Our existence is an integrated composite of mortal and immortal constituents. The immortal constituent is the Absolute One, Virat Purusa  or Param Brahma. He is absolutely perfect in all respects and the ultimate cause of all that human comprehension can and cannot perceive. Mortal constituents are complex derivatives of various manifests of Prakrti  and these constitute Ksetra  or field for the entire cosmic Maya  to enact and re-enact itself. The entire Maya  of creation, dissolution, birth and death is guided by the Karma  performed, their Guna-s (whether Sattvika, Rajasika,  or Tamasika), and corresponding Samskara-s thereof. It is the composite of these Samskara-s on mind that decides the entire gamut of subsequent birth and destined Karma. Moksa  or salvation is all about dissolving these Samskara-s to attain the pristine pure innermost core of the Jiva. Once absolute purity is attained after transcending various stages of Tapa  and relevant attainments, the stage is set for the ultimate salvation/liberation from cycles of mortality. Eight-fold Astangayoga  enunciated by Maharsi Patanjali  is a unique step-wise treatise on how to move forward on the path to ultimate liberation and related experiences at every level of enlightenment. In brief, eight constituents of the Yoga  are herein as under –

Yamaniyamasanapranayampratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhyoasta Vangani  I (II/29)

Yama (Restraint), Niyama (Observance), Asana (Posture), Pranayama (Regulation of Breath), Pratyahara (Withholding of Senses), Dharana (Fixity of Mind), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Perfect Concentration) are eight means of attaining Yoga.

Ahimsasatyasteyabrahmacaryaparigrha Yamah  I (II/30)

Ahimsa (Non-Injury), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Abstention from Stealing) Brahamacarya (Continence) and Aparigraha (Abstinence from avariciousness) are five Yama-s.

Saucasantosatapah Svadhyayesvarapranidhanani Niyamah  I (II/32)

Sauca (Cleanliness), Santosa (Contentment), Tapa (Austerity of mental and physical discipline), Svadhyaya (Study of scriptures and Japa) and Isvarapranidhana (Devotion to the Supreme) are Niyama-s.

Sthirasukhamasanam  I (II/46)

Motionless and agreeable form of staying in the posture.

Tasmin Sati Svasprasvasyorgativicchedah Pranayamah  I (II/49)

Asana  having been perfected, regulation of the flow of inhalation and exhalation is Pranayama.

Svavisayasamprayoge Cittasya Svarupanukar Ivendriyanam Pratyaharah  I (II/54)

When separated from their corresponding objects, organs follow, as it were, nature of the mind, that is called Pratyahara (restraining organs).

Desbandhaschittasya Dharana  I (III/1)

Dharana  is the mind’s fixation on a particular point in space.

Tatta Pratyayaiktanata Dhyanam  I (III/2)

In that Dharana, the continuous flow of similar mental modifications is called Dhyana (meditation).

Tadevarthamatranirbhasam Svarupasunyamiva Samadhih  I (III/3)

When the object of meditation only shines forth in the mind as though devoid of the thought of even the self (who is meditating), that state is called Samadhi  or concentration.


Klesakarmavipakasayairparamristah Purusavisesaisvarah  I (I/24)

Isvara  is a particular Purusa, unaffected by affliction, deed, the result of action or the latent impressions thereof. Absolute Existence is devoid of everything, infinitely beyond the faculty of human comprehension. This absolutely perfect, flawless state of existence all-inclusive as well, is what is known as the Supreme Deity or Isvara. This state is attainable/accessible to all hence, every Jiva  is potentially divine. As we are vivid reflections of the Supreme Perfect, we are called upon to deport ourselves in a perfect way, right in this world itself. Perfection is an endless voyage and never a safe harbour. Even after attaining the Perfect State of Existence i.e. Isvara, the divine exercise of eternal renewal, renaissance and resurgence never ceases. Astangayoga  alone extends absolutely correct description/definition of Isvara. Divinity is serene, and tranquil yet never ever standstill.


It is the foundation of the so-called modern Psychology.

Avidyasmitaragdvesabhinivesa Klesah  I (II/3)

Avidya (Misapprehension about the real nature of things), Asmita (Egoism), Raga (Passionate attachment), Dvesa (Aversion) and Abhinivesa (Fear of death) are five Klesa-s or afflictions.

Pramanaviparyayavikalpanidrasmrtayah  I (I/6)

Pramana (Perception, inference and testimony), Viparyaya (Illusion, false knowledge) Vikalpa (Hallucination), Nidra (Dreamless sleep) and Smrti (Recollection) are modifications of the mind.

Dhyanaheyastadvrttayah  I (II/11)

Their means of subsistence or their gross states are avoidable by meditation.

Abhyasavairagyammyam Tannirodhah  I (I/12)

By practice and detachment, these can cease to exist.

Sa Tu Dirghakalnairantaryasatkarasevito Drdhbhumih  I (I/14)

Long practice without break and with devotion becomes firm in the foundation.

Yogaschittavrtti Nirodhah  I (I/2)

Yoga  is the suppression of modifications of the mind.

Tatastadvipakanugunanamevabhivyaktirvasnanam  I (III/8)

Thence (from all varieties of Karma) are manifested sub-conscious impressions appropriate to their consequences.

