1.32 One Thing to Rule them All
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI | CHAPTER 1 - SAMADHI PADA | VERSE 32 | COMMENTARY
Tat pratished-artham ek-tattva-abhyasah.
To overcome all the difficulties on the path, focus and aim all your energy on a single objective/technique.
Remember the Ring Wraiths from the Lord of the Rings? The undead Nine Kings of Men cursed to find the Ring of Sauron for ever? No matter where the ring bearer went, they always found him. No place was safe – neither a cave in the coldest mountain, nor the dungeons deep in the ground, and nor the strongest fortress of men. The Wraiths had only one thought in their enslaved minds – The Ring. This focus, the one-pointedness made them overcome any terrain, any magic and all types of battles.
One can learn an important lesson from these characters, one which Maharishi Patanjali is also reiterating in this sutra. All the people who have achieved extra-ordinary results in their fields have this characteristic – one pointedness. They become blind to everything but their aim, and their will becomes sharp as a sword, able to cut through the most daunting challenges. I have already narrated a story about the former President of India and scientist Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam who had no sense of day or night, or the clothes he was wearing or whether he had eaten any meal or not. He would pursue a problem until he found a satisfactory answer. If we want success in a big endeavour, then we too must put all our energies in that endeavour. We don’t have to start doing new things in most of the cases, we just have to stop doing things that are not helping us achieve our target. There are a lot of activities we do in our day that have absolutely no impact on taking us closer to our goal (if we have one).
Maharishi Patanjali has given various methods and techniques for people with various inclinations and capacities. He has given the various techniques first so that we may explore and satiate our curiosity. Now, he is asking us to make a choice - to choose one technique that suits us the best, and focus all our energy into it. The complexity of the technique is insignificant. If one is practicing Mantra Yoga, chant one mantra. Do not go on changing the Mantra at a whim or under influence. The Mantra is usually received from the Guru, which makes it infinitely potent. A wise Master would never change the Mantra if you have already received one from other Master. If you are using a symbol for meditation, choose and stick with one symbol. The consciousness has to work from scratch if you keep on changing the tool you are using. The mind gets scattered and that is not conducive to success. This one-pointedness and focus will invariably bring success in the Yogic Path as well other endeavours as well.