What are the steps of Ashtang Yog as given by Maharishi Patanjali?

Yog or Ashtang Yog*

For summation of mathematical quantities also, the word ‘Yog’ is used but when this word is used in spiritual background, it means realization of God (but after summation of soul with god, soul does not lose its existence but remains to be a separate entity different from God). Maharishi Patanjali has divided this whole process of realization of God in eight parts/steps. These eight parts are popularly known as Ashtang Yog. Because of presence of disturbances, soul fails to feel God who is present in itself (the soul). It is very much like-the images falling in water can not be seen if it (water) is disturbed unless calmness of water is restored. The moment soul is able to remove its disturbances, it automatically realises God. The purpose of all the eight parts of Yog is to remove disturbances of soul. There is no way different  from Ashtang Yog to realise God. First two parts of Ashtang Yog-Yam and Niyam bring oneness in our behaviour with ourselves and with the society. The remaining six parts of Ashtang Yog  concentrate on removing other disturbances of soul. Order of the eight parts of Ashtang Yog  too is important. Every part of Ashtang Yog  removes disturbances of a special nature but only then, when all the previous parts have been adhered to e.g. without adhering to Yam and Niyam, fruits of Asana and other succeeding parts of Yog can not be reaped. Followers of all the sects agree that those moving on the path of Hinsa and untruthfulness (parts of Yam) can never realise God. This supports the view that adhering to all the parts of Ashtang Yog is the only way to realise God.

Below we mention different parts of Yog or Ashtang Yog.

First part of Yog-Yam

 Yam has further been divided into following parts:

1        Ahinsa 2       Satya 3         Astey 4         Brahamcharya 5      Aprigrah

1        Ahinsa

 There is a notion in the world that to give pain to someone is non-violance or Hinsa and opposite of this is non-violance or Ahinsa. If we accept this notion to be true, then there is no one in this world, who does not give pain to others. God, being giver of fruits of actions of souls gives maximum pain. Does God do Hinsa by giving fruits of actions of souls ? One of the attributes of God is-‘doing welfare of all’. Mother, father, teacher, king punish us for our bad acts and in doing so, they certainly bring pain to us. Can such acts of theirs be called ‘Hinsa’? Vedas (and Rishis) say that basis of Hinsa is injustice and basis of Ahinsa is justice.  To reward a non-deserving person is Hinsa and to punish a guilty is Ahinsa .  A person who has done Hinsa gets disturbed and to cover up his this weakness, he tends to donate his money (without thinking of the eligibility of the recipient), with the intention of reducing the punishment of the guilt committed by him. Because of this reason these people, who are guilty of Hinsa, go in different temples, monastries (maths) etc. and feel a sigh of relief by donating there. But such people do not know that a guilt never goes unpunished without any regard to any amount of punayas made thereafter.

There is a great message of the Vedas-there is Hinsa at the base of every bad deed and there is Ahinsa at the base of every good deed. We can very well say that purpose of rest of the four Yams (truth, astey, brahamcharya & aprigrah) and all the five Niyams (shouch, santosh, tap, swadhyay & Ishwar pranidhan) is to strengthen the principle of Ahinsa.

Here, it is important to throw light on the aspect of ‘silent viewing’. It is Hinsa whether we do it physically or do it by remaining silent spectator of ‘doing of Hinsa’. As it has already been mentioned that injustice is at the base of Hinsa, and not to refrain others from doing injustice can not be termed other than Hinsa, So, it is very necessary for a person who has taken the pledge of following Ahinsa not to do any injustice personally as well as not to be a  silent spectator of ‘doing of Hinsa’. A person will be successful in refraining others from doing injustice as much as he himself practices Ahinsa.

We must consider the reason behind painful-living of different beings. Then only, we will be able to know-what is Hinsa and what is Ahinsa. It is because of Ahinsa that we have received this great body. Similarly, it is because of Hinsa that other souls have not been provided with this great human body.

