Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

The main sloka of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha0 (1)

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah is one of the shlokas of the Yoga Sutra by the author Patanjali, which is perceived as the main one on which all yoga is based.

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah can be translated in different ways, which is what many authors do, trying to find the only and main meaning that Patanjali meant. Let's quote some of them.

Ostrovskaya and Rudoy - “Yoga is the cessation of the activity of consciousness.”
Vivekananda - “Yoga is the retention of the matter of thought (Chitta) from being clothed in various images (Vritti).”
Rammurti Mishra - “Yoga (union) is the cessation of the activity of the mind asking: “Who am I?”.
Krishnamacharya - “Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively to an object and maintain this direction without distraction.”
Saraswati Swami Satyananda - “Blocking typical manifestations of consciousness is yoga.”
Per. V. Danchenko - “Yoga is the cessation of modifications of consciousness.”
Per. K. Svensson - “Yoga is the curbing of vritti (disturbances) inherent in the mind.”
Per. B. Zagumennova – “Yoga – cessation of the functions of citta.”


Either Chitta is the entire psyche, or it is only a certain consciousness. But Purusha is also consciousness, only a kind of “pure” one? Or maybe consciousness needs to be understood in conjunction with the subconscious and unconscious? Or is it about attention, understanding, emotions and energy?

And more questions. Stop or block (forcibly?)? Or is it about suppressing (harmful) oscillations rather than beneficial cognitive functions? Or about the ability to maintain attention itself? Etc.

What is Purusha 

Considering that each word in this shloka has a dozen different translations, and the dictionaries were compiled by representatives of the “Western” mentality, and also that about 25 centuries have passed since the time of Patanjali and the meaning of many concepts could have fundamentally changed, then only intellectual attempts understanding the original meaning, of course, will not be as complex as the desire to catch the moon in a jug by scooping up its reflection, but also not as simple as reading the next news on Facebook.

Thus, each of the commentators expresses somewhat similar, but still different, own opinions about the meaning of the sutras. Depending on your priorities, the specifics of personal sadhana, preferences and many other factors. Well, if you don’t have your own opinion based on personal practice, then you have to use someone else’s, thereby further complicating the task of understanding the sutras.

In our opinion, one of the most important aspects of YSP is that it serves as a catalyst that initiates the manifestation of the commenting author’s own understanding of Yoga. Or lack thereof))

How can one realize the desire to understand YSP without first practicing yoga for many years so that the result can begin to manifest? It is not too difficult to do this by applying to the YSP itself the techniques mentioned in it: concentration on one object, as a result of which an understanding of its inner essence will appear and awareness of one’s own Atman will appear. Moreover, to do this, it is enough to start listening to YSP shlokas in Sanskrit without translation. The goal is not in the “correct” translation, but in understanding the essence of yoga. And these are slightly different things.