समाधिभावनार्थः क्लेशतनूकरणार्थश्च I
The objective (arthah) [of kriyayogah] is to weaken (tanu) the sources of suffering (klesa) and (sca) develop a mental attitude and disposition (bhavana) for complete absorption and profound meditation (samadhi).
PRACTICAL LIVING In the last sutra, Patanjali presented the concept of the yoga of action: act, reflect and let go. In this sutra, he clearly explains why it is the first tool that is offered in this important chapter – the chapter of practice (sadhana pada). There are two reasons:
1. klesa-tanu: all human beings suffer. The cause of suffering, which Patanjali will soon describe in the following sutras, disturb the mind, causing it to become either agitated or dull and heavy. Words like ‘stress’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’ are very common in our vocabulary and state of being. In order to become clearer, calmer and live a more joyful life (the goal of Yoga), we need to understand the sources of our suffering. Once we are aware of what causes us pain, we are able to do something about it (the steps of the yoga of action).
2. samadhi-bhavana: only once we have reduced the potency of the klesas (sources of suffering) is the path to our highest potential possible. The yoga of action practiced on a daily basis, in every moment of our day allows the mind to clear, like the clouds being blown away by the wind, showing us clear skies. That clear mind is the mental state necessary for us to experience complete absorption – an experience of our inner light.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Kriyayogah is an essential practice for any yogi, from the beginning to the end of their Yoga journey. The klesas need to be reduced so that we are no longer living from a preconditioned state of mind – but one of awareness. It is interesting that often in the Yoga world, we hear about The Eight Limbs of Yoga (astangayogah) but we rarely hear about kriyayogah. Patanjali begins this chapter describing kriyayogah for a reason: it is the most fundamental tool we have as yogis. This prepares us for astangayogah, which is described later in this chapter.
So, now that we know the importance of the yoga of action, reflect on something that you would like to change and practice:
i. tapas – act (which often requires an action that makes us uncomfortable)
ii. svadhyaya – reflect (with the help of someone else or words of wisdom)
iii. isvarapranidhana – let go (accept that you cannot control everything – life becomes lighter when we stop judging others and ourselves)
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar passed away at the age of 96 a few day ago. He was a student of T Krishnamacharya and dedicated his entire life to yoga. The popularity yoga enjoys worldwide today was significantly influenced by him. A master of asana, he truly believed that “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity”. His commitment to yoga was a true inspiration to many yogis. His words were captivating. One of my favorite quotes of his is: “Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life”. Thank you Guruji, for all love you transmitted through your teachings!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and next week we will learn what are the five sources of suffering!
“That clear mind is the mental state necessary for us to experience complete absorption – an experience of our inner light.”
This was something I struggled with at first, but yoga helped me learn to have more control over such anxiety and mental stress. At first, it was learning how to focus my mind on one thing at a time. Over time, it became more about replacing negative, self-defeating thought patterns with positive, constructive ones (through svadhyaya). Within the last few months, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on isvarapranidhana/letting go of the “results” of life and putting more energy into making good choices in the first place.
i. When my roommate leaves her shit everywhere it drives me, the OCD freak, crazy! ii. my words of wisdom ‘its just a week old bowl of mac n’ cheese, huge pile of clothes, or books. Causing conflict over this is silly. Just simply tell her it truly bothers you….for the hundredth time.’ iii. Let go of the fact that you can’t control her or anyone else. Become lighter and better than the situation.