Patanjali is the first enlightened master who compiled a complete system of Yoga. His approach is very scientific and mathematical. He is like an Einstein in the world of Buddhas. He can be called the founder of a complete system of Yoga called Patanjali Yogasutra. Seen in the back ground of Patanjali Yogasutra, what is going on in the name of Yoga in the world at present is nothing but gymnastic and self-torture.

Yoga is being propagated as a system for better physical and mental health. Even politicians are using it to impress the people and win their opinion for their ulterior motives. That is how great names are used for mundane achievements.

Yoga is a science to transcend body and mind. This system is not for physically or mentally sick people. It is for those who are completely healthy as far as medical science is concerned -- those who are normal people – healthy people with no particular pathology. Only such people can proceed on the path of Yoga. Others can do exercises in the name of asanas and pranayam which are two middle steps of Patanjaliyoga. The healthy and normal people, in spite of their normal health, if become aware that whatsoever is called normality is futile, whatsoever is called health is of no use; something more is needed; something greater is needed; something holier and whole is needed; only they can enter the path of yoga.

Here under we are placing before the readers what according to Patanjali is Yoga, to whom it is meant for, how the system can be proceeded with and what is real 'asanas' ( body postures) and 'pranyam' (expansion of 'prana'). Going through this write up the readers will know that what is going on in the name of yoga, 'asanas' and 'pranayama' is totally contrary to the real system of yoga created by Patanjali. On the first 'sutra' or maxim of Patanjali Osho explains as to whom this system is meant for – what type of people will actually benefit from it:-

atha-yoga-anushasanam: Now the discipline of yoga

"Now the discipline of yoga" Each and single word has to be understood because Patanjali will not use a single superfluous word."Now the discipline of yoga."

"First try to understand the word "now". This "now" indicates to the state of mind I was just talking to you about. If you are disillusioned, if you are hopeless, if you have completely become aware of the futility of all desires, if you see your life as meaningless – whatsoever you have been doing up to now has simply fallen dead nothing remains in the future, you are in absolute despair – what Kierkegaard calls anguish. If you are in anguish, suffering, not knowing what to do, not knowing where to go, not knowing to whom to look, just on the verge of madness or suicide or death, your whole pattern of life suddenly has become futile. If this moment has come, Patanjali says, 'now the discipline of yoga.' Only now you can understand the science of yoga, the discipline of yoga."

"Unless this moment comes to you... You can go on doing asanas, postures; that is not yoga. Yoga is an inward turning. It is a total about-turn. When you are not moving into the future, not moving toward the past, then you start moving within yourself – because your being is here and now, it is not in the future. You are present here and now, you can enter this reality. But then mind has to be here."

It is the strange nature of human mind that however profound and higher a thing may be, it turns everything to its convenient level. For instance when a man hungry for power, prestige or money, if is interested in religion, he turns religion into a business and as a mean for power and prestige. Similarly if a politician is interested in religion, he uses the religion also for his political ambitions. This is why Patanjali opens his treatise with the warning that the system is meant for those who have known the futility of such things and thus have left with no lust for all such mundane things and aspire for something higher. In this system, the second sutra of Patanjali is :-


'yogas-chitta-vritti-nirodha' 'Yoga is the cessation of mind'

"I told you that Patanjali is just mathematical. In a single sentence, now the discipline of yoga, he is finished with you. This is the only sentence that has been used for you. Now he takes it for granted that you are interested in yoga, not as a hope, but as a discipline, as a transformation right here and now. He proceeds to define:"

'Yoga is the cessation of mind.'

"This is the definition of yoga, the best. In many ways yoga has been defined; there are many definitions. Some say yoga is the meeting of the mind with the divine; hence, it is called yoga – yoga means meeting, joining together. Some say that yoga means dropping the ego: ego is the barrier; the moment you drop the ego you are joined to the divine. You were already joined, only because of the ego it appeared that you were disjoined. And there are many, but Patanjali's is the most scientific. He says,'Yoga is the cessation of mind.'"

