Day 23 of #yogasutrachallenge: YS 1.23 Isvara-pranidhanad va My interpretation: Or [enlightenment can be reached] by devotion to the Universal Divine One of the nice things about yoga is that it doesn’t prescribe a faith in any one particular deity, and as such can be practiced in addition to other belief systems. The Hindu Gods of Visnu, Siva, and Krsna are all said to be intelligible representations of the supreme divine, Isvara – pure universal consciousness which we cannot comprehend. For the first time in the sutras, Patanjali references this Supreme Consciousness (or God) here. Having focussed in the previous few sutras how, and how hard, we much practice and remain unattached to things to attain enlightenment, Patanjali now offers another method to get there: devotion of the divine. It’s an option. The idea is that simply by a yogi’s longing for it, God bestows his grace upon the yogi; having God on your side I guess makes anything a whole lot easier, including enlightenment. But it’s more than that. Offering everything you do to someone or something else, setting aside your ego to the point where the mind is completely untainted by concerns about what it “wants”, “needs” or “likes” – this in itself helps to find stillness within the mind, and so to step closer to purusha (the soul). Let’s not forget that Purusha is itself said to be divine. Yogic philosophy maintains that each one of us is an incarnation of the divine. And so, if we can find the strength to set aside our egos and move beyond any feelings of separation with others, truly being able to say, "I give You myself: my body, my mind and my heart, to do with as You best see fit," then we will be freed from the stress, anxiety, self-doubt and negative karma. Peace only comes when our actions are offered to the divine, and when we accept that the divine is guiding us too.
Natalie shares her yoga life - attending yoga events, classes and workshops in London and around the world. The yoga world from the inside. Yoga philosophy - the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and much more.