Patanjali Yoga Sutra — समाधिसिद्धिरीश्वरप्रणिधानात्॥2.45॥

Samādhisiddhirīśvarapraṇidhānāt

By complete surrender to God, sādhaka gets absorption or Samādhi.

The supreme knowledge stabilizes the intellect; courage stabilizes the mind; love stabilizes the heart; surrender slows down the speed of physiology and stabilizes the body; and righteousness stabilizes the soul. Intellect, mind, heart, body, and soul are the five fundamental aspects of dharma; on stabilization of these, the man abides in compassion.

Though Patañjali has not expressly used the word Bhakti, this is Bhakti yoga philosophy brought out in yoga sūtra. Emphasizing the power of devotion, Patañjali says, (when Samādhi itself is possible) nothing would be impossible through Bhakti yoga.

Though difficult to compartmentalize, there are four paths of yoga described in Indian philosophy. They are:

1. Bhakti yoga: Yoga of devoted worship adoringly

2. Karma yoga: Yoga of selfless, dedicated work with all intelligible means but unmoved by success or failure (predominantly karma sanyāsa, kartṛtva sanyāsa, saṅkalpa sanyāsa, karmaphala sanyāsa). Sometimes momentary success (or seemingly successful) comes to even those who were never honest in their efforts. Hence what is the point in aiming only for success and worrying when it is not realized in the desired way? Life fulfilling saphalata (though not aimed at) is only for those who are honest in their efforts coupled with karmaphala sanyāsa, though a tangible success may not be obtained immediately (read commentary given for sūtra №2.34).

Bhagavān says:

अनपेक्षः शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथः।

सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः॥गीता १२.१६॥

anapekṣaḥ śucirdakṣa udāsīno gatavyathaḥ|

sarvārambhaparityāgī yo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥGītā 12.16

One who is desireless, untainted, resourceful, unattached, fearless, indifferent (to success or failure) and without any kind of sense that: ‘I am the doer’, is dear to Me.

This is the story of a retired navy captain who after retirement skippered a ship taking trippers to nearby islands. One day, the ship was full of youngsters and they mocked at this old captain for his prayers before sailing because the sky was fine and the sea was quiet. Not before they traveled too far, a storm blew up and the ship started swinging in that turbulent ocean. The panic-struck passengers who came running to the captain and asked him to join them for prayers.

The captain answered candidly, ‘I pray when it is calm. When it is rough, I attend to my ship — which, I am supposed to’, and added, ‘If we fail to seek the Lord in quiet moments of our lives, we are not likely to do so in true spirits, when the panic strikes’.

3. Jñāna yoga: Yoga of discriminatory wisdom of the highest order (Understanding Supreme Paramātma, accepting and appreciating His proclamation).

4. Raja yoga: Yoga of superior will power developed through techniques offered in yoga scriptures like that of dhāraṇa, dhyāna, and samādhi. Basically, it is meditation yoga (Haṭhayoga is a branch where the focus will be on bandhatriyas (jālandarabandha, mūlabandha, uddiyānabandha), the adept practice of topsy-turvy Hathayogāsanas, prāṇāyāma, kuṇḍalini yoga, mantra yoga, laya yoga, relaxation techniques, breathing kriyas, kumbhakas, six hathayoga cleansing kriyas (neti, dhouti, bhasti, nouli, kapālabhāti, trāṭaka), meditation techniques, mudra śāstra, nāḍi śāstra, energy centers, etc).

According to Indian Philosophy, the line dividing love and Bhakti is very thin. Bhakti yoga involves love and total surrender to God. There cannot be Bhakti without love; and surrender mixed with fear would never be called Bhakti. Even if a person tries to worship purely owing to fear, he is not worshiping the Lord, instead, he is worshiping his own fear!

Bhagavad Gītā deals on Bhaktiyoga in a very exhaustive way. Jñāna, vairāgya and bhakti are three important faculties to be developed by a sādhaka, which can carry him to any extent. Unconditional surrender is the easiest way to fully please Bhagavān.

Bhagavān Śrīkr̥ṣṇa, narrating His love for devotees, says, there are four kinds of bhaktibhāvas with which people approach Him:

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन|

आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ॥गीता ७.१७॥

caturvidhā bhajante māṃ janāḥ sukṛtino’rjuna|

ārto jijñāsurarthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabhaGītā 7.17

Arjuna, four kinds of devotees approach Me with devotion. They are: distraught one (one who is agonizingly troubled), the truly insightful wisdom seeker (one who approaches Bhagavān for the sake of supreme spiritual knowledge), the wealth seeker (for his worldly wellbeing) and lastly, real jñāni, that is, the truly wise one (who has already attained discriminatory knowledge owing to his spiritual communion). Bhagavān says, among these four kinds, He loves the last category of bhaktas.

Here is an interesting story highlighting the superiority of unconditional, desireless surrender:

A lady wanted to go out for shopping. She approaches the neighbouring lady with a request to take care of her three years old son in her absence. The neighbouring lady readily accepts. As the mother goes out for shopping, this lady spends time with the small boy, telling him interesting stories, rhymes, etc. In the course of time, this lady offers him a bowl of chocolates and tells him to take as many as he wants. But surprisingly, the boy refuses to take. In spite of her repeated directives boy was reluctant to take. Lady thought the boy was very shy-natured. Hence, she takes a handful of chocolates from the bowl and packs them in a piece of paper and gives them to the boy. Now the boy gladly accepts.

After some time, the mother returns from shopping. The neighbouring lady hands over the boy to the mother and tells: ‘Your son is very sweet and well behaved, but seems a little shy-natured. When I asked him to take as many chocolates from the bowl as he wanted, he refused. Hence, I have packed some chocolates and given them to him.’

Mother gets surprised and asked the child, ‘Is it true, why did you not take the chocolates when offered?’ Cute charming kid answers: ‘Mom, look at my hands, they are too small. Had I taken on my own, at the most, my hands could have picked up just one or two. But now look at this, I have more than ten chocolates.’

Yes, reader, our hands are too small. Leave it to Bhagavān to give. His hands are very large. Added to this, He is very generous also.

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