I have been slowly but surely reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda. I typically meditate and read a bit of the book every morning, although lately I’ve been slacking a little bit. The Yoga Sutras is the foremost scripture of yoga, a complete manual for the study and practice of yoga. There are almost 200 sutras, or bare threads of meaning in the book. It is not known when Sri Patanjali lived, or even if he was a single person rather than several persons using the same title. Estimates of the date of the Sutras range from 5000 BC to 300 AD.
I am currently reading the second section, the portion on practice. There are also sections on contemplation, accomplishments, and absoluteness. The very first sutra of the second section (or sutra 2.1) really hit home today and I wanted to share it.
“The last part of Kriya Yoga is simple but great. It is surrendering to the Supreme Being. I understand this to mean dedicating the fruits of your actions to God or to humanity – God in manifestation. Dedicate everything – your study, your japa, your practice – to the Lord. When you give such things to Him, He accepts them but then gives them back many times magnified. You never lose what you have given. Even virtuous, meritorious deeds will bind you in some form or other if you do them with an egotistic feeling. Every time you do something, feel, “May this be dedicated to the Lord.” If you constantly remember to do this, the mind will be free and tranquil. Try not to possess anything for yourself. Temporarily keep things but feel you are just a trustee, not an owner.”
“Be like the mother who receives a soul, nourishes it for nine months and then lets it come out into the world. If the mother were to always keep the baby in her womb, what would happen? There would be great pain. Once something has ripened, it should be passed on. So dedication is true Yoga. Say, “I am Thine. All is Thine. Thy will be done.” Mine binds. Thine liberates. If you drop “mines” all over, they will “undermine” your life – or blow up in your face. But if you change all the “mines” to Thine, you will always be safe.
“Let us all dedicate our lives for the sake of the entire humanity. With every minute, every breath, every atom of our bodies we should repeat this mantram: “dedication, dedication, giving, giving, loving, loving.” That is the best japa, the best Yoga which will bring us all permanent peace and joy and keep the mind from the disturbances of chitta vrittis (mind stuff).”
Somehow the yogic scriptures can say “God”, “Him”, and “Supreme Being” and it doesn’t make me feel closed or uneasy like I would feel when studying the bible in Sunday school as a kid. I just thought this was a beautiful thought to keep in mind as I go about my daily business.