Yoga Sutras III, 15 - the essence of meditation


Q - I was reading in the Yoga Sutras these days and came across a question: YS 3.15 ff. Patanjali gives meditation topics etc.

  As far as I understood Osho's explanation of meditation it is a state of not wanting something, not doing anything. It's relaxation. It's the realisation and enjoyment of the immediate reality. One can not meditate as an action one can only be in meditation. But if I read Patanjali's advice where I do meditate on objects to me it's concentration, an action forced by my own will (citta). It's a thinking process, it's duality.

  So I'd like to know how do you think about what the essence of meditation is or better: what is meditation what is concentration.

   I do have to admit that I never feel comfortable when I am reading in the Yoga Sutras. Most interpretations I read up to now seem so dry, so spoon-feeding and I cannot feel freedom... Seems like I am not made to find my luck in those manuscripts.... When I read the interpretations I always see the ascetic teacher (mostly men ;-)))  ) holding up his index finger.... When I read Osho's texts I see his grinning face saying: you won't catch me with your bloodless theories. The universe belongs to everybody! Yippieeeh!!

  A - This is a lovely question and well put.  Indeed I do agree with your opinion about so many ascetic men being authors of commentaries on Patanjali.  It does show a tendency to being overly controlling, to the point of rigidity and not harmonious with male's feminine nature.  I like image of Osho's grinning at such responses.  

   Meditation for me is expressed in YS I, 2-4 that it is samadhi as the experience of only One Self.  However I also find in taking Krishnamacharya's view that each of the four chapters are teachings for a different archetypal students as I explain in the introduction to my Yoga Sutra  book; each chapter presents a different rendering of this process to samadhi.  

       First chapter says this is attained mostly by devotion.  Second says that this is not an attainment for you but something to strive for is a higher state of consciousness via the first 5 of the Classical Asthanga.  Third chapter you are quoting from is saying that meditation is preceeded by concentration upon specific topics as cited in 16-49.  In here the sutra you ask about that is number 15 ff are revealing the methods to be undertaken to lead to a steady stream of thought which can lead to truthfulness about all objects of the mind.  In contrast the  Fourth chapter is not seeking any technique but only the goal of freedom.  It is the shortest and most immediate technique.  One can say this chapter is nondual, like Osho's point of view.  I hope to complete my commentary before too much longer.  I enjoy such josting of the mind as we come to greater purity of what does not need purification.  
     Blessings.  Mukunda