I, 38-39?Specific methods of dharana for overcoming obstacles - subjective meditation



I, 38 svapna nidra jnana alambanam va
I, 39 yatha abhimata dhyanat va

Or serenity
can come by
letting the mind be grounded
in knowledge
that has arisen from dreams
or from the dreamless state of deep sleep.

Or another way
is persistent meditation
in harmony
with your
religious heritage.

M. Stiles

The point of all of the various ways of dharana is to find a way for the mind to come a quiet and peaceful state. If one has had that experience, then one can meditate on that experience to achieve that state. For many, deep sleep is a quiet and peaceful state as are the experiences of serene and comforting dreams.

Iyengar explains that the dream state and the dreamless states are different levels of consciousness. Dreamless sleep is the unconscious state whereas the dream-filled state or nidra is the subconscious state. The wakeful state is consciousness whereas samadhi is the superconscious state. By contemplating the dream and dreamless states, one becomes aware of and understands the different states of consciousness.

Iyengar recommends focusing on the thought of the soul prior to sleeping, so that ?the same thought flows uninterruptedly whether he is awake, dreaming or asleep. This supports progress towards the attainment of spiritual bliss.? (p. 84)

?Real dream vision is an awareness, on the part of the rational soul in its spiritual essence, of glimpses of the forms of events. While the soul is spiritual, the forms of events have actual existence in i, as is the case with all spiritual essences. The soul becomes spiritual through freeing itself from bodily matters and corporeal perceptions.? Ibn Khaldun (d.1406), The Muqaddinah, trans. Franz Rosenthal from ?Travels with a Tangerine?.

The last sutra in this section is an example of, as Iyengar explains, how Patanjali is open to all and enables ?people of all creeds and walks of life to aspire to life?s spiritual goal?. (p. 85) Patanjali simply suggests for the sadakha to focus on an object that is uplifting and elevating and in doing so the obstacles in controlling the mind will be overcome.

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

Mackintosh-Smith, T. Travels with a Tangerine. London: Picador. 2002

Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002

Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004

Swami Shyam, Patanjali Yog Darshan, India: International Meditation Institute, 2001, 3rd. edition.


Desikachar also has a nice commentary on these sutras.

1,38: “When we believe we know a lot, we may become arrogant in our knowledge. The consequences can be disturbing. In fact even the most ordinary day to day occurences are not always clear to us.”

1:39: “How refreshing it is after a good night’s sleep! How disturbing a bad
dream can be!”

I like the simplicity of the above interpretations.
Staying open, detached and listening moment to moment is a daily challenge for me.
In addition to the evening sleeping and dreaming state; in the Shaman’s world there are levels of dream like states that take you to non ordinary reality. Setting intentions before you enter these states, and listening to the spirits that assist in these realms can help you with earthly challenges.


I too appreciated the simplified interpretations…in particular, the message of “staying open, detached and listening moment to moment”.


I realized I made a mistake in my quote. My apologies.
1:38 "How refreshing it is after a good night’s sleep! How disturbing a bad dream can be.“
"Any inquiry of interest can calm the mind.” "But such inquiries should not replace the main goal, which remains to change our state of mind gradually from distraction to direction.

T.K.V. Desikachar
The Heart of Yoga p.161


I like the version from Swami Venkatesananda

1.38 ,svapna nidra jnana `lambanam va"

[U], Or[/U] the distractions can be removed by [U]holding on to the wisdom[/U] gained in [U]dreams, [/U]whether they are para-pschological visions or symbolical dreams, as the wisdom is gained by a profound reflection on the messageof deep sleep, in which there is total absence of all mental distrcation and in which one ?expiriencesno diversity at all. In this state, free from obstacles one ?expieriencespeace happiness which are `recollected? on awaking from sleep."

1.39 , yatha `bhimata dhyanad va "

[U], Or[/U] ,the distractions can be overcome by adopting [U]any[/U] [U]contemplative[/U] [U]technique[/U], using any object of meditation one likes most, for that which [U]one likes most[/U] makes contemplation easy - provided of course, that neither the object nor the technique itself involves invites of distrcation."

The yoga sutras of Patanjali, by Swami Venkatesananda, The divine life society, ISBN81-7052-142-4



[I]Chuang Tzu[/I][I] once dreamed he was a butterfly[/I][I]. When he awoke, he no longer knew if he was a butterfly dreaming[/I][I] he was a man, or a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly.[/I]


The materialistic man being asleep, dreams within a dream…


Thank you both for sharing… they came at a perfect time for me.


I think we first need to have reached a certain level of self-progress in colming the mind and focusing it before the dream and dreamless sleep can help us further our development.