Tuesday, July 19, 2011



POST-27 –VERSE 31, 32


In verse.30 – we saw nine obstacles to Yoga. These are – (1) Disease (2) Moodiness (not wanting to do any duty) (3) Doubtfulness in mind (4) Carelessness / inattentiveness (5) Postponing / Procrastination (6) Endless/undue desire for sense objects (6) Wrong Perceptions (7) unsteadiness / inconsistency in Practice (8) Lack of concentration (9) Inability to retain concentration after getting it, for unexplainable reasons
In the Next verse.31 – Patanjali mentions another four – which are like brothers and sisters to the above nine obstacles to Yoga Practice and cause Mental distraction. These are discussed below

duhkha daurmanasya
svaasa prasvaasaah
vikshepa sahabhuvah

Ø  duhkha = Sorrowfulness
Ø  daurmanasya =  dejection, frustration, depression,
Ø  angamejayatva = trembling of body parts; tremors in different limbs;
Ø  svaaasa = inhalation, inspiration (implying irregular inhalation)
Ø  prasvaasah = exhalation, expiration (implying irregular exhalation)
Ø  vikshepa = distractions
Ø  sahabhuvah = companions,  Born along with the nine obstacles

DUHKHA : Duhkha means sorrow. When Mind is filled with sorrow, we become incapable of concentrating on Yoga. The first task then is to get rid of the sorrowful mind-state. Some people convert their sorrowful mind-state into a habit, and they even tend to enjoy it.

We can see it in the writings of some Poets. They love sorrow.

Some people are especially fond of watching tragic movies and TV serials; reading tragic novels and stories; listening to and discussing tragic incidents – and suffering all of them – as if they have happened to themselves.

A philosopher says – my life was full of tragic incidents – none of which ever happened!

So – he suffered mentally – for no real reason – but suffered for imagined reasons. Sorrow then becomes a mind-set. Sorrow may come from within us; from others or from outside; and some times, due to providence; Any source can bring in sorrowful states.

A Sadhaka must get rid of Sorrow – to practice Yoga and attain the fruits of it.
We are not born as sorrowful Individuals. On the other hand – we are born as Joyful individuals. Positive and negative incidents will all cross our life. This is true. But, our effort must be to remain the joyful individuals that we are born as.

When some one near and dear dies, or any other tragic incident happens, mind naturally turns sad – but the sadness must be only a purely temporary guest in the mind. It should not stay there for long time. It should be driven out quickly. We must return to our peaceful, calm, joyful state and continue our Yoga Practice. The very purpose of Yoga is to re-discover our Joyful state and retain it on a permanent basis.

DAURMANASYA : This means frustration, dejection or even depression of the mind. It is a big weakness of mind. Why do we become dejected or depressed?

We seek so many things in life. But, Life is such that – we get things which we never wanted; we do not get things which we want; or we get them less than what we want or much more than what we want. And we do lose things which we love and which we have. These are inalienable Aspects of life.They happen in everybody’s life.

The mind starts dwelling on the same and becomes totally confused, unsteady, frustrated and depressed – until we understand the inevitability of these things. They come and they go.

It is said – every desire has three negative aspects invariably associated with it :

(1) MIXED WITH SORROW : No desire for any object / person or any thing is an unmixed blessing. It invariably comes mixed with Sorrow. It conceals the sorrow – which is also packed along with it. But, it is there. No desire brings you pure Joy alone. What ever you get in life – has the sorrow element built into it. It can give you sorrow when it comes, or when it stays with you or when it goes, or, when you cannot get it. In any or all of the four stages – you can become sorrowful. Only desirelessness brings Pure Joy, as acknowledged by Buddha, Adi Sankara and other sages. Lord Krishna’s Karma Yoga is quintessentially to perform action without the desire for the fruits of the action – precisely for this reason.

(2) IMPERMANENCE : Nothing stays permanently with you. Your greatest love is but temporary. It is going to leave you. Whatever comes – comes only to go again. This is the fact of life. Your body itself is impermanent. It is given to you – to be taken back again. Your mind – a bundle of thoughts – is IMPERMANENT in many ways. Nothing stays in it for more than a few moments – not even minutes.

(3) HABIT FORMATION : Any desire – has the effect of Habit formation. You will tend to want more and more of it. But, if a desire has created a negative impact on you – that negative impact also comes again and again back into your mind – and you suffer it again and again – as a Habit.

Therefore We must move on from such unfulfilled desires forward – as they tend to create depression, frustration etc. Even fulfilled desires, after some time, lead to same effect.

ANGAMEJAYATHVA :It means unsteadiness, trembling or tremors in different body parts. Some diseases also create such trembling – which is a huge distraction to Yoga. Some of our actions, however useless they are – we indulge in them continuously and feel almost powerless to stop them. They become a part of our life.

Until we become conscious that we are becoming slaves to these unnecessary movement of body parts – and that we are not doing them, but they are  autonomous of our will, and that our mind is a slave to them -  until we realize that – we will not even try to make those body parts steady and not trembling or moving.

Every such unwanted movements of body – make the mind unsteady and incapable of Yoga or Dhyanam. Body Consciousness must be minimal – if Dhyanam is to be successful.

SVAASA PRASVAASA:: Svaasa is inhalation of Air. It is called Poorakam in Yoga. Prasvaasa is exhalation of air and called Rechakam in Yoga. These must be happening naturally, unconsciously and in a steady manner, and not disturbing the mind. Pranayama practices are intended to make them steady – and finally out of mind.

Pranayama is to create steadiness of mind and not unsteadiness. This must be understood by all practitioners of Yoga. When we run, or when the mind is disturbed – the Svaasa-Prasvaasa actions become disturbed and unsteady. They in turn create unsteadiness in mind. Then, Yoga practice becomes difficult. Mind is always returning to the Inhalation and exhalation of air – and is unable to come out of the cycle.

Pranayama for Health Purpose is altogether different. It is practiced by hatha Yogis – and is good in itself for Health and longevity of life.

But, until we come out from concentration on breathing and make it an automatic, unconscious, steady action – Dhyanam becomes impossible. Yoga becomes impossible. This is what - Patanjali is stressing here.

VIKSHEPA SAHABHUVAH::The above weaknesses are like companions born along with the nine obstructions mentioned in the previous verse. Can we come out of them?

We can and we must.

thath prathishedhaartham
 eka thattva abhyaasah

Ø  thath = Their, them
Ø  Prathishedhaartham  = for prevention, for  removal
Ø  eka = single, one;
Ø  thattva = truth, principle
Ø  abhyaasah = practice;

To remove the obstacles which have come, and to prevent them coming in future – we must practice just one, single truth or principle.

The word “thath-thva” or thathva – has a deeper significance, apart from being called a truth or principle. Thath-thvam means that –thou are. You are that, which you are seeking. The ultimate objective of Yoga is a realization of the same principle. Patanjali could have used any other word but the usage of thathva (and,  Eka thathva – one single thathva) is an indication of the final goal to reach.

But, here, if we take its limited meaning - 

It points to the one method already mentioned for removal of obstacles -that is - Japa and Dhyanam on AUM (OM) and surrendering the fruits of all actions to EESHWARA. This easily brings us out from the obstructions. 

Surrender to Eeshwara makes Eeshwara responsible for removal of the obstructions – and we can see it happening. All nature’s powers are alerted and in some way – and our obstructions get dissolved quickly – as if they were never there.

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