Klesmulah Karmasayo Drstaadrstajanmavedniyah  I (II/12)

Karmasaya  or latent impressions of actions based on Klesa (Afflictions) becomes active in this life or in a life to yet come.

Sati Mule Tadvipako Jatyayurbhogah  I (II/13)

As long as Klesa  remains at the root, Karmasaya  produces three consequences in the forms of birth, span of life and experience.

Te Hladaparitapphalah Punyapunyahetutvat  I (II/14)

Because of virtue and vice, these (birth, span and experience) produce pleasant and painful experiences.

Tato Dvandvanabhighatah  I (II/48)

From that arises immunity from Dvandva-s or opposite conditions.

And finally –

Pratyasya Parichittjnanam  I (III/18)

By practicing Samyama  (Self-control and moderation) on notions, knowledge of other minds is developed.

It is amply clear from aforesaid Sutra-s that the entire human conduct is a complex, integrated function of all these modifications and manifestations of the mind. These constitute the innermost core, very fundamental essence of the entire human psyche. What principles of Psychology expound, are merely exterior semblances of aforesaid subtle modifications of mind. What modern Psychology cannot explain, is profoundly explained by the principles of Astangayoga. Once the entire structure, an integrated mix of the entire battery of Samskara-s is perceived, the entire psyche can be marvellously explained, understood and future conduct correctly anticipated and predicted, a feat impossible for a psychologist to achieve. The entire conduct of Gautama Buddha (renouncing his kingdom, young queen and infant prince, accepting maroon robes, attaining the Supreme State, then coming back to his queen and prince to beg for alms) or Sri Rama  (renouncing Kingdom at the behest of His step-mother and her maid-attendant, etc.) or Maharsi Dadhichi  (who donated his bones for a common cause) simply cannot be explained away by so-called Psychology, albeit Astangayoga  can. The entire phenomenon that later came to be known as Bhagvadgita  is a splendid display of various Samskara-s at work in the mind of Arjuna. That way, Sri Krsna  turns out to be the greatest Applied Psychologist ever born to the Planet Earth. It was the Mahayogi  in Him at His splendid best !! Psychology is at its wit’s end to rationalize Arjuna‘s conduct on the battlefield. Need it to be stated further that Maharsi Patanjali  is the real Father of Psychology and NOT Sigmund Freud ?? The truth about Sigmund Freud is that the poor fellow just did not understand even a, b, c of Psychology. Why should one ardently desire to merge himself into the Infinite is a dark mystery, a black hole for the discipline of Psychology and its ignorant father.

A refined mind, purified of Samskara-s is capable of perceiving what’s going on in another’s mind, as enunciated in Sutra III/18. A psychologist would call it ‘intuition’, betraying ignorance and naivete at its best.


Karma-s leave their Samskara-s on the horizon of the mind. Since the cosmic law of cause vs. effect ordains these latent Samskara-s to be consummated and redeemed, it shall invite another set of Karma-s as their corresponding respondent effects. Anticipated Karma-s as the effect is explicitly reflected in the planetary positions of one’s horoscope i.e. birth chart. It can now be sequenced that it’s Causative Karma  to Samskara  to Astro-Chart to Corresponding, Compatible Birth-Chart or Horoscope to Karma  as ‘effect’ or destiny for the life to Events of the life as revealed, predicted in the horoscope. It is amply clear, the roots of Astrology are vested in the wisdom of Astangayoga. For instances where predictions are proved wrong, the fault lies in the erudition and experience of the astrologer and not in the nano-accuracy of the wisdom of Astrology !!! The lone objective of Astrology is to facilitate one’s Adhyatmika  drive, culminating in Nirvana,  and in no way to accumulate material wealth, comfort or pleasure.


Maharsi Patanjali‘s Astangayoga  interestingly expounds Sri Krsna‘s Karmayoga  too, just as it does so in the case of Astrology. When Karma-s as the cause, leave their Samskara-s or impressions on the mind, these ought to be dissolved as a measure of purification of the subtle. Karma  as the cause can be dissolved by its respondent Karma  as the effect, provided it is performed in the sacred spirit of Yajna  i.e. renunciation of its proceeds. In other words, if the Karma  as the effect is not performed in the spirit of renunciation, it shall impart another, fresh set of Samskara-s, causing additional bondage instead of obliterating the cause-Samskara. The cosmic endeavour of dissolving existing Samskara  or the cause-Karma  through the accomplishment of effect-Karma  i.e. effect-Samskara  in the spirit of renunciation is known as Karmayoga. It renders the doer purified further. Effect-Karma, also known as Svadharma  (one’s own Dharma) is sacrosanct and inviolable. We are called upon to perform our entire Karma  in the spirit of renunciation alone, so as to ensure our continuous purification and evolution toward ultimate liberation. It further elucidates that our Karma-s of current life lay the foundation of destiny, manifesting in the same or subsequent life. That way yes, we are masters of our destinies, immediately or otherwise.

Astangayoga  of Maharsi Patanjali  is the most mystical and comprehensive in itself. Codified in Ist Century BC by Maharsi Patanjali, it is one of the oldest unparalleled highly sophisticated achievements of human civilization. No other faith or religion is blessed with such exquisite mysticism as Astangayoga.



Ramakant Tiwari