"Yoga is the state of no-mind. The word "mind" covers all – your egos, your desires, your hopes, your philosophies, your religions, your scriptures. "Mind" covers all. Whatsoever you can think is mind. All that is known, all that can be known, all that is knowable, is within mind. Cessation of the mind means cessation of the known, cessation of the knowable. It is a jump into the unknown. When there is no mind, you are in the unknown. Yoga is a jump into the unknown. It will not be right to say "unknown"; rather, "unknowable".

"What is the mind? What the mind is doing there? What it is? Ordinarily we think that mind is something substantial there inside the head. Patanjali doesn't agree – and no one who has ever known the insides of the mind will agree. Modern science also doesn't agree. Mind is not something substantial inside the head. Mind is just a function, just an activity."

"You walk and I say you are walking. What is walking? If you stop, where is walking? If you sit down, where the walking has gone? Walking is nothing substantial; it is an activity. So while you are sitting, no one can ask, "Where you have put your walking? Just now you were walking, so where the walking has gone?" You will laugh. You will say, "Walking is not something substantial, it is just an activity. I can walk. I can again walk and I can stop. It is activity."

"Mind is also activity, but because of the word "mind", it appears as if something substantial is there. It is better to call it "minding" – just like "walking". Mind means "minding", mind means thinking. It is an activity."

'Yoga is the cessation of mind.'

"This is Patanjali's definition. When there is no mind, you are in yoga; when there is mind you are not in yoga. So you may do all the postures, but if the mind goes on functioning, if you go on thinking, you are not in yoga. Yoga is the state of no-mind. If you can be without the mind without doing any posture, you have become a perfect yogi. It has happened to many without doing any postures, and it has not happened to many who have been doing postures for many lives."

"Because the basic thing to be understood is: when the activity of thinking is not there, you are there; when the activity of the mind is not there, when thoughts have disappeared, they are just like clouds, when they have disappeared, your being, just like the sky, is uncovered. It is always there – only covered with the clouds, covered with thoughts."

'Yoga is the cessation of mind.'

"In the West now, there is much appeal for Zen – a Japanese method of yoga. The word "Zen" comes from dhyana. Bodhidharma introduced this word dhyana in China. In China the word dhyana became jhan and then chan and then the word travelled to Japan and became Zen."

"The root is dhyana. Dhyana means no-mind, so the whole training of Zen in Japan is of nothing but how to stop minding, how to be a no-mind, how to be simply without thinking. Try it! When I say try it, it will look contradictory, because there is no other way to say it. Because if you try, the very try, the effort is coming from the mind. You can sit in a posture and you can try some japa chanting, mantra – or you can just try to sit silently, not to think. But then not to think becomes a thinking. Then you go on saying, "I am not to think; don't think; stop thinking," but this is all thinking."

"Try to understand. When Patanjali says, no-mind, cessation of mind, he means complete cessation. He will not allow you to make a japa, "Ram-Ram-Ram." He will say that this is not cessation; you are using the mind. He will say, "Simply stop!" but you will ask, "How? How to simply stop?" The mind continues. Even if you sit, the mind continues. Even if you don't do, it goes on doing."

"Patanjali says just look. Let mind go, let mind do whatsoever it is doing. You just look. You don't interfere. You just be a witness, you just be an onlooker not concerned, as if the mind doesn't belong to you, as if it is not your business, not your concern. Don't be concerned! Just look and let the mind flow. It is flowing because of past momentum, because you have always helped it to flow. The activity has taken its own momentum, so it is flowing. You just don't cooperate Look, and let the mind flow. For many, many lives, million lives maybe, you have cooperated with it, you have helped it, you have given your energy to it. The river will flow awhile. If you don't cooperate, if you just look unconcerned – Buddha's word is indifference, upeksha: looking without any concern, just looking, not doing anything in any way – the mind will flow for a while and it will stop by itself When the momentum is lost, when the energy has flowed, the mind will stop. When the mind stops, you are in yoga: you have attained the discipline. This is the definition: 'Yoga is the cessation of mind.' 'Then the witness is established in itself.''