2        Satya (Truth)

Whether anybody in the past has attained the purpose of his life (freedom from the cycle of birth and death) by following the path of untruthfulness? If it has not happened in the past, then it will not happen in present as well as in future. One of the great reason of not being able to follow the path of truth is- we have made attainment of non-living things as goal of our life. The fact as accepted by the attainers of worldly things is-attainment of worldly things brings a kind of hollowness in our souls. In today’s world, moving on the path of truthfulness seems harmful. It is for the reason that we have started considering the loss of worldly objects equivalent to the loss of soul. A follower of untruth can never be fearless and a fearful person can never concentrate. As such, to have access over unbound power of concentration, we need to move on the path of Satya.

Satya is adhered to for the realization of Ahinsa. Hinsa is done whenever we speak untruth. Whether one is a son or a shopkeeper or a serviceman etc., he brings pain to the others whenever he speaks untruth by doing injustice. (this can be verified from the examples of our daily life) and he is bound to get the fruits of his acts of Ahinsa. Rishis say that truthfulness bring a power in us which enables us to obviate ourselves from bad deeds. There is no other way to be free from sin. There was no one in the past, there is no one in the present and there will be no one in future having a liking for untruthfulness.  This is because God has developed liking for truthfulness in our soul.

When a man tells a thing without hurting his soul (Atma) and with pleasure and confidence, he speaks the truth.  A teller of lie has almost dead ‘Atma’. By adhering to truth, we may lose something but  welfare of our ‘Atma’ lies only in this. All the relatives or friends for whom we speak untruth are going to go to their heavenly abode one day. By leaving innumerable relatives or friends in the past lives, we have taken our present birth. Where have all these people for whom we spoke untruth gone? Likewise, we will have to go on our eternal journey by leaving our present-day relatives and friends. But ‘Paap’ (sin) earned by behaving untruthfully will remain with us until we bear the fruit of it. Why to behave untruthfully for the leavers? On this eternal journey  ‘Atma’ is alone.

There is a belief that it is not possible to sustain without untruth. This belief is totally wrong. O man! Experiment with behaving truthfully and you will realise its importance in a single go. We must ask the questions from ourselves-If untruthfulness has not caused welfare of anybody in the past, then how is it going to benefit us today?

Also read the question-What is truth?


3        Astey (Non-stealing)

 It refers to non-stealing by words as well as thoughts. By looking at a car of another or a beautiful flower and having a desire to possess the same is nothing but stealing. This concept can be better understood through an example. As soon as a customer makes the payment for the cloth, he becomes owner of that cloth. But shopkeeper gives him lesser cloth by measuring the cloth wrongfully. He (shopkeeper) steals the cloth of the purchaser in front of him by adopting deceitful means.

Generally, we all say that we are not thieves but deep thinking can let us know as to the extent to which we follow ‘Astey’.

4        Brahamcharya (Continence)


Brahamcharya is saving / protecting all sorts of capabilities of body by control over our senses.

There is a notion in todays’ world (often backed by modern scientists) that ‘to save our semen’ is a thought of wrong minds. As such, they  let it go waste and thus weaken their body by decreasing its capability to fight diseases. Mean of Brahamcharya is control over our senses. The better we control our senses, the easier it is to adopt Brahamcharya. It becomes easier for us to adopt Brahamcharya if we remain focused on our goal and constantly strive for the same. Also, we should think of the character of the great personalities, great warriors etc. Acquiring subtle / fine & pure vivek (judging ability of mind) too helps in saving our semen.

Opposite to Brahamcharya  is incontinence. Incontinence too, like stealing and untruthfulness brings Hinsa.

Even a person, who himself tells a lot of lies during the whole day looks at the other person, who has given vent to his sexual desire even once with disgrace. Like in untruthfulness, there are grades in incontinence also. Untruthfulness and incontinence bring equivalent fruits provided they are of the same grade. It is shameful to be incontinent but it is in no way worse than being untruthful. An incontinent person fails in one Yam and untruthful person fails in another Yam. Both of them equally share failure in Yam. Satya, Astey, Brahamcharya etc. are further parts of first part of Yam. All the parts of Yam have same importance in relation to one another. Just as we speak untruth because of not knowing the greatness of truth, likewise we steal because of not knowing the greatness of non-stealing and further we do not be continent because of not knowing the greatness of continence. But the moment we know the greatness of continence, we will concentrate on following brahamcharya leaving incontinence.

