Patanjali Yoga Sutras ► Sadhana Pada (Concentration) ► Sutra 5-9

Posted: 04.11.2015

5. अनित्याशुचिदुःखानात्मसु नित्यशुचिसुखात्मख्यातिरविद्या ॥५॥

anityā-aśuci-duḥkha-anātmasu nitya-śuci-sukha-ātmakhyātir-avidyā ||5||

Ignorance is taking that which is non-eternal, impure, painful, and non-Self, for the eternal, pure, happy, Atman (Self).

All these various sorts of impression have one source: ignorance. We have first to learn what ignorance is. All of us think that “I am the body,” and not the Self, the pure, the effulgent, the ever blissful, and that is ignorance. We think of man, and see man as body. This is the great delusion.

 

6. दृग्दर्शनशक्त्योरेकात्मतैवास्मिता ॥६॥

dṛg-darśana-śaktyor-ekātmata-iva-asmitā ||6||

Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrument of seeing.

The seer is really the Self, the pure one, the ever holy, the infinite, the immortal. That is the Self of man. And what are the instruments? The Chitta, or mind-stuff, the Buddhi, determinative faculty, the Manas, or mind, and the Indriyani, or sense organs. These are the instruments for him to see the external world, and the identification of the Self with the instruments is what is called the ignorance of egoism. We say

“I am the mind, I am thought; I am angry, or I am happy.”

How can we be angry, and how can we hate? We should identify ourselves with the Self; that cannot change. If it is unchangeable, how can it be one moment happy, and one moment unhappy? It is formless, infinite, omnipresent. What can change it? Beyond all law. What can affect it? Nothing in the universe can produce an effect on it, yet, through ignorance, we identify ourselves with the mind-stuff, and think we feel pleasure or pain.

 

7. सुखानुशयी रागः ॥७॥

sukha-anuśayī rāgaḥ ||7||

Attachment is that which dwells on pleasure.

We find pleasure in certain things, and the mind, like a current, flows towards them, and that, following the pleasure centre, as it were, is attachment. We are never attached to anyone in whom we do not find pleasure. We find pleasure in very queer things sometimes, but the definition is just the same; wherever we find pleasure, there we are attached.

 

8. दुःखानुशयी द्वेषः ॥८॥

duḥkha-anuśayī dveṣaḥ ||8||

Aversion is that which dwells on pain.

That, which gives us pain we immediately seek to get away from.

 

9. स्वरस्वाहि विदुषोऽपि समारूढोऽभिनिवेशः ॥९॥

svarasvāhi viduṣo-'pi samārūḍho-'bhiniveśaḥ ||9||

This clinging to life you see manifested in every animal, and upon it many attempts have been made to build the theory of a future life, because men like their lives so much that they desire a future life also. Of course it goes without saying that this argument is without much value, but the most curious part of it is that, in Western Countries, the idea that this clinging to life indicates a possibility of a future life applies only to men, but does not include animals. In India this clinging to life has been one of the arguments to prove past experience and existence. For instance, if it be true that all our knowledge has come from experience, then it is sure that that which we never experienced we cannot imagine, or understand. As soon as chickens are hatched they begin to pick up food. Many times it has been seen where ducks have been hatched by hens, that, as soon as they come out of the eggs, they flew to water, and the mother thought they would be drowned. If experience be the only source of knowledge, where did these chickens learn to pick up food, or the ducklings that the water was their natural element? If you say it is instinct, it means nothing - it is simply giving it a word, but is no explanation. What is this instinct? We have many instincts in ourselves. For instance, most of you ladies play the piano, and remember, when you first learned, how carefully you had to put your fingers on the black and the white keys, one after the other, but now, after long years of practice, you can talk with your friends, and your hand goes on just the same. It has become instinct, it becomes automatic, but so far as we know, all the cases which we now regard as automatic are degenerated reason. In the language of the Yogi, instinct is involved reason. Discrimination becomes involved, and gets to be automatic Samskaras. Therefore it is perfectly logical to think that all we call instinct in this world is simply involved reason. As reason cannot come without experience, all instinct is, therefore, the result of past experience. Chickens fear the hawk, and ducklings love the water, and these are both the result of past experience, and these are both the result of past experience. Then the question is whether that experience belongs to a particular soul, or to the body simply, whether this experience which comes to the duck is the duck’s forefather’s experience, or the duck’s own experience.

Modern scientific menhold that it belongs to the body, but the Yogis hold that it is the experience of the soul, transmitted through the body. This is called the theory of reincarnation. We have seen that all of our knowledge, whether we call it perception or reason, or instinct, must come through that one channel called experience, and all that we know call instinct is the result of past experience, degenerated into instinct, and that instinct regenerates into reason again. So on throughout the universe, and upon this has been built one of the chief arguments for reincarnation, in India. The recurring experiences of various fears, in course of time, produce this clinging to life. That is why the child is instinctively afraid, because the past experience of pain is there. Even in the most learned men, who know that this body will go, and who say

“never mind: we have hundreds of bodies; the soul cannot die” - even in them, with all their intellectual conviction, we still find this clinging to life. What is this clinging to life? We have seen that it has become instinctive. In the psychological language of Yoga if has become Samskaras. The Samskaras, fine and hidden, are sleeping in the Chitta. All these past experiences of death, all that which we call instinct, is experience become sub-conscious. It lives in the Chitta, and is not inactive, but is working underneath. These Chitta Vrttis, these mind-waves, which are gross, we can appreciate and feel; they can be more easily controlled, but what about these finer instincts? How can they be controlled? When I am angry my whole mind has become a huge wave of anger. feel it, see it, handle it, can easily manipulate it, can fight with it, but I shall not succeed perfectly in the fight until I can get down below. A man says something very harsh to me, and I begin to feel that I am getting heated, and he goes on until I am perfectly angry, and forget myself, identify myself with anger. When he first began to abuse me I still thought “I am going to be angry.” Anger was one thing and I was another, but when I became angry, I was anger. These feelings have to be controlled in the germ, the root, in their fine forms, before even we have become conscious that they are acting on us. With the vast majority of mankind the fine states of these passions are not even known, the state when they are slowly coming from beneath consciousness. When a bubble is rising from the bottom of the lake we do not see it, or even when it is nearly come to the surface; it is only when it bursts and makes a ripple that we know it is there. We shall only be successful in grappling with the waves when we can get hold of them in their fine casues, and until you can get hold of them, and subdue them before any become gross, there is no hope of conquering any passion perfectly. To control our passions we have to control them at their very roots; then alone shall we be able to burn out their very seed. As fried seeds thrown into the ground will never come up, so these passions will never arise.

 

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Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Edition: 1896

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