"When the mind ceases, the witness is established in itself."

"When you can simply look without being identified with the mind, without judging, without appreciating, condemning, without choosing – you simply look and the mind flows, a time comes when by itself, of itself, the mind stops."

"When there is no mind, you are established in your witnessing. Then you have become a witness – just a seer-a drashta, a 'shakshi'. Then you are not a doer, then you are not a thinker. Then you are simply being pure being, purest of being. Then the witness is established in itself."

"This is the definition:
'Yoga is the cessation of mind.'

"When mind ceases, you are established in your witnessing self. In other states, except this, there are identifications. And all identifications constitute the 'samsar,' they are the world. If you are in the identifications, you are in the world, in the misery. If you have transcended the identifications, you are liberated. You have become a 'siddha', you are in nirvana. You have transcended this world of misery and entered the world of bliss."

"And that world is 'here and now-right now', this very moment! You need not wait for it a single moment even. Just become a witness of the mind, and you have entered. Get identified with the mind, and you have missed. This is the basic definition."


Now with the declaration of 'International Day of Yoga', the politicians of the world have brought yoga down to the political domain i.e to the gutter. That is how the great and profound treatises are spoiled and contaminated when falling in the wrong hands. Politics and religion are opposite phenomenon. A politician cannot be a religious man until he leaves the politics. Similarly a religious man can never be a politician until he ceases to be religious. Here we want to make it clear that when Osho uses the word religious He does not mean the person associated with any organized religion like Hinduism, Mohammedanism or Christianity etc. The religious person is an individual seeker of truth having no association with any ideology and society and is on the path of yoga.

Now the politicians, yoga teachers and so called yogis have reduced the great system of yoga to only 'asanas' and 'pranayam'. In the name of asanas and pranayam also what is being taught is gymnastic and body-torture which is contrary to what Patanjali has prescribed in Patanjali Yogsutra.

Yoga according to Patanjali is a compact and complete discipline having eight steps. It starts with 'yama'(self-restraint) and completes with 'samadhi' (trance, ecstasy) – (1)yama (self-restraint), (2) niyama (fixed observance) (3), asan (relaxed posture), (4) pranayam (breath regulation), (5) pratyahar (abstraction, turning back), (6) dharna (concentration), (7) dhyan (meditation, state of no thoughts) and (8) samadhi (trance, ecstasy) Asanas and pranayam are only third and fourth steps. These eight steps are to be practised from beginning to the end and not arbitrarily. Osho's response on the relevant sutras of Patanjaliyogasutras is totally different from the commentaries of earlier masters and scholars but reveals the true meaning and spirit of these eights steps of yoga. We are reproducing hereunder the excerpts of the same from His discourse series Yoga: The Alfa and the Omega:-

"The eight steps of yoga. This is the whole science of yoga in one sentence, in one seed. Many things are implied. First, let me tell you the exact meaning of each step. And remember, Patanjali calls them steps and limbs, both. They are both. Steps they are because one has to be followed by another, there is a sequence of growth. But they are not only steps: they are limbs of the body of yoga. They have an internal unity, an organic unity also, that is the meaning of limbs."

"Patanjali says they are steps, because they have a certain, sequential growth -- but they are also angas. Limbs of a body, organic. You cannot drop any of them. Steps can be dropped; limbs cannot be dropped. You can jump two steps in one jump, you can drop one step, but limbs cannot be dropped; they are not mechanical parts. You cannot remove them. They make you. They belong to the whole; they are not separate. The whole functions through them as a harmonious unit."

"So these eight limbs of yoga are both steps, steps in the sense that each follows the other, and they are in a deep relationship. The second cannot come before the first -- the first has to be first and the second has to be second. And the eighth will come to be the eighth -- it cannot be the fourth, it cannot be the first. So they are steps and they are an organic unity also."