 All the people of this world are afraid of death. But, through brahamcharya one is able to bring a power in him by which, he can kill the fear of death.

Acharya Charak says-‘Semen is the crux of whatever we eat. If you really want to get ‘Amrit’, then save semen. If you let it go waste because of non-control of your sexual desire, then it is guaranteed that diseases of all sorts will come to you’.

Subtle things can be understood through subtle budhi only. We can acquire subtle budhi, only if crux of whatever we eat gets deposited in our body in large quantity. For this, we will have to follow Brahamcharya.

Many people, who desire to realise God in a moment, have a view that for God realization, they do not have to do any thing. They do not realise the greatness of the term ‘God-realisation’. For this ‘God-realisation’, Brahamchari (one follows the path of Brahamcharya) spends every moment of his life in removing ills of life and the others want to attain that state in a moment. This is a great folly on their part.

5        Aprigrah (Non-piling)

 Not to pile up things through ‘Man’, words or body is called Aprigrah.

Aprigah does not mean that clothes of a king and that of a peon should be similar and in equal quantity.

The more we tend to increase our necessities, the more Hinsa we do. How? From the time of cultivation of cotton till cloth is manufactured out of that for our use, millions of beings are hurt or die in all these processes. But for sustenance we need some means. We should draw from nature (prakriti) only that much which is necessary for our sustenance lest we should not bring unnecessary harm to other beings. Others may not have to face deprivation of their necessities because of our habit of piling up the things.

Because of our tendency to pile up things more than what actually is required for our sustenance, production is getting increased which in a way is harming the ‘Panch mahabhut’ (Earth, Water, Fire, Air & aakaash). By piling up unnecessary things and more than our requirements, we become guilty of doing Hinsa. The purpose of Aprigrah too is Ahinsa only. Nothing can be piled without bringing pain to others. To accumulate unnecessary things & unnecessary thoughts is Prigrah (Piling up). Opposite to this is Aprigrah, If somehow certain things get piled up in excess of our requirements, then things in excess our requirements should be donated. The cost of contentment obtained by such donation is much more than the cost of the costliest things of the world. We should ask the following question from ourselves:

-Why & for whom so much accumulation?

-Till what period this accumulation will go on?

-Where was I before this birth? Where am I to go after death? What for did I take birth? Where are the accumulations made by me till date?

-What purpose will such accumulations serve?

Knowing the answers to such questions helps us to know ‘Ourselves’.

Second part of Yog-Niyam

Difference between Yam and Niyam- While Yam controls our behaviour with others, Niyam regulates our behavior with ourselves.

Like Yam, Niyam too, has further been divided into following parts:

1        Shouch 2      Santosh 3     Tap 4  Swadhaya 5  Ishwar Pranidhan

1        Shouch (Cleanliness)

Cleanliness of ‘Man’ and body is called Shouch. Bathing, wearing clean clothes, taking good food etc. are some of the means for Cleanliness of our body. Means like knowledge, good company, control over senses, earning money through rightful methods etc., cleanse our ‘Man’. This is called internal cleanliness. Cleanliness of our ‘Man’ is more important than Cleanliness of our body. Cleanliness of our body is called external cleanliness. But most of the money, time etc. are spent on cleanliness of our body. We all know that our body is made up of five elements-earth, water, fire, air and aakaash (ether). Cleanliness of our body depends upon cleanliness of these elements. The cleaner these elements are, the cleaner, our bodies will be. But it, in no way, means that for cleanliness of our body we can discard bathing etc. Above all methods of cleanliness, comes the cleanliness in our ways of earning money. As such, cleanliness should be started from our methods of earning money. If our earnings are not through rightful means, then our food, our thoughts, our actions etc. can never be clean. Such person can neither have control over his senses nor can understand the importance of time. By bringing internal & external cleanliness in our lives, we make Ahinsa stronger and bring joy to all who conduct with us during different jobs.

