3.27 – Samyama on the sun brings knowledge of the worlds.

भुवज्ञानं सूर्ये संयमात् ॥२६॥

bhuvana jnanam surya samyamat

  • bhuvana – worlds; realms; regions
  • jnanam – knowledge; awareness
  • surya – sun
  • samyamat – by samyama – the perfect integration of consciousness; the uniting of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi

3.28 – Samyama on the moon brings knowledge of the arrangement of the stars.

चन्द्रे तारव्यूहज्ञानम् ॥२७॥

chandra tara vyuha jnanam

  • chandra – moon
  • tara – star
  • vyuha – arrangement; structure; formation
  • jnanam – knowledge; awareness

3.29 – Samyama on the pole star brings knowledge of the movement of the stars.

ध्रुवे तद्गतिज्ञानम् ॥२८॥

dhruve tad gati jnanam

  • dhurve – pole star
  • tad – that
  • gati – movement; motion
  • jnanam – knowledge; awareness

Commentary on Sutras 3.27—3.29:

Our practice of samyama can include objects of meditation outside of our inner consciousness. Here, Patanjali directs our attention to objects as distant as the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

In the classical yoga era, there were no artificial lights. There were no cell phones, computers, or TV. Aside from the scriptures, there weren’t even many books to read, nor many people who knew how to read them. The action of the night was in the sky.

It’s incredible how much knowledge the ancient rishis had about astronomy without access to a basic telescope. Much of that knowledge came from deep meditation on the movement and arrangement of the planets and stars.

To understand those celestial patterns and pathways, we need a reference point. For example, we could focus on the setting sun to better understand the order of the planets or the moon in relation to the stars.

As we know, Polaris, aka the North Star, aka the Polestar, is the only stationary object in the night sky. By focusing on that, we can track everything else. There’s also a deeper meaning here.

As we’ve seen from the previous sutras on samyama, whatever we’re focused intently on alters our conscious states. So by samyama on the polestar, we can gain inner stability. The polestar is the still-point. It’s the hub of the wheel. When we abide in the still-point, we can engage in thoughts and actions yet remain untouched by those movements.