"To Patanjali self-restraint does not mean to repress oneself. It simply means to direct one's life -- not to repress the energies, but to direct, to give them a direction. Because you can live such a life, which goes on moving in opposite directions, in many directions -- then you will never reach anywhere."

"To create a self-restraint means, first, to give a direction to your life energy. Life energy is limited. If you go on using it in absurd. undirected ways, you will not reach anywhere. You will be emptied of the energy sooner or later -- and that emptiness will not be the emptiness of a Buddha; it will be simply a negative emptiness. nothing inside, an empty container."


"Unless you are self-restrained, the second is not possible -- that s why Patanjali calls them steps. The second is niyam, fixed observance: a life which has a discipline, a life which has a regularity about it, a life which is lived in a very disciplined way, not hectic. Regularity... but that too will sound to you like slavery. All beautiful words of Patanjali's time have become ugly now. But I tell you, unless you have a regularity in your life, a discipline, you will be a slave of your instincts -- and you may think this is freedom, but you will be a slave of all the vagrant thoughts."


"The third is posture. And every step comes out of the first, the preceding one: when you have regularity in life, only then can you attain to posture, asan. Try asan sometimes; just try to sit silently. You cannot sit – the body tries to revolt against you. Suddenly you start feeling pain here and there. The legs are going dead. Suddenly you feel, on many spots of the body, a restlessness. You had never felt it. Why is it that just sitting silently so many problems arise? You feel ants are crawling up. Look, and you will see there are no ants; the body is deceiving you."

"Asan means a relaxed posture. You are so relaxed in it, you are so restful in it, that there is no need to move the body at all. In that moment, suddenly, you transcend body."

"Asan comes only to a person who lives a life of restraint, fixed observance, regularity; then posture is possible. Then you can simply sit because the body knows that you are a disciplined man. If you want to sit, you will sit – nothing can be done against you. The body can go on saying things... by and by it stops. Nobody is there to listen. It is not suppression; you are not suppressing the body. On the contrary, the body is trying to suppress you. It is not suppression. You are not saying anything for the body to do; you are simply resting. But the body does not know any rest because you have never given rest to it. You have always been restless. The very word asan means rest, to be in deep rest; and if you can do that, many things will become possible to you."

"If the body can be in rest, then you can regulate your breathing You are moving deeper, because breath is the bridge from the body to the soul, from the body to the mind. If you regulate breathing – that is pranayam – you have power over your mind."


"After Asan comes breath regulation, pranayam. Watch for a few days and just take notes: when you become angry what is the rhythm of your breathing -- whether exhalation is long or inhalation is long or they are the same, or inhalation is very small and exhalation very long, or exhalation very small, inhalation very long. Just watch the proportion of inhalation and exhalation. When you are sexually aroused, watch, take a note. When sometimes sitting silently and looking at the sky in the night, everything is quiet around you. just take note of how your breath is going. When you are feeling filled with compassion, watch, note down. When you are in a fighting mood, watch, note down. Just make a chart of your own breathing. and then you know much."

"And pranayam is not something which can be taught to you. You have to discover it because everybody has a different rhythm to his breathing. Everybody's breathing and its rhythm is as much different as thumbprints. Breathing is an individual phenomenon, that's why I never teach it. You have to discover your own rhythm. Your rhythm may not be a rhythm for somebody else, or may be harmful for somebody else. Your rhythm -- you have to find."

"And that is not difficult. There is no need to ask any expert. Just keep a chart for one month of all your moods and states. Then you know which is the rhythm where you feel most restful, relaxed, in a deep let-go; which is the rhythm where you feel quiet, calm, collected, cool; which is the rhythm when, suddenly, you feel blissful. filled with something unknown, overflowing -- you have so much in that moment, you can give to the whole world and it will not be exhausted."

"Pranayam is one of the greatest discoveries that has even happened to human consciousness. Compared to pranayam, going to the moon is nothing. It looks very exciting, but it is nothing, because even if you reach to the moon, what will you do there? Even if you reach to the moon you will remain the same. You will do the same nonsense that you are doing here. Pranayam is an inner journey. And pranayam is the fourth -- and there are only eight steps. Half the journey is completed on pranayam. A man who has learned pranayam, not by a teacher -- because that is a false thing, I don't approve of it -- but by his own discovery and alertness, a man who has learned his rhythm of being, has achieved half the goal already. Pranayam is one of the most significant discoveries."


