosophy. However, the appropriation – and misappropriation – of the Yoga Sutras and its influence on later systematizations of yoga has been questioned by David Gordon White,who argues that the text fell into relative obscurity for nearly 700 years from the 12th to 19th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century due to the efforts of Swami Vivekananda, the Theosophical Society and others. It gained prominence as a classic in the 20th century.

Do You Know About Yoga?

This was the question the osteopath asked me last time I was there. I sat there for a moment and thought do I respond to that question or not? I decided simply to nod.

If you look at the previous quotation referring to the third Patanjali “book” union achieved, it is a very long way from tight yoga pants, a rolled-up mat and all kinds of health generating bendiness.

I have been meditating for more than 30 years if you include the Zen of laser alignment in. I have done more than twenty years of raja visualisation yoga. Some of the thought forms which I have built are of an incredible intricacy and some took months to construct. I have used Western {rose} and Eastern {lotus} methodologies. I kept a lab book!!

I’ll wager that should I go to an Asana yoga class I would be amongst the least flexible there, physically. This has become truer as my bilateral hip osteoarthritis develops. Because of this and my physical shape {front row rugby forward} I would not fit easily into the modern stereotype of a yogin. But he, the osteopath is right, I could probably benefit from physical plane yoga. Not sure how I would feel as the old git in a class. The time for that is not yet.

How may of the modern self-diagnosed yoginis live metaphorically in a cave away from social interaction and temptation? People find it hard to believe what can be viewed as my social isolation.

Yoga is an add on and not a way of life for many, part of a busy social calendar.  I have no doubt that it is very a good thing.

Apart from brief chats with the wife in hospital over the weekend, the only person I have spoken with in four days was the checkout lady this morning.

I said « bonjour, je n’ai pas une carte de fidélité, bonne journée and au revoir. »

That was it, the sum total of words.

Since her admission the only oral social interaction I have had was a Skype call to Las Palmas with a former colleague of mine from the early nineties. We worked closely together and all though we don’t keep closely in touch conversation flowed easily. I had an email exchange with a Ukrainian colleague of the same vintage. We were known to share the odd vodka or two.

This means that for ten days I have been isolated and no doctor from the hospital has spoken with me. One doctor, a general practitioner did and prescribed me a hardcore bronchitis treatment. I have had a less than five-minute conversation with a nurse.

I have been told by my very ill and confused wife, that I am allowed to visit tomorrow. She is exhausted. So, I will drive 150km, see her for a few minutes and then drive back home.

It is a very strange way to live. The house is mega-quiet.

I have downloaded two journal articles from “The New England Journal of Medicine” and “BioMed Central Cancer” so I am now better informed. I have the average temporal parameters for the process.

The wife is in aplasia and going through the ringer. This may last until the weekend or more.  If she gets even more tired, it is a moot point whether a 300km round trip is worth it for a few minutes’ interaction.  If she is too tired to skype, I may not see her until the weekend.

We may or may not talk tonight depending on how knackered she is.

That seems to be about it, for now.

Law of Cause and Effect – Newtonian Mechanics?

Excerpted from

“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results”

By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

16. Through concentrated meditation upon the triple nature of every form, comes the revelation of that which has been and of that which will be.

The sutra which we are considering sums the preceding ideas and it is interesting to note how this first great result of meditation takes one right back to the true facts anent divine manifestation and emphasizes the three aspects through which every life (from an atom of substance to a solar Logos) expresses itself. The great Law of Cause and Effect and the entire process of evolutionary unfoldment are recognized and that which is, is seen to be the result of that which has been. Similarly that which will later eventuate is recognized to be the working out of causes set in motion in the present, and thus the cycle of development is seen to be one process existing in three stages.

These three stages in the three worlds of human unfoldment correspond to the three dimensions, and students will find it interesting to work out these analogies of the various triplicities, remembering that the third aspect (intelligent substance), the Holy Ghost or Brahma aspects, corresponds to the past (hence a hint as to the nature of evil). The second aspect (consciousness) or the Christ or Vishnu aspect relates to the present, whilst only the future will reveal the nature of spirit, the highest or Father aspect. This line of thought, through concentrated meditation will become clear, and a sense of proportion and a sense of just values as to the present point in time will grow. A recognition also of the relation of all lives to each other will be developed and the life of the aspirant will be stabilized and adjusted so that past karma will be adjusted and possible future karma negated and the process of liberation will proceed with rapidity.

17. The Sound (or word), that which it denotes (the object) and the embodied spiritual essence (or idea) are usually confused in the mind of the perceiver. By concentrated meditation on these three aspects comes an (intuitive) comprehension of the sound uttered by all forms of life.

This is one of the most important sutras in the book, and holds the key to the object of the entire meditation process. This is to reveal or to unveil to the perceiver or spiritual man, the true nature of the self, the second aspect, and the correspondence to the second aspect in all forms of subhuman life, as well as to put him en rapport with the second aspect in all superhuman forms. Thus it concerns the subjective side of all manifestation and deals with those forces which in every form constitute the consciousness aspect, which concern the Christ or buddhic principle and which are the direct cause of objective manifestation and the revelation of spirit through the medium of form.

This is the AUM. First the breath, then the word and all that is, appeared.

Just as long as the great Existence who is the sum total of all forms and of all states of consciousness continues to sound the cosmic AUM, just so long will the objective tangible solar system persist.

The following synonyms in connection with this sutra must be borne in mind if clarity of thought is to be achieved:

I. Spiritual EssenceII. The Sound or WordIII. The Object
1. Spirit1. The Soul.1. Body
2. Pneuma2. The Psyche.2. Form.
3. The Father. Shiva3. The Son. Vishnu.3. The Holy Spirit. Brahma.
4. The Monad. The One.4. The cosmic Christ.4. The vehicle of life and of incarnation.
5. The eternal Will or Purpose.5. Eternal Love-Wisdom.5. Eternal activity and intelligence.
6. The great Breath.6. The AUM.6. The Worlds.
7. Life.7. Consciousness Aspect.7. Activity Aspect.
8. Synthesizing Energy.8. Attractive Force.8. Matter.
9. First Aspect.9. Second Aspect.9. Third Aspect.

In the mind of man these three aspects are confused and that which is outward and objective is usually recognized as reality. This is the great maya or illusion and can only be dissipated when the perceiver can distinguish the three great aspects in every form, his own included. When the second aspect, the soul, the middle or mediating principle is known, the nature of the form is also known, and the essential nature of spirit can be inferred. The immediate field of knowledge, however, which the yogi has to master is that of the second aspect. He must arrive at the Sound or Word which brought every form into manifestation, and which is the result of the breath, the essence or spirit.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him…” (John I, 1, 2.)”

Here, in the Christian Bible, is the substance of the entire teaching, and in the significance of the three letters of the Sacred Word, AUM, lies the clue to the entire cosmic process. The meditation process when duly and correctly carried out reveals therefore the second or soul aspect, and the Sound, or Word (the Voice of the Silence) can then be heard.