2        Santosh (Contentment)

To be happy with the fruits of exertions made with the available means (knowledge, power etc.) is Santosh. The base of Asantosh or non-contentment is greediness. The joy / pleasure one feels after practicing Santosh is sixteen times more than every worldly pleasure.

Looking at the importance of Santosh, we must have a clear understanding of this concept. Not to wish more than what is available or is received in a particular condition is not Santosh.  Without getting depressed by receiving less than expected, one should exert more incessantly by increasing the resources (intelligence, knowledge, power etc.). Many times a person gets a feeling of contentment by exerting less than his abilities, which is a great hurdle in the path of self-realisation.

For having Santosh or contentment, it is very necessary that one has a strong belief over justice of God. He must have faith that his actions are and will be appropriately rewarded.

3        Tap (Control over senses)

To accept / bear loss- benefit, pain-pleasure, hunger-thirst, cold-heat, honour-dishonour etc. coming on the path of righteousness with peace and patience is Tap.

Today, we have weaken ourselves so much that without pillow, bed, TV vehicle, fan, cooler, AC etc.  we can not think of spending even a moment. Many times, we refuse to accept the call of our soul just for some worldly objects. As soon as, a worldly subject of our liking is present before us, we willingly or unwillingly move in that direction and fail to leave / abandon that subject. Whenever a beautiful scene of our liking comes before us, we fail to restrain our eyes from seeing the same.

   While doing ‘tap’, our happiness level should not go down i.e. we should do only that much ‘tap’ by which our happiness does not diminish. In this way, we may take longer duration in achieving our purpose, for which ‘tap’ is being done but the results achieved would be steadier.

The path of yog or realisation of God is not for the one who is ‘Atapsavi (one who can not control his senses)

4        Swadhaya

To possess both physical-knowledge and spiritual-knowledge through study is called Swadhaya. One can not attain purpose of his life by following only one of them. As such, there need be a co-ordination between physical-knowledge and spiritual-knowledge.

In Vedas, There are both of physical-knowledge and spiritual-knowledge.

As such, the great scholars call the study of Vedas only as Swadhaya. Many scholars bring the study of books written by Rishis too in the ambit of Swadhaya. By Swadhaya, we can obviate Hinsa done with our foolishness and can have the basis of analyzing our deeds necessary for our progress in the right direction.

5        Ishwar Pranidhan (Surrender to God)

Ishwar Pranidhan means total surrender to the will of the Supreme Being.

          In the world, we talk of surrender to our mother, father, teacher, officer, king etc. By such surrenders we mean to follow the commands of these persons. Where there is no following of the commands, we can not call the same as‘surrender’. Similar is the case with God, where surrender means nothing else than following the commands of God. Commands of God are included in Vedas. So, to do Ishwar Pranidhan, we must first of all know the commands of God mentioned in Vedas. If we are to move in accordance with will of God, then every moment we will have to feel His presence and should put all our words, thoughts and actions in the right direction. In moving in accordance with will of God, we should not think of the fruits of our actions. But, we can not work without thinking of fruit. Then, what does ‘non-thinking of fruits of actions’ mean? Here, ‘non-thinking of fruits of actions’ means non-thinking of worldly fruits of actions. Our soul is not fed / satisfied by the worldly fruits of our actions. Instead we should act with a purpose of getting non-worldly object i.e. bliss. Our soul gets satisfied by ‘bliss of God’ only. As such, we should act with a purpose of obtaining the Bliss as a fruit of our action.

Bhakti=Surrender=Following Commands

Surrender every thing (power, knowledge, money, capability etc.) you have to God. But a person is afraid to do so with the fear that if he surrenders every thing to God then he will not be left with any thing. But after surrendering everything to God, everything remains with the surrenderer with the only liability to use those things in accordance with the instructions of God.

