"Omnes tamen scholae Vedânticae, nec non sectae religiosae posterioris hinduismi, principia physicae et psychologiae ex Sâmkya et disciplinam asceticam ex Yoga mutuatae sunt. Etiam sectae heterodoxae, uti sunt Jainistae et Buddhistae, disciplinam yogae in toto adoptarunt"


"Tutte le scuole del Vedânta e le sette dell'Induismo posteriore hanno derivato dal Sâmkya i principi fisici e psicologici e dallo Yoga la disciplina ascetica. Anche le sette eterodosse del Buddhismo e dello Jainismo hanno adottato tutta la disciplina dello yoga".


 - C. B. Papali, Order of Discalced Carmelites -




-   The Indian path


The realization of the final purpose that we have seen in the previous chapter about the Indian spirituality, entails the exercise of the breaking and the detachment (vairâgya) from the normal ordinary life. The spiritual discipline (sâdhana) of the classic yoga aims at this purpose not throughout sudden and violent efforts, but throughout a path of progressive internalization in eight degrees, and for this reason it is called astânga. As a path, this ancient spiritual discipline leads to the identification âtman-Brahman or to the extinction into the Nirvana.


Patañjali defines the yoga as the technique, the method, which suspends the mental flow: “The yoga is the suspension of the modifications of the mind”. Papali: "cohibitio motuum mentis".


  • Yogas' citta-vŗtti-nirodhah

(Sanskrit transliteration)

  • Yoga cohibitio-motuum-mentis

(Latin translation by Papali)

  •  yoga as a restraint of the flow and psycho-flow 

yoga freno agli influssi e psicoflussi

(Italian translation by Giovanni Ballini)



This is one of the main sutra of the whole work, since it defines the same essence of the yoga.


With the elimination (nirodha = cohibitio) of the flow (vŗtti = motum) of the mind (citta = mentis), produced by the prakrti, we consequently eliminate the avidyâ (ignorance), which is the source of every suffering, and this means to achieve the discernment, or real decisive knowledge (viveka). After having achieved the viveka, the purusa enters the samâdhi, reaches the freedom (moksa, mukti) from the karma-samsâra, and gradually establishes himself in the kâivalya, the wonderful loneliness.


Thanks to the ascetic exercises, a good moral life (bâhya sâdhana), and the whole practise of meditation (antaranga sâdhana), the sâdhaka arrives at the caturtha, the state of turiya in which the mind is all absorbed (samâdhi) into the intuitive knowledge of its own oneself, âtman, that is exactly the same thing of the immortal oneself, the impersonal Absolute, the Brahman Nirguna. This intuitive knowledge is expressed by the words “ahman Brahma-asmi”, “I’m the Brahman”. In this state the sâdhaka becomes a jivanmukta, extinguishes the ignorance (avidyâ), the suffering (dukkha), and the thirst (trsnâ) of the temporary desires which drew their strength from the illusion (mâyâ) of the world of the phenomenon.


With different names, we can find the same structural triad, that is to say, the ethical way of life, the meditation, the intuition of the mind, prelude to the nirvana, in the Noble Path in Eight Stages by Buddha, under the names of sȋla, samâdhi and prajñâ. 



This path of the Hinduism is codified in the astânga-yoga (Papali: yoga octo membrorum) by Patañjali (1.). In the Buddhism it is codified in the astânga-mârga (Papali Octuplex Via Aryana) by Buddha (2.).


1.  Astânga-yoga by Patañjali  =>  Yoga Octo Membrorum


The astanga-yoga is the classic normative text of that spiritual discipline, the pre-classic yoga, the ancient way, adopted by all the Hindu religious schools that the Indian wise men practised and passed on from a very ancient period – pre-Aryan – and whose first fragmentary news can be seen in the Upanishad of the Vedas.


The systematic work by Patañjali is divided into four parts. The first one describes the nature of the samadhi; then it follows the description of the discipline, sâdhana, which leads to the samâdhi; the third part describes the powers or the perfections, siddhi, which derives from the exercises of meditation; the fourth part examines the nature of the liberation, the kâivalya: "Patañjali- Radhakrishnan writes- is interested in 'the practical indication of how we can achieve the salvation throughout a disciplined activity'” (RADHAKRISHNAN, Indian Philosophy, 2nd vol., Rome 1991).


