क्लेशमूलः कर्माशयो दृष्टादृष्टजन्मवेदनीयः I
kleśa-mūlaḥ karma-āśayaḥ dṛṣṭa-adṛṣṭa-janma-vedanīyaḥ
The sources of suffering (kleśa) are the foundation (mūlaḥ) for the womb of actions and consequences (karma-āśayaḥ), which can experienced (vedanīyaḥ) directly (dṛṣta) or indirectly (adṛṣta).
PRACTICAL LIVING Here Patanjali introduces the idea of karma, known in the West as the ‘Law of Attraction’. This concept states that every action has a consequence. This consequence can be seen in the moment (dṛṣta), or it may take years to manifest (adṛṣta).
The path of yoga is one of many layers. So, like any other sutra this one can be interpreted in varying degrees of depth:
1. Physical: I jump off the roof of my grandparents’ 2-story house. The action was the jumping, and the consequence could either be seen immediately like in the case of a broken bone, or could be “hidden” and manifest years later as a curve in my spine.
2. Physiological: I feel sleepy in the afternoon and rarely take caffeine but my office mates are drinking what they are claiming to be the best coffee ever. I drink the coffee and feel the immediate boost in energy and feel perky. But hours later, when I am tossing and turning in bed, I am frustrated and wishing I hadn’t drunk it.
3. Behavioral: My boss raises her voice and is condescending frequently. I avoid confrontation so my behavior is to nod, go back to my desk and work until the wee hours the night. Years later, however, I am feeling angry, resentful and begin smoking.
4. Mental: I was taught to think that if I worked hard I would be happy. I studied hard and went to a good college but was unhappy. I worked hard and was paid well but I hated what I was doing. That belief hasn’t changed so I am still looking for another job where I can work harder because I believe that will give me happiness. My thoughts lead to actions, which lead to consequences.
5. Emotional: I once had a beautiful candlelit dinner with a boyfriend. Now, every time I see a candle my mind takes me to that night and I want to repeat that experience. I want to feel the same passion and love that I felt that evening. I tried to repeat that experience with another boyfriend but was very disappointed.
The point Patanjali is making here is that when our thoughts, behaviors and emotions are rooted in the kleśas (misperception, attachment, avoidance, ego and fear), then the consequences will lead to suffering either immediately, or in the future. Even when we think our actions are free from consequences, according to Patanjali, we are still storing imprints in our minds, that can later come and haunt us.
We are striving, through the practice of kriya yoga (the yoga of action: action, reflection and letting go) to change our thoughts, behaviors and emotions so that they are rooted in clarity, therefore leading to peace.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Every experience we have, from the day we were conceived to today, leaves an imprint in our subconscious. These imprints are called samskaras. As adults, these imprints depend on how clear or distorted our perception of the world is. According to Patanjali, most of us, most of the time are misperceiving. In its most profound interpretation, this means that we think we are just bodies that think and feel. We forget that we are also a loving and pure soul. Because of this misperception, we experience the world only through the scratched lense of the mind, which often leads to suffering since the mind is usually functioning from a place of desire, escape, ego or fear.
The beauty is that as we become more aware of our thoughts, behaviors and emotions, we begin to change and become clearer. The consequences of those changes are more love, more peace and more wisdom in our lives 🙂
In India, and more specifically in Hinduism, karma includes the idea of past and future lives. In this case, fate/destiny come into the equation. According to Hinduism, in this life we are experiencing the consequences from our past lives. And presently, we are creating karma for our future lives.
Whether we believe in reincarnation or not, the concept of karma suggests that we become aware of what we think, what we do and how we feel in our lives. This text, the Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali gives us numerous suggestions of what we can do to practice awareness. Patanjali also highly recommends that we find a teacher – someone who can offer appropriate tools to help us in the path of self-awareness.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Wills, a precious human being who wooed my entire family and has us all in love with him, is a beautiful soul. His hugs are embracing. His smile is sweet. His voice is deep. His love for his wife: breath-taking! Wills is a powerful image of a gentle-man as in a man who admires, respects and holds up his woman. The older he gets, the more profound his vision of life becomes. He makes me laugh and he holds a very very sweet place in my heart. Te adoro Willy! Eres un ser maravilloso! Gracias por darnos tanto!
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 discuss further the concept of action and consequence!