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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 3 - Union achieved and its Results
15. The stage of development is responsible for the various modifications of the versatile psychic nature and of the thinking principle.

This is a very general paraphrase of the idea involved and is in the nature of a summing up of the rather abstruse ideas of the text. The sutras following upon this one deal (for the remainder of Book III) with the results of meditation. The preceding sutras have considered the hindrances and difficulties that have to be overcome before true meditation becomes possible. The key to that overcoming and the difference between aspirants to the path is made apparent in this sutra. The ascertaining of one's approximate place upon the ladder of evolution, the summing up of one's assets and debits is one of the most useful activities the would-be aspirant can undertake. An understanding of the stage reached and of the next step to be taken is essential for all true progress.

Johnson translates this sutra in the words: "Difference in stage is the cause of difference in development," and goes on to say: "The first stage is the sapling, the caterpillar, the animal. The second stage is the growing tree, the chrysalis, the man. The third is the splendid pine, the butterfly, the angel..."

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