"And after pranayam, breath regulation, is pratyahar, abstraction. Pratyahar is the same as I was talking to you about yesterday. The "repent" of Christians is, in fact, in Hebrew "return" -- not repent but return, going back. The toba of Mohammedans is nothing; it is not "repenting." That too has become colored with the meaning of repentance; toba is also returning back. And pratyahar is also returning back, coming back -- coming in, turning in, returning home. After pranayam that is possible -- pratyahar -- because pranayam will give you the rhythm. Now you know the whole spectrum: you know in what rhythm you are nearest to home and in what rhythm you are farthest from yourself. Violent, sexual, angry, jealous, possessive, you will find you are far away from yourself; in compassion, in love, in prayer, in gratitude, you will find yourself nearer home. After pranayam, pratyahar, return, is possible. Now you know the way -- then you already know how to step backwards."


"Then comes dharana. After pratyahar, when you have started coming back nearer home, coming nearer your innermost core, you are just at the gate of your own being. pratyahar brings you near the gate; pranayam is the bridge from the out to the in. Pratyahar, returning, is the gate, and then is the possibility of dharana, concentration. Now you can become capable of bringing your mind to one object. First, you gave direction to your body; first, you gave direction to your life energy -- now you give direction to your consciousness. Now the consciousness cannot be allowed to go anywhere and everywhere. Now it has to be brought to a goal. This goal is concentration, dharana: you fix your consciousness on one point."

"When consciousness is fixed on one point thoughts cease, because thoughts are possible only when your consciousness goes on wavering -- from here to there, from there to somewhere else. When your consciousness is continuously jumping like a monkey, then there are many thoughts and your whole mind is just filled with crowds -- a marketplace. Now there is a possibility -- after pratyahar, pranayam, there is a possibility -- you can concentrate on one point."


"Dhyan is pure subjectivity, contemplation -- not contemplating "something," because if you are contemplating something it is concentration. In English there are no better words. Concentration means something is there to concentrate upon. Dhyan is meditation: nothing is there, everything dropped, but you are in an intense state of awareness. The object has dropped, but the subject has not fallen into sleep. Deeply concentrated, without any object, centered -- but still the feeling of "I" will persist. It will hover. The object has fallen, but the subject is still there. You still feel you are.

"You can still fall back. A slight disturbance -- somebody talking and you listen -- meditation has disappeared; you have come back to concentration. If you not only listen but you have started thinking about it, even concentration has disappeared; you have come back to pratyahar. And if not only are you thinking but you have become identified with the thinking, pratyahar has disappeared; you have fallen to pranayam. And if the thought has taken so much possession of you that your breathing rhythm is lost, pranayam has disappeared: you have fallen to asan. But if the thought and the breathing are so much disturbed that the body starts shaking or becomes restless. Asan has disappeared. They are related."


"When asmita (amness) also disappears, when you no longer know that you are -- of course, you are but there is no reflection upon it, that "I am," or even amness -- then happens samadhi, trance, ecstasy. Samadhi is going beyond; then one never comes back. Samadhi is a point of no return. From there nobody falls. A man in samadhi is a god: we call Buddha a god, Mahavir a god. A man in samadhi is no longer of this world. He may be in this world, but he is no longer of this world. He doesn't belong to it. He is an outsider. He may be here, but his home is somewhere else. He may walk on this earth, but he no longer walks on the earth. It is said about the man of SAMADHI he lives in the world but the world does not live in him."

"These are the eight steps and eight limbs together. Limbs because they are so interrelated and so organically related; steps because you have to pass one by one -- you cannot start from just anywhere: you have to start from yam."
(Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega)

NOTE: Osho International Foundation has the copyrights of all above Osho's quotations.