That is how Papali describes the four parts:

  • “Yoga sutra dividitur in quattuor partes: prima, Samâdhipâda, tractat de natura Samâdhi seu exstasis liberativae; secunda, Sâdhana-pâda, tradit disciplinam qua pertingitur ad Samâdhi; tertia, Vibhuti-pâda, explicat acquisitiones seu vires supernaturales que consequuntur exercitium Yogae; et ultima, Kaivalya-pâda, examinat naturam liberationis".


2.  Astânga-mârga by Buddha  =>  Octuplex Via Aryana


In Mahâ Sattipatthâna Suttanta The Buddha says:


  • “What is this noble truth upon the way which leads to the end of the sorrow? It is the noble path, divided into eight steps, that is to say: honest opinions (1. Sammâ ditthi), honest intentions (2. Sammâ sankappa); honest words (3. sammâ vâcâ), honest actions (4. Sammâ kammanta), honest life (5. Sammâ ajȋva), honest exercises (6. Sammâ vâyâma), honest presence of spirit (7. Sammâ sati), honest concentration (8. Sammâ samâdhi)”.


Following this “noble Aryan way" (arya-mârga) means to realize an action of progressive neutralization-destruction of the 'chord' or 'ring' (nidâna) which joins together the twelve causal links (pratȋtya samutpâda), that keep alive the cyclical movement of the karma-samsâra, and whose result- according to this vision - is: existence, old age, death, that continuously recur.


We obtain the freedom from this "wheel" or continuous "wandering" (samsâra) throughout the spiritual discipline of the arya-mârga, which neutralizes and destroys the "root": suffering (dhukka), ignorance (avidyâ), thirst of desire (trnsâ), which are expressed by wish-desire-fever of evil.


We should remember that the wish-desire-fever it is also anger, jealousy, and aggressiveness. All this returning of evil is summarized by the Sanskrit term “klesa” (pali: kilesa), about what Patanjali spoke. This turning of evil, according to the Buddhist view, is translated in different ways: poison, mental agony, moral depravation. This multiple series of our dark face is often associated to the longing desire (trsnâ).



klesa (in pali: Kilesa) and St. John of the Cross


The fires or psycho-mental poisons called kilesa by the Buddha and called painful distress, klesa, by Patañjali , are called by St. John of the Cross “istincts”, toxic and irrational flushes rooted in the human spirit.

There is therefore a strong relationship of identity between klesa/kilesa and instincts.

In the Indian spirituality thinks that the klesa/istincts springs from the unconscious (vâsanâ) and from the psycho-mental conditions (citta-vŗtti) which attack on a large scale the Hindu psycho-mental sphere and the five aggregates (pañcâ-skanda) which constitute the Buddhist empirical Ego, the anattâ; the Christian spirituality of St. john of the Cross suggests that the instincts/klesa are rooted in the spirit (=purusa, synonym of âtman).


In order to suppress the klesa/instincts, the human needs a deeper purification than the psycho-mental detoxification, just a purification of the spirit, where the instincts/klesa “draw their strength and their root” (2N 9,3). Therefore, also the atman, understood as the human spirit, has to be purified, because it is the first source, “strength and root” (2N 3,1) of the psycho-mental component, the flows and psycho-flows, concupiscence-instincts/klesa (kilesa).

Therefore, not every yoga psycho-technique of the Hindu and Buddhist schools can cure the depth of the human spirit (=purusa, synonym of âtman) guilty for the sin.


For that reasons we need some following stages: the path in the faith which the Prince of the Mystics traced in his Ascent of Mount Carmel (2S-3S) and the revelation of God described by the Doctor Mysticus in the Dark Night (1N-2N), that are proper stages of a supernatural mysticism revealed and accomplished in Jesus Christ, the only way for the Salvation, to whom all the previous ways, included the Indian spirituality, are like an evangelical preparation (Lumen Gentium 16)