Sunday, January 22, 2012

PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS - V.2.47 &2.48 - Effortlessness -what it does? - Do you know what Pairs of Opposites Do to You?



prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam

Ø  prayatna = through effort in trying to achieve a posture
Ø  shaithilya = by reducing / relaxing
Ø  ananta = (with the) infinite
Ø  samapattibhyam = by merging ; by keen attention

Prayatna saithilyam means – relaxation and reduction of Effort. Any conscious effort that we make initially to remain steady in the Aasanam must quickly go – and the aasanam must become effortless – apart from being stable and comfortable.

Body’s specialty is –that we do not feel the body if it is healthy and light. It should be burden-free and pain-free.

Body becomes painful and burdensome only when some part in the body is not totally healthy or the posture in which body is kept is unnatural. Therefore, a “sthira sukha aasanam” must become possible by effortlessness and total relaxation of the body in that posture, and not by effort.

This means – that the posture is one which your body organs accept easily and happily.

If there is effort – the effort will want to move the body one way or the other. Body will be acutely conscious of painful, unnatural and  uncomfortable postures.

EFFORT to be steady and stable – is the indication that the chosen Aasanam is not the one that is best suited for you.

Effort comes because of will. Effort is needed to attain all earthly things. You must pay some thing – to get some thing else. The Law of compensation works in all such matters.

But, many noble, joyful things are – beyond this Law of compensation. At least, there is no earthly, tangible compensation that we need to pay for achieving those things. These noble things are also not tangible. They are experienced – beyond the five senses. We won’t see them.

Joy, happiness, love, Prayer, Meditation, sleep  must all come effortlessly. Most of these things come when we shun effort – and become relaxed and effortless.

At any rate, when they come – we become effortless. Patanjali says -  aasanam also be effortless in a similar way.

But, how to make it effortless. Patanjali gives us a clue. Think of the endless-beginningless entities. 

Think that you are in a timeless Universe, with no past, present and future.

Think that you are like the endless space. Equate yourself with such endlessness. Merge yourself with such endless entities. Now - Experience the change in you.

Ananta is also the name of “Adisesha” the great, thousand hooded serpent who is the seat of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is always shown in a yogic Posture on this Ananta naga. 

Vishnu is called Yogeswara – for that reason. Adisesha, the Ananta Sesha or the Ananta Naga – is said to remain unmoving all the time – so as not to disturb the yogic posture of Lord Vishnu.

A Yoga sadhaka must remain like that –motionless, easy, effortless and carrying the Vishnu (or Eesvara, which mean the same) within himself.


thathah dvandva anabhighaathah

Ø  thathah = thereby
Ø  dvandva = the pairs of opposites (of life)
Ø  anabhighaatah = will not pose any impact /suffering

Indian tradition has well recognized that all human suffering arises from the pairs of opposites – like likes and dislikes, happiness and sorrow, rich and poor, day and light, heat and cold and so on. The most important of these pairs of opposites is – our likes and dislikes. The body is subject to not only likes and dislikes, but also heat and cold. It also takes battering from other dualities as well.

Each of us has our individual likes and dislikes. We feel that these are the ones protecting us – and enabling us to enjoy our life.

This is far from truth. Our likes are our traps. So are our dislikes. Each invariably leads us to the other. 

Suppose, you like Mr.X or Ms.X. You invariably like all others much less. You like Mr.X  or Ms.X for specific reasons. You dislike all others having the opposite qualities, or, even the same qualities in lesser proportion.

Do you think, it is natural? Most people do. But, it is not. These are the traps, the real causes - that lead us from happiness to unhappiness  to suffering and from health to ill-health and so on.

You are angry with corruption. You think, you must be. You are proud to be this, or that in life. Again, you think, it is needed.

These are all pairs of opposites which act as traps swinging us from one end of the spectrum of life to the other – without our volition.

We will have more discussion on these pairs of opposites in a different context. Lord Krishna also has referred to these dvandas or pairs of opposites in his Bhagavad Gita many times.

They are the cause of our life swings from one extreme to the other extreme of life . Once you decide to keep your likes and dislikes –there is no way, you can avoid unhappiness, suffering, sadness etc in your life periodically. They come. And, You are the cause.

In this aphorism – Patanjali is giving us one way of reducing / eliminating the strike of these Dvandvas. If you can achieve stability and comfort in your aasana – at that time, you will remain unaffected by these Dvandvas.

There is a sound logic and psychology behind this phenomenon. If body remains motionless and comfortable, mind follows suit. Mind can’t attach itself to any dvandvas when body remains unsupportive to it. The dvandvas' main purpose is to unsettle the body and mind in some way. When, they can't unsettle the body, their effort to unsettle the mind also becomes futile. Vice-Versa is equally true.

Relax the body, the mind relaxes. Relax the mind, Body relaxes.

When, they are relaxed, a strange joy enters into you leaving no place to any other emotion – specially the dvandvas.

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