Why,How Faith Helps Imperfect Yoga Sutra 1.20

Panajali has explained how and Yogis were reborn in the Yoga Sutra 1.20.

Wisdom Quote

He explained that this is due to the remnants of  impressions in one’s chitta, though one has been practicing Yoga arduously.

Patanjali goes deep into the cause for this aberration in attaining Samadhi.

This Yoga Sutra lists five causes.


Strength of Will, Energy,( Virya)

Smriti, (Remembrance)

Samadhi, Deep Contemplation and

Prajna,(Cognition,Right Awareness)


Faith is fundamental.

Whether one likes it or not, one practices it;the only difference between those who have faith and those who do not have is that while the former is aware of and acknowledges it, the latter is either unaware or  refuses to acknowledge it.

Those who deny Faith have faith at least in what they believe in or in the Belief that they do not believe.

The rationalists are the funniest lot.

They do not believe in any thing which they can not reason out, forgetting that Reason can nor t be proved except by its results or by Inference, both premises are at fault.

Who can guarantee I will live after I post this Blog  or live as I post?

Scientists, not all of them, do not believe in anything excepting what Science tells them to, conveniently forgetting that Science is based on, mainly, two  assumptions,

Law Of Uniformity of Nature and

law Of Causation.

Both are axioms, they can not be questioned.

If Faith is Belief is unquestioned trust on something that is proved, then where does this leave Science?

We assume that Nature behaves Uniformly and systematically.

What if it it is not?

There are already Theories of Chaos, Uncertainty Principle in Science.

Law of  Causation.

Two events occur.

We connect them by saying one is the Cause of another.

That’s all.

So faith is something which drive us whether we acknowledge it or not.

Now we have positive thinking.

Not all positive thinking is probable or even possible.

Still we are advised to follow it.


Because it delivers.

Patanjali says this.

Have Faith , continue having it and you will get results.

To me  so long as it delivers results it is fine, no matter whether it is true or false.

Yoga Sutra 1.20Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.
  • shraddha = unconditional faith, trust, confidence, belief, certainty
  • virya = energy, strength of will
  • smriti = memory, intentful remembrance, mindfulness
  • samadhi = deep absorption of meditation, entasy
  • prajna = wisdom, discernment, super cognitive
  • purvakah = preceding, coming before, prerequisite
  • itaresham = of other people

Simple, straightforward outline: The five principles and practices in this sutra form a very simple, straightforward outline of the personal commitments needed to follow the path of Self-realization. It is very useful to memorize these five, and to reflect on them often.

2. Virya, Strength of Will.

Feelings are born out of Instinctive actions/reactions.

Feelings develop into Emotions.

Emotions backed by Cognition develop into Will.

Have Faith, Develop the Will.

3. Smriti, Remembrance.

It is a fact that we forget what we want to forget and remember what we are interested in.

Remembering  something is conditioned by our our Will.

The Will is strengthened by repeatedly recalling what we want to remember,.

This is called Adyayana in Sanskrit.

4. Samadhi, Regular repeated Concentration aids the process of Samadhi.

5. Prajna,Wisdom.

Means Discernment, The ability to distinguish between the Correct and the Incorrect, Right form the Wrong.

While discernment of correct and incorrect is based on facts alone, choosing Right and Wrong is instinctive.

Sometimes facts may mislead us into deciding what is Right or Wrong, but instinct never fails.

The problem is identifying true instincts as at our present development as Human Beings we are cloaked by Culture and Civilizations and most of the time we do not recognize  instincts or the Gut feeling.

The vigorous practice of  these five principles will ensure a Yogin from lapsing into this mundane World of names and Forms because of remnants of Impressions due to imperfect practice of Yoga.




8 thoughts on “Why,How Faith Helps Imperfect Yoga Sutra 1.20

  1. Excellent post in deed, thanks you very much. Although I would like to see shraddha = trust, confidence, belief, certainty… there can be many degrees of this trust and confidence. It would be great to have shraddha = unconditional faith , but not necessary. Some time many self styled and self interested Gurus ask for unconditional faith, which can be very risky.

    On another related note… what is the right Sanskrit for : ” Every thing is the Guru “… Could it be Serva Bhuteshu Guru Ashmi ?

    Thanks again for your very interesting posts.



    1. Thank you.
      sarvam Guru might be Ok.
      The same meaning is better conveyed by Guru Brahma’-Here Brahma stands for The Reality Brahman, Vishnu for Protector( in the temporal World) and Maheswarah for Personal God.


    2. Reg. ‘unconditional faith,but not necessary’.
      In my view there is no such thing as conditional trust, like Degrees in Honesty,Integrity,Sincerity.
      one either has int or does not.
      These degrees make one corrupt and gives room for self justification.
      i have seem unconditonal Faith or surrender work Miracles.


      1. Thanks. I agree honesty and integrity are absolute. Could unconditional faith lead to blind-faith ? Or exploitation ? As an example some people have faith in self styled Gurus and trust them no matter what. Perhaps the term unconditional faith is confusing…when conditions change faith can remain or disappear.


  2. Very insightful Sir. Could you please tell me any Yoga Sutra book which has the Sanskrit text and an english translation? Thank you.
    Kind Regards
    Sanjay Prasad.


    1. You can try the Books published by The Gita Press,Gorakpur. http://www.gitapress.org/
      I have read their Book Bhgavad Gita by Hardayal Goentaka; it is excellent.
      I do not think he has written on Yoga.
      If Gita Press standard is what I trust it to be it should be good, by any author.
      You may try.
      There are many Books available with texts and commentary.
      You may choose anyone of them.You may find quite a few of them in Google Books.
      You may follow the Sanskrit meanings and leave out the commentary because many of the Translators impose their views while interpreting.


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