For example, tenant of a house knows that he does not own the house and he has to use the house according to the will of its owner. Realizing this fact, he makes the best use of the house. If for one reason or the other, the house gets damaged, he (tenant) does not have any tension of any sort because he knows from his heart that he is not the owner of the house. Similar to this example, if we surrender everything we possess to God then we will use those possessions of ours in accordance with the will of God.We will donate because it is His instruction to donate. We will eat to the extent to which He has instructed. We will not eat, what He forbids us to eat. In short, by surrendering we mean following the instructions.

By Ishwar Pranidhan, we can increase our speed towards God Realisation to a great extent .

Third part of Yog-Asana

Asana refers to sitting posture of our body. Today, Asana is being taken as synonym of Yog and main purpose of Asana is considered to keep our body free from diseases. It is true that Asana benefits our body but main purpose of Asana is to achieve Samadhi (final part of Yog) through Pranayam, dhaarna and dhyan. Actually, Asana is a posture in which body can sit comfortably without any movement for a long period of time. We find a mention of different postures in which we can sit comfortably without any movement for long, depending upon condition, state & capability of the body. It is not possible to go into dhyan while moving, walking, dancing etc. Dhyan is possible in a sitting posture only. In dhyan, we concentrate on motionless God which is possible only by keeping our body still. Stillness is very essential for concentration. While moving, walking, dancing etc., it is not possible to concentrate our mind on a particular thing.

Yogi (one who practices yog) keeps on feeling God while eating, walking, talking or doing other worldly things. It can be called Ishwar Pranidhan and not Smadhi. It should not be considered that Yogi can go into Smadhi  while eating, walking, talking or doing other worldly things. For going into Smadhi, even Yogis have to control their minds and concentrate the same on God. For this stillness of the body is must.

Fourth part of Yog-Pranayam

 Pranayam removes the veil of ignorance and thus helps a person to reach that state of knowledge which generates ‘Vairagaya’, which is necessary for attaining ‘Moksh’. ‘Kapalbhati’, ‘ Anulom-Vilom’ etc. are not pranayams but are breathing exercises only. It is true that these breathing exercises are capable of bringing physical fitness but to regard them as a substitute of our minute eating habits and help of Ayurved in curing the chronic diseases will be our folly. Pranayam is important and essential for everyone. In Pranayam, breathing is stopped and they are four in number as told by Maharishi Patanjali in his evergreen book-Yog Darshan. ‘Yog Darsan’ is considered to be an authority over all the aspects of YOG.

First Pranayam- Remove air form the lungs by exhaling (Beginners, should not contract their stomach in the process of exhaling all the air) and stop breathing as per one’s capacity. As soon as one feels the trouble in holding the breath outside, one should inhale. Again the same process should be repeated. But if one feels tiredness after inhaling, he may take one or two normal breaths before repeating the process.

  Second Pranayam-Fill the lungs by inhaling and stop breathing as per one’s capacity. As soon as one feels the trouble in holding the breath inside, one should exhale. Again the same process should be repeated. But if one feels tiredness after exhaling, he may take one or two normal breaths before repeating the process.

Third Pranayam- Take normal breaths, then stop inhaling or exhaling instantaneously and stop the air where it is as per one’s capacity. As soon as one feels the trouble in holding the breath, one should start taking normal beaths. Again the same process should be repeated. But if one feels tiredness after stopping the breath instantaneously, he may take one or two normal breaths before repeating the process.

Forth Pranayam –This Pranayam is done only after getting / obtaining mastery over the ibid three Pranyamas. Here, we are skipping the method of doing this pranayam.

Effort of the practitioner should be on the manner or technique of doing the different Pranayamas in the best possible way instead of holding the breath for longer duration. It is better to learn the techniques of doing different Pranayamas from a good teacher or practitioner. There is no doubt that Knowledge is filled in the books but only a good teacher can put the same in our mind in a systematic way.

Pranayam not only overhauls all the systems of our boy but also makes our budhi very subtle which is capable of understanding very quickly the difficult /  fine topics. Pranayam helps in our mental development alongwith our spiritual development. During Pranayams, we take in vital air much less because during this period we concentrate on stopping the air, but it increases the capacity of our lungs so much that it enables us (practitioners) to do breathing during the whole day  in best possible manner.

