Sutra 1.20

Dec 1, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Sutra of the Month

Sutra 1.20 - śraddhā-vīrya-smṛti samādhiprajñā-pūrvaka itareṣām

TRANSLATION: Others attain to asamprajnata samadhi through the stages of faith, strong will, memory and intelligence derived from samprajnata samadhi.


  1. śraddhā: unconditional faith
  2. vīrya: vigor, strong will
  3. smṛti: memory, mindfulness
  4. samādhiprajñā: intelligence arising from samadhi
  5. pūrvaka: preceded by
  6. itareṣām: of others


In the previous sutra, Patanjali gives us an understanding of those that have a natural deep understanding of deep yogic philosophy at a young age by knowledge gained in previous lives (bhava pratyaya). In this sutra, these are those that start from scratch to attain asamprajnata samadhi through the four pillars of faith, strong will, memory and intellectual understanding (upaya pratyaya). 

  • Patanjali starts with the first pillar of śraddhā,unconditional faith, because in order to move forward with vigor we will need strong faith in what we believe in. Especially in times when challenges and obstacles arise, it’s our faith that carries us through. It is śraddhā that makes anything possible.
  • The second pillar is vīrya, strong will, that is the quality of enthusiasm in our actions, and determination to keep going.
  • The third pillar is smṛti, memory. Patanjali reminds us to have that memory of not getting overly confident. We will have moments of falling back on old patterns, so to remember stay the course as evolution and growth is not linear. We must go through the process and not skip steps. If there is a repeating pattern, there is still ignorance that needs to be resolved. 
  • The last pillar is samādhiprajñā, intellectual understanding. In order to continue practice with vigor, we must understand why we are doing what we are doing. There must be meaning to why we are doing our practices so we can move forward from a deep place within. 
  • Patanjali warns those that are bhava pratyaya, those that have a natural deep understanding of deep yogic philosophy at a young age, to also apply these four pillars to move forward on their journey.