[B]I, 32 Tat pratisedha artham eka tattva abyasah

In order to prevent
these obstacles from arising,
you should habituate
yourself to meditation
upon a single principle.[/B]

M. Stiles

Swami Satchidananda advises to spend some time on deciding on an object for concentration to achieve the goal of one-pointed concentration or dharana. Once this goal is achieved, the object is left behind as the mind transcends itself. He recommends that once the object is selected, it should remain the focus of attention or else the effort will be dissipated. He likens it to digging a well ? instead of abandoning the well when hard rock is encountered, one should persevere and use dynamite to dig deeper ! To abandon that site and dig elsewhere does not guarantee that one will not encounter hard rock but will only yield several shallow wells.

Iyengar interprets this sutra to mean to focus on devotion and surrender to God as the single principle. However, he believes that this way is only possible for enlightened souls like Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna Parmahasa, Mahatma Gandhi. In contrast, Sw. Satchidananda states that one should choose whatever object that inspires the sadhaka because the object is only the a symbol of the goal one wishes to achieve.

Happy digging !

Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993

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.


Thank you for your continued effort Lavina. This has arrived just at the right time for me. Which is why we should continue to study Patanjali and other scripts. This is a reminder to me not stray from the path but find that one focus that can occupy the mind while allowing it to still. Citta Vritti not! Have just found my favourite spade and am continuing the dig - thank you.


Please have a look at Desikachar’s site with six translations of the yoga sutras with commentary.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - Commentary


Perhaps finding the ‘correct’ focus for each of us is a journey in itself, and maybe this ‘object’ should change as we deepen our self-discovery.


The mind is a trickster, isn’t it ? Sometimes it is very hard to focus on just a single object, and other times it is hard to defocus, or detach it from it’s object.
The nature of the object can greatly enhance the focusing effort. If the mind is drawn to it, than not the focusing but defocusing is difficult. We all have passions. These passions have several directions, and objects. What if we could find the way using the energy of these passions to flow into one direction, to a single object ? All our desires united to reach a single object.

You realize that this cannot happen only on mental level. While we talk about it and make it a rational lecture, in reality this is also a highly emotional experience. So if the object of dharana is something the mind unconditionally accepts, as a person we respect or love, than focusing is not a chore, but a delight.
But it is important to focus on a single object as long as we attain perfection of concentration. For some, more emotional people (like me) it is easier to sustain the effort having the emotional support of love.
Others will find delight in the clarity of reason.
Constant practice, this is the only way. I feel I no longer can delay this. I have to start it, now.