We should devote sufficient time daily for Pranayam but we should not do Pranayam for more than 21 times a day. While doing Pranayam, pray to God –‘Giver of vital air! May the vital air be in my control. 

Do not keep the ‘Man’ idle while doing Pranayam. While doing Pranayam especially, while holding the breath, concentrate your ‘Man’ on the thoughts-‘He is giver of life. He removes our miseries. He is the giver of happiness. He is very very great. He is the creator of this universe and He blends ever living souls with a particular body in accordance with his past deeds. He makes the ill-doers suffer and He is the changeless truth.

The purpose of doing Pranayam is to control ‘Man’ and concentrate it on the self and God. This purpose should always be kept in mind while doing Pranayam.

Increase your capability to hold the breath very gradually and patiently. You may find many persons who can hold their breath for a very long period of time and can do very difficult tasks like curving straight iron rods & vice versa and the like  but they all might not have shattered the veil of ignorance. We will not be able to remove the veil of ignorance by holding the breath for a very long period of time unless we channelize our mental energy in the right direction while doing Pranayam.  

With the stabilisation of our breath, our ‘Man’ gets stabilised. If we concentrate this state of ‘Man’ on money, we get money and if we concentrate this state of ‘Man’ on God, we realise Him.

We control our ‘Man’ a number of times in a day and by concentrating with this state of ‘Man’ on worldly things, we get satisfied by obtaining those worldly things.

Actually, one who says that he is not able to control his ‘Man’, is not at all interested in knowing the self or God. Without control over ‘Man’, how could we watch hours long TV serials? It simply means that we are in good practice in controlling our ‘Man’ but that is only with respect to worldly subjects.  As such, all is needed is to channelize this power of controlled mind towards self and God.

Fifth part of Yog-Pratyahar

Controlling all our senses from moving into their worldly subjects is Pratyahar.

Let us try to understand the topic through an example. A person having a sweet tooth controls his habit of eating sweets but then developes an interest for eating salty material. It can be said that he has failed to control his sense of ‘taste’ and has moved from one taste to another. Same is the case with other senses. If it is difficult to control our one ‘sense’, then it is very very difficult to control all our ‘senses’.

If we really want to control our senses, then we will have to develop the hunger for it. For controlling our senses, ‘Tapasya’ is required with a will to give up everything for righteousness. Actually, we do a lot of ‘Tapsaya’ in our day to day life e.g. hunger for money takes us to different places, makes us do a lot of things and engrosses us in our pursuit from the beginning of the day till night and during all our lives till now. For realization of God too, same sort of hunger should be developed. Only then, it will be possible for us to govern our ‘senses’.

If one living thing makes the other living thing dance, then it is understandable (like a person makes a lion, a bear, a monkey etc. to dance on his tunes) but it totally crosses our wits if a non-living thing makes a living thing dance and today it is what is happening. Our ‘Man’ is a non-living thing and people dance to its tune and feel the pleasure in so dancing.

No. of our senses, extent of controlling these senses and permutations and combinations of situations depending upon no. of our senses & extent of controlling these senses make the process of governing all our senses very very difficult. But there is a nice way to control our ‘senses’. In this way, we do not face above-mentioned bottlenecks. What is that way?

All our senses can do nothing without ‘Man’. Concentrate this ‘Man’ on the thoughts of God and all our senses, which follow ‘Man’ will automatically get controlled.  Without achieving Pratyahar, we can not move further on the path of God-realisation.

Sixth part of Yog-Dhaarna

To make our ‘Man’ stable on any part of our body according to our will is Dhaarna.

Generally, the places with in our body where ‘Man’ is made to stop / stabilize are forehead, place between our two eyes, front part of our nose, front part of our tongue, throat, heart, navel (nabhi) etc. But out of all these, heart is considered to be the best place for placing our ‘Man’. But it is appropriate to mention that here by ’heart’, we do not mean the organ of the body named heart but by it we connote a hollow space in the middle of our ribs in the chest. To have in-out knowledge of a thing we do ‘dhaarna’ on an object outside the body but for the purpose of God-realisation, ‘dhaarna’ on a particular place of our body only is recommended.

