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Yoga Sutras
Sutra 1.23-29

īśvara-praṇidhānād vā | kleśa-karma-vipākāśayair aparāmr̥ṣṭaḥ puruṣa-viśeṣa īśvaraḥ | tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajña-bījam | tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajña-bījam | tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ | taj-japas tad-artha-bhāvanam | tataḥ pratyak-cetanādhigamo ‘py antarāyābhāvaś ca

Realisation may also come if one is oriented towards the ideal of pure awareness, īśvara. | Īśwara is a distinct, incorruptible form of pure awareness, utterly independent of cause and effect and lacking any store of latent impressions. | Its independence makes this awareness an incomparable source of omniscience. | Existing beyond time, īśvara was also the ideal of the ancients. | Īśwara is represented by a sound, ōm. | Through repetition its meaning becomes clear. | From this practice all the obstacles disappear and simultaneously dawns knowledge of the inner Self.

Translated - Chip Hartfranft

Sutra 1.23 refers to surrender or devotion to Īśvara, which can be translated as the Supreme Being, God, or the Divine. Īśvara represents the ultimate spiritual principle or a higher power beyond the individual self. Sutra 1.24 describes Īśvara as a special puruṣa (individual soul) who is untouched by kleśa (afflictions), karma (actions), vipāka (fruits or consequences of actions), and āśaya (latent impressions). In other words, Īśvara is beyond the influence of the cycle of suffering caused by these afflictions and the effects of past actions. Sutra 1.25 highlights that in Īśvara, there exists an unsurpassed seed of omniscience or all-knowingness. It suggests that the nature of Īśvara encompasses infinite knowledge and wisdom. Sutra 1.26 states that the word or representation (vācakaḥ) of Īśvara is the sacred sound "praṇavaḥ," which refers to the sound of the sacred syllable "Om" or "Aum." Om is considered a powerful and sacred symbol representing the ultimate reality. Sutra 1.28 suggests that the practice of "japa" (repetition) of the sacred syllable Om leads to the contemplation and realisation of its profound meaning. The practitioner reflects on the significance and symbolism of Om during the repetition. 1.29 explains that by engaging in the japa and contemplation of Om, the practitioner gains insight into their inner consciousness (pratyak-cetanādhigamaḥ). Additionally, it indicates that obstacles (antarāya) that impede spiritual progress are removed (abhāvaḥ) through this practice. Overall, this passage emphasises the significance of devotion to a higher power (Īśvara-praṇidhāna) as a means to transcend the cycle of suffering caused by afflictions and the effects of past actions. It suggests that by recognising the all-knowing and auspicious nature of Īśvara, symbolised by the sacred syllable Om, practitioners can access wisdom and transform their consciousness, ultimately leading to the removal of obstacles on their spiritual path. The practice of Om japa and contemplation becomes a transformative means to reach a state of higher awareness and liberation.
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