Wisdom is not accumulation of knowledge but the ability to understand the worth and value of the objects and experiences one encounters in this life. A wise person is on the look out for what is lasting in life and tries to understand the nature of one’s experiences in terms of who actually experiences and what is the content of the experience, pointed out Swami Bhodananda in a lecture on Patanjali’s Yogasutra.

It is a fundamental text dealing with the spiritual and material aspects of the universe. It explores the possibilities of the human mind to free oneself of ignorance and become enlightened through yoga. There are 195 sutras (aphoristic statements) related to the spiritual practices known to the yogis of yore, believed to be consolidated by Patanjali.

Awareness of the dichotomy between the body and the Self (in the body/mind complex) helps one to experience the state beyond the physicality. Yoga is shown to be a training to cleanse the mind (chitta shuddhi) when it is able to turn its focus from empirical knowledge gained through the senses and turn its focus inward.

This experience is gained by restricting the mind which is restless by nature because of the endless thought waves in it. The advice is to learn to distance oneself from one’s being and observe the fluctuations in one’s behaviour as a spectator.

The outsider stance gives one a chance to objectively evaluate the working of the mind. When you watch the mind, you can balance it. For instance, when anger is observed, its intensity is reduced. Along with anger, a desire to express it in action also arises. But if this desire is controlled, we can see the rise and disappearance of anger and it becomes harmless to you and others. There is relief. But if one acts, there is reaction, and a whole chain of action that is not pleasant follows. This skill is obtained by training and vairagya, learning to be detached from the mind.

Samadhi is a state when the mind is balanced and this provides an opportunity and space to explore its latent potential. It is an integral experience when the body is perceived as one unified whole. One is happy and comfortable with oneself.

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