“Fulfillment” is the word I have chosen to represent the Sanskrit word, samadhi, which is also the title of the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. There is no word in English that can be used as a synonym, and no phrase or sentence that adequately supplies a valid description or a satisfactory definition. The word “fulfillment” is the closest I could come.
The following is from an intro to a little book called, Fulfillment – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras in a Nutshell, my own translation of the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras.
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My intention in sharing my own translations of ancient mystical writings for the Nutshell series is to make these works accessible to everyone and to make them more useful to more people regardless of the specific spiritual path of any one individual.
In my early years as a teacher of music, I discovered the necessity and the means of taking the learning process back to fundamental concepts, and how to keep things simple. Making things simple and basic was a surprisingly difficult undertaking. Leaving things as they were would have been easier for me by far, yet for my students it was a boon. By teaching them in this way, I did most of the work for them and all they had to do was play the music.
By presenting music in this manner, assumptions relating to the knowledge of my students, or the lack of it, did not lead to misunderstandings and cause hours of useless effort; corrections, which are more difficult that initial learning, were avoided. They learned how to learn, and they learned about music, not just how to play the piece. And they did it their way, not mine. It is in this spirit that I offer these writings to you.
It has been my experience that few people are interested in the deeper study of writings such as these, but if you are one of the few, let me offer some suggestions:
Get as many translations as you can of a given work (such as this one, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) and read them all, skipping the commentaries at first. Compare them. Contemplate them. If you don’t understand something, read on; the meaning may become clear later on.
If you are very serious, learn some Sanskrit so that you can read them in the original language.
If you don’t have a Spiritual Master who can help you, get one and follow that person’s lead until you get results in your own practice so that you can gain experience. Your experience will be necessary for understanding these writings, and your understanding will in turn accelerate your progress.
To succeed in reaching an understanding of any spiritual writing, you will need (1) the written text, (2) your own experience, and (3) someone to talk things over with who also has some experience — a friend and/or a spiritual teacher or Spiritual Master. Ultimately, these three should agree.
In order to keep the flow moving and to present a friendly ambiance, I have not included the numbering of the sutras (aphorisms). In the event that you are someone who has an interest in studying any of the writings from the Nutshell series and would like to know the number of a sutra or verse or have a question about one, you may write me … and I’ll do my best to get back to you with what you need.
June 20, 2002
The above entry consists of excerpts from the introductory pages of the book, Fulfillment, © Copyright 2002, Durga Ma, Beverly Hills, California 90211, a translation of the first chapter of the sage Patanjali’s, Yoga Sutras.
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Fulfillment, is available through electronic download at http://www.durgama.com/books.html under the heading, Ancient Mystical Writings. The contents of the book are as follows:
The Truth About Yoga
What Yoga Really Is
The Mind in Action
Types of Mental Activity
Accurate Perception or Knowledge
Inaccurate Perception or Knowledge
Thinking, Imagining and Fantasizing
Sleep and Dreams
Memory and Remembering
The Peaceful Mind
The Yoga of Fearlessness
The Real Meaning of Dispassion
The First Stages of Fulfillment
The Master Within
The Simplest Way to Attain Fulfillment
The Manifestation of the Divine Other
Obstacles and Antidotes
Eight Obstacles to Fulfillment
The Side Effects of the Obstacles
The Cure for the Obstacles
How to Obtain the Cure
The Scope of Mastery