[B]I, 27-29 ?A DEVOTIONAL PRACTICE (ISVARA PRANIDANAH) ? JAPA MEDITATION
I, 27 tasya vacakah pranavah
I, 28 tat japah tad artha bhavanam
I, 29 tatah pratyak cetana adhigamah api antaraya abhava ca
The sound denoting
that Self is
the eternal vibration Aum,
the grace of the
By constantly repeating
that sacred sound
with great respect and love
upon its meaning,
one attains spiritual wealth.
From that practice arises
the attainment of
Swami Satchidananda explains that Patanjali wanted to name Purusha with name that ?can give an unlimited idea and vibration and which can include all vibrations, all sounds and syllables, because God is like that ? infinite.? (p. 42) There are many names of God, ?all denote one aspect, but not his fullness. God is, was and always will be ? with out beginning or end, infinite and omnipresent.? (p. 43). The sound ?A? represents the beginning of sound. ?U? represents the continuation of sound. ?M? represents the end of sound but there is a vibration that follows the end of ?M? which Sw. Satchidananda explains is never ending.
The repetition of AUM or mantra or prayer is the practice of japa meditation. This practice develops and strengthens the link with the divine. Sw. Satchidananda explains that the power of repetition is that it makes the action a habit, and it goes from the conscious to the subconscious and becomes our second nature. He quotes from Gandhi:
?Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny.?
With repetition and time, the mantra becomes a way of staying connected with the divine as we go about our daily routine. It evolves into our values and finally becomes our destiny. If done with devotion and surrender, all obstacles are removed and we can attain union or Yoga or nirbija samadhi.
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004
Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002.