Mind itself is nothing but consciousness. Yet when we get lost in mundane experiences of existence, the mind looks like as if it is disturbed and hence impure. When proficiency is attained in that state of mind without a thought following contemplation, consciousness is not deflected. The individual becomes a complete expression of the stillness of the soul. Consciousness can be compared at the nearest, to the sky. When a thought passes by like a cloud, we, who are actually the sky, forget the fact and begin riding on a limited thought or thoughts.
For one who has managed to identify himself as the sky, consciousness takes complete charge of the whole personality.
Bearing the truth fully and becoming the truth in this manner, the intellect gets firmly rooted and identified with this consciousness.
Can we ever know this consciousness by our hearing, studying and guessing? There is not a chance, says Maharishi Patanjali. This knowledge that is rooted in the truth of consciousness is distinctly different from all that we know through hearing and other sense organs or by inference. What is the true self that we are? Anything that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch or infer is not our self. The ultimate knowledge that is based on truth is simply an inner experience which can never be described with words, names and forms.
Coming to the end of the first chapter called Samadhi Pada, Maharishi Patanjali says the benefit of this knowledge of our self is that it erases all the deeply-embedded impressions in the mind due to habitual thinking, speaking and actions of the past. Consciousness shines like a brilliant light around a being, giving no room for divisive thoughts to enter. Like a lion that enters the dream, wakes the dreamer up, the contemplative flashes of truth surface above the confusions of the mind with constant practice.
There is no time when all thoughts will dissolve. It is like saying all waves of the ocean should stop for me to separately understand the ocean from its waves! Constant contemplation and meditation leaves us with that state of mind where consciousness is at its purest, without any disturbance.
With these Sutras comes to an end the chapter on a steady state of mind that is well established in its original state of consciousness. Maharshi Patanjali has given us right away the best that we can aspire for through our practice of yoga and meditation. In the subsequent chapter called the Sadhana Pada, the different practices that one needs to adopt to get there are outlined. Though the goal is clear, it is more important to take the right road that reaches the goal. If I have to go to New Delhi, from Chennai, it is not important that I know the glory and history of New Delhi! I have to take a train or flight to get there. That is what the Sadhana Pada cajoles us into—simple methods by which the mind can be trained to reach this state of yoga.