 Places of ‘dhaarna’ and ‘dhyan’ should be the same. After dhyan soul realises God in Samadhi. By pure logic, soul can realise God only where both soul and God are present. God is present everywhere within the body as well as outside the body but soul is present only within the body. As such, for God-realisation ‘dhaarna’ is done within the body.

For the following reasons, we fail to hold our ‘Man’ on a particular place:

  1. Forgetting that ‘Man’ is a non-living object
  2. Lack of purity in our food
  3. Attachment with worldly objects and worldly relations
  4. Forgetting omnipresence of God
  5. Not to will again and again to hold ‘Man’ at one place

Many practitioners of yog try to do ‘dhyan’ skipping ‘dhaarna’ but because of their failure to concentrate ‘Man’ on a particular place in the body, they reach nowhere on the path of God-realisation.

We succeed in achieving dharna in proportion to our achievements in the earlier five steps of yog.

Seventh part of Yog-Dhyan

Generally, a person remains so busy in his daily tasks that he forgets to spend some time for dhyan.  Some persons do take out some time to do dhyan but they soon feel boredom because of non-interest or wrong technique followed in their pursuit.

Best time for dhyan is around 4.00 A.M. While doing dhyan, sit in a comfortable & still posture, close your eyes gently, think the meaning of all Yam-Niyam and analyse as to the extent to which you have been able to practice these Yam-Niyam in the previous day. After that for purifying your ‘Man’ do Pranayam. After that, for stabilizing your ‘Man’ , do dhaarna and think of your changeless, unending entity different from your body (which is ever changing). Thinking of God’s omnipresence, feel that God is with in you  and you are pervaded by God. Thinking of God’s attributes, feel that you are getting filled with fearlessness, bliss etc. Whenever ‘Man’ gets wavered, bring it back immediately to the place of dhaarna and think of God with all your faith, concentration and love.  

  Dhyan never means freedom from thoughts or thinking nothing. When we pour a liquid from one utensil to another, it drops in a continuous flow and the continuity of the flow breaks with our becoming non-careful, likewise we should continuously think of an attribute of God and should not let this continuity in our thought process break because of our carelessness.

   Dhyan is also called Upasana.

   In real terms, dhyan or Upasana should be done in a secluded place & in a sitting posture. But in emergencies, it can be done while travelling, while standing, while lying etc. Although, best time for dhyan is in the morning but still we can do dhyan at any time provided it does not make us shirk our worldly duties but Pranayam should only be included in this process if the conditions attached with Pranayam are complied with.

Eighth part of Yog-Samadhi

While doing dhyan, when we realise a thing through direct evidence, it is called Samadhi.

Like a piece of coal lying in fire gets all the qualities of fire in it, likewise in Samadhi soul start reflecting all the attributes of God. The only purpose of soul is to get freedom from the bondage of birth & death and a Yogi achieves this purpose through Samadhi.

Now let me elaborate the greatness of Yog in God-realisation. As compare to God, capabilities of soul are very much limited. A person whose intellect is very sharp can be master of a few subjects only in 100 years but there are endless topics or subjects in this universe. To be master of all the subjects of the universe is impossible for a soul as it is impossible for a well to contain all the water of the ocean. Though, it is not possible for the well to contain all the water of the ocean but it is very much possible to fill itself (the well) completely with the water of the ocean. Likewise, through Samadhi soul is filled completely with the knowledge of God. For knowledge of whatever subject one sits in Samadhi, Knowledge of that topic or subject fills the soul (God is the master of all the subjects of the universe). In this way through Samadhi, soul can become master  of many many subjects of the universe. The saying that every knowledge exists in our souls actually connote that God, who pervades our soul, possesses all the knowledge of all the subjects of the universe.

*Here, most of the thoughts have been taken from Swami Vishvang Privrajak’s book-‘Yog’ (in Hindi)